The following letter to the editor recently came across this Designated Conservative‘s desk. It is reprinted here because it so completely articulates today’s liberal perspective on the “evils” of homeschooling in Michigan.
What is remarkable is how the good Rev. Smith can so blatantly espouse ideological indoctrination as a means of providing what was once called a classical liberal education (back when “liberal” meant pretty much what “conservative” means today!) – while at the same time denouncing all homeschooling parents for allegedly committing the same “sin!”
It is because of folks like Rev. Smith that we in Michigan’s homeschooling community must remain involved with local and state politics, and regularly communicate with our elected representatives about education policy and the positive environment for homeschooling in this state.
The trouble with homeschooling is not so much that it serves as a smokescreen for havens of child abuse, but that it can, with state sanction, substitute ideological indoctrination for actual education.
This is true. The difference between homeschooling and public school today is that “ideological indoctrination” IS the curriculum in today’s liberal, union-dominated public school environment; not just one of many options that a homeschooling parents may choose!
To be fair, not all homeschoolers are motivated by religious doctrine and not all who are subscribe to ideologically biased curricula provided by the various homeschooling publishers such as the Weaver curriculum, a “Bible-centered homeschool curriculum.”
That said, the regulatory control of homeschooling is practically nonexistent. There is no state regulation of the content of basic courses. There are no test requirements and one can obtain a religious exemption from the requirement that the homeschooling parent be a teacher or work with one.
In short, homeschoolers are exempt from every educational quality control measure imposed on public education. The result of which is manifest in a recent Young Editorial Staff column in the Kalamazoo Gazette.
It is genuinely tragic when otherwise bright and caring young people are asked to evaluate scientific research with important social consequences such as embryonic stem cell research and they respond with misinformation, put forth by some ideologically biased homeschooling curriculum.
Liberal Translation Service: In other words… “It is genuinely tragic when otherwise bright and caring young people aren’t taught to follow the liberal line like sheep, but rather are allowed to think and reason for themselves!”
I confess that I don’t know what curriculum Justin Wing (in his April 17 column) was using, but he is simplistically biased in his assessment of the relative utility and versatility of adult stem cells over embryonic stem cells in research and applied therapy. His arguments echo the faith-based critiques regularly trumpeted by various ”right to life” ideologues.
Though adult stem cell therapies do indeed exist and continue to show promise, limitations with respect to pluripotency and transdifferentiation make continued research with embryonic stem cells vitally important. Even if there were genuine, credible debate within the scientific community over this question, it is doubtful that those being sequestered from the broader academic conversation by an ideological curriculum would even know. That is precisely my concern.
Rev. Smith, those “broader academic conversation(s)” you speak of occur everyday in countless homeschooling homes and cooperatives, but are a nearly extinct phenomena in the politically correct ideological environment of today’s public school.
We live in a democracy where Justin’s vote matters. The life and well-being of one of my grandchildren may depend upon the notions he brings to the voting booth. More urgently, I recently received an e-mail from a friend whose grandniece suffers a rare blood disease that might well be cured by a stem cell therapy growing out of unfettered research.
Rev. Smith here unintentionally shows the limits of his public school civics education. At the close of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, a woman waiting outside the hall asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.” (as recorded by Constitution signer James McHenry).
A republic, Rev. Smith, is what we have in the U.S., not a democracy. This is a common mistake, and not simply a matter of semantics. It is the basic difference between a republic where our inalienable rights are respected and protects through representative and constitutionally limited government; and a democracy where our “rights” are sanctioned by an unfettered government of the majority. Of the two, only in a democracy can the government take away an individual’s right to direct and supervise the education of their child.
As a person of faith and a citizen of this democracy, I pray that Justin’s vote at least be informed by real research, not just religious ideology masquerading as science. For that, I hold the state accountable, not just Justin and his parents.
Liberal Translation Service: In other words… “…I pray that the state takes away Justin’s vote (and his parents’ too!) until he has been cured of his contrary notions by a certified, union-fed public education!“
Homeschooling either needs to be regulated by the state with the same rigor as public education or eliminated altogether.
Rev. Dennis Smith/Sturgis
Letter to the Editor, published in the Kalamazoo Gazette 5/27/2010.
Written by: The Rev. Dennis Smith, Ann Nieuwenhuis, Debra Borgman, and Miriam Fleming