Government and Public Schools Subvert Homeschooling and Private
Manfred B. Zysk
I have striven to make this concise and as factual as possible,
there is one issue I will not cover here: "Goals 2000"
(and its close cousin, "Certificate of Mastery"), as it
is more involved and deserves much more attention.
start off this fascinating and sometimes confusing story, a brief
history of public school is required.
Public Schools Started in The U.S.1
public school (or common school) movement primarily started in New
England. Even during colonial times, the Massachusetts colony tried
to impose schools on the various towns. Horace Mann became Massachusetts
first superintendent of instruction in 1837, and other states implemented
similar posts in their state governments.
1852, Massachusetts passed a compulsory attendance law, and again,
other states soon followed.
public school movement was the first effort that succeeded in using
government power to try to reform or manipulate society in the United
States. This opened new avenues for government intervention into
our personal lives at all levels of our personal affairs.
intentions were to completely replace private schools with the common
or public schools. It was the goal of many zealous common school
advocates to completely abolish the predominate private Christian
schools. Horace Mann wrote, "Let the common school be expanded
to its capabilities, let it be worked with the efficiency of which
it is susceptible, and nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code
would become obsolete; the long catalogue of human ills would be
abridged; men would walk more safely by day..."
course, Horace Mann was not only wrong, but compulsory education
is a useful tactic for tyranny exemplified by communist and socialist
regimes throughout the world. Also, look at the crime rate in the
United States since the time of compulsory education for further
proof of the failure of public education goals; again, Horace Mann
was completely and undeniably wrong.
should also note, there is no mandate or amendment in the Constitution
guaranteeing the "right" to publicly-funded education.
some time now, government schools have been using a variety of techniques
to coerce homeschooling families and private schools back into the
public school fold. In order to keep the government (through public
schools) out of private education, parents must refuse the fruit
of evil, in the guise of government funding. This "fruit of
evil" comes in the form of government vouchers, "cyber"
schools, charter schools, etc. I want to make this point very clear:
I am writing about government intervention programs, not privately-
intend to show these methods at work and what is happening to people
living in the states of the Pacific Northwest and Canada.
(National Education Association) Interference2
may seem like old history, but starting in 1984 the NEA has Board
of Directors presented the "Policy Statement on Home Study",
and has reaffirmed these resolutions in later conventions. Here
are the resolutions passed at the NEA convention:
Home instruction teachers must meet state teacher certification
Annual permission for home education should be required and authorized
by the state or local school district.
Local public school administrators (who are "experts"
in learning environments--author's note) should monitor home instruction.
(This ensures the same curriculum as in public school author's
Mandatory state or local testing programs should be required of
home study participants along with other assessments done by the
local school district.
Pupils should be able to attend public school part-time for additional
instruction, and they should be counted in the average daily membership
(ADM) without proration (for full state/local funding per student,
even though there minimal expenses involved--author's note).
states (like Washington) follow these guidelines generally, and
have made them part of their state laws. You can see that there
is virtually no difference from public schooling, if these guidelines
many cities throughout the United States have instituted truancy
ordinances or daytime curfews. In some cases, like in Detroit, Michigan,
they can actually put truant children's parents in jail for noncompliance
of the local truancy law. In other states, parents are fined and
required to appear in court if their children are found to be truant.
reported by OCEANetwork (in the November 1999 issue of OCEANetwork
Currents), several communities in Oregon (Portland, Salem, Keizer,
and McMinnville) have adopted truancy or daytime curfew laws.
law in Portland, called the "Truancy Abatement Ordinance"
coincides with the regular school hours of the Portland Public Schools,
and states that children from the age of 7 to 18 cannot be in any
public areas such as parks, streets, alleys, highways, etc. There
is a provision for homeschooled children, but police can still take
these students into protective custody, hold them, and question
them, if the officer believes they are in violation of this ordinance.
any youth is considered to be violating this curfew (if they are
not in school) and must prove their innocence. So, to help avoiding
problems, homeschool parents are asked to stay with their children,
and to keep a note with the child that states they are homeschooled,
with contact information to verify this information.
vouchers can come in many different forms, but we will look at them
in the context of homeschooling.
is insidious for many reasons. First, when have taxes for public
education actually gone down? Now, you end up paying more in taxes
for the vouchers, too. Also, they find additional funds via "alternative
funding" (state-run lotteries, or "sin" taxes come
to mind) for public education. That sure is an appropriate way to
fund "public education" (or maybe why we shouldn't fund
there is another danger. Even though you may get assurances from
local or state school officials that your curriculum (Christian-based,
or any other variety) of choice is fine with them, check your state
homeschooling laws for verification. Many homeschoolers have been
burned by this issue.
Washington state, the Office of Superintendent of Public Schools
(OSPI) has made repeated attempts to rent church property for school
classrooms. State-rented church property is an easy way for the
state to gain access to school age children that it does not have.
In addition, it might give parents a false sense of security because
school was being presented in a church setting, even though it is
actually run by the values-neutral public school district. In Article
1, Section 11 of the Constitution of the State of Washington, it
states that "no public money or property shall be appropriated
for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or INSTRUCTION,
or the support of any religious establishment.
is an example:
a small community on the Washington coast, parents were enticed
by the OSPI with $600 a year per student, and the students could
meet in church-provided facilities, and they would be allowed to
use their own curriculum. A few months later, the state came back
and informed them that in order to meet state laws, they would have
to remove any religious symbols (a cross and some scripture quotes)
from the area used for school. After discussing this, the church
and the parents agreed to remove any religious references. Another
few months later, the state looked at the curriculum, and found
references to God and religion. The state promptly informed them
that they could not use their Christian curriculum, because that
violated state laws. The final insult came when the church found
out it had had to pay taxes for the property that was used for the
state program, since the facility used for school was no longer
considered church property, according to state laws.
would you do if you were offered the use of a computer lab for your
child, with plenty of reference materials? And what if the people
who were running the program, said you could use your own choice
of curriculum materials, too?
of the other enticing things about "cyber" schools is
the additional opportunities for interaction with other children,
tutoring/mentoring, pooling teaching resources, etc. all in one
convenient place. Sounds great, doesn't it?
cyberschools can have a devastating effect on the voluntary homeschool
support networks in the communities where they have been implemented.
