Someone out there is worried. Due to the rapid growth in the popularity of homeschooling and the increasing obviousness of the concept’s superiority, the legacy media has all but openly declared war on parents who wish to personally direct their children’s education.
If an act of child abuse even tangentially involves children who don’t attend a state-approved school, you can be sure that the media will not fail to mention that the children were “homeschooled” regardless of whether the parents were actually schooling them at home or torturing them instead.
So much for accuracy in media. If those now-infamous Florida parents were homeschoolers, then Abu Ghraib was a military academy.
One argument often heard in defense of the public schools is that education is better left to those trained to teach, to the “professionals.” Most teachers, after all, are required to have a college degree in education, and in many states they are forced to take tests purported to prove that they are not drooling idiots. Although one has to wonder what exactly is on those tests considering that after 59 percent of prospective teachers failed to pass the Massachusetts Teachers’ Test in 1999, the test was assailed by FairTest, a teacher-run organization that opposes tests for teachers, in the following manner:
The MTT included many bizarre questions unlike those on any other state’s teacher licensing exams. On one, candidates were asked to transcribe a portion of ‘The Federalist Papers’ as dictated from a low quality tape-recorder. Other items asked for dictionary definitions of words with questions such as “What is a preposition?” and “What is an adjective?”
Clearly, it is outrageous to expect public school teachers to know elementary grammar or be able to perform tasks that entry-level secretaries with two-year vo-tech degrees handle with ease. If the MTT is considered to feature bizarre and difficult questions, one can only imagine that tests in more teacher-friendly states such as Minnesota and New York must run something like this:
What is your favorite color?
The immortal PJ O’Rourke once declared: “Anybody who doesn’t know what’s wrong with America’s educational system never screwed an el-ed major.” And while one has no doubt that he is correct, it turns out that there is more empirical evidence for the dismal state of teacher intelligence than Mr. O’Rourke’s sexual history or the fear and loathing with which the teachers’ unions regard competency testing.
In 2001, the National Center for Education Statistics reported the average SAT score for intended education majors to be 481 math and 483 verbal. Only those interested in vocational school, home economics and public affairs scored lower.
But while the SAT is considered to be a generally reliable intelligence test, the 2001 SAT is not the same SAT that many of us took prior to attending university. Those 2001 scores on the 1996 SAT, which was replaced this year by the New SAT 2005, are equivalent to pre-1996 SAT scores of 451 math and 403 verbal. In case any education majors are reading this, 451 plus 403 equals a cumulative score of 854.
Examining an SAT-to-IQ conversion chart calculated from Mensa entrance criteria, a combined 854 indicates that the average IQ of those pursuing an education major is 91, nine points lower than the average IQ of 100. In other words, those who can’t read teach whole language.
Now, not every would-be education major goes on to complete her degree – 77.4 percent of those who do are women – nor does every college graduate with an education major go on to teach in the public schools. But since teaching’s best and brightest so frequently quit upon exposure to the labyrinthine public school system and since most teachers who fail their competency tests are still allowed to teach – in Illinois, 7.8 percent of the teachers who have taken these extraordinarily easy tests since 1988 have failed them – it is not logical to conclude that the average teacher’s IQ is any higher than the average would-be education major.
Many a parent has wondered aloud what sort of idiots were teaching the anti-intellectual poison that currently passes for a modern public school curriculum, but I doubt that most ever considered that the pejorative might be more literal than metaphorical. Instead of wondering if they are sufficiently qualified to homeschool their children, parents would do well to instead ponder the wisdom of turning over their offspring to demonstrably sub-optimal morons for daily indoctrination in the name of education.