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No Constitutional Right to Home-School:

A bunch of people have written in about In re Rachel L., a California Court of Appeal decision holding that there's no constitutional right to home-school your children. I read the case a couple of days ago, and checked out other caselaw on the subject. Here's what I've found:

1. It's pretty well-settled that the parental rights cases -- such as Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) -- don't secure a right to home-school. This is partly because Pierce seemed to expressly decline to raise such a right, saying, "No question is raised concerning the power of the state reasonably to regulate all schools, to inspect, supervise and examine them, their teachers and pupils; to require that all children of proper age attend some school, that teachers shall be of good moral character and patriotic disposition, that certain studies plainly essential to good citizenship must be taught, and that nothing be taught which is manifestly inimical to the public welfare."

Now perhaps this should just be taken literally to mean that the Court wasn't deciding this question. Or perhaps "require[ments] that all children of proper age attend some school" should -- as a constitutional matter -- be satisfied by a showing that the child is "attend[ing]" a home school that is allowing the child to perform at or beyond grade level. Or perhaps the means for regulating home schooling (such as tests that show a student's progress) are much more advanced now than they were then, and that regulated home schooling is a "less restrictive alternative" that would still accomplish the government interest in making sure children are adequately educated. But as best I can tell, all the appellate courts dealing with the subject have taken the view that bans on home schooling (or requirements that only people with suitable teaching credentials may home-school) are constitutional under Pierce. This has certainly been the constitutional rule recognized by California courts for 50 years; In re Rachel L. relies on a California appellate precedent from 1953.

2. Religious homeschooling is a different matter. Wisconsin v. Yoder held that the Amish could pull children out of school at age 14, and then vocationally train the children at home, notwithstanding a compulsory education law that generally required school attendance until 16. And Yoder survives the Court's decision in Employment Division v. Smith (which mostly holds that the Free Exercise Clause doesn't require religious exemptions from generally applicable laws, but which expressly preserves such claims in parental rights cases like Yoder). And in People v. DeJonge, 501 N.W.2d 127 (Mich. 1993), the Michigan Supreme Court generally held that there is a constitutional right to home-school, though with some regulations (not including a requirement that one parent be a certified teacher, which is the very requirement that the Michigan Supreme Court struck down).

The California Court of Appeal case concluded that the parents didn't introduce enough evidence that their motivation for home-schooling was religious, and it seemed more broadly hostile to this theory. Still, I think it would be possible for home-schooling parents in California who are home-schooling out of felt religious compulsion (or perhaps even felt religious motivation) to raise a Yoder claim, and perhaps to prevail on it.

3. I haven't done a precise head-count, but my sense is that home-schooling is legal in nearly all states -- but as a result of legislation, not constitutional litigation. It's quite possible that this case will trigger pro-home-schooling legislation in California.

4. As a policy matter, I think home-schooling -- with some regulation, for instance with mandatory testing of children to make sure they are learning well enough -- should indeed be legal.

5. As a constitutional matter, I'm not at all sure what the rule ought to be. On the one hand, I sympathize with parental rights claims, especially given the dangers of giving the government broad power to control children's upbringing, and given the American tradition of recognizing parental rights (though a tradition that has not been uniformly friendly to home-schooling).

But on the other hand, I think that whatever one thinks of the general unenumerated constitutional rights debates, a claimed right to control a third party -- however much the claimed rightsholder might generally love the third party, and however much that third party might need some control from someone -- strikes me as among the weakest sorts of claims for unenumerated rights. So I'm not confident about the right answer here; my post is primarily aimed at reporting on the controversy.

Hans Bader (mail):
If parents have a constitutional parental right to raise and educate their children as they see fit, which encompasses the choice not to send their kids to the public schools, as the Supreme Court held in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, I don't see why that right should not logically also encompass the right to home-school one's children, anymore than the right to free speech should only protect handbills and not emails.

(Any ban on home schooling would fail the heightened scrutiny of the sort that apply to fundamental rights, since there is no empirical evidence that home-schooled children are, on average, educationally deficient compared to their public-school peers).

In any event, the California Court of Appeal's decision was also deeply skeptical of religious-freedom claims generally, in a way at odds with U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that courts should not deny people religious exemptions to even laws of paramount national importance, like draft laws, if an individual claimant has a "sincere" religious objection, even if many other people raise insincere pretextual objections. (United States v. Seeger (1965)).

And the Supreme Court allowed an entire religion — the Amish — to obtain a constitutionally-based religious exemption to compulsory schooling laws for children beyond the eighth grade level. (Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)).

Yet here, the Court of Appeal expressed skepticism about allowing individual religious-freedom objections to compulsory school attendance by home schoolers by fretting that such an objection is "too easily asserted by any parent who wishes to home school his child."

It is odd for courts to express skepticism about religious exemptions to government schooling as being "too easily asserted," even while permitting such exemptions to military service, given that self-interest is likely to produce a much greater number of fabricated religious objections to military service in a time of war, and given that national defense is much more of a core government function than the public schools are, since national defense is potentially tied to the very survival of a country (whereas education is not a government monopoly).

This is particularly true since this case involves not only religious freedom, but also parental rights guaranteed under the 14th Amendment under Supreme Court rulings like Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925), which held that parents could send their children to private schools contrary to state laws requiring public school attendance, and Santosky v. Kramer (1982).

If objections really are commonly asserted to public schooling in California (there are apparently 166,000 home-schoolers there), maybe that is a reflection on the poor quality of the state's schools, which produce worse educational outcomes for a higher cost than schools in other states in the region, like Washington State.

Even if that is the case, that is no excuse, under Supreme Court precedent, to summarily dismiss religious objections that are "sincerely" motivated by religious belief, much less to ignore or downplay parental rights.

The California Court of Appeal mentioned the California state constitution and education code (which mandate secular education) as if that somehow weighed against the parents' desire to homeschool their children.

But that would be no excuse for brushing aside religious-freedom and parental-rights claims. State constitutional provisions cannot trump federal constitutional rights (such as the right to freedom of religion and parental rights). See Garnett v. Renton School District, 987 F.2d 641, 646 (9th Cir. 1993)(right of religious group to equal treatment by school under federal Equal Access Act override discriminatory requirements of Washington State's establishment clause; "state[s] cannot abridge rights granted by federal law. . .State law must therefore yield").
3.6.2008 6:50pm
Hanah Volokh (mail) (www):
A survey of the homeschooling laws of each U.S. state and territory is available here: http://www.hslda.org/laws/
3.6.2008 6:55pm
Respondent:
But on the other hand, I think that whatever one thinks of the general unenumerated constitutional rights debates, a claimed right to control a third party -- however much the claimed rightsholder might generally love the third party, and however much that third party might need some control from someone -- strikes me as among the weakest sorts of claims for unenumerated rights. So I'm not confident about the right answer here; my post is primarily aimed at reporting on the controversy.

Wow. To me it's clear that the strongest case for unenumerated rights are natural laws enwoven into the basic fabric of virtually every society and seem embedded in the human genome. In virtually every society it is understood that it is the parents who are to raise their children, and if the Ninth Amendment guarantees anything at all, it means that government cannot decide to take children away from their parents and raise them and indoctrinate them in state run communes, which you would seem to feel they are constitutionally entitled to do.
3.6.2008 7:07pm
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
Scratch 'patriotic disposition'

California SB 1322



"Yes, that's right. The headline is no exaggeration. California Democratic Sen. Alan Lowenthal has proposed an amendment to the Educational Code that will explicitly allow the promotion of Communism in schools, and also allow groups who want to violently overthrow the US government to meet on public school property."

3.6.2008 7:11pm
MarkField (mail):
I'm bookmarking this thread for all future debates on abortion and gay marriage.
3.6.2008 7:12pm
Hans Bader (mail):
There is some irony here.

When parents object to political indoctrination and sexually intrusive questions aimed at their children by public school officials, the courts insist that they have no right to object because they supposedly "voluntarily" sent their kids to the public schools, and parents' constitutional rights to direct the upbringing of their children supposedly stop at the "threshold of the school door," according to the Ninth Circuit in Fields v. Palmdale School District.

But when parents respond to such rulings by exercising their choice not to send their kids to a public school, but rather home-school them, the courts then switch arguments to claim that there really is no such choice, claiming that the State can prevent anyone who lacks State-approved teaching "credentials" from teaching children, and that "parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children," according to the California Court of Appeal's disturbing ruling in this case, In re Rachel L. (2008).

Taken literally, the claim that states can dictate that all those who teach have state "credentials" would allow a state to shutter the very private schools which the Supreme Court's Pierce decision intended to protect by requiring that their staff all possess credentials that operate as subtle cultural or political litmus tests. (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has chronicled how schools of social work and to a lesser extend education schools apply ideological litmus tests to their students already).

Education school coursework is already full of useless psychobabble and political correctness that has nothing to do with academic mastery or teaching skills. Many intelligent young people who ponder teaching decide to pursue other careers when they are confronted with the depressing syllabi and course catalogs of America's education schools, or after suffering through a few mind-numbing education school classes that teach nothing of value. So much for the benefit of state "credentials."

The dicta in Pierce that might be read to allow states to impose teaching credentials -- such as its language about states being able to require teachers to exhibit "patriotic disposition" and "good citizenship" -- would be laughed at today by many of the big-government leftists who hate home-schooling, since they want to teach multiculturalism. not patriotism. They would insist that such requirements violate the First Amendment under subsequent rulings like Barnette and Keyishian.

Yet they insist on relying on that very language from Pierce (such as its dictum that a state can provide "that nothing be taught which is manifestly inimical to the public welfare") to keep religious parents from home-schooling their children lest they end up with a different point of view.

Apparently, they view government viewpoint discrimination as acceptable, as long as it's to promote political correctness, rather than patriotism.
3.6.2008 7:16pm
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
"Scratch 'patriotic disposition'

California SB 1322 "

Links embedded in prior post didn't show up, dunno why.

Here's the source article I saw

http://tinyurl.com/33aecd

And the bill itself

http://tinyurl.com/2pujhq
3.6.2008 7:16pm
Oren:
If parents have a constitutional parental right to raise and educate their children as they see fit [some dependent cluase]
They do not. A parent cannot neither deny his child proper medical care nor force him to live outdoors. The right to a meaningful eduction is, IMO, on par with the basic right to medical attention and housing.

...take children away from their parents and raise them and indoctrinate them in state run communes
No state has proposed doing so.
3.6.2008 7:20pm
Mike& (mail):
Thank you, MarkField.

It's interesting that the same people who will be the first to denigrate "unenumerated rights" as "judicial activism" nonetheless are able to read "home schooling" into the Constitution.
3.6.2008 7:20pm
Oren:
Hans, there is no indication that the state of California dispenses certifications in anything other than a content-neutral manner. In the absence of such evidence, it seems fair to assume that the purpose of the state certification is to ensure competency in teaching instead of viewpoint.
3.6.2008 7:24pm
Chris Bell (mail) (www):
As a policy matter, I think home-schooling -- with some regulation, for instance with mandatory testing of children to make sure they are learning well enough -- should indeed be legal.


You would be amazed how strong the home schooling lobby is, and how aggressively they can fight against even the smallest restrictions. They don't want mandatory testing; some states don't even have notice requirements. Children can just disappear from regular school, no questions asked.

Professor Yuracko (Northwestern, visiting NYU) has been arguing that states have a positive obligation to impose minimum standards on homeschooling under State Constitutional provisions. She's been getting threats.
3.6.2008 7:26pm
Oren:
Screw positive obligation on the part of the state, the child has an inalienable right to a decent education!
3.6.2008 7:29pm
Hans Bader (mail):
Contrary to Oren, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no federal constitutional right to an education in 1974 (in a case from San Antonio). (Even if there were, home-schooled children generally do just fine, performing as well as public-school children).

So any such right would have to be derived from state law, which cannot trump rights under federal law, like parents' constitutional rights. See Garnett v. Renton School District, 987 F.2d 641, 646 (9th Cir. 1993)(right of religious group to equal treatment by school under federal Equal Access Act override discriminatory requirements of Washington State's establishment clause; "state[s] cannot abridge rights granted by federal law. . .State law must therefore yield").

Moreover, there is indeed, for fit parents at least, a recognized constitutional right to the care and custody of their children, and to impart an education reflecting their values to their children, under cases stretching from Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) through Wisconsin v. Yoder, and Santosky v. Kramer (1982).
3.6.2008 7:31pm
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
"It's interesting that the same people who will be the first to denigrate "unenumerated rights" as "judicial activism" nonetheless are able to read "home schooling" into the Constitution."

Try the California Constitution - it gives no indicatoin for OR AGAINST home schooling that I can see.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate

"ARTICLE 9 EDUCATION

SECTION 1. A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural
improvement.
"
3.6.2008 7:32pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
To me it's clear that the strongest case for unenumerated rights are natural laws enwoven into the basic fabric of virtually every society and seem embedded in the human genome. In virtually every society it is understood that it is the parents who are to raise their children
Can you please point to the sociological, anthropological, or historical research you've based this position on? I know absolutely nothing about child-rearing across the world or throughout history, and I doubt you do either. But I do know that people in lots of cultures have tended to live (or still live) in extended family groups. This was even true in our culture until fairly recently. In those circumstances, it would be pretty easy for child-rearing responsibilities to get shared among parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc., rather than being principally a parental responsibility.

For all I know, you might be right, but anyone who claims that "virtually every society" does X without having done a lot of cross-cultural research is talking out of their ass.
3.6.2008 7:41pm
Steve2:

Moreover, there is indeed, for fit parents at least, a recognized constitutional right to the care and custody of their children, and to impart an education reflecting their values to their children, under cases stretching from Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) through Wisconsin v. Yoder, and Santosky v. Kramer (1982).


All too often, though, as Professor Kerr alludes to at the end of his post, legally-recognized-as-fit parents use the "right to the care and custody of their children" as a way to violate fundamental rights of those children, or to waive those children's rights. "Parental rights" claims generally amount to "right to make irrevocable decisions to the child's detriment" (see parental consent &notification laws as the prime example) - in other words, the assertion that the child has no rights.
3.6.2008 7:43pm
Hans Bader (mail):
Many arguments against home-schooling are laughable, based on simple ignorance of binding Supreme Court precedent.

Take "Professor Yuracko," cited in an above comment, who "has been arguing that states have a positive obligation to impose minimum standards on homeschooling under State Constitutional provisions," based on arguments that would get a lawyer sanctioned under Rule 11.

The Supreme Court settled in the DeShaney case that under the federal Constitution, states do not have "positive obligations" (even to stop one private individual from killing another -- in that case, a boy was killed by the person entrusted to care for him).

Yuracko claims that allowing home-schooling potentially violates the Constitution by permitting sex discriminatory values to be taught to students by their parents. Nonsense. The Constitution constrains the government, not parents or other private actors.

The Constitution bans only discrimination by the government ITSELF, and does not ban PRIVATE sex discrimination at all (and few home-schooling parents are bigots, anyway). That is what the Supreme Court has held ever since The Civil Rights Cases (1883).

Thus, in Moose Lodge v. Irvis (1974), the Supreme Court held that a state was not liable for discrimination by a private entity, even though the state enriched the private entity by giving it a scarce liquor license. The state had no duty to prevent the private discrimination, even though it knew about it.

The Supreme Court emphatically held in United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000) that (a) private discrimination -- in that case, sex discrimination (an alleged gang rape motivated by "gender-based animus") -- doesn't violate the Constitution, only government discrimination does; and (b) not only does the government not have an obligation to prevent private discrimination, but the federal government lacks the regulatory power even to regulate it under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment (states have the power, but not the duty, to ban most forms of private discrimination, while Congress can regulate private discrimination only if such discrimination relates to interstate commerce, badges or incidents of slavery, federal enclaves, or federal funds).

Yuracko seemingly is ignorant of all these cases. She doesn't like home-schooling, so she comes to the wishful conclusion that it is unconstitutional.
3.6.2008 7:44pm
Steve2:
Ack, my apologies Professor Volokh, I thought it was Professor Kerr who'd posted this.
3.6.2008 7:45pm
Steve2:

Many arguments against home-schooling are laughable, based on simple ignorance of binding Supreme Court precedent.

Or a conviction that the precedent needs to be overturned or amended out of existence, something that can be said for a great many people's attitudes towards a great many precedents (or wholesale legal doctrines).
3.6.2008 7:47pm
Dr. T (mail) (www):
The U. S. Constitution says essentially nothing about the rights of children. That's because the underlying assumption of the time was that children were fully under parental (not governmental) control. I doubt that the founding fathers imagined a situation like today, where governments compel parents to send children to school. I believe we need a constitutional amendment that spells out the right of parents to choose their children's method of education.
3.6.2008 7:48pm
whit:
"You would be amazed how strong the home schooling lobby is, and how aggressively they can fight against even the smallest restrictions. They don't want mandatory testing; some states don't even have notice requirements. Children can just disappear from regular school, no questions asked. "

no stronger than the teachers unions which aggressively fight against any sort of testing for teachers to ensure basic competency in the subjects they teach.

note this article is just from today. there have been numerous other examples.

ARTICLE BELOW FROM THE NYT

North Carolina's largest teachers' organization filed suit on Friday against the state school board, seeking to block a competency examination for teachers at the state's poorest-performing schools.

About 240 teachers at 15 schools across the state are scheduled to take the test on June 12. The teachers were singled out because students at their schools scored lowest on year-end standardized tests.

The lawsuit, a class action filed in Gaston County, west of Charlotte, says that low test scores are more a function of poverty than teacher performance and that requiring the teachers to take the competency test violates their constitutional rights.
3.6.2008 7:52pm
Chris Bell (mail) (www):
I don't think Hans gave the best representation of the argument. The argument is that states have (under state constitutions, Hans cited only SCOTUS) an affirmative duty to educate children. Letting parents take children out of school-never to be seen or heard from again-is not "educating" them.

Here is the paper, read for yourself.
3.6.2008 7:58pm
Fub:
One approach is to avoid mandatory state education entirely by taking and passing the GED as early as possible. Unfortunately, most laws on education for minors are designed not to promote education, but to make minors daytime prisoners of the state.

California requires a person to be at least 17 years old to take the GED. But on the day he turns 17, any person who can convince a prospective employer to write a letter requesting them to take the GED is eligible to take it. So a student must only remain on the lam from truancy officers for about two years to avoid high school altogether.

Since many bright and well read elementary school students could pass the GED without breaking a sweat, this option is difficult only because of the state's age limitations.

I know a young lady who did precisely this by design, and who went on to graduate college with honors in less than 4 years. She spent her time on the lam from high school in South America, developing her parents' property and learning a few languages.

Yada, yada, yada, Warden! Come and get me! I'm in the jungle with the snakes and creepy crawlies, and they don't speak English here!
3.6.2008 8:00pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
I believe there is federal case law that state laws and court rulings preventing the Amish from home-schooling are void as in violation of the United States Constitution. Bona fide religious convictions do count.
3.6.2008 8:15pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Eugene wrote in the original post:

4. As a policy matter, I think home-schooling -- with some regulation, for instance with mandatory testing of children to make sure they are learning well enough -- should indeed be legal.


I'm trying to decide if this is sarcasm or not.

How many illiterates graduate from public high schools?
3.6.2008 8:15pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
there is no indication that the state of California dispenses certifications in anything other than a content-neutral manner.

Spoken like someone who's knowledge of the nature of "teacher education" in the US is rather limited. Being forced to swallow and vomit back a bunch of commie garbage for 5 years to get your teaching credential (w/o necessarily being able to read) does not strike me as content neutral. Teacher training is highly content biased.
3.6.2008 8:20pm
Oren:
Contrary to Oren, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no federal constitutional right to an education in 1974 (in a case from San Antonio).
You'll have to be contrary to Warren as well
Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school
attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of
education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities,
even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in
awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust
normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in
life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to
provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.


Moreover, there is indeed, for fit parents at least, a recognized constitutional right to the care and custody of their children, and to impart an education reflecting their values to their children
. You see a conflict here where non exists. Parents can be free to impart whatever values they want but that right is not impinged solely because a public school dares to expose the child to an idea the parents do not approve of.

Whit, that is indeed unfortunate. Malfeasance by the teachers, however, does not negate the abject crime of denying a child any exposure outside the cloistered and paranoid mind of helicopter parents.
3.6.2008 8:20pm
NI:
I think there's a broader question here, and that is where exactly to draw the line on parental decision making that is harmful to children. Obviously the line exists: parents can't kill their children, or sell them as slaves, or pimp them out as prostitutes.

On the other hand, the standard can't be that the state steps in whenever a parental decision is harmful to a child. Then we would have to have government supervision of children's diets to make sure they weren't getting obese and developing health problems; we would have to second-guess parental decisions about who their children's friends will be; we would have to forbid parents to take the children to churches that teach racism and that Noah's flood was a literal historical event.

I think that unless we are willing to give up any pretense of being a free society we just have to accept that some parents will make boneheaded decisions that hurt their kids, and that other than banning the worst of the worst (i.e., killing their kids, selling them as slaves and pimping them out as prostitutes), it's an unfortunate fact of life.

Some kids who are homeschooled with get a superlative education; others will barely be able to read and write. That's true of public school graduates as well.
3.6.2008 8:42pm
Oren:
NI, denying a child a modern education rises to the level of permanent harm, on par with
3.6.2008 8:44pm
Oren:
NI, denying a child a modern education rises to the level of permanent harm, on par with

we would have to forbid parents to take the children to churches that teach racism and that Noah's flood was a literal historical event.
Absolutely not! The problem is not that we are denying parents the right to teach their children as they see fit but rather parents the assert that ANY exposure to ideas that don't approve of somehow impinges on that right. That view - that their beliefs require not only the teaching of those beliefs but the complete exclusion of all other possibilities - is fundamentally untenable.
3.6.2008 8:47pm
NI:
Oren, I agree with you that trying to protect children from other views is moronic and bad for children. I'm not convinced it's on the level with stuff we all agree should require state intervention. I was raised fundamentalist Christian by people who tried everything in their power to ensure that we kids weren't exposed to any ideas they found disagreeable. Many of my peers were home schooled (or sent to Christian madrassahs). And many of those peers grew up to be successful doctors, lawyers, business people, and what have you.

Yes, I'm sure we all would have benefitted from being exposed to real science and opposing viewpoints. These days I'm a confirmed atheist myself. But I haven't seen any evidence that children with insular upbringings can't be successful in life, and in fact many are.
3.6.2008 8:59pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"But I haven't seen any evidence that children with insular upbringings can't be successful in life, and in fact many are."

I suppose the ones smart enough to become successful doctors, lawyers, and buisness people can overcome the insularity. But how about the kid who is not as intellectually gifted? Can he break through?
3.6.2008 9:08pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
a claimed right to control a third party -- however much the claimed rightsholder might generally love the third party, and however much that third party might need some control from someone -- strikes me as among the weakest sorts of claims for unenumerated rights.

Then certainly the coercive state apparatus' claim of a "right to control the 3rd party" would be even weaker since it manifestly cares not at all for the "3rd party" and is upperly incompentent in caring for "it". Note that death rates of children in government custody are much higher than death rates of children in parental custody and you can forget comepletely about their intellectual and spiritual development.

I don't worry too much about the Constitutional basis of home schooling. 30 years ago it was illegal in all states and today its legal in all states (with some regulation in some states). Legalization was accomplished by a combination of civil disobediance and legislation.

Mostly, school districts got tired of beating up on parents who were the least neglectful of their children (wanting, after all, to care for them 24/7 365) when the beating up didn't work since parents could merely switch school districts if they got tired of the harrassment.

Also, since the 4th Amendment has been held to guarrantee that private homes are not subject to regulatory searches (Camara vs Municipal Ct 387 U.S. 523 (1967)), coercion proved difficult. If they can't enter the house, it's hard for the authorities to determine the existence of children without expending additional resources.

Then there's the fact that home schoolers used one of those clever legal arguments that is not supposed to work in real life - but sometimes does - by saying that, "We are not tutoring our children at home. They are attending a private school that happens to be in our home." This switched the argument from "neglect" to "private school regulation". And since religious schools and elite private schools had discouraged regulation of private schools in many states, home schoolers were able to benefit from that laxity.

And even when states like Nebraska tried to force private schools to use certified teachers they encountered civil disobedience. [When 1000 Baptist ministers descend upon you and a disabled Vietnam Vet who's become a minister cuts the padlock on the church door, even Nebraska had to yield.]

Since most home schoolers these days are members of religious organizations they also have access to resources both financial and physical to make life difficult for regulators. See, for example Dr. Dobson's daily broadcast tomorrow on the in re Rachel L case, In Defense of Home Schoolingg.

As with firearms regulation, strong views on the part of the regulated can pay off.

----
Some years ago, my daughter was asked by a woman in a shop why she wasn't in school. She gave the answer I had previously suggested, half in jest. "My daddy doesn't believe in your schools. He says they're controlled by the communists." Further deponent sayeth not.
3.6.2008 9:09pm
whit:
"Whit, that is indeed unfortunate. Malfeasance by the teachers, however, does not negate the abject crime of denying a child any exposure outside the cloistered and paranoid mind of helicopter parents."

my point is, both from personal experience and from what i've read - i've seen no evidence to convince me that the average teacher is any more effective than the average parent in teaching their children. from what i've read, homeschooled kids tend to outperform other kids.

but i have no problem with some sort of minimum competency test for homeschool teachers, as long as "real" teachers are forced to take the exact same test.

i do agree that it's possible that some parent could just totally neglect their child's education in homeschooling. but i also know that almost every charge that teacher's unions tried in trying to originally prevent homeschooling turned out to be baseless once homeschooling became popular.

ultimately, imo it comes down to parental rights.
3.6.2008 9:11pm
NI:
Elliot123, kids who aren't intellectually gifted will end up working at Wal-Mart or a factory or some other blue collar position no matter where they go to school.

As I look back on my childhood, I think my biggest regret is the enormous amount of time I wasted before I figured out that it was all bullshit. I started off in seminary with big plans to be another Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson myself. I'd like to have that time back. But if I hadn't wasted time on that, I probably would have wasted it on something else.
3.6.2008 9:12pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
I mean, come on. If you're an Educrat, do you really want to spend time tussling with people who think you're a commie-faggot out to destroy America (and can supply written evidence of the plot.)
3.6.2008 9:15pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I don't think Hans gave the best representation of the argument. The argument is that states have (under state constitutions, Hans cited only SCOTUS) an affirmative duty to educate children. Letting parents take children out of school-never to be seen or heard from again-is not "educating" them.
First, that's only part of her argument; she also argues that parents are acting as agents of the state when they educate children (rather than vice versa). From that flows her notion that religious homeschoolers are violating the equal protection clause because we all know that religious people hate women.

Second, state constitutions do not say that states have an affirmative duty to educate children. At most, they say that states have an affirmative duty to make education available, which is very different, even if she confuses the two.
3.6.2008 9:21pm
Oren:
Being forced to swallow and vomit back a bunch of commie garbage for 5 years to get your teaching credential (w/o necessarily being able to read) does not strike me as content neutral. Teacher training is highly content biased.
Saying it doesn't make it so. I emailed a few teachers I know (mostly HS) and they discount that assertion in its entirety. You can get a teaching certificate from a politically conservative school, if you so chose.
3.6.2008 9:34pm
Lively:
Tim Tebow=homeschooled 12 years

/go Gators
3.6.2008 9:44pm
JBL:
...I think that whatever one thinks of the general unenumerated constitutional rights debates, a claimed right to control a third party...

I am equally skeptical of unenumerated rights and unenumerated powers.

Parental preferences regarding their children may or may not qualify as rights. The ability to force a third party into some particular institution, especially without some form of due process, definitely qualifies as power.
3.6.2008 10:38pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
The right to a meaningful eduction is, IMO, on par with the basic right to medical attention and housing.

No kidding which is a great argument against government schools. It's trivial to establish that they are disasters.
3.6.2008 10:38pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
If I'm an agent of the state vis-a-vis the education of my children I hereby resign my agency.

You may not like home schooling. I may not like sodomy. So what. Get over it. Neither should be illegal.

And since home schoolers are part of the 10% of the population that owns 50% of the US' private firearms, home schooling is not likely to be seriously regulated.
3.6.2008 11:26pm
Oren:
You seriously think that any number of private firearms are going to make a dent in the LA County SWAT team?

There's nothing in the law that proscribes home-schooling, per se, only a requirement that every child be afforded a teacher with a minimal level of competency (a good requirement to apply to inner city schools, while we're at it).
3.6.2008 11:35pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
This pisses me off. Why does religion get special treatment? Why is religious homeschooling (if it can be shown to be substantially religious) okay, but if I want to homeschool my kids to teach them to hate gays, blacks, jews, mexicans, asians, and that white people are superior and should rule the world (in addition to basic math and reading skills), why is that not equally as revered and protected? First amendment should protect both (I realize we're dealing with free speech vs. free exercise here... though anyone can claim that hating gay people is part of their religion I guess).

