Is Kalifornia poised to launch one of the biggest manhunts in history? Are they going stamp out the scourge of homeschooling, once and for all — before it’s too late? Is a free market in education the greatest domestic threat after al-Qaeda? Was John Connor homeschooled?
I have taught in government schools and thought I was a slow learner because it took me five years to leave. John Taylor Gatto stayed and documented an exhaustive indictment of the system. However, we should never be as upset about the "failures" of public education as we are about its "successes": Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt can tell you more than you want to know about the real agenda of government-controlled education. The dumbing down is quite deliberate.
A few observations I made have been validated again and again:
- Government Schools are the Reproductive Organs of the State. They have been formulated according to the Prussian Model for State Control to train Obedient Servants of the State.
- Academics take a back seat to Socialization/Compliance.
- The students are Never the main concern of the system. It’s not "for the Children." It’s for the State.
- The "Honor" of government school honor students cannot be recognized except within the bounds of Compliance. But how can compliance with Evil be defined as "Honor"? The young pliable minds of our children are often conditioned to think going along to get along is the equivalent of being smart.
Sam Blumenfeld has compared public school indoctrination to an "involuntary non-surgical prefrontal lobotomy." I agree! The child study team is studying the right kids for all the wrong reasons. If a young boy seems fidgety; inattentive; or doesn’t seem to be able to get along with his "peers," he is studied, referred and drugged. The result: "Free Drug School Zones."
For a good read, get one of Blumenfeld’s books: NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education, Is Public Education Necessary? If the teacher’s unions really believed in excellence and academic integrity they would be overtly critical of government so as to make it impossible for them to survive as the most powerful lobbying entities. Their funding would dry up fast. What they do believe in is "Entrenched Mediocrity." They absolutely worship Tenure. And the worst teachers gravitate toward Administration where they can work less and do more damage. Thankfully, a small remnant has always existed and Sam maintains they were teaching "Closet Phonics" for decades. Otherwise almost no one would have learned to read during the plague called the Whole-Word Approach. Phonics is still trying to kill it! If you or your kid can’t read — buy Sam’s Phonics Book and call me in the morning.
As an academic exercise I emailed the Governator when he first took office to recommend two things that could help balance the California State budget. His website said he was open to viable solutions from anyone, anywhere. My first suggestion was a device that I am convinced can remove all emissions from any fossil fuel internal combustion exhaust. It is less expensive to make than a catalytic converter and can also increase fuel economy. You see, I had navely thought California had a smog problem.
The second recommendation I made was for California to lead the Union in aggressively promoting Home Education for as many of its students as possible. I was Not recommending Vouchers or any State funding for home schools. I was advocating for truly Free public education of a 100% voluntary nature, Free of State Money — Free of State Control. Could there be a better way to ease the fiscal crunch? The State would also be able to save all the money it is now wasting to advocate for State-Controlled "Free" Public Education. At the very least this plan could ease the burden of building more and more K-12 minimum security facilities. I reasoned: if Arnold were really sharp he might be inviting homeschoolers to tutor the hapless victims of State education. It might not be PC. But I bet it would work like magic.
I never received a response from Arnold. But I understand he is planning to support the Right to homeschool in the wake of the present controversial situation developing in his State. In that I can support him. Nevertheless, it would take a Terminator to loosen the grip the teachers unions have on education in this country. They are a bunch of Spoiled Brats if not Bolshevik Thugs.
In my book there is no such thing as a good reason to donate your children to the State. Homeschooling is the best option. Government-controlled schools are to be avoided at all cost.
Now back to Bastiat:
You say: “There are persons who lack education,” and you turn to the law. But the law is not, in itself, a torch of learning which shines its light abroad. The law extends over a society where some persons have knowledge and others do not; where some citizens need to learn, and others can teach. In this matter of education, the law has only two alternatives: It can permit this transaction of teaching and learning to operate freely and without the use of force, or it can force human wills in this matter by taking from some of them enough to pay the teachers who are appointed by government to instruct others, without charge. But in this second case, the law commits legal plunder by violating liberty and property.
Homeschoolers are obviously dangerous! Everyone knows! And the data are frightening — especially to anyone who believes in the State as their god — or in "Democracy." In fact, the agendas drip from every word as you listen to the advocates of the System explaining why there must be some level of "control" over Homeschooling — and that it only "works" in very limited ideal circumstances.
They say they want to make sure Homeschoolers can pass the standardized tests. That makes sense. We don’t want any misfits out there [like almost every person in history who ever changed anything for the better]. Statistically speaking homeschoolers can dance through the standardized tests. And, let’s face it, the equivalency tests are not based on the highest common denominator. You may already know the standardized tests have been dumbed down as well. The public schools are graduating dumber and dumber classes every year. It’s working!
If you want to see some socialization — go to the mall on a Friday evening when many of the public schools kids are dropped off for a few hours. One has to wonder how many tattoos are required to feel like one fits in [now I'll get hate email from Lydia the Tattooed Lady]. I have observed many thousands of homeschoolers as well, and I think I’ll take my chances with free choice in education. Socialization in prison is also defined as compliance — and inmates often compare tattoos. But what is the difference between a public school and a prison if attendance is compulsory and they drug or coerce you into compliance? Are they training our kids to be good inmates or free thinkers? "School to work" has about the same ring to me as "Workers of the World Unite!"
