Biden vs. Parents

News: Campaign 2020US News Print Friendly and PDF
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 28, 2020   

Public schools at any cost

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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Joe Biden continually opposes parents' right to choose the best school for their child even when Biden was sending his own children to private school.

The Catholic Church teaches parents have the God-given right to choose where to educate their children, and political leaders are supposed to safeguard this right. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 2229, affirms:

As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.

Fake Catholic Biden did use this Catholic-affirmed right when sending his own children to a private Catholic school but has continually voted against school vouchers that financially facilitate this same right for other parents. Such vouchers redirect "funds typically spent by a school district" to educate a parent's child and reallocates those tax-accrued funds "in the form of a voucher to pay partial or full tuition for their child's private school, including both religious and non-religious options."

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Betsy DeVos

Biden's Flawed 'Reservations'

While voting down a school choice measure in 1997, Biden explained his twofold reasoning: "First, I have questions about whether a private school voucher system, when it involves private religious schools, is constitutional. And, second, I have deep reservations about taking money away from underfunded public schools."

But the U.S. Supreme Court — in the 2002 case of Zelman v. Simmons-Harris — ruled such a system did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The High Court ruling upheld the voucher plan for Cleveland schools, saying the government acted for the secular purpose of helping children from low-income families who were attending failing schools. The Court went on to say that the choice of spending such scholarships on religious schools was the choice of individual families, not the government.

From the floor of the Senate at the same time, Biden seemingly addressed his second reservation with an insightful question. The seemingly conflicted senator asked, "Is it not possible that giving poor kids a way out will force the public schools to improve and result in more people coming back?"

Betsy DeVos has been one of the greatest advocates of school choice vouchers. But Biden vows to remove her.

The United States reportedly spends an "average of more than $12,000 per pupil per year in public schools." Some of these funds are being redirected in the form of vouchers to private schools when parents choose to pull their child from an often-failing public school.

Biden Blocks Parents, Defies High Court

President Trump's secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, has been one of the greatest advocates of school choice vouchers. But Biden vows to remove her. In September 2019, Biden tweeted, "Four years of Betsy DeVos is more than enough. As president, I'll name a secretary of education who is actually an educator."

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As a senator in 2003 and 2004, Biden again voted against two measures that included parents' school choice programs. As vice president, he also spoke against similar programs.

But in January, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which involved a Montana program that allowed faith-based schools to receive parental tax funding. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops immediately supported the right of students at religious schools to benefit from Montana's program.

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

"Our country's tradition of non-establishment of religion does not mean that governments can deny otherwise available benefits on the basis of religious status," said the bishops.

But Biden wasn't happy. The same day, he tweeted, "When we divert public funds to private schools, we undermine the entire public education system. We've got to prioritize investing in our public schools, so every kid in America gets a fair shot. That's why I oppose vouchers."

The High Court, however, did not agree with Biden's viewpoint. In June, it decided the case in favor of funding religious schools. It found that Montana's program discriminated against religious schools and against parents who wished to send their children to private religious schools.

School Choice: GOP Priority

While Biden has always had a problem with parents being allowed to financially opt-out of left-leaning public schools, Republicans have not. In its 2016 platform, the GOP reaffirmed the right of parents to educate their children.

Parents have a right to direct their children's education, care and upbringing.

"Parents are a child's first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children," reads the consistent GOP platform. "Parents have a right to direct their children's education, care and upbringing."

Speaking to Biden's concern of keeping up funding of public schools, the GOP said throwing more money at public schools wasn't the answer. Taking into account the Department of Education "has spent $2 trillion on elementary and secondary education" with little improvement, it asserted, "Clearly, if money were the solution, our schools would be problem-free."

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