Grande: What exactly is education? – INFORUM

That is a good thing, perhaps a little late, but a good thing. Issues involving curriculum, school administration, student experiences and outcomes are important for students, families, and our society.

The parents and others speaking up and asking questions need to be supported because the pushback has already started. Those unwilling to have this debate will sift through the social media of anyone speaking out in an effort to tie that individual to some group or idea discredited by the media.

Article VIII of the North Dakota Constitution deals with education. Section 1 states, in part, “A high degree of intelligence, patriotism, integrity and morality on the part of every voter in a government by the people being necessary in order to insure the continuance of that government and the prosperity and happiness of the people, the legislative assembly shall make provision for the establishment and maintenance of a system of public schools which shall be open to all children of the state of North Dakota and free from sectarian control.”

The goal of government’s role in education, according to our Constitution, is to prepare children to be voters, to be citizens. Intelligence, patriotism, integrity, morality; are these words spoken at your school board meetings? What are the topics of discussion and do they apply to the constitutional objectives?

Are we open to debate, open to questions, open to differences of opinion? Do parents and others have the right to give input into decision-making in our schools? The answer to the first question is no. The answer to the second question is, yes. Importantly, that input into decision-making is not limited to school board elections. It does not start and stop at the ballot box.

Click here to read more from Forum columnist Bette Grande.

Section 2 of Article I of the North Dakota Constitution states: “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people, and they have a right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require.” Yes, we have a representative form of government, but all political power is in the people.

Article III of our Constitution states that the people reserve the power and authority to pass or amend state laws and the Constitution itself by initiative or referendum and to recall. You do not have to agree with or support the use of these powers, I have vigorously opposed certain measures, but you cannot question the authority of people to exercise their rights.

Intelligence, patriotism, integrity, morality. How are we doing in these areas?

It can be boiled down to critical thinking. Are we preparing children to be critical thinkers or are we indoctrinating them? Are we open to discussion and debate, or do we defer all decisions to the “experts”? We all know the answers to these questions and if we accept it, we can expect more of it.

Grande represented the 41st District in the N.D. Legislature from 1996 to 2014. She is CEO of the Roughrider Policy Center, an “innovation over regulation” think tank. She is a wife, mom, grandma, lover of life and Jesus. Opinions are solely her own.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum’s editorial board nor Forum ownership.