If you would like to read Part 1 of this article, please click here.
I've given a brief overview of my thoughts on tax credits for homeschoolers in Part 1 of this post, so I'll become more specific in this one. First, all citizens who pay taxes contribute to public education in their state and well they should. An educated public is one that has options and can contribute to the society that they are a part of. However, since regulation from the federal government was overhauled in the late 1970's, there has been a significant decrease in parental involvement in institutionalized learning, and a very definite increase in federal interference and teacher "incentives" that encourage teaching to be designed with nothing more in mind than "passing the test", and thereby receive more federal and state funding for their school. (the money carrot, again!)
Where are the children factoring into this game of educational Olympics and greed? What are the repercussions for outsourcing our parenting to a government who sees not individuals with dreams, plans and goals of their own, but instead an economic tool that can be manipulated for the "common good", also known as a collective? Do not allow money to sway you into believing that you can get a little of the money without a LOT of the regulations that go along with that. Regulation that is NOT in the best interest of the children, but in the best interest of the government. We should ALL be concerned about that, not just homeschooling parents. Let's do some research...
"Children are owed as a matter of justice the capacity to choose to lead lives--adopt values and beliefs, pursue an occupation, endorse new traditions--that are different from those of their parents. Because the child cannot him or herself ensure the acquisition of such capacities and the parents may be opposed to such acquisition, the state must ensure it for them. The state must guarantee that children are educated for minimal autonomy."5
The state must ensure that children are minimally autonomous? The state must ensure that children have the right to lead their lives and pursue new traditions? Really? At what age does this begin? At what age should someone else be allowed to indoctrinate your children with THEIR beliefs? Yes, their beliefs. If Mr. Reich didn't BELIEVE his statements, he wouldn't make them. What, gives him, or the state, the right to trump my beliefs with his? At what point do we buy into one belief being superior to another and therefore the only one because it's superior? That would most assuredly reduce autonomy of individuals. And that is a scary, scary thought, regardless of your personal belief system.
Let's examine Rob Reich a little more closely. The NY Times article on this same subject, which you can find here, also has Reich write his say and here's what his circular reasoning on the subject was:
The sad and hidden truth about home schooling is that no one knows whether home schooled students are performing well or poorly. We have no shortage of anecdotes – home schoolers who end up at Stanford or who win spelling bees. Astonishingly, however, we know practically nothing about the academic performance of the average home schooler. The studies that grab headlines use a biased and unrepresentative sample of home schoolers.
Well, which one is it? Do you not know whether homeschooled students are performing well or poorly, or are all the headline grabbing stories biased and unrepresentative? It can't be both. The sad truth is that Reich KNOWS that homeschooled students who take the SAT/ACT that almost all college/University bound students must take are doing exceptionally well. There's the "testing" that so many "think" that homecshoolers must take, so that should satisfy that argument. The ones that don't take those exams weren't going to college or University anyway, just like their public schools counterparts, so where is his beef? Does he believe that a human beings worth lies in his/her career goals? You can find the information for homeschooled vs public/private schooled children's test scores all over the place and they ALL concur; Homeschooled students are essentially spanking the compulsory schooled students, and Reich IS aware of this fact, as is the NEA. I do not think this is a reflection on the students, but on the education that they are receiving. Institutionalized learning has been overtaken by a system that is greed driven, not learning driven. Again, the ED has failed miserable and their "regulations" do not work.
One last Reich excerpt:
"Federal dollars come with strings attached, and these particular strings are in the best interests of children, anyway."
The only thing we can agree on is that federal dollars come with strings attached. To factually claim that those strings are in the best interests of the children is Reich's belief system, again. And he has no right to push his ideology onto anyone but his own children, which I have no doubt he will do.
I recently presented Mr. Reich with a challenge on his Stanford blog. He summarily deleted my post and offered no reply. Here was the challenge:
I would send my children to compulsory schooling for the exact same amount of time that he homeschooled his children. In homeschooling them according to his beliefs, he must introduce them to a "broader view" (another big anti-homeschooling cry that he adheres to), by introducing them to MY beliefs with no persuasion as to his own beliefs. After all, that is what he proposes of homeschooling parents, right? If there was ANY argument from him, then the truth would be revealed. He is not opposed to homeschooling itself, what he is opposed to is that parents are introducing their children to THEIR beliefs and not the ones that Reich holds as truth. By refusing, what he is also revealing is that he isn't interested in "broader views", he is interested in HIS view as the ones that all should adhere to. This is tolerance at it's finest, isn't it? (insert sarcasm there)
As a side note: in his post in the NY Times, Reich comes across as almost gleeful at the prospect of tax credits. This alone should alert ALL parents, not just homeschoolers, to check themselves when accepting tax credits or breaks of any kind. We may be silently promoting Reich's views that education is a tool for minimal autonomy and a collective mentality on all levels and becoming more like the Third Reich that this type of education stems from.
Tax credits are nothing more than a cry for regulation of something that has created NO harms, and in reality has actually been proven to be working for the vast majority of the students involved. I urge you, ALL parents, to closely monitor what is happening in the lives of our children. They truly are worth more than any other thing in our lives. They are not economic commodities to be outsourced to a government who cannot provide them with the individual care they so desperately need and want. They are our future, and our responsibility. Do your own research and open your eyes. There is no proof that government interference in education is beneficial...quite the contrary. Ask yourself if a few dollars is worth selling your right to educate your children? Ask yourself if you, or an entity with no goal but economic ones, has the best interest of your child at heart. Be honest, be diligent, and be your OWN judge. Resistance has NEVER been futile.
Quite probably there will be more to come on this...