Government Schooling Better Than Homeschooling?

   Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives.

    Sid Caesar has passed away at 91. He was the last of the Saturday night television Big Three. Jackie Gleason, Sid Caesar and James Arness have all gone. Imogene Coca and Howard Morris have passed, but Nanette Fabray and Carl Reiner, both over 90, are still with us. A good and useful life was had by all.

Asked by the Archive of American Television how he’d like to be remembered, he responded with six words.

"I brought laughter to the world," he said.

Sid and his crew did that.

    Ask not what the government can do for you, ask what the government is doing to you.

   Wherein we see a simple change in question can be quite embarrassing to those who assume they can do something.

Teacher Cheating Scandal: The State Should Have to Prove It Can Educate
Benny Huang

Philadelphia now joins a long list of cities to be engulfed in a scholastic achievement test cheating scandal.  The biggest scandal to date was found in Atlanta public schools, though less egregious examples of teacher-initiated test score manipulation have been confirmed in Detroit, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, among others.

One common form of cheating involved teachers feeding students the answers. In other cases, teachers got together after school and erased students’ wrong answers before bubbling in the correct ones. In Philadelphia alone, one hundred forty teachers and administrators have been implicated.

Liberals are of course blaming the tests themselves. The government, at various levels, set standards for education, which made cheating inevitable in their minds. According to this logic, teacher-initiated cheating is a natural byproduct of measuring teachers’ merits by the demonstrated proficiency of their students. Standards and accountability are at fault, not shady teachers.

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   If favored groups fail the tests, we’ll just turn that around and say the tests failed them.

Beneath the surface of these lame excuses is a tacit admission of failure. What the excuse-makers are really saying is that trying to educate inner city kids is an exercise in futility. Teachers are failing, for sure, but no one else could do any better. In our wildest dreams we cannot fathom a day when inner city kids possess grade-level proficiency in math and reading.

When I read about the wide-spread scandal of teacher-initiated cheating, I am reminded of Phillip and Mary Long, a Christian couple from California who fought a protracted court battle to homeschool their eight children. Their case involved some complicated details that I can’t go into because of word count restraints, but the crux of the matter was this—Mary Long had no teaching credentials and so the state decided that she was not permitted to teach her own children. Ramifications of the case spread throughout the state. Most homeschooling parents did not hold a teacher’s license, and obtaining one for all subjects at all grade levels seemed nearly impossible. For all practical purposes, homeschooling was banned in California. Thankfully, the case was later overturned upon appeal.

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    To the government infallible, credentials equal performance. Get a government approved degree and you’re capable no matter how incapable you are.

Many objections to homeschooling are based on exactly that concern—that most parents simply can’t teach their kids everything they need to know. That’s why we need credentialed teachers with focused fields of expertise—math, foreign languages, history, etc.

Yet the credentialed teachers themselves are failing. The public school model is absolutely the worst way to educate kids, particularly when big city political machines and teacher unions run the schools. They are failure factories, plain and simple.

Could Mary Long do any worse than the public schools? I doubt it. There’s a reason why only one out every thousand Americans can name all five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. It’s because our schools fail to teach civics, just the same way that they fail to teach history, foreign language, and nearly every other subject. The only subjects they seem to be good at teaching are environmentalism, critical race theory, and queer studies. If kids today graduate school knowing anything it’s that humans are poisoning the earth, white people are evil racists, and homosexuality is an unqualified good.

When I juxtapose the multi-state cheating scandal next to the Long family’s legal battle to homeschool their children, I can come to only one conclusion: there’s something fundamentally backwards here. Parents have to prove, to the satisfaction of the state, that they can educate their children, when it should really be the other way around. Year after year public schools award diplomas to twelfth graders who can’t perform at a twelfth grade level and yet no one removes the captive children from their custody.

There’s an assumption at work here that should be named: that children belong to the state. If children belonged to their parents then parents wouldn’t need to justify to the government their ability and desire to teach. Where did we get this idea? Karl Marx is good a culprit as any. Marx boasted of his plans to abolish the family, which he saw as necessarily capitalistic and therefore exploitative.  “The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes…” he wrote. “Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty. But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.”

The idea lives on in the Left’s collective psyche. Hillary Clinton’s 1996 book, “It Take a Village” (sic)  ruffled some feathers for its seeming support of collective child-rearing. Some people don’t want a village raising their children, especially when Hillary Clinton happens to be living in that village.

“There is no such thing as other people’s children,” she famously wrote. If there’s no such thing as someone else’s children then parents have no more say about what happens to their children than a complete stranger. Parents become just one voice among many debating what’s best for their child. In most cases, parents will be outvoted by legions of teachers and administrators. That’s a horrifying thought, but here’s a worse one: imagine millions of parents resigning themselves to this idea and abdicating all of their parental responsibilities to the state. Let the village take care of it!

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   Collectivists believe they own everything, including people.

The village has been educating our children for the better part of a century and half of Americans can’t locate Iraq on a map. Say, didn’t we fight a war there recently? Maybe it’s time for the government-run school systems to start proving to parents that they are up to the task of educating children. The way we do it now is backwards—parents groveling for permission from the state to educate their children at home.

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  Yes, the burden of proof is backwards. Government institutions should prove they work better than, as a baseline, nothing. Betcha most of them couldn’t do it.

To order my novel, “Days of Songs and Mirrors: A Jacobite in the ‘45”, click here.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

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