Each year as the school year gets underway, I write a column about the mandatory communalism that takes place in numerous schools across the country where unsuspecting students and parents are forced to surrender their supplies to educational authorities, deemed by the state to be of superior enlightenment than those actually acquiring the school supplies, for redistribution as these demagogic pedagogues see fit. While satisfying to write as there are few topics as visceral as one’s school experiences and the attachment one has to one’s possessions, somehow these most debated of my epistles somehow felt incomplete as they primarily dealt with a symptom rather than the underlying disease. For the socialistic communitarians that have infiltrated the public school system and taken it over for the most part do not primarily want your paper and pencils; the thing the really lust over are the hearts and minds of your children.
Usually, those concerned about the state of the public school system are told that if they don’t like how things are run, they are perfectly free to withdraw their children and pursue private or home-based alternatives to their liking. Overall, better advice could not be given; however, in the years and decades ahead such wisdom will prove to be charmingly naive and old fashioned.
For if things continue along their current path, there will probably be a day when it will be against the law to educate one’s offspring in anything but a state-run school. Already devotees of secularism and radicalism are laying down the perceptual framework necessary to bring about the paradigm shift as to whom has the ultimate authority over the minds of the young.
Some opposed to parents having the final say over the education of children won’t come out and say so directly. Rather, the subversions of the traditional family are often dressed in altruistic platitudes about socialization and COMMUNITY.
Often communal and anti-individualistic in their epistemological orientation, such critics claim that homeschooling should not be curtailed so much for the proverbial “sake of the children” but rather for the benefit of the government schools themselves. According to a May 16, 2003 FoxNews.com story titled “Parents Fight Government To Homeschool” by Trace Gallagher, “Many say that as more parents pull their kids out of public schools, confidence quickly erodes and has a domino effect on other public policy issues.”
In other words, liberals are afraid that, if children learn to think for themselves, they will do for themselves later on and the cycle of dependency on the state will be significantly diminished if not broken all together. As a parent, one’s responsibility is to the well being of one’s own children, not to the budgetary ego of some petty bureaucrat. For as the Fox News story concludes, “...the issue is about money --- every home-schooled child means fewer dollars in the public school budget.”
As such, those opposed to educational freedom will go out of their way to shame and penalize parents and students from leaving the system. Some enemies of mental liberty even suggest parents not feeding their children to the public beast are guilty of child abuse. Back in 2003, WorldNetDaily.com ran a story about a proposed law in California that had the potential to outlaw homeschooling by criminalizing parents of the “habitually truant” defined as five unexcused absences
This proposal was a concern since, under certain interpretations of California law, parents without a teaching credential homeschooling their children could be construed as operating outside the law. According to WorldNetDaily.com, in 2000 in the Berkeley Unified School District, truancy charges were brought against several families who withdrew their children from the public system despite the fact that the parents had properly filed all the necessary paperwork to establish a legitimate homeschool under the law.
Some might dismiss such legislative posturing as the kind of kookiness for which California is renowned around the world. Unfortunately, such radicalism is embraced by a broad swath of liberal leaders.
For example, Stanford University Professor Robert Reich, according to the Chalcedon Foundation Report article titled “A Quiet Threat To Homeschooling”, believes that the state should force homeschool parents to teach their children values at odds with those held by the parents. Reich, staying true to his name bringing to minds thoughts of totalist control, claims that the state has a compelling interest in allowing students the opportunity to select a way of life abhorred by the parents. And if the parents do not agree to this, Reich believes, they should be compelled to send their offspring to public school by court order (and thus under the following corollary of at the end of a barrel of a gun since anything the state requires ultimately has the threat of force backing it up).
Children have pretty much always had the right to chuck what their parents taught them into the philosophical waste basket. It’s usually called turning 18 or 21. And unless a provision has been added to the Patriot Act outlawing libraries altogether like something out of Ray Bradbury rather than simply allowing some government hack to snoop through our checkout records, children will have every opportunity they need to hoe their own path at that point in their lives.
Mind you, while the likes of Robert Reich think that public educators have their right to have their way with the minds of your children to such an extent that would make Michael Jackson blush, at no time will children indentured to the state have the right to formulate a system of values at variance with those espoused by the public schools while under the auspices of the public schools.
