They say it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.
Last week, the Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals determined that parents who had stopped homeschooling their children because they thought Jesus was soon to return were not exempt from the state’s education regulations. The parents – Michael and Laura McIntyre – took their nine kids out of private school in 2004 in favor of home school.
The case came to a head in 2006, when the El Paso Independent School District received an anonymous tip that the children were not being educated at all. When the district attempted to recover curriculum data from the McIntyres, they were stonewalled. This led to truancy complaints. The McIntyres filed a lawsuit against the District, claiming that their freedom of religion was being hampered by school district regulations.
In their ruling, the district said, “No parents have ever prevailed in any reported case on a theory that they have an absolute constitutional right to educate their children in the home, completely free of any state supervision, regulation, or requirements. They do not have an absolute constitutional right to home school.”
Naturally, the case is being met with unrestrained mockery from observers on the left. It fits only too well into the widespread assumptions and stereotypes they have about homeschooled religious kids.
“The fact that these parents believe in the rapture shows the consequences of a poor education, case closed,” said the top comment on a Reddit post.
Liberals love nothing more than to take one bad example and hold it up to the light, making sure that it confirms their worldview in every possible way. What is that worldview? In many cases, it’s that Christians are stupid, homeschooling creates social misfits, and that public, secular education is always the best choice.
Well, that’s hogwash.
The truth is that there are very good reasons to consider homeschooling your children, especially if failing public schools are your only alternative. Today’s classrooms can house more than 40 students in states that haven’t passed a class-size amendment. This is going to severely limit the amount of personal attention each child gets. Homeschooling is the only way outside of expensive tutors that you can ensure your child is getting the best, most attentive education.
Then there is crime and safety. I can’t find any numbers on how many homeschooled children are attacked by their peers in a given year, but suffice to say that it’s probably a fairly low percentage. Compare that to the 2010 numbers from the CDC about public school violence, which showed that there were around 828,000 nonfatal victimizations involving students from the ages of 12 and 18.
When you have dedicated parents who understand the hard work and discipline it takes to make homeschooling successful, it can be a very viable alternative to the public school system. With Common Core creeping into schools across the country at an alarming rate, this might indeed be the perfect time to consider every option.