Many parents like the idea that no one has to volunteer or put forth
any effort, and the state pays for the program. In the process,
the children are learning state-mandated curriculum (the same as
public schools) and the lines between homeschooling and public school
looking at Washington State's "Cyberschool" programs,
full-time Cyberschool students are forbidden from using religious
curriculum and instruction in their education. Part-time cyberschool
students cannot use religious course instruction in the cyberschool
program itself. In other words, anyone who receives state funds
or participates in state programs cannot include religious curriculum
in any part of the state funded/sponsored program.
the school districts in Washington state get full student funding
for each "cyber" student (over $3500+ in most cases),
whether they are part-time or full-time participants in the cyberschool,
while not having the expenses of providing for students in the public
use interesting names for these programs, such as "Classlink",
"Homelink", "Primelink", "Preplink",
but they are all just public schools in disguise. The local school
districts often give inaccurate and misleading information about
these programs. Fortunately, many parents become disillusioned with
these programs after they see how they really operate. If you truly
want to homeschool, stay away from programs like these, and say
"no" to any and all publically-funded programs.
is the best alternative for homeschoolers: Join an existing nonprofit
homeschooling group or form your own group, with modest membership
dues to cover mailings, newsletters, and a member-supported lending
library. Just say "No thanks" to government intervention
through government funding. Most important of all, know the laws
for homeschooling in your state (see www.hslda.org/central/states/).
schools are supposed to involve parental input, with an emphasis
on the personal preferences of parents. But, charter schools are
almost exclusively run by the public school system. Many times with
the diverse curriculum requirements make a confusing patchwork of
subject matter, and still meet school district requirements.
is one instance that I am familiar with where the local charter
school was directly run by the local school district, even though
the school district did not acknowledge it publicly. One of the
local public school administrators blasted the charter school for
low test scores and questionable curriculum, after he did an inspection
and was quoted in a newspaper story. The next day, the newspaper
ran an article where they revealed that the school district actually
ran the charter school, and was ultimately responsible for the problems
that the school district had found. As you can see this is just
another deceptive ploy to make public education look "good"
to parents. There is only a fine-line difference between "cyber"
schools and charter schools, but the real issue is that the local
school districts want to get state funding for all children within
their district and the charter/cyber schools bring in maximum tax
dollars for minimal effort.
Here is the another twist in taking away private education away
from local parental control: "governmentizing" private
schools by having private schools become part of the public school
system. Why is this dangerous? The laws that allow alternative schools
can be easily changed by the whims of politicians, as administrations
or legislators or school board members change. Of course, once a
private school has become governmentized, it is subject to government
rules and regulations for public schools, and higher taxes to fund
the new schools. Here is an example:
in an news article (published by Focus On the Family), it
mentioned the new "Alberta School Act". According to this
report, the Edmonton Christian Schools and the Red Deer Christian
School in the Alberta Province of Canada, have become part of the
public school system in Alberta.
new "Alberta School Act" allows public school districts
to set up alternative schools based on certain philosophies, subject
matters, languages, or religions.
Edmonton Christian Schools and the Red Deer Christian School negotiated
with their local school boards to eliminate tuition, but the parents
must pay several hundred dollars for the cost of the buildings,
transportation for the students, and for textbooks.
the article mentioned that the teachers of these schools would be
paid more (now that they are public school teachers), and that education
would be more "affordable".
again, failed public school systems are looking to attract more
students and tax money, by taking over more successful private schools.
With their past record, this will be another doomed government program.
A better idea is to eliminate taxes for public education, and allow
parents to let their children be educated as they see fit.
in mind the reasons that you originally decided to reject public
school, and refrain from being tempted by government programs that
only limit your choices.
most important thing that any person interested in private education
(including homeschooling) can do is to find out the laws in your
state regarding education. By knowing the laws, you can decide whether
or not any government-sponsored programs will allow you to teach
your child the way that suits you best. Consider joining the Home
School Legal Defense Association. It can provide the necessary
support and protection from unfair and illegal government actions
against your private education activities.
any government-funded programs is important. Remember, there is
no "free lunch", and anything provided by the the government
will have strings attached. Determine for yourself what the real
pricetag is for any outside programs
Special thanks to Carrie Patterson of Clark County Christian Home
Educators for information and help.
thanks to Washington State Senator Val Stevens (39th Legislative
District) for keeping homeschoolers informed on Washington State
laws and giving them sound advice.
thanks to the Home School Legal Defense Association, for their invaluable
information on state home schooling laws.
See A Basic History of the United States, Volume 3 (The Sections
and the Civil War 1826-1877), by Clarence Carson, pp 88-91
Seduction of Homeschooling Families", (The
Freeman, March 1998, pp 139-144) by Chris Cardiff.
See "Portland institutes Daytime Curfew", (OCEANNetwork
Currents, November 1999 issue)
From various newspaper articles in The Reflector, The
Columbian, and from Washington State laws.
From "Christian Home and School, FYI," Volume 77, Number 4
September 1999, article "Christian
Schools Go Public."
B. Zysk has been homeschooling for five years, with the help and
dedication of his wife, Margaret Zysk. They work with other homeschoolers