Robin L. West, of the University of MD, has written a piece viciously critical of homeschooling. I don't mind a free-ranging discussion, but this woman is out of her mind. It really is unbelievable. She argues that homeschooling is completely outside the mainstream, and I'm sure that it seems so to her. If you read the whole thing, you'll see that her ideas are so far out there, normal people must seem to be from another galaxy. Such is the kind of thing we can expect from the liberal denizens of "tolerence". Read the whole thing.
A small excerpt:
The explosion in homeschooling of the last quarter
century, however, is a different phenomenon altogether.
The majority of homeschoolers today, and by
quite a margin, are devout, fundamentalist Protestants.
And, of the hundreds of thousands of fundamentalist
Protestant parents who in the past two decades have
pulled their children from public schooling, the majority
have done so not because their kids have special
needs, or because they live too far from a schoolhouse,
but rather because they do not approve of the public
schools’ secularity, their liberalism, their humanism,
their feminist modes of socialization, and in some cases,
of the schools’ very existence. Because they disapprove,
they choose to educate their children at home, in accordance
with their own traditions and by their own religious
First, the idea that most homeschoolers are fundamentalist Protestants is laughable. As a homeschool parent myself, most of the homeschool families I know aren't all that religious at all. This is a straw man argument to which homeschooling critics resort time and again. The early homeschool movement (which the author is unable to mention without using scare quotes) was certainly heavily fundamentalist Christian, but many studies have shown this to no longer be the case. My homeschool groups run the gamut from strict Catholics to far-left hippie non-conformists. The only thing most of the moms have in common is a desire to help our children become the best they can be, something unlikely to happen in today's over-burdened public school system. And God forbid that parents be able to educate their children as they see fit if they disagree with the politically liberal, militantly secular worldview pushed on their kids in the public system. The horror!
There are many other examples of West's insanity throughout the paper, including an assertion that education is the most important responsibility of the federal government. If that doesn't make your skin crawl, it should at least offend your sense of basic civics. Does this kook really think that education, which isn't mentioned in the constitution and didn't become compulsory until the last century, is the core thing our government should be doing? How about providing for the common defense and regulating interstate commerce? Ringing a bell? She also laments that there isn't any politically viable way to recriminilize homeschooling. This woman's ideas are dangerous and completely risable. It scares me that in this day and age, when homeschooling has proven a legitimate and exceedingly successful method of education, that people still hold these kinds of ideas. Sheesh.