Iowa Just Repealed ALL of It’s Homeschooling Law

*** Important note! It appears that there is one last chance to stop this repeal. We need to convince Governor Barnstad to do a line item veto of Division XI of House File 215, which he plans to sign next week or shortly thereafter. See this post for more information. ***

Yesterday, the Iowa legislature betrayed its obligation to protect the well-being of that state’s homeschooled children. In one fell swoop, the legislature removed every safeguard designed to ensure that they were actually receiving an education. It’s gone now, all of it, every little protection, and there is now nothing left to ensure the needs and interests homeschooled children. Nothing. And that is, of course, how homeschooling advocates wanted it.

Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, who was home-schooled himself and home-schools his own children, sponsored the amendments adding the language to the reform package. He called the language an “independence amendment.”

“Quite frankly, as I’m home-schooling my children, it is my duty and my job to raise them to the best of my ability. It’s not the government’s job to do that,” he said. “So if I’m choosing to independently educate my children, I should not be accountable to the government for how I am choosing to raise my children.”

Yes, you read that right—this homeschooling legislator insists that he “should not be accountable.” Because they’re his kids, dammit, and he should be allowed to do what he likes with them. Require that he actually educate them? Ha. They’re his, dammit. His possessions, his property. The idea that they might be independent entities with their own needs and interests that should be safeguarded is apparently completely foreign to Mr. Windschitl.

How did this happen? Put simply, Republicans attached the removal of homeschoolregulation to a sweeping educational reform bill aimed at improving the state’s public schools. Democrats were stuck—if they voted against the bill on the basis of not wanting to repeal homeschooling regulations, they would be voting against school reform and a bill they believed in. And so, when the school reform bill passed, homeschool regulation disappeared, a sacrificial lamb Republicans demanded as a price for improvements to public education.

Before this turn of events, Iowa law required homeschool parents to turn in a form with their children’s names and ages and a basic outline of their plan of instruction to their local school districts each summer, and then required that they either homeschool under a supervising teacher or participate in annual progress assessments for their children. These assessments could have been a report card from acorrespondence school, a portfolio assessment by a teacher, or standardized testing, for which parents could choose from a variety of achievement tests. For those using the assessment option, the requirement was that they show “adequate progress” each year over the previous year.

I read over the entirety of Iowa’s (now former) homeschooling law, and there’s a lot to like there. I think it reaches a good balance of allowing parents to choose thecurriculum and guide their children’s instruction while still ensuring that children’s need to be educated is being met. But now it is gone. Under the new law (or, rather, lack thereof), homechooling parents need not report to anyone that they are homeschooling, and they need not have their children’s progress assessed, ever. Under the new law, there is no one at all ensuring that homeschooled children are actually being educated.

This hurts the homeschooled children of Iowa in two very concrete ways. First, while most homeschooling parents may value their children’s education and work hard to ensure that they are learning, not all do and not all will. Some homeschooling parents see passing on their religious faith as more important than education anyway, some get overwhelmed by baby after baby and see education fall by the wayside, and some never intend to educate their children at all, instead using homeschooling as a cover for child abuse or in an effort to end truancy prosecutions. These children are the ones who lost when the legislature repealed its homeschooling regulations yesterday.

Second, having some form of requirement or accountability helps many homeschool parents educate their children better than they might otherwise. I grew up in a state with no homeschooling regulations whatsoever. I saw homeschooled children who got very little in the way of education, but whose parents I am confident would have stepped things up if the alternative had been being required to put their children in public school. As Lana of Wide Open Ground, who also grew up homeschooled in a state without homeschool regulations, put it, “I think a tiny bit of support and regulation would have helped our family. First of all, if we had been required to submit a plan, my parents would have made us follow it. It wasn’t that we were trying to do bad. We were out of touch.” Here, once again, is where homeschooled children lost in yesterday’s legislative action.

Who was there speaking on behalf of Iowa’s homeschooled children? Well, there was the attorney for the school boards association.

Gannon, the attorney for the school boards association, said the current home-school reporting and assessment requirements are critical to ensure students are learning what they need to know. She said she’s heard “horror stories” from around the state of home-school students entering the public schools for their final years of high school grossly unprepared for grade-level course work.

“We have had first-hand evidence of these students not getting the appropriate education they need to be getting,” she said. “I don’t think that’s the majority of home-schoolers by any means, but I don’t know how you pick and choose who’s going to do a good job and who’s not.”

The executive director of the state’s teachers union also spoke against the change, though she focused more on the double standard than on the children’s interests:

“It seems to me to be a really odd mix of strong accountability on our public school teachers but much, much less accountability on home-school parents,” she said.

And that, apparently, was it.

It’s about time someone stood up and spoke for the homeschooled child. It’s about time homeschool groups acknowledged that some level of accountability actually stands to benefit their children, rather than just focusing on how annoying the paperwork is. It’s about time the news media noticed what is happening. It’s about time someone cared.

For more on this subject, here are some links I used in preparing this post:

Homeschooling Tripping Up Education Reform

Medford Mom: “I Do Not Think Home Educators Should Be Regulated, Ever”

Iowa Legislature Approves Landmark Home Education Legislation

————

Addendum:

Here is some information for those who want more detail on what Iowa’s regulations looked like. Click here to read the HSLDA brief on Iowa’s homeschooling laws, which I will quote from below. First, parents had to submit a form (called a CPI, or Competent Private Instruction, form) to their local school district.

TIMING: File the CPI form by August 26. If moving into the state or initiating homeschooling after the school year has begun, submit a form that is at least partially completed within 14 calendar days and a fully completed form within 30 days.

CONTENTS: The form asks for the name and age of the child, the number of days of instruction (must be 148), texts used, the name and address of the instructor, and an “outline of course of study” (meaning subjects covered, lesson plans, and time spent on the areas of study–there is no mandated minimum). It also requires evidence of vaccinations (or medical or religious exemption) for children being home schooled for the first time.

Then homeschooling parents had a choice: They could homeschool under a supervising teacher of their choice, or they could choose the assessment option.

Supervising Teacher Option: If choosing this option, you must file the CPI form but will not need to submit a year-end assessment. However, you will need to cooperate in working with the ST you choose. This will generally involve consulting and advising. The ST must contact the student twice each 45 days of instruction, one of which contact must be face to face. The ST must provide formal and informal assessments and keep a record of contacts and assistance provided.

Standardized Tests: If under the supervising teacher option, none. If under the annual assessment option, assessments are required beginning the year the child is 7 on Sept. 15 (or their first year of homeschooling, if older). This first assessment is considered the “baseline” assessment, and it is not required that progress be shown or any particular result be obtained. It is simply used as a point from which to measure future progress. Beginning with the year the student is age 8 on Sept. 15, an annual assessment must be submitted that shows adequate progress.

What did the assessments under the assessment option look like? Well, there were several options to choose from.

Report card from an accredited school or correspondence school. School must be accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. “Adequate progress” is a passing grade.

Portfolio review. Parents choose a teacher to review student materials and write a brief evaluation. The evaluation—not the portfolio—is submitted to the school system. The evaluation must indicate adequate progress. A teacher with an elementary classroom license can evaluate children in grades 1-6. A teacher with an elementary content license can evaluate grades 1-8. With a secondary content license, a teacher can evaluate grades 5-12. A teacher who no longer has a current classroom or content license, but who has a current substitute license, can evaluate students of the same grade levels as if his classroom or content license were in force.

Standardized test. The test must be administered in a manner consistent with the requirements of the test publisher. The test level that most closely approximates the child’s chronological age must be used. Only the following tests can be used: (1) Terra Nova, the second edition CAT (also called CAT/6), forms C and D, 2000 norms; (2) Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, forms A & B, 2000 norms; (3) Iowa Tests of Educational Development, forms A&B, 2000 norms; (4) Metropolitan Achievement Test, 8thEdition, 2000 norms; (5) Stanford Achievement Test, 10th edition, 2002 norms. The Department of Education may grant individual permission to use other tests. Adequate progress is a score above the 30th percentile in each required test area PLUS either (a) student scoring at grade level or (b) 6 months progress from previously-submitted test.

So there you have it—the basics of Iowa’s former homechooling law.

Due to a weird glitch, all of the comments on this post have vanished.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Rilian Sharp

    I’d like to hear from some children who would be affected by this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pennerjoel Joel Penner

      Those children won’t be able to say much until they are trying to get a job or go to college/university.

      • Rilian Sharp

        What do you mean? Why wouldn’t they?

      • NeaDods

        Do you pay attention to the stories here of homeschooled children being prisoners of their own home or abused to death before they hit 18? You assume they have access to helpers and communication, or that anyone would listen to them if they did get out.

      • Jayn

        Or have any idea that things could be different, that what they’re experiencing wasn’t normal. I was reading a story a few days ago about a woman whose idea of ‘spanking’ as a child was very different from what most of us would think of–including people like the Pearls–because that’s what her father called what he did. She didn’t figure it out until she got older and had people she could compare notes with.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I remember reading that story. It was truly horrifying.

      • NeaDods

        Oh, that terrible story. Abuse like that makes me wish I could believe in hell.

      • Michelle Giroux

        They are countless public and private school children that are routinely abused in their homes as well as in many schools! Many children are home/unschooled to keep them from being abused!

      • Composer 99

        Michelle: As far as I know your point is orthogonal to whether or not there should be periodic oversight of homeschooling/unschooling familes to catch abuse or neglect, which is the point NeaDods is trying to make. Certainly there is nothing in NeaDods’ comment suggesting that NeaDods does not acknowledge the existence of abuse among children who go to public or private schools.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        And some children are homeschooled by parents who want to be able to abuse them without outside interference!

      • iueras

        Do you pay any attention to the stories of systematic abuse in public schools? I can come up with just as much flaming bullshit rhetoric as you can, 99% of it anecdotal, just like your “stories on here”.

      • NeaDods

        Okay, if you want to open up an old thread to rumble, I’ll play. I can name the 3 children whose parents have been tried and convicted of beating them to death due to Pearl advice (hint: Hana’s trial just concluded) and name the two children whose death-by-neglect have led their faith healing parents into a murder charge. I can link to actual newspaper articles about them.

        Now name me 5 children who have been murdered by the public school system. You have to point to actual newspaper articles, not vague accusations in a blog somewhere.

        I’ll give you another 4 months to come up with those 5 cases. I will consider anything short of 5 links to news articles to be a concession that your rebuttal is all rhetoric and zero substance.

      • iueras

        Columbine. Way more than 5. Sandy Bridge. Way more than 5. Your turn.

      • NeaDods

        False equivalence: ball still in your court. None of those atrocities involved school administrators using school discipline as laid out in school rules to kill children, much less claiming that there should be no government oversight after the deaths.

        Oh, and to save us both some typing, if you claim that the entire public school system is what created the Columbine killers, I’m just going to rebut that by that logic the entire Christian church is responsible for creating Andrea Yeats.

      • iueras

        Nah, I would never claim something like that. That’s ridiculous. I’m just making the point that there are plenty of killings (and I must have had Intel on the brain when I typed Sandy Hook) in a public school system. And no, a public school system did not kill anyone directly. Just like the homeschooling system doesn’t kill anyone directly. PEOPLE within these systems kill people, no more, no less.

        I fail to see any difference in administrators or students killing students… they are still killed by people within the system they are involved in.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I wasn’t aware any school officials had killed any people in those schools. It was students or outsiders in all cases, am I right?