For example, while homeschoolers favoring creation science as their preferred theory as to the origins of the cosmos might be compelled to teach evolution or face having their children snatched as if the parents were common crack addicts, so-called “educators” and their ACLU taskmasters have gone out of their way to promote the perception that only the materialist conception of reality can be presented as part of the science curricula. Conversely, parents with children in the public schools believing that monogamous marriage is the only legitimate human relationship through which to enjoy conjugal affections have been told by judges hardly worthy of the silk in their robes ruled that parents with children in the public schools do not have the right to exempt their offspring from the perversions these scholastic pederasts seek to cram down the throats of unsuspecting students.
Even liberals less blatantly secular than elite university professors and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals are edging ever closer to implementing the policy that any schools other than public schools are child abuse. Ordained minister and former public servant Andrew Young, in a bit of oratory that would probably make his mentor Martin Luther King role over in his grave, was recorded by the 3/18/04 edition of the Montgomery Sentinel as saying of parents pursuing private education for their children, “You are socially retarded and you ought to have better sense than to do something like that.”
Young claims private schools are a waste of money and deprive the young of opportunities to enhance their leadership abilities by not exposing pupils to the broadest possible swath of people and circumstances. But what exactly are the leadership abilities did Young allude to?
Obviously not those classic schoolroom disciplines of readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic. In Prince George’s County, Maryland (just one county over from where Young delivered his comments), according to the 10/20/03 Prince George’s Journal, in the southern portion of that county (an area of the jurisdiction lit with the type of diversity propagandists such as Young like to rub the noses of the American people in) only 36% of third graders were proficient in reading and only 38% of eight graders were assessed as such.
Maybe Rev. Young was not referring to those skills us half-wit private school graduates thought school was primarily convened to convey. Maybe he was alluding to the following behavior displayed by the young scholars elaborated below since such skills should do them well as members of Congress and the like.
According to Gazette.net in a story posted on May 24, 2005, four students at Wheaton High School (in the same county where Young delivered the speech in which he labeled as retarded [a put-down most give up by later elementary]) surrounded the desk of a female student and touched her inappropriately. However, a study by University of Wales Professor Leslie J. Francis featured in the May 5, 2005 ThisIsLondon.com concluded that 62% of boys in private Christian schools believed sex outside of marriage was wrong while only 13% educated at non-Christian schools believed the same way.
I ask you, if this young woman really was violated in the way she described (as nowadays spurned females as reprobate as the young males prowling the hallways of the nation’s public schools are not themselves above concocting such reputation-shattering rumors when they don’t get what they want) what group of young people would parents would you want her to be around? If being pawed over and felt up like a slab of supermarket beef is what Young has in mind when he says, “Your children will learn more sociology from bad kids than they will from European sociologists,” that is one lesson our children should not have to learn. Young is perfectly free to hand over his own daughters and granddaughters for such “hands on learning” if he so desires, but most decent people take their responsibilities as parents a bit more seriously.
Contrary to Young’s contention that parents have the obligation to cultivate “The sensitivity to problems we’re going to have to deal with all our lives” (code words for increased welfare and racial preferences for minorities) the first order of duty of any parent is to protect their own children from the physical dangers and moral filth permeating our culture. You are not expected to take up the cause of every whelp rambling down the street; that is the responsibility of their own parents.
From Young’s insinuation and innuendos, you’d expect home and private schooled kids to be sitting on their hands rocking back and forth drooling on themselves as if they were in some Eastern European orphanage. However, such young people are not the ones filling prisons, clogging our welfare roles, and pumping out out of wedlock babies as often as those on Metamucil run to the restroom.
So what if private and homeschool graduates aren’t as sociable (a fancy Ivy League word used nowadays as a euphemism to characterize a willingness to participate in various forms of deviancy)? So long as they aren’t getting public handouts, why is it any of the government’s business how such young people spend their time?
Even if objective assessments such as standardized tests measuring acquired knowledge rather than social opinions, competitions such as Spelling/Geography bees, and the accomplishments of those educated in this fashion in terms of books published, businesses opened, and scholastic prizes won are proof of the superiority of non-statist education, woe unto the public official daring to suggest that private schools with a solid religious foundation might be able to accomplish some good that the public schools cannot.
