The Education Liberator

Vol. 1, No. 2 October 1995

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Proclaimer Profile

Originally published in The Education Liberator, Vol. 1, No. 2, October 1995

Each month, we will profile individuals who have signed the Proclamation for the Separation of School & State.


Any reform involving the government will fail


Janet Martin has taught elementary children in the public school system for most of the last 30 years, including 17 years in the Tempe, Arizona District 3 schools. She awakened to the crisis in education when she noticed her sixth grade students could not do basic math and their reading and writing skills were at a "sketchy third grade level."


Martin observed that over time the educational system had forced schools to introduce an increasing number of non-academic subjects with behavioral objectives: suicide prevention, gun prevention, gang prevention, drug prevention, sex education, values clarification, recycling. Less and less time was available to teach academic subjects as they were crowded out. When Martin complained that "parents want their children to learn, not have their psyches massaged" she was told "you're a master teacher, I'm sure you can fit it all in."


Just as many others have done, Martin first tried to reform the system from within. She found that committee recommendations were ignored or used as a rubber stamp for plans already decided. Her experiences led her to speak out as a School Sakharov* after she concluded that "the system can't be fixed. It's a socialistic system that can only lead to mediocrity, not excellence. Basically, any reform involving the government will fail. Government can't fix the problem because government is the problem!"


Janet Martin now works to convince parents and teachers that the educational system itself is the problem. She points out that "many teachers would teach very differently if they could." Martin advocates keeping the focus on the system and not "bashing the teachers" so that teachers and administrators can see the problems without feeling defensive.


* Andrei Sakharov won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. From his position of eminence within the
Soviet Union, Sakharov courageously denounced the failures of communism within his own country. School Sakharovs are educators who have worked within our educational system, have witnessed its failures first hand, and are willing to speak out (see "The Cement Canoe" Sept. '95).

This article is copyrighted by the Alliance for the Separation of School & State. Permission is granted to freely distribute this article as long as this copyright notice is included in its entirety.

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Last updated May 17, 2007

Some of the more
well-known signers of our proclamation:

Ed Crane
President, Cato Institute

John Taylor Gatto
1991 New York State Teacher of the Year

Fr. John A Hardon
The Catholic Catechism

Don Hodel
Former Secretary of Interior

D. James Kennedy
Coral Ridge Ministries

Rev. Tim LaHaye
Left Behind

Rabbi Daniel Lapin
President, Toward Tradition

Tom Monaghan
Founder, Domino‚Äôs Pizza

Ron Paul
US Congressman, Texas

John K Rosemond
Parenting Author, Columnist, Speaker

They and thousands of others have signed Our Proclamation

"I favor ending government involvement in education."