Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We're home, free

With a little note calling it his "memo to the movement," Grover Norquist sent along a copy of his new book, Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives. I flipped straight to the chapter on homeschoolers, which Grover identifies as a valuable component of the Leave Us Alone Coalition. He recalls that 15 years ago homeschoolers "kicked off the largest firestorm in modern congressional history."

Fast forward to 1993 and the homeschool movement flexed its muscle in self-defense, responding to a perceived threat of government regulation. When a homeschooler brought to Congressman Dick Armey's attention that a proposed bill might -- just might -- open the door to federal regulation of homeschooling, it kicked off the largest firestorm in modern congressional history. ... Faxes went out to the homeschool network on Monday, and the next day the phone lines in the capital were jammed to the point that offices sent runners with written messages to other offices. Within three days the Congress voted unanimously to strike the potentially offending passage. This is political power.

Every year there will be more homeschoolers. And they are smarter, harder-working, and more serious than the products of government schools.

The children of homeschooling have not been socialized to believe in the sanctity of government education. They begin life as skeptics of the competence and necessity of government. Their parents have said no to the offer no one is supposed to refuse: "We will educate, at least babysit, your children for 'free' for twelve years."

Oklahomans should be grateful that homeschooling is protected in our state constitution, and we should remain vigilant against threats to this educational freedom.

2 comments:

Kat Hebert said...

I started homeschooling in Texas. I am humbly and overwhelmingly grateful to those pioneers (especially in the 1980s) who came before me to fight for our rights.
When our family decided to move to another state, the homeschooling laws in Oklahoma played a major role in where to move. That such a thing would be encased in our state constitution is a true indicator of the wonderful, independent spirit we found when we came here. But let's not be complacent. It is up to homeschoolers here and everywhere to stand up for our rights and see to it that these rights are never taken away. In today's world, we must be forever watchful.

Brandon Dutcher said...

I agree: Eternal vigilance.

It's interesting that the legal climate played a part in your relocation decision. That tracks with something the Tulsa World reported last year: "Larry Mason, president of the Christian Home Educators Fellowship of Oklahoma, said home-schoolers from other states are envious of the state's protection of the practice, and it influenced his family's move to the state. 'Home-schooling was a big part of moving here,' Mason said."