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    Si’s Homeschooling Op-Ed

    March 9, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    Every family will respond a bit differently when they find their way of life is threatened. Though I haven’t met a single family that is panicking, packing up to leave the state before the Supreme Court even makes its decision, a lot of families out there are doing what ours is doing: thinking about how to respond.

    Si is a very disciplined writer. This probably comes from his background in technical writing, where he wrote specific types of articles that had to conform to strict standards.

    I like blogging, where there are no rules concerning length.

    But Si subjects himself to the unmerciful standards of our local paper in hopes of communicating with the masses, if just a little, and I always admire him for it. It is hard to make a difference in a handful of sentences that may or may not be tampered with by the paper’s editors.

    Here is the op-ed he will be submitting shortly:

    The right to homeschool in California is under serious attack, but there are many reasons not to criminalize the homeschooling movement. Here are just a few.

    1. Historical precedent. American history testifies to the reliability of homeschooling to instill patriotism, civic virtue and practical knowledge among young people. From the Pilgrims to the Founding Fathers to our great-grandparents, home education has produced U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, inventors, military heroes, etc. More importantly, it has successfully groomed generations of hardworking men and women on whose backs America was built.

    2. Religious conviction. There are homeschooling families, mine included, that believe God has given parents, not public school teachers, the primary task of raising their children. We think this is impossible to do if our kids are under someone else’s instruction most of the day. So I ask: What right has the State to trump our religiously motivated decision to homeschool? Whatever happened to the rights of conscientious objectors?

    3. Children’s rights. Liberal activists love to declare one’s right to throw off the chains of tradition to preserve one’s individual liberty. If that is your guiding premise, then apply it consistently: Honor the wishes of homeschoolers who want to exchange America’s century-old tradition of public schooling for a home education.

    4. Academic results. A National Home Education Research Institute study found that homeschoolers outperform public school students by 30-37 percentile points in all subjects on standardized tests. Not only that, homeschooled students whose mothers never finished high school scored 55 percentile points higher than public school students in similar circumstances. Clearly, homeschooling produces superior academic results.

    5. Political freedom. It is unjust for the State to reach into homes, rip children out of secure environments and force them into government-run schools. Our children are not wards of the State; they are our heritage and our responsibility. If the simple right to train up our kids in our homes is denied, is any freedom truly safe?

    Leftist politicians often promote diversity among subcultures, but their tolerance turns to hypocrisy when it comes to homeschooling. Everybody else’s “diversity” can be celebrated, but three intolerant judges in L.A. wish to crush the homeschooling community out of existence. Unwittingly, they are following the model of Nazi Germany, which outlawed homeschooling in 1938 for fear that it was creating subcultures disloyal to the State. Communist Russia had done the same in 1919. Communist China followed in 1959. Are these examples worth imitating in California?

    To be clear, America’s homeschool movement is loyal to our nation. In fact, homeschooling is the very expression of the American values we hold so dear: hard work, self-discipline, love of knowledge, respect for authority, religious expression and a thousand other virtues that have sadly fallen to the wayside in the public school system. Join me in protecting this prized expression of American liberty.

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    5 Comments

  • Reply Brandy March 10, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Tammy,

    I loved what you said about believing in freedom! It is so true that this is bigger than homeschooling. When I read the court’s ruling, one of the things that was so striking was the court’s distrust of parents. It was like the judge really didn’t believe that most parents love their children and truly want to do what is best for them. Because of this, he thought the state was somehow better and should make those decisions.

    The scary thing is just what you said–what OTHER things will the state assert it can decide for the children better than parents?

  • Reply Tammy March 10, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    I don’t homeschool but like you said in one post,I beleive in freedom.Fredom to homeschool or freedom of public school.

    I really hope they don’t out law homeschool because it just sounds wierd.I am not afriad about what would happend if these children were sent to school but what would next be outlawed,potty training at home?

    LACK of parental involvement- I volunteer at least 4 -10 hours a week at our schools.I am in the minority because I don’t work and have the time to do so.

  • Reply Si March 10, 2008 at 4:05 am

    Thanks for the thoughts, ladies. I appreciate your feedback.

    Ellen, I went back and forth on whether to use “superior” for the very reason you mentioned. Before adding that line, I had initially written, “Perhaps a teaching credential isn’t as important as we think.” But that seemed like an backhanded knock on teachers, so I deleted it. If the op-ed editor asks me to edit a few words out, I’ll rework that sentence.

    In a multitude of counselors there is much wisdom. And in a multitude of editors there is good writing. Thanks again for weighing in.

  • Reply Ellen March 9, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Sounds great! But I might consider taking out the “superior” in front of education and inserting “excellent” instead. I believe that homeschool education is often superior, but I would hate for his message to get lost because someone who might be sympathetic latched onto that word, got their panties in a bunch, and huffed away because they thought he was criticizing their children’s education. Just a thought.

  • Reply Jeana March 9, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Excellent!

    My family is full of public school teachers, and they will tell you that one of their biggest problems is a LACK of parental involvement. It’s crazy to punish the parents who WANT to be involved in their children’s lives.

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