Archives for posts with tag: compulsory education laws

My local state representative, Andy, shared an article by John, a former teacher turned legislator (by statute, not choice, a statute I’m not sure I support). Andy and John are in the minority party in Oklahoma. I seldom agree with the minority party, but I find myself supporting them almost as often as the majority party. I’m registered independent. I can’t even aline with the Libertarian Party. I think I’m about as Libertarian as anyone might be, but I can’t get into the Party aspects of it and some of the policies.

Anyway, in the article that John wrote, he said, “As teachers, we need to realize that teaching is a political act. It affects everyone, and therefore we need to advocate for good policies that invest public resources wisely in the common good.”

I absolutely oppose such a course of action. It is abuse of power. It is abuse of children. Teaching is not a political act, at least not by honest people who only care about children learning and gaining mastery of tools to meet the challenges of life.

I replied with several comments on Andy’s Facebook page. I’m listing some.

Andy, it truly saddens me that you and Mr. Waldron advocate politicizing our government run classrooms. He decries partisan politics but advocates for indoctrinating our children in the policies of the Democratic Party. How do either of you justify that?

Andy promptly replied that he does not advocate that, but he didn’t explain why he shared the article. Perhaps I’ll ask specifically.

I also commented:

“As teachers, we need to realize that teaching is a political act. It affects everyone, and therefore we need to advocate for good policies that invest public resources wisely in the common good.” There are no public resources. The only money government has was taken under threat of force from supposedly free individuals who earned their wages by the honest sweat of their own brows.

Why are my policies bad and yours good?

John replied:

I really don’t know where to begin. You apparently believe there should be no taxes for schools, or I suppose roads, national security or public health. I don’t think we can bridge that gap over facebook. Perhaps you would like to meet face to face? I promise to read up on Bastiat to prepare for our discussion.

His reference to Bastiat might stem from the fact I’ve posted a few items about Bastiat recently, and I invited Andy and my local senator, Rob, to comment. So, a couple of my Facebook shares about Bastiat showed on Andy’s page just below Andy’s shared article.

I replied to John that he assumes too much.

I appreciate Andy’s comment:

I absolutely do *not* advocate for politicizing classrooms. Teachers should teach students how to think for themselves — not *what* to think.

Not all parents are like you. There are tens of thousands of kids in this state who don’t even live with their parents. They are institutionalized, shuffled in foster care, living with distant relatives, etc. 

What of them?

To which I replied:

Them, I won’t forget. I do not advocate for no government school, just no government coercion. I want less government because I see the net result of more government as causing more harm than good. Less government might find us a sweet spot where we seldom complain of it, or the other political party. Less is often more.

I don’t believe government schools will be driven out by school choice. I don’t like vouchers, and Epic is a rotten taste in my mouth at the moment. I’ve never supported the schemes and plans for choice. The plans all seem to have too many flaws. Government money invariably leads to waste, fraud, and abuse, and giving government money to private parties has the most likelihood of graft and selfish ambition ensuring waste, fraud, and abuse, and good intentions too often have bad side effects.

End truancy laws, and let parents be in charge of their own children with full responsibility. Most parents will step up. It is government as fallback that is the root of most of the deficiencies that lead to so many parents being in tough circumstances. It isn’t a perfect world. Life really is suffering, and government cannot fix that. Democratic Party policies cannot fix it. GOP policies cannot fix it. Advocacy groups of whatever stripe cannot fix it. Only personal responsibility can fix it. Be the change you want to see in the world. DON’T write a law pretending the State can fix it. Don’t assume sending the guys with guns will set all to rights.

How long will we keep screaming that more money will fix the schools or the police? It doesn’t work. It cannot work. It isn’t a matter of policy. It is a matter of misplaced responsibility and accountability. The State is not accountable. The State cannot be held accountable. The State can only be limited. When the power of the State is too limited for power-seekers to abuse it, government will stop being abusive. Then out-of-balance party politics won’t be so corrupting. Government is the problem, not balance. We have to have some authority, but we have gone much too far, especially in government enforcement of schooling.