I'm against all homeschooling, just for the record. I see no right (I believe Yoder was wrongly decided) to take children out of school for any reason, particularly the universally WORST reason for anything - religion.
3.6.2008 11:43pm
Randy R. (mail):
I say let them home school if they like. It just makes the competition for good jobs all the easier for the ones that actually learn things like evolution.

Okay, so I'm a little sarcastic. Actually, we have a dearth of students graduating in the fields our country needs, such as science and math, and that will hurt our ability to compete against actual communist states such as China, or capitalist ones like India. Our country is already falling behind in many ways. Did you know that China graduates about 500,000 software engineers every year, compared to our 30,000?
3.6.2008 11:50pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
I have to really strongly opposed some sort of required and standardized testing for home-schooled individuals. If you're leaving the schools because of their political nature or inaccurate answers, you probably don't want to teach for tests that want politically correct but inaccurate answers or will require you to let them brainwash your kids.

Sorry to be a little crude about it, but I went through the public school system not that long ago, and even in good schools (Massachusetts, suburbs northwest of Boston), you see a lot of problems. People making mistakes but being entirely impossible to get to own up for it.

My personal favorite was an AP Physics teacher who was sure that the Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, as applied to position and velocity, was just a result of the observer effect. Not an unusual mistake, or a particularly damning one for a single AP Physics course, but a significant one: it completely unravels most of the important distinctions found through quantum mechanics. I'm not sure what the best analogy for modern law courses would be, but saying Dred Scott was an important ruling on eminent domain would be close. Both cases are almost, but not quite totally, completely unlike the truth.

Researching the right answer yourself, or being taught it by a third party, isn't too useful. Knowing you're correct won't get you twenty points on a quiz. Obviously, there are some pretty strong incentives to avoid trying to prove a teacher's marks incorrect.

Quantum mechanics is a popular place for this sort of issue to pop up -- it's not a well understood field even among those with a physics degree, nor one that really got much focus until recently, and as a result you see a lot of students coming out of high school or a sophomore college course certain that Schrodinger's cat was a useful model rather than a thought experiment demonstrating why a pre-existing model needed a lot of work -- but you see variation in most of the other sciences. History, political science, and literature classes have it worse; not a single one I sat through avoiding expounding on the teacher's personal beliefs, and that's not a place you are likely to encounter an accidental mistake, or can prove the teacher wrong.

Seeing that sort of situation, where a group set up by the very politically motivated instructors that you've gone out of your way to avoid is still capable of requiring you to teach a number of things which may well be false, really doesn't seem to be that effective an alternative to me.

It's interesting that the same people who will be the first to denigrate "unenumerated rights" as "judicial activism" nonetheless are able to read "home schooling" into the Constitution.


Yes, it's interesting exactly how similar entirely unrelated arguments can be, especially when you either show ignorance or apathy regarding the actual substance of the arguments.

For those following along at home, the top "judicial activism" involves some situations claiming unenumerated rights that pretty clearly weren't the case in the Founding Father's vocabulary. Lawrence V. Texas would have been remarkably good legislature -- hence why you don't see even many of conservatives complaining about the results -- but finding it under the Constitution or first nine amendments was rather ridiculous, especially given that the people who wrote the damned text had no issue banning that specific form of private interaction, and banning it for merely reasons of 'ick'. Roe wasn't much better : while abortion was legal in many cases at the time of the Founders (at least before 'quickening') and wasn't really heavily banned in the United States until the mid 19th century, Roe relied on finding within the 14th amendment, a text proposed in 1866. That time was actually one of the strongest points of the anti-abortion movement, which had begun legislation in New York and the rest of the northeast in the 1820s. From the "judicial activism" viewpoint, Roe really would have been stronger decided by using the common law definition for the ninth amendment, or even the "penumbras" argument used in Griswold (which has its own issues).

You don't have to do any logical gymnastics to find a right to educational choice; it could actually exist without a government, was fairly common through all of our country's history and most of the history of our country's common law sources, and is consistent with other stated rights and texts.

That's not to say that I think the law is or is not Constitutional, nor to say that the 9th amendment is the strongest weapon to bring to the game against it (freedom of association for 500, anyone?), merely to say that there are some pretty significant differences between one situational and the next.
3.7.2008 12:06am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Thank you, Mr. Randy R., for demonstrating the great strengths of the American public educational system.

Did you know that China graduates about 500,000 software engineers every year, compared to our 30,000?


I've heard those numbers, before, and slightly larger ones. Given that the BLS only counts an entire ~760,000 software engineering jobs on the market, an average level of unemployment for software engineers, that like India's IT market a number of those graduated engineers are of questionable skill (approximately 30,000 Chinese MCE degrees come out per year, according to the IBM's 05 library, but finding one that you'd trust to make half-decent code is at best 50/50 over there), and notices that the China's population is four times that of America's, and that many of those individuals with software engineering degrees are providing call support... I think you're ignoring at least half of the important data, whether intentionally or not.

Using the same IBM 05 library, I see that the official number of IT-related jobs from China was 250,000 in 2001, and while that was supposed to increase by some pretty amazing jumps, that really does not sound like a good employee's market.

It just makes the competition for good jobs all the easier for the ones that actually learn things like evolution.


Here's a stupid question : what job do you actually need to believe in macroevolution to do well in?

The problem with Intelligent Design and Creationism in general is that it's entirely possible to work it in with all observed evidence; it's entirely untestable, and thus while it probably won't predict useful data, it's not going to force someone's head to blow up when they encounter anything.

The amount of doublethink required for a paleontologist would probably be capable of powering a pretty decent-sized electrical generator, of course, but it's still possible for that person's beliefs to wrap around the matter (and given the existing evidence, you'd honestly expect him or her to have begun to expect the Flying Spaghetti God to plant that evidence everywhere).
3.7.2008 12:32am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
You seriously think that any number of private firearms are going to make a dent in the LA County SWAT team?


If both sides got serious about it, yes, I would.

The average bullet-proof vest is only rated to work against handgun bullets, and not even work well against the bigger or faster ones. Moreover, there are a lot of home schoolers, and not many police officers in LAPD SWAT. That combination is a good way to get a lot of people killed.

That ignores the political and social costs of bringing pseudo-military tactics against a non-violent, normal-looking 10% of the state.

Of course, given the tendency of sane people to leave California, I hope that won't be the case.
3.7.2008 12:50am
Elliot Reed (mail):
BruceM—I'm not against homeschooling, but I'm absolutely against the idea that parents have any "rights" vis-a-vis their children. I see parents as fiduciaries, and there's simply no right to be a fiduciary or to have your decisions respected as the absolute last word about the beneficiary's interests. From a moral perspective, the relevant rights at issue are the child's, not the parent's.

I think there are a lot of reasons that children should presumptively be raised about their parents and parents' decisions about how to raise their children should be generally be respected. But those reasons have to do with protecting the best interests of the child, the state's incompetence at micromanaging the details of child-rearing, and the fact that parents are in the best position to assess their child's interests because they have the best information. It's not because people have a right to take a small, vulnerable person and do whatever they want with them as long as they're not grossly incompetent.
3.7.2008 1:21am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Correction: there are a lot of reasons why children should presumptively be raised by their parents.
3.7.2008 1:27am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Sorry for the extra post, but to clarify now rather than later :

Given that the BLS only counts an entire ~760,000 software engineering jobs on the market


Refers only to American jobs and the American market, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics is rather incapable of finding any useful information outside of United States borders.

Elliot Reed, if parents have no rights over or regarding their children, we'd be seeing human rights violations every few seconds. For that matter, many of the relatively right-fracturing capabilities that the public school system is capable of applying, such as searches that would otherwise invade privacy or limits that would otherwise stomp upon freedom of speech and freedom of association, primarily due to the concept of "in loco parentis", where the state or a guardian receives some of the rights normally held by the relevant parents.

It shouldn't be at question whether the parents have some rights over the destiny of their offspring. These rights probably don't meet very strict scrutiny, but wondering whether they exist at all flies rather far in the face of evidence.
3.7.2008 1:42am
whit:
"I see no right (I believe Yoder was wrongly decided) to take children out of school for any reason, "

i think you have it backwards. school takes children out of the home. school is the one with the burden to justify, not parents. and schools have done it because we view education (through high school) as a benefit to society so we PROVIDE it to those who DON'T choose to make other private arrangement. historically, those private arrangement have been conventional private schools. but that's just a matter of circumstance. they shouldn't have ot be the only choice.

the schools have no "right" to your child. you do. they are only there to provide what the state has deemed important enough to all children to offer to provide free (well, not free since we pay for it, but you get my point).
3.7.2008 2:05am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Elliot, in every relevant area of the law, the lodestar is always the "what's in the best interest of the child" test. While I am one who historically despises using children as an excuse for things, the one thing I know is that proper education is not only in the best interest of children, it's in the best interest of our society and our economy. Of all the stupid things to trump the best interst of the child test, why is religion the one thing that does? I'm so sick of religion being an excuse for stupidity. Just because someone believes in something stupid doesn't mean they have a constitutional right to force their stupidity onto society or into the stream of commerce.

Parents have to have certain rights over their children, that's the very essence of the concept of "custody". But those rights cannot include taking a child out of school.

I'm sure we can all agree that homeschooling is a pretext for parents wanting to instill in their children some fringe belief either not taught in public schools or contradicted in public schools. Just because parents don't believe in evolution on religious grounds does not give those parents the right to deny their kid a proper, normal education so they can brainwash their children as they see fit. That's what homeschooling comes down to - the right to brainwash your children.

If it were up to me, society would not let parents even mention religion to their children until they turn 21. Minds under 21 are not mature and developed enough to handle or understand religion. It should be a felony to even mention jesus/allah/moses/etc to a child under 21. If society had to wait until kids turned 21 to begin religious education, well over 90% of the population would be atheists and the world would be a much better place. No mature mind would believe in religion - only when it can be brainwashed into your mind as a child does it remain through adulthood. I know this will never happen, nor would it be able to be enforced. But I can dream.

Homeschooling is just an excuse to brainwash children with religious gobbledegook hogwash. Children should not be isolated from other kids their age, and should be in school with other children. "Homeschooling" is a crime against children, and absolutely, positively NEVER in the best interest of any child.

Wisconsin v. Yoder is improperly decided and should be overruled insofar as it permits actions against the best interest of a child in the name of religion. Allowing people to use drugs in the name of religion makes infinitely more sense than allowing parents to pull their kids out of school and deny them a proper education in the name of religion.

Homeschooling is just an excuse for nutjob crazy parents or people who have kidnapped a child and raised him/her as their own and don't want to risk sending the stolen, missing child to a public school where they have lots of milk cartons.
3.7.2008 2:08am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Elliot, in every relevant area of the law, the lodestar is always the "what's in the best interest of the child" test
Actually, it isn't. That test is rarely applied, and generally only in situations where the parents disagree and ask a court to intervene. Otherwise, the test generally used is harm to the child.
Of all the stupid things to trump the best interst of the child test, why is religion the one thing that does? I'm so sick of religion being an excuse for stupidity. Just because someone believes in something stupid doesn't mean they have a constitutional right to force their stupidity onto society or into the stream of commerce.
Actually, it does. Your anti-religious hysteria doesn't change the fact that religion is accorded a special place in our constitutional system. A protected place.

I'm sure we can all agree that homeschooling is a pretext for parents wanting to instill in their children some fringe belief either not taught in public schools or contradicted in public schools.
In fact, we can't agree on that at all. (To quote a famous philosopher, "You know it's not just for scary religious people anymore.") Many homeschoolers do so out of religious motivation; many do so because public schools are not exactly admirable institutions. And they teach plenty of fringe beliefs -- e.g., that FDR's New Deal ended the Depression -- themselves.

Homeschooling is just an excuse for nutjob crazy parents or people who have kidnapped a child and raised him/her as their own and don't want to risk sending the stolen, missing child to a public school where they have lots of milk cartons.
Or people who want their children to learn, instead of being held back by the mediocrity and latest fads of the educrats.
3.7.2008 4:03am
homeschooler:
I'm sure we can all agree that homeschooling is a pretext for parents wanting to instill in their children some fringe belief either not taught in public schools or contradicted in public schools.

I homeschool because my daughter has special needs that weren't being addressed by the public school. Despite the IEP that she was offered (which was as good as any government crafted plan) she was not able to get her needs met. She struggled in public school, but thrived homeschooling! She actually learned to read (Keep in mind, we're talking about gradeschool age here). In public school they weren't even trying to teach her anything. I had a state-certified teacher privately observe her in public school and found she was being left on her own to play by herself, not being interacted with by the teachers, support staff or other students.

And that was WITH an IEP and in a class that was DESIGNED for kids with disabilities!

>>> Children should not be isolated from other kids their age, >>>

On the other hand, children should not be forced to assciate only with other kids their age. Certainly those of us who are products of the public school remember the horrible social ramifications of a "senior" talking to a "freshman". I mean, after all, that three or four year age difference is so significant in the real world.

>>> "Homeschooling" is a crime against children, and absolutely, positively NEVER in the best interest of any child. >>>

I'm grateful for my daughter that she had more opportunity then your limited view would have provided her. >>>

>>> Homeschooling is just an excuse to brainwash children with religious gobbledegook hogwash. >>>

How do you answer those parents who homeschool for non-religious reasons then? Just curious...
3.7.2008 5:26am
Brett Bellmore:

Children should not be isolated from other kids their age,


On the contrary, the evidence from research suggests that they should be. Children being isolated in huge herds consisting almost entirely of other children of their own age is a HIGHLY artificial contrivance, contrary to most of our species' evolutionary history.

Children learn primarily from adults, because other children their own age for the most part know nothing to teach them. And childhood is a time for learning to be an adult. Perhaps they need some exposure to other children their age for proper socialization into the next generation's common culture, but all the evidence suggests they need not nearly as much as government schools provide, and would benefit from far less of it.

All of which is neither here nor there, save to demonstrate that the objective case for attacking home schooling is remarkably flawed. The usual standard for an unenumerated, 9th amendment based right, I assume, is whether it would universally have been regarded as a right at the time the Bill of Rights was adopted, and failed to be included only because it occurred to nobody that the government would ever try to violate it. Home schooling meets this test admirably, you'd be hard put to identify a better qualified candidate for an unenumerated right, short of the right to breath or eat.

I think it's time for the home schooling movement to flex that clout, and start working for a constitutional amendment.
3.7.2008 6:49am
Arkady:

And since home schoolers are part of the 10% of the population that owns 50% of the US' private firearms, home schooling is not likely to be seriously regulated.


Now we're getting down to it.
3.7.2008 7:07am
Secular homeschooling parent:

I'm sure we can all agree that homeschooling is a pretext for parents wanting to instill in their children some fringe belief either not taught in public schools or contradicted in public schools. Just because parents don't believe in evolution on religious grounds does not give those parents the right to deny their kid a proper, normal education so they can brainwash their children as they see fit. That's what homeschooling comes down to - the right to brainwash your children.



No, we can't agree on that at all. We're a secular homeschooling family that pulled our kids out of public school because they weren't learning anything. We homeschool for academic excellence, we teach evolution and I don't brainwash my children. They are getting a far superior education compared to what they were receiving in the public school. Secular homeschooling is booming and is the fastest growing segment of the homeschooling community.

I concede that there are plenty of fundy homeschoolers who are teaching their children ideas I find abhorent, but surely you realize they'd be doing this even if their kids went to public school?
3.7.2008 8:37am
Chris Bell (mail) (www):
gattsuru: "I have to really strongly opposed[sic] some sort of required and standardized testing for home-schooled individuals."

I could agree with most everything else in your post as a matter of opinion, but this I disagree with. I have several reasons:

First, the "tests" that the homeschoolers have to come in for aren't that hard. We're talking about GED level stuff here. Homeschoolers are only being asked to show that they're doing as well as a crappy public school.

Second, schools prepare kids for jobs (or at least they're supposed to). Now if you want to teach your kids evolution is false, you can do that. I bet they could still pass the test after getting those answers wrong. Giving them testing just ensures that they'll be able (in a broad sense) to get some job. We just want to make sure that you're not keeping them at home and teaching them nothing. Or, worse, having them knit things that you sell at the farmer's market.

You said "If you're leaving the schools because of their political nature or inaccurate answers, you probably don't want to teach for tests that want politically correct but inaccurate answers or will require you to let them brainwash your kids."

I think this is overblown, and answered by my second point. I don't think the GED is all that "politically correct". How do you make the math section politically correct? Could you find a few 'objectionable' questions on the GED? Sure. It's only a few questions, deal with it. Overall, the test is pretty basic. These tests are normally drawn up by a state body with more professionals, not your AP Physics teacher.

These tests are not "conformity with liberal values" tests. They're "let's make sure your kids will be at least as educated as our dumbest public school students" tests.
3.7.2008 9:41am
Dan Weber (www):
I'm sure we can all agree that homeschooling is a pretext for parents wanting to instill in their children some fringe belief either not taught in public schools or contradicted in public schools.

I'm going to pile onto this garbage, too.

We don't homeschool, yet. But public school is failing my kid. So we're exploring the options. And we've found a local secular homeschooling support group.

While I'm sure BruceM would love it for me to sacrifice my child on the altar of the public schools, he's not the one who has to deal with the consequences.
3.7.2008 9:49am
Ghostmonkey:
I'm against all homeschooling, just for the record. I see no right (I believe Yoder was wrongly decided) to take children out of school for any reason, particularly the universally WORST reason for anything - religion.

Oh, how "Tolerant" of you! We can see that government schools taught you well.

Thankfully it doesn't matter whether or not you believe Yoder was wrongly decided. You will NOT dictate to me how to raise my children.

Neither will the Courts or the Government. You can stomp your feet and take a tantrum if you want, but you can't change the fact that you cannot dictate the educational choices that I make for my family.

Frankly, when the attitude that you have is adopted by the Courts or the Government, it makes me eternally grateful to the Supreme Lawgiver that we have the 2nd Amendment in this Country.
3.7.2008 9:59am
Ghostmonkey:
Elliot, in every relevant area of the law, the lodestar is always the "what's in the best interest of the child" test. While I am one who historically despises using children as an excuse for things, the one thing I know is that proper education is not only in the best interest of children, it's in the best interest of our society and our economy. Of all the stupid things to trump the best interst of the child test, why is religion the one thing that does? I'm so sick of religion being an excuse for stupidity. Just because someone believes in something stupid doesn't mean they have a constitutional right to force their stupidity onto society or into the stream of commerce. Parents have to have certain rights over their children, that's the very essence of the concept of "custody". But those rights cannot include taking a child out of school. I'm sure we can all agree that homeschooling is a pretext for parents wanting to instill in their children some fringe belief either not taught in public schools or contradicted in public schools. Just because parents don't believe in evolution on religious grounds does not give those parents the right to deny their kid a proper, normal education so they can brainwash their children as they see fit. That's what homeschooling comes down to - the right to brainwash your children. If it were up to me, society would not let parents even mention religion to their children until they turn 21. Minds under 21 are not mature and developed enough to handle or understand religion. It should be a felony to even mention jesus/allah/moses/etc to a child under 21. If society had to wait until kids turned 21 to begin religious education, well over 90% of the population would be atheists and the world would be a much better place. No mature mind would believe in religion - only when it can be brainwashed into your mind as a child does it remain through adulthood. I know this will never happen, nor would it be able to be enforced. But I can dream. Homeschooling is just an excuse to brainwash children with religious gobbledegook hogwash. Children should not be isolated from other kids their age, and should be in school with other children. "Homeschooling" is a crime against children, and absolutely, positively NEVER in the best interest of any child. Wisconsin v. Yoder is improperly decided and should be overruled insofar as it permits actions against the best interest of a child in the name of religion. Allowing people to use drugs in the name of religion makes infinitely more sense than allowing parents to pull their kids out of school and deny them a proper education in the name of religion. Homeschooling is just an excuse for nutjob crazy parents or people who have kidnapped a child and raised him/her as their own and don't want to risk sending the stolen, missing child to a public school where they have lots of milk cartons.

You really are a freak. Your blind hatred for religion seems to enhance your totalitarian desire to control others. Despite the fact that we have the right to the free expression of religion in this Country.

Frankly, your proposals are utterly unconstitutional and unAmerican. I submit that YOU and people like you are the dangerous wacko nutjobs who think that you will/can use governmental force to deny the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit.

You might be an Atheist/Skeptic libertine. More power to you, but you DO NOT have the right to force that Atheist/Skeptic libertine attitude onto the rest of the country via the power of the government.

Neither do you have a right to tell me and my family how we are going to school our children, What religion the Children are going to be raised in, and what moral principles they will be taught.

You might not like it, but you are going to have to learn to live with it.
3.7.2008 10:09am
whit:
"Parents have to have certain rights over their children, that's the very essence of the concept of "custody". But those rights cannot include taking a child out of school. "

they most definitely include that right.

"I'm sure we can all agree that homeschooling is a pretext for parents wanting to instill in their children some fringe belief either not taught in public schools or contradicted in public schools."

no i don't.

and one person's "fringe beliefs" is another person's truth. i love the way that for you it's the state that gets to decide those all important truths we teach to our children.

" Just because parents don't believe in evolution on religious grounds does not give those parents the right to deny their kid a proper, normal education so they can brainwash their children as they see fit. "

i think creationists are morons. but i respect their rights.

"That's what homeschooling comes down to - the right to brainwash your children. "

you could apply that equally to public schools.

"If it were up to me, society would not let parents even mention religion to their children until they turn 21. "

your hillary'esque "it takes a village" decrees make me itchy

"Minds under 21 are not mature and developed enough to handle or understand religion. It should be a felony to even mention jesus/allah/moses/etc to a child under 21. If society had to wait until kids turned 21 to begin religious education, well over 90% of the population would be atheists"

unsupported WAG (wild ass guess), that i doubt is true.

" and the world would be a much better place."

YES, because govt. imposed atheism (which is what you are trying to espouse) has SUCH a great record of civil rights in the last century (the first century where it basically existed).

yes, officially atheist regimes where people were saved from the evil of religion have SUCH a great record of peace and justice.

lol

just because john lennon wrote a song, doesn't mean he's correct.

the evidence strongly suggests the opposite.

" No mature mind would believe in religion - only when it can be brainwashed into your mind as a child does it remain through adulthood."

countless examples throughout history disprove your "opinion".

" I know this will never happen, nor would it be able to be enforced. But I can dream. "

yes. utopianists often do. unfortunately for the world, sometimes their dreams come true, and we have pogroms, killing fields, gulags, etc.
3.7.2008 10:13am
john w. (mail):
I'm surprised that nobody has cited the following quote from this morning's San Francisco Chronicle"

"A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare," the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.

Training children in loyalty to the State! That kind of says it all.
3.7.2008 10:49am
Some_3L (mail):
So let me get this straight:

Rich kids and kids whose parents can make the sacrifice get to the insanity of public schools. But the poor kids are screwed.

Got it.
3.7.2008 10:53am
Randy R. (mail):
"Using the same IBM 05 library, I see that the official number of IT-related jobs from China was 250,000 in 2001, and while that was supposed to increase by some pretty amazing jumps, that really does not sound like a good employee's market. "

I was just in China for a delegation of IT professionals, and those were the numbers we were told. They may not be accurate, and who knows the quality of the engineering programs, but the fact remains that China graduates far more engineers in just about every subject than the US does. We should be concerned.

"Here's a stupid question : what job do you actually need to believe in macroevolution to do well in? "

Most medial or biotech or biomed jobs require a good understanding. And those fields are growing and will be economic engines of our future.

"More power to you, but you DO NOT have the right to force that Atheist/Skeptic libertine attitude onto the rest of the country via the power of the government. "

He wasn't suggesting that atheism be forced onto students. He was merely saying taht any discussion of religion should be held off until a person is mature enough to understand it. I would disagree with the age of 21, believing that students can grasp the meaning of religion earlier than that.

My belief is that children should not be indoctrinated into any religion at all. Rather, they should be exposed to all religions, probably at some time in their teen years, and learn the various belief systems of each. Then, whenever they are mature, they can better choose which religion fits them. This has the added benefit of being better able to understand believers of other religions, such as muslims,buddhists, catholics, and so on. They might learn that adherents to other religions doesn't make one a spawn of Satan, as so many religions teach.

No one should have a problem with this. If your religion is the best one afterall, your children will of course choose it.
3.7.2008 11:11am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
First, the "tests" that the homeschoolers have to come in for aren't that hard. We're talking about GED level stuff here. Homeschoolers are only being asked to show that they're doing as well as a crappy public school.


I don't know what the current tests are, and I'm not sure it's particularly relevant what the currently are. The issue at hand not that they could be difficult — I'd personally hope for home schoolers to be capable of taking significantly harder tests successfully than public schooled kids — but that the tests could well be incorrect, different for those home schooled, or abused in several other different ways.

You and Mr. Volokh may well only be talking about the modern GED, but that's not clearly stated in Mr. Volokh's original post, nor is it something that would be possible to keep.
Second, schools prepare kids for jobs (or at least they're supposed to).

I'd argue that point. A lot of schooling does very little to prepare anyone for a job : there are incredibly few places where the ability to analyze Shakespeare, and even physicists or chemists seldom really use a lot of the stuff taught in schools with any regularity.
There are exclusions. If you go into organic chemistry, you'll be using the stuff you learned in high school and undergraduate for eternity, although for every Grignard you learn you'll also try out banana flavoring synthesis that no one needs a chemist to do these days.

The point was originally to produce an individual capable of dealing with and understanding a variety of situations in and out of their careers — a well-rounded adult, if you will. Now, I dunno.

I think this is overblown, and answered by my second point. I don't think the GED is all that "politically correct". How do you make the math section politically correct? Could you find a few 'objectionable' questions on the GED? Sure. It's only a few questions, deal with it. Overall, the test is pretty basic. These tests are normally drawn up by a state body with more professionals, not your AP Physics teacher.


I think that's the issue at hand. There's no assurances the series of testing will be the GED, or any form of testing that emphasizes preparation for college or the job market, only that it'll be drawn up by some state group with a bunch of professionals in it. Whatcha want to bet that these experts will want to focus on the sorta stuff that home schoolers are supposed to be getting wrong?

There's nothing inherently wrong with testing home schooled kids. There's nothing inherently wrong with 'may-issue' CCW permits or similar statutes, and until the various statutes and Constitution changed, nothing inherently wrong with the concept of a poll test. That doesn't change that there would be a massive potential for abuse, and little to no real method to challenge that abuse.
3.7.2008 11:20am
Jay D:
Isn't there some sort of involuntary servitude involved in forcing a youngster to get on a yellow bus and spend 7-8 hours captive in a brick and mortar building?
3.7.2008 11:30am
Secular homeschooling parent:

So let me get this straight:

Rich kids and kids whose parents can make the sacrifice get to the insanity of public schools. But the poor kids are screwed.

Got it.


Homeschooling aside, the rich and those with more resources already have far more choices when it comes to education. The best schools are in the best neighborhoods. Poor people don't have many opportunities to move into those areas. Actually homeschooling is a great option for poor people whose neighborhood schools are bad, and I do know a number of quite poor homeschoolers. But even if your statement were true, what do you suggest? Should everyone have to accept a mediocre education because not all have the option for something better?
3.7.2008 11:33am
Some_3L (mail):

Actually homeschooling is a great option for poor people whose neighborhood schools are bad


I left out a word there, the sentence should have read "Rich kids and kids whose parents can make the sacrifice get to avoid the insanity of public schools."

I agree completely that the poor who live in terrible neighborhoods would benefit from homeschooling. But some idiots in California won't even let them try.

The teachers' unions have to go. They have a stranglehold on education and are killing it. As mentioned by another commenter, they won't allow testing teachers for competence, but they demand that homeschooling parents and students be tested.

I was a public school kid (all the way from K-12, state university, and now a state law school), and all the while my best and most influential teacher was always my father.
3.7.2008 11:44am
The Unbeliever (mail):
Rich kids and kids whose parents can make the sacrifice get to the insanity of public schools. But the poor kids are screwed. Got it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have a convert to the pro-School Vouchers side.
3.7.2008 11:48am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I'm against all homeschooling, just for the record. I see no right (I believe Yoder was wrongly decided) to take children out of school for any reason, particularly the universally WORST reason for anything - religion.
And you've just demonstrated the fundamentally totalitarian sentiments that make up liberalism in America--and why home schooling needs to be allowed. (Perhaps not constitutionally mandated, but certainly allowed. And yes, Yoder, was wrongly decided.)

I really, really regret that my wife and I didn't home school our kids (above and beyond what we did before they went off to school: teaching them to read, basic arithmetic, colors, shapes). For all this talk about exposing children to a wide range of viewpoints, in practice, where we lived in California, that "wide range of viewpoints" was basically drunkenness, pot smoking, magic mushrooms, extremely casual sex, and contempt for learning. And it got much worse in high school. (The joys of living in a place where Democrats ran everything.)

How many hours a day of home schooling does it take to educate as effectively as a public school does? Quite a bit less. Remember that a seven hour school day includes, on average, 1 1/2 hours of lunch and breaks, 30 minutes of pep rallies, political indoctrination, or in California, sexual indoctrination events that, because there was no advance notice to parents, were unlawful.

