By Paul Bremmer
The National Education Association has launched an attack on the practice of homeschooling, and one leading education expert is not taking it lying down.
“The National Education Association’s radical attacks on constitutionally protected liberties and homeschooling families in particular are outrageous and should be vehemently denounced by every real educator and every real American,” internationalist journalist and educator Alex Newman declared.
The NEA’s 2014-2015 resolution on homeschooling begins like this: “The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience.”
Freelance writer Patrice Lewis, who homeschools her children, seethed at that line.
“Who has the authority to define ‘comprehensive?'” Lewis asked. “The NEA? Why should they be the ones to define comprehensive and not the parents? Each family may define a ‘comprehensive’ education differently, and each parent should have the right to choose how they want their children educated.
“‘Comprehensive’ as defined by a far-left progressive agenda-driven union and special interest-supported legislators and bureaucrats is almost guaranteed to fly in the face of the morals, values and traditions of parents who don’t have similarly leftwing progressive agenda-driven views.”
Newman, who co-authored the book “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children,” pointed out that if homeschooled children weren’t getting a good enough education, they wouldn’t be beating public school students like they are now.
“The undeniable fact is that homeschooled children outperform victims of NEA-controlled government schools on every objective metric by huge margins,” Newman claimed. “The NEA knows this, and it is undoubtedly one of the association’s central motivations for this reckless attack.”
Lewis, a WND columnist, seconded that point.
“To the frustration of the NEA, homeschoolers have become well-known for their academic strengths,” she said. “This has been demonstrated over and over again when homeschoolers whup the fannies of publicly educated kids on standardized test scores.”
Indeed, the National Home Education Research Institute reports homeschooled students typically score 15 to 30 percentile points higher than public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. And this is regardless of the parents’ level of formal education or the family’s household income.
Lewis noted homeschooled children earn higher GPAs in college and graduate at higher rates than their public-schooled peers despite the supposed lack of socialization associated with homeschooling. But the fact is they’re actually more socialized than other kids, she said.
“That’s because homeschoolers aren’t locked in the artificial environment of classrooms, and instead are out in the real world, making friends of all ages and experiencing life outside of structured field trips,” Lewis explained.
“Additionally, and unlike many public-schooled kids, homeschooled children are almost uniformly mature, socially capable, polite, well-spoken, ethical and hard working. These intangible benefits are every bit as important as the tangible academic subjects for a well-rounded ‘comprehensive’ education, and in fact arguably are more important in terms of long-term job prospects and security.”
The NEA actually wants to discourage homeschooled kids from socializing with their public school peers. Part of the organization’s resolution states, “The association also believes that homeschooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools.”
Lewis’ reaction was, “Um, who’s paying for public schools in the first place? Answer: taxpayers, which include homeschooling parents. They should have every right to participate in extracurricular activities they’ve paid for.”
Lewis said it makes no sense for schools to bar homeschooled children from extracurricular activities, because even if those students participate, they are still using far less of the school’s resources than regular public-school students, even though the parents of the homeschoolers are still paying the same amount in taxes.
“The fact that the NEA is against such homeschooling participation in extracurricular activities smacks of petty vindictiveness and a punitive, spiteful attitude, rather than intelligent reasoning or – more likely – the lost opportunity to indoctrinate another child into the progressive brainwashing,” Lewis opined.
Furthermore, the NEA homeschooling resolution states: “Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.”
But if every child learned from a state-approved teacher and a state-approved curriculum, the results would be similar to what is seen in communist countries, according to Lewis.
“We would have dismally identical uniformity of thought, behavior and morals,” Lewis said. “We would have no creativity, no diversity, no thinking outside the box. We would crush the spirits of children whose interests, skills and abilities fall outside what the NEA deems acceptable.”
America is such a diverse land, according to Lewis, that uniformity in education makes no sense.
She said, “No one wants to have their children shoehorned into an educational system that gives no variety, no opportunities for the exceptionally gifted or exceptionally slow; a place with no permitted variation in opinions, learning methods or viewpoints. That’s what communist schools do. Does America really want rigid uniformity in its youth? I thought the left was all about ‘diversity.’ Why not in education? Or are progressives lying when they claim to support diversity?”
Newman, for his part, believes giving government schools an even greater monopoly over education would be “the worst possible education policy.” But he thinks more Americans will begin to homeschool as they realize the public schools are failing their children.
“As more and more Americans – people of every race, religion, political creed, and socio-economic background – realize what a disaster government schools have become, the homeschooling movement will continue to grow by leaps and bounds,” Newman predicted.
The author said he would like to be able to laugh off the NEA’s resolution, but the association is so powerful that he must take it seriously.
“The fact is that, through compulsory unionism and dues, this extremist outfit has amassed a vast fortune and an army of lobbyists to attack educational liberty,” Newman said. “The NEA and its agenda must be exposed and stopped. In the meantime, serious educators who value freedom and quality education should immediately distance themselves from the NEA and its disgusting attacks on educational freedom, the American people and unalienable rights.”
Lewis believes the bottom line is the NEA doesn’t want any children to escape government control, thus the attack on homeschooling.
“They abhor the thought of allowing children to be ‘brainwashed’ into sincere religious beliefs, conservative or traditional values, and – heaven forbid – a biblical worldview (which to progressives is a fate worse than death for those poor kids),” Lewis exclaimed. “Instead, the NEA and the government want children ready for the ‘Brave New World’ where the state is the supreme authority, values and morals are fluid and situational, and the worldview is based on ‘Fifty Shades of Gray.'”