|February 11th, 2005||#21|
that's ZOG-Germany. It's kind of like Germany is the Id, the uncontrolled yid, with no superego to stop his natural impulse to dictate every last jot and tittle. Parallel to the way dumb niggers will sometimes say flat out what the jew tries to keep covered, as when the celebrated she-porch-monkey mary frances berry (sp?) said that civil rights weren't invented for white men and don't apply to them.Germany is where the jews have the power to do everything they'd like to do here: ban any criticism as 'anti-semitism' and outlaw any criticism of the state.
|February 14th, 2005||#22|
Join Date: Dec 2003
one thing I have learned from homeschoolers I have talked to out here, is that they often have informal groups that get together for field trips and stuff.
the valedictorian in my high school class was homeschooled for at his first several years and then off and on up until high school, alternating with a few years in Catholic primary school and a couple years in Germany. He studied classics (Greek and Latin) at Harvard and tested out of a full year of credits. He has younger siblings that have done well also.
As for "socializing" there are many opportunites for positive socializing other than what is offered to learn in the public fool system. Here are some of the typical lessons taught in the fool system:
1. wuss out from aggressive niggers or get your ass kicked by niggers or if you kick their ass you will get in trouble.
2. cheat and lie
3. engage in premature sexual activity
4. abuse illegal drugs as well as alcohol.
5. being White is naughty
So I regard homeschooling highly.
On the other hand, if people have access to a lilly-White public school with good teachers, and indeed there are such things here and there, it may be ok to take advantage of them as well. Still there are downsides to be on guard against due to statewide curriculum programs: sex ed where they teach homosexual tolerance, all the anti-White pro-coon race horseshit, etc.
|March 7th, 2005||#23|
Schooling Has Grown Well Beyond Home
As Ranks of Parent Educators Increase, So Do Socializing, Use of Community
By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 7, 2005; Page B03
Amy Wixtrom is a busy child. She swims three to five times a week, attends dance class on Tuesdays and drama class on Saturdays. On some Wednesdays, she goes to Hebrew school with a friend, and she's about to start attending gymnastics and choir practice with a different pal on Mondays.
It seems almost deceptive to say that Amy is home-schooled, considering how seldom she is home.
Much of the public still considers home schooling the province of an isolated minority, motivated primarily by religious faith. But home schooling has always cut across a wide swath. And the movement has exploded, with the home-schooled population doubling since the mid-1990s, placing it among the fastest-growing segments of K-12 education. In Virginia, the number of home-schooled students grew by more than 500 percent between 1990 and this year. In Maryland, the number has multiplied almost tenfold.
Faith was once the main motivator of home education. No longer. It now ranks second as a motivation for home-schooling, according to a national Education Department survey in 2003. The top concern is the overall academic environment.
Once virtually alone, home-schoolers now can socialize with dozens of like-minded families without leaving their suburb.
Consider Amy. The 11-year-old has two siblings in the Fairfax County public school system. But the boy across the street is home-schooled, and so are half her friends. Her mother, like many home educators of today, has no particular aversion to public education.
"I don't have any bad feelings toward public schools as a whole," said Chris Wixtrom of Fairfax, whose older children, who were largely home-schooled, are A students at Mount Vernon High School. "I think they have their place."
The home education movement started in the 1970s as a reaction against public education bureaucracy. It took off among a generation of parents who prized the individual needs of children, expanding ever faster as the practice gained mainstream acceptance, according to Mitchell Stevens, a home-education scholar at New York University.
Three decades later, the pioneers are gone and ideologies have softened. Many parents move their children in and out of the public system, looking for an approach that works.
Ellen Nedde of Mitchellville pulled her older daughter out of public school in second grade. It didn't seem like much of a sacrifice: Nedde already had put on hold her career as an economist at the International Monetary Fund, and she was spending much of her time volunteering in the child's classroom.
"It wasn't like anything bad was happening, but I just felt we could be having so much more fun and spending more time together if we did it on our own," Nedde said.
Now, she said, "we're at ballet lessons and piano lessons and science groups. If I had to be at home with my child six hours a day, sitting at a table and assigning work to her, I wouldn't be doing this."
The home-schooled population in Virginia has swelled from 3,816 to 23,252 between 1990 and this year , according to the state's education department. In Maryland, the number has risen from 2,296 to 20,676, since 1990, according to that state's Department of Education, whose figures go only to fall 2002. Home schooling remains comparatively rare in the District: The school district counts just 72 children taught at home this year.
Nationwide, about 2.2 percent of the school-age population, or one child in 45, is taught at home. According to the Education Department, there were 1.1 million home-schoolers as of 2003. [HSLDA says 2 million.]
Manfred Smith was "one of, literally, a handful of home-schoolers in the state" when he started the Maryland Home Education Association in 1980. A Virginia home-education group formed two years later.
"Increasingly, I think, we're seeing people pulling their children out of school not because of a [religious] belief issue, but because, for one reason or another, children are not being served," Smith said.
Home-education groups in Maryland and Virginia are filled with parents who tried public schools but gave up, either because their child was a bit too fast or too slow for the curriculum, because of a bad teacher or a bully or because of conflicting diets or a peanut allergy.
Lois Lacey of Frederick started Parents for Alternative Learning five years ago with two other parents. They had joined an existing group but were kicked out because the three wouldn't sign a statement of faith, a prerequisite in some Christian home-education networks.
One of the three parents was Jewish, "and there was no group in this area that was for anybody and everybody," Lacey said. Her group's membership now includes single mothers, families with children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and others whose kids were "fidgety and bored" in a public classroom.
Rules for home education vary by state. Parents typically must register with their local school district, prove they are teaching the basics and document the child's progress from year to year. School authorities can intervene if parents fail to meet minimum provisions.
The Wixtrom home resembles a two-story school library, filled with hundreds of age-appropriate books arranged by subject. Amy Wixtrom's room, a shrine to Spider-Man and Shrek, is also a one-stop media center for tomes on biography, geography, science and math. On a recent week, she and her mother went to the public library and took out several volumes telling the Cinderella story from various perspectives. That Friday, the Wixtroms went to the community pool with the Baskirs, fellow Alexandrians who pulled their daughter from public school, Genie Baskir said, because she encountered anti-Semitism. [Where? In the Anne Frank unit?]
The two families team-teach: Emma Baskir, 11, studies vocabulary, literature and sign language at Amy's house, while Amy goes to Emma's home to learn history and math. The Baskir family ritual includes a small bell, which Emma rings every day when it's time for recess, playtime with her pet hamster.
"If you look and see who your neighbors are and who your friends are, the resources, especially in this area, are sublime," Genie Baskir said. "And why wouldn't I take advantage of that?"
Last edited by Alex Linder; March 7th, 2005 at 12:29 PM.
|March 7th, 2005||#24|
Home schooling popular in hills
Published: February 25, 2005
With lesson plans and worksheets spread across the coffee table, Danielle Thompson (left) helps her daughter, Sydney, 10 with a problem.
Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2005, The Union Democrat
By ABBY SOUZA
Tuesday morning, Danielle Thompson of Sonora sat on her living room couch with one of her daughter's grammar worksheets in her hand.
"I love the adjectives for your man — tall, dark and handsome," Danielle laughed as her daughter Sydney joined her on the couch.
But unlike most moms, Danielle didn't stick the work into her daughter's backpack and send her off to the bus stop.
She checked the worksheet for mistakes and told Sydney to put the next video math lesson into the VCR.
Danielle home schools her two children, making her both teacher and mother to 10-year old Sydney and 8-year old Paige for four hours, five mornings a week.
"The girls would go to school all day and come home with two hours of homework sometimes," Danielle said. "I thought: ‘what kind of life is that?' "
The Thompson girls are two among more than 1 million children who are home schooled in the United States today.
There is no way to know exactly how many students are home schooled in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.
About 640 kids are enrolled in charter school programs, but many of those children live in other counties. Also, many local home schoolers work through out-of-area charter schools and programs, said Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Joe Silva.
But area home-school program representatives agree that the number grows every year.
According to the Department of Education, 1.1 million students nationwide were being home schooled in the spring of 2003 — a 29 percent increase since 1999. The figures also show that the number grows 7 to 15 percent every year.
There are just as many reasons for that increase as there are families in home school, said Nancy Stehura, an administrator at Mountain Oaks Charter School in San Andreas.
Mountain Oaks assists families who home school their children by providing materials, supervising teachers and providing special classes that parents might not be able to teach.
"Some families feel their children need individual instruction; others have religious reasons," Stehura said.
Danielle Thompson said her reasons were a little of both.
Sydney, her mother said, is a shy child and would never speak up in a classroom if she needed help or knew the answer to a teacher's question.
"Now, it's a much more relaxed atmosphere," she said.
Danielle, who attends Calvary Chapel with her family, said she also enjoys being able to teach her children from the Bible every day if she chooses.
"Our school allows us to purchase Christian curriculum. I like that freedom," Danielle said.
The Thompson children are technically students at Connecting Waters Charter School, based in Waterford. Connecting Waters — like Mountain Oaks and Gold Rush Charter School in Sonora — is part of a public school district and provides assistance to parents educating their children at home.
The schools also assist students' socialization skills by planning group trips and activities.
Both Sydney and Paige are participating in one of those activities today — a ski trip to Dodge Ridge.
"I'm so excited because we have never learned how to ski," Paige said.
The ski day also counts toward the girls' physical education curriculum, as do their private dance classes.
Kids who are home schooled through charter school programs are held to the same standards as children in traditional schools, said Alliya Anderson, spokeswoman for Gold Rush Charter School.
Danielle said children enrolled in Connecting Waters take state assessment tests just like they would at public schools.
And according to Anderson, most home-school students score just as well as their peers in traditional schools.
"Students learn in different ways," she said. "With the charter school, it's all about how much they want to get out of their education."
Gold Rush Charter School, a part of the Keyes Union Elementary School District in Stanislaus County, opened in Sonora five years ago. It now has 247 kids enrolled, 70 from Tuolumne County.
Gold Rush is a independent public school, Anderson said, that teaches classes on site. Also, its credentialed teachers help home-schooling parents plan their child's curriculum. Teachers meet with parents every two weeks.
Thompson also has a teacher from Connecting Waters visit her family to help plan their learning schedules. Parents who home school their children in California do not have to pass any tests or prove they are qualified to teach.
"I did not have a lot of confidence in myself," Thompson said. "Having a teacher that I'm held accountable to helps."
When Stehura, one of the founders of Mountain Oaks Charter School in San Andreas, began home schooling her children years ago, there was little support.
She and others started Mountain Oaks in order to assist families in educating their children.
The school now has about 400 students in Calaveras and surrounding counties and three centers where home-schooled children can meet for activities, extra classes like guitar or pottery, club meetings or sports.
The school's Academic Decathlon team recently beat out Bret Harte High School to represent Calaveras County in state competition.
"Many of our students are now in college," Stehura said.
Four-year colleges are much more open to accepting home-schooled students today than they were 20 years ago, she added. Stehura's oldest child is a graduate of California State University, Sonoma, and another is attending college now.
A 2004 study revealed that more than 78 percent of college admission officers surveyed said they expect home-school graduates to perform as well or better in their first year of college than traditional high school graduates.
Most colleges have a home-school admission policy, requiring information similar to that provided by traditional high school students, like transcripts and test scores, as well as letters of recommendation or essays.
"Some schools actually prefer home-schooled students," Stehura said.
With the popularity of home school growing, more public school districts are looking for a way into the market.
Most county school districts run independent-study programs, where students do work at home and meet weekly or biweekly with a teacher. Other districts have added charter schools to their rosters for families who prefer to home school.
For example, Jamestown School District's charter program — California Virtual Academy — began in fall 2003. The California Virtual Academy is operated by K12, a four-year-old Pennsylvania-based corporation that starts charter schools nationwide under the direction of William Bennett, a former U.S. secretary of education.
K12 sends participating families all the equipment they need to home school their children, from a computer to access the online curriculum to construction paper and pencils for the wide variety of parent-led activities and lessons. Statewide, K12 serves more than 900 students from San Diego to Jamestown.
No matter what type of school is chosen, Stehura said parents should make sure it's the best option for their children.
"For my children, I just wanted them to have the freedom to learn and enjoy the learning process," she said.
Sydney and Paige Thompson said they both enjoy their learning process at home with their mom. And although Sydney said she wants to someday go to prom and have a real school locker, home schooling fits her just fine for the time being.
"I like learning with my mom," Sydney said. "She's very good at being a teacher."
Contact Abby Souza at [email protected].
|March 7th, 2005||#25|
Dyslexia: Caused by GOVERNMENT Schools Teaching Reading by a Method Known NOT to Work (look say or whole word, vs the traditional and effective phonics)
In which school system aren't the teachers trained? "All of them," comes the immediate chorus of about 20 parents and grandparents. "The United States," says Fredrick.
Frustrated parents say school officials fight providing their children with extra help because of the potential expense of treating a puzzling disability that may affect as many as one out of every 10 children. Cheryl Jones, a professional parent advocate, explained schools' position as she sees it: "If we assess it, then we have to address it. And sometimes we are not sure what to do with it, because there are several forms of dyslexia."
State officials say federal law does not list dyslexia as a special education category. Otherwise, public schools would be required to offer special services, as they do for autism and other recognized disabilities.
"Teachers are kind of in a bind," Dr. Denise Gibbs tells the support group gathered at Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison. As director of the Scottish Rite Foundation of Alabama Learning Centers, Gibbs travels the state training teachers and diagnosing dyslexic students.
Gibbs says schools have to wait until a child's achievement trails the child's IQ to provide extra help through special education. That means waiting for dyslexia to disrupt reading and drop grades while the child falls behind his classmates.
"Immeasurably and irretrievably behind," Gibbs tells the parents.
Teachers, who aren't qualified to diagnose students, often don't notice the problem until the third grade, she says. However, children should be identified in first grade to receive intense language lessons before the grades plummet.
But if a parent doesn't seek a diagnosis from Gibbs or someone else outside the school system, dyslexia almost always goes unidentified in Alabama schools.
Gibbs, who has a doctorate in special education, defines dyslexia this way: "It's a learning disability that occurs in students who are not retarded but have trouble reading because they have trouble with the sounds that make up words."
|March 7th, 2005||#26|
Dyslexia is the INTENDED RESULT of teaching by a method that DOES NOT WORK.
Kids are taught English as though Chinese -- to recognize whole words, rather than individual letters -- in order to make them HATE READING. This removes them from the pool of potential competitors for jewish power brokers.
GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS = CHILD ABUSE
|March 7th, 2005||#27|
Most pick the phonics up on their own, but many do not.
Teaching English by non-phonic methods is about as perfectly JEWY a practice as cutting off dicks.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE FORMS OF CHILD ABUSE.
|March 7th, 2005||#28|
Without local control, our schools will suffer
By MARION EDWYN HARRISON
THE NATIONAL Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is reported to seek changes in the fundamental provisions of President George W. Bush's much publicized No Child Left Behind Act. By more than coincidence, the NCSL president is a Democratic member of the liberal Maryland Legislature. Many governors, mostly overlooking, or winking at, their own state educational deficiencies, now are complaining about that which the federal government is doing or is seeking to do � arguing, for example, that No Child Left Behind Act standards are too uniform and too strict.
More realistically, Microsoft chairman William H. Gates III, better known as Bill Gates, and not a candidate for election or reelection, has offered suggestions for sweeping and fundamental restructuring of American high schools.
To what extent and in what mixture National Education Association (NEA), NCSL and state politicians' complaints about President Bush's initiatives, about the U.S. Department of Education and about congressional enactments are wholly or partially legitimate begs a fundamental maxim: Secondary education historically has been, and should continue to be, fundamentally state and local. Various constitutional scholars, federalists and others would go so far as to abolish the federal role in primary and secondary education and return full control and financing to the states and localities.
How to quantify cause and effect would be not less than an exercise in futility. Yet a glaring reality manifests itself � namely, public secondary education has worsened over the years since the federal government intruded into the act and self-interest outfits like NEA (which scarcely has seen a liberal cause it did not applaud) became more ubiquitous and more powerful.
Statistics are appalling. Just a few as examples: Only about 68 percent of public high school students graduate on time. The drop-out rate has increased annually since 1983, when, with foresight, the Reagan administration issued a report, "A Nation at Risk," citing the already growing crisis. About 40 percent of high school graduates enter college, only 27 percent of that group continuing beyond the freshman year. Only 18 percent of those high school graduates who enter college graduate from college on time.
How does American secondary education compare worldwide? By one survey, among 20 leading developed nations the United States ranks 16th in percentage of high school students graduating, 14th in percentage of college students graduating. Further � and of tremendous significance in international commerce � China and India, not generally considered "developed" nations and certainly among the per-capita poorer, each graduate more engineers than does our country.
One need not rely upon statistics. Look about us. Whether it's the ability to write or speak even half-way correct grammar and syntax, to do elementary arithmetic, to name one's (or anybody's) senators or congressman, to distinguish the Constitution from the Declaration of Independence, to distinguish Mount Rushmore from Rush Limbaugh, to differentiate the Cardinals on the playing field from those that fly around or those who wear red hats, too many teachers are fearful of asking questions, much less flunking a student, less the liberals wreak havoc upon the teachers for jeopardizing the self-respect of the ignorant student, reviling his race or ethnicity or committing some other alleged politically incorrect act. Not surprisingly, requirements of discipline, decorum and proper apparel are nearly pervasive no-nos. (In the nation's capital � which, of course, operates a school system at or near rock bottom � in some schools the truancy rate alone exceeds 50 percent of the student body.)
We should be wondering what governors, state legislatures, state and local school boards, state and local school administrators � yes, even NEA, so busy with social issues � are doing to bring education home and to improve it. Too many find it easier to denounce the laudable efforts of President Bush and DOE people � efforts born as a last resort. Elementary and secondary education belong closest to the people. To achieve that goal those responsible at state and local levels must come alive, infuse some realism into their thinking.
It is no surprise that home-schooling has become such a popular alternative, especially in primary education. Whether the $2.3 billion due over time from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will help much remains to be seen.
Meantime, the folks at home need to get back to reading, writing and 'rithmetic; order; discipline; self-reliance. Those abroad seeking a better life will not lay back; they will compete as competitors abroad and as immigrants here � in both locales usually lesser paid and better educated.
Marion Edwyn Harrison is president of and counsel to the Free Congress Foundation.
|July 28th, 2005||#29|
Homeschooling Takes Your Child Out of Public School --- A Unique Benefit
Home & Family: Parenting Homeschooled kids are lucky --- they are not prisoners of a public-school system that can wreck their self-esteem, ability to read, and love of learning.
Home-schooling removes children from public school. That alone makes home-schooling worthwhile. Unlike public-school children, home-schooled kids are not prisoners of a system that can wreck their self-esteem, ability to read, and love of learning.
Home-schooled kids don’t have to read dumb-downed text-books, study subjects they hate, or endure meaningless classes six to eight hours a day. Home-schooled kids won’t be subject to drugs, bullies, violence, or peer pressure, as they are in public schools. Home-schooled children who are “different” in any way won’t have to endure cruel jokes and taunts from other children in their classes.
Slow-learning or “special-needs” children won’t be humiliated by their peers if they are put in regular classes, or further humiliated if the teacher puts them in so-called spe-cial-education classes. Faster-learning home-schooled kids won’t have to sit through mind-numbing classes that are geared to the slowest-learning students in a class. They won’t have to “learn” in cooperative groups where other kids in the group do nothing or are not cooperative. Home-schooled children do not have to waste their time memorizing meaningless facts about subjects that bore them, just so they can pass the next dumbed-down test to obey and please school authorities.
Home-schooled kids don’t have to endure twelve years of a third-rate, public-school education that leaves many students barely able to read their own diplomas. The notion that tests tell teachers and parents what children have learned turns out to false. John Holt, teacher and author of "How Children Fail," pointed out that most children soon forget what they memorized for a test as soon as the test is over, so the entire test-taking process is usually worthless. Facts or ideas that are not useful or relevant to children pass through them like a sieve and are soon forgotten.
Home-schooled kids don’t have to study an arbitrary, meaningless curriculum of subjects imposed on them by public-school authorities. They don’t have to be treated like little mindless, spiritless robots that have to learn the same subjects at the same time and in the same sequence as their classmates.
Home-schooled children don’t have to sit quietly in a class of twenty-five other students and pretend they like being in this mini-prison called public school, just to avoid being punished by a teacher for “acting-out” or fidgeting in their seats.
Any adult’s mind would wander if they were forced to sit through a boring lecture for just one hour. Yet public schools expect children to sit still for boring lectures on subjects that are meaningless to them, for six to eight hours a day.
Home-schooled children do not have to be fearful of displeasing a teacher because they get the wrong answers on meaningless tests. They therefore do not have to be fearful of learning and have their natural joy in learning crippled as a result of this fear.
Infants and very young children embrace life and learning with a passion, which is why they learn so fast. Yet, as John Holt found out, by the time these same children have progressed to the fifth grade in school, most are listless, bored, apathetic, and often fearful in class.
Home-schooled children won’t be terrorized by test grades and comparisons to their classmates, and associate learning with this terror. They won’t associate learning with always having to get the right answer that school authorities insist on. They won’t be made to feel that learning means passing an arbitrary test, and that failing a test is a shame or disgrace.
Home-schooling also gives parents control over the values their kids learn. It prevents school authorities from indoctrinating their children with warped values, pagan religions, or politically-correct ideas.
Unlike public-school students, home-schooled children are not forced to sit through explicit or shocking sex-education classes. School authorities also can’t pressure home-schooling parents to give their kids mind-altering drugs like Ritalin.
So keeping a child out of public school is an enormous benefit in itself. Other positive benefits of home-schooling are:
1. Home-schooling lets parents give children a custom-made curriculum that makes learning a joy. Parents can expose their children to many different subjects and ultimately focus on subjects that their children enjoy and benefit from.
