Wednesday, March 12, 2008
In this article, entitled "Sowing Liberty," Ron Paul discusses the psychology of fear by which we are driven, the "remnant that longs for truly limited government," and the fact that "freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference" (6). Homeschoolers, he writes "by and large, maintain that the authority for determining the education of their children rests solely with parents. This spark of freedom must be fanned into a flame, not just among homeschooling fathers and mothers, but among the generation they are training up in liberty."(7)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
"Because he believes that "art and music are as important as math and science" in public schools, he wants these programs funded -- and thus, directed and administered -- federally. Huckabee is, incidentally, the only Republican candidate for president who opposes school choice. Huckabee has called for increased federal spending on a variety of programs from infrastructure to health care."
In contrast to Huckabee is Ron Paul, who is a signatory for the Alliance for the Separation of School and State's Public Proclamation: "I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education." (You may sign it too, if you wish, by going to http://www.schoolandstate.org/signproclamation.htm)
What's wrong with government involvement in education is that "money for schools" comes from taxes, and increasingly we are seeing taxation without real representation. Legislation that affects schools is often whisked through state and federal governments before parents and communities have a chance to see what's happening.
The money that was given to schools under the No Child Left Behind Act was given under the presumption that local and state schools could no longer manage their own affairs. Increasing federal control means reducing local control, and reducing local control means less parental involvement and a weakening of the bonds of schools to neighborhood and community.
Consolidation and centralization of schools is carried out in the name of rescuing supposedly "failing" schools, or, as in the case of Huckabee's plans in the name of providing more "arts and music" for the students. In a similar case two days ago in Birmingham, Alabama, it was suddenly announced that 18 local elementary schools were to close in order to provide more "arts and music" in a consolidated setting for their students. Members of the Birmingham City Council, as well as concerned citizens not only asked for "more transparency" from the local and state boards of education, but were obviously angry at a decision that, as Ronald Jackson, head of Birmingham's Citizens for Better Schools, stated: "...benefits no one...but the banks." (Birmingham News, Wednesday December 12, 2007)
In order to protect our right to send our children to the school of our choice, as well as our right as a parent to influence and be involved in our child's education,
we must not be dazzled by government promises to put more money into schools. How much time does the government need to prove that increased centralization improves the learning process? Our government has had 150 years to prove its point, and studies have definitively shown that parental involvement, local control and coherent communities are the key to better education. Please join Ron Paul in signing the Alliance for the Separation of School and State's proclamation, and please join me in voting for Ron Paul, a candidate who will really protect freedom of education.
One statement really jumped out at me:
"Huckabee is, incidentally, the only Republican candidate for president who opposes school choice."
I guess that is why Huckabee got an NEA Endorsement from NH.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Keep in mind that that the NEA has said things like:
"Home Schools Run By Well-Meaning Amateurs
Schools With Good Teachers Are Best-Suited to Shape Young Minds"
"We know that parental involvement is imperative for school achievement, but delegates were concerned that home schools were not required to use state-approved curricula. They agreed that homeschooled students have done well on national tests and were the top spellers in the National Spelling Bee two years ago, but felt home school instruction should meet certain state education standards."
and issued a resolution:
"Home Schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used."
I think Huckabee was chosen on the Republican side despite his past support of Homeschooling because of his strong support for NCLB, further nationalization of Education, and opposition to school vouchers. And since he was the first governor to sign into law a restriction on Homeschooling, they must know that when push comes to shove, he’ll be willing to sacrifice his support of Homeschooling if need be.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Homeschooling vs. The European Union
Europeans who want to homeschool look to
I suggested in my last blog that some homeschooling families have decided to make an issue of homeschooling, accounting for some of the publicity. However, another aspect of the problem is the fact that homeschooling and private education in general is not in accordance with European Union policy. An army of EU thinktanks is steadily marching forward with a 5-year plan (2007-2013) to “internationalize” education. These policy-making organizations claim to be concerned with freedom of education. However, the more important agenda is to “internationalize” by strengthening international networking in education throughout Europe, and carrying out such monumental tasks as “funding (of) trans-national projects” and supporting “large manifestations, studies, communication and information events which are able to reach a large audience (to) make Europe more concrete for its citizen,” as well as creating a new European Union citizen. (This appears in a document entitled “Mapping European Union Policy” published by the Socires organization, which describes itself as a private Christian initiative (see http://www.socires.nl/downloads/EducationMappinEuropoe_Socires.pdf). This policy document also goes on to state that the European Union contains no programs which are designed to strengthen civil society. Does this imply that internationalization does not strengthen civil society, or did I misread the text?
