Truth be told, fear is probably the most powerful emotion we have, and has been exploited countless times in history to hamstring the rights of the people. From the War on Drugs to the War on Terror and everything in between, every movement that tries to take away any given right, is driven by fear.
Which brings me to the next ideological tug of war that is sure to be fought in the years ahead. For now, homeschooling isn’t really a hot topic in America, in part because only a small percentage of parents teach their own kids. But make no mistake, no right is safe in our society today, and it won’t be long before the media and the government decide to set their sights on families that want to teach their own children (especially considering the fact that it is a rapidly growing movement). If you don’t believe me, take a look at this AP article that was published last week. This is the rhetoric you can expect to hear from the nanny state and its minions in the years ahead.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Detroit brother and sister vanished more than two years before they were found dead in a freezer in their home, and an 11-year-old Florida girl disappeared more than a year before she, too, turned up in a family freezer. And a 7-year-old Kansas boy hadn’t been seen for more than a month before authorities found the gruesome remains of a child in a pigsty inside his family’s barn.
All of them were home-schooled, but despite their disappearances going unnoticed for so long, opposition from the government-wary home-schooling community means it’s unlikely these states will start keeping closer tabs on home-schooled children.
“It’s largely a conservative thing, but even progressive home-schoolers tend to resist oversight,” said Rachel Coleman, co-founder of the nonprofit Coalition for Responsible Home Education. “Part of it is because there is an assumption that parents always know what’s best for their children.”
Yes. I suppose parents only think they know what’s best for their children. The state knows better right? Obviously there are crappy parents out there, but does that give the government the right to regulate everybody for the mistakes and malice of the few? In any case, can we even trust to state to attend to the individual needs of our children? If our public school system is any indication, then no they cannot. They treat education like an assembly line, where otherwise gifted kids often fail to succeed. The article goes on to say:
Such cases are horrific but they don’t typically lead to new restrictions on home-schooling, which many parents see as their deeply personal right, said Rob Kunzman, director of the International Center for Home Education Research at Indiana University.
How dare they guard their parental rights? How could they refuse to give up their natural rights when a few lunatics kill their own children?
For home-schoolers, the emotionally charged argument against additional oversight is that parents, not the government, know what’s best for their children.
“As many as two-thirds are home-schooling in part for religious reasons,” Coleman said. “Part of that for conservative Christians is that God has given that child to the parents, not the state. The state doesn’t own my child, God has entrusted my child to me.”
The horror! Some parents don’t want their kids to be indoctrinated by state sponsored schools.
Finally, the article goes for the jugular by trying to push the reader’s fear button. A study conducted by pediatricians with a ridiculous small sample size of 28 abused children, found that about half of them were homeschooled.
“For over half, few individuals outside the abuser(s) knew of the child’s existence,” researchers wrote. “This social isolation typically involved preventing the child from attending school or daycare.”
Knox said she would like to see uniform home-schooling laws across the country that at least keep tabs on children with open or previous Child Protective Services cases who are removed from school to be home-schooled.
For the 47 percent of children in her study who were removed from their schools to be home-schooled, it “appears to have been designed to further isolate the child and typically occurred after closure of a previously opened CPS case,” the researchers wrote.
That’s not a bad idea. Just check up on families that have a history with CPS. The only problem is that as time goes on, our society is defining child abuse in increasingly broad terms. Now you can expect to have your kids snatched by the state for playing outside alone, living off the grid, or if parents merely question the advice of a doctor. You don’t have to be a bad parent to have your kids taken away.
And considering how the state runs our public schools, somehow I doubt they should be able to determine if our children are safe at home. Many of our schools have become extremely dangerous places over the years, and as a result, are being turned into kid prisons, with no shortage of security cameras, locked gates, metal detectors, and armed guards. If that’s their model of a safe learning environment, then their agents shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near your children.
And in any case, when has our government ever applied minimal regulations, that weren’t reinforced by draconian measures later on? They never stop once they get their foot in the door with a few simple laws. They’re always trying a cook up new regulations, until they have complete control over any given part of our lives. It never ends.
And that’s where fear comes in. You can see the nanny state stratagem on full display in this article. It all boils down to fear. Fear that our fellow citizens can’t take care of their children, and fear that we can’t take care of our own. That kind of fear always ends in more and more control. What will start with a few reasonable laws, will end in total control.
Every instance of a parent abusing a child will paraded in front of our eyes by the media, and the millions of parents who do a good job will be ignored. They will paint a picture that suggests homeschooling is inherently unsafe and irresponsible. And every homeschool horror story you hear about, like the ones in this article, will be used as an excuse to pass new laws. They’ll do it over and over again until homeschooling is regulated out of existence, and no alternative to our increasingly dumbed-down public schools will be available.
Don’t fall for it. The next time an authoritative figure suggests making something safer, ask yourself, is it really about safety? Or is just about having more control over society?