Remember that teachers are having to deal with some students that aren't interested in being in school, with predictable results. (My wife substituted in the school our kids attended, so she had a clear idea of how much time in elementary school was spent dealing with disciplinary problems.) An hour of instruction at school is probably equivalent to 20 minutes of home schooling.
3.7.2008 11:54am
percheron (mail):

I'm sure we can all agree that homeschooling is a pretext for parents wanting to instill in their children some fringe belief either not taught in public schools or contradicted in public schools. Just because parents don't believe in evolution on religious grounds does not give those parents the right to deny their kid a proper, normal education so they can brainwash their children as they see fit. That's what homeschooling comes down to - the right to brainwash your children.


Bigoted much? "Homeschooling is just for religious fanatics to brainwash their kids" is so thirty-years-ago. My extensive contact with the homeschooling community indicates that those who homeschool for primarily religious reasons are now in the minority. The explosion of homeschooling in the last decade or two has been a secular one, driven by the educational failure, 'zero-tolerance' nonsense, political correctness and and general disorder of many public school systems.

Many of the comments here (usually from the anti-homeschoolers, but not always) make me wonder how many of the said commenters really know anything about homeschooling, education or, for that matter, children.

The whole 'certification' thing is a red herring anyway; teaching a roomful of children may require specialized skills, but any person of reasonable intelligence with access to reference materials can tutor their own children. (My wife, who did the lion's share of homeschooling our two kids, dropped out of high school and later obtained a GED. The kids, however, have scored in the upper-90th percentiles on all the standardized tests they've taken and are now both straight-A students at major colleges. Oh, and we're 'secular' homeschoolers, too.) The educracy is hostile to any competition and will try to control what they can't stop or forbid.

So let me get this straight:

Rich kids and kids whose parents can make the sacrifice get to the insanity of public schools. But the poor kids are screwed.

Got it.



I'm guessing you meant to type "[avoid] the insanity of public schools" or something like that. (Try "preview" - it works!)

Back atcha: Let ME get this straight. Rich kids and kids whose parents would CHOOSE TO make the sacrifice [to homeschool] should be forced to attend failing public schools in order to satisfy some twisted ideal of "fairness".

Got it.

PS- the only real "sacrifices" are giving up a 2nd income (and you can avoid that if you're self-employed, like my wife) and the time spent. Homeschooling is very inexpensive (compared to private school); without the 2nd income, you might have to give up an expensive vacation here or there, drive an older car for a few years, etc., but what is more important - lifestyle or education? As far as the time goes, who wouldn't want to spend more time with their kids?
3.7.2008 11:54am
AntiSchooler:
Compulsory schooling is simply the draft for short people.

Could a State mandate even one day a year for mandatory education of adults? Why does the government own my child? Why do I need to point to an affimative "right" to teach her; tell me why they own her?
3.7.2008 11:57am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

On the contrary, the evidence from research suggests that they should be. Children being isolated in huge herds consisting almost entirely of other children of their own age is a HIGHLY artificial contrivance, contrary to most of our species' evolutionary history.
Completely agreed. Especially this is a problem when you live in a community that is focused on materialism, drug abuse, and selfishness, and the kids bring those values to school.
3.7.2008 11:59am
Dan Weber (www):
If I were to homeschool my kids, I have high confidence that I could make them pass any objective test that the school-schooled kids have to take. You won't find any school that could match my student:teacher ratio.

Even if there were some kind of PC boogeyman questions on the test (which I doubt, but assume for argument's sake that there were), I could teach my kids to fake it.
3.7.2008 12:00pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I'm sure we can all agree that homeschooling is a pretext for parents wanting to instill in their children some fringe belief either not taught in public schools or contradicted in public schools.
Yes, like the importance of education and learning.
3.7.2008 12:00pm
Ghostmonkey:
He wasn't suggesting that atheism be forced onto students.

He certainly did.

He was merely saying taht any discussion of religion should be held off until a person is mature enough to understand it. I would disagree with the age of 21, believing that students can grasp the meaning of religion earlier than that.

Unconstitutional suggestion.

My belief is that children should not be indoctrinated into any religion at all. Rather, they should be exposed to all religions, probably at some time in their teen years, and learn the various belief systems of each. Then, whenever they are mature, they can better choose which religion fits them. This has the added benefit of being better able to understand believers of other religions, such as muslims,buddhists, catholics, and so on. They might learn that adherents to other religions doesn't make one a spawn of Satan, as so many religions teach.

You do not have a right to prevent me from raising my children in the tenants of my religion.

No one should have a problem with this. If your religion is the best one afterall, your children will of course choose it.

Incorrect, Parents have a right raise their children in the religion that they see fit.

BTW: I am a Calvinist Christian, so I do not believe that anyone choices God. Rather the reverse is true.
3.7.2008 12:03pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I homeschool because my daughter has special needs that weren't being addressed by the public school. Despite the IEP that she was offered (which was as good as any government crafted plan) she was not able to get her needs met. She struggled in public school, but thrived homeschooling! She actually learned to read (Keep in mind, we're talking about gradeschool age here). In public school they weren't even trying to teach her anything. I had a state-certified teacher privately observe her in public school and found she was being left on her own to play by herself, not being interacted with by the teachers, support staff or other students.
And unfortunately, public schools (at least where we were in California) are often among the worst places for kids that have special needs. Contrary to the myth that private schools skim the cream, we had friends with a deaf daughter. The public schools were failing her; they put her in a private Christian school in our county (the liberals haven't quite figured out to ban them yet), and they were more successful in educating her.

My wife was asked to tutor a sixth grader in reading who was in public schools. He was reading at about a first grade level. This kid was in a special needs program--and my wife couldn't figure out why. In six weeks, she had him up to about a fourth grade reading level. She repeatedly called this kid's teacher, trying to find out why a kid of at least normal intelligence had been shunted into a program for the retarded--and could never get an answer.

Eventually, a friend of ours who taught in the district explained it to her: the district gets additional funding for special needs kids, and special needs teachers were paid a bit better. This kid was apparently misidentified as special needs early on--and the district and his teachers had an incentive to keep him there--and keep him from advancing. The parents weren't particularly educated, and consequently didn't challenge this misidentification.

Public school teacher unions are the enemy of education.
3.7.2008 12:08pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The whole 'certification' thing is a red herring anyway; teaching a roomful of children may require specialized skills, but any person of reasonable intelligence with access to reference materials can tutor their own children.
At least up through eighth grade, almost anyone who completed high school should have no problem teaching the basic skills of arithmetic, reading, and writing (with some spent on refreshing your memories of those skills).

There may be a case that for some subjects, such as physics, or composition, or higher algebra, some people simply don't have the skills required to teach these subjects. For lab sciences, there is a significant investment in equipment that may make it impractical to teach these at home. But all of us had teachers somewhere along the way that were a reminder that everything isn't perfect in public schools, either.
3.7.2008 12:14pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Could a State mandate even one day a year for mandatory education of adults?
Sure. It's called a militia muster. We don't do it anymore, but throughout the 19th century, states did mandate militia musters for training and marksmanship.
3.7.2008 12:15pm
Chris Bell (mail) (www):
Dan: If I were to homeschool my kids, I have high confidence that I could make them pass any objective test that the school-schooled kids have to take. You won't find any school that could match my student:teacher ratio.

I completely agree, which is why I don't think these tests should be a problem. The home-school lobby hates them.

To be blunt, some people home school their kids for the wrong reason. For example, "I don't think women should work, they should just be submissive to their husbands. Therefore, I will home school my daughter and not teach her."

People like that (who are only a small minority) will be stopped by testing home schoolers. Normally, the home school kids do get a better education and pass the tests with flying colors.

gattsuru: "There's nothing inherently wrong with testing home schooled kids. . . . That doesn't change that there would be a massive potential for abuse".

In case I wasn't clear, homeschool kids should get the same tests public school kids get. There are normally "gateway" tests every few years in public schools. Public school Timmy can't go from 5th grade to 6th without passing a test. The same test should be given to homeschool Molly who is a rising 6th grader by age. If HS Molly passes, she can stay in homeschool.

Making them take the same test severely reduces the possibility of abuse. Besides, as Dan says, most homeschool kids embarrass the public school kids when these tests are actually administered.

Since homeschool kids don't have grades, they must take the SAT or ACT to go to college. They routinely destroy the public school average. Good for them! But a little test every few years to make sure you're being homeschooled for good reasons isn't too terrible.
3.7.2008 12:22pm
Some_3L (mail):
Well, it appears I broke my own rule against using sarcasm on the internet.

In drawing a distinction on how California's homeschooling law applies to the poor, I was making a jab at how leftist policies never help the poor.

Vouchers would be a good place to start for getting the poor out of poverty. The problem is they might grow up to be successful and then they won't vote for Democrats.

Never did I mean to suggest that anybody be forced to attend a public school.
3.7.2008 12:30pm
David Friedman (mail) (www):
Eugene writes:

"As a policy matter, I think home-schooling -- with some regulation, for instance with mandatory testing of children to make sure they are learning well enough -- should indeed be legal."

Speaking as a home schooling parent, I disagree with the requirement of regulation. One of the things wrong with our educational system, in my view, is the implicit assumption that, out of all of human knowledge, there is some subset large enough to fill most of K-12 that everyone has to learn, or at least pretend to learn. In fact, there are a few skills, such as reading, which will be important to almost everyone. Beyond that, it's good for kids to learn things, but there is no particular list of things they have to learn. A child who finds Roman history fascinating and doesn't know any American history is better educated than one who has memorized the dates of American history because he was required to, but has no interest and little understanding.

Which is part of why our kids are unschooled--an approach I like to describe as throwing books at them and seeing which ones stick. Under Eugene's proposal as I think it would in practice get enforced, our children would have had to waste a lot of time memorizing whatever the public school system thought they ought to know--time they could instead of spent on their education.

A further point, of course, is that the public school system is under no obligation to show that kids are learning "well enough." Why should failure to educate be acceptable when done in public schools but not when done at home? Do we have any reason to think it is more likely in the latter context--given that parents, on average, are very much more likely to care about their own children than the people running the public schools are to care about other people's children?

Readers interested in a more detailed account of my views on home schooling and unschooling will find it in several posts on my blog.
3.7.2008 12:45pm
whit:
**He wasn't suggesting that atheism be forced onto **students.

"He certainly did. "

i think this is not really correct. what he said (and i vehemently disagree with him) is that

"If it were up to me, society would not let parents even mention religion to their children until they turn 21. Minds under 21 are not mature and developed enough to handle or understand religion. It should be a felony to even mention jesus/allah/moses/etc to a child under 21."

now, first of all you CAN'T teach history without mentioning religion. so, his desire is a practical impossibility. it would, if done, leave kids FAR more ignorant than the creationist-indoctrinated-robots (tm) that he so fears.

religion is intricately connected with history, sociology, politics (see: religion is the opiate of the masses), even geography.

so, it's not only disgustingly statist, dismissive of parent's rights, and "utopian at the barrel of a gun", but it's simply impossible, and if even remotely possible - exceptionally damaging to children.

but (not teaching about god) is not the same thing as teaching atheism. not that i want to get into a semantical wank about strong vs weak atheism but he proposes simply no mention of god or religion. that's not atheism.

atheism is

1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

what he proposes is not the religion (and i;m not getting into that debate) that there is NO god, but simply ignoring the very idea of that

and of course thats not going to happen. kids are inquisitive, and unless you lock the kids in their rooms 24/7 they will be exposed to religion, just in the OP's eyes, it's illegal for the PARENTS to speak about THEIR beliefs. the kid will still absorb all the media's take on it, see churches when he walks down the street.

it's a gag order on parents specifically. the rest of society can proselytize and/or make bigoted statmeents about religion under his system.

not to mention that it blatantly violates both free speech AND the free exercise of religion, AND common sense, AND the american way (tm)
3.7.2008 12:46pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I completely agree, which is why I don't think these tests should be a problem. The home-school lobby hates them.

To be blunt, some people home school their kids for the wrong reason. For example, "I don't think women should work, they should just be submissive to their husbands. Therefore, I will home school my daughter and not teach her."

People like that (who are only a small minority) will be stopped by testing home schoolers.
Small minority? I would guess close to zero. Someone with that attitude would just send their daughters to public schools. At least where we were in California, it would be hard to tell the difference in result. Boys called girls "bitches" and "hos" (the pervasive influence of gangster rap on middle class white kids)--and the girls took this as a compliment.
3.7.2008 12:47pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

If it were up to me, society would not let parents even mention religion to their children until they turn 21. Minds under 21 are not mature and developed enough to handle or understand religion. It should be a felony to even mention jesus/allah/moses/etc to a child under 21. If society had to wait until kids turned 21 to begin religious education, well over 90% of the population would be atheists and the world would be a much better place.
Even the Soviet Union only prohibited religious education to those under 18.

A felony to even "mention jesus/allah/moses/etc"? So you want them to have no knowledge of history? Try teaching world history without mentioning Jesus Christ, or Allah, or Moses.

"Teacher, what's this BCE, CE refer to?"

"I'm sorry, but I can only tell you that the E refers to 'era' and the B is 'before.' But I don't want to go to prison, so I can't tell you about the C."

"I found an old book that, on the pages that hadn't been cut out by the liberal censors, uses the abbreviations BC and AD. I think that this is the same as BCE and CE. What does BC and AD mean?"

"I'm sorry, but those are even more off-limits than telling you what the C in BCE means."

There's gobs of American history that is going to have to be bowdlerized as well.

And I guess that your teaching about evolution is going to just suddenly appear, with no examination of what ideas evolution replaced.

I guess that there won't be any art history until you turn 21. And classical music? That's completely out.

"Teacher, what's this 's.D.g.' at the bottom of Bach's compositions?"

"I'm sorry, but I don't want to be arrested for answering that."

Liberal fascism is alive and well, and BruceM is its chief anti-intellectual prophet.
3.7.2008 12:57pm
Fub:
Jay D wrote at 3.7.2008 11:30am:
Isn't there some sort of involuntary servitude involved in forcing a youngster to get on a yellow bus and spend 7-8 hours captive in a brick and mortar building?
I orally argued that when I was a kid. The Supreme Court ruled against me 2-0. Dad, J, did offer dicta that I could walk if I wanted to, but I'd have to start earlier.
3.7.2008 12:57pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

kids are inquisitive, and unless you lock the kids in their rooms 24/7 they will be exposed to religion, just in the OP's eyes, it's illegal for the PARENTS to speak about THEIR beliefs. the kid will still absorb all the media's take on it, see churches when he walks down the street.
Not to worry, BruceM's liberal fascism will make sure that there are no churches, either. And he makes it clear that it will be a felony to even "mention" religion, so the news media will go along.
3.7.2008 12:59pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
I never said we should force atheism on children, or anyone for that matter. I merely said that if you keep religion away from people until they turn 21, they would laugh it off when finally told about it and nobody would believe it. Tell a 2 year old about the easter bunny and he'll believe it. Tell a 21 year old about the easter bunny and he won't. Once people turn 21, let them learn about whatever religion they want to. If some of them actually fall for it, then so be it. Very few would. But I'm not saying we should mandate atheism, that is, the affirmative believe that god does not exist. I'm saying just keep religion away from kids - they're too young to understand that it's bullshit, particularly when it comes from a trusted parent figure.

Kids may very well learn about religion from extra-parental sources. That's fine, as long as the parents are not involved directly or indirectly, it doesn't have the stamp of parental approval. Ever wonder why most people are the same religion as their parents are? It's not a coincidence. It's more like a genetic disorder. Jews have jewish kids, christians have christian kids, muslims have muslim kids, catholics have catholic children, hindus have hindu children. The poor children never even had a chance. Sure a small percentage may grow up and disavow that religion or find a new one or become an atheist or agnostic. But it's hard, and there will always be nagging doubt and fear of lightning strikes due to the parental brainwashing. It is evil.

The very fact that people insist on brainwashing kids with religion at as young an age as possible proves my point that religion is irrational. I dare any religious parent to wait until their kids turn 21 to start their religious education. You know they'll think you're freakin nuts if you break out the "drink the blood of christ" at age 21. Religion only works when it's instilled at a young, impressionable age by trusted parental figures or those acting in loco parentis. That's what's so cruel and inhuman about it. Most people have no choice in the matter. Wait until they're old enough to understand what religion is, rationally comprehend what it means, and intelligent and mature enough to decide for themselves if they want to believe in it or not. A 2 year old being told by his parents that he must believe in Mormonism or he'll go to hell has no choice in the matter. It's cruel. It's a denial of free will. Deep down you know it, which is why you're all so offended by my proposal (which I know and concede is unconstitutional, but I can dream). Most of you were brainwashed by your parents and have never even questioned the religion you were born into.

But again, to be clear, I'm not saying we should teach kids that god does not exists. Atheists shouldn't instill atheism in their kids until they're 21 either.

And just because I hate religion and think it should be eradicated from the planet at all cost does not make me a liberal. The fact that the american conservative party has been taken over by religious zealots says nothing about liberalism of secularists.

On another note, I do not buy for one second that parents homeschool their kids because of dumb public school policies like suspending a kid for having a butterknife or tylenol. Not for a second. Wanting your kids to learn "different viewpoints" not taught in public school is just a euphamism for wanting to teach them to "hate niggers" and not have to learn the "gay agenda" and the "jewish agenda" and to praise the confederacy and force jesus down their throats 8 hours a day. That is the sole purpose of homeschooling, other than the occasional child who was kidnapped from his real parents and the kidnapper doesn't want the kid to enter public school for fear of being discovered.

Our kids are dumb enough without some parents deciding they have the right to deny their children so much as the basic if not crappy education they would otherwise receive at public school.
3.7.2008 1:38pm
Fub:
David Friedman wrote at 3.7.2008 12:45pm:
Eugene writes:

"As a policy matter, I think home-schooling -- with some regulation, for instance with mandatory testing of children to make sure they are learning well enough -- should indeed be legal."

Speaking as a home schooling parent, I disagree with the requirement of regulation. One of the things wrong with our educational system, in my view, is the implicit assumption that, out of all of human knowledge, there is some subset large enough to fill most of K-12 that everyone has to learn, or at least pretend to learn. In fact, there are a few skills, such as reading, which will be important to almost everyone. Beyond that, it's good for kids to learn things, but there is no particular list of things they have to learn. A child who finds Roman history fascinating and doesn't know any American history is better educated than one who has memorized the dates of American history because he was required to, but has no interest and little understanding.
I'm not sure this is an argument against all regulation by skills testing.

Would you agree that a test of basic skills (approximately: reading, writing, and arithmetic) could be devised, which would be both reasonably objective and reasonably free of mandating particular knowledge (say your example, details of some particular history)?

It seems to me that tests of mathematical skills, reasoning skills, reading comprehension, and even some rudimentary scientific understanding, could be substantially free of political or cultural ideology, and substantially free of focus on particularly detailed factual knowledge.
3.7.2008 1:40pm
mischief (mail):

I'm sure we can all agree that homeschooling is a pretext for parents wanting to instill in their children some fringe belief either not taught in public schools or contradicted in public schools.


I'm sure we can all agree that public schools is a pretext for public school teachers wanting to instill in the children some fringe belief either not taught by or contradicted by parents -- or any other sane person.

Right?
3.7.2008 1:42pm
mischief (mail):

The very fact that people insist on brainwashing kids with religion at as young an age as possible proves my point that religion is irrational.


Let's not teach them to be honest, or not to hit other children, or to do their homework, either. The very fact that people insist on brainwashing kids with these rules at as young an age as possible proves that these rules are irrational.
3.7.2008 1:44pm
whit:
"I never said we should force atheism on children, or anyone for that matter."

correct. and i specifically pointed that out.

" I merely said that if you keep religion away from people until they turn 21, they would laugh it off when finally told about it and nobody would believe it."

and i keep telling you that is a ridiculous and unsubstantiated ASSERTION that you offer with no evidence whatsoever that it is true.

whether you like it or not, religious questions are as old as man himself. your false notion that if kids were only free of it (which, again is IMPOSSIBLE no matter what parents are prohibited from doing), that they wouldn't choose it upon age of majority is based on your misunderstanding of the nature of man.

reminds me of a certain other discredited political philosophy

" Tell a 2 year old about the easter bunny and he'll believe it. Tell a 21 year old about the easter bunny and he won't. Once people turn 21, let them learn about whatever religion they want to."

LET THEM. ah, the wonderful power of the state to control people's thoughts and access to information

there's a word for that.

" If some of them actually fall for it, then so be it. Very few would. But I'm not saying we should mandate atheism, that is, the affirmative believe that god does not exist. I'm saying just keep religion away from kids - they're too young to understand that it's bullshit, particularly when it comes from a trusted parent figure. "

as i've said a million times, govt. is almost always at its most diabolical when it tries to protect us (especially children) from ourselves, and from certain ideas.

like i said, you are profoundly unamerican, and profoundly ignorant of the nature of man.
3.7.2008 1:51pm
Randy R. (mail):
Thanks, Whit, for clarifying numerous points.

"You do not have a right to prevent me from raising my children in the tenants of my religion."

I didn't say you don't have the right. What I argued is what would be best for children and for society. That's merely my opinion, and you are free to disagree, but not mischaracaterize my contentions.

" Parents have a right raise their children in the religion that they see fit. BTW: I am a Calvinist Christian, so I do not believe that anyone choices God. Rather the reverse is true."

And if your religion is the one true religion for your family, then your children certainly won't be harmed by finding out what other religious beliefs are. But I think that it is vitally important that all students know what other religiouns believe in, since there is a large amount of prejudice and false information out there. I would even include teaching atheism, since a lot of people have misconceptions about that.

Surely, if you think religion is such an important part of world history, and so important to our Founding Father's, it is also important to learn different religions and how history is shaped by the various beliefs. How can you understand the Tudor Dynastry without understanding catholocism and protestantism,, and what people actually believed?

Personally, I believe that a lot of strife in the world has resulted from various religions proclaiming theirs is the best, and the one that everyone should convert to. Moreoever, adherents to other religions are demonized, and so children are taught to hate people of other religions. If, however, people realized that at least among Christian religions, there is more that unites them than separates them, they might realize that people of other beliefs are not necessary evil or bad people, and that God doesn't necessarily hate them.

One commentator earlier on this thread said that he was raised in a hermetically sealed fundy enviromenment, and wasn't allowed to be influenced by anything other his family's religion. Yet, today, he is an atheist. So putting a border around your children doesn't always work.

There is a fine line between teaching and controlling minds, and i firmly believe that there is no such thing as any taboo subject. Everything should be taught, time allowing, and the mind of a child should be stretched to encompass everything that our world has to offer, if thinks you don't personally approve of.
3.7.2008 1:53pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I never said we should force atheism on children, or anyone for that matter. I merely said that if you keep religion away from people until they turn 21, they would laugh it off when finally told about it and nobody would believe it. Tell a 2 year old about the easter bunny and he'll believe it. Tell a 21 year old about the easter bunny and he won't. Once people turn 21, let them learn about whatever religion they want to. If some of them actually fall for it, then so be it.
Let's correct this:

"I never said we should force traditional values beliefs on children, or anyone for that matter. I merely said that if you keep liberalism, Marxism, and homonormative ideas away from people until they turn 21, they would laugh it off when finally told about it and nobody would believe it. Tell a 2 year old about the beneficient State and he'll believe it. Tell a 21 year old about the beneficient State and he won't. Once people turn 21, let them learn about whatever political ideology they want to. If some of them actually fall for it, then so be it."

Of course, that would eliminate about 85% of all college education, wouldn't it?
3.7.2008 1:57pm
mischief (mail):

As a policy matter, I think home-schooling -- with some regulation, for instance with mandatory testing of children to make sure they are learning well enough -- should indeed be legal.


Unconstitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Because, you see, public schools are legal without the mandatory testing of children to make sure they are learning well enough. (Testing, yes, but it doesn't make sure that they are learning, let alone well enough.)

Therefore, such regulation bears no rational relationship to a legitimate government interest.
3.7.2008 1:59pm
Laserlawyer (mail):
As a homeschooling parent in Ohio, I am deeply concerned about the recent California Juvenile Court decision. But I am also concerned because the discussion of this issue typically seems to begin by skipping over what I consider to be one of the key issues -- As between parents and the state, who has the primary authority to govern the education of the parents' children?

It's clear to me that the answer to that question is that parents have the primary authority to govern the education of their own children, and that the authority of the state to become involved in that process is derived collectively as a power delegated to the state by the people. But if the authority of the state clashes with the authority of the parents regarding the education of the parents' children (e.g., the state tries to outlaw homeschooling), then the state has overstepped its jurisdictional boundaries and has become tyrannical.
3.7.2008 2:06pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The very fact that people insist on brainwashing kids with religion at as young an age as possible proves my point that religion is irrational. I dare any religious parent to wait until their kids turn 21 to start their religious education. You know they'll think you're freakin nuts if you break out the "drink the blood of christ" at age 21. Religion only works when it's instilled at a young, impressionable age by trusted parental figures or those acting in loco parentis. That's what's so cruel and inhuman about it. Most people have no choice in the matter. Wait until they're old enough to understand what religion is, rationally comprehend what it means, and intelligent and mature enough to decide for themselves if they want to believe in it or not. A 2 year old being told by his parents that he must believe in Mormonism or he'll go to hell has no choice in the matter. It's cruel. It's a denial of free will. Deep down you know it, which is why you're all so offended by my proposal (which I know and concede is unconstitutional, but I can dream). Most of you were brainwashed by your parents and have never even questioned the religion you were born into.
At about age 7, I was refusing to go to church, and managed to really upset my mother by being an atheist. I remained vigorously so into my late teens. I did not become a Christian until I was 21. Don't confuse your situation with anyone else.

What offends us about your proposal is that it shows your totalitarian tendencies--and yes, that's liberalism.


Wanting your kids to learn "different viewpoints" not taught in public school is just a euphamism for wanting to teach them to "hate niggers" and not have to learn the "gay agenda" and the "jewish agenda" and to praise the confederacy and force jesus down their throats 8 hours a day. That is the sole purpose of homeschooling, other than the occasional child who was kidnapped from his real parents and the kidnapper doesn't want the kid to enter public school for fear of being discovered.
I've never met anyone who wanted to teach their kids to hate blacks. EVER. I have never met anyone concerned about a "Jewish agenda."

I have met people concerned about homosexuality, but that's because where I lived in California, public school broke state law by not warning parents in advance that they were bringing in speakers to promote homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle.

Praise the Confederacy? There are a few whackos out there who have combined a Marxian insistence that everything is driven by economics with a weird Southern nationalism--but I have never met a homeschooler that thinks this.

You must have had some pretty bad parents to think these things.
3.7.2008 2:07pm
Kent G. Budge (mail) (www):
I can't add to the discussion of the legal issues, but I have some thoughts on the advisability of homeschooling itself.

Homeschooling is one of those ideas that sounds pretty good to me in theory, and my wife and I considered doing it. This was largely for nonreligious reasons, though it happens we're religious. We decided to try something called "family schooling", where the kids attended a charter school set up in the local public school district 51% of the time, and we homeschooled the other 49%. The 51% of their time spent in a district-sanctioned school meant the district got full funding for the students from the state, so the district was happy and stayed off our backs; the 49% at home was enough to do some real homeschooling and see if we liked the results. (We were conscientious about logging the required 49% hours at home.)

We were reasonably happy about this experience, though it was a huge amount of work and we later chose to move to a new job in an area whose public schools had a superb reputation.

And yet, for all that homeschooling sounds like a good idea in principle, we have not been impressed with the results we've seen other parents get in practice. Most of the homeschooled kids I've known have been distinctly odd. And by that I don't mean that they don't know who Britney Spears is -- curiously, they do -- or that they are geeky or that they are too sheltered. I mean that they read poorly for their age, are badly socialized (one such kid would stand up and start shucking and jiving in the middle of a Sunday School class I taught) and so on.

I don't get it, but then a theoretical explanation of this failure is not required to accept that it is empirically a failure. And, yes, I realize this is anecdotal. I would be relieved to learn that broader data shows that homeschooling does work, and that the kids I've known were flukes. Then I could focus on what went wrong with these flukes.
3.7.2008 2:09pm
The Unbeliever (mail):
I dare any religious parent to wait until their kids turn 21 to start their religious education.


Riiiiiiiight, because NOTHING humans do for the first two decades of their life could possibly have any important consequences, such that their decisions need to be informed by a code of values. Obviously you don't wish for that instruction to be of a relgious bent, but there is no way in Hell (irony intended) you are qualified to mandate the alternative, much less a state-sanctioned coda!

Should we also wait until they're 21 until we teach them about the "wise" way to handle money matters? Should we wait until they're 35 to teach them the American values we expect to see in a President? What's the FDA approved age to tell them Santa isn't real--or is the evil, irrational, hateful mythology of Saint Nick to be banned as well?