        It’s not the school failing anyone then. Homeschooling, in which the “teachers” are the killers and which promotes an environment in which abuse is more likely to go unremarked until it leads to a death. That, to my mind, is a fatal flaw.

      • Noelle

        What confuses me is how many homeschoolers are happy to go onto college. In my experience, a college/university classroom education was no different than my public high school classroom experiences. Both are just rooms and classmates and teachers and projects and tests, etc. School is school, whether it’s sitting in a high school English class discussing The Scarlet Letter, or sitting in Physiology class in med school learning Cardiology.

      • Michelle Giroux

        College students are much more commonly treatment with respect than i traditional schools. They typically can go to the bathroom anytime they want for one thing.

      • Noelle

        :) my high school chemistry teacher told us she didn’t want to know if we had to use the restroom, to just go and do our business. If some occasion required a student have a note from her to go somewhere, she sighed, rolled her eyes, and quickly wrote the word “note” on a piece of paper and handed it over

      • iueras

        Why the downvotes on this? It’s the truth, plain and simple. Oh, I see, this is just another bullshit blog where everyone has to agree with each other and those who don’t are downvoted to oblivion, even when telling the truth, because it could be inconvenient for the narrative your goodthink circlejerk is trying to create here.

        I’m done with this blog. Maybe someday all your commenters can wake up and realize that everything is not as simple as your idealistic (or nihilistic, depending on which way you lean) viewpoints.

      • http://www.facebook.com/anonomouse.fred Anonomouse Fred

        Does a fish notice water.
        Nevermind. After reading the thread it seems you’re just an anti-gummament nutjob cheering on the destruction of regulations designed to help children and promote their education because it fits with your overarching paranoia.

      • Sally

        I hate it when a discussion disintegrates into name calling.

      • http://www.facebook.com/anonomouse.fred Anonomouse Fred

        Boo Hoo.
        I hate it when the only time people take part in a conversation is to chide people for “doing it wrong”.

      • iueras

        Honestly, if the trolls in this “discussion” are typical of homeschooling parents, we should just abolish the whole system before it screws up another generation. Homeschooling only works if you are capable of not projecting all your own biases all over everything.

        Yes, public schools have biased teachers too. But in a public environment, those biases are cushioned by the input of lots of other people (teachers, students, parents, etc). In a homeschooling environment you lack those, so you must be extra careful not to project too much.

        Honestly, the thought of someone with the rationalism and capacity for debate and tolerance Anonomouse Fred shows here homeschooling a child scares the crap out of me.

        And to the owner of the blog, I have to say, a lot (not all) of your commenters are giving off a really bad impression as the exact type of narrowminded, biased trolls that people think of when they think of homeschooling as bad.

      • Ariel

        If you think of childhood education as preparation for being an adult, you can’t really evaluate your education until you’ve been an adult for long enough to have a sense of how prepared for adulthood you are.

    • Hat Stealer

      Good luck convincing the parents to let them out of their cages.

  • Dale

    _It’s_ is a contraction of “it is”. The word your looking for is _its_.

    • Free Durian

      I just want to say how much I love the way you’ve written your instead of you’re in a comment in which you’re correcting someone else’s spelling.

      • MI Dawn

        @Free Durian: it’s an internet law. If you EVER make a spelling/grammar error, it will be when you point out someone else’s error. :)

      • Noelle

        The proper Internet spelling is “ur”

    • m11_9
      • m11_9

        Oh, no! Some one is wrong on teh internet!

  • Shay Seaborne

    Other states, like AK and TX, have no regulations regarding homeschooling, and we don’t see swarms of uneducated and abused urchins emanating from them. Please understand that homeschooling and child abuse and neglect are two different things. There are laws on the books about child abuse and neglect, so it is better to work to improve enforcement of those, rather than to attack homeschooling–which is implemented by a broad spectrum of people. There is a reason for the saying, “Hard cases make bad law.” Don’t brand all homeschoolers with the extremist/abuser brush.
    Furthermore, “what they need to know” is subjective, and there is a lot that schools do not teach and even cannot teach. Also, standardized tests really only measure how good a person is at taking standardized tests. They are not genuine indication of knowledge. The institutionalization of education–combined with the profiteering and turf control–has sucked most of the real learning right out of it.

    • NeaDods

      As AK and TX notoriously have some of the highest child poverty and lowest education rates in the whole country, I shudder to use them as examples of the way things ought to be nation-wide.

    • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

      Try reading some of Libby Ann’s other posts on home-schooling before commenting next time. You might not look so ignorant. All of your points have been covered before.

    • Rachel

      The thing is, if you aren’t actively abusing your child, Iowa’s homeschooling laws were actually really lenient and well-constructed. You didn’t have to achieve a certain score on the standardized test, for example, you just had to submit it and show adequate progress — and “adequate” is 30% on your approximate age-level. I took those tests yearly at my parochial school, and they are super-easy and non-ideological — if you have taught your children to read and do basic math, you aren’t going to have any problem passing. It takes a couple of hours out of one day. How is that not measuring a very basic yardstick of progress? How is that dangerous to the parents?

      There is no pattern, in either Iowa or elsewhere, of increasing government intrusion on homeschooling. Quite the opposite, in fact: it is becoming easier and easier to homeschool your child with zero regulation. And that is not good for all children. I can point you to stories, in TX, AR, and my home state of NJ, where parents are actively abusing their children and not even teaching them to read under the guise of “homeschooling”. It makes me sick.

      • iueras

        In the interest of fairness, why does no one point out the VAST majority of cases where there is NO abuse going on and the kids are getting a solid, well-rounded education? Does it have anything to do with the fact that without the fearmongering and rhetoric, you guys can’t get your way with the laws that allow you to be busybodies?

    • Conuly

      Sure, hard cases make bad law – but you haven’t proven that showing a child is learning something IS bad law.

    • Abby Normal

      My mom homeschooled my younger sisters in Michigan, which is also has very few regulations. Both of them wound up quite well-educated–both went to college and one went to grad school.

      The thing is, I think the reason for her success was because was pretty humble about her own abilities. She had both my sisters sit for standardized tests at the local public school (even though she wasn’t legally required to do so) because she wanted some kind of objective evidence that she was doing a good job. When they got older, she sent them to the community college for classes that she didn’t feel qualified to teach, like foreign languages and higher-level math.

      If everyone homeschooled like my mom, there wouldn’t be a problem. However, not everyone does it like my mom, and when homeschooling parents screw do screw up, when they get so arrogant about what they’re doing that they can’t be objective about what they’re doing, they do MAJOR damage to their kids. You don’t have to be physically abusive to the kid to turn out a functionally illiterate adult.

      The way I see it, this is like seat belt laws or vaccine mandates–of course the majority of parents are going to have enough common sense to do the right thing, but the law is intended to (try to) protect the kids who aren’t do lucky.

      • gimpi1

        I like your seat-belt analogy, abby. The law should step in to protect kids who’s parents are not quite making par. Seat–belt laws aren’t an attack on parents, they just help identify parents who miss the boat on car safety, for whatever reason.

        The only reason I can see for not wanting some kind of monitoring of home-schooling is because some people don’t seem to view children as people in their own right. A parent’s right to raise their child as they see fit must be subordinate to a child’s right to be raised in such a way as to let them have a shot at a happy, successful life.

      • Madonnahorr

        Well, I’ll tell you *my* reason for wanting fewer homeschooling regulations. I don’t think I “own” my children, but by the same token, I don’t think the government “owns” them either. Why is government nosiness considered the status quo in education? Why not let families do their thing unless there is a documented problem that demands government involvment, i.e., abuse or neglect?

        Yeah, I know, some kids will grow up under fundamentalist parents. Honestly? Get over it. (And no, I’m not a fundamentalist.)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=141304249 Sarah Jones

        Yeah, screw those kids! They don’t deserve a quality education or to be protected from abuse. They’ll learn to protect themselves! And educate themselves, too. That’s what Google is for.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        If they wanted an education that taught them some actual facts, they should have been born to better parents!

      • iueras

        That’s exactly what s/he said, yup. Scream rhetoric and stomp your foot harder next time. Argumentum ad absurdem always works out so well! It doesn’t make you look like an idiotic tool incapable of a rational thought at all.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        Why not let families do their thing unless there is a documented problem
        that demands government involvment, i.e., abuse or neglect?

        And how, pray yell, are they going to find out about that when the government doesn’t even know how many kids are being homeschooled?

        Why is government nosiness considered the status quo in education?

        Ensuring that everyone is receiving a basic level of education (and protecting them from abuse and neglect) is not “nosiness”.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> And how, pray yell, are they going to find out about that when the government doesn’t even know how many kids are being homeschooled? <> Ensuring that everyone is receiving a basic level of education (and protecting them from abuse and neglect) is not “nosiness”. <<

        Of course it is. Government's legitimate function is to protect actual victims, not conduct surveillance of all potential victims "for their own good."

      • smrnda

        Some degree of surveillance is necessary to see if anything is going wrong. The cops go out on patrol – they aren’t very useful if they just sit at the station until someone reports a crime. You need to pass through some government bureaucracy to get a license to drive a car. A health board inspects restaurants.

        “Normal people.” Yeah, because no government bureaucrat ever actually, you know, cared about whether kids were getting educated or were being abused, they just got into the job at DCFS to push the evil, secularist agenda.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> Some degree of surveillance is necessary to see if anything is going wrong. <> Yeah, because no government bureaucrat ever actually, you know, cared about whether kids were getting educated or were being abused <<

        Some of them seem to care quite a bit. But I don't think any of them are capable of caring as much as a child's parent does.

      • Anima

        So please correct me if I got you wrong, but are you really arguing that the government has no reason to make sure that children are properly educated?

        Aside from the kids right to an education of course, you know that human right.

        And of course it never occurred to you that without assessment the government had no way of knowing that the parent are neglecting to educate their children.

        So what was the reason why the government shouldn’t make sure that there are no problems?

      • Madonnahorr

        Because it isn’t the government’s business. The state doesn’t even have the authority to investigate anything unless there is evidence that a crime has been committed. Such policies as the ones you favor are tantamount to making families prove their “innocence” before they have ever been accused, and before any evidence exists against them.

        I realize that a small minority of homeschooled children will grow up abused and/or uneducated. A much larger number of children in public schools also grow up abused and/or uneducated. Government bossiness has worked so well to improve outcomes for public-schooled students, why not extend the paradigm? Or, we could acknowledge the fact that homeschooled children massively outperform other children and that the level of state regulation doesn’t affect these results.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/dameocrat Dameocrat

        The outperform public schools according voluntary surveys which aren’t scientific.

      • Madonnahorr

        They also outperform public schools by a huge margin, according to the results of standardized tests, which are requierd of homeschoolers in a large minority of the states.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Actually, this is wrong.

        The simple fact is that no studies of academic achievement exist that draw from a representative, nationwide sample of homeschoolers and control for background variables like socio-economic or marital status. It is thus impossible to say whether or not homeschooling as such has any impact on the sort of academic achievement measured by standardized tests.

        Here’s where that comes from, and it has more information as well: http://icher.org/faq.html

      • Madonnahorr

        This is misleading, Libby. Not all states require homeschoolers to participate in standardized tests, so of course you aren’t going to get “a representative, nationwide sample.” That doesn’t mean that no valid numbers exist that can be used for comparison. Most standardized tests publish score breakdowns by state, and sometimes by district and even school (although they often conflate homeschooling figures for privacy reasons). That makes it possible to compare scores within a single state. You just have to pick a state that requires such tests of homeschoolers.

