Thomas Jefferson once said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” A well educated and inquisitive public is essential to an informed electorate which is then capable of defending our liberties and maintaining our American way of life. John Milton, author of the classic Paradise Lost, said “The end of all learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge to love and imitate Him.” Thus the mark of a quality education is that it inspires lifelong scholarship and devotion to the tenets of our Creator. This begins in childhood with elementary lessons preparatory to a broadened high school curriculum, and is then refined to meet piqued interests and aspirations via vocational, college and university plans of study. Ideal voters are thus those who have become self-learners instilled with a passion for knowledge and who look to numerous sources to quench their thirst for truth and understanding.
Because it is public education which, through taxation, statutes, bureaucracy, and elected school boards, finds itself in the political arena, this is where the CPWV takes its strongest interest. We also seek to protect the rights of private, parochial, and homeschoolers, as well as promote the use of public libraries, museums, and historical sites as places of learning. Since Article XII § 1 of the West Virginia State Constitution mandates that “the legislature shall provide, by general law, for a thorough and efficient system of free schools,” public education in our state must accurately reflect each of the key words of this requirement.
Legislature: The word “legislature” specifically refers to the West Virginia State Legislature which is presently comprised of one hundred and thirty-four duly elected State Delegates and Senators. Our legislature does not include any members of federal Congress or any employees of any federal, non-governmental, or international agencies. Thus, by law, only Mountain State residents may have any control over our educational process. According to the 10th Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The federal Department of Education is without authority here and all mandates from it, its deceptively named sub-agencies such as the proposed Office of Rural Education, or any other outside groups are without force.
Provide: The word “provide” means to make available for voluntary use. It does not mean to force or coerce which is the action of tyrants. And, because learning requires an open and receptive mind, effective education cannot be forced upon our youth. The natural law of our Creator assigns the authority and responsibility of educating children to their parents. So that parents need not defy conflicting statutory law by refusing to send their children to schools of which they disapprove, compulsory attendance laws, and especially those for preschool and kindergarten, should be repealed. Another reason for repealing compulsory attendance laws is that, much like perishable food which will spoil if not eaten, it is wasteful of public funds to attempt to provide education to those who would refuse it. Therefore, public education should only be maintained for children who enter the classroom prepared to learn. This preparedness is the onus of the parent/guardian who must ensure that their children arrive at school with a motivated interest in learning. Because of this key symbiotic parent-child relationship, we hold that the concept of education as a fundamental right is patently erroneous and it has no constitutionally preferred status.
General Law: The term “general law” refers to public legislation which becomes statutory law in the form of West Virginia Code. In order to be lawful, these new written edicts may not conflict with the natural law of our Creator or the organic structure or protected rights of our Constitution. The “general” nature of these laws signifies that they leave room for development and implementation at the county level, establish basic educational expectations, and allow teachers to independently instruct and train their pupils without micromanagement.
Thorough: The word “thorough,” being the first adjective for “system,” refers to the curriculum of a comprehensive and well rounded education. The CPWV holds that a thorough education is a broad one which consists of the following eight academic characteristics:
- Reading is paramount. The road to education lay through great books. No man is educated unless he is acquainted with the masterpieces of his tradition – books that have endured. The wisdom that lies in the works of the world’s greatest thinkers is to be captured and brought to bear on modern society’s problems. However, revision of literature, for the sake of readability (including condensed versions), ostensibly for young readers, is an Orwellian danger. A curious reader is a life-long self learner.
- Writing and grammar skills come from reading experience. Compositional ability is directly connected to the quality, quantity, and variety of books read. Thus, hand-written essays and book report assignments should be expanded. Also, foreign languages, studies which strengthen ones understanding of their own tongue, should be emphasized; particularly the romance languages and Latin.
- Mathematics and the analytical sciences are crucial to the development of critical thinking skills. Problem solving without electronic devices should be the emphasis of basic algebra, geometry, trigonometry, chemistry, and physics. Real laboratory experiments should be reinstated without fear of lawsuits.
- Comprehensive health education should include courses in biology, botany, and nutrition with sex education confined to the study of basic anatomy and pathology rather than social issues. Earth sciences and ecology should be taught with respect to man as the dominant species.
- In his 1788 book On the Education of Youth in America, Noah Webster said “Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.” American history and civics should include basic law and political content and must replace “social studies.” Geography, world, European, ancient, and West Virginia history should be interwoven into these studies.
- Learning to speak properly and effectively deliver an oral message is something which forces the student to simultaneously develop a strong command of his language as well as the detail subject matter. It also instills self confidence and improves social skills. An increase in student presentations and class debates with attention to forensics and reasoning are suggested ways to improve proficiency in this area.
