Opinion: Government intervention in schools pose significant dangers to democracy | Duvi Honig

The history of the Soviet Union provides a stark reminder of how such intervention can be used to manipulate young minds and suppress dissent. During the days of the Iron Curtain, the Russian government utilized its schools as vehicles to promote its communist agenda, indoctrinating children and molding them into loyal supporters of the regime.

One of the most alarming examples of this dangerous intervention was the practice of training school children to report on their parents if they were not devout followers of the Communist Party. This deeply insidious tactic not only undermined trust within families but also eroded the principles of individual liberty and free thought. By manipulating impressionable young minds, the government could silence opposition and solidify its control over society.

The dangers of government intervention in schools extend beyond mere ideological indoctrination. It also threatens the core principles of democracy, such as free speech and religious freedom. When the government plays a heavy hand in shaping the curriculum and dictating what can be taught, it restricts the ability of students to develop critical thinking skills and form their own opinions. Furthermore, it infringes upon the rights of parents to instill their own values and religious beliefs in their children, as education becomes a tool for the state rather than a partnership between parents and educators.

Preserving democracy requires an independent educational system that encourages diverse perspectives, critical thinking, and the freedom to express ideas. Government intervention in schools undermines these essential pillars of democracy, fostering a climate of conformity and stifling individualism. Rather than allowing the government to manipulate our children and abuse its authority, we should strive for educational environments that promote independent thought, respect for different viewpoints, and the cultivation of civic values.

In conclusion, history provides a sobering reminder of the dangers of government intervention in schools. The examples of the Soviet Union demonstrate how such intervention can be leveraged to manipulate young minds, suppress dissent, and undermine democratic values. To preserve democracy, it is crucial that we guard against such intervention and ensure that our educational system remains independent, fostering critical thinking and a respect for diverse perspectives. Our children’s education should be a collaborative effort between parents, educators, and communities, free from undue government influence.

Public schools in the Western world need to reset their agendas and focus solely on fundamental subjects such as math, spelling, and basic curriculum. Teachers and educators should not be allowed to meddle in parenting, religious, or identity issues. They should respect how parents choose to educate their children at home and avoid imposing woke ideologies on them.

Unfortunately, many school systems in the western world including Israel today are straying from their true responsibilities and interfering in parenting and home values, including religion and identity. This has led to widespread disappointment and dissatisfaction among parents. Businesses and schools should not push agendas that conflict with the values that individuals hold dear, especially in a country where freedom of religion and free speech are cherished.

The education department has no right to get involved in anything outside of the school curriculum. It is equally frustrating to confuse children about identity issues, as it detracts from their ability to excel in basic subjects and can stir up anger and frustration, which can lead to violence and chaos.

Parents and citizens expect schools to provide a curriculum-based education, not to confuse their children with ideas that contradict what they learn at home. Government intervention in schools infringes on these rights and goes against the principles of freedom and individuality that our country was founded upon.

If the NJ government made a statement that our school system would solely focus on school curriculum and not intrude on parenting and religious values, it would bring a new sense of security and ease to parents sending their children to public schools and earn respect from both sides of the political arena. It is time to protect our democracy and uphold the principles of freedom and individuality.

Government intervention in schools can potentially infringe on children’s free speech and religious education in several ways:

  1. Determining curriculum: Government intervention often involves setting curriculum standards and guidelines. This can limit the ability of schools to offer religious education or teachings that may conflict with the government’s prescribed curriculum. For example, if the government promotes a particular ideology or restricts discussions on controversial topics, it may restrict the expression of diverse religious beliefs. This can infringe on children’s right to receive religious education or express their religious beliefs freely.
  1. Censorship: Government intervention can lead to the censorship or restriction of certain materials or topics deemed inappropriate or offensive. While efforts to shield children from harmful content are understandable, excessive censorship may also impede their ability to express their views freely or explore different religious perspectives. This can limit their ability to engage in open discussions and critical thinking.
  1. Speech codes and regulations: Governments may impose speech codes or regulations on school campuses, defining what is acceptable or unacceptable speech. While such regulations aim to prevent hate speech or offensive language, they may also restrict certain forms of religious expression or prevent students from openly discussing their beliefs if they do not align with the government’s definitions of appropriate speech.
  1. Punishment for religious expression: In some cases, government intervention can lead to punishment or discrimination against students based on their religious beliefs or expression. For instance, if religious symbols or practices are prohibited or discouraged in schools, students may face disciplinary actions if they choose to exercise their religious rights, thereby infringing on their freedom of religious expression.
  1. Limiting access to religious organizations: Government intervention may restrict the ability of religious organizations to have a presence in schools or provide religious education. This could limit children’s exposure to different religious perspectives and hinder their ability to receive religious education in accordance with their beliefs.

It is important to note that government intervention in schools aims to ensure educational standards, promote an inclusive and tolerant environment, and protect children from various harms. However, it is crucial to strike a balance that respects children’s rights to free speech and religious education while still fulfilling these objectives.

Duvi Honig is founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber Of Commerce

The Orthodox Jewish Chamber Of Commerce www.OjChamber.com is a global umbrella of businesses of all sizes, bridging the highest echelons of the business and governmental worlds together stimulating economic opportunity and positively affecting public policy of governments around the world. Duvi effectively utilizes the power of commerce and these networks to unite and empower people of all backgrounds, and influence public policy at the local, state, federal and international levels. His work was recognized by both President Obama and President Trump and, in 2016, he was honored by a bipartisan group of Senators in the Capitol. The Chambers leadership was recognized most recently by Israel’s D Prime Minister, Israeli Ministers and Members of the Knesset for its advocacy and support on behalf of Israel and the global economy. [email protected]

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  1. The switching back & forth between public & private schools is (purposely?) confusing. You say they should stick to curriculum (& I agree) but the real issue is some of our schools that are not teaching the curriculum. Are you ok with the govt going in to our schools to fix this?
    Throwing out concept like Freedom of Religion & to raise our kids how we see fit are honestly meaningless.
    The govt always had & will have the right to make sure a school is meeting the state requirements. The good thing is it’s the LAST thing they want to do.
    I went to the main Frum boys school in a large OOT community. During school they put out a weekly video about what went on. When the govt official responsible for oversight sees Frum (Charedi) boys that are 3/4 learning the ABC’s & 4/5 year olds during “Library Time” reading books in English what do they think? When they see field trips to museums what do they think? Or 12yr old boys dissecting starfish, squid, frogs or sharks? They think Great! the future Jewish Doctors we need. Or winning robotics tournaments. Or boys taking college courses so when they graduate HS they’re already on their journey of higher education.
    What’s so surprising is the govt has never asked this (old) school to let them come in & check on things or asked to see their curriculum.
    We can’t continue to hide behind threats of “Soviet scare tactics” or “Freedoms” to not teach as he said “The basics” English (which I don’t think is much of a problem in Lakewood), Math, Science, History, & Civics. These are all subjects all kids should learn as it helps them navigate life more successfully.
    Did you ever notice Jewish or non the craziest conspiracy theories are most prevalent in the least educated communities?

    • What stupidity, teh democratic party run governments dont care about that, thay want to force schools to teach about their depraved lifestyles.

      • Not true. Most people are actually reasonable & if the govt started causing problems with schools like I described above there would be a lot of backlash.
        The best way to keep the govt from coming in & imposing their curriculum is to provide a secular education that is beyond reproach. (I’m not sure if it’s accurate but very well could be) But the school I attended has an 83% college graduation rate.
        A govt official will have a hard time explaining why they’re interfering with a school that provides an education much above average, has a college degree rate well above average & has a welfare utilization rate well BELOW average.
        That’s what so many don’t realize. When a school provides a terrible or no secular education & it’s graduates have an above average rate of reliance on Welfare (the why doesn’t matter, it’s an average) you can’t blame the govt for wanting to address the problem. After all, that’s their job.

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