All In All You’re Just A . . .: Reblogged from NoOneOfAnyImport

freedomconscienceI have heard it said that school choice will be the civil rights issue of our time, and I have agreed with that assessment. In retrospect, however, I think that assessment understates the gravity of the issue. Because mankind changes less than we would like to admit, today’s assaults on freedom differ little from yesterday’s assaults. That’s why school choice just part of a larger problem; it’s a First Amendment issue.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (continued here)

With the passage of the 14th Amendment, the First Amendment also applies to the states. Therefore, states cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion, and if school choice is about religious freedom, then state governments cannot prohibit school choice.

Consider what some consider an extreme version of school choice. Why do parents homeschool their children? Each set of parents has their own reasons. However, most parents strive to instill their own religious beliefs in their children, and homeschooling is certainly the best way to do just that. Thus, when parents homeschool their children, many governments consider it the greatest affront to their own “prerogative” to indoctrinate children. Just imagine their embarrassment. Government spends huge sums to educate children. Yet it is the homeschoolers who win spelling bees.

In All In All You’re Just A . . ., nooneofanyimport surveys the governmental assault on the homeschool movement. She begins in the United States.

As you may already know, homeschooling is with rare exception illegal in Germany, as well as many other countries.  Over the last few years Sweden and Germany have become more tyrannical over the issue, even raiding homes SWAT-style, removing children and putting parents in jail.

Since learning of the Romeikes’ quest for political asylum here in the United States, all I’ve done so far is look up the basic criteria for granting asylum:

“a well-founded fear of persecution based on at least one of five internationally recognized grounds:  race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”

and briefly attempt to debate a commenter over at Tom’s who, unsurprisingly, didn’t stick around for much of my argumentative stylings:

The criteria to which you refer are race, religion, nationality, political opinion, and social group.  I could reasonably argue that social group and political opinion apply, but the most obvious criterion is religion.

Want to take another stab at your argument that their decision to homeschool is not religiously based?

He did not want to take another stab.

The 6th Circuit ruled several weeks ago that the German homeschooling-and-evangelical-Christian family is not eligible for refugee status and should be deported.  The Romeikes appealed for a rehearing en banc. The DOJ responded on the 26th of June.  At this point, the parties are waiting to see if the 6th Circuit will grant the rehearing.  If they do not, the Romeikes’ next step will be to appeal directly to SCOTUS. (continued here)

Is religious freedom in jeopardy in the United States? In CONSIDERING ANOTHER VIEW, we considered how our government is trying to amend our First Amendment right to freedom of religion. To stifle religious practice, some of our elected officials would like to redefine that phrase “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” from being able to comply with the dictates of one’s own conscience to merely freedom of worship. These folks would have us believe that religion is just a private, spiritual thing. If we can squat in our living rooms, gaze at our belly buttons, and moan “ooommmmm”, then we have freedom of religion. That is, we can make fools of ourselves and worship our belly buttons.

21 thoughts on “All In All You’re Just A . . .: Reblogged from NoOneOfAnyImport

  1. I’m a constitutional conservative, so I rely on the language of that document to define individual rights. Home schooling ain’t in there. I don’t need no help from “Social Democrats” (who are at the other end of the political spectrum from my views), “socialist educational institutions”, or the “corporate mass media”, be it FOX, MSNBC, CNN or ESPN.

    I am also a traditionalist American history fan. I had not previously encountered the word “obscuration”, but it sounds like something I would be against, at least in this context.

    The rest of the comment is pretty obscure to me (is this because of “obscuration”?). But, having been in a lot of places in the world and seen tyranny of varying degrees of malevolence, from somewhat benign (Taiwan under Chiang Kai-Shek) to overwhelmingly evil (South Africa in the late 1960s; Eastern Europe in the early 1970s), I can tell you that tyranny hasn’t set its foot in this country yet and I hope it never will.


  2. You may be right that I have higher expectations about clarity of expression of thought than some. I still don’t know what “doing it” and “living constitution” have to do with one another. I suspect there is a kind of code for folks who believe that the “living constitution” concept has some fixed meaning.

    I don’t think there is any “right to abort”, CT. Roe v. Wade did not create a “right to abort”. It did hold that individual states have no governmental interest in restricting access to abortions during the period in which the fetus is non-viable outside the womb. Of course, as noted in many places, in the 40 years since that decision, the “viability” line has gotten pushed back considerably. Hence the effort to re-visit that issue now in many state legislatures. I have problems with Roe v. Wade, but I don’t see it as a font for home schooling rights.

    On one level, I view the home-schooling issue as similar to cases where parents withhold medical assistance based on religious beliefs (although home-schooling has merit outside of any religious considerations). It is always difficult to balance religious rights with the rights of minors to medical attention. Generally, however, the courts find that the State has an interest in protecting and preserving the lives of minors against even sincerely held religious beliefs of parents who would deprive the children of medical assistance. There are many, many parents who are completely incapable of giving a proper education to their children. Many of these parents have very limited educational backgrounds themselves. The State has a legitimate interest in protecting all of us from living in a country where large numbers of citizens are inadequately educated to make positive contributions to the economy. So, home school away, but make sure that there are safeguards in place to guarantee that the education received is adequate to prevent kids from becoming wards of the state when they become adults.


