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are carrying the banner of liberty for all of us. "
Posted: June 18, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
by David Limbaugh
© 2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Given the poor academic track record of public education in many
areas of this country, you would think the government and education
establishment would be a little less arrogant about superimposing
their will on homeschooling families who prefer to opt out of their
system. But you would be wrong.
The establishment's assault against the homeschooling movement
continues. In Waltham, Mass., local authorities are so adamant about
imposing their mandatory standardized testing that they sent social
workers and policemen to the home of George and Kim Bryant at 7:45
a.m. last Thursday demanding their two teen-agers take the tests.
According to WorldNetDaily.com, the Department of Social Services
actually threatened to take the Bryants' children away from them over
this issue – if other issues were involved, the article didn't say so.
But the Bryants refused to let their children go, believing they have
a right to determine their children's educational choices.
The Waltham Public School's homeschooling policy mandates that
parents develop a grading system and file educational plans for
homeschooled children, but the Bryants have steadfastly resisted the
It's not that homeschooling families are afraid of competing with
their public-school counterparts. Homeschoolers have continually done
well on academic tests and contests.
In 2000, the top three winners in the Scripps-Howard News Service's
National Spelling Bee were all homeschooled. This is all the more
remarkable when you consider that only 11 percent of the contestants
were homeschoolers. That same year, homeschoolers placed first and
second in the National Geography Bee.
There's more. According to official reports for the American
College Testing Program, homeschoolers have scored higher on average
than students in public and private schools. In 2000, the average
composite ACT score for high-school students was 21, while homeschool
students scored 22.8.
Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner, an expert in quantitative analysis and one
who has studied the performance of homeschoolers, once remarked that
this move to make homeschoolers meet public-school standards was "odd"
given the superior academic performance of homeschoolers.
Rudner conducted a study in 1998 that included 20,760 students in
11,930 familes. He found that in every subject and at every grade
level (K-12), "homeschool students scored significantly higher than
their public and private school counterparts." Some 25 percent of all
homeschool students at that time were enrolled ata grade level or more
beyond that dictated by their age. According to the study, the average
eighth-grade homeschooler was performing four grade levels above the
Nevertheless, some homeschooling families are still reluctant to
submit to standardized testing because it would be an indirect method
for the state to gain control over the curriculum. If homeschoolers
were required to pass standardized tests geared to public-school
curricula, is it not inevitable that their families would have to
alter their curricula to teach to those tests?
Don't just assume the Bryants are being stubborn and unreasonable.
This is a freedom issue. Why shouldn't the Bryants or any other
parents be free to make their own curricular choices? We've seen the
extent to which the educational establishment influences public school
curricula, often in directions that many parents – not just
homeschooling ones – would consider repugnant.
Most homeschool parents – at least Christian ones – understand what
the education establishment has known for a long time but won't often
admit: that there is no such thing as values-free education. With the
banning of Christian values and their replacement with humanistic ones
in the public-school system, we have witnessed the adoption of bizarre
ideas having little to do with academics and everything to do with
social engineering, directly resulting, ultimately, in the corruption
of educational quality.
As more parents opt for homeschooling, public schools will grow
increasingly nervous. Homeschooling's financial impact on public
schools can be significant. If thousands of students are homeschooling
in a school district, it stands to lose millions of dollars in
revenue. And with every additional homeschooled student, the
public-education monopoly is eroded a little further, and control over
children's academic and social development shifts away from the state
and back to the family unit.
So, despite homeschooling's outstanding academic track record, we
can expect persistent opposition from the establishment, sometimes
reaching the point of policemen and social workers at homeschoolers'
homes threatening to snatch away their children.
But we can also be sure that homeschooling families will continue
to resist this oppression. They deserve our support, because they are
fighting over the most fundamental rights of a free society: the right
to raise and educate children as they see fit. They are carrying the
banner of liberty for all of us.
David Limbaugh, an
attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the
pull-no-punches exposé of corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice
Department, "Absolute Power." Personally signed copies are now
available in WorldNetDaily's online store.
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