I generally hate to stray into personal attacks, but based on your comments above I have to second whit's characterization: you are profoundly unamerican, and profoundly ignorant of the nature of man.
3.7.2008 2:10pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Randy R. writes:

And if your religion is the one true religion for your family, then your children certainly won't be harmed by finding out what other religious beliefs are. But I think that it is vitally important that all students know what other religiouns believe in, since there is a large amount of prejudice and false information out there. I would even include teaching atheism, since a lot of people have misconceptions about that.
Agreed. Does anyone disagree (except for BruceM and other liberal fascists)?


Surely, if you think religion is such an important part of world history, and so important to our Founding Father's, it is also important to learn different religions and how history is shaped by the various beliefs. How can you understand the Tudor Dynastry without understanding catholocism and protestantism,, and what people actually believed?
Well of course. Remember that the only people trying to suppress learning about religion are liberals like BruceM.

Now, Christians do object when Islam is given a favored position in how public school teach about it. But I'm sure that won't bother you.
3.7.2008 2:10pm
Laserlawyer (mail):
"Religion only works when it's instilled at a young, impressionable age by trusted parental figures or those acting in loco parentis."

I too am a Christian who really had very little exposure to religion or the bible until I was halfway through Law school. So, I guess I am living proof that your generalization is flat wrong.
3.7.2008 2:18pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

And yet, for all that homeschooling sounds like a good idea in principle, we have not been impressed with the results we've seen other parents get in practice. Most of the homeschooled kids I've known have been distinctly odd. And by that I don't mean that they don't know who Britney Spears is -- curiously, they do -- or that they are geeky or that they are too sheltered. I mean that they read poorly for their age, are badly socialized (one such kid would stand up and start shucking and jiving in the middle of a Sunday School class I taught) and so on.

I don't get it, but then a theoretical explanation of this failure is not required to accept that it is empirically a failure. And, yes, I realize this is anecdotal. I would be relieved to learn that broader data shows that homeschooling does work, and that the kids I've known were flukes. Then I could focus on what went wrong with these flukes.
Keep in mind that parents who choose to homeschool tend to be different from the general population. When I was living in Sonoma County, one home schooled kid received a lot of press attention when Harvard accepted him--although they did ask him to attend at least semester at the community college first to get a feel for what a normal classroom was like. This kid's parents were 1960s hippies that went back to the land. Dad had a Ph.D. (from Harvard); Mom had a M.A. The kid had written a book about raising goats that was published when he was 16. As I said: homeschooled parents tend to be different.

I have a niece who started in public schools in the Portland area, but my sister wasn't happy with the quality of the schools (and they weren't far enough left for her--which should tell you something about how far left she is). My niece was homeschooled from about 7th grade on. Is she a little unusual? Yes, she is. She graduated from Harvey Mudd with a B.S. in Physics. That alone should tell you that she is a bit out of the ordinary.

We know two families that are homeschooling in the Boise area. The Dad has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, and has turned down university teaching positions. His kids are learning Chinese. Why homeschool? Because they are concerned about the lack of Christian values in public schools here.

The other family is probably more what BruceM imagines homeschoolers to be. Dad works for Wal-Mart, and they are struggling financially--and again, concerned about the values of public schools. I don't know how the education is going, but what I see of the daughter suggests a pretty healthy (and therefore abnormal) 13 year old.
3.7.2008 2:20pm
Rock Chocklett:
I don't think one has to mine the cavern of unenumerated rights to find a right to homeschool in the Constitution. I agree with Robert Bork that the right to direct the upbringing of one's children is founded in the First Amendment, not substantive due process. Free speech is a hollow right indeed if it fails to include the liberty to not be taught by the state about such central life concepts as history, science, or citizenship (to name a few). And the right is the most valuable to those who are the most vulnerable: our children.

Instead of viewing the right to homeschool as the right to control a third party, one should look at it as the child's rights being enforced by the parents as her legal "next friend."
3.7.2008 2:23pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Now, Christians do object when Islam is given a favored position in how public school teach about it. But I'm sure that won't bother you."

I'm in favor of teaching all religions and belief systems equally, without judgement or prejudice, and without stating that one is true, or false, or better or whatever.

The problem is that some people are deeply insecure about their beliefs on many things. These people either don't want Islam (or whatever religion) taught at all, for fear that their children will somehow find something good about it, or if taught, then the teachers must take great pains to say that it is a bad or false religion, or otherwise denigrate it.

Ex. Often, when school curriculums are written, the sex ed class will teach that some people are gay, and that homosexuality is the attraction one feels for the same sex. Such an innocuous statement is seen as 'promoting' homosexuality because they school fails to condemn it in some fashion.
3.7.2008 2:31pm
Randy R. (mail):
Laserlawyer:" I too am a Christian who really had very little exposure to religion or the bible until I was halfway through Law school. So, I guess I am living proof that your generalization is flat wrong."

And you are living proof that parents don't have to worry about whether their kids follow the 'right' religion.

I'm always amused by Christian colleges. It seems that the ones that really indoctinate the students in the Bible turn out graduates who aren't very successful in their chosen professions. The ones that encourage free thinking turn out better graduates, but then they begin to doubt their religion. It seems very rare to have that balance between getting free thinking and well rounded education, and insuring that all the kids toe the party line.
3.7.2008 2:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
I have a question for homeschoolers who don't like what is being taught in public schools. Apparnetly, these people don't like the liberal take on issues. So I presume that you teach the kids conservative values? Why is that better?

Wouldn't it be best to teach students both conservative and liberal values? If not, aren't you just as guilty of being the 'thought police' that you accuse liberals of being? Or teaching from a certain religious viewpoint?

Just curious -- am I wrong?
3.7.2008 2:43pm
Justin Levine:
If the Wisconsin v. Yoder decision is still good law, then I don;t see how this decision can stand. To allow it to stand would itself be a violation of the Establishment Clause. Contrary to Professor V's assertion in his point # 2, the petitioners clearly showed a "religious motivation" - an aversion to the "religion" of the public school curriculum.

[I admit that trying to read people's minds to discover their "motivations" has always been a ridiculous way to try and interpret the Constitution, but that is what the fools on the Supreme Court have mandated with their Establishment Clause decisions.] This case is one more instance of courts abusing the Establishment Clause to favor one set of religious beliefs over another.
3.7.2008 2:44pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Ex. Often, when school curriculums are written, the sex ed class will teach that some people are gay, and that homosexuality is the attraction one feels for the same sex. Such an innocuous statement is seen as 'promoting' homosexuality because they school fails to condemn it in some fashion.
In California, schools were never so neutral about homosexuality as to merely observer that some attracted to the same sex. There was a lot of energy put into promoting the idea that homosexuality was every bit as good as heterosexuality, and anyone that disagreed was a contemptible bigot.

Maybe somewhere there is the hostility towards a neutral presentation of other religions, but here's what the mecca of liberal fascism, California, is doing:


In the wake of Sept. 11, an increasing number of California public school students must attend an intensive three-week course on Islam, reports ASSIST News Service.

The course mandates that seventh-graders learn the tenets of Islam, study the important figures of the faith, wear a robe, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own jihad. Adding to this apparent hypocrisy, reports ANS, students must memorize many verses in the Koran, are taught to pray "in the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful" and are instructed to chant, "Praise to Allah, Lord of Creation."

"We could never teach Christianity like this," one outraged parent told ANS.

Elizabeth Christina Lemings, a teacher in the Byron, Calif., Union School District, was unaware of the course until her seventh-grade son brought home the handouts. Obtained by ANS, the handouts include a history of Islam and the life of Mohammad, its founder. There are 25 Islamic terms that must be memorized, six Islamic (Arabic) phrases, 20 Islamic proverbs to learn along with the Five Pillars of Faith and 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples to be studied.
Neutral and objective, right?
3.7.2008 2:44pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Wouldn't it be best to teach students both conservative and liberal values? If not, aren't you just as guilty of being the 'thought police' that you accuse liberals of being? Or teaching from a certain religious viewpoint?

Just curious -- am I wrong?
If public schools actually made a serious attempt at teaching students more than a single perspective, there might be some grumbling about it, but there wouldn't be the outrage. It isn't just that many public schools at the primary and secondary level (and nearly all public education at the college level) promote liberal views--it is that they don't even pretend to be fair or in some cases, to be teaching the class.

My daughter was taking a graduate course in social work recently. The class title was Family Structure &Social Work. The professor, however, was a global warming fanatic--so he didn't bother to teach the class listed in the catalog. Instead, the entire semester was devoted to global warming. Not even, "How does global warming affect family structure and social work"? He told the students that the term paper that they were supposed to turn in should not question global warming--that he would not accept any such paper.

That's liberalism for you.
3.7.2008 2:50pm
Rock Chocklett:
It is impossible for parents not to teach their children something about religion. Even if they never mention God, keep the home free of any religious text, and never set foot in a house of worship, they convey a strong message about religion: namely, either God does not exist or is irrelevant. If the parents provide children equal exposure to religious beliefs and encourage them to independently choose their favorite, that also sends distinct messages (about the truth claims of the respective religions, the (non-)existence of absolute truth, epistemology, etc.).

Of course, maybe those are exactly the messages the parents want to convey. But let's not pretend those homes are void of religious teaching.
3.7.2008 2:50pm
Dan Weber (www):
I don't care at all about the schools teaching my kids "liberal" or "conservative" ideas. As a parent, I can countermand them. (Although the school shouldn't be in the business of promoting any specific social value, that's not my beef here.)

The problem is that my kid isn't learning. He might need some time away from the social jungle that is elementary school. Kent would probably see my kid acting out and figure that it's because he's home-schooled, when in reality the causality would go the over way.
3.7.2008 2:59pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I have a question for homeschoolers who don't like what is being taught in public schools. Apparnetly, these people don't like the liberal take on issues. So I presume that you teach the kids conservative values? Why is that better?
In many cases, it isn't even the values that are being taught. It is the utter failure of public schools to teach basic skills.

I don't hold the schools entirely responsible for this. When my wife and I were in elementary school, there was usually one (sometimes two) kids in every class, always boys, that had some problems that prevented them from sitting still and learning. Some of them were perhaps ADHD, but at least the ones that I knew had troubled home lives.

My wife substituted for a while in California public schools, and it was shocking to her how much worse things had become. Nearly every boy, and half the girls, were out of control. She talked to the teachers--and they shared her view--that something had gone terribly wrong. Some of this was that troubled home lives were now the norm, where they used to be the exception.

My son told me that in fourth grade, one of the defiant boys refused to leave the classroom, and refused to go to the office. The teacher, of course, wasn't going to get herself fired and sued by dragging him there. Instead, and to the amazement of my son, Mrs. Jacobs picked up the entire desk that the little brat was sitting in, and carried it and its ill-behaved occupant, to the office.

We moved my son to a private school in 7th grade because he wasn't doing well in the public middle school--and from what he tells me, there wasn't much learning going on there. He said that in many of his classes, the teacher spent nearly the entire time trying to get kids to shut up and listen--many of them were defiant and simply refusing to learn. And before you make any assumptions: this was a 95% white school, middle class and upper class.

We put my son in a public school when we moved to Boise, and it was better. He tells me that about half the kids in his classes were out of control, simply refused to shut up and listen--and rather than try and discipline them, most of his teachers just TALKED LOUDER.

Something has gone terribly wrong with our culture.
3.7.2008 3:01pm
Rock Chocklett:
I have a question for homeschoolers who don't like what is being taught in public schools. Apparnetly, these people don't like the liberal take on issues. So I presume that you teach the kids conservative values? Why is that better? - Randy R

The point here is bigger than any particular political ideology. I fully support the right of liberals to homeschool. We shouldn't have to sit under the tutelage of the state -- be it blue or red.
3.7.2008 3:02pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
It's not because people have a right to take a small, vulnerable person and do whatever they want with them as long as they're not grossly incompetent.

I'm afraid that's a fair statement of the current law (and a good thing too). As long as you have an intact family (no divorce), the "best interests of the child" standard doesn't apply. The only thing the state can do is try and apply the much tougher "unfit parent" standard.
3.7.2008 3:07pm
mischief (mail):

My daughter was taking a graduate course in social work recently. The class title was Family Structure &Social Work. The professor, however, was a global warming fanatic--so he didn't bother to teach the class listed in the catalog. Instead, the entire semester was devoted to global warming


She should sue for fraud and false advertising. I can't imagine a clearer case of advertising a course under one name and teaching something else instead.
3.7.2008 3:11pm
whit:
"have a question for homeschoolers who don't like what is being taught in public schools. Apparnetly, these people don't like the liberal take on issues. So I presume that you teach the kids conservative values? Why is that better? "

believe it or not, some even think the schools are too conservative.

but that's not the point. the point is not (as you continually miss) which is "better."

it's WHO GETS THE AUTHORITY TO DECIDE? and the answer is: the parents.

this is america. we uniquely trust our citizens with freedoms that other countries don't: speech (europe has gone towards banning all sorts of hate speech), access to weapons, parental authority, etc.

and just for the record, i was one of those kids who was extremely defiant about religion. i refused to say the word "under god" in the pledge of allegiance, and i mocked religious beliefs as immature.

kind of ironic that the views i held as a 12 yr old seem right in line with yours, nu? i thought i knew everything, and that religion was just fairytales for the ignorant.
3.7.2008 3:14pm
Randy R. (mail):
Thanks to those who responded.

"There was a lot of energy put into promoting the idea that homosexuality was every bit as good as heterosexuality, and anyone that disagreed was a contemptible bigot. "

Well, it's true, actually. Homosexuality -- for homosexuals -- is indeed every bit as good as heterosexuality is for heteros. What else would you prefer that they teach? That homosexuality is somewhat lesser than being straight? I would draw the line by not calling any names, but I really don't see the problem with saying that being gay is good, if you are gay, and that you should treat gay people with every bit of respect you treat everyone else.

But again, some people view that as violating their religious beliefs, or whatever. too bad. You can teach whatever hate you want on Sunday, but during the week, you teach respect for all religions, yes, even Christianity and Islam, and gays and straigth.
3.7.2008 3:14pm
mischief (mail):

It's not because people have a right to take a small, vulnerable person and do whatever they want with them as long as they're not grossly incompetent.


Someone's got the right to do whatever they want with that small, vulnerable person. Unless you are arguing that neither the state nor the parents gets to decide; the child does.

This is not an issue about whether to protect the child. It's an issue of who is the lucky duck who decides what is the harm and what is the protection for the child's sake.
3.7.2008 3:16pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The only thing the state can do is try and apply the much tougher "unfit parent" standard.
Sad to say, decisions about family law are continually navigating a Scylla and Charybdis problem. I think that almost everyone would agree that the state has not only a right, but an obligation to remove a child from a situation where they are being physically or sexually abused, not fed, or not being given medical care. But there are places where Child Protective Services, in their enthusiasm for protecting the best interests of the child, takes a child away from marginally unfit parents--and puts the child into foster care. There are foster parents that really try and succeed; but there are some monsters that get into foster care systems either for the money, to get access to unprotected children, or to deal with serious emotional problems from their childhood.

I don't see any perfect answers on this because there are so many different situations out there, and often the courts have to decide between several bad choices. Even some amount of emotional or physical neglect is probably less traumatic for a child than being yanked away from the natural parents and put into foster care.

The definition of abuse is another area where it is really hard to draw bright lines that always work. I can't see spanking as intrinsically abusive, depending on the age of the child, how often it happens, and the circumstances that lead up to it. Others may disagree--especially those who have seen children who have been emotionally traumatized by arbitrary violence by a drunken parent.
3.7.2008 3:19pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Well, it's true, actually. Homosexuality -- for homosexuals -- is indeed every bit as good as heterosexuality is for heteros.
I'm not persuaded of that--and neither is a majority of Americans.
What else would you prefer that they teach? That homosexuality is somewhat lesser than being straight?
That it isn't fixed, at least for some, and if you aren't happy about it, you may not have to stay that way. But I don't expect that my opinion would take precedence, so I would prefer the schools simply remain neutral.

I would draw the line by not calling any names, but I really don't see the problem with saying that being gay is good, if you are gay, and that you should treat gay people with every bit of respect you treat everyone else.
How about just staying completely neutral, and teaching that you need to treat people with the respect that they deserve, instead of calling people bigots for not sharing your views?

But again, some people view that as violating their religious beliefs, or whatever. too bad. You can teach whatever hate you want on Sunday, but during the week, you teach respect for all religions, yes, even Christianity and Islam, and gays and straigth.
So you want us to be taxed to fund teaching contrary to the majority's views? And you wonder why people pull their kids out of public schools?
3.7.2008 3:23pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Yes, I'll concede that insofar as Americans love their religion (well, just one of them, certianly not all of them) and believe religion is good and should be embodied in our pledge of allegiance to our nation and on our money, I am in the minority. If that makes me "unamerican" then so be it, though I don't agree.

Laserlawyer: there are some people who have something terrible happen to them later in life and "find religion". While I have a hard time believing you grew up in a completely agnostic household, I'll take your word for it. I don't have a problem with adults "finding religion" because adults are mature enough to make the decision for themselves. "Finding" religion is the very essence of making your own decision. Children who have religion forced upon them by their parents never have the chance to "find" it, they are "given" it. That's the essence of my beef here.

Clayton Cramer: all the interviews I've seen with parents who want to homeschool their children concede some political motive. It's always about subject matter, not quality of public school or private school education. Sorry, but I just don't buy any other reason for homeschooling a child - no valid purposes for homeschooling, always bad intentions. Maybe if a kid has been expelled from every school he's been to then homeschooling would be a legitimate option, but the kid would probably be in some sort of juvie facility by that point.

As for the people acusing me of being a "totalitarian" I'm sure there are many things you think should be unlawful which I disagree with, yet I'm not calling you names. I'm merely proposing age restriction on religion being taught by parents. I know and concede it's currently unconstitutional, but like I said, I can dream. I'm a fan of the establishment clause, but I'm not too fond of the free exercise clause. People should not have the right to be irrational, let alone wrong. And society agrees with me. Crazy people are hospitalized. If you have an invisible friend named Bob you get medical treatment, but if you have an invisible friend named God or Jesus, you get constitutional protection and are deemed to be a good fella. Religion is a neurological disorder and should not be encouraged, let alone constitutionally protected.

Just my opinion, I could be wrong.
3.7.2008 3:30pm
whit:
" You can teach whatever hate you want on Sunday, but during the week, you teach respect for all religions, yes, even Christianity and Islam, and gays and straigth."

just for the record teaching that homosexuality is morally wrong (and for the record i don't believe that it is morally wrong) is not "hate". this is right up there with the islamaphobia card. the card that those that think differently about homosexuality, are engaging in "hate".

generally speaking, parents don't like schools teaching morals, and whether or not homosexuality is as "good" as heterosexuality is a moral issue.

i also note that ideas about homosexuality, or criticism of public schools does not necessarily have anything to do with religion.

it CAN but plenty of people just think the public schools suck, and/are teach liberal values and principles to the exclusion of alternative views, etc.
3.7.2008 3:30pm
whit:
"Yes, I'll concede that insofar as Americans love their religion (well, just one of them, certianly not all of them) and believe religion is good and should be embodied in our pledge of allegiance to our nation and on our money, I am in the minority. If that makes me "unamerican" then so be it, though I don't agree. "

what is unamerican is prohibiting others from the free exercise of their religion. there is NOTHING unamerican about atheism. that religion deserves JUST as much protection.

trying to enforce atheism, would be very very bad. but trying to prevent others from teaching their religious (or a-religious) to their children is also terribly unamerican.

if we really want to be fascist about controlling children, how about giving mandatory norplants to all hard drug addicts?

i'm being facetious, but that would be the kind of stuff we could justify under your mindset.

heck, the #1 predictor of future criminality and antisocial behavior for young boys is being born into an outofwedlock household. we might as well not allow that either.

IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN.

the #1 refrain of those who wish to control others and deny rights.
3.7.2008 3:38pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
BruceM writes:

Clayton Cramer: all the interviews I've seen with parents who want to homeschool their children concede some political motive. It's always about subject matter, not quality of public school or private school education. Sorry, but I just don't buy any other reason for homeschooling a child - no valid purposes for homeschooling, always bad intentions.
I've told you about my niece--the quality of the schools just wasn't up to snuff. Admittedly, she's extremely smart, and public schools really aren't set up for smart kids. My daughter was put into the gifted program when she was in fourth grade, and I was surprised by how little homework she had, and still getting almost entirely As. We asked her teacher about this--and he told us that the other parents were complaining that their kids were spending three to four hours a night on homework.

Public schools simply aren't appropriate for extremely smart kids--and a lot of the homeschoolers that I know are extremely smart parents--who likely have extremely smart kids. Private schools are often not available, or too expensive. What's the alternative?
3.7.2008 3:39pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

She should sue for fraud and false advertising. I can't imagine a clearer case of advertising a course under one name and teaching something else instead.
Do you understand the importance of getting recommendations when you graduate? Do you understand the vindictiveness of liberals when you point out that they are engaged in fraud?
3.7.2008 3:41pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

As for the people acusing me of being a "totalitarian" I'm sure there are many things you think should be unlawful which I disagree with, yet I'm not calling you names. I'm merely proposing age restriction on religion being taught by parents. I know and concede it's currently unconstitutional, but like I said, I can dream. I'm a fan of the establishment clause, but I'm not too fond of the free exercise clause.
You certainly would not have liked the establishment clause as the Framers understood it. They set aside one section in each township in the Ohio Territory to fund whatever church a majority picked.


People should not have the right to be irrational, let alone wrong. And society agrees with me. Crazy people are hospitalized. If you have an invisible friend named Bob you get medical treatment, but if you have an invisible friend named God or Jesus, you get constitutional protection and are deemed to be a good fella. Religion is a neurological disorder and should not be encouraged, let alone constitutionally protected.
You are proving my point about your totalitarianism. The usual distinction between insanity and a difference of opinion is that insane person is a minority of one. Now, if you were attacking a position that only a small number of Americans hold, you might have a somewhat interesting argument. But you are essentially saying that the vast majority of Americans are insane--and with a shared insanity. You, fortunately, are so much more sane than 80-90% of the population, that you think that you should get to tell them how to live their lives.
3.7.2008 3:45pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
"What we have here is a failure to communicate."

* Both left-wing, right-wing, (and wingless) parents homeschool.

* Government ownership of the means of production generally creates an inferior product. "The good news is that the Patriotic Forces of the CCCP have liberated the Sahara. The bad news is that soon there will be a shortage of sand."

* A religious education doesn't necessary cause intellectual harm as a perusal of the works of Issac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Joseph Alois Ratzinger can easily establish.

* The claims of the State to raise children are much weaker than the claims of parents to raise their children.

* It's not clear that the State's pronouncements on various matters are wiser than the average parent's pronouncements on various matters.

* A couple of million parents are simply not going to turn their children over to an institution dedicicated to teaching them a competing non-religious moral code.
3.7.2008 3:47pm
Randy R. (mail):
"generally speaking, parents don't like schools teaching morals, and whether or not homosexuality is as "good" as heterosexuality is a moral issue.
i also note that ideas about homosexuality, or criticism of public schools does not necessarily have anything to do with religion. "

That's a contradiction. Most people who claim that homosexuality is a morality issue say it's immoral because of their religion.

Sexual orientation is NOT a moral issue, any more than heterosexuality is a moral issue. Teaching kids that they are immoral because they have attractions to the same sex leads only to depression and often suicide attempts by gay teenagers. Additionally, it gives a green light to other kids to harass gay kids. Just recently, a teen shot and killed another teen at high school in CA merely because the kid was gay, and he didn't like it.

Whit:"just for the record teaching that homosexuality is morally wrong (and for the record i don't believe that it is morally wrong) is not "hate"

But it leads to hate. If you teach that gay kids are immoral, then why can't you harass them? My friend tells me a story about a teacher in Michigan. His son is gay, and it distressed him to continually hear anti-gay comments from the students. One he confronted one of these kids in his classroom, the kid said, "If the Bible says that God hates gays, why can't I kill them?" The teacher moved to a different part of the state after that.

It's a very short walk from morality to oppression to outright hate.

Again, I don't like name calling, so no one should be called a bigot for their beliefs; likewise, no one shoudl be called immoral for their sexual orientation.

All schools should teach respect for everyone, be they gay, straight, Christian, muslim, black, white, whatever. I wouldn't think that today this would be controversial, but apparently it is. And this is one of the reasons why people would prefer to homeschool their kids, so that they don't have to teach the respect of all these people.

I pity any student who
3.7.2008 3:53pm
Randy R. (mail):
To complete, I pity any student who is taught that any person is inherently immoral. That's a mockery of true morality.
3.7.2008 3:55pm
Hoosier:
"The appeals court told the juvenile court judge to require the parents to comply with the law by enrolling their children in a school, but excluded the Sunland Christian School from enrolling the children because that institution "was willing to participate in the deprivation of the children's right to a legal education."

Why do KIDS have a right to a legal education, but *I* would have to take out loans to go to law school?
3.7.2008 3:56pm
Hoosier:
Randy R.: >>>Sexual orientation is NOT a moral issue, any more than heterosexuality is a moral issue.

But millions of people believe firmly that it is. Who has the right to tell them that they cannot teach their beleifs to their children? You aren't claiming that authority, are you?
3.7.2008 3:59pm
CJColucci:
So let me get this straight:

Rich kids and kids whose parents can make the sacrifice get to [avoid] the insanity of public schools. But the poor kids are screwed.

Got it.


This is not the place where I would have expected such an argument to be made. I've often wondered why this concern for the inability of the impecunious to get good services seems to stop at education.
3.7.2008 4:20pm
Lively:
This homeschooling topic hits close to home. We had always planned that our daughter would major in Engineering because she scores in the 99% percentile in math and performs well in math and science.

A few months ago, she came to us and said she wanted to major in Music in college. She has been playing violin and piano since she was 7 (we did this just to keep her busy with something productive).

She asked me to homeschool her for High School. She will take 8 AP Exams to show the Universities that she is a viable student and she will spend the rest of her time practicing her instruments (she plays five instruments, although violin is her primary).

Here is a link that shows Pennsylvania AP test results. Homeschoolers claim most of the 5's on AP tests. I think she's bright enough to do it. It's still an new concept for me to think about partly because of negative attitudes towards homeschooling like as I have witnessed here.
3.7.2008 4:31pm
mischief (mail):

Sexual orientation is NOT a moral issue, any more than heterosexuality is a moral issue. Teaching kids that they are immoral because they have attractions to the same sex leads only to depression and often suicide attempts by gay teenagers.


If teenagers interpret a statement that actions they wish to engage in are immoral means they are immoral, that is unfortunate. But no reason not to teach them.
3.7.2008 4:39pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Randy R. writes:

That's a contradiction. Most people who claim that homosexuality is a morality issue say it's immoral because of their religion.

Even liberals (who have no religion) start to get a little wiggly about this when it is their OWN child.


Sexual orientation is NOT a moral issue, any more than heterosexuality is a moral issue. Teaching kids that they are immoral because they have attractions to the same sex leads only to depression and often suicide attempts by gay teenagers.
Are you sure that's what causes depression and suicide attempts? Or could it be because homosexuals were disproportionately sexually abused as children, which also causes depression and suicide attempts?


Additionally, it gives a green light to other kids to harass gay kids. Just recently, a teen shot and killed another teen at high school in CA merely because the kid was gay, and he didn't like it.
1. This is in California, where the schools aggressively promote not just tolerance, but vigorous enthusiasm for homosexuality. So your theory is shot to hell on that alone.

2. You don't have kids (obviously), so you don't know how tremendously insistent they are conformity. My daughter transferred from a private school to a public school in fourth grade. "You listen to Amy Grant? You're supposed to listen to Slayer!" There's no room for difference or non-conformity at that age.


Whit:"just for the record teaching that homosexuality is morally wrong (and for the record i don't believe that it is morally wrong) is not "hate"

But it leads to hate. If you teach that gay kids are immoral, then why can't you harass them? My friend tells me a story about a teacher in Michigan. His son is gay, and it distressed him to continually hear anti-gay comments from the students. One he confronted one of these kids in his classroom, the kid said, "If the Bible says that God hates gays, why can't I kill them?" The teacher moved to a different part of the state after that.
The teacher might have started a very useful discussion by asking this kid:

1. Where does the Bible say that God hates gays? (Hint: it doesn't.)

2. Where does the Bible treat homosexuality as a worse sin than adultery, or premarital sex, or drunkenness? (Hint: it doesn't.)

3. Does your pastor know that you think such things? Have you discussed it with him? (Hint: unless Rev. Fred Phelps has moved to Michigan, almost certainly, his pastor would explain to him how wrong he is.)

