I give this a week before this is passed around unironically among the wingnuts.
Kevin D. “Manly men can defy the laws of genetics with their alpha male musk” Williamson, National What’s Wrong With Your Face:
The Last Radicals
Not to spoil anything, but today’s bout of neuronal spasm is about education. And like all wingnut diatribes on education, now that teachers have been declared enemy combatants, that means it’s about how education sucks and should be destroyed. Now, there could be a way to make that argument sound well… less stupid.
Buuuuuuut, the likelihood of such an argument coming from Kevin Williamson of “manly men produce manly sperm which creates more male homunculi in the designated female’s white static baby area” fame is about as strong as the Cubs winning a World Series.
But, hey, maybe I’m wrong. Just because he demonstrates a genetic knowledge stemming from the fourth century BC (just scroll down to Aristotle), doesn’t mean he won’t have something cogent to a-
Shorter (or the last port before Jungle):
- If students benefitting from a 1:1 student:teacher ratio and a curriculum that can adjust to the pace of the student have advantages over students packed 30-50 to a classroom and forced to complete endless standard timed tests. And if the more liberal beneficiaries of this system exist and integrate relatively okay into adult society, then obviously kids yanked out of school to get a crash course in evangelical religious horseshit are the shocktroopers who will destroy the evil edifice of Big Education and its unconscionable belief that kids should be “educated” with so-called “facts”. Pah, who needs facts in Bible School or Liberty University, which incidentally are the only schools said conservative kids can qualify for with the state of their “better” “education”.
There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction.
Nope, none of these and certainly not any organization like the radical anti-choicers who have nearly succeeded in terrorizing a legal and necessary surgery practice out of real availability or maybe white supremacists, neo-nazis, militia groups that have successfully shot senators and blown up federal buildings. Certainly not Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons and their continued attempts to take over the country and force it to align with their stated religious beliefs.
Yeah, why do I get the feeling that Kevin’s definition of “authentically” and “significance” are about as slippery and functionally meaningless as Todd Akin’s definition of “legitimate”?
Also way to ingratiate yourself with the mouth-breathers, Kev! Everyone loves being told that they don’t count unless they do what you… force your wife to do.
It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional. Like all radical movements, homeschoolers drive the establishment bats.
Not really. It’s not like the evil teacher’s union when they meet up for their satanic meetings spend the whole time bitching about how the vast horde of homeschooled children is draining valuable money from their “education scam”. Doing so would take valuable time away from the aborted fetus barbeque and preventing charter schools from existing. Also, charter schools? Another on the list of not radical enough for Kevvy.
In the public imagination, homeschooling has a distinctly conservative and Evangelical odor about it, but it was not always so. The modern homeschooling movement really has its roots in 1960s countercultural tendencies; along with A Love Supreme, it may represent the only worthwhile cultural product of that era. The movement’s urtext is Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, by A. S. Neill, which sold millions of copies in the 1960s and 1970s. Neill was the headmaster of an English school organized (to the extent that it was organized) around neo-Freudian psychotherapeutic notions and Marxian ideas about the nature of power relationships in society. He looked forward to the day when conventional religion would wither away — “Most of our religious practices are a sham,” he declared — and in general had about as little in common with what most people regard as the typical homeschooler as it is possible to have.
Here we begin Kevin’s shuffling of the cards for his patently obvious three card monte trick.
And here’s where I throw him a bone. Yeah, homeschooling doesn’t have to mean education-free religious brainwashing of children viewed as tools and objects by their parents and their Church. It doesn’t have to mean a kid receiving a decade+ of lies that ill support them for adult life in any way and severely limits their ability to have a real job that helps people or have any human empathy.
In fact, homeschooling can be really beneficial if done right. If a kid’s parents have the skills in education and the privileges of financial security to devote one of them full time to the education of their child, they have a bevy of advantages.
Every child flourishes ideally when there can be one teacher to every one student and the curriculum can shift and bend depending on the student’s pace, energy level patterns, interests, etc… And the universal downsides of homeschooling such as the diminished social education and interaction with kids from wildly different backgrounds and work habits or the melding of multiple authority figures into the parent can be mitigated by partner organizations.
