There were a number of hatchet jobs written last week and over the weekend about homeschooling and Iowa’s repeal of it’s current homeschooling law. Let me drill down on “Libby Anne” who was highlighted, rather irresponsibly I might add, by Bleeding Heartland over the weekend.
“Libby Anne” writes:
Yesterday, the Iowa legislature betrayed its obligation to protect the well-being of that state’s homeschooled children. In one fell swoop, the legislature removed every safeguard designed to ensure that they were actually receiving an education. It’s gone now, all of it, every little protection, and there is now nothing left to ensure the needs and interests homeschooled children. Nothing. And that is, of course, how homeschooling advocates wanted it.
First we have an obvious conflict of worldviews at play. Who is ultimately responsible for a child’s well being? If you say the state then you are a statist – wear it loud and proud. A biblical worldview would state that God gave parents responsibility over their child’s well-being.
Secondly – this assumes that parents who choose to homeschool care less about their child’s education than the state does. Which is untrue, absolutely untrue.
and it shows me that “Libby Anne” probably doesn’t know any homeschooling parents (Update: it was brought to my attention that Libby Anne is a homeschool graduate, I should have read her bio. I apologize for my error.) Those who choose to homeschool make great sacrifices to homeschool, they do it because they want a great education for their children, and they take their responsibility to homeschool very, very seriously.
Do we want the state to leave us alone? Guilty as charged. One liberals like Libby Anne and Hemant Mehta don’t understand is that people who choose to homeschool are already under a ton of scrutiny often by friends and family. There is accountability. There is accountability from family members – what grandparent would want their grandchildren to be neglected educationally (by the way educational neglect is still part of Iowa’s Child Abuse laws)? There is accountability from the church (at least those who are Christians, there are a lot of non-Christians who are choosing to homeschool as well). Ultimately we are all accountable before God, and while Mr. Mehta, who is an atheist, doesn’t believe that – those who homeschool do.
We take our responsibilities very seriously, and we, unlike the state, love our kids and want to see them do well.
Third – They act as though no other state has done this. Actually there are a number of states with relaxed homeschooling laws so while this is a change for Iowa, it’s not new phenomenon.
Fourth – liberals ranting and raving about the process frankly don’t know what went on in Iowa. Home School Legal Defense Association, of which I’m a member, did not initiate this, but they did help with some of the language. The Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators didn’t even initiate all of the changes – like getting rid CPI. So this wasn’t some grand scheme because no one thought this would have landed in one bill and many of us didn’t think all (actually any) of these measures would be passed this year. We are still trying to figure out what it all means and how it meshes with the Iowa Code. Democrats were not caught unaware. They had to make a choice. Republicans gave them what they wanted. They had to actually – gasp – compromise on some items that we believe will help raise student achievement – educational liberty. This is a win-win. It’s sad some liberals and Democrats can’t see that.
Are there bad homeschooling families? Sure. There are some who find out this isn’t their cup of tea and end up back in private or public school. Homeschooling isn’t for everybody. How many kids in public school are failing? How many public schools are failing? How many public school kids graduate high school not ready for college or a career? How many public school teachers complain about parents not being engaged? Yet liberals want to target parents who are engaged?
But some including the bloggers I’ve referenced are so blinded by their ideology that the neglect to mention studies that show homeschooled students are well-prepared for college, studies that show they are well socialized, and on average perform better than their public school counterparts on standardized tests. Yes some liberals simply want to ignore the research that is available and instead be driven by their statist ideology and anti-religious bigotry.