        It’s also possible to break down the scores of homeschoolers based on the various demographic categories you mentioned (socio-economic & marital status and others). Even among those categories, homeschooled students still outperform public schooled students.

        But still, let’s assume just for the sake of argument that no such data exists. Would it then make sense to regulate homeschoolers because we don’t KNOW if homeschooling is educationally effective? No. Something needs to be wrong before we ask the state to fix it.

      • Anat

        OK, and what was wrong with the original Iowa law?

      • Madonnahorr

        It was more intrusive than necessary to achieve the desired result within the scope of the government’s legitimate interest in the matter.

      • smrnda

        We would have to collect data. You seem to be suggesting that, in the absence of data on home-schooled students, we should assume everything is fine by using what limited, incomplete data is available.

      • Madonnahorr

        Since the data available shows excellent results and there is no reason to think that homeschooling needs “fixing,” yes, we should assume everything is fine.

        That does not mean, of course, that it’s pointless to continue collecting data. I’m sure many people on all sides of the debate would welcome more research. But in its temporary absence, it is unjustified for the government to meddle in an activity that it doesn’t know enough about to regulate effectively (even if regulation were moral and necessary).

      • Anima

        So you acknowledge that children will be neglected and abused. These tests would be able to reduce the number of children who have to suffer trough that.
        And your only opposition is government paranoia?
        I’m sorry but I find that quite disturbing. We are not talking about mandatory CPS visits or even a mandatory curriculum, just about a test how far along the homeschooled children are. Once a year. And some paperwork.

        But according to your philosophy rules for building are superflourus and nosy as well. It’s enough to only intervene after the building came crushing down, killing everyone inside.

        And the statistics about homeschool superiority you claim don’t really exist, the point was made in Libby Annes reply already, so I wont repeat it here.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> We are not talking about mandatory CPS visits or even a mandatory curriculum, just about a test how far along the homeschooled children are. Once a year. And some paperwork. <<

        How do you think this will reduce child abuse? And even if it does make some minimal difference, it's only one possible chance to "catch" something wrong. I don't see any reason to include it in a child-abuse-prevention system when it's counterbalanced by a loss in family privacy and an increase in state surveillance. If you really wanted to pre-emptively protect children from abuse, the most effective way would be to put cameras in every room of every house and station a SWAT team on every street corner. (But even if you did that, it wouldn't end child deaths due to abuse. Some parents would successfully do the deed before the LEO's could smash through the front door and Tase everyone in sight.) I know you're not actually advocating this, which is a good thing. What you ARE advocating is analogous. It's the same principle, just applied on a smaller scale. I, for one, find that unacceptable.

      • iueras

        God I LOVE the way you people say “well, if you don’t like the government surveillance then you must be FOR child abuse” like that’s not the biggest pile of cow dung strawman argument ever.

        I hope like hell that you don’t homeschool, Anima. You don’t have the ability, unless the ability to make a non-functioning adult counts. And it’s “superfluous”. If you are gonna use big words to try and bolster your crap strawman argument, at least spell them correctly.

      • Mogg

        How do you know that homeschooled children outperform other children if you don’t test or otherwise compare them? How do you know that you even have a representative sample of homeschooled children if you don’t know where they all are?

      • Madonnahorr

        I answered these questions in my reply to Libby a few posts up. Please read it.

      • Mogg

        I have now – hadn’t got there when I wrote the comment. I can’t say that it enlightened me any as to a reasonable explanation, though. Bizarre anti-government, failing-to-take-into-account-the-nature-of-humans conspiracy theory reason, yes…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=141304249 Sarah Jones

        That’s cool. I wish I could pull statistics out of my ass but as I actually care about reality, I make it a point to avoid doing so.

      • iueras

        Just move on, Madonna. These people don’t want to hear anything that upsets their groupthink utopia here.

      • http://kathrynbrightbill.com/ KB

        If it was just teaching fundamentalism, that would be one thing, kids in any school setting can grow up with fundamentalists as parents. The problem however, is that there is zero oversight to ensure children are learning anything. The parents who stop bothering to teach their kids after 3rd grade? There’s nothing to stop them. The parents who wake up one day and realize that in all the hustle and bustle no one made sure the youngest kid can read and he’s now 10? No protection for that kid. The 14 year old who gets sent out to work construction because “he’s doing his homeschooling at night so child labor laws don’t apply”? There’s no way to ensure that he’s actually being taught anything.

        All of these are real stories of people I know personally. Kids whose parents claimed they were homeschooling but never bothered to actually teach. Parents who got away with it because they had no oversight. The kid who was never taught to read got hastily shipped off to public school and caught up, the others are still trying to make up for their lack of basic education.

      • Madonnahorr

        So in other words, some kids fall through the cracks of homeschooling just like some kids fall through the cracks of public schooling?

        In case you hadn’t noticed, many kids grow up abused and neglected AND go to public schools for 12 or 13 years, and nobody ever “catches” it. I knew several of them.

        So you want the same government that fails to protect the children it watches for 6 hours every day, to ALSO have the job of protecting the children that HAVEN’T been entrusted to it. Doesn’t make any sense to me.

      • http://kathrynbrightbill.com/ KB

        We aren’t talking about abuse and neglect, we’re talking about children getting an education. Sure, some kids fall through the cracks, but if there is zero educational oversight of homeschooling, that’s not a crack, that’s the Grand Canyon. There is nothing to make sure that parents aren’t pulling their kids out of school and never teaching a thing. At least a kid in a classroom gets something.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> At least a kid in a classroom gets something. <<

        Right … indoctrination and bullying.

        Bottom line, it isn't the government's job to close the cracks in other systems besides its own. When it starts showing some good results dealing with its own cracks, I'll start considering what it has to say about other people's.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        >> At least a kid in a classroom gets something. <<

        Right … indoctrination and bullying.

        Coming from someone who just told someone else she doesn’t know how “nutty” what she’s saying sounds to “normal” people, I find your statements here incredibly ironic.

      • Madonnahorr

        :-) Or, you could take them as an indication of what is considered “normal” in public schools. Frankly, if you don’t talk to your kids the way I talk to people who seem illogical to me, then your kids are probably much better off being educated at home with you, than in school, regardless of how much they are “learning.” (Did I mention I was publicly “educated?” I guess you people have your hang-ups and I have mine …. still not an excuse for government intervention though.)

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Oh, I think there is ample excuse for government intervention. Have you poked around this site, for instance? http://hsinvisiblechildren.org/

      • Madonnahorr

        I read the articles you linked above. Children who are actually abused are legitimate targets for investigation. This really has nothing to do with homeschooling.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        How can children who are abused be investigated when no one knows where they are, who they are, or even that they exist? Homeschooling can be used as a tool to hide abuse. That means, like it or not, all homeschool families should be subject to minimal oversight to make sure that homeschooling is not being used as a tool of oppression.

      • Madonnahorr

        I answered all of these points elsewhere in this thread. In the vast majority of actual child abuse cases, people DO know who they are, where they are, and what they’re doing. They were child abusers before they were homeschoolers, and they’re already in the system when they start homeschooling. Furthermore, lots of things can be used as tools for evil. That doesn’t mean the government should be snooping in the lives of everyone whose lifestyle includes something that COULD be used as a tool for evil.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        How is it snooping? I just don’t get that. How is filing a notice of “I intend to homeschool my kid(s)” and then bringing in a portfolio/bringing them in for a 2-3 hour test snooping? Do you say your mom is snooping when she asks “how are you doing”?

        If everyone around is equally abusive (and yes, in some homeschool co-ops, they are), how will kids know it’s abuse? How will they recognize that being beaten bloody with a belt is abusive, or that being forced to sleep outside in freezing weather is abusive, or that food being withheld from a toddler is abusive, if everyone around them says it is normal? How will they know that you should generally be able to read by about age 6, do basic algebra by age 11, and generally have a well-rounded education in subjects including math, literature, biology, chemistry, physics, health, and several other things by age 18, if no one they know does that?

      • Madonnahorr

        >> How is filing a notice of “I intend to homeschool my kid(s)” and then bringing in a portfolio/bringing them in for a 2-3 hour test snooping? <> Do you say your mom is snooping when she asks “how are you doing”? <> If everyone around is equally abusive (and yes, in some homeschool co-ops, they are), how will kids know it’s abuse? <> How will they know that you should generally be able to read by about age 6, do basic algebra by age 11, and generally have a well-rounded education in subjects including math, literature, biology, chemistry, physics, health, and several other things by age 18, if no one they know does that? <<

        Why should they care? Every child is unique. Their parents SHOULDN'T encourage them to compare their performance to other children's, as though it's important to be average rather than develop their own strengths.

      • smrnda

        The state has to define child abuse, so the horror of ‘the state’s values’ is what, just a horror of actually defining child abuse? Someone will always complain that they can’t lock their kids in cages in accordance with their sacred familial and religious values (which, apparently, always deserve respect, but any ‘state’ value is suspect) but people like that should be told to shove off.

        On learning, you need to know certain things to get ahead. Kids are all unique, but there are some skills and abilities that are pretty vital to survival in this day and age, and others which don’t exactly deliver. Don’t like mathematics? If you want a job, you’re going to have to get over that because no matter what you do, you’ll need to balance your own books.

        I wish schools were less competitive sometimes, but life is like that. You will be compared to other people at work, so kids should get used to it. Life is full of things you have to do that you don’t want to do – this isn’t fun, but it’s part of life.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> The state has to define child abuse, so the horror of ‘the state’s values’ is what, just a horror of actually defining child abuse? <> On learning, you need to know certain things to get ahead. … You will be compared to other people at work, so kids should get used to it. <<

        So education should be geared to making children useful little cogs in Corporate America? That's one theory of education. Fortunately, we have choices in that regard. I prefer the theory of helping children actualize their inherent potential with the goal of leading a fulfilling life, but each parent makes up his/her own mind on this matter.

      • smrnda

        I don’t think you’d get my point even if I had time to write the whole thing out. I’m viciously anti-corporate to the point of being nearly socialist, but I’m not utopian enough to think we can all do what we feel like.

        It’s nice to learn about the things you enjoy, but right now a lot of my friends who studied art are having a hard time finding jobs that pay enough so they can eat. I like art, have made art, but I studied computer science.

        Looking back, my friends’ educations were detrimental to them since everybody told them to ‘do what they love’ but nobody gave the adequate warning that part of life is having to pay the bills. Right now there’s a huge group of people like this.

        I wish I lived in a world where we could all just focus on what we enjoy to the exclusion of all else, but that’s not the real world. Sometimes young people need to be told that they need to learn something for pragmatic reasons, and I don’t think being realistic about this is an assault on human values.

      • Madonnahorr

        I agree with all this, so I’m not sure where you think you’re arguing with me. Good educators in any setting will push their students to fulfill their potential to the best of their abiltiies. That doesn’t equate to pushing children to learn a certain subject to a certain level of expertise just so their potential future employer will like them better. (You probably won’t know what your children will do for a living until, AT LEAST, high school.) You learn math because it contributes to your ability to live a fulfilling life, not so you can get ahead in the rat race. But either way, you learn math. I’m not sure where you got the idea that I think students should only study what they enjoy. I merely said they should be focused on improving themselves rather than on comparing themselves to their peers.

      • smrnda

        I was pointing out that, even if you don’t want to be compared to other people, it’s going to happen. Self-guided study is admirable, but comes with a completely different set of problems. Some people do not enjoy mathematics, though allowing them to avoid the subject would be extremely reckless.