The fact is that people who are looking to hate will grab on to any and every possible excuse for it. It was not that many decades ago that evolution was the ideological underpinning of race hatred.
3.7.2008 4:39pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

If teenagers interpret a statement that actions they wish to engage in are immoral means they are immoral, that is unfortunate. But no reason not to teach them.
Some kids are attracted to violence against gays. If we tell them that is a shameful attraction, they may become depressed and suicidal, because we tell them that what they inwardly feel is shameful and immoral. Should we therefore refrain from telling kids not to beat up gays? Or would you recognize the absurdity of such an argument Randy?
3.7.2008 4:58pm
Hoosier:
>>>The fact is that people who are looking to hate will grab on to any and every possible excuse for it.

Ding-Ding-Ding!

We have a winner!

One of the most fascinating insights that I gained from Ian Kershaw's amazing bio of Hitler was just this point. The Nazis jettisoned anything like the Christianity--Catholic or Lutheran--in which they were raised, since Christianity was "polluted" by Jew-Kultur. (I know, I know. But let's just give them that for the sake of argument.) They sought to recall the Teutono-Pagan religion of the deep past.

So, one might ask, what the Hell did Odin, Feya, and Loki have to say about "The Jews"? Not much, as it turns out. For the same reasons that anti-semitism doesn't play much of a role in, say, the mythos of the Australian Aboriginies.

Again, doesn't matter. Once you've chosen the villain, ideas are easilly fit aound them.
3.7.2008 4:59pm
Dan Weber (www):
Homeschoolers claim most of the 5's on AP tests.

Home-schooled students are more likely to get 5's. That's not quite what you were saying.

I'm sure home-schooled students do better on average that public or even private schooled kids, because you've already selected the parents that give a crap, which is critically important to any kid's education.
3.7.2008 5:05pm
whit:
"That's a contradiction. Most people who claim that homosexuality is a morality issue say it's immoral because of their religion.
"

no, it's not a contradiction. yes, most do. but it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with religion.

"Sexual orientation is NOT a moral issue, any more than heterosexuality is a moral issue. Teaching kids that they are immoral because they have attractions to the same sex leads only to depression and often suicide attempts by gay teenagers. Additionally, it gives a green light to other kids to harass gay kids. Just recently, a teen shot and killed another teen at high school in CA merely because the kid was gay, and he didn't like it. "

oh rubbish. it doesn't green light anything.

i disapprove of fat people in spandex. that doesn't give anybody a green light to shoot them.

grow up. this is the kind of hysterical victimology rubbish that drives me crazy.

whether or not you want to admit it, almost EVERYTHING that has to do with sexuality is a moral issue for people. whether or not the various aspects of sexuality are or aren't genetic, environmental, or any combo of above

for example, many believe that premarital sex is immoral. yet premarital sex is entirely natural.

but spare me the scare card, that somebody teaching their kid or believing that homosexuality is immoral green lights violence against anybody

does thinking wasting energy and harming the environment is immoral "green light" environmental extremists to commit arson, vandalism, etc. ? of course not.

grow up

it doesn't surprise me at all that you want to justify your thought control with the SAME ARGUMENT YOU KEEP USING, that we need to do it to protect people from themselves.

there is an issue of personal responsibility. this is america. we are FREE TO THINK WhAT WE WANT and FREE TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN. otoh, we are responsibile for our actions. as libertarian, i think we should only be responsible for actions that hurt others, generally speaking, but that's another story.

"But it leads to hate."

rubbish,. more transference of blame stuff. some people that think that homosexuality is immoral may hate gays. most, ime, don't. regardless, it's irrelevant.

" If you teach that gay kids are immoral, then why can't you harass them?"

again, i don't think gay sex is immoral. this is about others.

and the reason is because harassment is illegal.

free speech and thought isn't.

" My friend tells me a story about a teacher in Michigan. s son is gay, and it distressed him to continually hear anti-gay comments from the students. One he confronted one of these kids in his classroom, the kid said, "If the Bible says that God hates gays, why can't I kill them?"

the bible doesn't say that. also note the bible doesn't even MENTION lesbians, just male homosexuality.

and it's not the issue.

i can give you umpteen examples of liberal saying equally stupid crap. so what?

i understand. the great govt. overlord needs to protect kids from the ideas of their parents and make sure they receive the govt. approved morality curriculum

sorry,that's thought control. again, you are proposing unamerican, anti-freedom rubbish.

">>>The fact is that people who are looking to hate will grab on to any and every possible excuse for it. "

and again, exactly the point (that randy keeps missing)

religion is NOT responsible for all the crap he thinks it is. the 20th century PROVED that atheists (and even worse - govt. mandated atheism) is just as bad (if not worse) when it comes to a record of murder, rape, etc.

that's RECENT history. utopianists like you, randy , love that whole john lennon thang about the world would be all light and good if only religion didn't pervert people.

well, i got news for you. you don't understand human nature. i've seen evil. it doesn't require religion. humankind has great potential for good, and great potential for evil. imo, religion has done far more to promote the former than the the latter, but regardless, religion doesn't CAUSE these things. they are there. in our nature.

tell the victims of the killing fields, that if only their oppressers weren't religious it never would have happened.

oops. nevermind.
3.7.2008 5:15pm
mischief (mail):

also note the bible doesn't even MENTION lesbians, just male homosexuality.

Actually, it does, in Romans.
3.7.2008 5:21pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Cramer, if you're still tossing around the Lynda S. Doll study, may I strongly suggest trying to find something with a meaningfully sized subject group. Gay men make up somewhere on the other of several million American individuals; you can't meaningfully model that with a ~1000 person sample.

I believe that the numbers suggest that suicide by gay individuals would be a bit too high for even Doll's numbers to cover the difference. I don't personally think that the social pressure makes up all the difference, but I think that's still a stronger argument than claiming sexual molestation does.

Well, it's true, actually. Homosexuality -- for homosexuals -- is indeed every bit as good as heterosexuality is for heteros.


Speaking as someone who enjoys going both ways, I don't think that's quite accurate. There are some pretty significant differences, physical, emotional, and psychological. Ignoring the painfully obvious like pregnancy or lack of odds thereof, there are a lot of sensations that can't really accurately be reproduced outside of that particular pairing, and a lot of interactions are significantly different depending on what neurochemical rush your particular partner undergoes -- both of which tend to be rather reliant on physical sex of said partner.

While a lot of the statistics suggest that social norms and peer pressure make up a good portion of the difference, self-identifying homosexual males and females tend to find up significantly differently on a lot of surveys on sexual activity even compared to self-identified heterosexual men who have sex with men (yes, I realize the contradiction in terms, but it's still a fairly well-recognized group among social studies), and even further from conventional heterosexual men, even ignoring the gender of who they interact with. It's very easy, and very meaningless, to debate whether any of these are 'better' or 'worse' as a result, but they are very different, and any attempt to rationalize the differences as averaging out to be "just as good" really does a disservice to every group involved.

Regardless of whether you're for or against the thing, I think you can fairly rationally oppose trying to teach it in a classroom setting. Given how inaccurate the school systems remain today even with their focus on heterosexuality (condoms are 99.99% effective with spermicide, and ignore the man behind the curtain!), I don't think I want to deal with trying to correct the various mistakes of a teacher who's never dealt with the particular act trying to discuss it.

And, hopefully to cut this off now rather than latter, the dogmatic Catholic and general protestant Christian viewpoint doesn't state that someone's inherent sexuality makes them inherently immoral. They don't even recognize that: they're supposed to only oppose the action (and depending on viewpoint, a fairly limited subset of the actions -- anal sex isn't a universal act among gay men, nevermind in missionary style).
3.7.2008 5:23pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Cramer, if you're still tossing around the Lynda S. Doll study, may I strongly suggest trying to find something with a meaningfully sized subject group. Gay men make up somewhere on the other of several million American individuals; you can't meaningfully model that with a ~1000 person sample.
The sample size for election surveys is often about 1000--and that is sufficient to make projections about the actions of 70 million voters. Doll's survey used 1000 "adult homosexual and bisexual men"--which is sufficient to make predictions about several million homosexual and bisexual American men.

You might want to take statistics, so that you understand how this works.
3.7.2008 5:28pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Given how inaccurate the school systems remain today even with their focus on heterosexuality (condoms are 99.99% effective with spermicide, and ignore the man behind the curtain!), I don't think I want to deal with trying to correct the various mistakes of a teacher who's never dealt with the particular act trying to discuss it.
Yes, the combination of the average teenagers willingness to learn and the average public school's effectiveness at teaching means that the net effect of teaching contraception and AIDS prevention is likely to be...pregnant, HIV+ teens.
3.7.2008 5:31pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Romans 1:26-27 cover female-female couplings as well as male-male ones.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.


That said, it's not quite clear how this applies to sexuality, largely since there wasn't a clear definition of such at the time. In addition, that's also noted as part of a punishment (for not worshipping the right invisible man in the sky), making it a little iffy about how much of a problem it was morally.
3.7.2008 5:33pm
Oren:
You do not have a right to prevent me from raising my children in the tenants of my religion.
Can anyone seriously argue that merely exposing children to competing points of view counts as an infringement of this right? You can teach your children to be Calvinists, for instance, but if the school just happens to mention* that some people are Methodist or (gasp!) Episcopalian and that we all ought to respect others beliefs that our own beliefs may be respected, does that detract from your Calvinism?

Let me make this very clear: I have no problem whatsoever with parents teaching their children any value system whatsoever. My problem is when they assert that this right extends to the active exclusion of all other value systems, even in passing.
3.7.2008 5:36pm
Oren:
there is an issue of personal responsibility. this is america. we are FREE TO THINK WhAT WE WANT and FREE TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN (original emphasis)
Absolutely. But your right to teach your kids what you want is not infringed by merely exposing your child to contrary views.

I can't recall or find a single instance of a school demanding that parents not teach children anything they find objectionable. You can teach them whatever you want and that has never and will never change.
3.7.2008 5:42pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
The sample size for election surveys is often about 1000--and that is sufficient to make projections about the actions of 70 million voters.


Yeah, and those have been accurate and reliable recently, haven't they.

You might want to take statistics, so that you understand how this works.


I've taken statistics. The problem is that, like a lot of other studies, you can't rely on just statistics. Selection bias, especially when you're asking people to reveal rather personal information, through media that tend to direct toward outliers, is not a trivial concern.

Samuel Jinich et all's study on the matter -- which I know you know about, since you posted on the thing -- found numbers that were 9% less than the Doll study did, with less than double the population, and they too made some selection-based choices that I'd personally consider questionable.
3.7.2008 5:47pm
Secular homeschooling parent:

I can't recall or find a single instance of a school demanding that parents not teach children anything they find objectionable. You can teach them whatever you want and that has never and will never change.


Actually, I know a number of schools that request that parents don't teach children how to add and subtract the old fashioned way (borrowing and carrying) because it will confuse the kids. Of course they can't exactly demand it, but they can be quite disapproving.
3.7.2008 5:48pm
Oren:
BTW, I want to take this opportunity to totally disclaim any connection to BruceM's conception of liberalism that somehow requires silence on the matter of religion. Parents ought to be free to teach their children whatever religion they want at any age.

Just don't be pissed when the school teacher happens to mention that some people (gasp!) don't believe what you believe and that it's generally a good idea to respect those beliefs even if you think they are wrong. I get the feeling that some religious people simply refuse to consider their beliefs as merely one in a plurality of beliefs that makes this country great.

Clayton - oh my god, they taught your precious children tolerance for homosexuality! Your religious freedom to assert the counter-factual statement that homosexuality is universally reviled in our society has been so cruelly oppressed! Excuse me while I cry for your pain.
3.7.2008 5:53pm
Oren:
Secular homeschooling parent, you know that's not what I meant! It is interesting on the pedagogy-of-mathematics side, but this discussion is crowded enough already.
3.7.2008 6:04pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Clayton: like I said, religion is a neurological disorder, it's shared mass delusion. Just because the majority of people suffer from it doesn't justify it or excuse it. If religious people kept to themselves, didn't try to spread their religions, and didn't cause all the problems that religious people cause, I probably wouldn't mind as much. I'd still be bothered by people intentionally believing in things without evidence (the definition of 'faith'), but I wouldn't feel compelled to prevent its spread. Just to be clear here, I'm not actually saying we should ban religion. If I could push a button and make religion go away, I most certainly would push the button, but that's about it.

As for your example of homeschooling due to inadequacies of public schools and inability to pay for private schools... first of all, how can you know the kid's parents will be better teachers than what the public school has to offer? Second, if the kid is really that smart, let them excel at public school (which is geared to a lower common denominator) and if the kid is really that smart, she'll do very well and will get scholarships to great colleges. Why deny a child that? I think the problem is every parent thinks their fat, ugly, stupid kids are beautiful and smart, much moreso than the average kid, thus justifying special treatment. That might include homeschooling. If someone told me "My kid is too smart for public school so I homeschool him" I'd feel very bad for that child, and his hindered future.

But I'll concede that a very small portion of homeschooled children are due to the "parents think child is too smart for regular school" effect. The rest is due to parents wanting to make sure their kids learn to hate niggers and kikes and faggots, along with the proper way to burn a cross. Likewise, they DO NOT want their kids to learn about accepting other people. The chance their kids might become friends with a jew is more than enough justification to homeschool 'em all. This is what the vast, vast majority of homeschooling is based upon. And all that hatred stems from religion....

You get rid of religion, and homeschooling will be a non-issue overnight. The word will leave our vocabulary. The concept will vanish. The debate over it will no longer exist.
3.7.2008 6:04pm
Oren:
Bruce, religion is as close as most people will get (granted, not very close) to a spiritual understanding that surpasses the limits of their own existence. It's like remedial metaphysics - take it away and things will be far worse.

That said, lay off the Dawkins shit, you're making life much harder for the reasonable liberals like myself. :-)
3.7.2008 6:09pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Ok as a non-lawyer all the side discussions are interesting but back on topic my reading of the decision seems to be more indicating the court is observing a discontinuity of the legislation; its saying you can home school doesn't give an adequate exception from the need for a certified instructor's participation.

Isn't this more just a documentation of a legislative 'oops' that can easily be corrected either by the legislature being altered or just clarifying how involved the sponsoring school needs to be in the process?

Half the states require more supervision of home-schooled education than California - isn't this decision more just notification that there's a problem here that needs a bit of a tweak by the legislature, the actual source of the problems?

Oh and feeding the off topics Cramer, if you're still tossing around the Lynda S. Doll study Remember that Doll has clarified they implied no 'cause and effect' by their results - they had many participants that stated they were already self-aware gay before the sexual incidences. Common sense would tell you that men attracted to young adolescents would really want to find sexually receptive ones, i.e. young gay men. Of course they are going to be approached more. I personally in retrospect can catalog a number of attempts at same by older men as I grew up. The only think that probably prevented it was no real opportunity on their part of suitable access and my being totally oblivious to what was actually going on. But then I was always a bit dense on the subject of sex - when I told a friend in the army I was gay she exclaimed 'Thank God, I didn't think you knew!' ;)
3.7.2008 6:11pm
Jay:
Bob Van Burkleo,
Yes, but it's more fun to blame judges. Has anyone made a serious argument for why this opinion is legally wrong? It strikes me as pretty soundly grounded in statute and precedent (as it should be, for an intermediate appellate court).
3.7.2008 6:46pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
"the court is observing a discontinuity of the legislation; its saying you can home school doesn't give an adequate exception from the need for a certified instructor's participation. "

Where do you read that (honest question)? To the best of my knowledge, there is no legal requirement for a certified teacher outside of the state schools. Also to the best of my knowledge, the law doesn't say you can or can't homeschool; it says you can choose to go to a registered private school instead of a state school. Homeschoolers can (or could in the past) meet that requirement by registering as a private school and keeping records.

I'm honestly thinking that this ruling _has_ to be more narrow than the judge's reasoning makes it look. Under current CA law, there's just no way to ban homeschools without banning private schools as well... At least none that I can see. Perhaps this ruling was intended to refer to unregistered homeschools, and not homeschools in general?
3.7.2008 7:03pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Actually, I know a number of schools that request that parents don't teach children how to add and subtract the old fashioned way (borrowing and carrying) because it will confuse the kids. Of course they can't exactly demand it, but they can be quite disapproving.
A friend taught himself to read from watching TV (back in the days when ads often had text that matched the words being spoken). When his parents took him to kindergarten, the principal called them in the next day to berate them for teaching their kid to read.
3.7.2008 7:08pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I've taken statistics. The problem is that, like a lot of other studies, you can't rely on just statistics. Selection bias, especially when you're asking people to reveal rather personal information, through media that tend to direct toward outliers, is not a trivial concern.
Agreed. But that wasn't the basis for your criticism of the Doll study--it was that the sample size was too small. It clearly was not.
3.7.2008 7:10pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton - oh my god, they taught your precious children tolerance for homosexuality!
I'm not objecting to teaching tolerance for homosexuality. The whole society is quite tolerant of homosexuality. I do object to schools to promoting the idea that homosexuality is a good thing.

There is a difference between tolerance ("You have the right to be wrong") and teaching that it is a good thing. A lot of liberals don't quite the difference. They do mean different things.
3.7.2008 7:13pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton: like I said, religion is a neurological disorder, it's shared mass delusion. Just because the majority of people suffer from it doesn't justify it or excuse it. If religious people kept to themselves, didn't try to spread their religions, and didn't cause all the problems that religious people cause, I probably wouldn't mind as much.
You mean the vast majority of Americans need to go back into the closet about their beliefs. How liberal of you.

As for your example of homeschooling due to inadequacies of public schools and inability to pay for private schools... first of all, how can you know the kid's parents will be better teachers than what the public school has to offer? Second, if the kid is really that smart, let them excel at public school (which is geared to a lower common denominator) and if the kid is really that smart, she'll do very well and will get scholarships to great colleges.
I guess you were one of those middle of the bell curve kids who didn't get bored stiff by classes that were aimed about two or three grade levels below them.


But I'll concede that a very small portion of homeschooled children are due to the "parents think child is too smart for regular school" effect. The rest is due to parents wanting to make sure their kids learn to hate niggers and kikes and faggots, along with the proper way to burn a cross.
I've NEVER met anyone like this. Do they exist today, anywhere but in your fevered imagination?
3.7.2008 7:16pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Remember that Doll has clarified they implied no 'cause and effect' by their results - they had many participants that stated they were already self-aware gay before the sexual incidences.
No chance that people who identified themselves as gay as adults have imagined that they have always been gay? Especially since this is now gay dogma?
3.7.2008 7:19pm
Oren:
Damnit Clayton, why do you have to respond to the crazy arguments instead of the (I hope) well reasoned ones?! Being stuck in the middle of a pissing contest is absolutely no fun at all.
3.7.2008 7:19pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Has anyone made a serious argument for why this opinion is legally wrong?
I'm not even arguing that the opinion is legally wrong. But it is pretty destructive, because people like BruceM dominate the bench.
3.7.2008 7:20pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
If religious people kept to themselves, didn't try to spread their religions, and didn't cause all the problems that religious people cause, I probably wouldn't mind as much.


Case in point, BruceM. Your religion is getting seriously annoying.

...if the kid is really that smart, let them excel at public school...


I hope you realize that mass schooling doesn't work that way. If you're above the norm, it doesn't mean you'll excel; it means the normed teaching will miss you entirely, and not only will you fail to live up to your potential, you'll probably do WORSE than the rest of the class. This is routinely accepted in educational theory; it's why there are "gifted" classes (which, in turn, cannot serve the most gifted).

...a very small portion of homeschooled children are due to the "parents think child is too smart for regular school" effect.


Agreed. Most of them, according to studies, are due to two causes:

1. Parents think the school system is failing to educate;
2. Parents want to educate their own children.

Cause #1 is bolstered by studies which seem to indicate that it is true. Cause #2 is partially subjective, of course; in the early years most of it was caused by religious motivations, and now as the first major wave of homeschooled children have grown into their majority without undue incident, more parents are doing it because they see positive outcomes even when the children are relatively cloistered (when I see that, I think that the outcome would be even better if there were no cloistering).

The rest is due to parents wanting to make sure their kids learn to hate niggers and kikes and faggots, along with the proper way to burn a cross.


Have you ever been to any kind of homeschooling event? Have you looked at any research on the topic? Why do you believe the things you claim to believe, given that the evidence fails to confirm them and abundantly points in other directions?

According to your models of reality, one would predict that homeschoolers should be academic mediocrities at best; instead they stand out. Doesn't it make sense to you that a parent just might choose homeschooling because it seemed like a more generally effective choice -- just as a student might choose one professor over a less competent one?
3.7.2008 7:21pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

To the best of my knowledge, there is no legal requirement for a certified teacher outside of the state schools. Also to the best of my knowledge, the law doesn't say you can or can't homeschool; it says you can choose to go to a registered private school instead of a state school. Homeschoolers can (or could in the past) meet that requirement by registering as a private school and keeping records.
I know that when my wife taught at a private school in California, she didn't need a teaching credential. (She only had a M.A. in English.) As a substitute in the public system, she had something called an Emergency Teaching Credential, which allowed her to teach for up to 30 days at a stretch in any particular classroom.
3.7.2008 7:22pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Damnit Clayton, why do you have to respond to the crazy arguments instead of the (I hope) well reasoned ones?!

Because the crazy arguments, since they reflect dominant values in the academy, are more dangerous.
3.7.2008 7:23pm
Oren:
There is a difference between tolerance ("You have the right to be wrong") and teaching that it is a good thing. A lot of liberals don't quite the difference. They do mean different things.
I've never seen, nor would I ever support, any educational message that would promote homosexuality as an intrinsically positive thing. All the programs I've seen invited the student to be whoever he wants to be and urged him to respect other's choices to do the same.

The notion that liberals want to 'turn kids gay' is a conservative bugaboo every bit as imaginary as the liberals that think Bush did 911. The only tenuous connection to reality that it might have (and this does set it apart from the 911 truthers) is that teaching homosexuality as a valid alternative choice (as opposed to superior) might indeed cause some would-be closet cases to come out (as opposed to cheating on their wives as the highway rest-stop).

Most conservatives, however, do not seem (correct me if i'm wrong) to accept the teaching of homosexuality as a valid alternative lifestyle but demand that it be condemned. That doesn't fly - you can teach your children that at home but the school has no obligation not to contradict it.
3.7.2008 7:31pm
Oren:
Because the crazy arguments, since they reflect dominant values in the academy, are more dangerous.
I've spent a life in the academy (granted, in the physical sciences) and I've not met a single person that subscribes to the sort of militant atheism that BruceM describes. Virtually all of my colleagues and friends would fully support a parents right to teach their children whatever values (hell, even 'facts') that they want, so long as this right is not read as a veto over the school's ability to contradict them.
3.7.2008 7:33pm
whit:
Oren,

"Absolutely. But your right to teach your kids what you want is not infringed by merely exposing your child to contrary views. "

i didn't say it was. i was opposing randy's theory that parents should be prohibited from mentioning religion to children, lest they be charged with a felony

"I can't recall or find a single instance of a school demanding that parents not teach children anything they find objectionable. You can teach them whatever you want and that has never and will never change."

and again, this post was in response to randy's not so modest proposal that parents should be legally banned from mentioning religion to their children
3.7.2008 7:38pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
"Has anyone made a serious argument for why this opinion is legally wrong?"

I'm not qualified to, but I tried. According to HSLDA (whose page is currently unaccessible), CA law allows attendance at a registered private school to satisfy the truancy laws. Thus, truancy cases brought against homeschoolers should be defeated by showing that 1) the home school was registered as a private school, and 2) actual schooling did in fact take place (ideally shown by assignment and grading records). I can't access the site, so I can't cite site precedent by sight (sigh).

This doesn't mean the ruling is incorrect; it could be that the ruling applies only to home schools which are not correctly registered as private schools, or which are registered but unable to show that any educational process is occurring. I don't see that in the ruling, but it could be a hasty generalization on either my part or the judge's part. I want to blame the judge, but I haven't perused the ruling (so I must perforce blame myself).
3.7.2008 7:39pm
Oren:
William, the home-schoolers never satisfied conformance to points (1) and (2). Virtually none of them have even attempted to register as a private school and will probably argue (perhaps rightly) that they need not do so.
3.7.2008 7:41pm
whit:
"Clayton: like I said, religion is a neurological disorder, it's shared mass delusion"

you do realize you are like a leftwing bizarro version of michael savage. he claims liberalism is a mental disease. you claim religion is.
3.7.2008 7:42pm
whit:
btw, here's some hard data. vs. the prattling from the anti-homeschool types that is mostly based on anti-religious bigotry.

that's right - actual DATA.

the data is compelling. simply put, homeschooled kids are far far superior to publically educated kids. and yes, i am aware that there is some selection bias here, but the point is that many of these fears are that ignorant bigoted parents are hurting their parents.

no reasonable person could conclude that this MASSIVE outperformance hurts kids. it's also notable that homeschooling essentially closes the race gap.

http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp


1. In 1997, a study of 5,402 homeschool students from 1,657 families was released. It was entitled, "Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America." The study demonstrated that homeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects. A significant finding when analyzing the data for 8th graders was the evidence that homeschoolers who are homeschooled two or more years score substantially higher than students who have been homeschooled one year or less. The new homeschoolers were scoring on the average in the 59th percentile compared to students homeschooled the last two or more years who scored between 86th and 92nd percentile. i


This was confirmed in another study by Dr. Lawrence Rudner of 20,760 homeschooled students which found the homeschoolers who have homeschooled all their school aged years had the highest academic achievement. This was especially apparent in the higher grades. ii This is a good encouragement to families catch the long-range vision and homeschool through high school.


Another important finding of Strengths of Their Own was that the race of the student does not make any difference. There was no significant difference between minority and white homeschooled students. For example, in grades K-12, both white and minority students scored, on the average, in the 87th percentile. In math, whites scored in the 82nd percentile while minorities scored in the 77th percentile. In the public schools, however, there is a sharp contrast. White public school eighth grade students, nationally scored the 58th percentile in math and the 57th percentile in reading. Black eighth grade students, on the other hand, scored on the average at the 24th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading. Hispanics scored at the 29th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading. iii


These findings show that when parents, regardless of race, commit themselves to make the necessary sacrifices and tutor their children at home, almost all obstacles present in other school systems disappear.


Another obstacle that seems to be overcome in homeschooling is the need to spend a great deal of money in order to have a good education. In Strengths of Their Own, Dr. Ray found the average cost per homeschool student is $546 while the average cost per public school student is $5,325. Yet the homeschool children in this study averaged in 85th percentile while the public school students averaged in the 50th percentile on nationally standardized achievement tests.iv


Similarly, the 1998 study by Dr. Rudner of 20,760 students, found that eighth grade students whose parents spend $199 or less on their home education score, on the average, in the 80th percentile. Eighth grade students whose parents spend $400 to $599 on their home education also score on the average, in the 80th percentile! Once the parents spend over $600, the students do slightly better, scoring in the 83rd percentile.v


The message is loud and clear. More money does not mean a better education. There is no positive correlation between money spent on education and student performance. Public school advocates could refocus their emphasis if they learned this lesson. Loving and caring parents are what matters. Money can never replace simple, hard work.


The last significant statistic from the Strengths of Their Own study regards the affect of government regulation on homeschooling. Dr. Brian Ray compared the impact of government regulation on the academic performance of homeschool students and he found no positive correlation. In other words, whether a state had a high degree of regulation (i.e., curriculum approval, teacher qualifications, testing, home visits) or a state had no regulation of homeschoolers, the homeschooled students in both categories of states performed the same. The students all scored on the average in the 86th percentile regardless of state regulation.vi


Homeschool freedom works. Homeschoolers have earned the right to be left alone.


2. In a study released by the National Center for Home Education on November 10, 1994. According to these standardized test results provided by the Riverside Publishing Company of 16,311 homeschoolers from all 50 states K-12, the nationwide average for homeschool students is at the 77th percentile of the basic battery of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. In reading, the homeschoolers' nationwide grand mean is the 79th percentile. This means, of course, that the homeschool students perform better in reading than 79 percent of the same population on whom the test is normed. In the area of language arts and math, the typical homeschooler scored in the 73rd percentile.


These 16,311 homeschool students' scores were not self-selected by parents or anyone else. They represent all the homeschoolers whose tests were scored through the Riverside Publishing Company. It is important to note that this summary of homeschool achievement test scores demonstrates that 54.7% of the students in grades K-12 are achieving individual scores in the top quarter of the population of students in the United States. This figure is more than double the number of conventional school students who score in the top quarter.vii


3. In 1991, a survey of standardized test scores was performed by the Home School Legal Defense Association in cooperation with the Psychological Corporation, which publishes the Stanford Achievement Test. The study involved the administering of the Stanford Achievement Test (8th Edition, Form J) to 5,124 homeschooled students. These students represented all 50 states and their grades ranged from K-12. This testing was administered in Spring 1991 under controlled test conditions in accordance with the test publisher's standards. All test administers were screened, trained, and approved pursuant to the publisher's requirements. All tests were machine-scored by the Psychological Corporation.


These 5,124 homeschoolers' composite scores on the basic battery of tests in reading, math, and language arts ranked 18 to 28 percentile points above public school averages. For instance, 692 homeschooled 4th graders averaged in the 77th percentile in reading, the 63rd percentile in math, and the 70th percentile in language arts. Sixth-grade homeschoolers, of 505 tested, scored in the 76th percentile in reading, the 65th percentile in math, and the 72nd percentile in language arts.