I’ve taught a few groups of collected homeschoolers who’ve come to the museum in order to practice working in groups, learning social interaction, etc…
But just like in regular education, just because the best teacher with the engaging style, limitless empathy, and solid knowledge of their subject matter can be great doesn’t mean the teacher who’s only there because they’re the kid of the football coach can’t be a complete waste of space.
In short, if your parent/teacher hybrid is a moron who still thinks the sun revolves around the Earth, you’re still going to get a subpar education even if you have all those other advantages.
“People forget that some of the first homeschoolers were hippies,” says Bob Wiesner, a counselor at the Seton Home Study School, a Catholic educational apostolate reporting to the bishop of Arlington, Va. In one of history’s little ironies, today most of homeschooling’s bitterest enemies are to be found on the left. “We don’t have much of a problem from conservatives,” Wiesner says.
Really? Your conservative propaganda mill is rarely criticized by conservatives? Color me shocked!
“It’s the teachers’ unions, educational bureaucrats, and liberal professors.
Yes, they and their greedy hateful hands are doing… well, very little to get in your way other than insist that college admission standards, GED test subjects, and state standards of education meet a certain threshold to be considered satisfactory. Well, that and maybe some worried sounds about those children whose futures are placed in the hands of ignorant control-freaks who think books are just Satan’s footsoldiers. Because, you know, teachers are freaks who randomly care about shit like that.
College professors by and large don’t want students who can think for themselves. They want students they can indoctrinate, but that’s hard to do with homeschoolers — homeschoolers push back.”
Actual indoctrination organizations always throw around charges like this, saying that professors just can’t handle the kids’ truth bombs and are humbled by their home-grown brilliance. Cause the reality for these poor religiously-poisoned kids who come from that kind of home school environment is well…
You know what happens when said kids try and interact with the real world after they’ve memorized their list of “questions to stump their college professors” and they’ve decided to make their dramatic stand in class to rant about how evolution is a lie and the Earth is only 6000 years old?
They get smacked down hard. And not because they ask “hard questions” or because “college professors hate dissent”, but because once you start having to pay to go to schools, teachers officially don’t have to moddle-coddle ignoramuses who want to play Amateur Smarty-Pants.
If they’re lucky, the professor will leave them some dignity and let them walk out of the classroom with a “martyr” story to tell their Bible Group. If they’re not… well, professors are a bunch of underpaid, overworked incredibly intelligent people for the most part who have often spent a career dealing with all manner of “I iz smart” stupidity. If they’re unlucky, then that professor will grant the dumbass wannabe a thorough demonstration of why they are experts in their fields and the kid is just a social maladjust who has somehow managed to go 18 years without realizing that parents can lie to their children and maybe it really was a good idea to get some actual information in their education.
But I like how not even Kevin “Sperm are homunculi” Williamson pretends that the myth they sell these kids is what they’ll encounter. No pretense that professors are just looking to waste the first day of classes publicly debating with a student with no interest in actually learning the material and no regard for the kids who actually wanted to learn what reality looks like.
He relishes the story of a number of graduates of his program who attended a top-tier Catholic university and enrolled together in theology classes taught by the school’s most notorious liberals.
As we see here. Did you graduate from psychotic non-hippie homeschool? Excellent, you are fully qualified to choose from any bible college you want. Not a real college, not even a full seminary, but definitely someplace like the “college” recently vacated by Dinesh “religious rules are only for the proles” D’Souza.
Well, as long as they aren’t filled with some “notoriously liberal types” who try and fill your head with so-called “facts” about things that supposedly happen in “reality” if you were just to open your eyes and “look”. Fucking hippies who are totally awesome when we want to pretend to be a legitimate method of education.
They were of course more conversant with church orthodoxy than were many of their instructors.
Ah, that all important “church orthodoxy”. Because really that’s the only thing worth knowing. Of course, most of these conservative homeschoolers come from an Evangelical and Protestant background that has no official “church orthodoxy” for professors to fall afoul of. And Mormon and Catholic “church orthodoxies” pretty much sum up to “whatever Salt Lake City or the Vatican says it is on any given day”, so it’s not like those are really worth fuck all to any form of education focused on the long term.
Even to the “education” given at the Jesus-infused diploma mills.
“The professors hated them. But the kids had fun.
See aforementioned rant about how getting your ass intellectually kicked for being an ingratiating asshole with no respect for the teacher’s time or their fellow students’ time and money is not hate.
Also, I like the bizarre second line here. “But the kids had fun”. Sure, the education they or their parents paid hundreds to thousands of dollars for is being interrupted and wasted so Johnny No-wit can play Junior Philosopher in a vain attempt to prevent himself accidentally being educated, but hey, at least they were “entertained” by it. And after all, isn’t that why one goes to school (even a useless waste of money like Liberty University)? To just have fun*?
The president of that college at that time was trying to clean up the theology department, so when the professors would complain, he would call the students in and tell them to try to be polite — with a wink and a nod.”
Yeah, this shit is happening all over the place, not just in podunk shit “colleges”. And I don’t mean that bullshit that never happened about professors being so cowed by their awesome students’ education level they had to tattle to the dean rather than enforce some basic level classroom control.
Rather the stacking of the decks by wingnut presidents who see it as their sacred mission to “correct the liberal bias of universities” by filling their schools with so many anti-educational nutjobs they might as well call it a Snickers bar.
I’m not particularly a fan of the trend.
One of those liberal professors is Robin West of the Georgetown law school, who wrote a remarkably shallow and evidence-free jeremiad against homeschooling that was published to the journal’s discredit in Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly.
Oh hey, wingnuts are complaining about the scientific value of somebody’s academic research. Well, if the minds that regularly cheer stuff so terrible it’s made me act like Tom Hanks from Castaway, think it’s terrible then obviously it must be like an academic holocaust, an anti-Noble of “because I say so” argumentation and tables cribbed off the bar notes of homeless schizophrenics.
Well, let’s see this abomination.
Shorter Evil Satanist Article:
- Hey, funny story, turns out when you massively deregulate and privatize education you can get some nasty side effects. Especially when some students’ educational futures are put in the hands of the type of moron who thinks that voting for Republicans is a good thing, and no one bothers to check up on them.
Well I think we can all see how she became persona non grata to the wingnuts. How dare she notice that privitization and deregulation produce anything other than infinite cake and rainbows!
And wow, people. You don’t know how badly I needed something like this. Most “academic” “papers” cited by wingnuts are the sort of thing they use to induce cancer growth in test mice. I’m pretty sure I’ve left brain cells back in the depths of some of those rambling, just-so rationalizations and obvious bullshittery.
So to read some actual incisive analysis, well-written, well-researched, carefully phrased, and beautifully argued? Oh wow. It’s like a first sip of water after a week stranded in the desert.
Let me send you some glorious morsels:
“They do so, furthermore, with little or no oversight from public school officials, who in some states need not even be notified of the parents’ intent to homeschool… In other words, in much of the country, if you want to keep you kids home from school, you can. If you want to teach them from nothing but the Bible, you can. If they want to skateboard all day, and you choose to let them, you can.”
And how about this?
“Special needs kids, vulnerable or sensitive children, parents of children who are for very good reason fearful of bullies, parents of children who rightly or wrongly are repelled by the sexual and misogynistic propaganda that proliferates in middle and high school culture, parents of kids who are preternaturally curious and gifted kids themselves, children of the over-educated and under-employed suburban mothers who simply would prefer to do this work themselves than delegate it to the state, all of these children and parents would not be hurt, and would likely be helped, by reasonable state regulation.”
Utterly delicious**! If you have a spare hour, please do either click over or google the article “The Harms of Homeschooling” by Robin L. West in the Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly. It’s great reading, very educational, and actually written in a more accessible style than some academic papers can be.
Well enough nerding out, let’s get back to Kevin’s obviously cogent, rational, and altogether accurate rebuttal to West’s Satanist drivel.
More a work of imagination than one of scholarship, the article ignores the wealth of data suggesting that homeschooling is a largely upper-income and suburban phenomenon
Yeah, I’m just going to let Robin answer some of these for me.
“Finally, the economic harms. The average homeschooling family may have a higher income than the average non-homeschooler as was recently reported by USA Today. The radically fundamentalist ‘movement’ family, however is considerably poorer than the population, and it is the participants in these movements– the so-called ‘patriarchy movement’ and its ‘quiverfull’ branch and related groups– that are the hardcore of the homeschooling movement … Their lack of job skills, passed from one generation to the next, depresses the community’s overall economic health and their state’s tax base.”
and that homeschooled students typically outperform their public-school peers.
“Second, although I will be criticizing the right to completely deregulated homeschooling, I do not mean to deny for a moment that homeschooling is often— maybe usually– successful, when done responsibly. Passionately involved and loving parents, whether religious or not, can often better educate their children in small tutorials at home, than can cash-strapped, under-motivated, inadequately-supported, and overwhelmed public school teachers with too many students in their classrooms. Results bear this out, as homeschool advocates repeatedly point out (and as critics virtually never deny): the homeschooled children who are tested, or who take college boards, whether or not religious, perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, do very well on standardized tests, and on the average, they do better than their public school counterparts (though it must be noted that the parents and children who voluntarily subject themselves to testing are the self-selected educational elite of the homeschooling movement).”
West offers a caricature of homeschooling families far removed from reality: “The husbands and wives in these families feel themselves to be under a religious compulsion to have large families, a homebound and submissive wife and mother who is responsible for the schooling of the children, and only one breadwinner. These families are not living in romantic, rural, self-sufficient farmhouses; they are in trailer parks, 1,000-square-foot homes, houses owned by relatives, and some, on tarps in fields or parking lots. Their lack of job skills, passed from one generation to the next, depresses the community’s overall economic health and their state’s tax base.”
Yeah, as you may have noticed from that ending sentence, that would be filling in the gap of my … in the Robin quote two above. As you’ll also notice, the context for this vicious attack is hardly as Kevin characterizes it (I know! Shocking, right?), an attack on all homeschooling, but rather a commentary about the specific sub-community of quiverfull patriarchy movement Fundamentalists and their particular quirks about education and the role and humanity of their families.
But hey, reading comprehension is for fags and hippies, right?
Education scholar Brian D. Ray
Brian D. Ray is the head of the National Home Education Research Institute, which is supposedly devoted to studying homeschooling in depth and indeed does publish a journal covering the subject.
Of course, said journal is less of a research journal and more a propaganda mill for lobbying Congress on the wonderfulness of homeschooling. The “journal” only publishes around 2 articles each issue, with one of the articles always written by Dr. Ray himself and the other usually coming from a close personal friend.
Now this in itself might not be completely damning until we note its history of just making up research to be wildly disseminated among the wingnuts and the fact that he has a vested interest in keeping the homeschool movement in its problematic status quo as he makes a fine mint off various speaking tours and books specifically targeting the Christian homeschool market.
Well, that and being a complete disingenuous hack with a fake “research institute” hurts his credibility just slightly.
who specializes in homeschooling, found that West’s claims “basically have no foundation in research evidence,” and pointed out to the contrary that “repeated studies by many researchers and data provided by United States state departments of education show that home-educated students consistently score, on average, well above the public school average on standardized academic achievement tests. To date, no research has found homeschool students to be doing worse, on average, than their counterparts in state-run schools. Multiple studies by various researchers have found the home educated to be doing well in terms of their social, emotional, and psychological development.”
As demonstrated here, quite nicely. Unless Brian D. Ray managed to get all the way to a PhD without learning 2nd grade reading comprehension, I think we can safely punt him into the category of faux-academic lie-smiths I wouldn’t even bother to piss on if they were on fire.
Also, it’s worth noting the weasel words at the end. Yes, multiple studies (published in your hack journal), by various researchers (who all share your name and are you) support your bullcrap.
And yeah, let’s just throw on another Robin quote just to put the boot in a little:
“First, children who are homeschooled with no state regulation are at greater risk for unreported and unnoticed physical abuse, when they are completely isolated in homes. As the trial judge in In re Rachel noted, “95% of referrals for child abuse come from public school teachers or officials.” Without the window provided by either public or private schooling, a family’s privacy and sometimes its isolation will shield it from officials with a duty to report evidence of abuse.”
The problem is not educational outcomes: Students in the Seton program tend to score on average in the 80th percentile on standardized tests.
Already covered. So anything to add, Robin?
“The educational harm is the most immediate, direct risk of unregulated homeschooling. It is also the only one in this litany of possible risks adamantly denied by homeschooling advocates. There is indeed no credible evidence that homeschoolers as a group do worse on standardized tests, but contrary to their claims, there is also no credible evidence that they do better. There is no credible evidence of accomplishment at all. Because of the non-existence of testing requirements in much of the country– itself an important political victory of the homeschooling movement– the studies suggesting as much suffer from severe selection bias: the elite of the homeschool world– those parents who voluntarily submit their children for testing– is tested against the total public school population.”
The problem is that progressives operate as though the state owned children as joint property.
Oh HAI, IT’S ALWAYS PROJECTION, I was wondering where you were hiding. Yes, truly it is the liberals who view their children as property.
Heh, what I like most is that Kevin’s cognitive dissonance actually flared visibly when he tried to rationalize that with reality. It’s like, oh wait, they so don’t… uh, well, they view it as uh… double property or like shared property between parents and the state instead of them being properly the parent’s property and FUCK am I bad at this. Oh well, I’ll just post something and no one will notice. It’s not like National Review readers really care what we throw out there as long as it seems to reinforce their desperate fictions of how the world works.
Dana Goldstein, writing in Slate, urged her fellow progressives to resist the temptation to homeschool, arguing that the practice is “fundamentally illiberal” and asking incredulously: “Could such a go-it-alone ideology ever be truly progressive?” She went on to argue that the children of high-achieving parents amount to public goods because of peer effects — poor students do better when mixed with better-off peers — meaning that “when college-educated parents pull their kids out of public schools, whether for private school or homeschooling, they make it harder for less-advantaged children to thrive.” She does not extend that analysis to its logical conclusion: that conscientious, educated liberals should enroll their children in the very worst public schools they can find in order to maximize the public good.
Wow, not even halfway down the page and you already need to bail on Robin West and bring in an “even the liberal” Slate writer to be your designated boogeyman***.
That’s weak sauce even for you.
The numbers are against them, but West, Goldstein, and like-minded critics still bristle with hostility at homeschooling.
Or mildly criticize the lack of regulation in homeschooling which can lead to grim social, educational, and political problems in such a way that leads you to incoherent rage.
But hell, when has coughing politely and daring to note the shape of the world in the presence of a FREEDOM AMERICAN ever been anything other than the true definition of a hate crime?
There are three related reasons for that.
Oh goody, we’re going to get “men produce homunculi” levels of insight again. Welp, let me just set up the IT’S ALWAYS PROJECTION meter up so we can see how-
The first is that progressives by their nature do not trust people as individuals
And it’s already a smoking crater. Well done!
and feel that, whether we are applying for a credit card or popping into 7-Eleven for a soft drink, Americans require state-appointed overseers.
Yeah, we don’t need no stinking regulators or oversight. Like that factory in Georgia that turned out to be producing the peanuts for nearly every peanut butter brand sold in America? It just decided for its self how much regulation it needed and trusted the government to keep its meddling claws out of their individual freedom.
And thanks to those individually-minded pioneers, I got to enjoy a week’s vacation from work I wouldn’t normally have had and a free anatomy lesson into the exact inner workings of my intestines and bowels.
I doubt I would have been that illuminated by some namby-pamby “overseer”-demanded safety regulation or standard.
If homeschooling weren’t already legal — a happy consequence of the longstanding patchwork of exemptions in state-level mandatory-education statutes — it is highly unlikely that most state legislatures would vote to legalize it.
“Specifically, the parents and their advocacy groups argued that religious parents had a free exercise right, grounded in the First Amendment, to educate their children as they see fit, in private, at home, in accordance with their religious beliefs, and with no oversight by or even interaction with state authorities. In the face of this adamantly asserted constitutional right, and strapped for cash in any event, the states ceded responsibility for what has previously been a core state function– the education of children– to whatever parents claimed that they preferred to educate their children themselves.”
Nine-tenths of American children attend government schools, and most of the remaining tenth attend government-approved private schools.
Apparently religious private and charter schools are now also government-run public education. I guess, this is how Mona Charen could blame union-thug-teachers for the problems she faced with the private religious school she sent her kids to.
The political class wants as many of that remaining tenth in government schools as possible; teachers’ unions have money on the line, and ideologues do not want any young skull beyond their curricular reach. A political class that does not trust people with a Big Gulp is not going to trust them with the minds of children.
Yes, truly it is the greedy maw of our under-funded over-worked, under-staffed, over-stuffed public school system who is greedily exploiting a broken system to enrich themselves and who are worried about their inaccurate ideology being exposed to the harsh light of reality.
Also, what is with glibertarians and their FREEDOM cries over fucking snack food?
Yeah, douchebags, fight for the right for snack foods to be unregulated and for there to be no real information given on them. Truly that is a grave and important issue and doesn’t at all make you look like over-privileged spoiled babies demanding the right to catapult yourselves to an early grave without suffering the inconvenience of being reminded that you are doing so.
While West would like to criminalize homeschooling — she writes wistfully of the days when “parents who did so were criminals”
Not to interrupt the sterling bit of accuracy you’ve accomplished so far, but actually she didn’t “write wistfully” but merely noted that relatively recently homeschooling was in fact outlawed before the 1980s when public school was considered mandatory.
She also noted:
“For a hundred and fifty years, parents of special needs children, parents in isolated parts of the country who live far from any public schoolhouse, as well as a smattering of parents of circus performers, professional athletes, and child stage actors have homeschooled their children, and exemptions in the various states’ compulsory attendance laws have explicitly allowed them to do so.”
But given that the context just “gets in the way” I can see why you have yet to include a direct link to her article and have only described it in the most vague terms possible.
Man, reality’s liberal bias is a bitch, ain’t it?
— others have sought to regulate it out of existence, for instance by declaring homeschoolers’ residences to be public schools and requiring them to meet attendant planning and zoning standards, by installing such things as fire-safety systems, parking facilities, and emergency exits. “The good news is, there are very few people with authority and power who want to end homeschooling,” says Jeremiah Lorrig of the National Home School Legal Defense Association. “They’ve given up trying to outlaw it — and now are trying to control it.”
Blah blah paranoid wingnuttery, they are taking our guns away, blah.
Seriously though, all the wingers living in perpetual fear that their comfortable middle class bland lives are suddenly going to be destroyed by the liberal hordes just makes me want to have it happen, once, for a joke, just to see the looks on their faces.
Sadly for the rest of us, we’re too busy dealing with real problems, real oppressions, and real people who hate us and want us to be miserable because of who we are, to bother with such extensive LARPing.
The second reason for this hostility is that while there is a growing number of secular, progressive, organic-quinoa-consuming homeschool families, there remains a significant conservative and Christian component. The reasons for progressive hostility to conservative Christians are many and complex, but one of them is that, like the homeschool, the church is something outside of government control, a forum that the triple constitutional protections of religion, free speech, and association place beyond the range of Leviathan’s leash. Progressives are by their nature monopolists, and the churches constitute real competing centers of power in society.
Yes, the only reason we’d ever have to criticize Chruch-based education or political involvement is because it’s just too darn free of government meddling. And we’re just so very monopolistic in our thinking what with our socialist… FUCK, why do I suck so bad on simple IT’S ALWAYS PROJECTION? It’s “no, you see, liberals are the real X”, that’s it. So why do I keep fucking it up and looking like a complete tosser?
Oh right, I was primarily educated by those Churches that liberals hate for no good reason.
Oh and by the by, Robin did you have anything to add?
“Fourth, there are political harms. Fundamentalist adults who were homeschooled over the last thirty years are not politically disengaged, far from it… They mobilize readily. The ‘army’ in which adult homeschooled citizens are soldiers has enormous clout: homeschoolers were called ‘Bush’s Army’ in 2000 and 2004 for good reason. Their capacity for political action is palpable and admirable, although doubly constrained: it is triggered by a call for action by church leaders, and in substance, it is limited to political action the aim of which is to undermine, limit, or destroy state functions that interfere with family and parental rights… They are as effective as they are, and as successful as they are, because they engage in politics in the same way that soldiers participate in combat. They don’t question authority, and they can’t go AWOL. With little education, few if any job skills, and scant resources, their power either to influence the lines of authority within their own sphere, or to leave that sphere, is virtually nil.”
Did I mention I love her article, because I really really do.
A third reason is that the majority of homeschool teachers are mothers. A traditional two-parent family with one full-time breadwinner and one stay-at-home parent is practically built into the model. Goldstein scoffs at that as the “dated presumption that children hail from two-parent families, in which at least one parent can afford (and wants) to take significant time away from paid work,” but of course the model is neither dated nor restricted to religiously conservative red-staters: Liberal enclaves such as Brooklyn and Seattle are full of stay-at-home moms. (Brooklyn, in fact, is a hotbed of crunchy homeschooling.)
The significance of this is… what?
I mean, yeah, I can see all sorts of significances. Like how women are expected to do high-intensity often-free work that is often undervalued or unappreciated in our society. And especially in “traditional”, i.e. bitterly patriarchal, households, said women are even expected to acquire skills that would earn her a healthy living and then use them solely for the free use of their family. Skills in cooking, cleaning, sewing, art design, and with homeschooling, all the educational duties of every K-12 teacher. All for an annual salary of 0 dollars and using up all her time from waking up to going to bed.
But I don’t see how this is a point in Williamson’s favor.
Hey, everybody, we’re exploiting the fuck out of the free labor of women in our communities! Preventing them from having the time to pursue their own job and thus ever being anything less than wholly reliant on the “man of the house” who provides the all-important paycheck and is therefore the only one who gets respect and is treated like a full human being. Isn’t conservative homeschooling awesome?
But hey, what conservative War on Women, right?
Homeschooling families pay their taxes to support local public schools, like any other family — which is to say, begrudgingly in many cases — and the movement does not seek the abolition of local government-education monopolies. (It should.) Homeschooling families simply choose not to participate in the system — or, if they do, to participate in it on their own terms.
And that is a step too far for the Hobbesian progressives, who view politics as a constant contest between the State and the State of Nature, as though the entire world were on a sliding scale between Sweden and Somalia. Homeschoolers may have many different and incompatible political beliefs, but they all implicitly share an opinion about the bureaucrats: They don’t need them — not always, not as much as the bureaucrats think. That’s what makes them radical and, to those with a certain view of the world, terrifying.
Yes, now that we’ve borrowed the fig leaf of respectability given to us by liberal, competent homeschooling in order to try and protect our creepy cult like belief that we own our children and wives like they were products we bought in a store, let’s now also speak on their behalf and claim that what every homeschooler on the planet wants is zero regulation into our creepy abuse mills.
You know, because those liberal, competent homeschooling parents love nothing more than being tied directly to offensively terribly conservative religious brainwashing and having everyone assume that is what they are doing to their children.
Cause if our bullshit was regulated we couldn’t pull a Huck Finn’s dad and demand our kid pull out of school at the exact moment he starts becoming more educated and aware of reality than us.
‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. I’m such a fucking academics nerd. We are aware of all Internet traditions.™
*Okay yes, to many people. And yes, college environments and that first taste of freedom, even in oppressive religious hellholes like Bible Colleges are an important place for young men and women to explore and discover who they are in separation from their parents. And yes, the exploration of fun in all its incarnations (oh yes, indeedy) is a crucial part of that for many adolescents. But still, if you only want to get drunk and fuck, there are bars way cheaper than any 4-year college.
** Okay, here’s some more choice bits from the “meat” of the article:
“Second, there’s a public health risk. Children who attend public schools are required to have immunizations… Thus, deregulated homeschooling means that homeschooled children are basically exempted from immunization requirements. They are more susceptible to the diseases against which immunization provides some protection.”
“Third, public and private schools provide for many children, I suspect, although I have yet to see studies of this, a safe haven in which they are both regarded and respected independently and individually. Family love is intense, and we need it to survive and thrive. It is also deeply contingent on the existence and nature of family ties”
“Again, in unregulated states, parents need not teach their children a thing, if they so desire. Religious parents can teach nothing but the Bible, and nothing but a literal interpretation of that, and secular anti-schooling parents can allow their children to skateboard, dance, or play video games to their hearts’ content, free of any dull training in reading and arithmetic. Whether homeschooled children receive an education comparable to that provided in public schools is almost entirely a matter of parental discretion… Also sacrificed is their exposure to diverse ideas, cultures, and ways of being. Again, this is not incidental; it is the fully intended result of the deregulation movement. The children of the most devout fundamentalists are being intentionally shielded from those parts of a public school curriculum that have this broadening potential.”
Have I mentioned how I love this article? Because I fucking love this article!
*** To be fair, this “even the liberal” Slate article is a pretty dumb article on its own merits. It mixes decent awareness of reality and real issues with immense privilege fails and less of a grasp on the issues of education than she thought she had. Needless to say, her comment thread ripped her apart a bit for it. I don’t need to hold my breath on whether Kevin got a similar flaming for this half-effort.