If government schooling is so good, why can’t it be given the chance to fend for itself? I believe enough people will demand it for it to continue. I think there is ample justification for our current system until we have something clearly better. (I don’t see anything clearly better taking over in our lifetimes.) I don’t want rid of government-funded public schools. I want rid of coercive laws that make mothers feel powerless to fight for their children. I want Momma to be able to stand up for her child for herself, not dependent upon support from government and teachers’ unions.

Do you not understand that parents with children who have problems in the schools feel powerless? It is not because of lack of programs. It is because the parents have no alternatives. That is the fault of truancy laws and current government policies, policies mostly advocated by both major parties. (I again emphasize it is NOT a party problem.)

Literacy rates [in North America] were highest before government schools and truancy laws. Government schools have not helped. How many copies of Common Sense sold? How many were pirated and copied by anyone with the wherewithal? It seems to me too many had (and have) motive to exaggerate the numbers, but the pamphlet was not light reading, and it was widely read, and widely read aloud. There is no doubt the written word and civic responsibility were strong in our land long before any of our modern conventions. “Knowledge is power.” What parent doesn’t know that? What parent conscientiously deprives offspring of any and all tools that might equip them for the trials of life?

The point isn’t schooling. The point isn’t even education. The point is learning and mastering tools for living meaningful lives. The goal of every parent is helping children achieve their potential, or at least to do better. Each generation wants the next generation to do better. Our government-enforced schools are thwarting that now. Our government at all levels works at cross purposes to all that free citizens try to accomplish, and it applies to citizens of all ages.

We err when we consider children as less than citizens. Every individual at every stage of life is self-sovereign. We are all partners. Yes, children are childish, and we parents have extra responsibilities, but it is a partnership. It is not a dictatorship where the parent rules. It is a gradual turning over of responsibility to the child at each stage of maturity.

Obviously, I’ve grown too verbose. I hope there is something in this that gives you a bit of insight into my perspective.

I support school choice, but I haven’t found any programs or laws for choice that I can back. Such programs still depend on government authority and threat of force no matter how it is set up. I want freedom of choice, not programs for choice. Children learn if we let them. A gentle guiding hand can accomplish wonders in a child’s own learning.

Constitutionally outlaw truancy laws.

I added:

The key challenge to choice is leaving the choice to the individual. When an authority dictates, or simply endorses, the authority is responsible. No bureaucrat can satisfactorily be held accountable under all but the most extreme situations of criminality. We have the wherewithal now in our digital age to hold everyone individually accountable by reputation. The systems are immature and flawed, but I doubt most individual-based review systems are more error-prone than our bureaucracies.

Leave choices to the individuals. Don’t rule by law. Law is power. Power corrupts. There are no exceptions. Knowledge is the only power I’m eager to leave unfettered.

Andy and John haven’t had time to reply more.

John’s article listed significant credentials for him. I suggest John Taylor Gatto had more credentials and a more fascinating story.

https://www.johntaylorgatto.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Taylor_Gatto

https://fee.org/articles/john-taylor-gatto-1935-2018-remembering-americas-most-courageous-teacher/

https://www.naturalchild.org/articles/guest/john_gatto.html

For those who hold to authoritarian views and formal organization and lesson planning by “experts” I suggest looking into the work of Sugata Mitra.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugata_Mitra

http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/

His TED talks are easy to find, and here is a recent article:

https://universe.byu.edu/2019/03/26/physicist-encourages-change-in-the-use-of-technology-in-education/

Personally, I advocate for homeschooling without rigid standards. Reading aloud to a child from the earliest age, and routinely, is the most effective thing we can do for children. There really aren’t any hard and fast rules for what a person needs to know now. We need to know how to read, but living the example as adults is far better than a schoolroom. There isn’t much else we need to know to get along in the world because of the ease of use of technology.

Decry tech and screens all you want, but that is our world now. We are not going back. I have access to anything I want to study, anything. A screen and internet access extends my reach to anything I might need. Children will learn all they need if we just guide a little and let them learn. They will learn to love the classics because that is why they are classics, because we love them. The same goes for anything they need. They will want it, and if we don’t hinder them, they will learn it. They will master the tools they need to reach their potential and to be assets to partners, families, communities, and society at large.

