Yes, Beware Belief Police

Kevin Theriot

Common Core will likely have only an indirect effect on religious liberty—at least initially. But advocates for religious liberty and the family still have genuine cause for concern. Common Core creates another tool for big government (judges, legislators, and education policymakers) to control the beliefs and actions of parents and their students.

The Supreme Court has long recognized that parents have the right to direct the education—religious and otherwise—of their children. In 1923, the Court ruled in Meyer v. Nebraska that parents have the right to teach their children a foreign language at a young age. Two years later, the Court bolstered parental rights in the Pierce case, in which it held parents could educate their children in parochial instead of state-mandated public schools.

But lower courts have seriously undermined parental rights in recent years. A federal appeals court denied the right of parents to opt their public school children out of explicit sex education in Massachusetts. And the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals infamously said in 2005 in another sex-education case, “Once parents make the choice as to which school their children will attend, their fundamental right to control the education of their children is, at the least, substantially diminished.”

The harmful trend is that parents cannot opt their children out of classes that conflict with their religious convictions. That restriction is likely to creep into parochial schools and even homeschooling through national education standards specifying what all students must be taught in order to move on to higher education. Voluntary alignment with Common Core standards ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.