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    Why We Don’t Charter School {Part IV}

    October 24, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    There are two reasons we homeschool. First and foremost, there is the Shema and other important passages regarding education and the training of children found in the Holy Scriptures. Probably the single most important question one could ask themselves while charter schooling is whether or not the relationship being formed with the state {in the form of possible requirements, laws, testing, etc.} helps or hinders the family’s ability to pass down their legacy of faith and faithfulness.

    Obviously, I cannot answer this question for every charter school. Charter schools vary greatly not only between states, but between county to county, district to district. To make an absolute statement that charter schools always interfere with a family’s passing of the faith torch, so to speak, would be unwise on my part. But I do have a couple thoughts.

    The Vulnerability Inherent in Public Schooling of Any Kind
    I recently wrote a post entitled Weep Today for California. In it, I quoted a press release that explained some of the new laws that our formerly glorious state will be subjected to come January 1, 2008 thanks to Governor Schwarzeneggar’s autograph.

    Two of the six laws that Schwarzeneggar signed will have a direct impact on the public schools. Since charter schools are public schools, we cannot ignore the fact that anything the state legislature requires of public schools logically applies to charter schools as well. The laws don’t go into effect until the beginning of next year, so we have yet to see the actual impact. We can guess that if AB 394 requires that homosexuality and other perversions be promoted to public school students, charter school students in California are not immune from this requirement.

    This past weekend, we were discussing the new laws with a friend of ours who is a traditional public school teacher. We questioned him about the effect of the new laws, and his belief is that the impact would be nominal in his district due to its being run primarily by Christians. I agree with him to a point. The more conservative districts will be the least likely to run away with the law. However, no matter how nice some of the people running his district may be, they cannot change the laws and they cannot protect from the consequences should they choose to violate those laws.

    My theory is that the passing of these laws sets the stage for special-interest groups to begin a campaign of harrassing the more conservative school districts. They now have legal grounds for filing complaints and lawsuits should the schools refuse to comply with, for example, allowing boys who feel they might be girls to use the girls’ restroom. They are the bullies that will make sure that there is no real local control over these issues.

    The Threat of Oversight and Academic Requirements
    If the ultimate goal of Christian family education, as I like to call it, is the passing of the legacy of faith and faithfulness through the generations, and if the goal of State education is, in the words of H.L. Menken back in the 1920s,

    simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality

    then we have to admit that these goals are in conflict. Whether they clash to any great degree depends on what charter school we are talking about.

    However, it seems appropriate to say that charter schools that are requiring parents to use state-approved humanist textbooks, for example, would be in conflict with the goals of family education.

    A Response
    In light of this, I would say that though it is not absolutely immoral to utilize a charter school, a parent with a homeschooling heart needs to be careful. Keep their eyes open. Make sure that the school doesn’t interrupt the passing of that legacy of faith I keep mentioning. Watch the passage of new state laws. Consider what their school is requiring of their child’s time. I would especially urge parents using one of the many online charter schools to make sure that they know all that their child is learning, and consider whether such a method of education helps or hinders the family’s educational goals.

    A Personal Note
    If anyone was wondering, the religious conflict is pretty nominal at the charter school closest to our home. We have observed many Christians homeschooling through said school, and haven’t noticed that they exert any more control over the parents than the parents have asked for. With that said, the faith issue, though our first and foremost reason for homeschooling in general, is not the reason we avoid our local charter school, though it would be in other parts of the country. Our reason is what I will be talking about in Part V.

    Note: If you are unfamiliar with the Scriptural arguments for home education, might I suggest Teaching the Trivium by the Bluedorns? This is a largish book. However, the opening chapter {or two…I don’t have time to run look it up} is by far the best, most logical and Scripture-filled argument for Christian homeschooling I have read thus far. If you can’t {or don’t want to} read the whole book, it is still worth reading those first couple of chapters.

    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    You’re reading Part IV
    Part V
    Ending Note

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