Here is a short list of some of the EU organizations promoting internationalization in education: The European Platform for Dutch Education (www.europeesplatform.nl) in the
What does the European Union’s constitution have to say about freedom of education? The European Union’s constitution promotes “freedom of education,” but it is a freedom of education that is given as a privilege by the EU government, and includes the privilege of receiving a “free compulsory education” and the privilege of founding private schools in accordance with national laws and policies. This would have to contrast with freedom as defined in the U.S. Constitution as an inalienable right, essentially a gift of God. Dr. Ron Paul mentions the importance of a constitution which specifically through the 10th amendment leaves all issues that aren’t the province of the federal government to be determined by individuals and states: "Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791.The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
The European Constitution has not yet been ratified by European nations, but policy-makers are marching forward undeterred to submit a “Reformed” Constitution which would, according to the Wikipedia article I referenced, “superate” national laws, although technically not replacing them.
The word superate was new to me, so I looked it up in an online dictionary, but did not find it there. Further research showed me that the word derives from the Italian verb “superare” meaning to “overcome” and that it is sometimes in use in philosophy texts, for example, to mean “overcome” or “defeat.” The above-cited Socires article confirmed that even though the EU constitution has not yet been ratified by member states, it would still go into action as a kind of “soft law.” I also found the concept of a “soft law” unfamiliar.
In any case, the EU policy makers are to some extent succeeding in changing policy in
We have seen developments like this in America as well, under Mike Huckabee’s 10-year governorship in Arkansas, for example, in which the compulsory school entrance age was lowered to age 6 and truancy laws were strengthened in such a way that more work was required to take one’s own child out of school. A number of states have considered legislation lowering school entrance age, and the prevailing long-term trends in elementary school and even pre-school education -- as promoted by various private initiatives calling themselves national organizations -- call for reduced play (in many cases minimal or no recess) and increasingly early work with letters and numbers, as well as, of course, general training in following orders.
The national laws themselves don’t seem to support these EU policies. Home education is still legal in nations throughout Europe. My research led me to a German homeschool information website updated in September of 2007 which documented laws pertaining to education in 16 countries. (http://www.hausunterricht.org/html/rechtliches.html) According to this information, homeschooling is not against the law in any of the 16 European countries under consideration, even in
The fact that homeschooling is legal throughout Europe, while being stringently prohibited in places such as Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, suggests that European Union policy makers are working so fast it may not even be clear to anyone how much authority the local and national authorities have. In addition, local and national authorities haven’t even had a chance to develop a good game plan. A German spokesman’s much-publicized excuse for cracking down on a few harmless Baptist families is that the families by homeschooling threaten to constitute a “parallel society.” In view of the fact that 20% of Germany’s citizens are of non-German descent, a group including predominantly Turks and Poles, with 65% of the German population Christian and 4% practicing Islam, it’s hard to understand the concern with Christian parallel cultures unless a new “unity” is in the program.Obviously, education is a crucial area within which a community, nation or union, develops attachment to its policies, programs and goals, and the EU policy makers have made their program clear. This program calls for internationalization under the wing of the EU, an emphasis on compulsory schooling, and a severe limitation of homeschooling. This appear to entail, as regards the child and the community, a reduced field for “play,” and increased emphasis on “early learning,” together with a weakening of family bonds, a weakening of national bonds, and a general weakening of civil society.
To what extent do European nations plan to go along with this program? Some commentators, such as former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, warn that the new co-operation of the European Union and European nations is a “shotgun marriage” (interview in The Brussels Journal, Mon. 2006-02-27 22:13). Is this the case? I don’t know the answer to this question, but I do think it’s useful to consider the European resistance to homeschooling, historically a harmless, private issue, in the context of European Union policy-making. This is a good explanation for why there is such interest in Ron Paul all over Europe – thanks to a new response to my last blog, you can see below some useful sources of information on the enthusiasm for Ron Paul in
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Homeschooling Worldwide – For Ron Paul?
Worldwide, homeschoolers should be supporting Ron Paul. Why should they? Well, because homeschoolers worldwide are basically facing the same issue, the issue of liberty.
Homeschooling is an international concern, even though my Microsoft Word spellcheck still won’t accept the word. Only 200 years ago, homeschooling was the norm throughout the western world, not to speak of the worlds beyond the “West.” Homeschooling in those days would be typically followed by apprenticeships or professional activity, or the continuation of productivity within the home.
Increasingly, government schools became an option. Today, the idea of government schooling has become associated with modernity and modernity with literacy and literacy with democracy. Government schooling is called “public education” in
In addition, the connections between government schooling and democracy, literacy and modernity are tenuous, or even arbitrary. Both literacy and democracy can thrive and flourish without government schooling. Neither literacy nor democracy depends on schooling, and, going a bit further, I would say truthfully that government schooling, as it is presently organized, usually suppresses or even suffocates the seeds of democracy and the vital spirit that leads to active citizenship. The underlying goal of compulsory schooling is not to raise a citizen, but to eradicate the local, the ethnic, the national, the religious individual, to eliminate the bonding to family and community which underlies citizenship.
