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Homeschool Regulation:
The Revenge of the Failures

Bruce Shortt

[COMMENT:   A good email on the dangers confronting freedom of education in America.  The condition of American education continues to be appalling.  GET YOUR CHILDREN OUT OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.  FIND A WAY.    E. Fox]

      This article by Dr Bruce Shortt, Exodus Mandate Board member and our Texas State Coordinator, ran on Worldnetdaily.com on 01/04.  After the  liberal gains in the Nov 7 elections we need to be alert for any governmental or legislative efforts to regulate or restrict Home Schooling. The effort in MS may be just such an attempt. Bruce's article helps define the  issues and why home schoolers must not cooperate with nor tolerate any such attempts. Read and enjoy and pass along to your own E-list, your pastor and family. Blessings (E. Ray Moore, Jr, Chaplain (Lt.Col.) USAR Ret at www.Exodusmandate.org)

Note: forwarded message attached.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "James Boyes" <jmboyes@whidbey.net>
To: "CEANet" <CEANet@list.whidbey.net>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 15:58:37 -0800
Subject: CEANet1901: Homeschool Regulation: The Revenge of the Failures
Christian Education Awareness Network (CEANet)
                             Message 1901
Internet:  http://www2.whidbey.net/jmboyes
E-mail:    CEANet@list.whidbey.net

