Homeschooling: Education’s Armageddon

Homeschoolers … you’re next.

The feds have captured the public schools …  and now they wanna make sure you can never escape.

Orwell yourself and come to terms with what awaits your children on the horizon of government controlled education.

Huxley yourself into the world of tomorrow when they will be pluggedinto lifetime situations based not on their passions … but on some algorithmic prescription burped out by some electronic ouija-motherboard.

 Pushing Parents Around  is a time-honored tradition among America’s snob class.

Meet Horace Mann.

He was America’s first authoritarian educrat to view public schools as social engineering centers … where the ills of the masses could be made … um … less disgusting.

He was a social-snot … with a special loathing for the Irish. Irish Catholics, to be precise.

Listen in …

“Those now pouring in upon us, in masses of thousands upon thousands, are wholly of another kind in morals and intellect …”

He said it … not me.

So other Massachusetts’ highbrows put him in charge … saw him as the society-saving antidote to “perverse moral education provided to children by their corrupt parents.”

Why do all these school folks hate parents anyway?

Horace Mann also hated homeschooling … even though the Massachusetts literacy rate in 1850 was 97 percent. That’s better than right now!

It wasn’t that parents were doing a lousy job … they were doing too good of a job!  And that had to stop! 

They were raising free thinkers. Independent sorts. With ethics preferred by mom and dad.

Mann thought youngsters should be sufficiently educated … but not too sufficiently educated. Just enough to fill the more menial and obedient roles that were important to Mr. Mann’s comfort. Sniff! Sniff!

Fast forward a century and a half … and parents face nearly identical threats from today’s government magistrates … and from the teachers they pay.

Remember Arne Duncan? The Obama reform czar? He went full Horace Mann on suburban mothers. Said they were deluded about their children … and their education.

“All of a sudden, their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought … “

And he said government would rescue these kids … because you ladies are just like those 19th century Irish yucks.

So it’s deja vu all over again …  

Your children must be saved … from you.  Even if you’re not Irish. And that’s what they’ve been doing for the last decade. Except they’ve made a mess of things.

They’ve imposed the weird and wild on your kids. New theories about math and reading  and testing. New attitudes about play and rigor. New codes of speech. New mores. New tolerances. New traditions. Even new histories.

And they never bother with your approval …

just your total compliance.

The National Education Association … the nation’s largest teachers’ union … is threatened by homeschoolers. Afraid they might create a popular alternative to government schools. Fearful they might embarrass public education.

The union desperately claims that “parental choice  [to homeschool] cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience …”

Yet “homeschooled students typically score 15 to 30 percentile points higher than public school students on standardized academic achievement tests.”  

They also “earn higher GPAs in college and graduate at higher rates than their public school peers.”

Unions want homeschooled kids banned from public school sports and other activities …  even though their parents pay public school taxes. They make up stuff … say that homeschooled kids lack proper socialization … but there’s no proof at all.

Homeschoolers threaten the government monopoly on education … and that boils their wrath. That’s why they want them back … under their thumb.

So it’s gauntlet time.

Another David and Goliath moment.

They want your children and your schools stuffed into that-one-size-fits-all box. And no child gets out … because parents cannot be trusted to do right by their own children.

Time to walk right up to this fight. 

CLICK HERE to LISTEN “Mad World” – Gary Jules

Referenced:

NHERI Research Facts On Homeschooling

NEA RESOLUTIONS – Opposition to Private & Homeschooling 

NEA Global Education Initiative

Cross-post.

Learning the Wrong Lesson

North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler
Photo credit: Say Anything Blog

I read an article in the Grand Forks Herald today and it appears that North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kristen Baesler learned the wrong lesson about the number of homeschoolers doubling in her state.

John Hageman reports:

There were 3,025 home-schooled children in North Dakota last year, according to a recent report from the state Department of Public Instruction, up from the 1,470 in the 2008 school year. But state Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said the actual number of home-schooled kids is likely higher, given some blind spots in the data.

Lawmakers, national surveys, state education officials and home-school advocates offered varying reasons for the trend, including bullying at schools, frustration with Common Core standards and the availability of educational resources online.

North Dakota’s trend also appears to follow a national shift. A 2017 federal report estimated the number of home-schooled students in the U.S. more than doubled between 1999 and 2012, jumping from 850,000 to nearly 1.8 million.

“There’s an increasing desire from parents across the United States to really make sure that their child has an individualized, personalized learning system,” Baesler said. “Public schools are moving in that direction.”

Ah yes, personalized learning, Jane Robbins warned us in September about this. What homeschoolers believe about “personalized learning” and what educrats like Baesler think it is is not the same thing. Robbins writes, “technology corporations have joined Brave New Worlders in seeking to implement technology-driven “personalized learning” (PL). What these forces won’t admit (or at least not in so many words) is that the goal of adopting education by machine is to (1) replace genuine education with training for workforce skills, and (2) eventually reshape individual personalities, attitudes, and mindsets to better fit the government-approved mold.”

Personalized learning means more screen time, and data shows that it is harmful, not that Baesler and others would pay attention to data that demonstrated their reforms are a bad thing.

Robbins pointed out during her testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce that education reformers who want more data tend to ignore data when it suits them.

Superintendent Baesler, putting kids in front of screens will not keep families from removing their students from public schools. Doing things like ridding North Dakota of Common Core, protecting student privacy, and bringing back classical education, as well as, a focus on educating students, not indoctrinating them would help.

I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for educrats to learn that lesson, however.

Four Ways to Fight for Your Kids’ Education in 2018

This week J.R. Wilson made some pretty bleak predictions for 2018 here at Truth in American Education. On Wednesday, my friend Jenni White, in an article in The Federalist expressed her disillusionment with the fight against Common Core in Oklahoma who “repealed” Common Core but still has its tentacles dug in.

We’ve earned the right to be cynical. It’s understandable to be disappointed. I am on both counts. We face what is, by all appearances, an unstoppable juggernaut.

Where do we go from here?

We did not get to where we are at overnight, and change will not happen overnight either.

Here are four ways to continue to fight in 2018.

1. Take control where you can and however you can.

If you are a parent of a school-aged child affirm that you, not the school district, state, and certainly not the U.S. Department of Education, control the education of your student.

For a growing number of parents nationwide they have done the ultimate form of opting out by pulling their kids out of the public school system to homeschool. As a homeschooling parent myself, I have joked that the only positive result from Common Core was to increase the ranks of homeschoolers.

I understand that not everyone is in a position to do that. Some may have the ability to send their student to a private school that embraces classical education.

Some may not have the means or a school to send their child to.

You are still in control. Continue to resist standardized assessments. Let your school district know that you do not consent and will not consent to data collection of your child. Know your child’s teachers on a first name basis, make sure you know what is being taught in their classroom.

Seek out tutoring for your child if needed. Supplement what is lacking in your child’s education at home.

This will take commitment and sacrifice.

If you no longer have kids in school, how can you be a resource to those who still do? Can you help tutor? Can you provide financial support? Perhaps you can help organize a parental education co-op.

What can you do? We can’t just fight this takeover in education in the policy arena.

Also, stay informed and take time to inform your friends, family, and neighbors with accurate information.

2. Local… Local… Local…

Jenni mentioned how she’s focusing on local efforts in her piece at The Federalist.

If I learned anything from Common Core, I learned that local is the answer to nearly every government problem, and I turned my attention to my tiny Oklahoma town of 2,700 where, in April, I became mayor.

You may not be able to repeal Common Core in your state, but can you put pressure on the school board about the curriculum they use or how much testing they do beyond what the state requires? Can you push classical literature, traditional math to be taught in the classroom? Is your school district giving up control where they don’t have to? What is the bare minimum they can do and still be in compliance with state law?

3. Be the change you seek.

It’s easy to complain about wishy-washy elected officials and candidates. Maybe it is time for you to run for your local school board or for your state’s legislature.

If you can’t run yourself can you recruit candidates to run? A friend, family member, or neighbor whom you trust is the next best thing to running yourself.