    1. Scout – What you want to define as a right is your choice. If you want to create your own language, you can. Or, as you seem to be doing, you can adopt the definitional choices of Socialist Democrats. With the help of socialist educational institutions and the corporate mass media, you too can participate in obscuration of our nation’s history and traditions.

      More and more it seems like a fairy tale. Once men spoke of each others rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now they speak of their right to the productivity of their neighbors. Once men spoke of God-given rights. Now, as busybodies are wont to do, they “protectively” limit each others rights. Soon we will only have the right to do what our glorious leaders say we can do, but once there was time when Americans did as they wish — so long as they did not infringe upon their neighbors’ God-given rights.

      Is CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN is for the best? Must be. The glorious leaders we chose are so smart and caring, and we so dumb. Don’t we need to be protected from ourselves? Can’t we trust the politicians we chose to do what is right? YES WE CAN! Why else would we submit so docilely to tyranny?


  3. I was referring to you 0642 comment, CT. You used this phrase “living constitution” and then talked about people “doing it”. Doing what? My inquiry was about your reference to a Constitutional Amendment.

    Re your later comment: Why is there a link between homeschooling and abortions? My first, unstudied impression is that these are different issues. Are you saying that Roe v. Wade established a constitutional right to home schooling? Sorry, can’t follow that.

    I am for home-schooling, as noted above. I don’t believe “rights” have anything to do with it, but I think it is good policy not to prohibit it. My only concern is that those who teach home-schoolers know what they are teaching. I would be an absolutely horrible chemistry teacher. I have no business getting near it. On the other hand, there are a few subjects where I could be competitive with the public schools. If home-schooling parents can objectively adjudge themselves to be competent in the subjects they are teaching and their children are taught to a standard that meets or exceeds those demanded in the state schools, I say have at it.


    1. Scout – Did you really find the context that obscure? In context, “doing it” refers to amending the Constitution as a “living Constitution”. Even the unintended double entendre added to my meaning.

      Therefore, I am puzzled you still pretend not to understand. I know I am not this world’s best writer, and King Solomon already has the title of the wisest man who ever lived. I will even concede you write better. Nonetheless, you understood me, and it was sort of funny. So why do you still want to discuss your confusion over what you already understand? Strikes me as silly. What is the point? Is for you even momentary confusion such a rarity that you marvel at it?

      According to the Declaration of Independence, government exists to protect our rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I think that means that so long as we do not infringe upon someone else’s rights we each have the right to do whatever we wish. Hence the comment on abortion. Parents have the “right” to abort, but they do not have the right to homeschool the children they choose to accept as a gift from God. That’s ridiculous!

      I am pleased that you are for homeschooling, but I think you would overreach. So long as they are not abusing their children, it is not my business or your business to tell other parents how they should educate or otherwise raise their children. None of us have that much wisdom. We also do not have the wisdom to elect some busybody politician to stick his or her nose into other people’s business. When we try, we just become busybodies, and we just make each other miserable.


  4. the home is 90% better than a classroom but, there must be a balance for interaction. I finished my jr. high and high school, college and university at home, 9 yrs by tele-class which was by a phone and my mother took care of added curriculum because I have had a tracheotomy from the age of ten, school system wouldn’t make themselves responsible for my safety~ I got great grades and never felt deprived.


  5. @CT re “living constitution”: I found that comment unintelligible.

    I guess my question was, in response to your assertion that “out government is trying to amend our First Amendment right to Freedom of Religion.” I was interested in the amendment itself, who has proposed it, why it hasn’t really garnered any attention in the news, and how it could have any chance of enactment. You clearly had something in mind there. I have not been as diligent as I might be about keeping up with these events, but I thought I would have noticed an Amendment, particularly of the First Amendment.


    1. Unintelligible? I answered your question, and the post I reference explained the issue. If I cannot make you read my posts, how am I suppose to make you read anything else?


  6. I was not aware that there was a “right” to make a choice about home schooling, but I do support it if the people doing the educating (it doesn’t have to be the parents – I know of situations where, in a given neighborhood, the parents who excel at one subject (say, Latin) take kids from several families and then trade off with a parent who is quite good at, for example, higher algebra) know what they’re doing. My concern is, however, that some of the people most enthusiastic about home-schooling are not paragons of competence in the subjects their children need to master. Lin makes a good point that there are other resources available. There are some extraordinarily good on-line tutorials available in higher mathematics. I’ve taken a few myself to patch up some weaknesses from my schoolboy days. Whether the parent has the sense to avail him/herself of these resources is another matter.

