“This is a difficult issue,” he said. “It deals with the intersection of the two things most important to most people — their faith and their children’s education.”
Here’s the thing — home education and religion are two things, not the same thing. Two things that, however intimately connected you choose to make them in your own private family life, nevertheless are not the SAME thing and shouldn’t be, at least not in law, politics and public policy debate.
Both liberals and conservatives have their own fatal flaws, as authority figures nobly legislating away our individual liberties for our own good. But religious belief in the infallibility of one’s own cause adds a scorched-earth dispensation to any political cause, one that quickly becomes more of a threat itself than whatever good it believes itself divinely chosen to create or impose. No end can justify means so mean.
This is particularly true in education thought and belief (or so I think and believe!)
A la Philip Zimbardo, I want all political creatures to get far enough outside their political “situations” to see this objectively and compassionately as thinkers, rather than from the emotionally fraught power-struggle roles they play within the situation. That is the tremendous value of unschooling for example — after several years of having NO role in schooling whatsoever, it is astounding what you finally begin to see and understand about all the role players within education politics.
Maybe I should just quote Marvin Minsky in Wired:
“I once peeled a label off a London bus.
It read: MIND YOUR HEAD.”
Home education was thrown out as a creationist threat to the body politic yesterday, as Florida officially adopted new science standards for public education. Plus, the sitting board member representing creationist religious beliefs (not modern science education) actually suggested that if the vote went against her legions of believers, her fellow board members would need to enter the witness protection program! I am not making this stuff up, folks; if you are a homeschooling family no matter what you believe about science OR religion in politics, it’s high time to mind your head — time for your reason to think about your beliefs, try to get both on the same side at the same time, and then figure out what to teach your kids about it all, so their freedom to do both can endure.
Yesterday wasn’t the first time, just the most recent. Last spring for the government-celebrated National Day of Prayer, local homeschoolers got so caught up in their beliefs that they clearly weren’t minding their heads. I reasoned they’d plumb lost their heads AND their minds.
I wrote our local homeschooler discussion list to advise the mostly-Christian parents in deadly earnest that “the reluctance that has kept many of us quietly deferential to religions we did not share and believed to be of no threat to our own families, is about as dead as the dodo. Believe it or not, we all will have to learn to reckon with that new reality in our own ways.”
I got back (chilling) confirmation of my worst fears, an irrational response from the Prayer Day organizer, about how the civic concerns of an independent homeschooler like me are of zero concern to them as conservative Christian homeschoolers; this has nothing to do with education, you guys, much less HOME education. It is militant iron-fisted dominionism married to the gentle velvet glove of what most of us were taught to believe is non-secular Christian love and peace.
“homeschoolers…you chose (sic) what you want to do this Thursday, May 3…. we will be asking God to protect our youth, our military, give guidance to our state and national leaders and to heal our lead. (sic)
And yes, the name of J-E-S-U-S will be used, it is not a dirty name…although in our politically correct society we certainly get upset over prayer, God, Jesus and government being uttered in the same breath.
You better stay home then on Thursday because all those politically incorrect words will be uttered.”
So here’s the appeal to Reason that such Unreason prompts, made not within the home education community but to liberal public school supporters, hardly friends of “our” home education freedom in the past.
Mind your head!
*Please* stand WITH evolved homeschoolers rather than against us, as we stand against this insidious threat to our whole secular nation. There are more of you than of us, by far, and we can’t fight you too.
One easy way you can help is to look directly at the prayer and politics and punishment in a family, if you want or need to know how dangerous they are to our civil liberties and national defense. Never again assume that the particular education method preferred for their children can tell you if they are “on your side”, as some sort of handy litmus test.
This has nothing to do with home education; we’re just here on the front line. Not unlike the Islamic terrorists (yes, I meant to compare them) the prayers of [these] religious homeschoolers are for power and winning, the unholy power of the trinity — God, Government and Guns — and the winning of their own tribes. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be . . .I am now a Believer, that this is in fact warfare, for dominion over the earth and all its creatures.