The homeschooled high schoolers did even better, which goes against the trend in public schools where studies show the longer a child is in the public schools, the lower he scores on standardized tests. One hundred and eighteen tenth-grade homeschool students, as a group, made an average score of the 82nd percentile in reading, the 70th percentile in math, and the 81st percentile in language arts.


4. The Bob Jones University Testing Service of South Carolina provided test results of Montana homeschoolers. Also a survey of homeschoolers in Montana was conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute. Dr. Brian Ray evaluated the survey and test results and found:


On average, the home education students in this study scored above the national norm in all subject areas on standardized achievement tests. These students scored, on average, at the 72nd percentile in terms of a combination of their reading, language, and math performance. This is well above the national average. viii


5. In North Dakota, Dr. Brian Ray conducted a survey of 205 homeschoolers throughout the state. The middle reading score was the 84th percentile, language was the 81st percentile, science was the 87th percentile, social studies was the 86th percentile, and math was the 81st percentile.


Further, Dr. Ray found no significant statistical differences in academic achievement between those students taught by parents with less formal education and those students taught by parents with higher formal education.


6. In South Carolina, the National Center for Home Education did a survey of 65 homeschool students and found that the average scores on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills were 30 percentile points higher than national public school averages. In math, 92 percent of the homeschool students scored above grade level, and 93 percent of the homeschool students were at or above grade level in reading. These scores are "being achieved in a state where public school SAT scores are next-to-last in national rankings." ix


7. In 1990, the National Home Education Research Institute issued a report entitled "A Nationwide Study of Home Education: Family Characteristics, Legal Matters, and Student Achievement." This was a study of over 2,163 homeschooling families.


The study found that the average scores of the homeschool students were at or above the 80th percentile in all categories. The homeschoolers' national percentile mean was 84th for reading, 80th for language, 81st for math, 84th for science and 83rd for social studies.


The research revealed that there was no positive correlation between state regulation of homeschools and the home-schooled students' performance. The study compared homeschoolers in three groups of states representing various levels of regulation. Group 1 represented the most restrictive states such as Michigan; Group 2 represented slightly less restrictive states including North Dakota; and Group 3 represented unregulated states such as Texas and California. The Institute concluded:


...no difference was found in the achievement scores of students between the three groups which represent various degrees of state regulation of home education.... It was found that students in all three regulation groups scored on the average at or above the 76th percentile in the three areas examined: total reading, total math, and total language. These findings in conjunction with others described in this section, do not support the idea that state regulation and compliance on the part of home education families assures successful student achievement. x
Furthermore, this same study demonstrated that only 13.9 percent of the mothers (who are the primary teachers) had ever been certified teachers. The study found that there was no difference in the students' total reading, total math and total language scores based on the teacher certification status of their parents:


The findings of this study do not support the idea that parents need to be trained and certified teachers to assure successful academic achievement of their children. xi


8. In Pennsylvania, 171 homeschooled students took the CTBS standardized achievement test. The tests were all administered in group settings by Pennsylvania certified teachers. The middle reading score was the 89th percentile and the middle math score was the 72nd percentile. The middle science score was the 87th percentile and the middle social studies score was the 81st percentile. A survey conducted of all these homeschool families who participated in this testing found that the average student spent only 16 hours per week in formal schooling (i.e., structured lessons that were preplanned by either the parent or a provider of educational materials). xii


9. In West Virginia, over 400 hundred homeschool students, grades K-12, were tested with the Stanford Achievement test at the end of the 1989-90 school year. The Psychological Corporation scored the children together as one school. The results found that the typical homeschooled students in eight of these grade levels scored in the "somewhat above average" range (61st to 73rd average percentile), compared to the performance of students in the same grade from across the country. Two grade levels scored in the "above average" range (80th to 85th average percentile) and three grade levels scored in the "about average range" (54th to 59th average percentile). xiii


10. In Washington state, a survey of the standardized test results of 2,018 homeschooled students over a period of three years found that the median cell each year varied from the 65th percentile to the 68th percentile on national norms. The Washington Home School Research Project concluded that "as a group, these homeschoolers are doing well." xiv


11. Dr. Brian Ray, president of the Home Education Research Institute, reviewed over 65 studies concerning home education. He found that homeschoolers were performing at average or above average on test levels. xv


12. In 1986, researcher Lauri Scogin surveyed 591 homeschooled children and discovered that 72.61% of the homeschooled children scored one year or more above their grade level in reading. 49.79% scored one year or more above their grade level in math. xvi


1. In 1982, Dr. Raymond Moore studied several thousand homeschooled children throughout the United States. His research found that these children have been performing, on the average, in the 75th to the 95th percentile on Stanford and Iowa Achievement Tests. Additionally, Dr. Moore did a study of homeschooled children whose parents were being criminally charged for exercising their right to teach their own children. He found that the children scored on the average in the 80th percentile. xvii


13. Statistics also demonstrate that homeschoolers tend to score above the national average on both their SAT and ACT scores.


For example, the 2,219 students reporting their homeschool status on the SAT in 1999 scored an average of 1083 (verbal 548, math 535), 67 points above the national average of 1016. In 2004 the 7,858 homeschool students taking the ACT scored an average of 22.6, compared to the national average of 20.9.


According to the 1998 ACT High School Profile Report, 2,610 graduating homeschoolers took the ACT and scored an average of 22.8 out of a possible 36 points. This score is slightly higher that the 1997 report released on the results of 1,926 homeschool graduates and founding homeschoolers maintained the average of 22.5. This is higher than the national average, which was 21.0 in both 1997 and 1998. xviii


II. State Department of Education Statistics on Homeschoolers


Several state departments of education or local school districts have also gathered statistics on the academic progress of homeschooled children.


Tennessee
In the spring of 1987, the Tennessee Department of Education found that homeschooled children in 2nd grade, on the average, scored in the 93rd percentile while their public school counterparts, on the average, scored in the 62nd percentile on the Stanford Achievement Test. Homeschool children in third grade scored, on the average, in the 90th percentile in reading on another standardized test, and the public school students scored in the 78 percentile. In math, the third grade homeschooled children scored, on the average, in the 87th percentile, while their public school counterparts scored in the 80th percentile. In eighth grade, the homeschooled students scored, on the average, in the 87th percentile in reading and in 71st percentile in math while their public school counterparts scored in the 75th percentile in reading and the 69th percentile in math. xix


Alaska and Oregon
Similarly, in 1986, the State Department of Education in Alaska which had surveyed homeschooled children's test results every other year since 1981, found homeschooled children to be scoring approximately 16 percentage points higher, on the average, than the children of the same grades in conventional schools. In Oregon, the State Department of Education compiled test score statistics for 1,658 homeschooled children in 1988 and found that 51 percent of the children scored above the 71st percentile and 73 percent scored above the 51st percentile.


North Carolina
In North Carolina, the Division of Non-Public Education compiled test results of 2,144 homeschool students in grades K-12. Of the 1,061 homeschool students taking the California Achievement Test, they scored, on the average, at the 73rd percentile on the total battery of tests: 80th percentile in reading, 72nd percentile in language, and the 71st percentile in math.


The 755 homeschool students who took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills scored at the 80th percentile in the total battery of tests: 81st percentile in reading, 77th percentile in language, and 77th percentile in math. The remaining students who took the Stanford scored, on the average, in the 73rd percentile in the whole battery. xx


Arkansas
In Arkansas, for the 1987-88 school term, homeschool children, on the average, scored in 75% on the Metropolitan Achievement Test 6. They out-scored public school children in every subject (Reading, Math, Language, Science, and Social Studies) and at every grade level. For example, at the 10th grade level public school children scored an average of 53rd percentile in social studies, while homeschool children scored at the 73rd percentile. In science, an area in which homeschoolers are often criticized for lack of facilities, the homeschoolers scored, on the average, 85th percentile in fourth grade, 73rd percentile in seventh grade, and 65th percentile in tenth grade. The public school students, on the other hand, scored much lower in science: 66th percentile in fourth grade, 62nd percentile in seventh, and 53rd percentile in tenth. xxi


Arizona
According to the Arizona State Department of Education, 1,123 homeschooled children in grades 1-9, on the average, scored above grade level in reading, language arts, and math on standardized tests for the 1988-89 school year. Four grades tested were a full grade level ahead. xxii


Nebraska
In Nebraska, out of 259 homeschooled children who returned to public or non-public schools, 134 of them were automatically placed in their grade level according to their age without testing. Of the remaining who were given entrance tests, 33 were above grade level, 43 were at grade level, and 29 were below grade level. Approximately 88 percent of the returning students were at or above grade level after being homeschooled for a period of time. This survey was the result of the responses of 429 accredited schools. xxiii


III. Local School District Statistics on Homeschooling


1. In 1988, 30 homeschooled children in Albuquerque, New Mexico, participated in the state-mandated testing program (Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills) and scored on the average in the 83rd percentile for 3rd grade, the 85th percentile for 5th grade, and the 89th percentile for 8th grade. This group of homeschoolers scored 20 to 25 percentile points higher than the local public school students taking the CTBS in 1987. xxiv


2. In a 1980 study in Los Angeles, homeschooled students scored higher on standardized tests than children in the Los Angeles public schools. xxv


3. In South Carolina, the Greenville County School District stated, "Kids taught at home last year outscored those in public schools on basic skills tests." In that county, 57 out of 61 homeschooled students "met or exceeded the state's minimum performance standard on the reading test" of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills. The homeschool students' passing rate was 93.4 while the public school counterparts passing rate was 83.9 percent. Furthermore, in math, the homeschooled students passing rate was 87.9 percent compared to the public school students' passing rate of 82.1 percent. xxvi


4. In Nevada, according to Washoe County School District's data, homeschooled students scored higher than their public school counterparts in first through seventh grade. All children were tested with the Stanford Achievement Test, and homeschoolers consistently scored higher in reading, vocabulary, reading comprehension, math concepts, math comprehension, math and math concepts and application.


The most extreme gap between the public school children and the homeschooled children was in the area of vocabulary. For example, fourth graders in public school scored in the 49th percentile while the homeschooled fourth graders scored in the 80th percentile.


Conclusion


These statistics point to one conclusion: homeschooling works. Even many of the State Departments of Education, which are generally biased toward the public school system, cannot argue with these facts. Not only does homeschooling work, but it works without the myriad of state controls and accreditation standards imposed on the public schools.
3.7.2008 7:53pm
Randy R. (mail):
If you want to teach Biblical morals, save that for Sunday school. I don't particularly care whether millions of people believe gays are immoral, because the truth is that they not. Millions of people used to believe that blacks were not real human beings deserving of human rights and dignity, but that hardly made them right.

And no, most gays I know were not abused when they were young. But this isn't the thread to discuss the morality of sexuality, or of why people are gay.
3.7.2008 7:54pm
whit:
no, but it's a thread (since it was brought up by YOU iirc) to state that yes

1) issues of sexuality and morality intersect.
2) some people feel various sexual behaviors are immoral to include heterosexual anal sex, homosexual sex, premarital sex, etc.
3) that holding any of the above views =/= (necessarily) "hate" of those who engage in said acts
4) that parents absolutely have the right to teach their morals to their children

like i said, i think there is nothing immoral about homosexuality. but i recognize that some disagree. i also recognize their right to hold those views, and to teach them to their children. regardless, you are wrong in your assumption that this is the big push behind homeschooling, but it's irrelevant. that's a parent's right to pass on their values, even if i disagree with them.

the issue is really one of parental rigths vs. nannystate rights. you have actually proposed that it be a felony for parents to even mention religion to their children.

and you have rightly been called on it.
3.7.2008 7:59pm
Gaius Marius:
Ridiculous decision. When I was a senior in high school (I attended a private Christian school), I worked in a hospital kitchen with one particular fellow who was in his forties. His job was to be responsible for maintaining the food stocks. This was an important job because in a hospital, there are patients who are put on certain dietary restrictions for health reasons (patient may be diabetic, etc.) When I asked this fellow to read me a label on a particular can of food, I realized he could not read. Amazing! I asked him how he kept sugar free fruit cans segregated from regular fruit cans and he said he performed his stocking job all these years simply by going by the picture on the can (sugar free fruit cans had a slightly different picture on the label than non-sugar free fruit cans, etc.). Upon further questioning, he stated that all his public school teachers knew he could not read but they kept promoting him to the next grade (and eventually gave him his high school diploma) because they wanted to pass his illiteracy problem along to the next teacher.
3.7.2008 8:04pm
Oren:
4) that parents absolutely have the right to teach their morals to their children
Yes, but they've interpreted this right as somehow extending to a veto-power over school materials that might contradict this view. Some have even asserted a right to veto school materials that merely discuss alternative points of view.
3.7.2008 8:06pm
Rock Chocklett:
No mature mind would believe in religion - only when it can be brainwashed into your mind as a child does it remain through adulthood. - Bruce M

Religion is a neurological disorder and should not be encouraged, let alone constitutionally protected. - Bruce M

So which is it? Is religion a by-product of indoctrination or a neuro disorder? Or is it both - a parentally-induced neuro disorder? Wow. And to think most of the 6 billion people on earth are so afflicted.

I'm a fan of the establishment clause, but I'm not too fond of the free exercise clause. People should not have the right to be irrational, let alone wrong. - Bruce M

Better get rid of the free speech clause, too. Sharing wrong ideas is even worse than believing them.
3.7.2008 8:08pm
Oren:
Whit, that is a terrible indictment of our current school system and kudos to all the parents that have done better. As far as I'm concerned, if the kid passes whatever standardized test the public-school kids are taking (and it seems they usually cream them), then their schooling should qualify.

That said, I think these kids are missing out on important social experiences (how are they going to jump into the world at 18 and relate to other people?!) and, more importantly, exposure to a wide plurality of competing views. America was made great by plurality, not by orthodoxy and, while I hope its the minority of homeschoolers, kids that are raised in one ideological are not well equipped to understand, let alone participate, in a political and social system like our own.
3.7.2008 8:12pm
Rock Chocklett:
That said, I think these kids are missing out on important social experiences (how are they going to jump into the world at 18 and relate to other people?!) and, more importantly, exposure to a wide plurality of competing views.- Oren

I don't buy the argument that homeschooled kids are necessarily socially retarded. People managed to socialize their children just fine before the advent of public schools. There are many other avenues for socialization besides school - little league, YMCA, church, etc. True, I have seen odd homeschooled kids, but it's usually because they have odd parents. It's not because homeschooling itself is flawed.

With regard to the diversity argument, "America was made great" on a diet of learning not nearly as pluralistic as what you espouse. It's one thing to learn about other ideas. It's quite another to treat them all as equally legitimate options. We all draw the line somewhere. I expect very few schools in America would present Nazism or terrorism as ideas/practices one might consider adopting, and rightly so. Who gets to draw the line? It should be parents, and not the state.
3.7.2008 8:36pm
Jay:
William,
In this case, the parents were trying to claim that their instruction at home was some sort of extension of a particular private Christian school, and that they thus fell under the private school provision. The court observed that this failed for a number of reasons, both factual (there was no evidence that such a program existed or was actually being conducted) and legal (the court read the statute to preclude this sort of bootstrapping of home schools onto private schools).
3.7.2008 8:37pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Where do you read that (honest question)? To the best of my knowledge, there is no legal requirement for a certified teacher outside of the state schools.

William looking at the ruling seems the court didn't think the 'private school' was doing any of the educating...

It is clear that the education of the children at their home, whatever the quality of that education, does not qualify for the private full-time day school or credentialed tutor exemptions from compulsory education in a public full-time day school.

Since the court doesn't think they meet the criteria for attending a private school, the only criteria left is if the parents are presenting themselves as tutors which must be accredited regardless if they feel they are affiliated with a private school or not.

Again it seems that just some clarification is needed: can a child be considered a member of a private school if they never actually attend the school or deal with any of the schools paid instructors? Can a student's entire curriculum be shoehorned in under 'independent study' or is the court correct in saying it can't?

Does seem odd to me in a state where you have to get licensed to give a pedicure that there is no oversight in this far more important area - like I said half the states and the majority of the population live under more homeschooling accountability - a bit here wouldn't be out of line.

No chance that people who identified themselves as gay as adults have imagined that they have always been gay? Especially since this is now gay dogma?

Of course there is always a 'chance' Clayton just not a very big one. We gay boys talk about our experiences pre-awareness all the time: One of my earliest memories was being very very fascinated with Lloyd Bridges furry chest in 'Seahunt'. Just last week someone loaned me a DVD collection of a ancient sci-fi series - when I finally placed it I remembered it because the guys on the fake sub wore wide-fishnet shirts. On watching I also noted that all the women had breasts like Las Vegas showgirls but that bit of information never even had a chance of being stored.

Yeah hon, gay boys are born not made and I can even pick out the proto-gay ones in my dotage, I'm sure those sexually attracted to same can do likewise and always have been.
3.7.2008 8:40pm
Secular homeschooling parent:

That said, I think these kids are missing out on important social experiences (how are they going to jump into the world at 18 and relate to other people?!) and, more importantly, exposure to a wide plurality of competing views. America was made great by plurality, not by orthodoxy and, while I hope its the minority of homeschoolers, kids that are raised in one ideological are not well equipped to understand, let alone participate, in a political and social system like our own.


My homeschooled kids are active in dance, swim team, band and chorus. They attend summer camps, both academic and recreational, and are highly sought after babysitters. They are comfortable and converse easily with people of all age groups. While I admit they are raised in a home with one predominant ideology (liberal), we enjoy discussing other points of view and teach the importance of examining an issue from all sides. My kids are independent thinkers and we encourage that, even if it turns out they don't agree with us.

Homeschooled kids have lots of avenues for social interaction, and the ones I know have much better social skills than many public schooled kids. Public schools have some of the worst imaginable social situations.
3.7.2008 9:02pm
Smokey:
Mrs. Smokey has been a government education Principal in the Supreme Peoples' Soviet of California for the past seventeen years. During that time, numerous laws and initiatives have been passed, entitling the state education lobby/special interest to over 60% of the entire state's nearly $60 billion annual budget!

But that's not enough for the special interest kids' babysitters. They demand more.

The government education lobby desperately wants to eliminate any and all competition for taxpayers' dollars -- to which they feel absolutely entitled [each classroom seat filled equals money for education]. Home schooling and vouchers, while much better for the average kid than a government education, take money from the education lobby.

The only thing that results in continuous improvement, whether you're talking about building cars or educating children, is competition. The one-size-fits-all cookie cutter/high priced babysitting service failure that passes for government education simply hates the thought of having to actually compete. After all, being forced to compete is uncomfortable. But without competition, the big losers are the kids.

The priority of state educrats [with very few exceptions] is: money, big unions, more money, zero competition, even more money, grants, all union contractors all the time, more money, shorter hours, junkets, more money... and if they ever get around to it, doing something for the kids.

I've seen it all. And if anything, I am very much understating the problem. Government education doesn't give a crap about the kids. Money and control are their goals, first, second, and always.
3.7.2008 9:37pm
mischief (mail):

You get rid of religion, and homeschooling will be a non-issue overnight.


Rather get rid of your views on homeschooling. Also makes it a nonissue, and there are rather fewer people like you, so it's more efficient.
3.7.2008 11:46pm
mischief (mail):

But your right to teach your kids what you want is not infringed by merely exposing your child to contrary views.


Like, say, the view that people who love each other should express it sexually? I've certainly seen sex-ed materials that gush about how sexual activity is the natural expression of love. No parent can possibly object to exposing a child to such contrary views.

Nevermind that it is grooming the child. Many child molesters try to persuade children that if the child really loved the molester, he would let the molester engage in sexual activity with him. Such education has the child half-ready even before the child meets the molester. But it's just "exposing your child to contrary views."

Or, for that matter, should the school expose the children to the view that all homosexuals should be executed? It's a contrary view.
3.7.2008 11:54pm
Randy R. (mail):
Clayton: "I'm not objecting to teaching tolerance for homosexuality. The whole society is quite tolerant of homosexuality. I do object to schools to promoting the idea that homosexuality is a good thing.

There is a difference between tolerance ("You have the right to be wrong") and teaching that it is a good thing. A lot of liberals don't quite the difference. They do mean different things."

Clayton loves taking digs at liberals. What he fails to understand is that conservatives, as he demonstrates, are at least as bad, but sometimes even worse. They insist that they have a lock on truth (homosexuality is wrong) and then demand that everyone else believe it too. Us gays? Nope -- we don't know nothin' bout being gay. We're just too stupid, wicked, duped, oversexed and selfish to admit that they are right and all the rest of us are wrong. They pick a few things out of the Bible, and of course ignore all the other stuff that would be inconvenient for them.

Whatever I say about myself, I'm wrong. You see, Clayton knows that I am gay because I must have been abused when I was young. And if I fail to 'ungay' myself, well, it's my own damn fault. He knows that it's just a choice I make, like choosing a latte instead of a cappacino today, and if I would just make the 'moral' choice and be hetero (and preferably a gun-toting hetero), then I can have all the rights I want. Until then, he wants me to just go away, be closeted, and shut up. If only we would go back to the time when gays were invisible outside of the beauty parlor and the flower shop, the only places we really belong, and stop yammering for rights, then conservatives like him might 'tolerate' us enough to leave us alone.

Go right on, Clayton, you conservatives like to tell us all what is best for us, and want the force of law behind it. But fortunately, conservatives like you are shrinking, and there are more and more people who aren't as obsessed with who another person loves. We call them 'mature adults.'
3.8.2008 12:27am
Oren:
Like, say, the view that people who love each other should express it sexually? I've certainly seen sex-ed materials that gush about how sexual activity is the natural expression of love. No parent can possibly object to exposing a child to such contrary views.
I suppose we could try to raise a generation of sex-negative prudes but I'll tell you how it ends up: repressed and seeking sex in the men's bathroom. I've always taught the kids that sex is, like most of life's pleasures, not without risk and to take the proper precautions and not to jump right into it. That said, parents with the view that their precious little angel isn't going to fuck in High School can object, but they're objectively delusional.

Nevermind that it is grooming the child. Many child molesters try to persuade children that if the child really loved the molester, he would let the molester engage in sexual activity with him. Such education has the child half-ready even before the child meets the molester. But it's just "exposing your child to contrary views."
Most of the sex-ed I was exposed to put extra-emphasis on being careful around older, more experienced partners. In fact, we spent quite a bit of time detailing the different ways that people attempt to manipulate people to do things they would otherwise be uncomfortable with (guilt, excitement, enticement, booze . . ) - all in all, I feel I came out of that program less vulnerable to exploitation.

Or, for that matter, should the school expose the children to the view that all homosexuals should be executed? It's a contrary view.
I think any reasonable sexual education curriculum would have to include a discussion of homophobia and its various manifestations. It would be quite incomplete to state that homosexuality is accepted in this country but fail to mention that in such wonderful places as Iran and Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is indeed punished by death.
3.8.2008 1:54am
Oren:
Or, for that matter, should the school expose the children to the view that all homosexuals jews should be executed?
I don't think I could countenance the omission of the holocaust either.

Children ought to be exposed (at the right age, of course) to all manner of vile and odious beliefs because they are essential to an understanding of the world. How could you possibly teach such salutary things as the American Revolution without first discussing the Divine Right of Kings? (Just to pick something I'm sure you don't agree with).
3.8.2008 1:59am
Harvey Mosley (mail):

On another note, I do not buy for one second that parents homeschool their kids because of dumb public school policies like suspending a kid for having a butterknife or tylenol. Not for a second. Wanting your kids to learn "different viewpoints" not taught in public school is just a euphamism for wanting to teach them to "hate niggers" and not have to learn the "gay agenda" and the "jewish agenda" and to praise the confederacy and force jesus down their throats 8 hours a day. That is the sole purpose of homeschooling, other than the occasional child who was kidnapped from his real parents and the kidnapper doesn't want the kid to enter public school for fear of being discovered.



I usually try very hard to attack the argument or point of view instead of the person expressing it, but not this time. What a fucking idiot. What right do you have to force any child to go to a school that is a failure?

I teach my son at home (he just turned six) because the public school I would have to send him to has ranked at the bottom for as long as it has been ranked. Not NEAR the bottom, at the bottom.

His math and reading skills are both at the second grade level. If he went to public school, he would be in kindergarten.

So go ahead. Proclaim your tolerance. Act like your better than those "dumb rednecks". The truth is, you are as much of a bigot as anyone who ever burned a cross, or hid under a white hood.

Professor Volokh, my apologies. But I couldn't help myself this time.
3.8.2008 5:36am
Brett Bellmore:

On another note, I do not buy for one second that parents homeschool their kids because of dumb public school policies like suspending a kid for having a butterknife or tylenol.


It contributes. But how about dumb public school policies like teaching the brightest at a pace the stupidest can keep up with, just because it's easier to handle children in lockstep, and the school has concerns about putting students of different ages in the same classroom? Public education is remarkably slow for children of ordinary intellect or better.
3.8.2008 7:32am
BruceM (mail) (www):
So which is it? Is religion a by-product of indoctrination or a neuro disorder? Or is it both - a parentally-induced neuro disorder? Wow. And to think most of the 6 billion people on earth are so afflicted.

Both, sort of like how PTSD is a neurological disorder (condition, neuropathology, or whatever you want to call it) induced by external actions or events.

Yes, 95% of the 6 billion people on the planet are so afflicted. Religion is a drug, and it's one that you don't have to buy from anyone. Our brains have evolved a way to produce endorphins merely by beliving falsities. It's quite amazing, actually. Really, really Knowing the Truth that 1 + 1 = 3, despite all evidence to the contrary, will produce endorphins and make you feel good about yourself and superior to those who say the answer is 2. I completely understand why people go for religion. It's the easiest way to get a rush, much cheaper and more readily available than heroin. Most people would rather be happy than factually correct. I'm in the minority that would rather be sad, depressed, miserable, but right. Not to present a false dichotomy or to say I'm depressed. There are plenty of happy people who are not religious, but give the vast majority of the earth's population the choice of being happy and feeling good about themselves at will or being wrong about something ephemeral and inconsequential, and 95% will choose the former. It's an interesting paradox because religion is certainly quite rational, even though it's wrong.

Harvey Mosley: why are you qualified to teach a child? How can you quantify that he's at a second grade level, and how do you know what level he would be at if he were in public school? Sorry, I don't buy it.

And insofar as public schools are "failures" (many certainly are), the answer is to fix the problem by banning teacher unions and requiring teacher accountability. Not vouchers, and not homeschooling. Teacher unions are against public policy and are the sole cause of the failure of public schools - no matter how much money you throw at the problem as long as teachers are unqualified and unable to be fired, public schools will remain failures.

But to presume parents are more qualified to teach their own kids, well, let's just say I'm skeptical to say the least. You're going to fail your own child? You're not going to give your child a gold star on everything? You're not going to give him A's or let him keep re-doing it until he gets an A? You're going to give him a lot of homework when you know it's not convenient for him? You're going to impartially grade your child's work? You're going to tell your child he wrote a horrible essay? Bullshit. When you grade your own kids work, I'm not surprised you say your kid is above average. Talk about conflict of interest. And insofar as homeschooled kids may have to take a standardized test every now and then, the parents just go buy a book on that test (like an SAT prep course book) and just teach him the test so he'll do okay on it. And how often, if ever, do homeschooled kids have to take standardized tests that regular schooled kids have to take? I'm sure it varies from state to state. Do the homeschool kids take the standardized tests at home? I hope not, or else the parents would do the test themselves, or at least have their "smart" kid cheat on it.

Sorry, but I stand by my position, data from Bob Jones University notwithstanding. Homeschooling is a ploy used by religious nutjobs, racists, and kidnappers. All children should have to go to a real, certified school, public or private, with other real children until they're 18. If the school sucks, do something about it. It's about the child's right to proper, comprehensive education, and my right to live in an educated society that are at stake here.
3.8.2008 8:01am
Rock Chocklett:
Our brains have evolved a way to produce endorphins merely by beliving falsities. - Bruce M

This assertion is nonsensical. For it to be true, each human brain would have to be omniscient. Because if my brain produces endorphins "merely by believing falsities," then my brain would have to intrinsically know whether a given proposition was false. Or do you really mean that the endorphins are produced "merely by believing falsities about God"? In that case, at the very least, each brain would have to be pre-programmed with knowledge that God does not exist - a completely unverifiable hypothesis.

But for the sake of argument, let's assume your assertion is true. If believing in God is part of the evolutionary process, on what basis can you claim that we shouldn't do it? If the survival of our race benefits from falsehood, why concern ourselves with truth and error? What moral claim can you possibly have in saying that we should reject religion despite the fact that it's literally human nature?
3.8.2008 9:37am
Rock Chocklett:
I've always taught the kids that sex is, like most of life's pleasures, not without risk and to take the proper precautions and not to jump right into it. That said, parents with the view that their precious little angel isn't going to f**k in High School can object, but they're objectively delusional. - Oren

OK, so you think your approach to teenage sexuality is better than an abstinence-only philosophy - fine. It's certainly your prerogative to teach your kids that. But that's exactly the point: it's y
3.8.2008 9:49am
Rock Chocklett:
Sorry, my mouse jumped the gun on that one.