For further reading, go to FEE.org , and I especially recommend Kerry McDonald, https://fee.org/people/kerry-mcdonald/

During the summer, the Foundation for Economic Education (www.fee.org) presented and article by WENDY MCELROY.

I see this as further evidence that compulsory education laws are inherently bad and need repealed as much as I see it pointing out how good homeschooling is.

Here is the full article:

Homeschooling: The Public Schools’ Invasive Species

JULY 30, 2013 by WENDY MCELROY

 

To government, homeschooling resembles a weed that spreads and resists control. To homeschooling parents, it is the flowering of knowledge and values within children who have been abandoned or betrayed by public schools. A great tension exists between the two perspectives. Homeschooling’s continued growth has only heightened it.

The federal government has reacted by attempting to increase its control over homeschooling, for example, by pushing for increased regulation of homeschool curricula. But the federal government is hindered by certain factors. For one thing, education is generally the prerogative of individual states. Nevertheless, the federal government can often impose its will by threatening to withhold federal funds from states that do not comply with its measures.

But homeschooling parents cannot be threatened by a withdrawal of money they don’t receive. As it is, they are paying double. They pay taxes to support public schools from which they draw no benefit and they pay again in homeschooling money and in terms of lost opportunities such as the full-time employment of both parents. The “profit” they receive is a solid education for their children. What they want from the government is to be left alone.

The federal government is also hindered by not being able to play the “it’s for the children” card that justifies so many intrusive policies. Homeschooled children routinely display better development than public school students.

A 2012 article in Education News called the “consistently high placement of homeschooled kids on standardized assessment exams … one of the most celebrated benefits of homeschooling.” Education News compared the quality of homeschooling to that of public schooling. “Those who are independently educated typically score between the 65th and 89th percentile on such exams, while those attending traditional schools average on the 50th percentile. Furthermore, the achievement gaps, long plaguing school systems … aren’t present in the homeschooling environment. There’s no difference in achievement between sexes, income levels, or race/ethnicity.” Studies also indicate that homeschooled children are better socialized with both peers and adults.

It appears the federal government has failed to yank the “weed” of homeschooling. Why does the Obama administration continue to try?

1. Homeschooling is an acute embarrassment to public schools, which do not educate and are rife with abuse. News stories abound of students who are illiterate and who are being abused by teachers or by the police who arrest them for trivial offenses such as burping in class. (See “A List of 19 Children Recently Arrested (July 2013) For Trivial Things.”)

2. Public schools are desperate for funding. The federal government especially wants to pay the expensive union salaries, pensions, and other benefits enjoyed by teachers because unions are one of the administration’s political bases. Since tax dollars are allocated largely according to class attendance, the goal is to force as many children as possible into public schools.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of homeschooled children in 2007 “was about 1.5 million, an increase from 850,000 in 1999 and 1.1 million in 2003.” Homeschooling is currently growing by an estimated 7 percent a year. Each homeschooled child represents a loss of funds to public schools and a threat to teachers’ pensions.

3. The homeschooled child is also an embarrassment to the public schools in economic terms. As Education News explained, “The average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students.” Of course, that doesn’t take into account the wages a parent most forego to homeschool a child, but at least that opportunity cost is borne only by the parent.

4. The federal government wants to weaken political critics. Parents who homeschool usually do so because of religious reasons (38.4 percent), because they can do a better overall job (48.9 percent), or due to objections to the content (21.1 percent) or to the academic quality (25.6 percent) of public schools. They are “dissatisfied customers” who weaken the government’s legitimacy and credibility. Those who choose homeschooling for religious or ideological reasons present an even larger problem because they are likely to dislike other government programs and positions. A clamp-down on homeschooling weakens the influence of critics, preventing them from producing future opponents.

5. Access to children allows the government to inculcate its values. Public schools teach politically correct attitudes; for example, the diversity of race must be embraced but a diversity of ideas should be rejected. Public schools have become venues for social experiments such as the so-called healthy lunch programs championed by Michele Obama even though children often throw them away, preferring to be hungry. Public schools are also experimenting with using students as advocates for government policies. For example, America’s second-largest school district, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), has accepted almost $1 million for a pilot program to train students how to convince their families to enroll in Obamacare.