    Lin also makes a good point that it is not a slam-dunk given that public school teachers are necessarily competent. I’ve seen some sad cases in my day. As long as home-schooled kids are performing to acceptable levels of competence on standardized tests used in the public schools, I think we avoid the danger that kids are mal-educated at home by parents whose only skill is that they are afraid of the public schools.


    1. Scout — There is no right to homeschool, but there is a right to abort? ❓

      When parents either abuse their children or fail in their responsibilities to care for them, government has the responsibility to intervene. Otherwise, government does not have the right to stop parents from homeschooling their children. Yet the teacher unions want a busybody government to stop parents from homeschooling their children — and that would not violate anyone’s rights?

      When a small group of parents decided to get together and hire a teacher, they started our nation’s public education system. When local politicians decided to “organize and fund” the program, they probably had the best of intentions. However, in addition to School Boards, we now have Federal, state, and local government involvement. That makes the system a mess! Who is in charge?

      Control needs to be returned back to parents, and privatization would do just that.


    2. Thanks Scout. I’m sticking to standardized tests myself, even though FL allows me to use an interview and portfolio analysis by a FL certified teacher instead. It’s a little frustrating, b/c I know their levels aren’t higher b/c the test isn’t allowing for everything they’ve learned (ex, the 2nd grade test asked nothing about Egypt or the Roman Empire, but did ask “which person pictured is a volunteer?” (huh?) and the 5th grade test didn’t include any Latin terms). But it’s so reassuring to see that, even though they didn’t “learn to the test,” they still performed acceptably, compared to their brick and mortar peers.

      the best part was how both of their vocabulary results were off the charts. I’m starting to understand why homeschoolers win spelling bees. lol.

      Congrats Tom on your daughter’s wedding! How wonderful.



      1. Glad to hear you are getting such great results. And thank you.

        Because government runs the public school system, when government officials prepare standardized tests, they have an inevitable bias. As a result, standardized tests reflect what the government education monopoly thinks important.

        If we want government to act as an impartial referee when it acts to protect the rights of the People, we must limit the scope of our government’s responsibilities.


  7. I’m not on board with this comment, though: “home-schooling only works if one or both parents . . . are qualified to teach all the subjects necessary to prepare the kids for life in a complex industrial/post-industrial society. There are very few households that can meet those standards.”

    Very few professional teachers could meet the standard Scout proposes. The great thing is, a child’s learning is not limited by their parent’s or teacher’s (or parent-teacher’s) body of knowledge. It’s really great how textbooks, library books, the internet, museums, other teachers, and the student himself can bring additional knowledge to the table.

    So, for anyone who didn’t realize, homeschoolers often use all the above tools, including specialized teachers. Shoot, homeschool moms often have a background in teaching themselves.

    Take my older son’s role as Jr. Docent at the Armed Forces Museum, for example. I may not be “qualified” to teach History, but I’m facilitating my son’s learning far beyond the limits of my knowledge or credentials.

    And I sure have more confidence in my abilities than I do the “qualifications” of chuckleheads like these:

    Have a great weekend, everyone!


  8. thanks for the reblog, Tom! Scout brings up a good point about Catholic schools not being discernibly better than public schools at helping us raise Godly children. That was certainly my impression during the 2 years mine were in Catholic school.

    my best to you!


    1. Sorry about the delayed response. Family business. One of my daughters got herself hitched.

      I have mixed feelings about Catholic schools. I attended them for couple of years, and I send my children to them for part of their education. Because Catholic schools cater parents with average incomes, they don’t have loads of money. Nonetheless, they compete with relatively well-heeled public schools. Moreover, when few other denominations make any such effort, they have stuck it out. Against considerable social pressure, Catholic schools provide a Christian education.

      How successful are Catholic schools? It is hard to measure such a thing. I wish they did a better job, but I don’t think any school can succeeds in just a couple of years.


  9. PS: which elected officials have proposed amending the Constitution, particularly the First Amendment. I would have thought that might garner some mention in the news. I also think it would be a tough sell politically. I read fairly assiduously, and I haven’t come across this.


    1. You are familiar with the phrase “living Constitution.” Even the people doing it must admit they have substantially altered the document. They just pretend that they have the right and even the obligation to do so.


  10. Why does home-schooling better enable parents to indoctrinate children with religious beliefs? My older daughter went to Catholic school through high school and my younger went to public schools. I did not detect any discernible difference in my ability to inculcate religious values in either child. I guess if I had home-schooled them, I might have spent even more time on spiritual matters, but I think they absorbed about as much as they were going to absorb in both cases, either through their parents or through church.

    I would think the benefit of home-schooling is essentially non-religious: it’s more efficient. A lot of time is wasted in public schools on non-academic matters. Of course, home-schooling only works if one or both parents can be at home, and are qualified to teach all the subjects necessary to prepare the kids for life in a complex industrial/post-industrial society. There are very few households that can meet those standards.


    1. I think it self-evident that if parents educate their own children they have a better chance of instilling their own beliefs in their own children. I see nothing to gain by commenting on your personal situation.

      Is it difficult to homeschool? Yes, but we still have the right to make that choice.


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