There are certain elements in the United States that are doing all that can be done to eliminate home schoolers. The National Education Association and their state affiliates are part of that opposition. They have much bigger fish to fry like telling their members for whom they should vote in state and national elections, a’ la BIG UNION tactics. They are busy pushing agendas that many of those forced to be members of this Union do not want any part of. The end of it all came for me that summer that the national NEA convention was prepared to vote on forcing public school teachers in primary grades through high school level to teach a prepared curriculum on homosexuality. I fired off a resignation letter to the NEA and the state organization explaining my resignation from this union. I do not consider myself to be what the Progressive Liberals want to tag you with—-the term "homophobe" implying that you are scared to death of homosexuals. I definitely do not fit into that description , but because of my religious convictions, I believe what the Bible says about homosexuality. For that reason alone, I could not go along with the national educatation association’s attempt to push for the curriculum it wanted to install in all public schools across the United States. That attempt several summers ago was hastily pulled when word got out to the public at large who rose up in a massive protest against such an agenda. It became a 3- year battle with two unions but I stuck to my position and did not pay dues for the rest of my teaching career. The Teachers’ Union loves to ignore the First Amendment rights of its members by lobbying for non-right-to-work laws. North Dakota still has "right to work" status to my knowledge but Minnesota does not. The union has gotten it done in that state. The teachers’ unions have also lobbied hard to eliminate home schooling.
Now news is out that even Subway, a sandwich and deli-fast food business, is cooperating with those who would have home schooling stamped out. In an announced nationwide competition called "Every Sandwich Tells A Story", school-aged children are invited to win prizes for their schools. However there is a caveat. The rules state that "the contest is open only to legal residents of the Untied States who are over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private, or parochial schools that serve grades K-6. No home schools will be accepted. " This quotation of rules for the sandwich story competition were posted in an article by Erick Erickson which appeared in "Human Events" recently.(May 27, 2008) Go back and read the quotation again if you did not note that the contest is open only to "residents of the UNTIED States." That was not one of my typos! That is how the rules appear on the contest competition form.
Another quote from Erickson’s essay: "Given the rate at which homeschooled children win the national spelling bee, perhaps Subway should have let a third-grade homeschooled student proof its rules. In addition to spelling ‘United’ as ‘Untied’, the prizes included a ‘gift bastket’ in lieu of a ‘gift basket’. "
Another piece of information included in Erickson’s article is that the states of California and Tennesee have passed laws and done their best to shut down homeschools. In California a law has been passed that says that homeschooling is illegal unless the person teaching the child(ren) has grade level certification. Tennesee’s state board of education has ruled that diplomas from home schooled affiliations are invalid to show high school graduation. It would not be surprising at all if these laws are being appealed to higher courts in those states….as they should be.
I am personally acquainted with a number of homeschooled students and their families. These families are required to test their students on a regular basis using state standarzized testing. In some cases, homeschooled students must take this testing on an annual basis. In other cases, homeschoolers are required to test on the same basis as the public schools do…at certain grade levels to test a student’s progress. The homeschoolers with whom I am acquainted have passed their tests with flying colors…. two of the students passed reading at 4-5 grade levels above their actual grade levels. The same applied to the standardized math tests. The homeschooled students I know of personally also are not what some would label "social retards" . I heard that statement come out of the mouths of public school teachers who were most opposed to home schooling…based on the fact of the students not "being properly socialized". I suppose if you count being "properly socialized" as what many young students learn on the playgrounds by hearing the most foul language imaginable, or getting beaten up and tormented by other students, then I would, as a parent, opt out of that kind of "socialization".
I recently attented a senior piano recital of a 13- year veteran of home schooling; his recital was more like that of a recital of a college senior. His homeschooled sister’s senior recital was the same , two years ago. Both these personal friends are off to college and the sister is doing a superior job as a college sophomore…she also participates (socializes) in many extra curricular college activities. She did not suffer from her homeschooling one bit and neither did the numerous other acquaintances of homeschooling You may say, well, that is just one tiny example of homeschooling…what about those others who are homeschooled by really "kooky" parents who have gotten into an argument with a public school and huffily pulled them out. In my experience, "kooky" parents who pulled students out of a public school (in a snit over some minor matter) transferred their students to either a private school or to another public school under Minnesota’s open enrollment policy. They did not home school. They lacked the dedication it takes for parents who do homeschool their students. Those homeschooling parents also pay their school district’s school taxes and in addition, spend their money on their homeschool curricula which are every bit as superior as the best public school curricula. Homeschooled students are also eligible to participate in sports, music, and arts activities in their public school districts and many of them do. They also have additonal opportunities to take part in many valuable activites sponsored by the large homeschool associations that have networked over the past years. One 6 year old that I am well acquainted with, presented a rather detailed science report on "rocks" to her Homeschool Association’s Monthly Meeting when she was in kindergarten.
The attention given to homeschoolers on a one- on- one basis is not possible in public, private or parochial schools. Families who choose to give their own children the best education they can possibly give them, should not be objects of governmental interference and downright persecution, as in California and Tennessee. Citizens should stand up to the ham-handed tactics of state departments of education and also the unions that lobby heavily and expensively, to stamp out home schooling.
There is a wealth of information on the ‘net if you type in words like "home schools" or "statistics on homeschooling/homeschools". Check, it out if you are interested.