But that's exactly the point: it's your prerogative to teach your kids about sexuality. You should not be forced to submit your children to a program of "sexual repression," and I shouldn't have to submit mine to a libertine regime.

And there are many teenagers (and adults) who decide to save sex for marriage. It's far from delusional to believe that my child may be one of them.
3.8.2008 9:55am
scotch meg (mail):
I was trying to decide all the way through reading the comments whether or not I wanted to pitch in, as a counterexample for Bruce. Guess I will.

I am a JD and my husband is an MD/PhD. We began homeschooling by removing our children from a religious school which was failing some of them educationally and one of them in terms of open-mindedness (our agnostic child). We did not turn to the public schools available for a variety of reasons, including drug use, sexuality education (just do it), high teen pregnancy rates, and the like.

We are most concerned about educational excellence. My husband, in particular, states that science education below college is largely inadequate and unappealing. I have found homeschool science curricula which provide both information and hands-on experiments in our home. Accordingly, science is a favorite subject among our children. My husband has looked over and approved the curricula, as the resident expert in the subjects (B.A. physics, M.D., Ph.D biochemistry). But I teach the kids -- or rather, they teach themselves by reading and doing. I give tests so that they get used to taking tests and for no other reason. My 12 y.o. would have about a B average in science and is working to improve his test-taking (and memory!) skills.

After six and a half years of homeschooling, we find that the benefits to home schooling include the following:
- self-paced learning
- educational excellence demanded
- less focus on peer interactions and more focus on learning during school hours
- better sibling relationships
- time to devote to other interests, such as writing and music

With regard to other points that people have raised:

You can tell that a child is reading above "grade level" very easily. Compare the age/grade range on a book jacket wih the age/grade of the child reading the book. This is particularly easy in the early grades. My 7 yo is reading Harry Potter; I told him he could only read the first three for age appropriateness reasons. My 12 yo is reading -- and I mean reading! -- Spenser and Shakespeare this year, writing essays on them; he is getting tested on math that is 2-3 years above grade level (Algebra I). He is no genius, just a kid who has been allowed to proceed at his own pace. How would testing help assess his education? I did give my kids standardized tests a few years ago to reassure my husband; the tests were geared to public school curricula (actually, they were California tests!). My kids had had no civics, no standard science, and one had very little American history, as we do ancient and medieval history first. They were able to figure out the answers on the tests by intelligent guesswork, and scored above 90% on everything except 6th grade science (85%) and 4th grade spelling (80%).

Why wouldn't I grade my kids harshly, and test them without helping them cheat? I want them to learn!

When I started home schooling, I encouraged myself by remembering how much time I had spent during my public school education reading in the back of the classroom because I had finished my work. I now despise the way schools spend all their time promoting aural learning -- what really matters to me in terms of learning is reading and working through problems (in math) or experiments (in science). You simply can't spend in-school time on these kinds of learning -- they have to be relegated to homework, when the child is exhausted from a full day of school. My kids spend most of their time on this kind of work, in the morning when they're fresh.

We have sent them into the schools (fortunately we have a very cooperative school system) for classes in French and high school science. We will send that bright 12 yo into a math class next year, not because he couldn't do the work at home but so that he can learn "coursemanship" skills -- how to take a class from a teacher. The next year he will take both math and science at school. Our hope is to keep teaching him at home until he is old enough to take community college courses, but we might change our minds and send him to school -- who knows?

Our high school student is in a small independent school (getting straight A's, I might add, in her first year) because we determined that she needed a larger social community. This was at some sacrifice to her academics, which would unquestionably be better at home.

Our 12 yo does not need school for social interactions because he is hyperinvolved: Boy Scouts, math team, debate, swimming, band -- all social opportunities from his perspective rather than anything else. He compares grades (to the extent he can -- math tests, science tests, Latin tests, grammar tests) with his grade peers. He is not afraid to think outside the box, and not afraid to challenge the group.

BruceM, what more do you want? And please don't reply simply by calling me a liar.
3.8.2008 9:56am
Secular homeschooling parent:

BruceM,
You really don't have much respect for parents, do you? Homeschooling, for me at least, is about giving my children the best possible education. No public school teacher is ever going to care about my children's futures the way I do. Allowing them to get away with lousy work is not in their best interest and I don't tolerate it. Good work gets good grades, bad work gets bad grades. Letting a kid redo their work until they get it right is called mastery learning and is desirable, you moron. Forcing a kid to keep moving forward through math when they haven't mastered previous concepts ensures failure. I don't tell my children they wrote a horrible essay, and I sure as hell hope public school teachers aren't doing that either. Instead, we correct mistakes, and using constructive criticism, discuss ways to improve it until it meets my standards. I guarantee you my standards are a lot higher than the public schools. I suppose you think it's better to give a student a big fat F on their essay and move on to the next assignment? What do they learn from that?

Some parents aren't qualified to teach their own children. But you're assuming none of us are. That's ridiculous. What is it you think I'm not capable of teaching to my kids? (I will send them school beginning in 9th grade, because we have a very good high school available to us.) So until 9th grade, where am I going to fail them? Language arts? My kids are voracious readers and can read virtually anything aside from advanced scientific-technical stuff. They know more Shakespeare than most college graduates. They take Latin and can diagram sentences. Math? Got that under control. Science? I have a PhD in the sciences. I can handle it. History? This is my weakest area, (a reflection of my own public schooling), but it's their favorite subject, so I spend a lot of time educating myself and we are learning it together. Even so, they know far more history than their peers and I'd be surprised if any elementary school teacher knew more history than me. High school teachers, yes, but I recognize I would not be capable of teaching high school history and wouldn't attempt it.

You can't seriously believe that a parent isn't capable of knowing if their kid is working at a second grade level. Obviously you don't have children.
3.8.2008 10:41am
Secular homeschooling parent:

Even so, they know far more history than their peers and I'd be surprised if any elementary school teacher knew more history than me.


Let me edit this- of course there are PLENTY of elementary school teachers that know more history than I do. I'm not that arrogant. I would be surprised if the average elementary schoolteacher knows more history than me, though.
3.8.2008 10:50am
BrettK (mail):
Why is anyone even wasting keystrokes on BruceM? It's very clear from these posts, and also past ones (there was a doozy from a few months back regarding pedophilia) - the guy is either a troll or a lunatic. Yeah, I'm calling you on it, BruceM, seek professional help immediately before your delusions get the best of you and you end up on network news for a killing spree targeting children (the little people you seem to love to hate).
3.8.2008 10:53am
scotch meg (mail):
Just reread BruceM's last post.

Please note: I do make my kids correct their math work when they get it wrong, as many times as it takes until they get it right. Why wouldn't I? Otherwise they don't learn!

I do make them re-write anything with grammatical errors, and I do make them re-write until I am satisfied that they can't do more (given their age/grade). I have seen what happens when more is not asked of kids -- remember, that's why my kids are homeschooled.

My oldest homeschooler was forced to do school into July the first year we taught them at home. He didn't believe me when I told him we'd be doing school until he finished the material we expected him to cover that year. He suffered through the next year with the ribbing from his friends, and he (and my other kids) learned Mom meant business more than the teachers had in school.

As for teaching to the test -- how am I (in MA) going to get a book for a CA test? Ridiculous assertion for the lower grades.

As for teaching qualifications, I certainly have the same teaching credentials as my professors in law school -- a JD. If I am not teaching a class, why do I have to know anything more than the course material? I do educate myself as I go along, of course -- there are all sorts of online tutorials for teachers. But so far, having been taught is plenty to know about teaching. It's not a big mystery. I use good teaching tools, known as books, and buy "how-to-do-it" curricula for subjects where I am not strong (i.e., science). I use the schools and tutors (including docents at art museums, coaches for sports, etc.) when I can't teach a subject.

Why, oh why, are you assuming that homeschooling parents are just on an ego trip? Wherever you live, I assure you that there are homeschooling groups -- why not visit one and see what's going on. Or if you don't have time, why not just flip around to homeschool group websites? You'll be amazed at the variety (even secular, as several have point out). And at all the things the kids are doing.
3.8.2008 11:36am
mischief (mail):
Oren,you wrote

But your right to teach your kids what you want is not infringed by merely exposing your child to contrary views.


Which means that although you say

I've always taught the kids that sex is, like most of life's pleasures, not without risk and to take the proper precautions and not to jump right into it.

you can't imagine any reason why you would object to your children being taught that sex is absolutely safe and anyone who urges precautions and not jumping right into is a kill-joy.

And although

Most of the sex-ed I was exposed to put extra-emphasis on being careful around older, more experienced partners.

you agree that having people teach your children that older and more experienced partners are better and in fact need less caution than those the child's age, and that being sought out by such partners is a honor to the child, and the child should actively seek out such parents

And again, you say,

I think any reasonable sexual education curriculum would have to include a discussion of homophobia and its various manifestations.


Reasonable? We're not talking about reasonable, we're talking about contrary. Although of course you would have no objections to a reasonable discussion that pointed out that those who start by calling their opponents insane probably don't have valid arguments to resort to namecalling so quickly.

In reality, of course, by enumerating your views here, you have shown that what you really want is children exposed to your views
3.8.2008 12:13pm
mischief (mail):

That said, parents with the view that their precious little angel isn't going to fuck in High School can object, but they're objectively delusional.

Now, that assertion really is objectively delusional. Half of all high schoolers have never had sexual intercourse.
3.8.2008 12:15pm
mischief (mail):

Children ought to be exposed (at the right age, of course) to all manner of vile and odious beliefs because they are essential to an understanding of the world.


Kindergarden, perhaps?

Many complaints from parents are about age-appropriateness, but you consider exposure to contrary views no infringement on their rights. Therefore, the school can have contrary views on age-appropriateness and you have argued you have no right to prevent such exposure.

Like, say, a teacher pointing out that when we say "forcing people to go to school" the force can certainly be actual and, if necessary, lethal. Would you want your children taught that by arguing against home-schooling, you are arguing that Mommies and Daddies should be killed?
3.8.2008 12:30pm
mischief (mail):

How could you possibly teach such salutary things as the American Revolution without first discussing the Divine Right of Kings? (Just to pick something I'm sure you don't agree with).


What on earth does it matter whether I agree with it? What matters is whether the teacher does. And you have no grounds to object if your children learn that the American Revolution was a dreadful thing, precisely because it struck at royal authority; it's merely a Contrary View.


I don't think I could countenance the omission of the holocaust either.


But what are they to do be taught of the Holocaust? What you think, or a Contrary View?

It's closer than you think. The book that Scopes used to teach evolution was both blatantly racist and overtly advocating eugenics; it explicitly praised European measures to prevent "degenerates" from having children and talked of the success such measures were beginning to have in America.
3.8.2008 1:03pm
Oren:
You should not be forced to submit your children to a program of "sexual repression," and I shouldn't have to submit mine to a libertine regime.
Mere mention of contraceptives is not a 'libertine regime' - your children are free to ignore that information if they don't want it. Just like most of the abstinence-pledge (ring-thing) kids that, when they do have sex (average time waited: 18 months), are less likely to use a condom (20 times less likely).

Now, that assertion really is objectively delusional. Half of all high schoolers have never had sexual intercourse.
That's because they don't count oral/anal as part of intercourse. Many kids in fact do try to preserve their technical virginity in a way that can only be described as terribly confused.

Many complaints from parents are about age-appropriateness, but you consider exposure to contrary views no infringement on their rights. Therefore, the school can have contrary views on age-appropriateness and you have argued you have no right to prevent such exposure.
To argue otherwise is to give parents a veto over every minute curriculum issue. Either you haven't considered the actual implementation of letting every parent decide the age-appropriateness of every lesson or this is a backdoor method to ensure that nothing controversial every gets taught.

Like, say, a teacher pointing out that when we say "forcing people to go to school" the force can certainly be actual and, if necessary, lethal. Would you want your children taught that by arguing against home-schooling, you are arguing that Mommies and Daddies should be killed?
I'm pretty sure lethal force would be contrary to the laws of all 50 states and probably the unconstitutional (see TN v. Garner).

Taking the troll seriously for a second, I would never teach a child that anyone should be killed for their beliefs or arguments on behalf of those beliefs. Part of accepting a plurality of beliefs is accepting that there is no authority, grand or petty, empowered to declare what is orthodoxy and what isn't. For instance, I am about as pro-gay rights as imaginable but I would allow that California teen (can't find the reference) to wear a "Homosexuality is a Sin" shirt in school. That view is as valid as any other and, while it's wrong, it still deserves all the same protections.
3.8.2008 1:10pm
Sleeping Beastly (mail) (www):
Thanks to all for this fascinating conversation. I wasted a couple of hours on the comboxes here. There's a lot I'd like to comment on, but I'll stick with making a couple of points about homeschooling.

I attended California public schools fairly recently, and can only imagine that they have gotten worse since my time there. I can confirm all the normal reasons for avoiding these schools if possible: wasted time, harassment by other students, incredibly poor teaching. I also had some great teachers who were limited in their ability to teach by the structure of the institution and the curricula.

Wanting your kids to receive a real education is one very good reason to homeschool, but the moral issue is just as important. While in public school, I picked up any number of harmful habits- most notably drug abuse and sexual promiscuity. Public school contributed to these habits in two major ways:

First, in grades 8 and up I was in an environment with a disproportionate number of adolescents, no children, and few adults. Many of us were having sexual encounters on school grounds and in neighboring parks. We were also using drugs in those same places. I don't have sociological studies to back up my impression, but I believe that the environment was not conducive to responsible behavior, and I would have been much more circumspect had I been homeschooled or even allowed to begin work at a much younger age.

Second, our periodic drug and sex ed classes made these activities seem normal. The implicit assumption in these classes was that kids would have sex, and that it was completely natural and normal for us to do so. We were taught different ways to have sex, the effects of all the major drugs, and how they are normally obtained. The net result of all these classes was that I was under the impression that teenage sex and drug use were normal and natural.

There's a time and a place and an approach that are appropriate for teaching about sex and drugs, and in my experience the public school system has shown remarkably poor judgment in choosing that time, place, and approach. When that time and place comes for my own kids, I will be taking the approach that unmarried sex and illegal drug use are irresponsible and dangerous. In my opinion, persistent and consistent preaching from authority figures (teachers) about the normality of irresponsible behavior is dangerous to children, and I would be remiss in my natural responsibility to my children if I let them attend public California schools.

For all these reasons (educational and moral) I do not intend to send my own children to public school. Parents are responsible for keeping their children safe- not just from speeding trucks and chickenpox, but from harmful and dangerous situations like unsupervised time with other irresponsible teens.

I certainly don't intend to limit my children's education unnecessarily. I can't teach them world history without teaching them about world religions and philosophies. And I can't teach them biology without teaching them about sex. But I wouldn't send them to pornographic websites for instruction in reproduction, and I won't be sending them to public school either. This court decision may make my own decision more difficult; that's annoying, but I'll work around it if I can, and defy it if I have to.
3.8.2008 1:10pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
scotch meg: I wouldn't call you a liar, I believe you. I do think you're an anomaly in terms of not being a religious nut, racist, or kidnapper (I'm assuming those kids are actually yours, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you didn't snatch them from a playground). But with all due respect, it seems like you both are overly controlling, fearful, paranoid parents. You decided your kid could read the first three Harry Potter books "for age appropriateness reasons" but not the rest of the series? Jesus. Sex education is not "just do it" but it certainly is "do it safely if you are going to do it." It seems like you want to shelter your kids from sex and drugs and the latter half of the Harry Potter series. I suppose I neglected to include such people in my "religion/racist/kidnapper" schemata. I will concede that a statistically significant portion of Homeschooling is by parents who are overly controlling and want to monitor every aspect of their childrens' lives and censor their existences.

No offense, I'm not trying to piss you off - you certainly have the right to raise your children how you see fit (although if I were master of the universe I'd require them to be at real school where they can be confronted with kids offering them pot and pressuring them into having sex so they can learn how to live on planet earth). But I do believe you that you're not a racist or kidnapper, and I'll take your word for it that you're not a religious nut, though the level of censorship does make me wonder. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.


Rock C.

For it to be true, each human brain would have to be omniscient. Because if my brain produces endorphins "merely by believing falsities," then my brain would have to intrinsically know whether a given proposition was false.

I don't mean objective truths and falsities. When I used the capital letters in "Know" and "Truth" (like religious people do) I mean faith. If you really do believe that 1 + 1 = 3 and have been taught that your entire life, then your brain would produce endorphins by having faith that 1 + 1 = 2 (which, unbeknown to you, is actually correct).

Deep down inside, religious people know Noah didn't put two of every animal on an ark. They know that the world isn't 6,000 years old. They know Moses didn't really part the red sea. But they "Know" that these are "True" and convince themselves that these events actually happened in spite of that - this is what faith is. And when they do this, they feel good about themselves, and get a rush similar to an injection of mu agonists like morphine. Endorphins are endogenous opioids. When they say religion is the opiate of the masses, it's more accurate than people realize.
3.8.2008 3:13pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
William, the home-schoolers never satisfied conformance to points (1) and (2). Virtually none of them have even attempted to register as a private school and will probably argue (perhaps rightly) that they need not do so.


Oren, stated as a universal your claim is falsified by one example: my parents registered their home school as a private school and maintained academic records specifically because of the law. I find it hard to believe that you mean that as a universal, though, since it's so easy to refute a universal negative. Perhaps you meant that no major homeschooling organization pushes that? If so, may I cite HSLDA as the name you'll recognize, and (just to pick a quick example) "Home Schooling for the Heart and Home" seminars, both of which strongly recommend it (in terms which make it seem completely non-optional). It's not just that homeschoolers profess to follow this part of CA law; they teach it as mandatory. I've never heard ANY speaker say that anyone shouldn't fulfill these requirements, although I have heard some say that the requirements shouldn't be there.

Please pardon me for responding to a different post of yours:

Yes, but they've interpreted this right as somehow extending to a veto-power over school materials that might contradict this view. Some have even asserted a right to veto school materials that merely discuss alternative points of view.


I certainly know of many parents who do claim this veto right, so I sympathize with what you're saying, and agree that there is no such right. May I point out, however, that this objection as stated doesn't pertain to homeschooling? Even for those homeschoolers who do so because they disagree with the doctrine taught in state schools aren't (by the action of homeschooling) seeking to silence state schools; they're actually reducing their desire to put pressure on state schools to change doctrine.

So I'm disturbed to see this brought up repeatedly in this thread, as though someone imagined it to be a problem with homeschooling. If it is, it's also a problem with institutional private schooling, which is explicitly in the law.
3.8.2008 3:42pm
scotch meg (mail):
BruceM,

Thank you for believing me.

You are demonstrating that you do not have kids by questioning why no Harry Potter beyond book 3 for a 7 yo. He gets nightmares from "scary" movies and cried at the end of "Charlotte's Web" -- why would I let him read an excessively scary book? I consulted my older children (12, 15, 19, 21) about this issue. The 12 yo read books 6 and 7 together last summer, and agreed that he would have been overwhelmed by them at 7. In fact, that vote was unanimous. The older kids were very concerned that their little brother would encounter a plotline for which he was emotionally unready. I wouldn't let him read those very popular Goosebumps books, either, and for the same reason. For that matter, ditto Poe, or Frankenstein, or Dracula -- even in the abridged classics versions. It's a maturity and personality issue.

Part of parenting is about exercising judgment. I agree with you that sex ed has to caution kids -- but acurately. My oldest kid didn't know that you can get STI's from oral sex -- a glaring omission in the public school sex ed I was talking about. And that's just one example of additional information I had to provide. WRT sex ed, my homeschooled kids read books -- whole books -- and view movies and appropriate websites. They are MUCH better educated then if they had taken the public school sex ed class.

So the point is that when you homeschool, you know what they're getting, and you know they're getting good and accurate information.

I am sorry if the homeschoolers you know are all religious nutcases. Although I doubt you know many, and it seems that for you "religious nutcase" encompasses just about everyone who believes in God at all. My experience of homeschoolers is very different, and I belong to a group of 50 families in the Boston area -- hardly a hotbed of religious fundamentalism.
3.8.2008 3:50pm
mischief (mail):

To argue otherwise is to give parents a veto over every minute curriculum issue. Either you haven't considered the actual implementation of letting every parent decide the age-appropriateness of every lesson or this is a backdoor method to ensure that nothing controversial every gets taught.


What on earth is complicated about the actual implementation that we've got? The parents say, "We will home-school our children" and then do so. And how will that ensure that nothing controversial ever gets taught?

For that matter, you haven't considered the actual implementation of your regime -- even when they've been put before you. Are the sex education courses allowed to groom children for child molesters? Are the biology courses allowed to tout involuntary sterilization of the "degenerate"? Both of which have been done in American classrooms. Do you or do you not consider that "contrary views" to which no parent has any right to object?
3.8.2008 4:28pm
mischief (mail):

And when they do this, they feel good about themselves, and get a rush similar to an injection of mu agonists like morphine.


Says BruceM, preening himself about his superiority and so feeling good about him.

With logical consequences.

Atheism is BruceM's opiate.
3.8.2008 4:29pm
mischief (mail):


Like, say, a teacher pointing out that when we say "forcing people to go to school" the force can certainly be actual and, if necessary, lethal. Would you want your children taught that by arguing against home-schooling, you are arguing that Mommies and Daddies should be killed?

I'm pretty sure lethal force would be contrary to the laws of all 50 states and probably the unconstitutional (see TN v. Garner).



That is silly. How do you think we force parents to do things? We send policemen with guns. And at need, they use those guns.
3.8.2008 4:30pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Mischief: Atheism is not a positive thing, it is the lack of something (religion). I don't feel good about pointing this out, though you'll just call me a liar. I feel sad that so many people are addicted to religion. Now, I don't have a problem with addiction per se. I'm an advocate for the legalization of all drugs. But religion is actually dangerous, unlike heroin or cocaine. "Drug-related crime" is actually prohibition related crime. If you banned cigarettes tomorrow, there would be cigarette-related crime. Religion is the primary cause of all terrorism, hatred, war, and murder on this planet. Religion brought down the World Trade Center. Not "fanatics that don't represent their religion" and not "economics" and not "political issues" - pure, 100% religion. Yeah some religions are worse than others, but that doesn't make religion okay.

scotch meg: No, I do not have children. But why is it bad that a child reads or sees something and gets nightmares from it? The world is a terrible place (mostly due to religion, see supra) and children should not be lied to or sheltered. If your child has a nightmare, you should talk to him about what he saw/heard/read. Censoring a child's life, no matter how young, is solely for the convenience of the parent, the avoidance of uncomfortable, awkward conversations. Parents don't want to explain to a child that it's just a movie when Freddie Kruger slashes people to death with his razor-hand or why that big black guy with the big wee-wee was sticking it into the butt of that loud white girl with all the tattooes. That doesn't mean kids shouldn't see it.

When I was a kid, I remember the movie RoboCop scared the crap out of me. When the bad guys killed officer Murphy, shooting the crap out of him and leaving a hole in his head that you could see through, I couldn't sleep for a few days and had nightmares. I talked to my parents about it, they explained it was just a movie, etc., and while you may think I'm a nut due to my posts here about religion, I assure you I turned out to be a perfectly normal person. Went to college, law school, did well, never shot or raped anyone, never got anyone pregnant or any STDs, and I am enjoying practicing law. My parents never censored anything when I was growing up. Not being told that I couldn't see a movie or read a book (the thought of being told I could not read a book simply blows my mind... no offense) took all the mystique out of it... forbidden fruit is so much more special, especially to kids. I never had religion forced upon me when I was a child either, which is why it seems so nutty to me. Magic underwear, 72 virgins, people turning into pillars of salt, 6000 year old earth, boat with 2 of each animal species on earth, flooded planet, Xenu master of the universe, body Thetans, 600 year old men, people rising from the dead, it's all nuts.

I don't mean to criticize how you're raising your children, please don't take my post that way, particularly coming from a guy with no kids. I just think parents censor their children for their own convenience, not to prevent any actual "harm" to the child. Children simply cannot be "harmed" by seeing movies, reading books, watching porn, playing videogames, or surfing the internet. A nightmare is not the worst thing that can happen to a child, and a child that grows up never having a nightmare probably won't turn out to be a very well-developed, well-rounded person. Our society is far too concerned with kids being "harmed" by things, all of which is based on the faulty assumption that those things can actually harm children in the first place. And we give up our rights and civil liberties to prevent that imaginary harm... but that's a different discussion for another day.

If your kids want to watch something, let 'em do it, and talk to them about it afterwards. I will concede that plopping a kid in front of a TV, letting them watch whatever they want, and not being there to talk to them about what they saw is quite horrendous, miserable parenting.
3.8.2008 5:17pm
BrettK:
>Children simply cannot be "harmed" by seeing movies, reading >books, watching porn, playing videogames, or surfing the >internet.

Ah, so we should allow our children to watch the most brutal, degrading S&M porn from infancy then? Right. I'd wager not only do you not have children, but that you're single, and it's because you're a creep who scares the daylights out of women.
3.8.2008 5:32pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
In this case, the parents were trying to claim that their instruction at home was some sort of extension of a particular private Christian school, and that they thus fell under the private school provision. The court observed that this failed for a number of reasons, both factual (there was no evidence that such a program existed or was actually being conducted) and legal (the court read the statute to preclude this sort of bootstrapping of home schools onto private schools).


Just to correct the record, the "factual" things you list are explicitly contradicted in the court's ruling -- the family WAS in fact enrolled and being checked by the school in question. The "legal" reading is what the court ruled.

Sorry, it's a minor point, but I don't want to leave misleading info on the Internet! :-)
3.8.2008 6:11pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
BrettK: Infants would not want to watch brutal, degrading S&M porn, let alone know what they were watching. An infant couldn't tell the difference between S&M porn and Sesame Street. Probably not until puberty would I assume the interest to watch porn would develop. But once kids reach that age, sure, don't ban it, let them watch whatever they want. I doubt "brutal, degrading S&M porn" would be at the top of most kids' lists. If they have questions, talk to them about it. Discuss it with them regardless. And if they know it's not forbidden they won't do it secretly behind their parents' backs. It also won't be as interesting or exciting when they know it's not forbidden fruit. I've always found porn to be disgusting, and have never spent a dollar on it. My parents couldn't have cared less if I had seen a playboy or penthouse when I was a kid. Your kids probably have a hidden stash of them... maybe even a hidden stash of brutal, degrading S&M porn that you don't know about.

How about you actually explain to me how a child could be "harmed" by seeing "brutal, degrading S&M porn". People like you always assume that there will be "harm" to the precious little children. But nobody has ever once made even the slightest case that children are harmed from seeing things. Nightmares are not harm, by the way. Harm means actual harm, a pathological mental condition as a direct, proximate cause of having seen some form of media, whether it be a movie, book, video game, rap song, etc.

A kid might be disturbed by seeing a video of brutal, degrading S&M porn (or the kid might like it), but it won't harm him/her. A gun can harm a child, books, movies, and music cannot (not to imply I'm anti-gun). A kid finding something disturbing is not the worst thing that can happen. Frankly, it's perfectly normal and healthy. Nobody should grow up without having ever seen something disturbing. If that happens to be a leather-clad dominatrix buttfucking a gagged, hog-tied slave-whore with a 2 foot long electrified, spiked combination dildo-buttplug, then so be it. Watch it with your child and discuss. I'd rather a child be watching that than reading the Bible, the latter being much more violent, horrific, degrading, and brutal. That, of course, being the ultimate irony. The second half of the Harry Potter series is too much for a child, but send them to Bible study starting at age 2. Blah....
3.8.2008 6:54pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
It is clear that the education of the children at their home, whatever the quality of that education, does not qualify for the private full-time day school or credentialed tutor exemptions from compulsory education in a public full-time day school.


Thank you, Bob, for quoting the pertinent portion of the ruling there.

The interesting thing to me is that "it is clear" is the entire extent of the legal reasoning and cited precedent applicable to the question of whether a home school can fulfill the requirements of the law by registering as a private school. These are the words of a panel who did not hear any arguments from people knowledgeable about homeschooling law. To treat that panel's ruling as binding is a travesty of justice.

This ruling, at one point or another, rules against all private school home-school ISPs, all public charter school home-school ISPs, and all unregistered home schools. With the above line (unsupported by logic or precedent) it appears to claim that home schools cannot legitimately individually register as private schools, although the rest of the ruling makes it clear that such an outcome would be otherwise legal.

Again it seems that just some clarification is needed: can a child be considered a member of a private school if they never actually attend the school or deal with any of the schools paid instructors? Can a student's entire curriculum be shoehorned in under 'independent study' or is the court correct in saying it can't?


All good questions. Here's another: must all instructors be paid, or could the owner of a school be permitted to instruct? How many students in a school is too few, and why?

