Criminalize this

Perhaps most disturbing about Robin West’s attack on homeschooling is that it’s published in a scholarly journal, even if it does come out of the University of Maryland. One might expect more thoughtfulness, even from a second-rate scholar. But instead we get breathless fear mongering like this:

“In other words, in much of the country, if you want to keep your kids home from school, or just never send them in the first place, you can. If you want to teach them from nothing but the Bible, you can. If they want to skateboard all day, and you choose to let them, you can.”

The argument from the what-these-people-might-do-with-their-liberty is generally pretty silly, and the starting point for every closet totalitarian who fancies herself a fair-minded humanist. And make no mistake, West is an intellectual thug: “Homeschooling” she laments, “is now such an entrenched practice, recriminalization is not a viable option in any event.”

At the dark heart of her thinking is the notion that home-schooled children are imprisoned. No sports teams, no church activities, no Boy and Girl Scouts, no summer jobs, no sleepovers with friends. Thus will abuse go undetected, self-esteem unnurtured. Worse, these children become part of an unthinking Republican army.

Which pre-empts, of course, the ability of professors like West to turn them into soldiers for the unthinking Democratic army. Which is why we need regulation. Forced testing and immunizations. Home inspections by state regulators.

I propose a deal, Professor West. I’m happy to have my sons enrolled in school, should they fail a standardized test, so long as the public schools commit to testing teachers, and firing the ones who fail. I’m happy to let inspectors assess our home curriculum, if we can do the same to the hodgepodge of theories and dry-as-dust, dumbed-down, modernized materials that get bandied about under the guise of pedagogy in public schools. If you’re nice, we might even let you borrow some of our classroom materials.

Finally, when my kids are older, I’ll match them up against any precious little free-thinking high-school radicals you perceive as unshackled from the lockstep conservative brainwashing you imagine goes on under my roof, and we’ll have ourselves a debate on philosophy, theology, and politics. If your kids win, I’ll pay your Georgetown salary for a year. If my kids win, you resign.

How’s that grab you, Doc?


  1. Reputo

    Yeah, my 4 kids are imprisoned. Last year they played soccer (through the city and the YMCA), T-ball, and basketball. Three have been to swim lessons (at the YMCA we have all three in the same class in the middle of the day when no one else is there). Oldest daughter does ballet as well. In the summers they go to science camps and other things. Not old enough for Boy Scouts yet, but they’ll probably do that. And we just had a sleepover for my oldest daughter’s birthday (plus she is going to one next week at a friend – but it is another homeschooler and doesn’t count). Meanwhile, our curriculum (which is heavily supplemented by the History Channel and the Discovery Channel) isn’t based on the Bible at all. Oh yeah, and I really hope they don’t turn into mindless Republicans. We already have plenty of those.

  2. Ronald

    We’ve imprisoned our four home-schooled boys in Florence, Italy for the school year. Alas, we’ve not found any trailer parks here, but we manage to force them on long marches into church after church.

  3. Eli

    Let’s see…would I rather teach band to a bunch of mindless homeschoolers or a bunch of mindless public schoolers or a bunch of mindless private schoolers? I’ve done all three and holy cow if i didn’t just love the energy that my homeschooled students brought to the band room each week. We even had a jazz band.

  4. Ruth H

    My point is that even if I were a numskull I have the right to teach my kids what I want to, in my home if I want to.
    My problem is they won’t listen as they are 48, 50 and 53. Intelligent, free thinkers, logical kids who make their mom proud.

  5. The Sanity Inspector

    We can’t homeschool, and can’t afford private school. But we like our charter school, which in many ways is the next best thing. To pick one of many examples, one of the teachers turned out to be sub-par and drew many complaints from parents. She was asked to resign by administration, and did so. Doubt that would have happened in public school.

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