Children can also learn about subjects that are not taught in any school, and have time for non-academic subjects like art and music. Parents can choose from a wide range of teaching materials that not only engage and delight their kids, but bring real results.
2. Home-schooled children can learn at their own pace. Slower-learning kids will benefit by their parent’s love and attention. Bright children will progress as fast as they want to. Children will learn to read or learn any other subject when they are ready, not according to a prescribed time-table.
Unlike public schools, home-schooling parents treat each child as a unique individual with his or her own special interests, talents, strengths and weaknesses. Parents can also tailor-make the instruction to each child’s personality and learning style.
3. Home-schooling parents can give their kids a one-to-one teacher-student ratio. This insures that children get individualized attention from a loving, attentive parent-teacher.
In "Public Schools, Public Menace," author Joel Turtel explains 15 unique benefits of homeschooling your children.
Joel Turtel is an education policy analyst, and author of “Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie To Parents and Betray Our Children." Contact Information: Website: http://www.mykidsdeservebetter.com, Email: [email protected], Phone: 718-447-7348.
|July 29th, 2005||#30|
Fighting bond issues...
Independence readies for third bond referendum
By DAN HAUGEN, Courier Staff Writer
INDEPENDENCE --- Supporters of a new high school building are optimistic a third vote might be the charm.
Voters narrowly defeated school bonding referendums each of the past two years following campaigns that participants on both sides characterized as divisive.
"There were a lot of hurt feelings. I don't know that the hurt has gone away," Superintendent Devin Embray said.
The community will go to the polls again Nov. 29 for a special election on the project's fate.
About three dozen volunteers are going door-to-door surveying residents and soliciting donations to offset the bond amount. By early August they hope to have an accurate count of supporters.
"The early results are pretty promising," said volunteer John Christensen, who was also a part of the two previous campaigns.
Dawn Thompson, chairwoman of the High School Now committee, said the group also has a goal of raising $10 million privately before determining the bond amount. Earlier referendums asked voters for up to $7.5 million.
The existing facility was built as a middle school and converted to a high school after fire destroyed the original in 1956. Thompson said as a high school the building is inefficient and outdated.
"They made do and cobbled things around for so many years now," Thompson said. "It ends up costing us more."
A citizens committee spent several months studying the costs of remodeling versus rebuilding and determined they were roughly equivalent. The group, which recommended a new facility, included some previous opponents.
"I've gone to the other side," said John Alexander, former chairman of the Concerned Citizens for Better Education committee, which led the campaign against the last referendum.
The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board will vote at its next meeting on a recommendation Alexander be fined and forced to quit his position for failing to file a financial disclosure report for the group with the state. Alexander admitted the violation and resigned but said he had already concluded the school could be a good thing for the community.
"I learned a lot of things after I started going to the school board meetings," Alexander said.
The proposed location for the school is better than the previously planned site, he said. The district bought land adjacent to its campus on First Street West, where elementary, middle school and administration buildings are situated.
Alexander, a plumbing, heating and electrical contractor, is still concerned about amenities driving up the price. While he supports the fund-raising effort, he doesn't plan to get involved in the campaign.
"I'm just going to stay on the sidelines. I took a lot of abuse last time," he said, citing letters to the editor that strongly criticized opponents after the referendum was defeated.
A consultant named Paul Dorr of Ocheyedan caught much of the blame for the divisive (divisive = opposing liberals or fighting against jewish agenda) atmosphere that emerged during the campaign. The home-schooling advocate travels the Midwest rallying against public school construction of any kind.
"The 'no' consultant rode into town, did his damage and left," Embray said.
But Dorr may return, said Steve Walthart, treasurer of Concerned Citizens for Better Education, the group that hired him to help campaign against last year's referendum. Dorr has also worked with committees in Tama, Jesup and Iowa City.
"(Dorr) knew what questions to ask and where to get the answers," Walthart said. "He brought out a lot of information and hard facts that took the emotion out of it."
Walthart has not budged in his opposition to the bond referendum. The 1965 Independence High School graduate farms near Independence and denies anything is wrong with the existing building.
"It's nicer now than when I graduated," he said. "If they used it properly, that building would be adequate for years to come. I'd just like people to learn to respect what they've got and live within their means."
As the election approaches, Walthart hopes the town's conversation will be based on facts, not in emotions.
"But then sometimes emotions make a better story."
Contact Dan Haugen at (319) 291-1565 or [email protected].
|August 14th, 2005||#31|
Riet Schumack teaches her adopted ('groid) son Joshua, 10, and her three other adopted kids in her Detroit home.
Back to school
Kids learn at home, but no one's watching
["but no one's watching" - the government's mindset in a nutshell]
With homeschooling on the rise in Michigan, critics [NEA, jews] want tougher laws and more monitoring.
By Doug Guthrie / The Detroit News
"I didn't really find it challenging at all," Kelly Flack, 15, an Olympic figure skating hopeful, says of her time at Stoney Creek High.
ROCHESTER -- Kelly Flack twirls on the ice at Onyx Skating Center while her mother teaches elementary school in Illinois.
A heavy practice schedule and dreams of competing in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games have the 15-year-old figure skater living away from her family and taking self-paced homeschool courses on the Internet under the supervision of her grandparents in Rochester.
She's part of what experts say is a growing trend of parents pulling their kids out of the classroom and teaching them at home. But critics complain that because Michigan has one of the nation's most liberal homeschooling laws -- requiring only voluntary registration -- there is no way to monitor how many children are involved and whether they are getting a better education or any education at all.
While providing a religious values-based education used to be the main motivation, many of the newest homeschoolers are simply dissatisfied with the educational experience provided by public schools.
"I didn't really find it challenging at all. I got all A's," said Flack, who last year attended Stoney Creek High School in Rochester.
"The teacher spent most of her time trying to get the students to calm down. I can get more done at home than in school."
Her mom, Suzy Flack, agreed: "I know some of my fellow teachers accuse me of rooting for the wrong team, but it really depends on the student and the circumstances."
Michigan is among 10 states that do not monitor homeschools, while the other states have varying degrees of oversight, including notification, test scores, evaluation of student progress, curriculum approval and home visits, according to the National Home School Legal Defense Association.
"I believe that 95 percent of homeschoolers are probably better off at home than in a school," said David Plank, co-director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University.
"But the state's concern should be about the other 5 percent. We have no information about what kind of education they are receiving from their parents. Not finding out is a failing on the part of the state of Michigan."
The homeschooling movement took off here in the 1980s with parents who mostly were motivated by religious and/or anti-government sentiments, Plank said.
"There is clearly a third group out there now: Parents who feel they can do a better job than the public schools," Plank said.
"It is the least understood segment because they are the least outspoken. I have no handle on that, and I don't think any researchers do. It is a silent part of the movement."
Nationally, the number of home-based students grew an estimated 29 percent in four years, from 850,000 in 1999 to 1.1 million in 2003, the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics. That's about 2 percent of the nation's school-age children. The Education Policy Center estimated there were 126,000 homeschooled students in Michigan in 2003, based on comparisons of enrollment data, census figures and dropout estimates.
For the Michigan Department of Education, the number of homeschooled students is harder than ever to determine. Voluntary registration has declined. For the 2004-05 school year, 943 households reported educating 1,566 students, a figure down from previous years. Many of those who register do so to qualify for special education assistance or extracurricular activities like music and athletics at local public schools.
Neal and Katherine Jackson pulled their son out of fourth grade in a Detroit public school two years ago. They didn't register with the state. After a year at home for Jamal Bermudez, 11, Katherine Jackson this fall plans to also homeschool her daughters, Jasmin Jackson, 9, and Diamond Jackson, 7.
"It's not the education; it's the social issues in the schools," Katherine Jackson said. "The children are troubled there. The parents are troubled. There's no cure in sight."
Jackson said she confirmed that homeschooling worked for her son when she took him to a Sylvan Learning Center and paid to test his reading and mathematics skills. She said he was ahead in reading and on par with math.
"I had my doubts about whether I could do it, but the one-on-one attention made an amazing difference. Everything improved, including our relationship," said the homemaker with no training as a teacher.
The Home School Legal Defense Association says a national survey of homeschoolers found about 30 percent remain motivated by religious reasons and 31 percent by the negative social environment in schools.
"We are seeing another group of people who are acting out against what they see in public schools," said Ian Slatter, spokesman for the defense association, which has 40,000 members in Michigan.
"Younger, often urban, parents are taking matters into their own hands after growing tired of waiting and hoping for the problems of their public systems to improve."
Riet Schumack, with her husband, Mark, homeschooled their daughters and now are doing the same for four adopted children: Deborah, 15, Timothy, 14, Mark David, 12, and Joshua, 10. Their eldest, Marie, 21, and Nicky, 20, both are in college.
Riet Schumack was trained as a teacher before emigrating from the Netherlands.
"They had 30 students in a classroom in The Netherlands, too. They taught to the middle and lost both the top and bottom portions of the class," she said.
Joan Rusch meets weekly with other homeschooling parents at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Davisburg, west of Clarkston in Oakland County. Rusch is homeschooling her children -- Benjamin, 14, Abraham, 11, Isaac, 9, and Arron, 4. She said most of her friends are homeschooling to impart religious values that even parochial schools are failing to teach.
"But there are more who are doing it for other reasons, too," Rusch said. "There are fears about violence in the schools. Even in our local district in Holly, there was a kid with a hit list. It makes you worry."
Kathy and Gary Holcomb started homeschooling their children in 1988. They now organize homeschool seminars and support-group meetings in Southfield. They publish a monthly newsletter mailed to about 1,000 Metro Detroit families.
"We started with our kids, pulled them out of a private school. We couldn't afford it," Gary Holcomb said. "Back then, our meetings were mostly suburban people. Now our groups are probably half African-Americans from the city."
Joyce Burgess, a founder of the National Black Home Educators Resource Association, said a growing number of families is looking for an alternative.
"We are fed up with the public school system," Burgess said. "African-American families have seen the horrors of what has happened: children who aren't being taught to read, dangerous situations in the schools. New moms and dads are deciding they just aren't going to go that route."
Homeschoolers who take publicly reported tests like the Michigan Educational Assessment Program's and college entrance exams generally perform well. Among 2004 Michigan high school graduates taking the ACT, the average homeschool score was 23.1, compared with 21.4 for all Michigan students tested
State law now requires parents to have an established educational plan for any homeschooled student. But because registering is voluntary, state authorities have no way to learn of the existence of homeschooled students, much less check the plan. Homeschooled students also are exempt from mandatory testing under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
State Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said he is a supporter of homeschool education and opposes legislation that would require mandatory registration. He said he is satisfied that homeschooling is producing good results, although he conceded there is no way of knowing what percentage of homeschooled students participated in the tests that have produced favorable scores.
"There are a lot of kids in schools right now who are falling through the cracks. You are going to have that," Kuipers said. "If a problem exists with a homeschool situation, there are rules in place that allow a school district and prosecutor, acting on information from, say, a family member or neighbor, to go after a violation."
