Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Tyler Morning Telegraph of Tyler, Texas — nicknamed the “Rose Capital of the World.” It’s titled Home schooling is a parent’s privilege. The newspaper had a comments feature when we first saw this thing — but it seems to have been removed.
Technically, what we found isn’t a letter-to-the editor. It’s an editorial, but with no byline. We’ll treat it as a letter, and refer to the writer as The Editor. Excerpts will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
Home schooling is “shockingly under-regulated,” Slate magazine warns. Yes, it is – and we like it that way. Slate’s salvo against teaching children at home has all the predictable angles.
We’re not provided with a link to the Slate article, but he’s probably talking about this: The Frightening Power of the Home-Schooling Lobby. Then the Editor gives us a quote:
“Some of these families, and almost certainly a majority of (Home School Legal Defense Association) members, have religious motivations for choosing to home-school; many use alternative textbooks that teach creationism instead of evolution and offer a Christianity-centered view of American history,” Slate writes.
We found some of the Editor’s quotes in the Slate article, but not that one. Perhaps it’s been revised. Anyway, the Editor responds:
The horror! Here’s what Slate magazine doesn’t get. First, parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children’s education. Parents may choose to enroll their children in a public school or a private school – or they may choose to educate their children themselves. The Texas Supreme Court upheld this principle in Leeper v. Arlington, a 1985 case that validated home schooling in this state.
Perhaps so. Let’s read on:
Second, let’s look at charges leveled by Slate and other opponents of home schooling. Slate says parents might do a poor job of educating their children. Some parents, the magazine points out, don’t even have a high school education themselves. This argument might carry a little more weight if we couldn’t point to countless public (and private) schools that are already doing a poor job of educating children. Unfortunately, Texas graduates many, many young men and women who haven’t been well-served by their schools.
Huh? He’s saying that the public schools are bad, so it’s okay if home schools are bad too. That’s not much of a defense. The Editor continues:
Still, it’s a concern. But statistics allay those fears. They show that home-schooled children do just fine on standardized tests.
Maybe some of them do. We’ll skip to the end:
The fact is that home schooling has proven to be a blessing for many, many families. Sure it’s unregulated – and that’s one of its advantages. Parents – not the government – are in charge. As they should be.
The Editor has a point. It’s one we once wrote about in Do Creationists Have the Right To Be Ignorant?, where we said: “If they want to be ignorant, then let them be ignorant. They’re happy, and they have the right to drool.” But of course, they don’t have the right to force their ignorance on the rest of us.
We’re still not certain of our position on this subject. What do you think about home schooling, dear reader?
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