Tomorrow we celebrate the Fourth of July. On July 4, 1776, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, which begins with this important words:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
These words are important! Very important! We celebrate our freedom and remind ourselves of our heritage every July 4.
Another important date was June 1, 1925. As I wrote in an earlier blog (February 4, 2010), in the Pierce case the US Supreme Court overturned an Oregon law that would have required all Oregon students to attend public school and punish parents by fine and imprisonment for each day they violated this law. This law would have put all Oregon private schools out of business forever. In overturning this law, the Supreme Court said:
“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations“
That case has been referred to in many other Supreme Court and lower court decisions as a case standing for the supremacy of parental rights over the general power of the state. That decision prevents the state from forcing children to attend public school against the wishes of their parents, and allows more than 10% of the students in America to attend private schools!
As you celebrate the Fourth of July and the fireworks go off, do remember our Founding Fathers and the freedoms we enjoy because of their work. And take a moment to remember the great work of the Supreme Court in the Pierce case that gives parents the right to send their children to the schools of their choice, including private schools.