You can reach Doug Guthrie at (313) 222-2359 or [email protected].
|August 14th, 2005||#32|
Michigan doesn't require homeschool families to follow the same rules as public schools, which are governed by state and federal laws. It asks that homeschool families register with the Michigan Department of Education, but doing so is voluntary.
What the law says
• Mandatory attendance: Parents and legal guardians are responsible for sending all children ages 6-16 to public school except under provisions of the Nonpublic School Act, which provides for home schools and private schools.
• Exemption: A child may be educated in a parent or guardian's home in an organized educational program covering reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing and English grammar.
• Registering: Those planning to homeschool are asked to voluntarily submit to the state the number of students, the grade, teacher qualification and course of study offered.
• Choosing a curriculum: Homeschool families may purchase textbooks and instructional materials or an entire course curriculum from teacher bookstores or from a growing number of Internet providers. Support services can be found through homeschool associations.
• Public school classes: Homeschool students may enroll in some elective classes at their resident public school. Such classes may include band, drama, art, physical education, music, computer and advanced placement courses. Special education assistance also is available.
• Testing: Homeschool students may take the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, or MEAP, and the state's Merit Award Board is required to provide test sites. Homeschool students are eligible for the Michigan Merit Award.
• Michigan Virtual High School: Homeschool students may take virtual courses and access online tools for test review, career development, orientation to online learning and skill building.
• Athletics and extracurricular activities: In order to participate in public school extracurricular activities, a student should be enrolled part time in the public school.
• Student records: Parents are encouraged to maintain student records of progress throughout the year but are not required to do so. Most colleges demand accurate transcripts.
• Transfer of grades and credits: The granting of credits and placement of students is solely determined by the receiving public or nonpublic school. Homeschool families are encouraged to determine what the public school policy is for grade placement and granting of credits should a student decide to return to the public system.
• For information about the law, contact the Michigan Department of Education, Bureau of School Finance and School Law Nonpublic Schools Unit at (517) 373-1833 or visit www.michigan.gov/mde.
• For information about Michigan homeschool support groups, visit
Source: Michigan Department of Education
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|October 23rd, 2005||#33|
Homeschooling As A Better Alternative To Public School
Hundreds of thousands of families have made the decision to homeschool. According to Christine Scheller, an estimated three to four percent of the school age population, approximately two million students, participate in homeschool (Scheller 47). While the reasons for individual decisions to homeschool may vary, many parents cite serious concerns about the academic failures of the public school system and the on-campus social exposure of students to the use of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, and sexually explicit behaviors. The homeschool environment promises a more wholesome atmosphere and academic progress that can be monitored closely by parent instructors with a vested interest in the student's learning outcome. *Although a homeschool program may not meet the needs of every student, it is becoming recognized as a decidedly superior alternative to the public school system for many.*
Some may believe that the homeschool alternative is a relatively new idea; a brief review of history, however, will reveal a number of famous historic figures who were the products of homeschool educations. Among these individuals were Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain (Jones and Gloeckner 13). In fact, homeschool classrooms were the source of educational opportunity even after the advent of public education often because schools were not readily accessible to families living in rural settings. While the idea is not new, the reasons for contemporary interest in the home-based classroom are a product of the modern world.
It may also be argued that while the problems of the modern world have breathed new life into the idea of homeschooling, the same modern world has made this alternative viable for more and more families. Access to public libraries, academic publishers and affordable technology including computers and access to the Internet are among the many resources and tools available to homeschooling families. It is, however, more than that; the educational marketplace has also seen the development of a wide variety of materials developed specifically for the homeschool classroom. Homeschooling families have effective access to all the materials available through the public school system, as well as to many not available to the public school teacher and student whether this is the result of lack of funding or bureaucratic approval.
Homeschool environments afford family educators greater freedom related to both content and calendar. While many home educator parents elect to parallel the general organization of the public school system, they are also at liberty to invest additional time in an area of interest or timeliness, to plan “real world” field trips that illustrate or enhance a lesson, or to accelerate, decelerate or otherwise modify lesson plans, worksheets, and other presentation materials. The liberty to do make choices in content, to manage the educational calendar, and to adjust according to the needs of the individual student make homeschooling advantageous for students across the spectrum, whether gifted, mainstream or learning disabled.
Homeschool families broadly report that students within these programs are not only the beneficiaries, they are invested in the educational process. Rather than memorizing for test recall and regurgitation, homeschool students are more engaged in their educations, more interested in the subjects at hand, and are likely to retain more information and develop a more substantial knowledge base than the peers who are situated in the public school environment.
Students further benefit from socialization in a more wholesome setting; a setting in which students are socialized to the standards established by parents through the home-based classroom, and the extracurricular activities approved and monitored by those parents. The home environment is a shield from unnecessary exposure to the public school dramas of teenage sex and pregnancy, use of tobacco and illicit drugs, the stress of peer pressure and the pursuit of popularity. It is difficult, if not impossible, for the public school system to keep these distractions out of the institutions which are supposed to be devoted to academic learning. Homeschool students are, however, not without social interaction. They are often involved in sporting events, community service volunteerism, and church sponsored activities. According to a survey by Jones and Gloeckner, homeschoolers can be verified as socially healthy and compatible with their same age peers:
Admission officers were asked how they expected homeschooled graduates to cope socially in their first year of college compared to traditional high school graduates. This question revealed that 43.6 percent of the admission officers expected homeschooled graduates to cope socially as well as traditional high school graduates their first year of college. (18)
Surveys are not scientific studies, and are highly subjective; even so, this is an interesting finding in light of recent news reports suggesting that many university admissions officers are not only accepting homeschool graduates, they are seeking these homeschoolers out in recruitment efforts.
America’s school system once brought learning opportunity to the general population, raising up a more educated public, but it can no longer claim that greatness. The news is replete with stories of young people who cannot read being issued high school diplomas, students who cannot compute basic math problems unable to compete for college admissions and ultimately for technology based jobs, a shocking prevalence of teenage pregnancy, drug use and campus-based violence. The very system that brought hope to people for a better future is now failing those people. Whether responsibility rests with the school system’s very design, the people who populate it, or some combination of these other factors, the result is that a growing number of people have made an alternative educational choice.
The homeschooling alternative is without its own set of challenges and sacrifices. Homeschool families must provide intensive parent supervision, organize and teach a wide variety of subject areas often to children across a broad range of ages, individualize their programs, and plan for extracurricular activities. They must also support the cost of these endeavors over and above the property taxes they pay to support public sector education, and without any tax relief otherwise. There is also some degree of media vulnerability within the homeschool movement. Perhaps because this movement represents a shift within society away from government based supervision and toward the personal accountability of families for the education of children within those families, examples of individual failures are given substantial media coverage; by contrast, the general population seems to have accepted the failures of the public schools. People may shake their heads in disappointment, but hardly seem outraged by the daily exposures of American kids to the very behaviors that are likely to ruin their individual lives and further erode the fabric of our culture and society. When these failures occur within the homeschooling community, whether related to questions of truancy, parent educator qualification, curriculum choice or the influence of religious beliefs in the development of the educational program, they are portrayed as far more shocking. A call for “government supervision” is typically not far behind; the same government supervision that has failed our public system of education.
Despite the challenges and sacrifices that come hand in hand with the decision to homeschool, it remains a viable alternative to public education; for many parent educators, it is decidedly the superior option. The freedom of parents to select curriculum, to modify or adapt it as necessary for an individual student, the opportunity to expose children to experiences in the field, and the wholesome environment in which the homeschool education can take place make homeschooling the choice of these families. As parents and students continue to discover that the government-run public school system does not suit them, many will make the decision to homeschool.
Jones, Paul and Gene Gloeckner. "A Study of Admission Officers'". NACAC Journal of College Admission. Fall 2004: Issue 185. Begins p. 12, duration 10 pages. Galileo. EBSCOhost. Gwinnett University Center Library. 13 Feb. 2005 .
Scheller, Christine. "The Little School in the Living Room Grows Up." Christianity Today. Vol. 46, Issue 10. September 9, 2002. Galileo. EBSCOhost. Gwinnett University Center Library. 13 Feb. 2005 .
Chris Liakos serves as President of the Political Science Club at Georgia Perimeter College-Lawrenceville. He is also a chapter leader of Students for Saving Social Security. You may contact Chris at [email protected]
|October 23rd, 2005||#34|
UC Riverside Actively Recruits Homeschool Students
This is great news for my home state of California. UC Riverside will be the first UC to recruit homeschooled students. The new program will provide a faculty review of a portfolio of student's projects and curriculum.
The effort at UCR started at the request of several faculty members familiar with homeschooling.
“Among the homeschool community, we find large numbers of students who are smart, mature, creative, independent and well-socialized people,” said Frank Vahid, a professor of computer science who has three children who are homeschooled. “We want such excellent students in our classes. They have a lot to offer the university community.”
And as a parent, he said, it is exciting to see a recognized public research university not only accepting homeschool students, but actively recruiting them. “I think this will be a very welcome development in the network of families in California who are homeschooling their children,” Vahid said. “Most universities have not yet recognized the importance of that group.”
|October 23rd, 2005||#35|
The Meaning of Educational Freedom
By Sam Blumenfeld
Printed in PHS #33, 2000.
Is America still a free country? We like to think so. Yes, we can get into a car and drive wherever we want. We can go to the mall and buy whatever we want. We can read whatever we want, and we can say whatever we want. But when it comes to education, suddenly we are confronted with compulsory school attendance laws, compulsory property taxes to pay for the government schools, compulsory testing, compulsory inoculations, forced busing, restrictions against prayer, forced sex ed, death ed, and drug ed. And now, every day four million children are forced to take Ritalin, a powerful mind- and mood-altering drug, if they want to attend public school.
Through the efforts of the Home School Legal Defense Association, the right of parents to homeschool their children without interference from the state has been fortified by the setting of court precedents and rulings. However, the National Education Association is still determined to put homeschooling out of business through onerous regulation.
Educational freedom means getting the government out of the education business and the idea of compulsion out of education. It means parents providing for their children's education in the same way that they purchase any other service in a free society. The idea that parents can afford to pay rent, buy a car, feed the kids, and buy their clothes but can't pay for their education is preposterous. If parents had to pay for education, they would budget their money to include that expenditure. And they would have the money to do so, because they would not have to pay the high taxes that now support the present wasteful government-owned-and-operated system.
That's the kind of educational freedom that existed in colonial times and the early days of our republic. Imagine how different our history would be if King George III had set up a government education system, with compulsory school attendance laws, and a curriculum that would have brainwashed the children to become loyal and obedient subjects to the King. Would we have had a Declaration of Independence? Would we have had such independent-minded founding fathers as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison? Probably not.
We've been led to believe that without compulsory school attendance, we'd have illiterate, ignorant children sitting home and watching TV all day or roaming the streets and committing crimes. But the glaring fact is that, despite compulsory school attendance laws, we now have more illiteracy, more ignorance, and more delinquency among young Americans than before such laws were enacted. In 1993, a survey of adult literacy in America sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Education, revealed that half the adult population of the United States can barely read or write. That's what 150 years of government schooling have given us!
