William Thornton wrote:I've been reading "homeschooling goes mainstream" articles for years but think there is a ceiling, probably single digit percentages of all school-age kids because of the demands on parents.
I think you're right, William. There's probably a ceiling out there for it in the range you mention. I think such headlines are more to promote the cause or to intrigue readers into reading the article than to provide factual or logical support for such a premise.
Personally, I'm torn between the noble idea of the community coming together to educate the children and the thought that Christians "abandoning" the public schools may be detrimental overall to the community as a whole, but with so much of the control of education being done by bureaucrats, judges and federal government meddling, I think the de facto
monopoly of government education needs to be altered.
Economist Walter Williams wrote a commentary entitled Conflict or Cooperation
back in 2010 that addressed this issue. He wrote:
Different Americans have different and often intense preferences for all kinds of goods and services. Some of us have strong preferences for beer and distaste for wine while others have the opposite preference -- strong preferences for wine and distaste for beer. Some of us hate three-piece suits and love blue jeans while others love three-piece suits and hate blue jeans. When's the last time you heard of beer drinkers in conflict with wine drinkers, or three-piece suit lovers in conflict with lovers of blue jeans? It seldom if ever happens because beer and blue jean lovers get what they want. Wine and three-piece suit lovers get what they want and they all can live in peace with one another.
It would be easy to create conflict among these people. Instead of free choice and private decision-making, clothing and beverage decisions could be made in the political arena. In other words, have a democratic majority-rule process to decide what drinks and clothing that would be allowed.
The prime feature of political decision-making is that it's a zero-sum game. One person's gain is of necessity another person's loss....The greater the number of decisions made in the political arena, the greater the potential for conflict.
Take the issue of prayers in school as an example. I think that everyone, except a maniacal tyrant, would agree that a parent has the right to decide whether his child will recite a morning prayer in school. Similarly, a parent has a right to decide that his child will not recite a morning prayer. Conflict arises because schools are government owned. That means it is a political decision whether prayers will be permitted or not. A win for one parent means a loss for another parent. The losing parent, in order to get what he wants, would have to muster up private school tuition while continuing to pay taxes for a school for which he has no use. If education were only government financed, as opposed to being government financed and produced, say through education vouchers, the conflict would be reduced. Both parents could have their wishes fulfilled by enrolling their child in a private school of their choice and instead of being enemies, they could be friends.
This idea is played out here almost daily. The most debated topics - particularly in the Public Policy forum - essentially boil down to whether government will reduce or expand choice on a variety of topics....education, retirement, health care, how much of the "fruit of our labors" we get to keep.
One of our own board members illustrates Williams' point:
Chris wrote:I am a Baptist who has fathered zero children. Yet, I have paid City State and Federal taxes for 55 years to help support a free PUBLIC school system, so all children can have a k-12 education. If you don't like the schools I have provided for you (the most common reason is "they don't teach Adam and Eve") then feel free to go to a private school. But, don't use MY money for this luxury. Use your own.
So here we have someone who supports government mandating that parents educate their children. They provide funding for that education. They mandate almost no choice in educational options and tell you "take it or leave it".
So what if, for instance, I or someone else wants a more advanced coursework. Maybe we would prefer our school to focus more on math and science. Maybe another another group wants their artistic child immersed in a school that heavily focuses on the humanities and arts. Maybe we want to have a prayer and Bible verse read before the day starts. Maybe we would like to mix in Christian church history - or Baptist history - in a world history course. Maybe others do not. Some may desire for creation to be taught alongside evolution, either equally or with one being favored over another. Others may dismiss creationism as "non-scientific" and not teach it. What of the battle for funding so often seen when the arts are often offered up for funding cuts to close budget gaps? The artistic crowd has to battle to keep its coursework instead of losing out to the more-favored STEM subjects.
Chris states that his answer to our requests would be: "If you don't like the schools I have provided for you then feel free to go to a private school. But, don't use MY money for this luxury." I guess he considers anything other than a one-size-fits all educational plan to be a "luxury", so we are left with an educational version of the famous "Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld, "NO EDUCATIONAL CHOICE FOR YOU!! NEXT!" Unfortunately for us, the product offered by the "education nazis" doesn't rival the desirability of the soup nazi's soup.
I'm Ed Thompson, and I approve this message.