Parental Education Rights and Wrong Models

Republicans in state chambers have taken to trying to pass parental education rights bills that give parents the right to direct the education of their children. These bills seek to move the determination of what kids should learn and how they should learn it away from schools and society and over to parents through assertions of their rights. In addition to placing education’s and society’s needs and goals for individuals to the side, the often claimed thinking with this bill, that parents should be able to determine what and how their child should learn, is wrongheaded as a basic business model and, if enacted, could lead to employers, universities, the military, and other end users to not having well-trained and educated choices for hiring, placement, etc.

If we consider education from a business model standpoint, call it critical business theory (CBT) if you like, parental rights supporters are assuming the incorrect consumer of education’s “product” (the product being graduating seniors at the end of our K-12 assembly line). Unless parents are going to hire or use our product, they are not our end user. Our end users are the businesses, post high school training and education entities, the military and other users who rely on the education production line to supply them with the human resources they rely on.

Parents (and I am one myself) are interested parties in the supply chain and are important to the process. The parental role is to provide each child with love, shelter, food, care, and support, to name just a few responsibilities, but unless a child is going right from the graduation stage and into a family business (and any business of note needs all employees to be well-educated, family run or not), parents are not our end product consumers.

Very few parents tell their children to do well in school so that the kids can live in the basement until the death of the parent(s). Rather, the parents of the most successful students tell their children to go to school so they can get into college, get a good job, etc and begin their adult lives away from their parental abode. Those parents then focus their efforts on seeing to it that their children have what they need to be successful in school academically.

Supplying the end users of our model with the human resources they need is driven by the needs of the end users. These consumers need well-educated that are able to walk through the doors of businesses, colleges, and other programs that employ and train them. Parents are critical partners in education, but they should not be determiners of what students need to learn or how they are taught. That role falls to society and other post secondary end users, as it should.

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