Back in the days of educational freedom we had 99 percent literacy. In 1812, DuPont de Nemours, the Frenchman who founded the DuPont chemical company, published a book entitled National Education in the United States of America. He wrote:
The United States are more advanced in their educational facilities than most countries. They have a large number of primary schools; and as their paternal affection protects children from working in the fields, it is possible to send them to the school-master - a condition that does not prevail in Europe. Most young Americans, therefore, can read, write and cipher. Not more than four in a thousand are unable to write legibly - even neatly . . . In America, a great number of people read the Bible, and all the people read a newspaper. The fathers read aloud to their children while breakfast is being prepared - a task which occupies the mothers for three quarters of an hour every morning. And as the newspapers of the United States are filled with all sorts of narratives . . . they disseminate an enormous amount of information.
Obviously, back in the early days of the republic, education was a family affair closely connected to religious practice. A nation built on Biblical principles had to be a highly literate one. And all of this high level of literacy was achieved without any government involvement, without any centralized bureaucracy, without any professors of education, or accrediting agencies, or teacher certification. And, most significantly, without any compulsory attendance laws.
The fact that millions of young Americans now emerge from twelve years of compulsory schooling unable to read, write, spell, do basic arithmetic, or speak grammatically, means that the purpose of public education is no longer education but something else. What is that something else? It is politically-correct socialization. But even that doesn't work, since so many of these victims of the system become anti-social delinquents.
What our nation needs now, more than ever, is a return to educational freedom, so that the American people can apply their ingenuity and unbounded energies to the creation of alternatives to the present debilitating system. Technology has now made compulsory school attendance obsolete. One can now learn much more at home than in any public classroom, and at less cost to everyone.
The goal of homeschoolers, Christian educators, libertarians, and conservatives in general should be the repeal of all compulsory school attendance laws, which have become the most powerful weapons the education establishment can use to thwart the competition and force parents to do the educators' will.
These laws not only violate the parents' unalienable right to determine how their children are to be educated, but they violate the 13th Amendment, which prohibits involuntary servitude. No child should be forced to serve the state and the interests of the education establishment. No child should be forced to undergo brainwashing and indoctrination by a self-serving monopoly of facilitators and change agents.
True individual freedom will never be regained in this country until educational freedom is restored. The nature of a society is determined by the way its children are educated. The present atheistic, immoral education system has produced the Columbines, the violence and vandalism than now plague our public schools. The ultimate aim of the system is to lead us into a New World Order in which parents will be deprived of the right to control the education of their children.
If you're not sure what the New World Order will be like, just read the yearly resolutions of the National Education Association and get hold of the Student Data Handbook (NCES 94-303) which describes the scope of information that will be gathered on each child and put into the federal computer in Washington for the purpose of social control.
The compulsory attendance laws are the linchpin of the whole totalitarian plan. Such laws have been used by every modern dictator and tyrannical government to control their people and mold the minds of the children. Such laws are not only not needed in a free society, but ultimately lead to its demise.
For that reason, Marshall Fritz has founded the Separation of School and State Alliance, an organization devoted to unraveling the whole convoluted web of statist control and regulation that is strangling individual and religious freedom. Only when Americans get themselves solidly back on the road to freedom will they be able to transfer to the next generation the true legacy of liberty left to us by our founding fathers.
If you'd like to know more about the Separation of School and State Alliance, call (559) 292-1776 or write to 4578 North First Street, PMB #310, Fresno, CA 93726.
|October 23rd, 2005||#36|
Suspicion can bring intrusions on family
By Michael Smith
October 17, 2005
Imagine a knock at the door at 1 a.m.; you struggle out of bed to find a social worker and a police officer on your doorstep. The social worker has received a report of abuse or neglect about your family and they want to interview your children and inspect your house. You acquiesce because you fear being arrested for not cooperating with the investigation.
Upon conclusion of the interview, the social worker does not find any evidence of abuse or neglect and leaves the home without an apology. Unfortunately, this scenario occurs far too often in the United States.
If a social worker comes to your door, it is often because of an anonymous tip. The tip is generally given the same credibility as a report from a person who identifies himself or herself. In the case of home-schooling families, the tip often is from someone who disapproves of home-schooling. Sometimes tips are phoned in by ex-spouses, who make claims of educational neglect. These allegations are routinely investigated by departments of social services across the country.
Most social workers are decent, reasonable people who work hard to protect the family rather than separate children from their parents. Unfortunately, too often, there is increased suspicion by social services agencies when they hear a family home-schools. It's this attitude and belief system that has led to many confrontations between home-school families and social workers.
Being the subject of an intrusive investigation obviously is traumatic for innocent families. Home School Legal Defense Association attorneys routinely provide advice to families being investigated regarding their rights pursuant to the Fourth Amendment. Families should be protected from overzealous social services investigations, and as home-schooling continues to grow, the number of confrontations will increase simply because there are more home-schoolers.
In response to the growth of home-schooling, Matthew Robb, a freelance writer and social worker, recently covered the discussion about how social workers should respond to the growth of home-schooling in Social Work Today magazine (http://www.socialworktoday.com/modul...ticle&artid=26). One of the principal figures in the article, Rey C. Martinez, a social worker and associate professor of social work at New Mexico Highland Institute, argues home-schoolers should be given the benefit of the doubt.
"I think social workers should approach homeschools with an expectation that they are strong, healthy and functional. ... [T]o operate under the assumption that these people are isolated, that parents are neglectful, and that children are lazy and not receiving proper nutrition or education is really inappropriate," he said in the article.
HSLDA strongly endorses this statement. If this attitude became the norm throughout the social services community, then many unnecessary conflicts could be avoided. Social workers would not start with a presumption of guilt, which unfortunately causes some social workers to be particularly aggressive when pursuing home-school families.
There is no reason for social workers to have a negative opinion of home-schoolers. Home-schooling is now generally accepted as a viable educational choice. Home-schooled children score significantly higher than the national average on standardized achievement tests. In addition, a 2003 study titled Homeschooling Grows Up surveyed 7,300 home-school graduates and found that they are more involved in their communities than the average public school student.
Since home-schooling is here to stay and social workers inevitably will be interacting with more and more home-schoolers, we hope we'll see a gradually improving attitude within the social services community toward home-schoolers.
We also hope that social workers will listen to the advice of Mr. Martinez. It also should be remembered that home-school parents, by the very fact that they are making the sacrifice to home-school, are deeply concerned about the welfare of their children and, by extension, children in general.
As attitudes change, it is hoped departments of social services in all 50 states will be able to efficiently direct their limited resources on targeting abusive parents rather than chasing down anonymous tips involving home-schooling families, which almost always results in a finding that the report is false.
Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at 540/338-5600; or send e-mail to [email protected].
|October 23rd, 2005||#37|
Group Announces Project to Bring One Million Additional Children into Homeschooling
'Homeschooling Family-to-Family' Aims to Mobilize Experienced Christian Homeschoolers and Local Support Groups to Share Blessings of Homeschooling Through Mentoring Outreach
To: National Desk, Education, Religion, Feature Reporter
Contact: E. Ray Moore, Jr., Chaplain (Lt.Col.) USAR Ret. Exodus Mandate founder, 803-714-1744, [email protected]; Bruce N. Shortt, project designer, 832-483-8882, [email protected]
HOMESCHOOL ORGANIZATION CONTACT: Jube Dankworth, National Director, Homeschooling Family to Family, 713-937-7510 and [email protected], www.homeschoolingfamilytofamily.org.
COLUMBIA, SC, Oct. 6 /Christian Wire Service/ Exodus Mandate announced today that it has launched "Homeschooling Family-to-Family" (HFTF) with strong support from important homeschooling organizations such as the Home School Legal Defense Association, the Southern Baptist Church Home Education Association, and the National Black Home Educators Resource Association. Homeschooling Family-to-Family encourages experienced homeschoolers to "share their heart for homeschooling" by offering to mentor families they already know into homeschooling. HFTF's goal is to bring over one million new children into homeschooling over a five to seven year period, thereby strengthening state and local homeschooling organizations.
As Exodus Mandate founder E. Ray Moore, Jr., points out, the need for Homeschooling Family-to-Family is obvious: "I think virtually every experienced homeschool family has serious conversations about homeschooling every year with friends, neighbors, and relatives who are intrigued by homeschooling, but who are a little afraid to start. HFTF asks experienced Christian homeschoolers to take the initiative by helping one of those families set aside its fears and start homeschooling by extending the hand of Christian fellowship as a homeschool mentor. In many cases HFTF mentoring would also be an excellent opportunity to share the Gospel."
While many local support groups already have excellent mentoring programs for families who come to them asking for help, Moore adds that "HFTF asks experienced homeschoolers to become more evangelical by transforming homeschooling conversations across the kitchen table with friends, neighbors, and relatives into a positive homeschooling outreach."
HFTF mentors will help new families by guiding them through curriculum decisions, introducing them to support groups and the social side of homeschooling, providing regular encouragement and counsel, and praying for them. In addition to its website materials (text, links, and streaming audio and video) and e-newsletter, Homeschooling Family-to-Family makes available DVD's, CD's, articles, and brochures to mentors through homeschool support groups and other organizations. All these materials are designed to help mentors bring families interested in homeschooling to an informed decision about whether to homeschool.
Jube Dankworth, National Director of HFTF, emphasizes the importance of state and local homeschooling organizations to the success of HFTF: "We know that homeschooling has grown organically from the grassroots, and especially through state and local homeschool organizations. Consequently, HFTF is based on the premise that mentors and state and local organizations will be the real leaders. We're here to help grassroots organizations with our newsletter, website, and other resources as requested. We are delighted that the Homeschooling Family-to-Family message has the support of important homeschooling organizations, and we hope that many more homeschooling organizations at the state and local level will help get the HFTF vision to the grassroots."
Elizabeth Watkins, Founder and Director of the Southern Baptist Convention Home Education Association (www.sbchea.org), sees the broader implications of HFTF: "Families with children are a huge mission field. HFTF is a wonderful opportunity for evangelism and Christian character development as well as homeschool mentoring."
Like Watkins, Bruce Shortt, author of The Harsh Truth About Public Schools and a designer of HFTF, sees HFTF as part of Christian evangelism: "Unlike the gimmicks that often pass for Christian evangelism today, Christian homeschooling is true revival, and HFTF is the perfect opportunity for Christian homeschoolers to become more evangelical."
In addition to being National Director of HFTF, Jube Dankworth is a long-time Texas homeschool leader and founder of Texas Homeschool Educators. Ray Moore believes Dankworth's selection as National Director brings real strength to HFTF: "We are delighted to find someone with Jube Dankworth's longtime homeschooling experience, deep spiritual walk, and commitment to the Christian Faith. Her vast knowledge of both the national homeschooling scene and mastery of internet technologies will enable her to help advance homeschooling for Christian families all over the USA."
COMMENTS FROM OTHER NATIONAL HOMESCHOOL LEADERS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING FAMILY-TO-FAMILY:
Mike Smith, President of Home School Legal Defense Association (www.hslda.org):
"I believe the Homeschooling Family-to-Family program has the potential to grow home schooling the way the Evangelism Explosion program has expanded the Kingdom of God through one-on-one evangelism. It is a tool that will work and will be a blessing to both the mentor family and the new home schooling family. If we believe home schooling had benefited our family, we should want to share our experience with families that need a little help getting started home schooling."
Joyce Burges, Co-Founder of National Black Home Educators Resource Association (www.nbhera.org):
"I encourage you to share your heart with a new homeschooler. When I first started homeschooling 14 years ago, finding someone who looked like me was next to impossible. However I did find someone who was homeschooling just like me. This remarkable woman took me under her wing and shared her life with me. I will always remember her giving me books and anything else I needed to be successful in this new venture. Our sons spent time together. We studied together. We went on field trips and helped to serve our community in a positive way. This helped my son to learn quality leadership abilities. These days, I am the one spending time with new homeschool moms."
Gary and Denise Kanter, Considering Homeschooling Ministry (www.consideringhomeschooling.org):
"Homeschooling Family-to-Family is a much needed mentorship ministry to encourage Christian families to homeschool their children. Their plan of encouraging homeschool families to reach out and mentor other families is a simple way to communicate to our brothers and sisters in Christ the value of a Biblical home education. My wife and I know Rev. E. Ray Moore and Dr. Bruce Shortt through our mutual efforts, we value their friendship and admire their commitment to seeing that all children from Christian homes be given the opportunity to have a Godly education."
Pat Marcum, Director of Homeschool Headquarters:
"For several years I have felt homeschool families needed to get out of their homes and churches and communicate the positive homeschool gospel to new families. I have also urged this new approach upon many national homeschool leaders. HFTF can help meet this need and help grow homeschooling nationally. I am happy to support this effort and urge others to do the same."
More information about the HFTF ministry and Christian homeschooling can be found at www.homeschoolingfamilytofamily.org.
|October 23rd, 2005||#38|
Why Corporate Reformers are Ignoring the Real Revolution in Education
By Greg Beato, 4/10/2005 11:22:58 PM
It's Saturday morning in downtown Modesto, California, and for a city with 200,000 residents, not much is happening. The streets are mostly empty, and the outdoor tables at Starbucks are unoccupied. Outside the Modesto Convention Center, though, a steady wave of soccer moms (and a smattering of soccer dads) are pushing strollers and lugging plastic shopping bags as they enter and exit the center's 12,000-square-foot exhibition hall. Inside, representatives from dozens of educational publishers and related concerns pitch their wares to the attendees of the Valley Home Educators 11th Annual Home Education Convention.
Valley Home Educators is faith-based, and so are many of the exhibitors and seminar speakers. Among the mainstream basic skills primers and educational toys on display, there are titles like The Christian Teaching of Mathematics and Biblical Economics in Comics—along with items that could send secular public school dissidents fleeing to the comfort of their local PTA meeting. One vendor is distributing a pamphlet whose cover displays a terrified tot; the title is The Urgency of Enforcing Parental Discipline. Elsewhere Robert E. Lee: Gallant Christian Soldier is available, and there are workshops on "Biblical Principles for Government" and "Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family."
But what's at least as striking as the event's religious component is how enthusiastic everyone is. The aisles buzz with the energy characteristic of all large gatherings where hitherto unlinked individuals are thrilled to discover that, yes, there are others -- lots of them -- who dress up like giant plush toys, or consort with medically invasive aliens, or teach their kids at home. And it's not just the parents who are excited. Young teens are leafing through math instruction systems, skimming adventure novels, and generally displaying the well-mannered exuberance of trained dolphins.
A semi-exclusive door policy is in effect: Children under the age of 12 are out of luck, unless they happen to be "nursing infants whose parents are considerate of others." Presumably, this means that everyone else is welcome — including, say, grant makers, former CEOs with a penchant for pedagogical re-engineering, and pretty much anyone else from the world of mainstream education reform. No one like that has shown up, however. Despite homeschooling's increasing popularity—a recent report from the U.S. Department of Education estimates that approximately 1.1 million students are now being homeschooled in the United States—neither corporate altruists nor philanthropic foundations have shown much interest in it.
Instead, would-be reformers continue to give generously to a public school system they routinely condemn as inefficient, dysfunctional, and hopelessly obsolete. To fix such a system, they say, it will take fresh thinking, radical change, a completely new approach. So instead of dumping billions each year into the public school system, as the federal government does, today's private-sector benefactors forge an entirely different path, dumping only hundreds of millions each year into the public school system. They promote charter schools (which boast a nationwide enrollment of around 500,000). They champion school vouchers (which are currently used by fewer than 20,000 students nationwide).
The Business of Reform
In doing so, they overlook people like Joyce and Eric Burges, who are at the Valley Home Educators convention promoting their organization, the National Black Home Educators Resource Association. The Burgeses produce an annual symposium for African-American families in their home state of Louisiana, and Joyce Burges dreams of opening up a series of private learning centers where homeschooling parents can combine resources and offer instruction in a central location. In pursuit of this goal, Burges has reached out to local businesses and foundations, but few have responded so far. "We're an upstart, grassroots organization," she says, "so I'm asking businesses for anything that can help us get the word out that parental involvement in education is a viable way of ensuring that children do exceptionally well....A lot of them say, 'Yes, we sense your passion, but we can't really do anything.'" [One is forced to pay double for a tiny bit of freedom outside the Judeo-System. This too is tyranny...]
According to the American Society for Training and Development, a workplace-learning trade group based in Alexandria, Virginia, a survey of Fortune 500 companies found that teaching employees "basic skills" accounted for 17 percent of their training costs in 2002. Similarly, in a 2001 survey conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers, 32 percent of the companies responding reported that their workers had poor reading and writing skills; 26.2 percent said their workers' math skills were inadequate. By 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts, America will face a shortage of 12 million qualified workers in the job market's fastest-growing sectors.
While public school reform has existed for almost as long as public schools have, the business world has made it a major preoccupation over the last two decades. In April 1983, a federal report titled A Nation at Risk helped kick off the modern era of Whither Our Schools? malaise. "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war," the report declared. "If only to keep and improve on the slim competitive edge we still retain in world markets, we must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all—old and young alike, affluent and poor, majority and minority. Learning is the indispensable investment required for success in the 'information age' we are entering."
There was plenty of evidence to support such pessimism. In 1982, for example, Time reported that half of the employees at Ford who'd been selected to learn new statistical process control techniques couldn't understand the training materials due to poor reading and math skills. Similarly, when a G.M. plant issued a questionnaire asking employees what kind of basic training they needed, many couldn't understand the questionnaire well enough to complete it.
As part of his 1991 proposal to overhaul the nation's education system, President George H.W. Bush invited big business to take part in the fun. "The architects of the New American School should break the mold," he advised. "Build for the next century....Start from scratch and reinvent the American school....There's a special place in inventing the New American School for the corporate community, for business and labor." Instead of starting from scratch, though, pedagogical turnaround artists sought out the familiar. Public schools had market share. They were semi-desperate for cash and thus fairly compliant. In the software world, Microsoft is known for "embracing and extending" popular standards developed elsewhere. In the realm of education, virtually every corporate philanthropist employs this strategy, and thus the money flows to public schools.
A few months after Bush's 1991 address, a group of CEOs created the New American Schools Development Corporation. Furnished with $130 million in contributions, they aimed to shake up "the nation's stagnating education system with the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector." In 1993 billionaire publisher Walter Annenberg [jew] upped the ante with a $500 million pledge for public schools. A year later, IBM introduced its Reinventing Education initiative; during the next decade, it invested $70 million in the program. Since its 2000 inception, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has distributed more than $600 million to 1,457 high schools and committed more than a $1 billion to the Gates Millennium Scholars program, a college scholarship program for low-income minority students. Hewlett-Packard has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment and cash to schools and universities. Wal-Mart donated $40 million to education-related causes in 2003. According to the Foundation Center, a nonprofit organization that compiles information on U.S. philanthropy, elementary and secondary schools received $1,176,520,000 in grants during 2002, or roughly 7.4 percent of all distributions that year.
In a public school system where expenditures for 2003–2004 totaled a whopping $501 billion, though, $1.1 billion takes you only so far—especially since some of that money was actually donated to private institutions. In 1992 the "status dropout rate," which represents the percentage of 16-to-24-year-olds who aren't enrolled in school and haven't earned a high school credential, was 11 percent. A decade later, in 2001, it was 10.7 percent. SAT scores are less stagnant. In 1991 the average score was 999 (adjusted to account for subsequent changes in the scoring scale). In 2004 it rose to 1026. Even so, both colleges and employers continue to report that many high school graduates are unprepared for higher education or the workplace. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 28 percent of incoming college freshman took at least one remedial course in 2000.
Against such stats, another set of numbers looms: The public school system is 90,000 schools strong, 3 million teachers wide, 47 million students deep. So while it's easy enough to demand euthanasia, it's another thing entirely to actually kill the beast.
And for the business community, such grave measures would also be an admission of failure. While corporate reformers often talk as if every public school failure can be blamed on the inevitable inefficiencies of public-sector monopolists, the truth is that private forces have been helping to shape America's public education system since its inception. In the 19th century, for example, wealthy philanthropists popularized the idea that tormenting children with fractions and vowels required specialized training and certification; the teaching colleges they helped create ushered in the era of the professional instructor. In more recent years, as education historian David Tyack has pointed out, it wasn't just fuzzy-minded progressives who sabotaged our schools with holistic curricula like metal shop and driver's ed. For those innovations, we also have the National Association of Manufacturers, car dealers, and insurance companies to thank.
If today's corporate reformers don't know much about history, they do display a well-developed sense of irony. In one breath, they argue for more "school choice." In the next, they advocate the development of "best practices" that can be franchised from classroom to classroom and lobby for legislation like the No Child Left Behind Act, which essentially coerces all schools everywhere to teach the same subjects using the same methods and materials. To streamline an education system where "the vast majority of students and teachers are struggling against bureaucratic constraints," IBM introduced its Reinventing Education program, which, in impeccably fluent Educratese, proudly touts its "student assessment practices, continuous teacher improvement models, and teacher instructional planning." If there's anything that can get apathetic students and teachers energized about learning, it's "student assessment practices" and "continuous teacher improvement models."
The idea that the public school system is an Industrial Age artifact, a dreary factory (or prison) of learning, is a staple amongst education critics, including many corporate reformers. It's also what the latter like best about it. "The trend these days is really to intensify standardization, to intensify the curriculum. It's like the children are resources like gold or oil that need to be developed," observes education consultant Patrick Farenga, whose own approach to homeschooling follows that of his mentor, the late John Holt, who coined the term "unschooling" and popularized the idea of unregimented, child-directed learning in influential books such as How Children Fail and Instead of Education. Corporate philanthropists tend to like regimentation, though, and inevitably they think of education in business terms, emphasizing productivity, enforcing quality control, demanding measurable results.
To participate in IBM's Reinventing Education program, schools must agree to work overtime, "extending the length of the school day and school year." Charter schools, another favorite of education reformers, can be havens of Holtism, but they also often display a penchant for uniforms and discipline codes. In today's enlightened corporations, casual Fridays and flex-time rule, but yesterday's workplace lives on in the schools of tomorrow.
A Homegrown Alternative
In 2002, when the national average SAT score was 1020, homeschoolers averaged 1092. In 2003, 248 homeschoolers achieved semifinalist status in the National Merit Scholar program, with 109 of them winning Merit Scholarship awards. In 2004 homeschoolers scored an average of 22.6 on the ACT college entrance exam. By comparison, public school students scored an average of 20.9.
All of these statistics are mitigated by the fact that relatively few homeschoolers take national achievement tests (or at least identify themselves as homeschoolers when they do). While more than 1.1 million public and private school students took the ACT exam in 2004, only 7,858 self-identified homeschoolers did so. It's possible, skeptics argue, that their strong performances aren't representative of all homeschool students (many of whom, of course, are too young for high school achievement tests).
Still, as the number of homeschooled test takers grows, their overall average stays higher than their traditionally schooled counterparts. In 1997, when 1,927 homeschoolers took the test, they averaged 22.5. During the next eight years, as the number of homeschoolers taking the test increased 307 percent, their annual average score topped the national average every time.
Thanks in part to such statistics, the general take on homeschooling is starting to change. Or at least the media's take is. You can still occasionally find articles that stereotype homeschoolers as gubmint-hatin' religious wackos, or fretfully posit the demise of Miss Grundy's English class as the end of democratic pluralism. (Never mind that old Abe Lincoln himself was a homeschooler!) These days, though, homeschooling mostly gets good press, and articles extolling its virtues exhibit all the subtlety of an infomercial host. Meet the Florida 16-year-old who scored a perfect 1600 on her SAT! And the Michigan 10-year-old who took first place in the 2002 National Geography Bee! And the Type A Renaissance kid who gargles in Latin, plays cello in the local orchestra, and thinks taking out the trash is a great way to earn extra credit!
Of course, there are also homeschoolers who do lousy on standardized tests. Some have never even built their own harpsichord from scratch or taught themselves how to read hieroglyphics. But the positive anecdotes and statistics do make it clear that overcrowded classrooms, peer pressure, and apathetic teachers are no longer the only guarantors of academic success. College admissions officers have been quick to pick up on this: A decade ago, homeschool students rarely were accepted by top universities such as Harvard or Stanford, but now such events are commonplace. More than 1,000 colleges in the U.S. will consider applications from homeschooled students.
Part of the reason corporate philanthropists haven't shown a similar interest is that it's not very convenient to give money to homeschoolers. "If you're a foundation or a corporate gifts program and you can't find a 501(c)3 to give your money to, you're not getting the tax deduction," says Justin Torres, research director of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank devoted to education reform. "Then you're just giving money to an individual, and there are all kinds of IRS headaches with that."
As homeschooling evolves, though, more homeschooling groups are filing for 501(c)3 status. There are national groups such as Brian Ray's National Home Education Research Institute and regional ones such as the California Homeschool Network. But while headache-free giving opportunities in the world of homeschooling do exist, size matters too. If you really want to turn a philanthropist on, it helps to be big. Hewlett-Packard, for example, doesn't consider requests from individual K–12 schools, and IBM's Reinventing Education program set its sights on the vast forest of the public school system, not mere trees. "Rather than creating a model school or enriching a few classrooms with technology, our goal is to use technology to jumpstart comprehensive and lasting school reforms," the company announced at the program's inception.
"Business leaders focus on how to get the most impact with the least effort," says Matt Gandal, executive vice president of Achieve Inc., an education reform group that features such high-profile executives as Prudential CEO Arthur Ryan and Intel CEO Craig Barrett on its board. As with many business-driven reformers, Achieve's mission is to strengthen standards, assessments, and accountability—in effect, to homogenize the school system to ensure uniform levels of achievement. Homeschooling, on the other hand, is essentially an attempt to diversify education. Some homeschoolers are just as focused on standards as groups like Achieve are. Others have little interest in tests or assessments of any kind. "You can have more impact on something that's actually a system," Gandal concludes.
Since homeschoolers value their autonomy so strongly, it's easy to assume they have no interest in outside assistance. In a two-income society, however, homeschooling is something of a financial anachronism, and many homeschoolers are thus less closed-minded on the subject than one might assume.
Take the financial assistance offered by the Children's Scholarship Fund, an organization co-founded by Wal-Mart heir John Walton that makes private and parochial schools a more viable option for low-income families by granting partial scholarships. As part of its efforts, it offers scholarships to homeschoolers as well, but hasn't emphasized this fact in its outreach efforts. When the organization first publicized its program in 1999, it received applications for more than 1.25 million eligible children. Currently, around 24,000 children receive support from the Fund Scholarships, with an average grant of $1,200 each. Of those 24,000, just 110 are homeschoolers. Since all applicants are chosen by lottery at odds of about 1.9 in 100, however, what this means is that more than 5,700 homeschooling families have sought assistance from the Children's Scholarship Fund, even though the organization has done little to court them.
As homeschoolers organize, sharing communal space and equipment, and sometimes even hiring teachers and other personnel, the impact a philanthropist can have on their efforts becomes substantial. Consider the Family Educators Alliance of South Texas (FEAST), which is based in San Antonio. Informally organized in the mid-'80s and incorporated since 1989, the emphatically Christian organization operates out of a former private high school that it purchased several years ago. Around 400 students attend at least one of the dozens of once-a-week courses it offers, and approximately 15,000 homeschooling families purchase homeschooling curricula from its bookstore.
Today, revenue from the bookstore and donations from parents provide FEAST's budget, but its long-term stability is due in large part to the generosity of James Leininger, a multimillionaire entrepreneur who made a fortune selling hospital beds, then branched out into numerous other endeavours, include partial ownership of the San Antonio Spurs. Known to his detractors as "God's sugar daddy" and the "Daddy Warbucks" of Texas conservatism, Leininger purchased a former bowling alley for FEAST in the early '90s, at a time when the group was operating out of a single office. "He told us, 'I'll buy it, but it's up to you guys to fix it up,'" says Ruth Perez, director of FEAST. "His support was pivotal in allowing us to prosper."
Right now, aspiring FEASTs outnumber homeschool-loving Daddy Warbucks types. And unless education reformers start viewing self-reliant, deeply committed mavericks positively rather than negatively, that will remain the case. "Corporate philanthropists want to generate positive headlines and good feelings," says the Fordham Foundation's Torres. "They're always going to err on the side of caution."
But in today's education landscape, where even the most generous donors can't hope to sustain a system that burns through $500 billion a year, philanthropists ultimately function as venture capitalists: They support good ideas with seed money and hope the best ones eventually find a market. Extending this metaphor, imagine if, in the mid-'90s, high tech's flushest angels decided to snub Internet trailblazers like eBay and Amazon and put all their money into the proposition that Montgomery Ward would pioneer online commerce. Essentially, this is the strategy of today's corporate philanthropists when it comes to education reform.
What makes such lack of interest especially baffling is that, theoretically at least, homeschooling seems tailor-made to the values and needs of business. It's a private, union-free institution in which the government plays only a minor role. It's an endlessly customizable approach to education that offers an alternative to the one-size-fits-all limitations of public school. It produces self-directed individuals who have learned how to acquire new skills without constant supervision or coercion.
The downside? It may be a little harder to mass-market Doritos, Nikes, and other articles of trade in a Southern Baptist's living room than it is in a public school. But in an era when the phrase school choice has become the mantra of so many education reformers and philanthropists, homeschooling, a choice that millions of parents and children have already enthusiastically embraced, remains the most unleveraged asset in the education universe.
Greg Beato has written for dozens of publications, including SPIN, Wired, Business 2.0, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
|October 31st, 2005||#39|
Join Date: Aug 2005
Is this the Alex Linder thread? LOL
Well, by looking at the posts on this thread, I have come to the conclusion that Alex Linder favors homeschooling. I 100% concur, and if there is any way possible I am going to try to homeschool my kids. Public schools are worse than a sick joke; they are dangerous hellholes for White kids, even in mostly White areas. White Solidarity. :box:
|February 25th, 2007||#40|
The 'Value' of Public Schooling
by Jacob G. Hornberger
There are two major values of public schooling, from the perspective of government officials. One, this institution provides the means by which government officials can slowly but surely, over a period of 12 years, mold the mindsets of children into one of conformity and obedience to authority. Second, public schooling enables government officials to fill children’s minds with officially approved political, historical, and economic doctrine.
Public schooling is much like the military. What is the first thing that the military does to new recruits? No, not teach them to fight or kill. That comes later. First comes boot camp, a seemingly nonsensical period of time in which soldiers are ordered to drop down for pushups at the whim of an officer. Soldiers learn to march together in unison, mastering such movements as right-face and left-face. They’re taught to respond without hesitation with “Yes, sir” and “No, sir” to an officer barking questions a few inches away from their face.
Why? Why does the military spend time teaching those things to new soldiers? After all, none of them comes in very handy once the actual fighting begins.
The reason is very simple: to mold each person’s mindset into one of strict conformity and obedience. That is, higher-ups in the military know that if they can compel a person to do something as ridiculous and nonsensical as a right-face and a left-face, then there is a greater likelihood that that person will obey other orders without question.
Or if a person can be taught to obey orders to march in unison within a group of people, all of whom are wearing the same uniform, there is a strong likelihood that such a person will lose his sense of individuality and instead simply consider himself part of the collective.
That is the real value of military boot camp – it very quickly eliminates all notions of individuality within the human being and makes him feel that conformity and obedience are the only acceptable states of mind.
In principle, the public-schooling system is no different, although government officials have a much longer period of time – 12 years – in which to accomplish the same task – produce mindsets of conformity and obedience.
That’s not only what compulsory-attendance laws are all about but also the manner in which public schools are operated.
Compulsory-attendance laws are, in principle, no different from the compulsory draft that the military employs.
In the draft system, the government sends a notice to a citizen commanding him to appear at a military installation for compulsory service in the military. If the citizen refuses, he faces criminal indictment, prosecution, conviction, imprisonment, and fine.
In the public-school system, families are required to submit their children to a state-approved education. While this encompasses attendance at state-approved private schools and homeschooling, for most families compulsory-attendance laws mean sending their children into public schools in their neighborhood for education. Those families who refuse to submit their children to a state-approved education face the same things that draft resisters face: criminal indictment, prosecution, conviction, imprisonment, and fine.
Equally important, the operation of public schools tends to produce the same type of mindset that the military produces – one of conformity and obedience to state authority. Just as in the military, the student is taught to conform to what some people would ordinarily consider nonsensical rules and regulations that bear no relationship to a genuine love of learning.