      • Madonnahorr

        I wasn’t advocating self-guided study either, although I don’t have a problem with it. This is one of many areas I think parents should be legally able to put their foot down and say, “Yes, you WILL study this.”

        In other words, it’s a parent’s job to make sure their children are academically prepared for life. The child is ideally accountable to the parent for this. Children–while they are still children and still in school–should NOT ideally be comparing themselves with other children but rather asking how they could improve themselves in light of their long-term goals.

      • smrnda

        Many, if not most parents are incapable of providing their children with the education they need. Part of this is that you can’t teach what you don’t know; the expectations for what is considered an adequate education is different now than it was in the past, so many parents aren’t equipped to teach their kids.Ideally accountable? I mean, maybe if the parent was actually educated and knew the best way to teach,but this isn’t most people.

        Following that policy just results in a world where I, the child of educated parents, will succeed with minimal effort, and children of less privileged parents will not have such luck.

        The other problem is only reasonably privileged families have the option of a parent being at home enough to educate the kids. Home-schooling isn’t feasible for many families since parents have to work.

      • Madonnahorr

        I’m not advocating homeschooling for everyone. Even a child in public school is still, ultimately, accountable to his parents for what he learns. That some parents don’t hold their children accountable is their personal failing but doesn’t negate the general rule.

        I have to disagree, however, with the idea that many if not most parents are incapable of educating their children. Very very few parents are incapable of doing a better job than the worst public schools. I mean, if the parent can’t read or count, that’s one thing. But a dedicated parent who WANTS to homeschool, and who reads at a first or second grade level or higher, can teach their children starting from the beginning and then learn along with the children as they go. When my oldest kids were halfway through first grade, they started picking up my manual and working ahead if I was in the bathroom or changing a diaper. Most homeschooling manuals I’ve seen are geared to parents without education degrees, and they are usually also accessible to children at the grade level for which they are intended. My kids aren’t geniuses by any means.

        >> Following that policy just results in a world where I, the child of educated parents, will succeed with minimal effort, and children of less privileged parents will not have such luck. <<

        That tends to happen regardless of where a child goes to school, I'm sorry to say. In public and private schools, the wealthier and more highly educated parents have higher-achieving children. The dynamic in their homes contributes to the children's education (it's a form of "home-schooling") and that environment does make it easier for such children to succeed in school. Children of less-privileged parents do have to work harder in comparison. Homeschooling actually narrows this achievement gap, based on the best data we have available. We can debate the reasons, but I think a parent who is actively educating his/her children in the home is setting a good example and sending a powerful message about the value and enjoyment possibilities of formal (semi-formal?) education. It shouldn't be a surprise that such children grow up naturally self-educating. Even if the parent is less educated than the average public school teacher, "more is caught than taught." It's more important to be self-educating than to sit in an institution under the tutelage of highly educated people whose expertise you haven't been taught to value.

      • smrnda

        Sometimes both parents have to work just to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, meaning that they’re no possible way they can actually educate their kids at home because they won’t be home. Plus, you have a lot of kids with single parents – homeschooling is an option for the privileged few.

        I also have serious doubts that an adult who is pretty far behind can improve quick enough, and and an adult who reads at a first grade level is not, in my opinion, competent to make calls on their child’s education.

        On privilege and such, I’m well aware of this, being the daughter of 2 college professors. The problem is the push towards home-schooling is more or less affluent parents deciding to drop their support of public schooling, meaning that public schools will continue to get less resources, and then will only service poor kids, leading to great inequality than is already here. I mean, home-schooling isn’t being tried anywhere but the US on any large scale, and we don’t fare so well internationally, which makes me skeptical that it’s anything but ‘rich and educated parents keep their kids from brushing shoulders with proles.”

      • Madonahorr

        >> Plus, you have a lot of kids with single parents – homeschooling is an option for the privileged few. <> I also have serious doubts that an adult who is pretty far behind can improve quick enough, and and an adult who reads at a first grade level is not, in my opinion, competent to make calls on their child’s education. <<

        Learning to read only takes a few weeks when one is highly motivated. I am assuming that a hypothetical parent with a first-grade reading level who wants to homeschool is going to be highly motivated (although I have never heard of this actually happening). I agree that such a parent should not design her own curriculum or "unschool," but teaching a first-grade curriculum out of a box by the phonics method isn't beyond the reach of such a parent, I don't think. Most such curricula ARE written by educational experts who are "making the calls" if their script is followed.

      • iueras

        Just because YOU are incapable of providing that education, doesn’t mean MANY or MOST are incapable.

        That right there is a perfect example of the biases I spoke of earlier that you HAVE to avoid when homeschooling.

        I hope you send yours to public school.. Your biases are hanging out for everyone to see, they don’t need to be forced onto some poor kid.

      • Mogg

        What evidence do you have to support that position? What is it about parents that gives them knowledge and teaching skills that other people, i.e. professional teachers, have to spend years learning?

      • iueras

        More strawmen. That seems to be the only type of argument anyone on these pages can bring to your points. They have demonized you, they have slandered you, they have accused you of being for child abuse and anti-children, they have accused you of being lazy, paranoid, and crazy. In fact, they have done everything here EXCEPT actually answer any points you actually raise (other than with more demonization and strawmen).

      • iueras

        Albert Einstein – “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

      • Anat

        Their parents used homeschooling as a cover for the abuse. Because a homeschooled child doesn’t have to be seen by anyone, and in particular, can be not seen by any one who is required by law to report suspicion of abuse.

      • Madonnahorr

        Exactly. It doesn’t have anything to do with homeschooling. It’s like saying that a criminal might send his cell phone somewhere with a friend in order to create a GPS record that will provide him with an alibi while he commits a crime; therefore, we should more heavily regulate cell phones.

        By the way, when you “pick a name” for a post, the idea is to enter your own moniker, not that of the person to whom you’re responding. :-)

      • Anat

        Schooling is more than one thing. Part of it is academics, hence many of us wanting to see homeschool regulations that ensure that some kind of learning is going on. The specifics may vary, I personally don’t have a strong opinion on what is the best method, but some options I am aware of are submitting a curriculum, a portfolio of the student’s work, or testing. But there are the non-academic aspects of schooling, and the non-academic roles of school staff.

        I have no idea what you mean wrt name, I have only ever posted on Patheos as Anat.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Probably the issue that Disqus sometimes has where sometimes it shows everyone with the same name. Refreshing the page usually takes care of it.

      • Madonnahorr

        I’ll give that a try. Thanks.

      • Madonnahorr

        I find it reprehensible that some people want the state to force children under the authority of compulsory school laws and then use the contact opportunities resulting from that to implement some sort of social agenda.

        Your replies to me are showing up under the name Madonnahorr, not Anat. Makes me look like I’m having a conversation with myself. Maybe a glitch in the system, or perhaps someone’s idea of a practical joke?

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        First, Anat’s replies show as Anat for me. Maybe your browser has a glitch?

        Second:

        I find it reprehensible that some people want the state to force children under the authority of compulsory school laws and then use the contact opportunities resulting from that to implement some sort of social agenda.

        Who is saying this? I haven’t seen anyone here say this.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> First, Anat’s replies show as Anat for me. Maybe your browser has a glitch? <> Who is saying this? I haven’t seen anyone here say this. <<

        Everyone who says that increased regulation of homeschoolers will lead to the prevention and detection of child abuse is saying that. Some of you guys seem primarily interested in making sure that children are actually being educated at home, but several of you have argued that requiring portfolio submissions or physical attendance at tests will help ensure that homeschooled children are alive and healthy.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Wait. Wait. Preventing child abuse is “some sort of social agenda”? o_O

      • Madonnahorr

        That method of trying to detect child abuse is, yes. That method requires turning the law’s protection of individuals on its head. It’s an inherently self-contradictory approach, one that demands that some people give up their rights so that the government can pre-emptively “protect” other people’s rights (when there is no evidence they are being violated). Why can’t legislators think creatively enough to find ways of reducing child abuse without violating anyone’s rights? Why do some people feel the need to pit one person’s rights against another person’s rights and pretend that only one of those people can keep their rights? The focus on “solutions” that violate people’s rights are very much part of a larger social agenda. Some people want the public conditioned to think that rights are a zero-sum game, and if they want to keep theirs, they must deprive someone else, and if they want to extend rights to others, they must give up their own. It’s all hogwash, of course. But it does have a bizarre appeal to certain people, who knows why.

      • smrnda

        There is no way to ensure rights for kids without a little inconvenience for parents. There is no way to ensure the rights of workers without placing limitations on the rights of employers. What do you suggest as an alternative? the “honor system?”

      • Madonnahorr

        >> There is no way to ensure rights for kids without a little inconvenience for parents. <> There is no way to ensure the rights of workers without placing limitations on the rights of employers. <<

        The parent/child relationship isn't really comparable to the employer/employee relationship. Employers are, by definition, companies that have applied to the government for special privileges (e.g., corporate personhood), and in exchange for said privileges, the company agrees to abide by certain rules. Employees agree to play the game according to the same set of rules when they enter into an employment contract with a company. Thus the "rights" you speak of in this context are not the same as the rights enjoyed by parents and children, who are human beings with a set of inalienable rights. Employer/employee rights are really just matters of statute and contract.

      • smrnda

        Social agenda? You mean like teaching kids Black history month?

      • Madonnahorr

        No. I have no idea where you get that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1002979372 Mary Ann Kelley

        I understand your concern, but do not believe that strict homeschooling laws are the answer. First, there is very little information other than names and convictions at the site you reference. Often abusive families will claim homeschooling as the reason the
        children are not in school but are in actuality not following
        homeschooling laws. Were the families following homeschool laws or simply telling people they were homeschooling? Was DSS aware of the family? Had there ever been visits from social services?

        There are many cases of both public schooled and homeschooled children who have had home visits from social services that have continued to be abused, so increasing requirements on homeschoolers would likely not prevent continued abuse in those cases. Reform of DSS is more likely to help. If DSS is already aware of the family and fails to meet the needs of the children, how will stricter homeschool laws help.

        More academic testing (which proves nothing except who is good at taking tests) will not help children who are educationally neglected because testing does not lead to accurate determination of educational (or general) neglect. Kids who struggle with testing formats but are in loving homes where they are properly educated may score poorly while intelligent kids in homes where they are neglected may score well.

        I’m not sure what the answer is, but more testing is unlikely to solve the problem.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=141304249 Sarah Jones

        Facts=indoctrination. Excellent. I’m enlightened now.

      • CarysBirch

        Don’t you think some oversight will decrease the number that do slip through those cracks? You’re letting the perfect become the enemy of the good — yes, some children will get no education no matter what regulations we put into place and no matter what type of schooling they have… but the fact that we may never be able to give every child what they deserve does IN NO WAY mean that we should stop trying to put protections in place to help as many as we can.

        Frankly, I find that idea abhorrent.

      • Madonahorr

        You’d have to define “we.” The fact that “we” may never be able to give every child what they deserve means that “we” (individuals, families, churches) should keep trying. It DOESN’T make an intrusive state a legitimate expression of “we.”

      • Anat

        In a democracy (including a democratic republic, for those who insist on the USian definitions) the state is a legitimate expression of ‘we’. That’s what an elected government is. That’s what we elect government for.

      • Madonnahorr

        So anything that people vote for is OK with you?

        You seem to be on pretty precarious ground, to me.

      • Anat

        No, but anything people vote for represents the will of the people in some approximation (albeit not the will of every individual),

      • Madonnahorr

        That’s why we have the republic form of government we do. So that the “tyrrany of the majority” remains constrained by limits placed on government. Unfortunately, those constraints have been less effective than the ideal of late….

