Government and Education

Analyzing result of recent political action

By Lee Havis

In today’s modern society, IMS and “true natural” Montessori teaching are in fundament conflict with government in its support of conventional education. This conflict arises because of the government’s monopoly control and operation of a vast system of public and approved private schools that all parents are forced to support and send their children to under the threat of punishment for violating compulsory attendance laws.

Although in theory, non-government education offers an alternative to the public school system, many private business interests, including those in the Montessori community, have joined in to repress “new education” schools and educators through a network of restrictive, special interest licensing laws and regulations. In this situation, IMS has frequently stood alone to oppose these dark forces of government censorship and tyranny in education.

IMS has fought for educational freedom through legal action in federal court and by persistent pleading with government legislators and licensing officials as well. In addition, I have personally brought wider awareness of this issue through “public interest” political action in support of free market choice and competition in education.

While IMS works to support its certified teachers and recognized schools throughout the world, much of the practical fight for educational freedom takes place in the United States where a national constitution pledges to assure and protect individual freedom as an inherent natural right for all. Despite this constitutional mandate, however, American government at all levels has grown more complex and repressive with time, especially in the sensitive area of public education.

In America, I have especially chosen to actively oppose government tyranny in the state of Maryland where the IMS offices are located. In the May, 2017 Observer, for example, I reported on my testimony before a Maryland commission whose purpose was to support “innovation and excellence” in Maryland education. I testified that this commission, however, seems to aim in the opposite direction by advocating for more government censorship and monopoly control in the state. In the March, 2018 Observer, I further reported on testimony before the Maryland General Assembly, this time to oppose a bill that would recognize a “Montessori certificate” to grant favored employment status to an exclusive group of conventional business interests in the Montessori community.

As a recent candidate for the state legislature in Maryland, I learned through first-hand experience how hard it is to change government policies by outreach to voters in the realm of this type of direct political action. “Public interest” candidates, such as myself, favoring a more “citizen-friendly” government, face a formidable opportunity from a well-funded and organized political machine of entrenched incumbent candidates. Breaking the hold of this “machine” style politics, built on special interest favors to certain groups of voters, will require greater organization and coordination among those alternative “public interest” candidates and their supporters. To unify their resources, for example, it would be vital to circulate a single common sample ballot to assure favorable voting by a large enough segment of the voting population. While this work of organizing for public interest candidates would likely be long and hard, I’m convinced it can be done beginning with just a few principled citizens committed to this purpose. Success in this effort in a state like Maryland would then lead to similar efforts for good government political action elsewhere, which will ultimately allow the “new education” to bring about the emergence of the child’s true nature into the world