For example, consider the rigid class schedules that are imposed in public schools. All students are required to attend a daily series of 50-minute classes addressing several different subjects. When the bell rings at the end of one class, the student is expected to immediately proceed to the next class. If he fails to arrive on time, he is punished. Never mind that he might not be interested in the subject matter of the next class or that he might want to stay and talk with other students or the teacher about a subject that he is genuinely interested in. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that he respond to the bells and obey.
That rigidity, conformity, and obedience may be perfectly suitable for some types of people, just as the military way of life is perfectly suitable for some types of people. The problem, however, is that not everyone is suited to that way of life. For those who are more individualistic, more free-spirited, the public-school experience becomes a long, 12-year battle in which the military-like school system tends toward grinding away at the natural sense of individualism and independence that characterize those students, a process that such students naturally resist.
For example, suppose a student says to his public-school administrators, “I absolutely love playing the piano. I am totally uninterested in math, chemistry, and a foreign language. Therefore, I have made the decision to stay in music class six hours every day for the next three months and take no other classes.”
How would the public-school administrator respond? He would laugh out loud at such an audacious statement. He would firmly tell the student to follow the class schedule that the school has provided him . . . or else. In earlier years, the student would have even faced a paddling with a “board of education” if he insisted on skipping regularly scheduled, mandatory classes to play the piano.
One might respond that the student has the choice of dropping out of public school and receiving his state-approved education from a private school or through homeschooling. The problem, however, is that most private schools have the same rigid-type curriculum system that public schools have. After all, private schools must be approved by the state in order to meet the standard of a “state-approved” education. Moreover, many parents simply lack the competence or time to homeschool.
Under a free-market educational system, however, each family would be free to fashion the education that would fit each child in the family. If a child said, “I want to do nothing but play the piano for the next six months and study nothing else,” that would be up to the family, not the state. And before someone says, “It would be irresponsible for a family to educate the child in that way,” reflect on the fact that many students travel abroad each summer to study nothing but a foreign language and that they study that language for several hours every single day for several weeks at a time. No math or science classes. Just the foreign language.
The point is that in the compulsory state system, the military-like way of learning is imposed on everyone, even those who are not suited for that way of life. The result is an endless battle in which individualistic students come to hate school and learning in general.
In a noncoerced educational system – that is, one in which the state is not involved in any way – the family controls the educational environment of its children. Thus, if a child says, “I think I’ll just go fishing today and reflect on the ideas and philosophies I’ve been studying,” the parents are free to say, “That sounds like an exciting idea.” If the student tries that in the state system, he will be told, “Try it and you’ll find yourself in detention for the next three weeks.”
What happens to those public-school students who rebel against the military-like regimentation that characterizes public schools? Government administrators make them feel like something is wrong with them. Even worse, they convince their parents that something is wrong with them. The students are sent to school psychiatrists who diagnose mental disorders such as “attention deficit disorder.”
Think about how a new military recruit who announced “I’m going fishing today instead of learning how to march” would be treated. Would not everyone in his unit think he was crazy? That’s the same way school administrators would feel about the student who said the same thing. He’d be considered crazy – or at least distracted. Of course, in the mind of the state official, the malady is nothing that drugs, such as Ritalin, can’t cure. Given the right dosage of drugs, over time the mind of the recalcitrant, independent-minded student will be molded in the “proper” way, especially over the 12 long years that the state has control over him.
Indoctrination and textbooks
The other value of public schooling, from the standpoint of the state, is the ability of government officials to fill the minds of children with important, officially approved ideas, philosophies, and standpoints, especially with respect to politics, history, government, and economics.
After all, what textbooks are used in public schools? Those textbooks that have been carefully chosen by state officials. If a proposed textbook contains objectionable material or omits important officially approved material, what chance does it have to become the official textbook used in public schools across the state? Answer: No chance at all.
By the very nature of government schooling, the matter of what goes into school textbooks must necessarily be a political matter, to be decided by those in political power. And since the choice of textbooks customarily applies to public schools across the state, all children receive the same government-approved information.
Moreover, there is virtually no choice for the parents who cannot afford to send their children to private school or who are unable or unwilling to home-school. They must send their children to the public school in their neighborhood. That is, there is not a multitude of public schools from which to choose. And even if there were, they would most likely all be using the same textbooks.
Why is the textbook important? Because the teacher is expected to base his teaching on it. Sure, a teacher has some leeway to be flexible but imagine what would happen to a public-school teacher who announced to his classes, “What is written in these textbooks is claptrap, lies, and deceptions. I’m going to be teaching you the truth about the nature of the government, government schooling, free markets, individualism, and liberty.”
What would happen to that teacher? He would slowly (or perhaps quickly) be grinded down, to the point where he either got pushed out of the public-school system or be made to conform.
Here’s what would happen: A student would return home and report to his parents what the teacher was saying. A major political crisis would quickly erupt. His parents would call a member of the school board, which consists of elected officials, and complain. The school board, scared of the political consequences, would contact the principal, who would have a talk with the teacher. If the teacher refused to back down, the school board would call a public meeting, where the teacher would be given the opportunity to state his case to the board – and to the voters. Given the nature of politics, voter sentiment would play an important role in the school board’s ultimate decision.
Since the teacher’s teaching would be contrary to the official doctrines found in the textbook, he would have a heavy burden to overcome. Most likely, he would lose. The teacher would be left with a choice: stand fast and lose his job or give in and teach the information contained in the textbook.
Libertarianism and public schooling
That’s why it is extremely unlikely that one would ever find libertarianism taught as a philosophy in any public school. For one thing, libertarian principles would contradict most of the claptrap found in government textbooks. Do you have doubts? Well, imagine a public-school teacher openly announcing at the beginning of the semester that he would be teaching the following things in his government class:
1. The drug war is an immoral sham that has accomplished nothing more than enriching government officials and drug dealers. Drugs should be decriminalized.
2. Public schooling is nothing more than a system of socialism applied to education. It should be abolished, leaving education to the free market.
3. Abraham Lincoln waged war on the Confederacy for the purpose not of freeing the slaves but of preserving the Union.
4. U.S. intervention in World War I constituted a horrible waste of American life. It did not accomplish its purported goal of making the world safe for democracy and ending all future wars and actually contributed to the rise of N. Lenin and Adolf Hitler.
5. The federal government, not free enterprise, caused the 1929 stock-market crash and the Great Depression.
6. Franklin Roosevelt intentionally lied to the American people when he said that he was doing his best to keep America out of World War II.
7. U.S. officials during World War II intentionally delivered East Germany and Eastern Europe into the clutches of the Soviet communists.
8. Lyndon Johnson won his 1948 U.S. Senate race by stuffing the ballot box with fake ballots and later, as president, he intentionally lied about the supposed attack on U.S. forces in the Gulf of Tonkin.
9. The U.S. government’s interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East gave rise to the 9/11 attacks.
10. Given that Iraq never attacked the United States, President Bush’s war on Iraq constitutes a “war of aggression,” a type of war that was punished as a war crime by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.
11. Minimum-wage laws hurt the poor and should be repealed.
12. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are immoral, socialist programs that should be abolished immediately, along with the taxes that fund them.
What do you think would happen to that teacher?
Public schooling and Cuba
I’m not suggesting, of course, that there are no libertarians teaching in the public schools. In fact, there are and they do a great job introducing libertarian principles to students. But they must be very careful about how they present their arguments. Usually they learn to carefully couch them in terms of improving the system.
In fact, that’s also how things work in Cuba, where public schooling is one of Fidel Castro’s proudest accomplishments (along with government-provided health care). It’s illegal for any public-school teacher in Cuba to challenge the Cuban system. But as long as arguments are couched in terms of “improving the Revolution,” teachers have some degree of flexibility.
As a matter of fact, a comparison of public schooling in Cuba and the United States will help to drive home the points I am making in this article. The systems in both countries are based on the same principles. Government officials are in charge of educating the children in the nation. Government-approved textbooks that contain government-approved doctrine are used. Government employees teach the students. The curriculum is set by the government.
So is there any difference? Yes, both in the mindsets that are produced and in the materials taught, which is why maintaining control over education is so important, both to U.S. officials and to Cuban officials.
For example, most Cubans know that public schooling and government-provided health care constitute socialism, and they are very proud of their educational and healthcare systems. They would not want to see them abolished.
On the other hand, most Americans honestly believe that public schooling and Medicare and Medicaid constitute “free enterprise,” and they are very proud of their educational and health-care systems. They too would not want to see them abolished.
The mindsets in both countries reflect the value of doctrines taught by government officials during the 12-year period when government officials had control over children.
Do you recall the big battle of Elián, the young boy whose mother died while trying to escape Cuba and make it to the United States? Everyone knew that whichever government school got ahold of him – and maintained a hold over him for 12 years – would ultimately win out in terms of his mindset.
Today, Elián praises Fidel Castro and the Cuban system. No doubt he thinks he’s free, especially given that the Cuban system involves free education and free health care. If he had remained in America’s public schools, he would very likely have felt differently about matters in Cuba but would have been nevertheless praising public schooling, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in the United States.
That’s the power of public schooling.
Several years ago, I visited Cuba and was walking through a museum that detailed all the attempts that the CIA had made to assassinate Castro and effect “regime change” in Cuba, including the invasion at the Bay of Pigs. I saw a class of primary-school students and their teacher taking a field trip through the museum.
To no one’s surprise, the teacher was filling the students’ minds with the Cuban government’s officially approved doctrine. But it would not have been any different in principle if a class of public-school students from Miami had been taking a field trip through a CIA museum in the United States. The Cuban students would be taught that the U.S. government wrongfully interferes in the affairs of other countries, even making use of assassination. American students would be taught that their government spreads freedom and democracy around the globe and would probably not be told that their government uses assassination as one of its policy tools.
One amusing aspect of the comparison between the Cuban and U.S. educational systems appeared recently. A controversy arose in Miami because the library of some public school carried a book that praised public schooling in Cuba. There was an outcry because it’s considered improper and unpatriotic to say good things about Castro or his system in American public schools.
A Cuban woman who had served in the Cuban public-school system and who was now living in Miami said that the whole controversy confirmed the advantages of democracy over tyranny. She explained that at least in the U.S. educational system, there are discussions and debates among government bureaucrats over what books should be permitted in public schools, while in Cuba, only one official – Fidel Castro – makes that decision.
The woman obviously is convinced that public schooling in the United States is “freedom” because education in this country is centrally planned by government bureaucracies, while in Cuba, education is “tyranny” because it is centrally planned by only one government official.
Government schooling has proven invaluable to government officials all over the world, especially since the mindset of conformity and obedience that is produced lasts long into adulthood. As in the military, such a mindset has historically been the best friend of government officials. The good news is that the malady is not incurable, as so many libertarians who are products of public schooling, including myself, can attest.
February 22, 2007
Jacob Hornberger [send him mail] is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He will be among the 22 speakers at FFF’s upcoming conference on June 1–4 in Reston, Virginia: “Restoring the Constitution: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties.”