4. Stay in the fight, but don’t forget low-hanging fruit.

Find the low-hanging fruit and start there.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We will not be able to bring down a corrupt system in one fell swoop.

I believe it is important that we stay in the fight even if we don’t succeed because as parents and taxpayers we must speak truth to power. Success begets success, however. This is true whether we are talking about legislation or elections. We may not be able to replace every elected official who has disappointed us on this issue, but who is vulnerable and can be targeted to send a message? What are some common-sense bills that you can rally bipartisan support behind? Local efforts have a greater probability of success than do efforts at the state level. State level efforts have a greater probability of success than federal initiatives.

West Virginia Homeschoolers Threatened With Common Core

I did not realize that West Virginia was not a friendly state for homeschoolers, and it became less friendly during debate on the West Virginia Senate floor.

HSLDA reports that State Senator Michael Romano (D-Clarksburg) thinks homeschoolers should have to follow Common Core:

Governor James C. Justice vetoed legislation that would have granted homeschool students equal access to public school vocational classes and sports. And a senator who opposed the 2016 homeschool modernization law has continued to disparage home education and suggest new ways to thwart it.

During floor debate on House Bill 2196, which would have made homeschool students eligible for public high school extracurricular activities, witnesses heard Senator Michael Romano propose that homeschool students be required to follow the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Romano has been a vocal opponent of homeschooling in West Virginia for a long time. He has done everything he can to oppose improvements in state laws that would benefit families who have chosen to exercise their fundamental liberty to educate their children at home.

Romano’s invoking the Common Core is tantamount to calling for increased government control over home education. Many parents reject the Common Core’s one-size-fits-all approach as antithetical to homeschooling’s ideal of providing individualized education.

Considering Romano is a Democrat in a Republican-controlled chamber I’m not concerned about this coming to fruition, but it is disconcerting nonetheless.

Homeschooling to Flee Common Core

homeschooling

J.D. Tuccille at Reason wrote an interesting piece on how parents are taking education into their own hands to homeschool instead of waiting for school choice (even though homeschooling is a choice) or reform to occur with the public school system.

He notes the impact Common Core has made to increase homeschooling numbers.

More quietly, though, many American families have opted out of institutional education of any sort, taking on the responsibility of teaching their own children. From 1.1 million kids in 2003, the ranks of the homeschooled increased to 1.8 million in 2012—and anestimated 2.3 million this year, catching up quickly with the charter population. Homeschooled children outnumbered those enrolled in North Carolina’s private schools as of 2014 after a whopping 27 percent increase in just two years.

My son is part of the surge in the number of children learning at home. The reason for our choice is ably captured in a point made by John Taylor Gatto, a former New York State Teacher of the Year who became a critic of government-controlled education. In his 2008 book, Weapons of Mass Instruction, Gatto wrote about the difference between schooling and education. “Education is a matter of self-mastery, first; then self-enlargement, even self-transcendance—as all possibilities of the human spirit open themselves into zones for exploration and understanding. There are points where the two conditions inform one another, but in schooling, somebody else’s agenda is always uppermost.”

You could say the same of any institution—that its interests overwhelm the individual concerns of the people within it. But that’s why it’s always a good idea to have alternatives and an exit strategy for when “somebody else’s agenda” is incompatible with your own.

Such incompatibility has become a serious concern even with popular charter schools. Aside from the fact that there’s always a potential mismatch between a family’s priorities and a school’s, even in an independently operated institution, charter schools face growing regulatory burdens that push them to consolidate and homogenize. Controversial national education standards have added to that burden, since they fall on charter schools as well as traditional public schools. “Some 2 million families have decided that charter schools are the best place for their children,” the Goldwater Institute’s Jonathan Butcher warned. “But under Common Core, these schools’ options for differentiating themselves could be limited.”

As of yet, homeschoolers face no comparable regulatory threats. Opposition to Common Core was part of the inspiration for the surge in homeschooling in North Carolina, according to the Charlotte Observer, and the same phenomenon is at work across the country. Rather than expend their time and energy battling to change a stubborn institution (North Carolina officials spent a year investigating a replacement for Common Core before deciding to keep the standards in place), parents walked out the doors and took on the task of education themselves.

