To the editor:

Perhaps the sadness experienced by the people of Saint Mary’s’ Catholic Church in Centerville at the anticipated closing of their school, is a sadness which is shared by many residents of Appanoose County, Catholic or otherwise. For over nine decades parents, teachers, and church members who have sacrificed much because of their commitment to education, their faith, and young people have faithfully paid taxes, paid tuition and supported education through their church giving. St. Mary’s is certainly not the first, but it is the last parochial school to close in Appanoose County.

Believing people of Judeo-Christian roots have highly valued education for thousands of years. Even Moses as he recounted the law of God in Deuteronomy instructed parents to use every teachable moment, “You shall teach them diligently . . . when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

To Christians, there is no more “religious” concern than that of passing truth from generation to generation. A Hebrew king, Solomon, wrote that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”. Unfortunately, foundational principles of education which develops a reverence and respect for God have been marginalized in education. The institutions which promote those principals are gradually loosing their voice with young persons as well.

Over several decades, not long ago, parents regained their legal right to educate their children at home, underscoring the central place which parents ought to have in their children’s’ education. Many now have participated in home schooling with outstanding results. Home schooling may not work for every family, but parents should have access to all of the quality educational choices available. A voucher system for education in which parents could use their child’s voucher for an array of choices, both public and private, would provide opportunity for parents to pursue their deepest values in training their children, eliminate the disparity between those who can afford private instruction and those who cannot, and would allow private schools to be better funded.

Patrick Amsden


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