LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF EDUCATION
Philadelphia served as the birthplace of our nation nearly 250 years ago when 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence that read:
“All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
The founding fathers cast off the yoke of oppression from a distant monarch who (ab)used the American colonists for privilege and power. They envisioned a republic of states based on freedom, self-governance, opportunity, and fair representation.
“All men” didn’t mean everyone in those days. Throughout our history, Americans have given blood, sweat, and tears to expand those revolutionary words to share the benefits of freedom and democracy to everyone.
This July 4th weekend, Moms for Liberty, an organization devoted to shrinking who benefits from those principles, holds their national convention in our cradle of liberty. Parents whose children have been subjected to the group’s hate-filled and hurtful tirades also came to Philadelphia to make it clear those “moms” don’t speak for all moms.
Jane Cramer, the parent of an incoming senior in the Pennridge School District, spoke at a spirited rally, telling other parents that Moms for Liberty and their ilk are destroying the district with their right wing, well-funded culture war. While her 11th grader may escape unscathed, parents of young children are “freaking out,” she said, trying to see where they can move so their children are not forced to attend school where far-right Christian consultants are given free rein with the curricula.
Those same forces are at work in the PA Capital this July 4th weekend. Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Grover Norquist, and their acolytes are emptying their pockets and using their media connections to dismantle public schools and begin to replace the whole system with vouchers for private schools. What unifies Moms for Liberty and the DeVos/Norquist push is a concerted effort to reduce freedom and limit opportunity to a chosen few.
Martiza Guridy, another real mom active with Children First’s Parent Empowered for Change, called out the out-of-state billionaires and their in-state supporters on Tuesday when she headlined a press conference denouncing a private school voucher plan at the capital.
“Rather than creating a new way to funnel money out of our public schools to benefit a few families, why not make the existing system better for all children,” asked Martiza. Excellent question that we need to ask our PA lawmakers…and the outside agitators like DeVos, Norquist, and Moms for Liberty.
As you get ready for fireworks this holiday weekend, make sure you also light up the Capitol Switchboard with calls to Governor Shapiro and your state senator and representative, telling them it’s time to fund our public schools. That’s the American way.