The growth over the last two years has been incredible, and right now homeschooling is the best option to avoid the day to day impact Common Core brings. Certainly there are some homeschooling publishers who have aligned their books with Common Core, but they are still a minority. Also there is concern about college entrance exams, but ACT has not aligned as of yet, and there is another alternative that is being field tested.

In some states homeschooling may be the best option.

Florida Sees Increase in Homeschooling Thanks to Common Core, Testing

The Gustoff Family in Central Iowa

As a homeschooling dad I’ve said before that the ONLY positive I’ve seen with Common Core is how it is prompting more families to homeschool.  I’m not one who believes this is the best option for every family, but if you want to make sure your child receives an education that is tailor-made for their personality, learning style, and ability it is hard to beat homeschooling. Which incidentally is the exact opposite of what you get from Common Core and the standardized testing culture present in public schools.

In Florida, like in many other states, the ranks of homeschooling families is on the rise due to Common Core and over-testing. The Tampa Tribune reports:

Last school year, Florida saw the largest increase in home-schooled students in at least a decade, according to the state Department of Education. More than 58,000 Florida families elected to keep 84,096 students out of school — an increase of more than 7,000 over the previous school year.

In the past five years, the total number of home-schooled students in Florida has increased by more than 21 percent, or almost 15,000 students. The last big surge of home-schooled students came in 2011, when about 6,700 students signed up. That was the year after Florida joined a majority of states in joining the divisive Common Core education standards.

Hillsborough County, the state’s fourth most-populous county, enrolled the third-highest number of home-schooled students in the state last school year — 5,560 students from 3,775 families. That’s almost 7 percent of the student population. Duval County enrolled 6,106 students and Palm Beach County enrolled 5,726 students.

Corey McKeown, director of the Tampa-based Christian home school co-op Trinity Homeschool Academy, said almost half the 230 students that take classes of their choosing at school are new this year. Overtesting in schools and the new Florida Standards, which are based on the national Common Core standards, are among the biggest reasons McKeown hears for families leaving public schools. They also worry about increasing violence and bullying in Hillsborough schools, she said.

“There are a lot of families pulling out of the public system because of Common Core, safety issues in schools and wanting to choose their child’s own curriculum,” Mc­Keown said. “We get that a lot with history; they want their kids to know real American history, not what’s taught in the schools. Typically once they pull them out, most don’t want to go back to public schools. Home schooling isn’t something that’s frowned upon anymore.”

Read more.

HT: Stop Common Core in NC

South Dakota Parents Push Back Against Common Core Math

I read an interesting article in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader yesterday.  It was focused on how parents in the Sioux Falls, SD school district were fighting back against the Common Core Math Standards through pulling their kids out to homeschool.

That is probably the best thing that can be said about Common Core – it encourages homeschooling.  I’m biased since my wife and I homeschool though.

The first thing that jumped out at me in the article is how a dad with a math degree saw problems with his daughter.

Rick Nath was tired of the emotional turmoil math homework was causing his daughter.

She was struggling with a new approach to old subjects, and Nath found there were fewer things he understood and fewer ways for him to help. It was a difficult realization for the 44-year-old Sioux Falls resident, who has a degree in math from South Dakota State University.

“By the time she got to sixth grade, that’s when it really got bad,” Nath said. “In sixth grade, it was tears.”

Surely he’s misinformed right?  Doesn’t he understand these are more “rigorous” standards?

They then note the new trend with South Dakota parents.

In the four years since South Dakota schools began using Common Core, another movement has emerged: more parents are home-schooling. In Sioux Falls, the number of home-schooled students has more than doubled, and numbers statewide also are growing.

Parents choose home schooling to push their child academically, to teach beliefs not found in public schools or to avoid potentials for drug and alcohol abuse, according to the National Home Education Research Institute.