Does seem odd to me in a state where you have to get licensed to give a pedicure that there is no oversight in this far more important area - like I said half the states and the majority of the population live under more homeschooling accountability - a bit here wouldn't be out of line.


And all of the states allow homeschooling. Disallowing it here would be odd.
3.8.2008 7:55pm
mischief (mail):

Atheism is not a positive thing, it is the lack of something (religion). I don't feel good about pointing this out, though you'll just call me a liar. I feel sad that so many people are addicted to religion.


Your problem here is not lying but that you are obfuscating. Atheism is not a lack in your life; it is operating force that drives you to believe that you are among the tiny minority of sane people on the planet and to post long screeds on the internet.

Also, you clearly and obviously feel superior because of your atheism, which makes you feel good. It is as much your opiate as religion could ever be to anyone.


Religion is the primary cause of all terrorism, hatred, war, and murder on this planet.


Nonsense. A simple glance over the wars of history will show, for instance, that few were religiously inspired except in the eyes of bigots who twist the fact that people are religious to blame all their faults on it. Marxism, as avowedly atheistic as you are and trying to put into action your own proposal, is probably the biggest single cause of misery in the world thus far.
3.8.2008 9:28pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
William I don't see this as a blanket ruling at all, just the 'usual hysterics' are claiming it is. In THIS instance the family was not registered as a private school but said they were affiliated with one even though the children never attended classes there or saw any of its instructors. The court wasn't disallowing homeschooling it was saying this case didn't met satisfactory compliance with the existing education legislation.

If the parents successfully register as their own private school, or the children have more interacting and oversight from an existing supervising private school, or the parents are accredited tutors they aren't even affected by the ruling.

This ruling doesn't seem to me to be about disallowing home schooling in California but rather saying this particular family didn't meet the criteria the court felt were a minimum. And a bit more accountability is tolerated by the majority of the US population, I think California could manage that easily.
3.8.2008 9:31pm
mischief (mail):

People like you always assume that there will be "harm" to the precious little children. But nobody has ever once made even the slightest case that children are harmed from seeing things.


Says someone who thinks the mere mention of the word "Jesus" in front of someone can do harm -- such harm that it should be prohibited if the person is under 21.
3.8.2008 9:51pm
wekt:
From www.OblogatoryAnecdotes.com:
Yesterday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger decried the 2nd Court of Appeals ruling and vowed to either have the ruling reversed or act legislatively to protect the rights of home schoolers. "This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts, and if the courts don't protect parents' rights then, as elected officials, we will."
3.8.2008 10:15pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
mischief: Religion harms society as a whole, it doesn't directly harm the specific child who learns about it, excluding the few who become faith-based terrorists, of course. For the most part, it just operates like a big, world-wide Ponzi scheme. You join, you are special, you pay/tithe ("give") to the church, you must convert other people to paying customers, err... saved followers, and the cycle repeats itself. Children born into the ponzi scheme never had a chance. Insofar as children grow up into adults who waste money on religion, I suppose it does financially harm them in the long term, but the act of giving money to a religion also produces endorphins, so it's no different than buying some heroin. No harm, you get something for your money... but not what you're hoping for -- people give money to religios to bribe god. They want something, motives good or bad, selfish or selfless. In addition to producing endorphins at will, religions also offer wish fulfillment, with the caveat that "god works in mysterious ways." It's the greatest racket in the world, and their profits aren't even taxed. As long as it makes them happy, 95% of people will believe anything - so the market is always ripe for new religions, and there's never a shortage of followers with 6 billion people around. That's why all religions have rituals for children, and require parents to raise their kids in that particular religion. Automatic lifetime customer from birth. If Coke and Pepsi could pull that off, they sure as hell would.

But again, I ask, how does seeing a naked woman, hearing some bad words, seeing people get killed, or reading about Voldemort actually "harm" a child? Please take me down that slippery slope -- I'm all ears, and I've got my crash helmet on tight.
3.8.2008 10:16pm
BrettK:
I'm not trying to engage in dialog with you on this - and actually, I apologize for saying you're a creep, I had no right to do that. But you've obviously got some issues if you don't think a child who views degrading pornography will have a warped view of human sexual relationships. GIGO applies to the human mind just as much as it does to computer science. Your series of posts on pedophilia awhile back exhibited the same unconventional (to say the least) view of children and sex.

Anyways, again, I apologize for the name calling, but I still don't care to discuss this. You won't be persuaded because your outlook on every facet of human life is so different from my own (and that of almost everyone here it seems) that it's like speaking to an alien life form.
3.8.2008 10:51pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
BrettK: apology accepted re: the name calling. I don't remember my posts on pedophilia, I'm certainly against it... perhaps you could refresh my memory as to what you recall me saying. I know I've said the punishments for possession of kiddie porn are way too severe... people serving 200 years in federal prison for possession of some pictures they did not take. And I'm against all these wacky "sex offender" restrictions that end up forcing these people (few of whom are "pedophiles") to live under a bridge (extreme example from Florida). I don't recall saying anything in particular about pedophillia, though.

Anyway, GIGO assumes only garbage in (it's the working presumption behind garbage in, garbage out). With the human mind, some garbage may go in, but it's mixed with an infinite array of non-garbage. By your logic, homicide detectives who only see garbage all day will be twisted, crazy people.

And who decides what is "garbage." "The Godfather" Parts I and II are both rated R, and the basis for saying children under 17 should not see them is because they will somehow be "harmed" by doing so. Do you consider The Godfather I and II to be "garbage"? Part 3 is debatable, heh, but anyone who says two of the greatest movies in motion picture history are garbage is nuts. Or is "garbage" actually not the precondition for material being "harmful" to children?

Now, maybe you're only talking about porn, or a smaller subset of porn called "degrading porn" which I have no definition for and is surely more subjective than porn itself... I'm not sure I know "degrading porn" when I see it, and many feminists consider all porn to be "degrading" towards women. If so, I presume you agree with me that children are not "harmed" by watching adult movies, reading adult books (including the latter half of the Harry Potter series, it seems), and listening to music with bad words, and playing "Doom" or "Grand Theft Auto" on their playstations.

But if we are only talking about this "degrading porn" ... whatever that may be... I disagree with you that a child merely viewing it will will result in a "warped view of human sexual relationships." That's like saying a child who sees homosexual porn will grow up to be a homosexual. Maybe you believe that, and certainly the cause of homosexuality has not been scientifically determined (though I personally believe it to be genetic, not environmental). If it's true, I would concede that a heterosexual child turned homosexual by viewing the gay porn in question would be "harmed" as a result (not to imply that I'm homophobic).

I could be wrong, and let me know if I am, but I don't think you are saying or believe that a child who views homosexual porn will become a homosexual (or bisexual) as a result. Congruent with that conclusion, I see no basis and know of no facts which indicate that a child who sees bondage/S&M porn will grow up to be into bondage/S&M.

Extreme pornography aside, most people will say a child is "harmed" merely by looking at a naked person. A simple Playboy centerfold or a woman showing her tits at Mardi Gras. A nude picture of Marilyn Monroe. Please, tell me how seeing a Playboy centerfold will harm a child. Again, I humbly ask to be taken down that slippery slope.
3.9.2008 12:30am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Oh, one more thing. You may not believe me, but I do have an open mind, and if someone can prove to me merely by a preponderance of the evidence that seeing a picture of a naked person, or a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger shooting people, Sharon Stone's twat, or a TV show with bad words will actually "harm" a young child, then I will gladly change my mind. I know some people here think I'm an ass, but I've admitted that I've been wrong many times before. Refusing to change one's mind when presented with convincing evidence is one of the hallmarks of stupidity, and one of the primary reason I lack respect for religion - it is immutable and the world has to be 6,000 years old regardless of the evidence to the contrary. That's where the capital K "Know" and capital T "Truth" come into play... at least they're kind enough to make the grammatical distinction.

So, take me down the slippery slope - I ask you sincerely.
3.9.2008 12:41am
Sleeping Beastly (mail) (www):
BruceM: It's not seeing a picture of a naked woman that does harm to a child. A single instance isn't likely to do any real damage at all, and nudity is not, in itself, harmful. It's habituation to certain outlooks that parents worry about. A parent who objects to their child watching S&M porn movies might not have a problem with the same child reading a textbook on human physiology, complete with pictures. The danger isn't in seeing the naked human form, it's that a child may get the impression that it is normal and appropriate to disregard another person's humanity and individuality and view them simply as an object for sexual pleasure.

You've already indicated that you think a 2-year-old's response to religious ideas is different from a 21-year-old's response to religious ideas. You've said that a 2-year-old raised in a religious household "never has a chance" of being anything but a slave to the religion of his or her parents. (This is not strictly true, as there are countless of examples of conversion, especially in the U.S., but there's enough truth in the statement to let it stand.) So you must believe that children are more susceptible to indoctrination than adults, and that adults are more capable of making informed decisions about the concepts with which they are confronted. If so, I agree with you.

I know that my kids are going to be exposed to antagonistic and violent attitudes from other people, but I don't necessarily want their childhoods saturated with those kinds of experiences. I know they will run into the concept of sexual objectification well before they're 18, but again, I would prefer it if their lives weren't saturated with it, and in particular, I would love it if the authority figures in their lives didn't tell them that this is a normal and appropriate concept.

Basically, I want my son to grow up thinking it's normal to treat women like people and not like potential fucks. I want my daughter to grow up thinking it's normal to resolve conflicts peacefully when possible, and undesirable to resort to violence. In short, I want them to be the kinds of neighbors, coworkers, and fellow citizens that you and your children (should you have any) will be happy to live and work next to. I think I'm more likely to succeed in this if I homeschool than if I send them to public school, and you've done nothing to disabuse me of this notion. But I'm an openminded guy myself, and if you can prove to me, by a preponderance of evidence, that I am mistaken, I will be happy to change my mind.

Incidentally, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a causal link between religion and "all terrorism, hatred, war, and murder on this planet." In fact, plenty of terrorism, hatred, war, and murder is carried out by atheists, so religion is not a necessary condition for any of these things. In the (admittedly many) cases where the perpetrators are religious, you'll frequently find that they have other motivations as well, and your characterizing their crimes as being motivated "primarily" by religion is a very subjective and arbitrary take on them. Perhaps the fact that you don't like religion has something to do with how you interpret the motives of religious individuals?
3.9.2008 5:29am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Sleeping Beauty: Like I said, it's vitally important that parents talk to their children and discuss what the kids see/hear/read. I absolutely agree with you 100% that children are susceptible and less capable of making informed decisions. But rather than hiding things from their children, parents should discuss those things with their children.

Earlier I said: I will concede that plopping a kid in front of a TV, letting them watch whatever they want, and not being there to talk to them about what they saw is quite horrendous, miserable parenting.

I think your underlying concern is exposure versus saturation. Not so much that they see something, but that they are bombarded with it (please correct me if I'm wrong, I don't want to put words into your mouth). I respect that as a rational, legitimate concern. But unless you keep your kids locked up at home all day and ban them from watching TV (which goes back to the nature and intent of homeschooling), there's nothing you can do about it - your children will be bombarded with sex, drugs, bad words, and violence. As long as you're there to discuss it with them and explain it to them the first time they encounter it, the billions of subsequent times won't matter.

plenty of terrorism, hatred, war, and murder is carried out by atheists

Yeah right. Sorry, just not true. Show me one atheist suicide bomber in the history of the world. All people commit crimes, and all people hate each other. But religious people are the ones who act on their hatred. You won't see atheists blowing up churches or stoning religious people. It just doesn't happen.
3.9.2008 6:22am
mischief (mail):

And who decides what is "garbage."


The parents.

Who are, after all, the ones who have to deal with the child every day.
3.9.2008 12:22pm
mischief (mail):

Show me one atheist suicide bomber in the history of the world. All people commit crimes, and all people hate each other. But religious people are the ones who act on their hatred.


What a consolation for people dying of slow starvation in the gulags -- at least I wasn't blown to bits by a suicide bomber!

Especially since they could be starving for the crime of teaching their children religion, a law you would adore to impose everywhere.
3.9.2008 12:27pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
William I don't see this as a blanket ruling at all, just the 'usual hysterics' are claiming it is. In THIS instance the family was not registered as a private school but said they were affiliated with one even though the children never attended classes there or saw any of its instructors. The court wasn't disallowing homeschooling it was saying this case didn't met satisfactory compliance with the existing education legislation.


I'm not sure what "blanket ruling" means to you, and you're the only person I've seen use it about this case (there's no prior use of the word in this discussion). But this ruling does NOT merely claim that this 'school' didn't meet the criteria; it claims that the law says:

1. It is "clear" that no home education could meet the criteria for a private school.
2. Private ISPs cannot be used to homeschool.
3. Public charter schools may not be used to home school.

The only legit avenue this panel sees is "certified tutor".

The problem with this ruling is that it contradicts decades of practice throughout the state without so much as admitting that there's a possibility of interpretation (which makes it very clear that the judges didn't hear any arguments). All three of those avenues are being heavily used on the basis of legal advice.

If you're still claiming that this ruling applies only to this one family, please focus your attention on the ruling's claim that even public charter schools could not be used to provide legal cover home schooling. How many thousands of people are enrolled in public charter schools doing homeschooling? There are three such charter schools within a few miles of my house.

This ruling would be cited in truancy cases brought against any parent whose children are home during the day. No more would showing a complete curriculum plus grading of ongoing effort plus proving one of those three types of school be enough.

I don't believe that the ruling is wrong in what it was intended to address. The couple probably are in the wrong and need to be ruled against. But you can't rule against tens of thousands of people in a case argued in secret by government-provided lawyers. This case must be depublished.
3.9.2008 1:38pm
BrettK:
Re your comment on atheists not being capable of mass murder

>Yeah right. Sorry, just not true.

Enlighten yourself - read the Gulag Archipelago, or the investigate the Killing Fields, just for starters. Or read the story of Richard Wurmbrandt if you would like to put a face on the masses of those who were imprisoned and tortured. A minister being tortured by those communists for practicing his religious beliefs?! Surely not!
3.9.2008 1:38pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
Show me one atheist suicide bomber in the history of the world.


Just *one*? That doesn't work; it might be a crazy guy. You need a group with a complete philosophy who's done it over and over again. Let's start with the Tamil Tigers.

Now I'll wait for you to make some kind of concession in your arguments. I won't hold my breath.

All people commit crimes, and all people hate each other. But religious people are the ones who act on their hatred. You won't see atheists blowing up churches or stoning religious people. It just doesn't happen.


You are acting on your hatred right now; why do you think that someone with more hatred or fewer inhibitions wouldn't perform actions which go beyond mere slander? Someone such as Stalin or Lenin, for example, or the horde of rulers of China, or Pol Pot, or the agitators in the Boxer rebellion, or some of the folks in the French Revolution, or...

-Wm
3.9.2008 2:02pm
Sleeping Beastly (mail) (www):
BruceM: There's nothing wrong with keeping a TV-free house. But are you saying that since kids will be subjected to some of it anyway, you might as well not try to minimize this exposure? Talking to your kids is important, but it's not a parent's only responsibility.

Show me one atheist suicide bomber in the history of the world. All people commit crimes, and all people hate each other. But religious people are the ones who act on their hatred. You won't see atheists blowing up churches or stoning religious people. It just doesn't happen.

Well, not all people commit crimes and hate each other. Maybe you meant to say that all people are capable of crime and hatred, regardless of their religion? Also, your question is a little ridiculous. Suicide bombing seems to be confined to a single religion, and so you'd have as hard a time finding Hindu or Christian suicide bombers as you would atheist suicide bombers.

Again, I think you may have misstated your point. You seem to be implying that atheists do not act on their hatred, which is flat-out not true. You may recall that the Columbine shooters were both atheists who had a special loathing for Christians. Read some of the accounts of the survivors.

Maybe what you meant to say is that when an atheist commits a murder or an act of terrorism, it isn't because of his atheism. If this is your point, I'm willing to accept it, but you then have to accept the possibility that when religious people commit crimes, they may just be using their religion as an excuse to commit crimes they'd like to commit anyway.

Incidentally, there are plenty of cases of hate crimes against churches in this country alone. I assume that most hate crimes against Christians are carried out by atheists, but since most of them are never prosecuted, I suppose you could question that if you wanted to. If you want to get a look at the FBI's stats, check out

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2006/victims.html

Atheists are as human as the rest of us, and are just as capable of hating someone for disagreeing with their views, and doing something about it.

Certainly, you'd agree that when a religious person does something charitable, their religion doesn't get full credit for it; why would their evil actions be treated differently?
3.9.2008 3:30pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
<b>I don't believe that the ruling is wrong in what it was intended to address. The couple probably are in the wrong and need to be ruled against. But you can't rule against tens of thousands of people in a case argued in secret by government-provided lawyers. This case must be depublished.</b>

Well if you read the ruling you know that the whole case hangs on the word legislative word 'in' in relationship to a private school. Wouldn't the real solution be to change the word to 'with'?

I think its good this is getting discussed - I didn't realize that the California state laws were so lack on homeschooling (I'm in Washington where the homeschooled at least of legislatively demanded oversight)

But again, it is highly unlikely that California is going to be the only state in the nation to disallow homeschooling over the unchangability over the word 'in'

Still seems like hysterics to me.
3.9.2008 4:07pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
This ruling doesn't hinge on the word 'in'; the couple violated just about every rule in the books. The problem is that the court invented readings of all the rules the couple weren't violating while they were at it. If this case HAD hinged on the word 'in', my parent's homeschool would be perfectly legitimate by this ruling (they registered their home school as a private school).

CA laws aren't any more slack than most states; most treat homeschools as a type of private school, most of them by implication, just like CA. I would welcome legislative clarity on this, but frankly, I don't expect any -- homeschooling has too many well-funded, politically connected, and highly motivated enemies (the teacher's unions foremost among them).

Anyhow, regardless of your goals for the future (better regulation is a wonderful goal), you surely have to admit that this ruling is a simple and clear example of overreach: it ruled on issues that were not argued before the court, issues which affect thousands of people across the state, including many years of legal advice.
3.9.2008 4:20pm
Oren:

Are the sex education courses allowed to groom children for child molesters?
Sex ed makes kids harder targets

Are the biology courses allowed to tout involuntary sterilization of the "degenerate"?
I would teach it in social studies, as part of a historical look at the horrific things that were, at times, considered to be OK by the 8A.
Do you or do you not consider that "contrary views" to which no parent has any right to object?
The parent has the right to teach whatever he wants at home.

Perhaps when my child is in 8th grade, I will claim that he cannot be taught the holocaust because virtually all of my mother's family (100+ in all) were killed by the Nazis. Same for WWI and I also refuse consent for him to be taught long division (it's against my religion) but multiplication is OK.
3.9.2008 6:07pm
mischief (mail):


Are the sex education courses allowed to groom children for child molesters?

Sex ed makes kids harder targets


Even the sex ed described above, which explicitly teaches things that child molesters teach them to groom them for abuse? You have any evidence for that? That specific claim?



Are the biology courses allowed to tout involuntary sterilization of the "degenerate"?

I would teach it in social studies, as part of a historical look at the horrific things that were, at times, considered to be OK by the 8A.


A nice evasion of the question, which is about a biology course that touts involuntary sterilization of the "degenerate". One that will doubtlessly describe you to your children as a cruel man, inflicting suffering on untold generations by refusing such simple and humane steps, indeed calling them "horrific things."

It has happened, so it can happen, and that would be just how you would be depicted in such a course, because that is just how such people were depicted.

You would teach it in social studies, but then, you don't control biology classes.
3.9.2008 11:50pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Sleeping beauty: Yes all people are capable of hatred. Even atheists. I'm not saying atheists are super-human or in any way above human emotions/actions/reactions.

I am saying no atheist I've ever heard of has attacked anyone in the name of atheism, or due to following atheistic dogma (there is none). There is no "Bible of Atheism" with quotes in it that atheists can use to justify their actions. Sure, there have been many churches burned in America - all black churches burn by white christians, who incidentally use the Bible as authority in support of their hatred of black people. I forget the bible quote, but it's interpreted (correctly or not, it doesn't matter when one acts on it) as black skin being a mark of sin, and the blacks are the children of some bad person, yadda yadda, kill them all. Sure, this is not a majority viewpoint amongst christians (and surely not the black ones). But it's christians burning down those churches, not atheists. Not muslims or hindus, either. Fortunately church burnings are pretty rare these days. But during integreation in the 60's and 70's, it was very common in the South for black churches to be burned/bombed/destroyed.

Certainly, you'd agree that when a religious person does something charitable, their religion doesn't get full credit for it; why would their evil actions be treated differently?

The religion certainly does get credit, because religious people never do anything charitable without advertising the fact that they're doing it for, on behalf of, due to, in the name of, and usually to spread their religion. Likewise, religions should be liable for the evil actions of their followers when those followers commit said actions in the name of, on behalf of, for, due to, or to spread their religion. If a Christian gets a speeding ticket, it's not due to Christianity. If a Christian blows up an abortion clinic to stop murder of babies due to christian dogma, it is due to Christianity.

And religions should be held strictly liable for the intentional crimes of their followers when done for, due to, on behalf of, in the name of, or to spread the religion. If a catholic blows up an abortion clinic, the Vatican should be held strictly liable for all damage (joint and severally liable with the individual follower who committed the act, of course, but it's the Vatican with the deep pockets).
3.10.2008 3:57am
Secular homeschooling parent:

Sure, there have been many churches burned in America - all black churches burn by white christians,


I don't think so.


Just saw this this morning.
I doubt if it was a black church since the city, population 3607, is 98.75% White, and 0.19% African American. (That works out to 6 total black people in the town)

From Politics and Church Burnings

"On July 5, Fred Bayles of the Associated Press summarized the results of a lengthy "review of federal, state, and local records." Of a total of 409 church fires since 1990, it turned out that about two-thirds were at white churches, while of 148 fires since 1995, slightly more than half had also been at white churches; none of these, presumably, could be attributed to white racism."
3.10.2008 11:04am
OR Homeschooler (mail):
"In case I wasn't clear, homeschool kids should get the same tests public school kids get. There are normally "gateway" tests every few years in public schools. Public school Timmy can't go from 5th grade to 6th without passing a test. The same test should be given to homeschool Molly who is a rising 6th grader by age. If HS Molly passes, she can stay in homeschool. "

I don't necessarily have a problem with mandated testing for homeschooled children, but this analogy begs the question... and what of Timmy when he fails the test? If he passes he can stay in Government School, but if he fails what then? "Timmy" generally WILL get passed to the next grade even if he fails the standardized test (at least, that's the case in Oregon), and the school, if enough Timmys fail, will get chastised eventually, but there really is no consequence for the government school should they fail "Timmy" (as they do in great numbers every year).

I think that is where the REAL opposition to mandated testing comes in: It's used to monitor and regulate homeschooling families (who consistently score, on average, higher than the average government-schooled student)...and yet mandated testing means next to nothing in the government school arena.
3.10.2008 2:16pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
BruceM, I note that you've been rebutted and/or refuted on many points so far, and haven't responded to any substantial issue. I also note that you offer no suggestion of evidence for any of your claims, in spite of that fact that most of your claims are universals (and therefore require _proof_, not merely evidence).

I'm not going to follow you around demanding that you respond. I am, however, going to enjoy pointing and laughing.

I am saying no atheist I've ever heard of has attacked anyone in the name of atheism, or due to following atheistic dogma (there is none).

You're weaselwording. "Dogma" is the set of beliefs that one must hold in order to be saved; atheism escapes having dogma because it doesn't believe in salvation. What atheism DOES have is _doctrine_. And yes, atheists -- like every other widely-held belief -- has killed in the name of atheist doctrine. I posted a huge list of atheistic killers which is nonetheless only partial. There's no doubt that, 'thanks' to the 20th century wars and pogroms, atheism is the belief to which the leading killers subscribed. (There's plenty of room for doubt that this condemns atheism itself; but you seem to leave no room for that kind of doubt when you address Christianity, so I'll return the favor for you.)

There is no "Bible of Atheism" with quotes in it that atheists can use to justify their actions.

Look closely at that statement. Of course there's no "Bible", but do you really think there's no *book* atheists use? Then where did you get the ideas for your current actions? The assertions you're posting are poorly copied from God Is Not Great (I say "poorly copied" because you elide even the vague handwaving evidence Hitchens provides).

Further, it's true that you can't *justify* your actions from a book, but it's also true that you can't justify your actions *at all*. You do your actions because you *feel* they're right, and that's about as deep as it gets. That's fine for you, because you are an honorable man; but not all are honorable men; and how do you teach others to be honorable men? If it's your son you're talking to, how will you teach him? (Back on the topic of this thread, you can't just assume that even a credentialed tutor will handle this right!)

[when discussing good actions:]
The religion certainly does get credit, because religious people never do anything charitable without advertising the fact that they're doing it for, on behalf of, due to, in the name of, and usually to spread their religion.

Nonsense. When a Catholic person buys a building for UCSD, the building gets named after the person, not after the Blessed Virgin Mary (or whatever). And by the teaching of Christianity, Christians are ordered to perform their charitable deeds "in secret" so deep that their right hand doesn't know what their left hand is doing. How then can credit go to the church? BTW, charitable records clearly reflect that this is actually happening -- there's a TON more unattributed charitable giving than there is attributed.

If a Christian blows up an abortion clinic to stop murder of babies due to christian dogma, it is due to Christianity.

Sure. That's fine. So, what dogma (or doctrine) did this alleged person follow? How many dogmas (or doctrines) did they violate? You later attribute this to a catholic; are you aware how many mortal sins this person committed in this one action? I'm not a Catholic, but I do understand something of the structure of their beliefs. Given that this church preaches against everything that person did in every sermon, and never advocated for that person doing it, and condemned all such actions beforehand, and condemned them after, and has never been linked to supporting those actions... How can you justify that?
3.10.2008 2:16pm
Sleeping Beastly (mail) (www):
Secular Homeschooling Parent: Thanks for the links- saves me the trouble of digging up the similar news stories I've read over the past few years.

BruceM: If you're interested, I can round up some of these links and send them to you. I even have an atheist friend who told me he burned down part of a parish residence in his home town when he was younger. (Although I'm sure he wouldn't do anything like that these days.)

SHP, mischief, and William Tanksley have already made most of the same points I would have made myself, so I won't bore you by repeating any of their statements. But I will add a few things.

Apparently, religion is harmful enough that it needs to be kept out of a child's consciousness for the first twenty years of his or her life, in the interests of making sure that most children grow up to be atheists. I suppose that's based on good evidence that atheists make better citizens than Christians do, right? When I looked at the 2001 census information and 1997 prison data, nonreligious folks seemed to commit crimes at about the same rate as religious folks. So that's right out.

Perhaps religious folk aren't involved enough in promoting the wellbeing of their communities?

Perhaps secular governments that attempt to squash religion have historically been humanitarian utopias compared to societies that allow religion to run riot?

Or maybe religion just ruins the lives of individuals?

I think we have plenty of evidence, contemporary and historical, to show that religion does not, on the whole, make life worse for anyone, and I can only conclude that your hostility towards it is a matter of irrational hate or that you are simply misinformed.

What does seem to be harmful is religious persecution. When one group (for reasons of religion or irreligion) attempts to suppress someone else's faith, everyone suffers. Witness the holy wars in Europe and the Middle East, and the persecutions by Communists and Fascists in Eastern Europe and China. For this reason, I prefer the First Amendment to your proposal for improving society.

Finally, I find your idea of holding a third party liable extremely interesting. If I pick up a copy of the Communist Manifesto and bomb a bank, will the California Communist Party be liable for the damages caused by my interpretation of Marx's perennial classic? How about if I watched An Inconvenient Truth and blew up a Ford Motors facility "in the name of" the Green Party? Would their contributors ultimately wind up paying reparations to Ford? If not, then why should someone who is acting contrary to the Catechism of the Catholic Church be able to transfer any amount of responsibility to the Vatican? And if so, where does it end? Should I be afraid every time I open my mouth that someone will take my statements as a green light to commit crimes?

So, while I understand your sentiments (I shared them when I was in my teens) I prefer the American legal treatment of religion and personal responsibility.
3.10.2008 11:16pm
EldrichGamine:
I am a home school graduate.
I received near perfect scores on my state's GED.
I received a full scholarship to a state university and graduated Summa Cum Laude.
I received a law degree.
I am, in fact, employed. As a previous poster noted, whether or not I believe in macroevolution is irrelevant to my profession.
I live on my own. I pay my own bills. I pay taxes. I vote. I give to charity. And a whole lot of other things "good" citizens are supposed to do.

If the only home schooler you know is one you saw on TV, kindly refrain from making sweeping comments about home schoolers, their education, their religion, and their ability to function in society. Extreme religious home schoolers represent a minute percentage of the home school population, and those families would be religious extremists whether or not they home schooled.

Given the ignorance and hate spewed by many in their posts about home schoolers here, I must wonder if the public school system is properly socializing the young people in it care.
3.11.2008 5:31pm