      • Anat

        The idea of democracy includes balancing the will of the majority with the needs of the minority, the methods for achieving that vary among countries. This has got nothing to do with being a republic. Some European constitutional monarchies are pretty good about that. And some republics were totalitarian states.

        But to return to topic, the matter of schooling involves at least 3 parties; the children, the parents and greater society (including its institutions). The children are the most vulnerable and legally powerless. Both the parents and the state should have an interest in the child’s well being, but reality isn’t always as ideal. Parents have incredible amount of power wrt their children by virtue of physical custody. There has to be some limit to privacy when a vulnerable person is involved. Once your kids are of age, be as private as you want. But don’t take kids off the grid.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> The idea of democracy includes balancing the will of the majority with the needs of the minority <<

        No, the idea of democracy involves a radical conception of equality, one person = one vote and all power to the people. It leads to the proverbial "two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner." The American Founders rightly abhorred democracy. They gave us something very different.

        Our constitutional republic puts many limits on the power of the government, which means, the power of the people to demand that the government use its power in ways that violate the rights of minorities. There is no "balancing" between the will of the majority and the needs of the minority here. The Framers' conception of the proper role of government included following its own rules so as not to violate the people's rights while bringing justice to the victims of harm. Their idea of rights was the "Your freedom to swing your arm ends where my nose begins." That begins with the idea that people do, indeed, have the freedom to swing their arms–and do anything else they want that doesn't hurt anyone, without state interference. Once your arm has connected with someone's nose, however, it's now a criminal (and civil) matter, and the government has a duty as well as the authority to play a role. There is no limit to privacy (or any other right) just because a vulnerable person is involved. We are all vulnerable in some way. We all have the same rights, and we are all entitled to expect the same degree of protection of the laws.

      • Anat

        The modern concept of democracy, the liberal democracy, certainly does include protecting the rights of minorities and individuals.

        While we are all vulnerable in some way, a child is inherently more vulnerable than an adult because the child has fewer rights than an adult (eg can’t enter contracts on their own ) and is limited in the means to exercise the rights they do have.

      • Madonnahorr

        It is very dangerous to subvert some people’s rights on the basis of how “vulnerable” some person is that they’ve had contact with. Next everyone will be squabbling over how “vulnerable” they are compared to the next guy, just like groups now squabble over whether they should be considered “minorities” or not, for the special privileges that come with that designation.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Whose rights are subverted? Receiving an education is a right; homeschooling to provide that education is a privilege. I’m hearing an awful lot from you about parental rights, which are not recognized as fundamental human rights by anyone, and not a whole lot about children’s rights, which are. You know that saying “your right to swing your fist ends at my nose”? Your “right” to control your children ends at their educational failure.

        And you know what? No one is even saying you can’t homeschool! All they’re saying is you have to prove you’re actually doing it. That’s it. Prove you’re not violating your children’s rights to an education in a non-invasive, non-confrontational, mild paperwork-y sort of way. The whole point of having a representational constitutional republic instead of a democracy is to make sure the minority is protected from the majority, because sometimes the majority wants really crappy things to happen to the minority!

      • Madonnahorr

        >> Receiving an education is a right; homeschooling to provide that education is a privilege. <> I’m hearing an awful lot from you about parental rights, <> parental rights, which are not recognized as fundamental human rights by anyone, and not a whole lot about children’s rights, which are. <> All they’re saying is you have to prove you’re actually doing it. That’s it. Prove you’re not violating your children’s rights to an education <> The whole point of having a representational constitutional republic instead of a democracy is to make sure the minority is protected from the majority, because sometimes the majority wants really crappy things to happen to the minority! <<

        Children ARE legally protected from people who would harm them, in the same way that other people are protected by the law.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Every human being has individual rights; children have recognizably constrained rights due to their dependent status. Because of their dependence and vulnerability, we (society, your neighbors, the government; it’s all the same thing) have an interest in making sure the children’s rights are not being infringed. Parents do not have sole responsibility for and control over their children, because if they did, parents would be allowed to abuse their children and we wouldn’t try to stop it. Absolute control is inherently abusable. The way you construe individual rights is to say that yours have priority over your children’s, that you bear sole control over them, and if you fail in your duties that’s just too damned bad for your children. I reject that view. It is a parent’s responsibility to safeguard and uphold their children’s rights, and it is the state’s responsibility to do the same. That means when parents violate their children’s rights, the state is not merely allowed to step in, it is obligated to.

        Parental and child rights are inherently in conflict. You cannot escape this. Children have a right to an education, but some parents do not want to provide said education and claim that “it’s the parents’ responsibility to safeguard and uphold those rights, exercising them on the children’s behalf until the children become adults”, negating any rights the child holds. If I can raise my child any way I want, and I want to not teach hir to read, whose rights prevail? Mine to control my child, or my child’s right to an education? If the state may not be involved at all, who makes that call?

      • Madonnahorr

        >> Parents do not have sole responsibility for and control over their children, because if they did, parents would be allowed to abuse their children and we wouldn’t try to stop it. <> The way you construe individual rights is to say that yours have priority over your children’s, that you bear sole control over them, and if you fail in your duties that’s just too damned bad for your children. <> It is a parent’s responsibility to safeguard and uphold their children’s rights, and it is the state’s responsibility to do the same. That means when parents violate their children’s rights, the state is not merely allowed to step in, it is obligated to. <> Parental and child rights are inherently in conflict. <> If the state may not be involved at all, who makes that call? <<

        Parents decide how to fulfill their obligations to their children, within the scope of the law. When evidence of a crime is presented to a court, the court may initiate an investigation and/or a proceeding aimed at making sure a child's rights are properly honored. This is pretty basic.

      • smrnda

        If you think you get special privileged for being a minority, you should look up ‘stop and frisk’ and ‘statistics.’

      • Madonnahorr

        New York’s stop-and-frisk policy is a disaster for civil rights. I can’t believe a court upheld it. And yes, I acknowledge that many of our laws are applied disproportionately to minorities. That shouldn’t happen.

        None of that, however, negates the fact that the government DOES give minorities special considerations and privileges that other individuals don’t get. I’m not passing judgment on whether it all “evens out” in the end (it probably doesn’t) — I’m just saying that such policies exist and groups do squabble over the “minority” designation because of them.

      • smrnda

        Given how minorities get pissed and shit on in this country, I don’t dismiss their concerns as ‘squabbling.’

      • Madonnahorr

        Who’s dismissing them?

        The analogy, if you were paying attention, was to whether we should have some sort of “vulnerability scale” to determine how many of your legal rights you lose in any given social interaction. Yes, when some groups get special privileges, the inevitable result is that people will squabble and fight trying to get higher up on the “vulnerability scale” so that they can exercise relatively more rights than the next guy. That’s why infringing some people’s rights just because they’re in contact with a “vulnerable” person is a bad idea.

      • tsara

        The thing isn’t “in contact with.” The thing is “having authority over.” You should have to demonstrate that you are not abusing this authority.

      • Madonnahorr

        It’s impossible to prove a negative.

        It’s also repugnant to our entire legal system to make someone prove their innocence. It’s the state’s job to prove their guilt.

      • tsara

        And if you don’t want to demonstrate that you are using your authority well, you should lose that authority.

      • CarysBirch

        I define “we” as our society, currently governed — like it or not — by or government, established in part, according to the prologue to the Constitution, to “promote the general welfare”. We have, in theory, compulsory education in this society because there is a general consensus that it contributes to the general welfare of children and their future welfare as adults. Having no homeschool regulation at all subverts the compulsory education paradigm and interferes with our ability to promote the welfare of all children. With minimal invasiveness we can have some degree of educational accountability, to argue against it makes absolutely no sense to me. Don’t most of you small government types love the constitution?

      • Madonnahorr

        I love the Constitution as a starting place for common sense in government. That doesn’t mean that everything that’s Constitutional is a good idea. And compulsory education isn’t in the Constitution anywhere.

        The following article addresses the “general welfare” argument very well in my opinion. Athough it’s technically about public education, not government regulation of schooling, the relevant points still very much apply.

        http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Libertarian/Public%20Schools/Public_Schools1.html

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes education as a human right for a reason. It is a government’s responsibility to see that all its citizens get a proper education; whether that means compulsory public schooling, oversight over public and private schools, or bare-minimum testing of homeschooled children is up to the government in question. Doing nothing, however, is clearly not protecting rights.

      • Madonnahorr

        The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, verbatim, “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given
        to their children.” “Prior” means before and superior to the government’s interest. (Article 26)

        Also, the UDHR isn’t legally binding and doesn’t give any government the legal responsibility to do anything.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        You’ll note that it’s the last of the three clauses, and doesn’t override the other ones:

        (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

        (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

        (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

        So parents get to choose the type of education for their children so long as it meets the other requirements. And what entity has both the power and responsibility to check to see if education meets the other requirements? Why, the government. Banning homeschooling probably does violate the UHDR. Putting some regulations on it clearly does not.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> And what entity has both the power and responsibility to check to see if education meets the other requirements? Why, the government. <<

        You are still overlooking the fact that the UDHR doesn't confer any responsibility on its signatories. Governments may have the POWER to see if education lives up to the ideals (not requirements) of the UDHR, but governments don't receive any authority or responsibility under the UDHR to do these things.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Correct, the UHDR does not give any authority. However, given that it is a statement of principle of what governments *should do*, that gives them an ethical responsibility to try to live up the UHDR’s high standards. There’s really only one way to do that when it comes to education.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> There’s really only one way to do that when it comes to education. <<

        That's where we disagree. There's very rarely "only one way" to do anything.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        There’s lots and lots of options out there- they just all involve some sort of government oversight. So I agree and disagree with you at the same time. How about, there’s one common theme that runs through all effective methods? That is, the methods may all be different, but without this one commonality (government oversight of some sort), they all fail. There is one common attribute necessary for success.

        Or to put it another way, there are many types of education covering many different subjects that may be considered comprehensive. In order to be successful, however, a student must know how to read. Literacy is the common attribute necessary for educational success. In just that way, government oversight is the common attribute necessary for educational success.

      • Madonnahorr

        I appreicate the diversity of options for schooling. I just don’t think government oversight is analogous to literacy as a key ingredient for success. Literacy is a result of sufficient education and will be present in all cases in which educational efforts were sufficient. But government oversight is present in many situations where attempts at education are unsuccessful, and many children are educated to a high degree of success in states with no government oversight of homeschooling at all.

        So government oversight is not any kind of necessary precondition of educational success. It is simply one way of soliciting accountability, that only seems to make a difference in educational programs that are failing already, and then only sometimes.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Why not let families do their thing unless there is a documented problem that demands government involvment, i.e., abuse or neglect?

        And who or what is supposed to document that problem if any government in involvement amounts to “government ownership of one’s children?”

        Yeah, I know, some kids will grow up under fundamentalist parents. Honestly? Get over it.

        So I guess empathy and concern for others is not something you’re teaching your children. Awesome.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> And who or what is supposed to document that problem if any government in involvement amounts to “government ownership of one’s children?” <>So I guess empathy and concern for others is not something you’re teaching your children. <<

        I'm teaching my children philosophical and religious tolerance and the value of helping their neighbors instead of demanding that government do it by force. Apparently this is something you have a problem with.

      • Anat

        That assumes someone even gets to see the homeschooled kids. Just read Homeschoolers Anonymous. There was no chance for anyone finding out about the treatment of many of these children until they were grown up.

        The government ‘intrusion’ you have so much problem with is rather minimalistic, but it gives some kids a fighting chance.

        As for whether it is a government’s job – of course it is. Education is a child’s right. It is a government’s job to make sure the children get to exercise this right like all others. Besides, these kids are future voters.

      • NeaDods

        Future voters, *current citizens*.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> Besides, these kids are future voters. <<

        Right! That explains the government's "interest" in their education. I get it.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne
      • Madonnahorr

        Your list actually proves my point, Libby. Lots of people saw seven out of the eight children you mentioned, and reported them, and investigations of various levels of effectiveness were carried out in those cases.

        The tips were there, the children were typically pulled out of public school after people started making accusations against the parents, so the government was already involved in these children’s lives. They were already in “the system.” None of these cases have much to do with homeschooling. These kids were being abused BEFORE their parents starting homeschooling them. There were paper-trails afterwards that allowed plenty of finger-pointing. This sort of bureaucratic incompetence (or whatever the reason for the system’s failure was) would not have been improved if the parents had been required to submit more paperwork in order to homeschool.

        In fact, in one of the cases, the parents were required to file an intent of notice to homeschool and never did. The child STILL died. This evidence supports my point rather than yours. You seem to think that reporting requirements will raise red flags when they aren’t followed, but it didn’t happen here and the child still died.

        Marcus Holloway’s case was the only one where the children were completely isolated from outside contact so that no-one could report them. In that case, also, homeschooling reporting requirements wouldn’t have helped the dead child because the parents were hiding the kids. They falsified housing applications, etc., so doubtless they would have failed to register as homeschoolers too. And the boy still would have died because nobody knew he existed.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne
      • Madonnahorr

        What point? All you did is publish a list of names.

        If you’re trying to imply that the school bureaucracy should be used as a tool to physically and visually inspect all children to make sure their parents stay in line, I find that repulsive. There are much better ways to help children who are actually being abused, that don’t treat all parents like accused criminals. Fishing expeditions of this sort are rightly abhorred by our legal tradition.

      • Anat

        Teachers are mandatory reporters of suspected abuse. That out-of-home-schooled kids see them gives the children a chance to reach safety.

      • Madonnahorr

        Yes, among many other chances. My view is that not every possibility is worth pursuing, as there are trade-offs involved.

        Is it a glitch that every reply to my posts uses my name now? LOL.

      • smrnda

        Why should parents be assumed to have their kids best interests at heart? It seems a lot of parents seem to use their kids as either toys to boost their egos or people to live vicariously through. Adults who have kids don’t become magically wise, benevolent or mature or responsible just because they had sex and then had kids.

      • Madonnahorr

        That’s right, parents aren’t perfect. But they’re a lot closer to being what their own children need than the government can ever be.

        >> Why should parents be assumed to have their kids best interests at heart? <<

        We could ask, why should the State be assumed to have kids' best interests at heart? Parents have natural affection for their own offspring; the State has none.

      • smrnda

        I notice parents are the people most likely to abuse their kids.Tell that ‘natural affection’ to all the kids abused by their parents. Parents are also subject to no checks and balances and no oversight.

        As a person who votes and participates in government, I believe children should not be abused, and that’s the type of government I would fight for. My view on the government is that it’s an expression of what citizens want it to do. Lots of citizens want to keep kids from being abused. Saying that ‘the state has zero interest in kids’ is like saying ‘no citizens care about kids.’

        I used to work in childcare. Unlike a parent, what I could do to children was severely limited. I was never permitted to hit or even yell at kids. There were always other adults present, and we had clear policies for dealing with almost every situation.

        I don’t think that’s superior to a family, but I realized that parents can legally do stuff another adult would be put in prison for, and that it happens every day. Either things like hitting kids is wrong, or else we’re defining ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ by who does it – a parent smacks a kid around and it’s good and legal. A parent decides against getting a kid medical care, and it’s good and legal. That just seems kind of wrong to me.

      • Madonnahorr

        I think parents are most likely to abuse their children because of the very broad way abuse is defined in the US (and thus in most studies of abuse). “Abuse” includes things like calling a child names, withholding communication, and rough play that “could” lead to injury. Many of these things are poor parenting practices when used frequently, but they are hardly the type of “abuse” that most people think of when they hear the word. So to repeat the statistic that “parents are the people most likely to abuse their kids” seems somewhat sensationalistic to me. (I’d also be interested in seeing what categories of abusers were studied in addition to parents. I recall reading that children were twice as likely to be physically abused in foster care as in the general population [that would include all perpetrators] and four times as likely to be sexually abused in foster care as in the general population. So I’d be interested to see how a study was able to get around reporting those numbers.)

        >> Saying that ‘the state has zero interest in kids’ is like saying ‘no citizens care about kids.’ <> Either things like hitting kids is wrong, or else we’re defining ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ by who does it <<

        Physical discipline by parents is legal in 49 states currently, but many states have laws that ban people from spanking other people's children unless they have the parent's permission. There are actually some pretty good reasons for this. A parent may decide for whatever reason that his/her kid needs a spanking, and s/he is obviously the person in the best place to make that determination, since s/he knows the child intimately and has a good sense of what types of discipline work for that child in a variety of circumstances. Other people don't have that level of familiarity with a child's needs and what he is likely to respond best to. Also, different people tend to spank in different ways. A spanking (like anything else) may do more harm than good if it doesn't come packaged the way the child expects it. Wouldn't you be mad if some stranger took it upon himself to spank your kid when he saw your kid acting out? Trust me, that angers even parents who believe that spanking is sometimes necessary.

        From a legal perspective, though, the real reason for that type of law is broader than the issue of physical discipline. Someone has to make decisions about what is appropriate for a child and when. If spanking is legal, then someone needs to choose when to do it and when not to do it. By default, in our system, that person is the parent. And other people CAN do it … WITH the parent's permission. It's a legal issue of delegation. It applies equally to medical care. You can't give my kid medical care without my permission. That's why you have to sign a general consent form as the parent of a public-school kid if you want your kid to be able to get band-aids and cough drops from the school nurse. This principle applies to a lot of things. I have the legal right to take my kids to Disneyland if I want to, but if YOU scoop my kids up and take them to Disneyland without my permission, it's a crime. "Either things like taking kids to Disneyland is wrong, or else we're defining 'right' and 'wrong' by who does it." Well, yeah–we are.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        I think parents are most likely to abuse their children because of the very broad way abuse is defined in the US (and thus in most studies of abuse). “Abuse” includes things like calling a child names, withholding communication, and rough play that “could” lead to injury. Many of these things are poor parenting practices when used frequently, but they are hardly the type of “abuse” that most people think of when they hear the word. So to repeat the statistic that “parents are the people most likely to abuse their kids” seems somewhat sensationalistic to me.

        Strange, none of that is defined as child abuse in my state, or in any child abuse statute I’ve ever read. Could you please back this up with evidence?

      • Madonnahorr

        “In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department for Children And Families (DCF) define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.”

        “Douglas J. Besharov, the first Director of the U.S. Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, states “the existing laws are often vague and overly broad”…. Susan Orr, former head of the United States Children’s Bureau U.S. Department of Health and Services- Administration for Children and Families, 2001-2007, states that “much that is now defined as child abuse and neglect does not merit governmental interference”.”

        The National Center for Victims of Crime reports, “Other examples [of abuse] include name-calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, torture or killing of a pet, excessive criticism, inappropriate or excessive demands, withholding communication, and routine labeling or humiliation.”

        “Bruises, scratches, burns, broken bones, lacerations, as well as repeated “mishaps,” and rough treatment that could cause physical injury, can be physical abuse.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_abuse

      • smrnda

        Spanking is a sick practice out of place in civilized society, and all research indicates its lack of effectiveness.

        “A parent may decide for whatever reason that his/her kid needs a spanking,”

        A parent might also decide that a kid needs an electric shock. It doesn’t mean that shocking kids with electricity should be permitted.

        On medical care, kids die because adults decide to use faith healing instead of medicine. there is objective proof that medicine works and faith healing does not, so no parent should have a right to do something we know is harmful to kids. Same thing with spanking.

        If a person hit another adult, they’d be looking a jail time. I’m sure some people would argue that hitting other adults could lead to desirable outcomes, but we dismiss their opinions. Hitting people is assault.

      • Madonnahorr

        My post, as you can see, was predicated on the legal reality that spanking is permitted by law in 49 of our 50 states. I understand where you’re coming from in thinking that spanking is Evil, but I don’t see what point you’re trying to make vis-a-vis my overall argument, which was an explanation to you of why parents are allowed to do things that other adults can’t lawfully do. Spanking was simply an example that I used because you brought up “hitting” a child in your previous post.

      • smrnda

        I could make my point better by saying that certain ‘good things’ (like your Disneyland example) are things parents can do but people can’t just grab kids and take them to Disneyland.

        However, something that is bad to do to a child should be illegal, regardless of who does it.

        I keep bringing up reliance on faith healing since I’d like to hear your take on it. Do parents have a right to deny their kids medical care?

      • Madonnahorr

        >> However, something that is bad to do to a child should be illegal, regardless of who does it. <> I keep bringing up reliance on faith healing since I’d like to hear your take on it. Do parents have a right to deny their kids medical care? <<

        I think I answered this once before, to you or someone else. I think faith healing falls under First Amendment religious freedom, so I'm not inclined to outlaw it. But I do think it depends a certain amount on the child's age and what other legal remedies are available in the particular case, e.g. emancipation.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=141304249 Sarah Jones

        Abusive parents, including the fanatically religious, put themselves (and their beliefs) ahead of their children. You live in a dream world.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=141304249 Sarah Jones

        What you fail to seem to understand that teachers (speaking from experience) are trained to recognize child abuse because they’re mandated reporters. And that can be more difficult than you think. It encompasses the recognition of neglect as well as sexual abuse.

        At the very least, homeschool parents should be held the same standards if they’re going to act as educators.

      • NeaDods

        Criminals will always break the law. That is no reason to have no laws. If they don’t function as deterrents, they do offer justice and reparation to the wronged. And again, children are citizens. It is unquestionably the role of government to protect its citizens regardless of their age.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> Criminals will always break the law. That is no reason to have no laws. <> It is unquestionably the role of government to protect its citizens regardless of their age. <<

        Nobody is trying to argue that government shouldn't protect children in the same way that it protects any other citizen. The point is that government can't, and shouldn't, violate one party's rights in order to make sure that another's party's rights haven't been violated, especially when there is no reported crime and no reason to think a crime has been committed.

      • Anat

        And what violation is there in being required to register, submit a curriculum or a portfolio of work? Or even, horrors, being required to see some kind of medical practitioner on occasion?

      • Madonnahorr

        All of your examples are violations of privacy and not within the scope of authority of a republic form of government.

      • Anat

        I must say, you have a weird definition of privacy, because I don’t see what you are talking about. (And BTW Saddam’s Iraq was a republic too, as was the Soviet Union. USians have a misconception about the magical properties of a republic. A republic is a country whose head of state is a president rather than a monarch. Saying that a country is a republic tells you nothing meaningful about the relationship between the citizens and the state.)

      • Madonnahorr

        Registration and submission of curricula and portfolios are violations of privacy because none of it is the government’s business. My curricula and my children’s school work belong to us. A demand for the state to see them is an invasion of our privacy unless the demand comes pursuant to a court-issued warrant. Otherwise the guarantee of “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” is meaningless.