For example, back in 2003, then Secretary of Education Rod Paige dared to suggest that the reason Christian schools appeared to be growing was the result of their strong value system not found in their public counterparts as a result of these government institutions insisting that no form of morality is better than any other. For enunciating his own preference, numerous liberals condemned Paige for daring to believe that what he believes might be better than what those that claim there are no better beliefs believe.
But by condemning someone that believes that what they believe is better than what others believe (whether you like it or not) aren’t you saying that what you believe is better than what the other person believes? For if all views really are equal and you condemn someone for not believing that, aren’t you saying that the belief that there are no superior beliefs is actually a superior belief?
Exposing the lunacy of those out to undermine parental control of education should be just as easy. Thing is, one has to make an effort at doing so.
Within the Southern Baptist Convention, one group has counseled that parents should remove their children from public schools in favor of either Christian or homeschools. However, other voices with just as much sway within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination have coalesced around a counter claim that Christian parents are somehow obligated to send their children to public school since these are an untapped mission field.
Leading the charge in 2004 was none other than Franklin Graham. At the time, Graham told the Convention, “One important forum where American believers must share their faith is in the public schools. Instead of withdrawing from public schools, Christians should train their children to share the Gospel with their non-Christian classmates.”
Having spent much of his ministerial career assisting believers and the downtrodden in the hell-holes of the earth such as parts of Africa, the Graham lad certainly has a heart for mission work. However, he decided upon this calling freely as an adult and did not have it thrust upon him against his better judgment by denominational luminaries.
One would not send a child to face fanatical Muslims on their own turf. Then why should we send such youngsters into the hovels of the Humanists? For though they are not quite as violent as the Islamofascists, they are just as intent on ensnaring the minds of your children with their damnable ideology.
Franklin continues, “I want to see at least one child in every class in America who is trained as a witness for Jesus Christ.” Frankly, the primary duty of parents is not to please Franklin Graham but to do what is in the best interests of their own children.
It’s nice that it would make Franklin Graham happy to see an outspoken Christian youngster in every public school classroom across America. Since such would provide him considerable delight, will he be there for these kids when things go south? As the son of a Christian celebrity and now one in his own right, Franklin Graham does not have to worry about losing his livelihood or the custody of his children should he decide to exercise his God-given right to express his faith publicly as might happen these days in a climate were allegations of abuse fly and are believed so easily.
As a single voice (influential as he might be), Franklin Graham would not have all that much sway. However, one might contend that Franklin’s position rather than the alternative of withdrawal from the public system is the prevailing attitude among many SBC leaders.
According to Graddy Arnold of GetTheKidsOut.org in a Dec 22, 2002 Agape Press story titled “SBC Pastor: Biased Mission Board Ignores Public Schools’ Reverse Evangelism”, the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board insinuates homeschooled students lack “adult contact” (I guess Deborah LeFay can’t get her hands on such virile youngsters), exhibit “lack of socialization” (less likely to go boozing or at least less likely to go along with the group for the sake of the group as is occurring in many contemporary churches where the leadership structure is based more on personality than the Bible), and that “public schools have produced leaders in every arena of public life” (usually occupational advancement is not based on what you know but who you know or whom you’ve brown-nosed and the thieving overclass is simply likely to promote to their ranks those of a similar ethical background to themselves).
It has been said (a piece of wisdom attributed often attributed to Lincoln) that the philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. From the degree of collectivism being pushed on the nation’s youths, it won’t be long until Communism will once again be the predominant ideological threat of the foreseeable future and just not some best-forgotten historical nightmare.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. He holds a BS in Political Science/History. Frederick earned a MA in Apologetics & Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary. Frederick holds a Doctor of Practical Theology through the Master's Graduate School Of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. Dr. Meekins earned a Ph.D. in Apologetics through Newburgh Theological Seminary. His books are available in print and electronic formats through Amazon.com. His ministry site, Issachar Bible Church & Apologetics Research Institute, can be found at http://issacharbiblechurch.blogspot.com/. The Twitter page of Dr. Meekins can be found at