I heard a lot of candid conversations in the teachers’ lounge when I was teaching in the public schools. When homeschooling is challenged I often suggest the publication of covertly recorded conversations from public school teachers’ lounges. I don’t care if the voices are distorted to protect the guilty. I just want parents to hear what I heard. By and large the flowery rhetoric of teachers’ convention keynote speeches has not yet penetrated the smoke of the teachers’ lounge.
We need to do some "values clarification" training for anyone who is standing in loco parentis to protect and nurture our children. Equality before the law and asserting a "compelling interest of the State, in the education of Its children," are mutually exclusive values. The State cannot get pregnant — and it has no right to your children. Therefore, before you drop the kids off, you may want to know a lot more about what is being inculcated. Talk to your kids about everything going on in their schools.
There are many dedicated and sincere folks out there who have decided to sacrifice for high ideals to engage in a teaching career. But given better information and free choices I don’t think the government would recognize the free public school they would create. When given the opportunity to describe an ideal teaching situation, many of them will list the best aspects of homeschooling without realizing it.
Part of the problem today is that most of us were never taught anything very well. Many of us caught the compliance message. But we don’t really have solid criteria for measuring the academic aspects of the government schools — much less the more crucial values of creativity and independent thinking. The standardized tests are controlled by a monopoly. And it would be counterproductive from their point of view to test for Classical Libertarian ideals. The teachers might start teaching to the test.
The public schools as they exist can Never compete with the free market on a level playing field. Whereas public school administrators are clamoring for regulation of homeschooling it should be the other way around. The public should be made aware of the effectiveness of homeschooling and demanding that any "free" public school be brought under scrutiny of the public and subject to comparison with all free models for education.
Free homeschooling is a threat to all forms of collectivism and totalitarianism.
How can you tell what those homeschool kids are thinking? We must all be controlled you know. Otherwise we’ll have chaos. Homeschooling is a scary prospect to a control-freak government. Not only do all collectivists have to Know what’s going on inside your head. They have to Design what’s going on inside your head. Homeschooling will always cause problems for Collectivists, Totalitarians, Despots and Aristocrats. That’s why I love it.
There are two kinds of people who are comfortable with leaving you to your own devices: those who don’t care, and those who are comfortable enough to believe their own worldview can thrive without the support of the State. Therefore, public government-funded and controlled schools can Never leave you or your kids alone. They can never teach Liberty. They know they have a tenuous hold on their previous monopoly. Without compulsory attendance laws they would have never gained their present stronghold. We had a free market in education for a very long time in America. It served us well.
Perhaps Arnold realizes his State can never survive economically without creativity and productivity from the grassroots. Homeschooling and Austrian Economics may be the future for Kalifornia. Research shows homeschooling to be about 10+ times as economical as public schools if we only take the cost per student into account. New data also show that the amount spent per student in some of the most challenged public schools is inversely proportionate to the test scores. Take a look the DC schools if you really want to see what public school educators can do with more and more money per student. You can factor out the body armor if you insist.
Caveats: Homeschoolers must realize excellence in academics is only one reason for homeschooling. The protection of the hearts, minds and souls of our children is paramount. Liberty is the reason for homeschooling. When you use academics as your only measuring stick you are falling into a trap. If your goal is only to score ten points higher in all the measures used by the Establishment, you probably need better reasons to homeschool.
Homeschoolers can, and do, excel in many disciplines. The news is full of success stories all the time. They should also excel in free thinking and living. In addition, it is important to recognize that State Education facilitates State Worship. If you have spiritual values that you want to pass along to your children you will want to contemplate the essentially religious nature of the Omnipotent State and how it plays out in what is being passed off as "religion-neutral" education. The god of government must have its own schools.
“Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God.” ~ G. K. Chesterton
Those of you who are considering other non-State schools for whatever reason should also be warned: The elitist, globalist agenda is more dominant in many of the most exclusive and expensive alternative schools. Just ask yourself: "Would Al Gore’s kids go to this school?" Then you’ll know what to do. Clue: Homeschool your kids!
Another insider tip: The right to homeschool is not a gift from the government. Therefore, those clamoring for "good homeschooling laws" are just as constitutionally confused as those who want "more good gun laws." The results will be analogous.
Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia without the "help" of the federal government. And if Tom were alive today, I am quite sure he would be looking to Homeschooling as a wellspring for the next great exploits in truly free education and the transmission of Liberty to our posterity.
Finally, I have a little homework assignment for those of you who would like to test some of the ideas above. You can purchase a tasteful bumper sticker with the title of this article to grace your Prius. Click here to order. I have already tried the exercise and had endless hours of amusement as cars with students and parents pulled up behind me and I watched in the rearview mirror as the kids started talking to their parents about the meaning of the message.
Were those children contemplating Academic Liberty for the first time in their lives?
Do they have a right?
Bill Huff [send him mail] is a Classical Libertarian and proprietor of LEXREX.com and JamTheCulture.com; a former public school music teacher turned home schooling advocate; a US Navy veteran, and host of WarIsARacket.com. He is available as a guest lecturer or for interviews on talk radio.