The following item comes from the Apr., 2007, issue of my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter, "Biblical Homeschooling."
The Apr. issue will contain articles about homeschooling the high schooler, the general history of homeschooling, American War for Independence hero Caesar Rodney, early American composer (and horse breeder) Justin Morgan, and German hymns of the Reformation, along with the next chapter of "Johann, Georg, and the Princess," book reviews, news and notes, and what I hope will be other interesting information.
If anyone wants to receive it, all you have to do is to send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the instructions that will be e-mailed back to you, or subscribe from the web at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblicalhomeschooling/ .
18. RESPONSE FROM AND TO ROBERT REICH
from World Magazine and Wayne S. Walker
[Editor’s note: Last month’s issue of Biblical Homeschooling had an article about a January 10, 2007, segment of the PBS show Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, concerning the "Home Schooling Movement," in which, among others, Robert Reich, who is usually identified as a "critic" of homeschooling, was interviewed, followed by some responses to Reich, including one by Joel Belz in the Jan. 27, 2007, issue of World Magazine. In the Feb. 24, 2007, issue of World, Reich responded with a letter to the editor, along with three others, one who agreed with him and two who did not. I thought that you might be interested in the response, and some of my comments too. Then in the Mar. 3, 2007, issue of World Magazine, there were three more letters in response to the Robert Reich article. WSW.]
Joel Belz’s column "Homeward bound" (Jan. 27), which describes and mocks comments I made on a recent PBS show about homeschooling, is an embarrassing piece of ad hominem attack. It always surprises me how homeschool advocates are so quick to demonize homeschool critics. Are these the character virtues they teach their children in the home? Belz writes that people like me are interested in "total control and approvingly quotes Bruce Shortt, who claims that I have an "ideological and cultural agenda." People should read what I’ve written on the topic and judge for themselves. –Rob Reich, Stanford, CA.
Dear Mr. Reich, It always surprises me how homeschool critics are so quick to characterize any disagreement with their pompous claims as "mocking" and "demonizing"! Sir, I have read what you have written, and frankly, as a parent, it scares the daylights out of me. You may dismiss his statement lightly, but Mr. Shortt hit it right on the head when he talked about your "ideological and cultural agenda." –Wayne S. Walker.
I agree with Reich in that I want good regulations to apply to those parents who homeschool. Government has a duty to protect society at large, including children, from those who are unqualified or unwilling to teach to an acceptable level. Parents who object to government involvement in the education of their children should either make an exception for skills testing, or pursue some other way to make it very obvious that they are "making the grade." —Trent VanderZee, Crown Point, IN.
Dear Mr. VanderZee, Your "Government Knows Best" attitude is showing through. (Are you a member of the National Education Association?) Pray tell, I must ask, who is to determine what it means to "teach to an acceptable level"? The evolutionists? The homosexuals? The radical feminists? The environmental wackos? The anti-American multiculturalists? The fact is that homeschooling parents have been pursuing "some other way to make it very obvious that they are ‘making the grade.’" Those homeschooled children who do take standardized tests routinely score above both their public and private schooled counterparts. And homeschoolers show that they are "making the grade" as they are accepted into colleges, get good jobs, and generally participate in the life of our republic. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, not just in the test scores! –Wayne S. Walker.
From where does the government derive any right to regulate the choices that parents make as to how they choose to educate their children? Government "accountability and oversight" of education leads to the compulsory exposure of children to whatever ideas are government-approved. The right of parents alone to direct the education of their children, to the best of their understanding, should be protected. –Peter Van Wieren, Ypsilanti, MI.
Bravo to Belz and Bruce Shortt. As a homeschooling father of four, I am always thrilled when someone points out that the emperor is wearing no clothes when it comes to the standard, tired arguments against homeschooling. Public education is about indoctrination, not diversity, and it encourages a boring homogeneity. Homeschooling is about learning to understand the world around us, why we’re here and where we’re going. No wonder Reich and his fellow travelers are running scared. –John Carpenter, Dayton, TN.
Dear Mssrs. Van Wieren and Carpenter, AMEN and AMEN!!!!!! –Wayne S. Walker.
Reich’s desire for regulation of homeschooling may indeed be to promote a "cultural hegemony." Homeschooling should be regulated in some way, but for a different reason. To assume that thousands of parents are suddenly credentialed to teach their children all subjects for all of the grades from K-12 is naive at best and foolish at worst. While many homeschoolers do excel, many others slide by with no accountability. –Aaron Hoak, Bremen, IN.
Dear Mr. Hoak, Are you also a member of the National Education Association? You obviously proceed upon the assumption that "teaching" is one of those "expert occupations" that needs to be "credentialized" like medicine or law. However, parents have been teaching their children for thousands of years. Furthermore, the fact is that all kinds of resources are available for homeschooling parents to provide an equivalent, and in fact often a superior, education compared to what can be had in an institutional school setting. You say, "Many others slide by with no accountability," but the statistics just do not bear out your assertion. Those who make such assertions are obligated to prove them. Even children of homeschooling parents who do not have a high school diploma tend to do better on standardized tests. –Wayne S. Walker.
Thank you for taking Robert Reich to task for his recent comments on PBS about regulating homeschooling ("Homeward bound," Jan. 27). He lamented that when children are shielded from what their parents deem "sinful or objectionable," they are more likely to hold beliefs similar to their parents. Obviously, Reich thinks the state should determine what is objectionable, and he wants children to hold beliefs the state chooses. –Douglas Daudelin, Hackettstown, NJ.
I appreciate the column about Reich’s and Shortt’s opinions on homeschooling. I’m a homeschooler and very familiar with the stereotypes. Many people see us as timid, sheltered freaks with bad social skills. This judgmental opinion used to bother me a lot. However, I’ve come to learn that first, it’s not true, and second, this is right where God wants me. As long as I’m following His ill, it doesn’t matter what people think. —Carmen Schlosser, 17, Winchester, VA.
Dear Mr. Daudelin and Miss Schlosser, Again, AMEN and AMEN!!!!! –Wayne S. Walker.