So leftists are freaking out about the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, even though it is they who gave us the Department of Education under Jimmy Carter. Now they say they’re going to homeschool, and not pay their taxes, and secede, all as ways to rebel against Beltway rule over their lives. Isn’t that rich?
They’re making faux intellectual pronouncements about the evils of the current administration on constitutional grounds. Remember, these are the same people who say the Founders are just a bunch of “dead rich white guys” and that the U.S. Constitution is a “living, breathing document.” And yet, we’re supposed to believe they’re all of a sudden originalists who care two wits about history and federalism. Puh-leez.
They’re melting down about executive overreach, even though it is they who have fostered and celebrated it for the last 8 years. Hell, they’ve been cheering it on under every Democrat administration since Woodrow Wilson. It’s a goliath of their own making. I mean, centralization is a key tenet of their ideology. So who they really should be angry with is the face they see in the mirror.
The left’s new-found “resistance” not only highlights their misplaced outrage, but it also illustrates their cognitive dissonance. This is why their call to the highly decentralized homeschool movement is so curious to me. My claim is bold: that leftists, generally speaking, are unable to homeschool successfully because they lack the philosophical tools necessary to pull it off. I’m not saying they’re stupid; rather, their beliefs are just too divergent.
Sure, there are liberal folks who can succeed at homeschooling, but the difference is that they’re already doing it. They’re not jumping on a trendy bandwagon as reactionary zealots.
I firmly believe the overwhelming majority of current homeschooling families all share a basic principle. From the urban mom who wants to break away from large classroom sizes or standardized testing; to the libertarian who sees public schools as agents of the government and, thus, impediments to learning; to the Christian who seeks a religious-centered education model, these homeschoolers all want to be left alone.
Whether liberal or conservative, “one article of faith unites all homeschoolers: that homeschooling should be unregulated,” explains political scientist Rob Reich in The Civic Perils of Homeschooling. “Homeschoolers of all stripes believe that they alone should decide how their children are educated.” Gasp.
Homeschooling is about autonomy, self-determination, and nonconformity. It’s individualized and unique, different from family to family, even child to child. It’s not one-size-fits-all, so the less interference, the better. But if you subscribe to a belief system that says government is daddy, these are all foreign concepts to you.
Homeschoolers want to raise their kids how they see fit, to teach their students what they want and when they want, and to not be meddled with by bureaucratic busybodies and education “professionals” who often do not have their children’s best interests at heart. Homeschoolers believe parents are the primary teachers in a child’s life, and that families can and should be passing on their worldview to their kids.
“Oh, just let the ‘experts’ handle it,” counter the self-important educrats. “After all, y’all are too stupid to know what’s best for yourselves, much less the children.”
“In a country increasingly separated by cultural chasms,” writes Dana Goldstein in Slate, ” … should we really encourage children to trust only their parents or those hand-selected by them, and to mistrust civic life and public institutions?” She adds that “teaching children at home violates progressive values.” I concur.
Homeschooling is personal secession to the statist system. But because leftists have been worshipping at the altar of the Prussian education model and defending this dying institution so passionately for so long, the independence of homeschooling would be an utterly alien concept to them.
Moreover, homeschooling is about nurturing authentic civil discourse, not the indoctrination and regurgitation of cultural Marxism. It’s about diving into diversity of view points, not racial, gender, and LGBT “diversity” edicts pushed by the social-justice authorities.
The very civic duty of which Goldstein speaks is supposed to be steeped in inquiry, challenging the status quo, holding government accountable, resisting public overreach, and protecting the private sphere. So, how can citizens be expected to accomplish this heavy task if their lacking in history, logic, and debate skills, or are kept in the dark about opposing beliefs or subject matter that may “trigger” them?
Homeschooling bucks the whole idea that kids are a grand social-engineering experiment and public schools are the utopian petri dish. This is why homeschooling is at its essence shocking to statist sensibilities, which are more in line with group rights and the “greater good.” Homeschooling is unapologetically personalized and equips kids to be innovators and leaders, if they so choose, not cogs in a wheel or part of the mob.
Homeschooling is not egalitarian. It doesn’t push some illusory notion of “equality.” Homeschooling is about free association and meritocracy, not governmentally mandated integration, identity politics, and anti-competition quotas. When you come from an ideology in which nearly six-in-10 people are of the opinion that socialism has a “positive impact on society,” how can leftists expect that homeschooling will work for them?
Furthermore, homeschooling is about education, not schooling. Most folks have trouble breaking away from the brick-and-mortar model when they first start at it. Eventually, though, the shackles of old habits are broken because parents soon discover the freedom and fulfillment that is innate in home education.
It’s about choice and customization. Classical. Montessori. Charlotte Mason. Waldorf. Multiple Intelligences. Unschool. Or an eclectic mix of some or all of these methods. But when you’re a statist who’s used to imposing your will on others through governmental force and cultural coercion, freedom is not your strong suit.
Homeschooling is also a venue for life-long learning and redeeming your own miseducation as a parent. But that means you must be open-minded and willing to learn about topics with which you disagree or may deny even exist. Again, not a strength of the progressives.
Unfortunately, if leftists don’t heed my warnings, they’ll surely ruin homeschooling either by default or by design. In predictable fashion, they’ll clamor for increased regulation, centralized control, and governmental subsidization, and sue Christian co-ops for their religious “intolerance” and other homeschool communities for their lacking “diversity” stats. After all, “co-opt and destroy” is typically their modus operandi.
But my hope is that this is just another example of hysterical hype from the left. Similar to them not keeping their promise of moving to Canada after Trump won the election, these social-justice statists simply won’t make good on their impassioned proclamations. All emotion and no principle: now there’s a progressive value you can count on.