        A requirement to see some kind of medical practitioner on occasion is also an invasion of privacy. What else can you call it when the government demands that you sit down with someone, tell them all about your medical history, let them physically inspect you, maybe take off your clothes for them and let them poke and prod you in order to give you their opinion about how you should alter your lifestyle and/or recommend various chemical substances for you to ingest, rub into, or inject into your body? Or did you mean that the government should simply require you to show up for a visit but not be required to say anything, let the doctor inspect you, or otherwise cooperate with the medical practitioner?

        I remember reading several years ago about an elementary school in one of the northeastern states whose administrators thought it would be a good idea to make sure that students received proper reproductive care. So they arranged to give every sixth-grade girl a complete gynecological exam without notifying the parents first. The girls were locked in a classroom with the doctors and teachers and were not given any choice. They didn’t understand what was going on and were terrified. Several of them tried to climb screaming out the classroom windows. They had to be physically held down by the teachers so the exams could be completed. So, do you think that was an invasion of privacy (among other things)? Or was that OK?

        As for types of governments: what a country calls its leader has absolutely nothing to do with what the form of the government is. Just because the leader is called “president” doesn’t make the country a republic, a democracy, or anything else. (And, just because a country puts the word “republic” in its name doesn’t make it a republic, either.) A republic is actually the form of government in which citizens are represented by people who vote on their behalf. The American founding documents were written with the understanding that individuals had fundamental rights and liberties that were beyond the reach of government (meaning, beyond the reach of the use of force delegated by the citizens). Our founders understood that a republic, so conceived, was the only form of government under which the natural rights of individuals could be preserved. That’s why they wrote into the federal Constitution that all States who joined the Union had to have republic forms of government too.

      • Anat

        A country in which citizens are represented by people who vote on their behalf is a representative democracy. For some reason US-raised people insist on a different terminology.

        As for the privacy issues – your child has rights. You should not be allowed to use privacy to deny your child’s rights.

      • Madonnahorr

        In a representative democracy, the representatives are elected. That is not necessarily true of a republic. The American Founders designed a system in which Congresscritters were elected directly by the people, but Senators were not necessarily and Presidents were not at all (yes, I know the President is technically an executive, but he still represents the people, in theory at least). Clearly they did not think that election of all political representatives was necessary to a republic or they would have done things differently.

        Yes, my child has rights — and I am the one with the job of safeguarding those rights, teaching the child about them, and exercising them on the child’s behalf until he reaches the age of majority. There is no excuse for the government to violate MY rights in order to make sure that I’m safeguarding my child’s rights in the way that the government thinks I should. Unless there is evidence of an actual crime, of course.

        You chose not to answer my question about whether it’s OK for the government schools to hold down screaming sixth-graders to forcibly administer gynecological exams without the parents’ knowledge or permission. That says a lot about your position, and you.

      • tsara

        “”You chose not to answer my question about whether it’s OK for the government schools to hold down screaming sixth-graders to forcibly administer gynecological exams without the parents’ knowledge or permission.””

        I find it incredibly, horribly, offensively disgusting that you would equate having to take your kid to see a medical practitioner with that.

        The incident that you described is rape — and it would have been rape with or without the parents’ knowledge and/or permission.

        Rape is not a “violation of privacy.”

        Sitting in a doctor’s office for half an hour once or twice a year is better than not doing so, even if no actual examination takes place.

        And, d’you know what? If a parent/legal guardian and a medical professional who works with children together cannot or will not explain to a neurotypical* five year old exactly what some procedure is and why it’s necessary in such a way that the five year old can understand and give some approximation of informed consent or a reasonably mature refusal? That medical practitioner should not be allowed to work with children, and that parent should not have custody of that child.

        (Seriously, it’s not that difficult. I can give you a five-year-old -friendly description of Why We Get Needles, if you’d like.)

        *Neuroatypicality makes the child’s understanding and reaction more unpredictable, so I wouldn’t make a near-perfect success rate a job requirement; that does not, however, change the ethics of the situation for the guardian or the medical practitioner at all.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> I find it incredibly, horribly, offensively disgusting that you would equate having to take your kid to see a medical practitioner with that. <> Sitting in a doctor’s office for half an hour once or twice a year is better than not doing so, even if no actual examination takes place. <>If a parent/legal guardian and a medical professional who works with children together cannot or will not explain to a neurotypical* five year old exactly what some procedure is and why it’s necessary in such a way that the five year old can understand and give some approximation of informed consent or a reasonably mature refusal? That medical practitioner should not be allowed to work with children, and that parent should not have custody of that child. <<

        I agree that it's fairly easy to explain medical procedures to children, but at the age of 5, it's going to be propaganda and not education. You're not going to get anything remotely resembling "informed consent" from a 5-year-old, although you will probably get "consent" if your child trusts you. By the same token, a 5-year-old can't give a refusal, even a "reasonably mature" one. Nor should he be able to refuse a medical intervention that his parent believes is necessary. In other words, 5-year-olds should, for respect's sake, receive a calm, reassuring explanation about what will happen to them, but expecting them to give consent or refusal is very unreasonable. Many 5-year-olds will be even more troubled by being asked for consent than if they are simply told what will happen by someone they trust.

        The lack of a reassuring explanation was one problem with what happened in the story I related, but it was not the only problem and not the biggest one. If a parent was able to give a sixth-grader a calm explanation of the exam, that would have helped the situation, but that would have required the parents to know about the plans and consent to them beforehand. Parental consent was the big missing piece here. I find the possibility somewhat troubling that parents could FORCE a gynecological exam upon a sixth-grader (who is much older than 5) over the sixth-grader's objections (assuming this would be a routine sexual-health visit and not medically necessary due to some individual factor). But parents absolutely should have to give their consent, even if the sixth-grader wants the exam. Parents absolutely need to be the gatekeepers for their minor children's interests in that way.

        Bottom line, these types of decisions need to be made based on principle, not based on what sounds horrific to the ears of a majority of people. The principle is that parents make these decisions, not bureaucrats. (Pretending that a small child can give consent or refusal is just a smoke-screen for claiming that the government should made the decision. SOMEONE has to frame the issue for the child and bring up the possibilities and supply the information. As I said, at the age of 5 it's propaganda and not education.) Qualitatively, there is no difference between the government mandating a wellness check and the government forcibly carrying out the wellness check. In both cases you have the government making decisions that are better left to parents.

      • tsara

        “”In the abstract, it’s the same concept.””
        No, it isn’t. A government cannot and should not be able to strap you down and give you an injection. That is analogous.

        I do not, however, have nearly as much of a problem with it requiring you to be in a particular place. If a government is following specific procedures laid out ahead of time, and which an individual or group could have easily discovered and worked to change, I’m generally going to be fine with things — unless there is violation of bodily autonomy going on.

        “”Having the government waste my time unproductively is better than not having that happen?””
        It isn’t unproductive. Doctors — especially those who often work with children — tend to be good at spotting health-related issues that parents may not spot even just from not-particularly-ineractive visits. Things like vision or hearing problems, developmental disorders or irregularities, congenital weirdnesses (my sister’s bone issue was caught by the family doc as soon as she walked into his office — he could tell that her gait was atypical) are often missed by parents, especially when they (the parents) don’t interact with many other children very often; they don’t always know what’s normal and what’s not, and are often pretty terrible at knowing which abnormalities are dangerous, which usually require or respond well to intervention, what types of intervention are appropriate, and what those abnormalities mean for the child’s development.

        Annual or biannual doctor visits also allow doctors to inform parents about any recent legal changes or medical developments that might be relevant, add to the child’s knowledge and understanding of how bodies work and what they need, make sure that the child knows emergency phone numbers and where they can go for various types of help if they need it (I know that I loved picking up brochures for the poison control centre when I was little), and, as a bonus, gives us proof that the child is alive and breathing, and creates an opportunity for a trained mandatory reporter to spot signs of abuse and/or neglect.

        “”Many 5-year-olds will be even more troubled by being asked for consent than if they are simply told what will happen by someone they trust.””

        This is not my experience. My (admittedly limited) experience is that if they are used to being given control over what goes on in their bodies, they will take it for granted and actively fight when someone just tells them what will happen.

        Seriously? What kind of five year olds do you know? At age five I would scream like hell and sulk for hours if somebody so much as tried to force-feed me food I didn’t like. (I’d usually end up eating with relatively little fuss if I was given the ‘eat your veggies or you don’t get any dessert’ option.) I screamed and bit and fought against being tickled (which my parents never did) from a very young age. When I was eight, I punched my doctor in the face when he was giving me an injection I hadn’t been asked about.

        I was always told exactly what a doctor’s visit was for. It was explained to me that they’d made the appointments for when they had because that was a time that worked for the doctor and for them, and they’d checked with my teachers to make sure that it was okay for me, too. They would also explain to me that it was important for me to go to them, because the doctors needed to see how healthy I was and were going to be really impressed at how tall I was getting (this was true; I was very tall and the doctor was my dad’s friend). They said that there would need to be a very good reason for me not to go, and asked if I could think of any. They also told me that, once I was there, I didn’t have to agree to or do anything I didn’t want. Then they told me about the specifics — needles, measurements, whatever — going through each one, explaining how it worked, what it was like, why it was done, what it looked for, etc. They pulled out numbers if I asked (I liked percentages), showed me diagrams, etc.

        And the thing is, they were being honest. They weren’t trying to feed me reassuring bullshit; they actually gave me true information, and they actually wanted me to make the decisions myself. I went three years without getting a flu shot (winter, age 9, 10, and 11 — I got the flu all three years), and I skipped the rabies vaccine (being offered at a reduced cost due to the unusually high number of cases at the time).

        “”Parental consent was the big missing piece here.””

        Wrong.

        “”But parents absolutely should have to give their consent, even if the sixth-grader wants the exam.””

        True. I support parental veto power in this case.

        “Bottom line, these types of decisions need to be made based on principle empirical evidence and on respecting bodily autonomy, not based on what sounds horrific to the ears of a majority of people.”
        FTFY.

        “”The principle is that parents make these decisions, not bureaucrats.””
        I think that’s a silly principle, and a false dilemma.

        “”(Pretending that a small child can give consent or refusal is just a smoke-screen for claiming that the government should made the decision. SOMEONE has to frame the issue for the child and bring up the possibilities and supply the information. As I said, at the age of 5 it’s propaganda and not education.)””
        If you’re giving “reassuring explanations” with the express purpose of getting a kid to agree to something, that’s propaganda. I support Bill Nye the Science Guy explaining things — giving explanations that are easy to understand, but also as accurately factual as possible.
        I don’t support decisions relating to bodily autonomy being made unilaterally and externally to the body in question. I don’t support parents having the authority to force children into medical procedures they do not want.
        I do support parents having the power, in extraordinary circumstances, to team up with medical professionals to overrule a child’s refusal.

        “”Qualitatively, there is no difference between the government mandating a wellness check and the government forcibly carrying out the wellness check.””
        This is not what I was arguing for. I was arguing for government-mandated visits to medical professionals for children (especially homeschooled children) with recommended wellness checks and vaccinations.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> I do not, however, have nearly as much of a problem with it requiring you to be in a particular place. <””Parental consent was the big missing piece here.””

        >Wrong.

        >””But parents absolutely should have to give their consent, even if the sixth-grader wants the exam.””

        >True. I support parental veto power in this case.

        You seem to contradict yourself here. You don’t think parental consent is the big missing piece, but you think parents should have veto power. How does that work?

