Make September 8 a Family Day!

Make September 8 a Family Day!

Written by Linda Schrock Taylor
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 01:44

HomeschoolingI wouldn’t send my child to school on September 8, unless I had a strong death wish for America. On September 8, President Obama will be broadcasting a prepared speech to every school child, grades K-12, in America. On September 8, Obama the Change Agent begins his takeover of the schools…but not with my child, and hopefully not with yours.

Consider the implications of his grand plan. In a style typical of dictators, he is preempting the communications into every school in the nation. He has not sought the permission of parents or local school boards. He will not sign in at the office to get clearance and a visitor badge as everyone else must do.

As a parent, I expect the schools to notify me in writing if a controversial person or group would be making any kind of presentation. I could then decide whether to keep my child home, or ask that he be sent to the library to read during that time. But Barack Obama, with one huge broadcast, will dismiss the rights of everyone, ignore laws, and kick dust on the Constitution.

Parents will not be warned — except by a few like myself, Jeff Bennett at the Federal Observer, and others who stumbled upon the information that was sent to schools and teachers in advance of this controversial speech. The State will attempt to defend itself by pointing out that Obama will be encouraging children to work hard in school and learn all they can for a global economy. (He will cross his fingers behind his back  and then tell how he approves of citizens being well informed, better educated, and more active, but Acorn thugs at health care town halls have already proven such talk to be a travesty, at best.)

The problem with the usurpation of nationwide instructional time on September 8 is not so much the message, but the manner. What gives Obama the legal right to trod upon the Constitution in this, and other matters? Nothing gives him the right. But this time, his timing is excellent because….

There is no time like September 8, 2009, to begin homeschooling your children. There are a multitude of successful examples to follow. There are books to guide parents. There are web sites offering help, lesson plans, and worksheets. At Exodus Mandate, Ray Moore and his group encourage every Christian to remove their children from secular schools. I agree with them. Why should parents be expected to enroll their children in today’s unholy schools … schools run by people who deeply disapprove of students being taught that ethics, morals, and religion will be their personal, safe anchors in a frightening and deceitful world?

Other resources include the Home School Legal Defense Association. Visit their site to learn the homeschooling laws for your state. For suggestions on curriculum, teaching methods and more, visit my archives. Beware of reading programs that are as ineffective as the public schools and look into The Spalding Method. Learn how fuzzy progressive math is destroying the mathematical potential of millions of children and learn which books NOT to buy. Visit sites like The Well-Trained Mind, (Teaching the Trivium and  Vision Forum and in New Zealand the Home Education Foundation, NCHENZ, Home Education – NZ and NZ Home Education) for suggestions and support. Scour the Internet! The lives and educations of your children are worth every effort, every sacrifice, on your part.

Do not say, “We would like to but simply cannot.” Make the commitment and you will find a way. Look about you as you put together a homeschooling plan (contact us in NZ). Can grandparents give some or even much of the instruction? What about other relatives? Would neighbors be interested in forming a homeschooling co-op? Could members of your church work together to school the children of the congregation?  How much instruction could be done in the evenings after work days?  Bing the topic! Google the topic! Visit the library! Put an ad in the paper asking if there are others seeking to accomplish the same thing. (Come to these conferences in New Zealand over the next two weeks beginning 11 September in Christchurch ending 19 September in Auckland.)

On September 8, keep your children out of school (in support of the Americans doing this, to let the Government in New Zealand know that they had better not do this here) and take the whole family out for a great day of adventure and real learning. Better yet, on September 8, keep your children out of school and homeschool them for at least kindergarten through grade 12.

Linda Schrock Taylor
is a reading specialist and former public school teacher. She teaches English composition at a state university.

Obama’s Re-education Plans for School Children

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The End of Homeschooling?

Allan C. Carlson – 03/17/08

California is developing as the site for a perfect judicial and political storm, one threatening both parental rights and educational choice.

The most recent sign was a ruling last week by a state appeals court that essentially declared homeschooling illegal, unless the parents involved held state certification as teachers or hired a certified tutor. The judgment grew out of a child-welfare dispute between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family and Philip and Mary Long, who homeschool their eight children. Reversing a trial court decision, the Court of Appeal rejected the Longs’ assertion that they had a constitutional right to educate their children at home.

California homeschool leaders vowed to assist the Longs in an appeal to the state’s Supreme Court and urged other homeschooling Californians to remain calm. Surprisingly, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger rallied to their cause, stating that “this outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts, and if the courts don’t protect parents’ rights then, as elected officials, we will.” According to State Education Secretary David Long, the governor considers “allowing parents without teaching credentials to educate their children” to be “a fundamental right of parental choice.”