- All teaching is related to basic assumptions about God and man. Education as a whole, therefore, cannot be separated from religious faith. In fact, public education began so that people could read the Bible on their own. A Biblical foundation, which is the basis for our laws and civil rights, should be a part of the curriculum, even if at least as literature. School prayer and invocations at sporting events should be permitted at the option of local school boards.
- Consensus and leadership workplace skills should be left to parents and civic groups such as scouting, 4H, and church groups. This includes the curbing of compelled fundraising.
Efficient: The word “efficient,” being the second adjective for “system,” refers to the intensity of the curriculum and the management of its administration. First and foremost, the myriad of distractions in today’s schools must be eliminated. These include all personal electronic devices (zero tolerance), Channel 1, daytime extracurricular activities, and excessive student interaction. Where possible, pupils should be separated by gender and coed physical education should be prohibited. To keep focus on the teacher and students on task, desks should be arranged not in distracting groups, but in rows (by random seating) or, even better, in cubicles. Computers should be kept in a designated area for research and scholastic purposes only. Since unruly and discourteous students are disruptive to the learning environment, corporal punishment must be reinstated and judiciously used as it is in twenty-two other states. We entertain a return of the reform school as a discipline measure. Because self respect is a prerequisite to respect for others, particularly teachers, obnoxious attire, hair, and jewelry should be abated through the implementation of simple dress codes. Federal government control of education is inefficient as well as unconstitutional. Thus it is that we seek local school control beginning with parents, school administration and then the county authority. To better understand their school issues, we encourage parental attendance in the classroom.
System: The word “system” refers to the pedagogy of the individual schools. It is the specific instructional methodology that prepares adolescents for adult life—the “learning ladder” to success. We strongly oppose Global21 agenda outcome based education and reject teaching to standardized tests where test results are tied to funding. The real purpose of testing is for teacher evaluation to improve the instructional method. Recognizing that the bell curve is natural and some students will excel while others will not, we favor replacing, after the elementary level, age-based classes with ability-based training. Most lessons should be textbook based rather than group-think consensus projects. Guidance counseling for career-based course selection needs to be expanded at the middle school level, not earlier, with emphasis on college preparatory, professional, and vocational decision paths. We are adamantly opposed to the consolidation of school districts and aver that individual counties have ultimate administrative and supervisory authority, not the state or regions via centralized power. Under no circumstances should the federal government be involved in national teacher certification, educational curricula, textbook selection, learning standards, comprehensive sex education, or psychological/psychiatric research testing programs.
Free: The word “free,” as an adjective for schools, has several meanings among which are: no direct costs, open to children of all demographics, and unencumbered by government bureaucracy. Financially, since it is largely property taxes which fund our schools through socialistic wealth redistribution, the public deserves to get its money’s worth. Since academic performance has been on the decline in America since the 1980s, it is clear that progressive increases in technology spending have not been good value. The proliferation of computers, smart boards, and other devices in the classroom is more distraction than instruction. School monetary focus needs to be on basics like maintaining attractive teacher salaries and making sure that each student has their own subject textbook rather than relying only on classroom sets. Allocated spending which results in expensive unused books and canned teaching materials should be eliminated. Assistance to low-income families in meeting school supply or nutrition needs must be borne by charity. As long as totally free from federal subsidies, we support equitable local tax relief or voucher programs for families whose children do not attend government schools. Additionally, the public has the right to access, for the purpose of lawful public assembly and with reasonable use policy, school facilities after regular hours.
Schools: The word “schools” refers to places of academic learning where the purpose is intellectual development, not social pleasure. Our system of public education was not created for entertainment or free day care purposes. We reject the idea of schools as the cultural hub of a community. All extracurricular non-academic activities must be held after school and either privately funded or turned over to other local civic groups. So called “work enrichment” experience programs are nothing more than shameful compulsory volunteerism which promotes the odious global agenda and should be abolished. Youth who are not interested in developing their mental acumen need not attend our public schools.
The reduction of a citizen to an object of propaganda, private and public, is one of the greatest dangers to our Republic. A prevalent notion is that the great mass of the people cannot understand and cannot form an independent judgment upon any matter; they cannot be educated, in the sense of developing their intellectual powers, but they can be bamboozled. The reiteration of slogans, the distortion of the news, the great storm of propaganda that beats upon the citizen twenty-four hours a day all his life means either that democracy must fall prey to the loudest and most persistent propagandists or that the people must save themselves by strengthening their minds so that they can appraise the issues for themselves. Thus it is that we support the unimpeded right of parents to provide for the education of their children in the manner they deem best, including home, private or religious. We oppose all legislation from any level of government that would interfere with or restrict that liberty.
Adopted on November 12, 2011.