Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Homeschoolers have always been a breed apart. I was one myself, and am satisfied enough to intend to pass along the benefits of homeschooling to my own kids. But the relationship between the burgeoning homeschool movement in the U.S. and the governmental legal/educational bodies has always been a tricky one, with its share of speed bumps. The stranglehold which the state had on primary education for centuries has loosened only with the greatest reluctance, forcing parents to leap giant legal and financial hurdles to do what (according to Catholic teaching, at least
), they have a God-given right to do. On the other hand, we also have the 'dark side' of homeschooling, the fear of which serves as the primary motivation of the anti-homeschooling agenda - that homeschooling can be used by antisocial families as a tool to sever all ties with the broader society and perpetuate a culture of ignorance and antipathy.
Though I know very little of this case
, which I just discovered via Crowhill
, it seems to be a preeminent example of families valiantly waging the wrong battles and simply making the rest of us look bad:
"We have a religious obligation to not have anything to do with the ungodly public school system," says Hankin, a Christian with ties to the Free Presbyterian denomination. "These children are not Caesar's. They belong to God ... My husband is the one God put in charge of these children, and for him to have to surrender that authority ... is wrong."
The State does have a legitimate interest in ensuring the proper education of its citizens. It's called 'protecting the common good.' For the State to require homeschooled kids to take a test once a year to be sure they're meeting minimal standards of education seems to me to be more than reasonable. We had to take these as a kid. We aced the hell out of 'em, and put the public school kids to shame. If homeschooling is as effective as its proponents claim it is (and the evidence seems to support this), then what have we got to fear?
# posted by Jamie : 11:33 AM