In this highly televised and chronicled age, we’ve all watched in horror as too many of our communities, whether it’s nearby or across the country, decline, fall apart, or descend into chaos. We ask ourselves – what could have been done differently? And we pray to the Lord above that we have the wisdom to right the course if that decline comes to our community.
I’m here to tell you that we have an answer to helping restore our communities. It has never been more apparent to me that a good education is the key to unlocking our God-given potential and fighting back the forces of evil that would have us turn on each other and our communities. Just as a good education is the key to flourishing, a bad education is the ticket to destruction. And we must stand with every leader, every parent, and every innovative educator that is working to provide our children with the very best education to fulfill their God-given potential.
In 1947, at 18 years old, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. published an op-ed in his college newspaper titled, “The Purpose of Education. “We must remember that intelligence is not enough,” wrote the young Martin Luther King, Jr. “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
And, that statement…that wisdom from a young black man, who would grow to lead a nation out of the darkness of segregation towards the light of unity, could not be more true today than it was back then. Unfortunately, divisiveness, separation, and discord are creeping back into all aspects of our life – especially in our education system. And those suffering most are the young men and women lost to a system that is more concerned about labeling the oppressed and oppressors than teaching young minds how to think and encouraging strong character development that prepares children to be happy and successful adults.
The underperforming schools have created a school-to-prison pipeline, which continues to wreak havoc on the Black community. Seventy percent of the inmates in our prison system are reading below the fourth-grade level. And this is a fact: we can trace these students back to the zip codes of communities in poverty and its failing schools. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the Texas Black population is 12%, the White population is 43%, and the Hispanic population is 40%. While the Black population remains significantly smaller than the other groups, over a ten-year average, Blacks make up 34% of the prison population. In comparison, Whites and Hispanics make up 33% each. We have schools that have failed our Black and Brown students for over a decade, sending tens of thousands out into a world with no hope for a successful and happy life.
But we can reverse this course. We can turn back the tide of low expectations and despair. We can take positive steps to ensure that our children get the mental food and water they need to grow into the beautiful beings they were created to be.
We can do this with parental empowerment and education freedom.
- Freedom for each and every parent to select the right education for their child – not be dictated to go to a school because of the street they live on.
- Freedom for each student to reach their fullest potential.
- Freedom for our communities to rise up from the hopelessness and despair too many are experiencing.
Educational freedom would increase student success and help to close the school-to-prison pipeline.
God gave us parents a duty to provide for our children. To bring them up in the way they should go and educate them on what is good and right. We have that duty. We have that responsibility. We have that calling. We cannot pass it off; we cannot delegate it, and we cannot abandon it. It’s built into us, and God Himself will ask us how well we did at the end of our lives. We must be able to answer well.
So why do we pass this duty off to the education system that didn’t bring our children into the world and allows too many of our sons and daughters to fall through the cracks of low expectations? Do we not know our children best? Do we not have the duty to do everything we can to raise them well and prepare them for the world?
The sad answer for so many parents is simple: we pass off this duty because we simply cannot afford not to. We can’t write the check to private schools, and we aren’t the lucky ones to receive scholarships.
This is why education freedom is so important: it brings the ability to choose a different education for parents who otherwise couldn’t. It gives us back the power to make those vital decisions for the good of our children. It allows us to fulfill our God-given duty.
And even with the power to choose the school that best fits their needs, many parents across the nation don’t switch away from their public school. Instead, those public schools get better, bringing everyone in the system up.
Education freedom is the path to reverse the decline of our minority communities across Texas. Give parents the choice, and we’ll charge forward for our children to ensure they have everything they need to flourish.
We must unite with every parent, every freedom fighter, every opportunity provider, and every politician fighting alongside us to empower parents. Then and only then will Dr. King’s dream, your dream, and my dreams come true…when we stand together for educational freedom for our children, join hands and rejoice, singing, “Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”