Opinion leaders often express worry for the future of democratic citizenship among our have-not families, yet few face the question: Why should we expect civic engagement from families whom our system excludes from effectively exercising what is their right by law and their prime responsibility as parents?
ACSC says that we can, with the proper changes in public policy, affirm the dignity of marginalized families, restore the efficacy of our educational system, and allow teachers and administrators to exert their professional skills within structures better designed to fulfill the promise of their noble vocations.
To empower the family to be fully responsible for the education of its children is best understood not as subsidizing the family as a private consumer but rather as enabling the family to fulfill its deeper vocation as a vital contributor to the public good and an engine of true social progress.
The first step toward reaping all the public benefits available from the dynamism of the family is the very recognition that the family is a unique locus of value. A system of education that ignores or dispossesses the family thus cuts off the branch on which it necessarily sits.