Investor’s Business Daily reported an LAUSD spokeswoman proudly proclaiming that the “pilot program” would ascertain “how well teenagers serve as messengers of government-sponsored information.” Investor’s continued: “If they prove proficient at influencing their own families to believe material sent home from schools, she said, the teens will be used to deliver numerous other official messages to adults in their home and neighborhoods.”

 

Where the President Stands on Homeschooling

In 1999, Illinois Senator Obama voted against tax credits for parents with homeschooled children. President Obama has not taken a stand on homeschooling despite the dominant role educational policy has played in his agenda. He vocally supports “choice” in education, but the only choices his administration mentions are public and charter schools, both of which are government-approved and tax-funded.

Despite Obama’s silence, there are strong indications of where he stands.

In his 2012 State of the Union address, he called on “every state to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.” The U.S. Department of Education blog described his 2013 address as “Bold Education Proposals to Grow the Middle Class.” The proposals strengthened tax-funded schools and programs. One statement was especially intriguing. Obama declared, “Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job.”

The intriguing aspect is the favorable reference to Germany, which was later echoed by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Under Attorney General Eric Holder, the DOJ may well be the most loyal voice within the administration, and it would not contradict Obama. The court case Romeike v. Holderinvolves a German homeschooling family who sought asylum in America because Germany threated to remove their younger children. The DOJ defended the German educational model. What is that model? In 1938, Adolf Hitler ordered all children to be educated either in state schools or in state-approved private ones; homeschooling was banned. This remains the basic educational law in Germany.

The DOJ brief stated, “The goal in Germany is for an open, pluralistic society…. Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen in Germany.” Translation: homeschooling interferes with the state’s definition of tolerance and good citizenship. The brief also concurred with a recent German court decision that found that “the general public has a justified interest in counteracting the development of religiously or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies’ and in integrating minorities in this area.” (Translation: people whose beliefs conflict with the state’s definition of “the general good” should be integrated by proxy, i.e. by forcing their children into state schools where they are molded toward the state view.)

Obama’s stand is also evidenced by his close affiliation with the National Education Association (NEA). The NEA is a labor union “committed to advancing the cause of public education.” Year after year, the NEA has fully endorsed Obama’s presidency and his educational vision. In turn, Obama has repeatedly addressed NEA conferences and conventions.

The NEA takes an unambiguous position on homeschooling. In a 2011 resolution the NEA declared it “believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used…. home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools…. local public school systems should have the authority to determine grade placement and/or credits earned toward graduation for students entering or re-entering the public school setting from a home school setting.”

In short, the administration’s policy goal is very likely for homeschooling to be entirely under state control—at which point it ceases to be homeschooling in any meaningful sense.

 

Conclusion

Homeschooling captures the battle between individualism and authoritarianism. The rights of parents and children are pitted against the state’s demand to supersede both.

Homeschooling is an act of defiance that frightens the state. It not only challenges the state’s competence and monopoly, but homeschooling also constitutes an issue from which people will not back down. How can they? The well-being and future of their children is at stake. Unfortunately, the state is not likely to back down either. Its well-being and future are at stake as well.

Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/homeschooling-the-public-schools-invasive-species#ixzz2kR7eGAqd

From AmericanThinker, another reason to homeschool:

Recently, there has been a disturbing nation-wide trend of parental rights being trampled upon by public school officials, from bag-lunch inspections to electronic bracelets being used to spy on overweight kids. This week brings another example of complete disregard for parental rights, this time from Grove High School in Delaware County, Oklahoma.

Grove High School transported 699 kids away from school property without first notifying parents…via Blog: 'Relocating' children.

We need, state by state, to repeal compulsory education laws. We also need to amend our Constitution to prohibit congress from making any law regarding education, just like religion in the First Amendment. I see no easy paths to the solutions, but I see no solutions possible until we accomplish this.

Be confident that you can homeschool your own children if you want to. You are capable. No one cares more about your children than you do. Think it through and make the best decision for your children in your circumstances. The public school should not be your default starting position.

%d bloggers like this: