CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Education, Homeschooling, the State, and Control

Sep 9, 2014

In a recent article about marriage, American writer Phyllis Schlafly said this about the Marxist war against the traditional family: “Marx hated the bourgeois family, not only because it provided the means of transmission and accumulation of private property, but also because the family controlled the formation and education of children. Marx wanted to break the family so that children could be raised and educated communally, free from patriarchal ties and religious beliefs.”

In the 1848 Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels blasted the “bourgeois claptrap about the family and education” and insisted that “we replace home education by social”. They demanded free public education for all children as a means by which the state, not parents, could control children.

childrenThis battle over the control of children did not stop with the death of Marx, but has been an ongoing battle. The coercive utopians of the state always see autonomous groups such as church and family as a threat to their control on power.

So education is always heavily regulated and increasingly brought fully under state control. Good citizens (read: mindless zombies) is what most states prefer. Those states which allow independent, critical thinkers to move about unchecked will always feel uneasy.

This is why all the great works of fiction warning about a future totalitarian state deal with the issue of education. Whether it is George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, or others, they rightly warn about how the total state must have total control over education.

If you think all this is just the stuff of science fiction, or of past Communist regimes, think again. It is still happening, as I have documented often. Homeschooling especially is seen as a threat by many governments. The most recent clear example of this comes from Ireland. Consider this shocking story:

Irish mother of six Monica O’Connor, 47, spent three hours in jail Wednesday as punishment for homeschooling her two youngest children in violation of new Irish regulations. The controversial case isn’t over by a long shot, however. The child protection agency TUSLA could go after her again next year, and her husband Edward O’Neill, 49, must still serve time for the same offence.
“We don’t intend to take it to a higher court. We think that’s what they want,” O’Connor told LifeSiteNews. But neither will the couple back down. “We clearly have the right to home school under the Constitution,” she added. But unlike Canada and the United States, Irish law does not allow a constitutional defence in the lower courts.
O’Connor, a home birth facilitator, and O’Neill, a teacher, homeschooled four older children to adulthood, and all have done fine since: the youngest has just been admitted to university to study classical music.
What’s changed, Jane Donegan of the Irish Home Education Network told LifeSiteNews, is that Ireland has a relatively new law governing homeschoolers, and a very new agency, called TUSLA, to enforce it. Homeschooling parents are now treated as if their children are truants until they apply for permission to homeschool and get assessed for their suitability.

Jailed for homeschooling! Hitler also made homeschooling illegal in Germany – and incredibly that law still stands! As I said, the state brooks no competition, and the more Big Government you have, the less tolerance there is for independent education – or even independent thinking.

Because of this, throughout the Western world more and more parents are turning to homeschooling. As the West gets more and more secular and sleazy, and hostile to Christian values and beliefs, it is becoming a necessary option for many. Consider one American state where it has really taken off:

In North Carolina, the number of homeschoolers has now surpassed the number of students attending private schools.
That statistic may seem shocking if you’ve been a stranger to the growth of the homeschooling movement, which has rapidly increased in recent decades.
In 1973, there were approximately 13,000 children, ages 5 to 17, being homeschooled in the United States. But according to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of the 2011-2012 school year, that number has grown to almost 1.8 million or approximately 3.4 percent of the school age population. Other sources report numbers well over 2 million.
In the Tar Heel state alone, homeschooling has increased by 27 percent over the past two years. Those are pretty impressive numbers for a movement considered “fringe” not that long ago and that has only been legal in all 50 states since 1996.
So, why are more parents making the choice to homeschool? As with many decisions, it’s rarely one single factor. The Department of Education, which surely isn’t happy with the trend, has tracked the issue since 2003. According to its findings:
In 2003, 85 percent of parents said they chose homeschooling because of “a concern about the school environment” which included worry about safety, drugs or negative peer pressure. That number jumped to 91 percent by 2011.
In 2003, 72 percent said “a desire to provide religious or moral instruction” was a major reason. In 2011, that number had increased to 77 percent.
In 2003, 68 percent said “dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools” contributed to their decision. By 2011, that was up to 74 percent.

Australia too has a growing homeschooling movement – and for good reason. A recent article by a Victorian writer highlights the truth that education is all about control. Susan Wight says that the “history of Australian schooling is a history of social control”.

Her concluding thoughts are these:

Today school has become so entrenched in society that it is unquestioned by the majority of citizens. The social control is so complete that people actually believe that going to school ‘socialises’ their children. Although most teachers have honourable motives of helping children learn, their efforts are lost in the huge machine of the modern system which now has a life of its own. The original premise of social control underlies the current system and is continually perpetuated by teachers who grew up in the system and approved of it enough to make it their career.

There is an educational war going on in the West, part of the larger cultural wars. Abraham Lincoln was quite right when he stated that “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” That is why the state is so keen about education, and why so many parents are so worried about it.

In his book After America, Mark Steyn wrote: “For four decades America watched as politically correct fatuities swallowed the entire educational system, while conservatives deluded themselves that it was just a phase, something kids had to put up with as the price for getting a better job a couple years down the road. The idea that two generations could be soaked in this corrosive bilge and it would have no broader impact, that it could be contained within the precincts of academe, was always foolish.”

Or as Spurgeon put it from a more religious point of view: “To leave our youthful population in the hands of secular teachers, will be to sell them to the Ishmaelites.” All concerned parents need to think long and hard about how they will educate their children – especially while we still have some limited freedoms to explore various options.

townhall.com/columnists/phyllisschlafly/2014/08/19/faulty-ideas-about-marriage-n1880159/page/full
www.lifesitenews.com/news/irish-mother-of-six-jailed-for-homeschooling
dailysignal.com/2014/09/08/one-state-children-homeschool-attend-private-schools-shouldnt-shock/?utm_source=heritagefoundation&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailydigest&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonvaXAZKXonjHpfsX56e0rW6e%2FlMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4DTcRqI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFQrLBMa1ozrgOWxU%3D
www.home-ed.vic.edu.au/2003/10/30/australian-schooling-a-history-of-social-control/

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10 Responses to Education, Homeschooling, the State, and Control

  • And today this is in the Sydney Morning Herald…www.smh.com.au/national/education/home-schoolers-teaching-creationism-and-evolution-as-equal-theories-20140908-10dze3.html

  • Hi Bill,

    We have 4 children and actively home school the older 3. I just wanted to mention some resources in case any of your readers were interested, especially since there is very little Australian resources out there for Aussie families.

    We use an American base called ‘Sonlight’. It has a great core program for basic reading, writing and grammar, and several of the reading programs are very helpful. It is very structured which we find helpful.

    We supplement Sonlight with ‘Singapore Maths’ (because they use the metric system) and have recently started pulling resources from ‘Home schooling Downunder’ which has great Aussie geography, history, social sciences, art, etc.

    Unfortunately, the home school movement is still quite small in Australia so we are limited in our choices for materials. But we love taking the responsibility for our children’s education and investing so much time into them. We have a 1:3 Teacher/Student ratio at the moment which is pretty hard to beat within the Australian system, be it public or private.

    However, we have just learnt that we still have to “register” our children as home schoolers for government purposes. I’m not sure exactly what they entails or means, so perhaps there is a commentator here that can clarify?

  • Perhaps one of the best submissions to the current NSW inquiry into homeschooling is from Academic Dr Terry Harding (Submission 163) who addresses all the issues in a proper and methodical way, as a real expert in this area. Sadly if past experiences are to prevail Terry will most likely be ignored and certain un named teachers (see submission 1) listened to even if all they have is a biased opinion lacking any of the facts Contrast how Tery goes about it with say the NSW Teachers union (Submission 79) What sticks out is what parents have to say over against the leftist education elite. Submissions are found at: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/V3ListSubmissions?open&ParentUNID=A03FC5A78BDCFA19CA257CE6007FEF72 The Rev Fred Nile is to address the inquiry shortly.

  • The idea that school is necessary to “socialize” children is a monumental joke.

    Many of the stupid things I did in school I did specifically because of the people I hung around with and we all encouraged each other in it.

    One kid used to supply my mates and I with pornography and beyond – does this count as “socialization”?

    These days, you can see the dangerous and stupid trends that fly through schools, aided of course by the internet.

    I guess this is exactly the kind of stuff the Marxists want: a stupid generation that embraces perversity and eggs each other down into greater depravity.

  • I also noticed a new trend where libraries are being dismantled over the last 10 years.- see http://www.smh.com.au/comment/library-book-dumping-signals-a-new-dark-age-20140903-10bspm.html

    This would only serve to dumb down the masses and allow the rewriting of history…once the original information disappears it can be rewritten with newer fictions… humanity in general is so very lost.

  • Bill, I have recently completed my PhD dissertation on home-based education in Australia.

    https://newgeneva.academia.edu/DrLanceABox

    Your readers may be interested in some of the things that I wrote about.

    I continue to write at:

    http://lanceaboxeducationresearch.com/

    God bless you.

  • Education has been pretty well taken over by the Fabian Socialists in Australia, and (as Stalin was recorded as calling them), the useful idiots (I being one of them for 26 years) aided the progression of their cause, by supporting government-funded schooling.

    Socialization is the process of making socialists (dependents upon the state). The best place for socializing is the government-funded school – and that includes so-called Christian schools. The death of the Christian Schooling movement took place when they began receiving Government money, despite Peter Frogley’s prophetic warnings over the past 30+ years.

    Call me a nutter. Call me whatever you like, but I am now convinced, that the only way forward for Christian families is to deschool, and then home-base educate, with a discipleship emphasis. It means that we will have to stop the covetousness that is associated with huge mortgages and the requirement for double-incomes to keep up with the debt repayments, so that mums can stay at home and do what mums have done best for millennia–raise their children.

    Secular, Free and Compulsory education was demanded by the Protestant denominations in the mid to late 1800’s. The Catholics held out until the 1960s. The covenantal consequences of choosing Caesar over Christ in the area of education is coming to fruition. We are reaping what was sown by our Church predecessors–a schooled mindset that believes that the only way to be educated is to attend school. It is a lie. It is just not true.

    I say much more on this subject at:

    http://lanceaboxeducationresearch.com/

    and in my PhD dissertation at:

    https://newgeneva.academia.edu/DrLanceABox

  • Mark Topping, you asked about registration.

    I have given Bill permission to pass on my email so we can discuss in more detail offline.

  • Some general comments on registration as homeschoolers.
    1. Theologically, I stand in the “no government involvement in education, EVER” corner – education is a responsibility of parents, who may engage tutors, or private schools if they choose, but they MUST retain the authority to challenge the performance of those to whom they delegate their parental teaching authority.

    2. Registration is not for the benefit of homeschoolers or their students, but the government as operators of the largest network of schools, so they can know where you are, and supposedly ensure the quality of the education the children receive

    3. Realistically, registration procedures exist in all states, and parents need to confront them according to their own consciences, and their Holy Spirit-guided reading and understanding of His Word.

    4. Potentially, registration could come in future with conditions affecting the actual content of the curriculum materials we can use. Some subtle hints of this already exist where registration includes a condition the key learning areas identified in the “national curriculum” or “State-approved [ha!] curriculum” either by the words of the Sate Education Act (however styled) or by reference to earlier forms and writers etc.

    (Maybe more later…can’t keep my eye open – sorry)

  • …homeschooling is being looked at right now by senate committee – including CDP members Paul Green and Fred Nile. More info on this would be good to add here – but I have to fly.. sorry…

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