Gift or Seduction?
"Excellence In Education"
Volume 6, Issue 2
Seduction, by definition, is hard to
discern in the beginning. Seducers are always attractive in some way,
that is how they get their foot in the door. They have the ability to
play into the "wants and needs" of their intended victims
often displaying a wonderfully sincere and caring presentation. Only the
very wary or the very wise will recognize a seducer immediately. Looking
backwards, however, it is much easier to see the seduction in action.
As an interesting example, let's look at
the "seducers" in action in the American public schools. The
public schools were created only about 150 years ago on the premise that
the system was the way to "Americanize" the immigrants, to
educate and uplift the poor as well as some other "social"
objectives. In order for this to work, the system needed students.
Realize that at this time in history nearly all children attended
private schools. This is where the "seduction" must start,
there must be a way to convince the parents and administrators of the
private sector to release the children to the public sector. How did
they do this? Very simple. They catered to the "greed and
need" of the Protestant church at the time. The Protestant churches
were persuaded that they could advance "Protestantism" by
closing the private and promoting the public schools. In fact, the
Protestants were given leadership positions in the beginning allowing
the church to "think" they had control of the schools. They
were even allowed to teach the Bible, the Protestant version of course,
thus allowing all those little "Catholic" children of the new
immigrants to be indoctrinated in the Protestant religion. Since the
Protestants thought they were in control of the public school system,
nearly all of them were willing to close their own parochial schools,
leaving the population with only one choice in education.
This was not
the only seductive half truth used to induce the private schools to
close, but it does illustrate the point. The net result was that the
majority of private schools closed in support of the public school
system. Even today we find that the majority of children (88%) are in
the public system.
Notice what has transpired in the last
150 years. How much control do Christians have over our public schools?
For all practical purposes, the answer is none. This is especially true
since 1962 with the Supreme Court's infamous ruling against prayer in
school. Was this seduction? We encourage you to read the history of
public schools and decide for yourself.
What does this have to do with
homeschooling except to provide one of the reasons to homeschool? Let's
take another historical look at the education movement. If indeed the
public school movement was an example of seduction, what can we learn
from the experience? We saw the promise of local control gradually erode
away until there was very little or none. If you think that there is
still local control, we would encourage you to study the federalization
of education through programs like Goals 2000 and National Standards.
The real question becomes, "What will the attitude of the public
school system be towards homeschoolers?" Will the people in control
of such a system willingly allow it to be undermined, embarrassed and
eroded by homeschoolers? Not a chance! At first, in the 1970s and 80s
when homeschoolers were few and not well organized, the education
establishment simply tried to squash any renegade parent who tried it.
Some went to jail, at least one mother died in jail, but that only
forced determined parents underground. That was basically how we started
out. This somewhat aggressive action by school districts resulted in the
creation of various homeschool and legal defense organizations which
resulted in victories for homeschoolers in court.
At this point the educational
establishment realized that frontal attacks would not end homeschooling.
Next they enlisted the services of Child Protective Services in an
attempt to outflank us. A truly fearsome opponent, CPS workers consider
themselves above the law. Initially they had several
"victories" on their behalf until our legal representation
started taking them to court and scoring victories on behalf of
homeschoolers. Even with all this oppression, the homeschool movement
continued to grow at a 15-20% rate.
We are winning the battle. We have
established our right to oversee the education of our children. Now
realize that this does not set well with the education establishment.
There is a tremendous amount of money being denied to the system each
year because of homeschooling. Just based on the fact that there are 1.5
million homeschool children in the country, the districts are loosing
over $7 billion annually.
Charter schools and public independent
study programs are becoming much more popular. Do they mean that the
education establishment has come over to our side? Or, do they mean that
our opponents have decided to seduce us instead of fighting us? If you
only look at the surface, if you only look at the kind teacher offering you
$1,000-$2,000 worth of goodies, it's easy to say that they have come to
our side. "They've learned the error of their ways. They recognize what a good job we are doing and will support us now."
You can believe that if you want, but remember those Christian schools
that closed down 150 years ago. They thought they could get something
for nothing out of the government and still keep control. We can clearly
see now how deluded they were. What a tragedy that they did not think
more carefully. We are now suffering the consequences of the actions of
those who made the decision 150 years ago to go for the "short
In the same way, those who support
charter schools and public independent study programs now, do not see
any danger or serious repercussions from their decision. Even though
these ISPs and charter schools will start to change the rules on how you
will be able to homeschool, many people will still find these options to
be tempting. However, what will the picture be like in 20-30 years?
our grandchildren be able to freely choose how their children will be
The examples are not exactly parallel.
Homeschoolers are individuals - much harder to shut down than a few
schools 150 years ago. But, the strength of homeschooling is in its
independence. Homeschooling will only remain strong as long as it is
independent. If too many become dependent on the government to raise
their children, then first independent homeschooling will fall, and
finally, all the children will be forced back to the government schools.
article is used with permission from author Carolyn Forte
Originally posted on the Web at:
About the Author:
Carolyn Forte has always
homeschooled her two daughters. Carolyn and her husband Marti own and
operate a homeschool supply store in Monrovia, Excellence
and also a large independent study program. One of the specialties of
their store is a game-based curriculum, which she and her daughter
Tenaya developed for use with all styles of homeschooling. Carolyn has
been politically active promoting homeschooling, and fighting against
School-to-Work, public school homeschool programs, and daytime curfew.
Martin is also one of the founders of the California Homeschool Network.
This article originally appeared in one of their newsletters for their
ISP. If you attend conferences in California, don't miss meeting Carolyn
~ by Mary Leggewie