Battle for the Mind

Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world. Vladimir Lenin

The education of our children is a matter of vital concern to everyone.  Generally speaking, liberal/progressives wish the state to have almost total control over the schooling of our youth.  Through this control they promote their progressive world view.  For example, in California the LGBT activists have aggressively promoted a sex-education curriculum that exposes young children to deviant sexual practices.

Through the teacher unions, progressive spokespersons fight ferociously for public school monopoly of primary and secondary education.  Charter schools, private schools, and home education are an anathema to them.  Homeschooling is a special target.  Elizabeth Bartholet, a professor at Harvard Law School, expressed the views of many left-wing educators when she wrote  that homeschoolers “want to isolate their children from ideas and values central to our democracy, determined to keep their children from exposure to views that might enable autonomous choice about their future lives.”  She added, “Many promote racial segregation and female subservience. Many question science. Abusive parents can keep their children at home free from the risk that teachers will report them to child protection services. Some homeschool precisely for this reason.”  Bartholet called for “a radical transformation in the homeschooling regime and a related rethinking of child rights.” and recommended “a presumptive ban on homeschooling, with the burden on parents to demonstrate justification for permission to homeschool.”

What arrogant elitism!

The liberal/progressives have had charge of most of our public schools for decades, and the results have been far from satisfactory.  Our nation spends more money per student than any other, but we are falling further and further behind in qualitative results.  Academic tests clearly reveal our deficiencies. 

Conservative parents are just as concerned for the education and well- being of their children as are liberal parents, and I believe they are even more likely to make wise choices regarding their schooling.  Many conservatives favor school choice as the best way to achieve true academic progress.  For myself, I would favor giving each school age child a voucher, and allowing that child, with parental guidance, to choose the school he or she will attend – be it a traditional public school. charter school, private school (religious or secular), or homeschool consortium.

Private and parochial schools would thrive under a voucher system, and all parents, black and white, would have better choices for their children’s education. The resulting educational competition should improve overall school quality and thereby produce graduates much better prepared for today’s job environment. Vocational training and trade schools should also be promoted and made much more available to students; and tradesmen and skilled workers should be afforded the respect they deserve. Many young people neither want nor are suited for a traditional academic curriculum. 

Concerning homeschooling, Bartholet says that “The issue is, do we think that parents should have 24/7, essentially authoritarian control over their children from ages zero to 18?”.   She adds, “I think that’s dangerous. I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.”

Bartholet obviously prefers to substitute the authoritarian control of the state for the possibly pernicious influence of parents, and it is rather evident that she wishes to infuse them with her own anti-Biblical world view.  But Bartholet should realize that a state-imposed curriculum can be subject to even more serious abuses.  In Germany in the 1930s Adolf Hitler wished to foist his own twisted world view on German youth.  He succeeded to a horrifying degree.

As for the claim that homeschooling exposes children to a greater danger of harm, one of the many reasons parents choose to homeschool is to protect their children from rampant bullying that exists in government schools – along with potential mistreatment by teachers and administrators.  Bartholet is concerned with families having control over their children’s environment, while I and others worry about totally abandoning that control to the government. Also, leftist progressives wish to ensure that public schools are entirely free of potentially harmful religious indoctrination, whereas many of us believe that our children should be grounded in those Judeo-Christian values that are the root of our civilization.

Wisdom begins with fear and respect for the Lord. Knowledge of the Holy One leads to understanding.  Proverbs 9:10.

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