But some parents who have opted to leave public schools cite the new standards, which are benchmarks adopted by a consortium of states and embraced by the federal government: New homework, new lesson plans, new course material. And after piloting new state tests last spring, South Dakota will administer a finalized version later this year to thousands of students.

Be sure to read the rest.

Parents may not understand what Common Core is, but they have noticed how it is being interpreted in the classroom through the asinine math that kids are bringing home.  So they vote with their feet since the South Dakota continues to push these untested standards in the classroom.  The sad thing in all of this is with all of the stress that the state of South Dakota is inflicting on their students they still will not be able to produce kids prepared for STEM programs in college.

"The best that can be said for Common Core is that it encourages home-schooling."

The title quote comes from Robby Soave at Reason.  Excerpt:

I can understand the desire to impose some amount of standardized testing on schoolchildren for the purposes of measuring teacher effectiveness. But there comes a point where the insanity of computerized exams for five-year-olds trumps any legitimate interest taxpayers may have in holding teachers accountable for their students’ progress.

The best that can be said for Common Core is that it encourages home-schooling.

Emphasis mine.  Read the whole thing.

Whether you like homeschooling or not (full disclosure, I do and my wife and I, mostly my wife, homeschool) it has become a popular option for parents who want to have the least amount of impact from the Common Core.  Homeschoolers probable are impacted the least, but even they have found more resources are becoming Common Core aligned, and they will also have to deal with college entrance exams becoming aligned to the Common Core.

So it’s impossible to escape it totally, but for some homeschooling does provide a good respite from over-tested kids.

Homeschoolers and Common Core

homeschool3

Cincinnati.com had a great article called “Homeschoolers take on Common Core reforms.”

First they are concerned about the trickle down effect this may have in the future. (Full disclosure: my wife and I homeschool.)

Initially, Common Core will have little impact on home-schooled students.

But in a few years, when home-schooled teens walk side-by-side with public high school students into ACT and SAT college examination rooms, they may be at a distinct disadvantage for not having studied a Common Core curricula.

“Common Core standards drive curriculum, curriculum drives testing … Children will be taught to the test and it affects us home-schoolers because our children have to take those same college entrance exams as everybody else,” said (Lesley) Hodge as she joined thousands of area families at a recent home schooling convention in downtown Cincinnati.

“Everything will boil down to what (home-schoolers) provide on a test and then that will determine where they go to college and I believe that … (at) some point, some committee will say, ‘Well, your child shouldn’t have this career because your child is not qualified.’ “

But the following excerpt gets to the heart of the issue my mind – who knows what’s best for a child’s education?  Educrats or parents?

But Tom Steffen, a home schooling father of seven children in Springfield Township, said the premise of imposing Common Core – not its specifics – is what most raises the ire of many home-schoolers.

“For home-schoolers, one of our foundational issues for education is freedom. If we are free, what do we need government bureaucracies telling us what to teach?” said Steffen, who also attended the home-schooler convention.

“Even though (Common Core) may not initially impact us, it concedes ground to the principal (sic) that federal or state level bureaucrats know better than we as parents do. So we’re obviously not going to be friendly to that,” he said.

Read the rest.

Hey Pittsfield, IL Folks! Here are the Stop Common Core Resources I Promised.

Pittsville

Hey Pittsfield, IL folks it was great spending time with you tonight!  Secondly I apologize for running out of handouts which is an awesome problem to have!

I love being able to talk to groups like you about problems with the Common Core State Standards.  Thank you Carrie Martin for putting this event together.

Also thank you to the school administrators who came and lurked in the back.  I wish we had a dialogue, you should have stayed later so we could talk instead of rolling your eyes… just saying.

I promised I would include the handout I ran out of.  You can download that below:

.

Homeschoolers who attended.  Here is the link to the homeschool resource website that was mentioned during the Q&A – http://www.theeducationalfreedomcoalition.org/.

Also here is an article I wrote for Homeschool Iowa that you may find helpful.  Though it is geared to Iowans most of it it pretty universal –

.

Update: Oops… sleep depravation. .. I am in Pittsfield, not Pittsville.  Wow.