Thursday, June 30, 2011

Education and the Constitution

Here we are, struggling over the New York Public School System and how much money it seems to be lacking.  Well, I have news for you angry parents and soon to be out of work teachers....

The U.S. Constitution grants no authority over education to the federal government. Not a single word is mentioned about it in the Constitution of the United States. The Founders also make no mention of "School" or "University".  So, if this beloved document makes no mention of educating your child, then why is the government responsible for giving money to each state to do so?  I believe this money could and should be used to cut the deficit.  Billions of dollars a year are given to states for education each year, and believe it or not, IT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Each state, however is different. 

The New York State Constitution states:  ARTICLE XI  Education: Article 3

[Use of public property or money in aid of denominational schools prohibited; transportation of children authorized]
§3. Neither the state nor any subdivision thereof, shall use its property or credit or any public money, or authorize or permit either to be used, directly or indirectly, in aid or maintenance, other than for examination or inspection, of any school or institution of learning wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious denomination, or in which any denominational tenet or doctrine is taught, but the legislature may provide for the transportation of children to and from any school or institution of learning. (Formerly §4 of Art. 9. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938. Formerly §4, renumbered §3 without change by amendment approved by vote of the people November 6, 1962; former § 4 repealed by same amendment.)

Now, do not get me wrong, I went through the public school system here in Yonkers, and believe I turned out okay.  I had great teachers, even one of the best who recognized my dyslexia and helped me through Junior High with the wonderful works of Shakespeare.  Mr. Martin, I will never forget you.  

I am, however taken aback by today's outcry of "our children deserve a better education" and people barking to senators and the like about how the schools deserve more money and better teachers.  Some of these children come from homes that have both parents working, and in some cases more than one job each.  Some come from single parent homes with likely the same situation.  Parents are not always to blame, few, but not all.  In such cases parents do not have much time, if any, to sit with their child and help with schoolwork.  They rely on educators solely, and when the child fails, they blame the educator.  This is the wrong attitude. 

The New York State Lottery was designed to generate money for the school system.  We were told it would be a saving grace and that our schools would flourish.  Remember that?

The New York State Bill of Rights Article I Section 9:
[Right to assemble and petition; divorce; lotteries; pool-selling and gambling; laws to prevent; pari-mutual betting on horse races permitted; games of chance, bingo or lotto authorized under certain restrictions]
§9. 1. No law shall be passed abridging the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government, or any department thereof; nor shall any divorce be granted otherwise than by due judicial proceedings; except as hereinafter provided, no lottery or the sale of lottery tickets, pool-selling, book-making, or any other kind of gambling, except lotteries operated by the state and the sale of lottery tickets in connection therewith as may be authorized and prescribed by the legislature, the net proceeds of which shall be applied exclusively to or in aid or support of education in this state as the legislature may prescribe, and except pari-mutual betting on horse races as may be prescribed by the legislature and from which the state shall derive a reasonable revenue for the support of government, shall hereafter be authorized or allowed within this state; and the legislature shall pass appropriate laws to prevent offenses against any of the provisions of this section. 

The structure of education finance in America reflects this predominant State and local role. Of an estimated $1.13 trillion being spent nationwide on education at all levels for school year 2010-2011, a substantial majority will come from State, local, and private sources. This is especially true at the elementary and secondary level, where about 89.2 percent of the funds will come from non-Federal sources.  That means the Federal contribution to elementary and secondary education is about 10.8 percent, which includes funds not only from the Department of Education (ED) but also from other Federal agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services' Head Start program and the Department of Agriculture's School Lunch program. (

Our system is not broken, it's mismanaged.  The government should not be paying for schools, parents should.  If a parent were to be paying even $200 a semester for their child to go to school, you would see may more children graduating and a lot less violence.  Everyone wants something but no one wants to work for it anymore.  I say it's time to fix that little problem.  I say, show me the books.  Let the people see where the money is going.  Maybe together we can fix New York, or at least fix what used to be the great city of Yonkers.  


No comments:

Post a Comment