Power to the parent
The UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlines a standard for what human rights looks like. Article 5 outlaws cruel or inhuman treatment. Article 15 ensures every person a right to nationality. Article 17 ensures right to own property. Here's what Article 26 says:
Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
Some might have noticed a strange contradiction: "Elementary education shall be mandatory" doesn't play well with "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children". This contradition goes to show that even for the UN, the de-facto global authority on human rights, the question of whether the parent or the state has more power over a child's education is left unclear.
The United States has a clear stance on whether the parent or the state has a greater say. Decisions like Common Core are a total disaster: they take the parent's say in their child's curriculum and places it in the hands of an incompetent federal committee. And now, states across the US are mandating that all schools must partake in distance learning, without any parent choice in whether such is a good idea.
The Problem with State-controlled education
State-controlled curriculum is not a problem: bad education is. If state-controlled education instilled a similar senses of creativity and entrepreneurialism as alternatives, parents would naturally favor it. State-controlled curriculum is unfortunately incompetent, and mindful parents are forced to find alternatives for their children.
Common core is bad. Dr. Stephen Krashen, a pioneer researcher in child literacy says, "the language arts standards appear to be designed for English majors (Ohanian, 2012) and feature tasks that are far too difficult and, in fact, unreasonable, e.g. requiring students to ignore context in discussing texts". Changemaker Seth Godin has always advocated for public education reform, and outlined in his online eBook how the education machine indoctrinates and enslaves children into repetitive, unfufilling careers.
I am a strong believer in the parent's rights to determine their own child's education. I am not the only one who believes this, and the many parents who feel powerless against the state rely on external non-profits and foundations to regain some form of control, such as The Jaquelin Hume Foundation. More liberal forms of education that work entirely out of the K-12 system such a Praxis are also a step in the right direction for parents.
These services are great, but the barrier of entry for the parent seeking to reclaim control of their child's education should be lower, especially in the K-12 realm. Homeschooling remains a solid option for the parent with the time and motivation to shape their child's own curriculum. However, parents who homeschool are subjected to lots of legal cruft in most states. The New York State Homeschooling Regulations require tedious activities such as reporting a list of the syllabi, curriculum materials, textbooks or plan of instruction, as well as a statement that the child will be meeting the compulsory educational requirements of Education Law. Other things required include attendance reports, quarterly progress reports, and even nnual standardized testing.
It should be easier for parents who want to homeschool their children. There should be a company that manages all the tedious details of homeschooling, and manages all the legal requirements, so parents can focus on giving a great education to their children.
Education can, and should, be privatized.