The governor’s forthright response, though, comes in the wake of his own contribution to the problem. Only five months ago, he signed into law a measure prohibiting any form of public-school instruction or activity perceived to “promote discriminatory bias” against “gender,” with the latter-term defined to include cross-dressing and sex-change operations as well as “sexual orientation.” Analysts believe that textbooks using words such as “mother and father” or “husband and wife” must now be discarded. The measure clearly allows students to use the restrooms and lockers of the opposite sex—if they identify with that gender. Teachers and students with the temerity to suggest that homosexuality might not be “innate” or that transsexuality is “weird” also now face stiff penalties for harassment.

A third component of the California storm had arrived still earlier—during 2005—in the form of a ruling by the San Francisco–based Court of Appeals for the Ninth Federal Circuit. Ruling in a case involving California’s Palmdale School District, the court unanimously held that parents surrender virtually all rights over their children once they pass “the threshold of the [public] school door.” Dismissing constitutional protections dating from the 1920s, the court held that parents “have no constitutional right . . . to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise, when and as the school determines it is appropriate to do so.”

These latter two developments have led to the formation of a group called Exodus Mandate, composed largely of Christian pastors and lay leaders. The group has urged parents to pull their children out of the California public schools, placing them instead either in private religious or home schools. Of course, last week’s ruling threatens key elements of that escape route, pressing families back again into the state-regulated system. The perfect storm is now nearly consummated, with families forced to submit to the dictates of the state.

Is this conflation of court cases and legislative acts merely the result of coincidence, as Governor Schwarzenegger would seem to believe? Actually, a deep hostility to parental rights and family life lies at the heart of the public-school enterprise, a truth which belies his selective indignation. The Common School Journal, founded by Horace Mann and his Massachusetts colleagues back in 1838, crafted the intellectual rationale for state-mandated education. It made the deconstruction of family life a regular theme. Sample passages include:

  • “the little interests or conveniences of the family” must be subordinated to “the paramount subject” of the school (1841);
  • “[T]hese are . . . illustrations of the folly of a parent, who interferes with and perplexes a teacher while instructing or training his child” (1846);
  • “[T]here are many worthless parents” (1841).

Indeed, a close disciple of Horace Mann named John Swett served as superintendent of the California state schools during the 1860s. He was quite forthright in his assertion that the state must supplant parents. Anticipating our era’s perfect storm, Swett asserted in his 1864 report to the state legislature that “the child should be taught to consider his instructor . . . superior to the parent in point of authority. . . . The vulgar impression that parents have a legal right to dictate to teachers is entirely erroneous. . . . Parents have no remedy as against the teacher.”

A string of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the twentieth century—Meyer v. Nebraska, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, and Yoder v. Wisconsin—managed to rein in the totalitarian aspirations of the common-school enthusiasts. Alas, recent developments in California indicate that the spirits of Horace Mann and John Swett are once again ascendant.

Home schools are most vulnerable to the myth of “credentials”; in truth, public-school leaders privately despise parent educators for exposing the pretensions of professionalism in elementary-level teaching. Private religious schools are most vulnerable to “anti-discrimination statutes,” especially those mandating enrollment of the young in the sexual revolution. The predictable line of attack here will be on the schools’ tax-exempt status. It is safe to conclude that parents of a traditionalist bent face difficult times ahead.

The situation may be particularly acute for those homeschooling families in states—such as my Illinois—where claims of legality rest on court decisions from fifty or more years ago. Homeschooling in the 1940s was an odd and rare act, usually the consequence of a child’s sickness or disability. Today, the success of home schools driven by religious and cultural choices threatens the entire apparatus of compulsory state education. The modern partisans of the common schools will not rest until these embarrassing upstarts are crushed. Bolder political acts may be necessary to preserve fundamental parental rights.

Michael Farris, founder and chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, certainly thinks so. Foreseeing court action of the California sort, he is the leading advocate of a Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This measure would declare that “[t]he liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right,” that federal or state governments may not “infringe upon this right” except for reasons “of the highest order,” and that “[n]o treaty nor any source of international law” might interfere with such rights (for more on the Amendment, visit Fully aware of the difficulties involved in winning passage of such an amendment, Farris nonetheless believes that it is the only realistic option left if basic parental rights are to survive this new century. He may be right.

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