So what does all this have to do with Ron Paul? It has to do with the fact that homeschooling raises the fundamental issues that unite homeschooling families worldwide of any and all religions and persuasions: namely, the issue of liberty, the freedom to raise one’s own family according to one’s own lights, regardless of religious persuasion or cultural or ethnic background. It is impossible to erase the underlying reality that people are mammals; mammals raise their young in families and organize their affairs largely on the basis of deep and ineradicable intuitions, often with the aid of mothers; families, in turn, thrive in communities, and communities often find their strength in deities. This is true everywhere. The only question is how political, religious, or other self-appointed authorities can arrange to accommodate themselves to this fact.
In view of the tremendous amount of communication at work in our highly interconnected world, what generalizations can be made about homeschooling worldwide?
On the surface, it looks bad. German homeschooling families have recently been the object of special attention. Homeschoolers in Germany have been taken into custody or subjected to crippling fines, and some have lost of custody of their children. In August of 2006 a Baptist mother of 12 (!) was arrested for homeschooling, while her husband took the children and went to
Much publicity has been devoted to these cases, and the publicity has been fanned by the Home School Legal Defense Association, under the direction of Mike Farris, and the WorldNet Daily, under the direction of Joseph Farah. These two organizations, sometimes in tandem, issue frequent urgent reports regarding the repression of homeschoolers. (See, for example, WorldNet Daily’s report referring to “Police state.
While this type of publicity probably has benefits in terms of making people aware of specific instances of repression of homeschoolers, it appears to be much more confusing when it comes to providing guidance on what to do about it. The above-cited WND article opens by advising readers, for example, that “continuing legal challenges won’t work,” (according to an unidentified expert). Says who? Since when do “continuing legal challenges” of any kind not work? Whereas it is implied that Farris may be the expert who thinks legal challenges won’t work, he is later quoted as saying: "To win, a legislative solution is needed. And in order to convince a German legislative body to change the law in favor of homeschooling, public opinion in
The result is that if homeschoolers look to the HSLDA or the WorldNet Daily or even the United Nations for their political marching orders, they will be in a more or less constant state of confusion. The case of H.R. 6, in which Mike Farris stirred up large numbers of homeschoolers to a campaign of political action regarding an issue that ultimately would not have affected them, resulting in over-reaction, is a case in point.
An additional problem with the above-cited ongoing publicity is that it could lead one to suppose that, as suggested above: “continuing legal challenges won’t work.” Underlying this supposition is the idea that repression is growing, unfortunate as we may feel it is, but that realities are realities, and we in the
Some careful research shows us a different picture. First of all, some of the repression, in Germany and elsewhere, as well as some of the increasing anti-homeschooling legislation in the U.S., are actually due in part to the simple fact that homeschooling is on the rise:
1. more and more parents want to homeschool;
2. more and more parents worldwide are homeschooling and are availing themselves of a multiplicity of homeschooling organizations to support them;
3. more and more publicity is appearing about the benefits of homeschooling, the possibilities of homeschooling, and the disadvantages of compulsory state education;
4. more and more legislative action is being successfully undertaken throughout the world to support the needs of homeschoolers; and finally,
5. a number of significant cases of repression are due to the fact that parents, empowered by the publicity and the international connectedness offered by e-mail and blogging (not to speak of text-messaging) have simply decided not to knuckle under any more, but rather to go public with their situations: the Neubronners have been quoted as saying that they have decided not to pay the exorbitant fine, not only because it is exorbitant, but also as a challenge to the very idea that they should be fined at all.
In other words, one significant cause of the recent repression is exactly the fact that homeschooling is on the rise. Parents worldwide no longer trust compulsory state-mandated schooling. By way of a few examples, in 2004, the Shanghai Star published an article pointing to the rise of interest in home schooling and the existence of a
I would summarize my thoughts about Ron Paul and worldwide homeschooling as follows:
· homeschooling is on the rise, not on the wane;
· legal challenges may or may not work, but they may be valid and necessary approaches;
· to decide whether or not to undertake a particular legal challenge, one should depend on one’s own research, and one should not allow oneself to be overly influenced, panicked or driven by any particular call to action;
· the issue in the resistance to compulsory schooling is liberty -- freedom from government intervention is Ron Paul’s platform -- so work, donate, and vote for Ron Paul!
November 21, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
There are quite a few quotes from various people that will be difficult to brush aside. For example:
Betsy Hagan, Arkansas director of the conservative Eagle Forum and a key backer of his early runs for office, was once "his No. 1 fan." She was bitterly disappointed with his record. "He was pro-life and pro-gun, but otherwise a liberal," she says. "Just like Bill Clinton he will charm you, but don't be surprised if he takes a completely different turn in office."
Phyllis Schlafly, president of the national Eagle Forum, is even more blunt. "He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles," she says. "Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a 'compassionate conservative' are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee."