Commenting on my “education is a right” post, SGH points to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 26:
- Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
- Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
- Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
While it may be the case that the typical “education is a right” activist would point to this Declaration as the authority for his or her claims, it seems to me they’d be incorrect to do so. If parents’ right to choose the manner of their children’s education comes before any implied requirement for government to provide for education, and yet elementary and (maybe) secondary education must be cost-free to the family, the only option is total, voucher-driven school choice.
Progressives and other statists like statement number 1, which justifies their confiscation of money in order to pay for the education that they’d like to provide. They’re also apt to like statement number 2, which gives them license to indoctrinate children into their own moral and ideological framework, on the grounds that their worldview objectively benefits students’ “full development” and respect for rights.
Perhaps the progressives’ copy of the UN’s declaration has a typographical error that leaves out statement number 3. More likely, though, they gloss over it by stuffing “parents” into a collectivist box and claiming that they collectively choose their government and therefore the type of education that the government wishes to impose on them.
Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?