Homeschool Regulation: The Revenge of the Failures

by Bruce N. Shortt, Ph.D. (*)      from www.WorldNetDaily.com, January 4, 2007

In their never-ending effort to "help" homeschoolers,
public school bureaucrats periodically try to increase
homeschooling regulations. This makes K-12 education
perhaps a unique endeavor: it's a field in which the
failures regularly, and astonishingly, insist that they
should be able to regulate the successful.
Never mind that homeschoolers consistently outperform
children institutionalized in government schools or that
the longer a child is institutionalized in a government
school the worse he does in relation to homeschooled
children. Never mind, also, that international surveys
of academic performance show that in the course of
12 years government schools manage to turn perfectly
capable children into world-class dullards. No, the
same education bureaucrats who consume an annual
cash flow of roughly $600 billion to achieve previously
unknown levels of semi-literacy and illiteracy among
otherwise normal American children feel compelled
from time to time to abandon their diligent pursuit of
intellectual mediocrity to offer proposals for regulating
homeschool parents.
The latest outbreak of education bureaucrat compassion
comes from Mississippi. There the Grand Panjandrum,
indeed, the very Mikado of Mississippi education,
Superintendent Hank Bounds, is working at creating a
panel of Quisling homeschool parents to determine
whether homeschool families should be further regulated.
Why does the estimable Superintendent Bounds think that
homeschooled children would benefit from more attention
from Mississippi's crack team of government educators?
Well, because he worries that some parents might take
their children out of government schools and then fail to
educate them. As Bounds inarticulately put it in a
November news conference:
" [Y]ou must realize we all have this moral and ethical
responsibility to deal with those situations where clearly
it's nothing more than a child abuse situation when parents
pull their children out of school, say they're being
homeschooled just because parents ... don't want to be
involved in the education of their children. ..."
Subsequently, the editorial staff of Jackson's Clarion-Ledger
came to Bounds' aid by translating this gibberish into English.
Evidently, Bounds and his Clarion-Ledger cheerleaders think
that Mississippi parents are removing their children from
Mississippi's government schools just so that they can deny
them an education at home.
Interestingly, neither Bounds nor the Clarion-Ledger point to
any evidence that this is a significant problem in Mississippi
or anywhere else. In fact, a little reflection would indicate
that this expression of "concern" is more than a little
disingenuous. After all, if you really don't want your
children to be educated, the most effective strategy is to
institutionalize them in one of Superintendent Bounds'
government schools. That obviously requires much less
effort than keeping them at home.
Moreover, if Bounds really wants to characterize a failure to
educate as "child abuse," then what is to be said of him and
his bureaucrats who are responsible for a school system in
which a catastrophic failure to educate is the norm?
According to the U.S. Department of Education's National
Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, often
known as "The Nation's Report Card," Bounds' bureaucrats
have failed Mississippi's children and taxpayers as follows:
1. Reading: 82 percent of Mississippi's fourth-graders cannot
read at grade level, with 52 percent not being able to read
at even a basic level. By eight grade, 82 percent of
Mississippi's children still cannot read at grade level, with
40 percent being unable to read at even a basic level.
2. Mathematics: 81 percent of fourth-graders are below grade
level in math, with 31 percent lacking even a basic grasp
of mathematics. By eighth grade, math illiteracy is
burgeoning in Mississippi: 86 percent of students are
below grade level in math, with 48 percent lacking even a
basic understanding of mathematics.
3. Science: 88 percent of fourth-graders are below grade level,
with 55 percent lacking even a basic knowledge of science.
By eighth grade, 86 percent of Mississippi's children are
below grade level, with an amazing 60 percent lacking a
basic grasp of the subject.
Lest anyone be under the impression that the NAEP has
unusually high academic standards, testimony before the
Board of Governors for the NAEP indicates, for example,
that the "advanced" mathematics questions for the eighth-
grade NAEP are at best comparable to fifth grade questions
in Singapore's math curriculum. So, while the NAEP may
not require high levels of academic competence, it does
highlight Mississippi schools' systematic failure to educate.
And just where does the performance of Superintendent
Bounds' Mississippi education bureaucracy put
Mississippi's children nationally? Dead last in fourth-grade
reading and eighth-grade math (tied with Alabama), and
third from last in fourth-grade math and eighth-grade reading.
Note that Bounds' schools manage to produce these
prodigious levels of academic failure by spending roughly
$7,000 per student per year, an amount that would pay
tuition at many, many excellent private schools. One
shudders to think what Bounds' "educators" might
accomplish with even more money.
Apart from worrying about the possibility that a
homeschooling parent somewhere might be lying in bed
eating bon bons instead of teaching junior, Bounds and
his editorial friends also fret about homeschooling parents
who have not finished high school. With a little research,
however, anyone, even including editorial writers, can
discover that there is evidence indicating that children
homeschooled by parents without a high school diploma
are at no disadvantage at all compared to public school
As it turns out, in a basic battery of tests that included writing
and mathematics, homeschooled children whose mothers
hadn't finished high school scored in the 83rd percentile
while students whose fathers hadn't finished high school
scored in the 79th percentile. Bear in mind, too, that
children in Mississippi public schools do not on average
come close to doing this well on any legitimate, nationally
normed test. Moreover, there are also studies that indicate
that regulation does not have any positive impact on the
academic achievement levels of homeschooled students.
Of course, no attack on homeschooling is complete without
someone raising the "socialization" question. At least in
this Bounds' pom-pom wavers at the Clarion-Ledger did
not disappoint: "Can homeschooled children cope with
social pressures, people skills? More is learned in a
classroom and school setting than A-B-Cs. ..."
Again, like the other "worries" deployed in scaring the
public into supporting expanded homeschool regulation,
a little research would have shown this to be a baseless
concern. In 2001, Greg Cizek, associate professor of
educational research at the University of North Carolina,
summarized what researchers know about the "socialization"
question: ''It is basically a non-issue. ... If anything,
research shows that because parents are so sensitive to
the charge, they expose them [their children] to so many
activities." More recently, a study of 7,000 homeschooled
adults found, among other things, much higher levels of
civic involvement, participation in higher education, and
life satisfaction among them than adults who were not
By attacking homeschool parents, Bounds is playing a
familiar game. The goal is to distract the public's attention
from the abject failure of the public schools for which he
is responsible. After all, no government school system so
thoroughly fails to educate as Bounds' schools.
Nevertheless, Bounds wants the public to believe that the
same bureaucrats who daily busy themselves producing
massive illiteracy in Mississippi's public schools should
have more power over homeschool parents, even though
homeschooling parents are already doing a magnificent
job with their children.
Perhaps we can all agree with Superintendent Bounds in
one respect, however. Mississippi does need more
regulation of education. Consequently, as a public service,
here is my modest proposal for reforming Mississippi's
public schools: Homeschooling parents should regulate
Bounds until the students in the government schools for
which he is responsible academically outperform
homeschooled children. Unfortunately, this recommendation
is not likely to be accepted, which means that state
superintendents of education around the country will
continue to be able to tell parents upset about the job their
local schools are doing, "Well, at least we're not
(c) Copyright 1997-2007 All Rights Reserved.
WorldNetDaily.com Inc.
(*) Bruce N. Shortt has a Ph.D. from Stanford and a law
degree from Harvard, was a Fulbright Scholar, and serves
on the board of Exodus Mandate. He is the author of
The Harsh Truth About Public Schools  and several
resolutions on Christian education submitted to Annual
Meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Shortt is
a member of North Oaks Baptist Church and currently
practices law in Houston, where he resides with his wife
and homeschools their sons.

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