“You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership.”
I’m no scholar on legislative history, but the 2017 House Education Committee may very well be among the worst education committees in the History of North Dakota. And the fact that most of these committee members have an "R" next to their name is shameful.
If you go to the NDGOP web site, you can read the Republican Party Platform. In relation to education, it reads in part:
"QUALITY EDUCATION—Parents, should have the right to rear and educate their children according to high standards of character and quality, with minimal government interference. Parents are ultimately responsible for their family’s education…"
Unfortunately, as key pieces of legislation have come to the committee that would empower parents over their children’s education, they have consistently voted Do Not Pass.
Whether it was the bill to end the Common Core State Standards, homeschooling bills, or bills in relation to the administering of tests and assessments, all these bills had one thing in common– they all empowered parents to opt their children out of "any activity, practice, or testing, with no interference from the state, which the parent finds unacceptable or to which the parent has a philosophical, moral, or religious objection".
I once thought that only a Democrat would object to such things. Boy was I wrong. Naturally, we expect Representatives Guggisberg and Mock to behave as they have. They’re both Democrats. But to have Republicans act like Democrats on issues relating to education is disheartening.
I realize that there will be differences from time to time between certain Republicans and the party platform, but this is pretty basic stuff here. Who has ultimate control of your child’s education? You? The state? It’s obvious that the committee see’s the state as having the ultimate say, not the parents. It shouldn’t be that way, but how are parents supposed to look at it any other way after all the Do Not Pass votes from this committee?
Did the committee do anything themselves to improve on the bills where they perceived there were flaws? Nope. In fact, another unfortunate aspect in regards to this committee is that they didn’t even offer the opportunity for amendments to bill sponsors. If you don’t believe me, just ask Representatives Christopher Olson and Ben Koppelman. They can verify that for you.
Oddly enough, "Legislative Integrity" follows "Quality Education" in the Republican Party Platform. It reads:
"LEGISLATIVE INTEGRITY—Legislators should lead through personal moral integrity, and should consider this Platform responsibly before supporting or opposing legislation."
Yes, the parents of North Dakota have endured an assault from the House Education Committee, all in the name of what they believe is leadership. Unfortunately, it’s the kind of leadership that is void of integrity and consideration of the party platform. With Republicans like this, who needs Democrats?