        >> “Bottom line, these types of decisions need to be made based on principle empirical evidence and on respecting bodily autonomy, not based on what sounds horrific to the ears of a majority of people.”FTFY. <> “”The principle is that parents make these decisions, not bureaucrats.””I think that’s a silly principle, and a false dilemma. <> If you’re giving “reassuring explanations” with the express purpose of getting a kid to agree to something, that’s propaganda. I support Bill Nye the Science Guy explaining things — giving explanations that are easy to understand, but also as accurately factual as possible. <> I don’t support decisions relating to bodily autonomy being made unilaterally and externally to the body in question. <> I don’t support parents having the authority to force children into medical procedures they do not want. <> I do support parents having the power, in extraordinary circumstances, to team up with medical professionals to overrule a child’s refusal. <> I was arguing for government-mandated visits to medical professionals for children (especially homeschooled children) with recommended wellness checks and vaccinations. <<

        I don't really see how that's different from requiring a kid to show up for a test just so the bureaucrats can look at him and see that he's all right. It strikes me as unneccessary in addition to treating the parents like they're accused criminals just because they homeschool.

      • tsara

        I don’t have a lot of time right now, so just going to cover a few things:

        “”This strikes me as even more bizarre. When that happens, it just shows the child that you aren’t in any more control than he is, and that’s scary to a kid, especially a kid who’s in “extraordinary circumstances.” It’s even worse if he has the impression that you’re trying to pass the buck so you don’t have to take responsibility for upsetting him.””

        It is dishonest to pretend that you are in control when you aren’t, or that you are more in control than you are. Do people even do that outside of movies? (The ‘telling children it’s going to be okay when the adults have no idea’-thing.) Telling the truth is better. “There are a lot of very smart people who’ve worked out that this is the best way to do this,” is more comforting than, “Don’t worry your pretty little head, everything’s going to be fine.”

        But also, “passing the buck” wasn’t what I had in mind here. What I had in mind was parents working with doctors (and maybe counsellors, and, why not, throw in a priest or clergy-person if the family’s religious) and work harder to explain to the child why this procedure is a good idea. Failing that, I’d want a unanimous agreement between doctors, counsellors, and parents/guardians that this is, in fact, in the child’s best interest. The problem I specifically have is “unilateral.” I don’t want it to be one party’s decision, if it isn’t the child’s. The child must be significantly outvoted.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> It is dishonest to pretend that you are in control when you aren’t <> But also, “passing the buck” wasn’t what I had in mind here. <> I don’t want it to be one party’s decision, if it isn’t the child’s. The child must be significantly outvoted. <<

        This strikes me as a decent way to parent, although I wouldn't personally do things this way, and I certainly don't think the law should mandate it. I wouldn't want to send the message to the child that the parent who loves him can't man it up and lovingly overrule him when it's necessary, but if enough people agree, THEN they have the right to force their will on him. That just seems twisted to me. But I would support your decision to parent that way if it was voluntary.

      • smrnda

        So you own your kids basically? They have rights to do whatever you allow them to do?

      • Madonnahorr

        >> They have rights to do whatever you allow them to do?
        <> So you own your kids basically? <<

        It's not ownership, it's called responsible parenthood.

      • smrnda

        Could you link to actual documentation of this happening? I’d just like to read the story in the original.

        I’m also not saying it didn’t happen. It’s just that I suspect this was something done to poor/minority kids.

      • Madonnahorr

        I can’t, unfortunately. It upset me too much and I stopped following the story. There was an eventual class-action lawsuit initiated, but I don’t know how it turned out. And I don’t know if it was poor/minority kids involved or not. I’ve reported just about everything I remember about it. If you have access to LexisNexis or something, you may be able to find the lawsuit and work from there.

      • Anat

        In a representative democracy, the representatives are elected. And in the US representatives are elected. That’s what Congress and state legislatures are about. Makes the US one form of a representative democracy. It is among those countries that are both presidential republics and liberal representative democracies. (Some representative democracies are presidential republics, some are parliamentary republics, some are mixed republics. The difference relates to whether the cabinet answers to the president or to the parliament. Some representative democracies are constitutional monarchies.)

        Sometimes parents are on the lookout for their children’s rights, sometimes the children’s rights are in conflict with the parents’ interests. While the parents have a role in protecting their children’s rights, it is wrong to leave them as the sole power in this regard.

        And I don’t know what you are on about wrt gynecological exams. I spoke of a requirement that the child be seen by some kind of medical practitioner. If your kid is seen by a licensed family practitioner of your choosing you are fine. (I might prefer there to be a requirement that the practitioner not be a close family member, again to avoid conflict of interest.)

      • Madonnahorr

        >> In a representative democracy, the representatives are elected. And in the US representatives are elected. <>And I don’t know what you are on about wrt gynecological exams. I spoke of a requirement that the child be seen by some kind of medical practitioner. If your kid is seen by a licensed family practitioner of your choosing you are fine. <<

        If there were a law that required parents to take their children to a doctor, that law would, in all likelihood, be struck down by the courts. The reason is that it substitutes the government's judgment of what a child needs for the parent's judgment, and that violates several basic principles that are acknowledged by state and federal law. In order to get something like mandated doctor visits to hold up in court, the legal principles underlying this issue would have to be changed, such that the government could legitimately overrule parents wrt their children's medical care. Once you allow the state to do that, you will see more stories like the one I shared about the gynecological exams. Why? Because it would be within the government's authority to do that, and what the government CAN do, it usually does. The saving grace in this particular story was that the school's actions were unlawful, thus the parents had grounds to sue. If the state had the authority to make medical decisions for children, this sort of thing would still happen but parents would have no legal recourse.

      • smrnda

        Would you support a parents’ right to use faith healing on a sick child, even if the child is very ill and likely to die without medical intervention and could easily be cured with medicine?

      • Madonnahorr

        I think that falls under First Amendment religious freedom, so yes. But it also somewhat depends on the child’s age in situations where other legal remedies are available, such as emancipation.

        I’m assuming, of course, that you mean parents who use faith healing as a substitutie for other medical care, not in addition to other care.

      • smrnda

        I disagree. I think parents rights should be limited. Otherwise, kids are basically property.

      • Madonnahorr

        You’re trying to pit children’s rights against parents’ rights. It doesn’t have to work that way.

        When you conceive of children’s rights as separate from, over and against, parents’ rights, all you’re really doing is making the state the owner of the children. You’re not making the children more free or more empowered, you’re just making them do what the state tells them to instead of what their parents tell them to.

      • Mogg

        Ahh, now it comes out. Children have no rights seperate from their parents? Urgh!

      • Madonnahorr

        No, silly. Children obviously have rights. It’s the parents’ job to uphold and safeguard their children’s rights until the children become adults. A tiny minority of parents abuse their children instead of upholding their rights, and in those cases the parents are unfit. The government has plenty to say about that and usually removes the children from their parents’ guardianship.

        The fact that only a small number of parents abuse their children shows that children’s rights and parents’ rights aren’t typically in conflict, or that if they are, parents usually do the right thing by their kids regardless, thus removing the conflict. Yet many people on this site seem to advocate for assuming that children’s rights and parents’ rights are ALWAYS in conflict, and using that as justification for disrupting normal parent/child relationships (which I see as far more harmful).

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        I’ve already written a post addressing many of these questions, so I’ll just link it here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/05/checks-and-balances-except-for-homechooling.html

      • smrnda

        What if the state actually gives them options? You seem to believe that no government body would do anything but dictate the kids’ every action.

        At different stages of my life, all sorts of government agencies gave me lots of options.

        Then again, given the rhetoric, I’m sure that you’d suspect that a class that say, just gives kids information on human sexuality is inherently propaganda, but nothing parents do, including limiting factual information, is ever oppressive.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> What if the state actually gives them options? <>Then again, given the rhetoric, I’m sure that you’d suspect that a class that say, just gives kids information on human sexuality is inherently propaganda, but nothing parents do, including limiting factual information, is ever oppressive. <<

        Why would you assume that?

      • smrnda

        Your general knee-jerk anti-government reaction, naturally. The notion that the government should always be assumed to have a sinister purpose and that parents must always be assumed to be reliable and decent and trustworthy.

      • Madonnahorr

        Nobody, including the government, should be assumed to have a sinister purpose sans evidence for that. But yes, parents should be assumed to be fit until the legal process can prove otherwise. These are basic concepts in American law. They do not negate the realities that government will sometimes have a “sinister” motive and sometimes not, and that some parents will ultimately be proven unfit and sometimes not.

        Stating the possibilities in absolutist terms is beneath the level of intelligence you have demonstrated in other posts.

      • smrnda

        I’m not the one being an absolutist. I think home-schooling should be legal, but that parents need to be able to verify that kids are actually being taught and actually learning. I think that both government and parents need to be subject to checks and balances since both have power, and all power must be regulated. The extent of the checks and balances I’d impose on home-schooling parents would probably not amount to much other than a bit of paperwork.

        You pretty much argue that parents *do* love their kids and no other adults have any meaningful concern for them. I’ve seen enough parents to know that the parent-child relationship isn’t always necessarily based on love. Adults who have kids don’t immediately become wise and benevolent, no more than people become that when they get married. Relationships can be driven by love, but they’re also driven by insecurity, ego issues, a desire for control and status and lots of other things that aren’t so positive. Ever notice how often adults well past their 30s are still talking about bad experiences they had as kids? My goal is to make sure that the worst stories I hear don’t happen so often.

        As a person who cares about kids, I know that unless my concerns lead to actual laws on the books, my ‘concerns’ are as useless as me saying ‘come on people, be nice!’ which would be a waste of time.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> You pretty much argue that parents *do* love their kids and no other adults have any meaningful concern for them. <> As a person who cares about kids, I know that unless my concerns lead to actual laws on the books, my ‘concerns’ are as useless as me saying ‘come on people, be nice!’ which would be a waste of time. <<

        Actually, many of the most influential people in history motivated their listeners instead of trying to regulate them. Martin Luther King, Jr? Jesus? Come on. I understand that you're trying to maximize the efficiency of your efforts, but laws don't change people. You'd be much more effective helping people one at a time to see the light and become better parents.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        And you know one of the biggest things MLK, Jr was trying to change? Laws. Not just asking people to be nice or stop being mean, but actual changes to the unjust laws of the land. Laws aren’t just rules, they are also norms, and as such they have enormous influence. They give things legitimacy or take it away. They express societal approval or disapproval. Unenforced laws against sodomy or abortion still express societal disapproval for those things; clearly unconstitutional state laws that haven’t been enforced in decades are occasionally officially repealed and everyone applauds, because that represents progress toward the idea that we shouldn’t have that law (that norm).

        When wearing seatbelts became a law, not just a suggestion, seatbelt usage skyrocketed. It wasn’t out of fear of being pulled over and ticketed (for the most part), but rather because people saw that it was what you were supposed to do. Laws do, in fact, change people.

      • Madonnahorr

        When society changes, laws change to suit society. Obviously the activities of any socially influential person will be reflected in the laws. But people like MLK, Jr. and Jesus didn’t spend their careers lobbying legislators, trying to change laws so that they could change people. They went about it in a way that was far more effective. That’s my point. You can force yourself on someone, you can force new laws on them that threaten them with State-sanctioned violence unless they do things your way, or you can motivate them, inspire them, show them a better way, and touch them in a personal way with your life. That way is more ethical, in my view.

        As for seat belts, the laws on that didn’t come out of a vacuum. They were, as I understand it, a reponse to a very influential Hollywood film (can’t remember the name atm) in which a small child dies due to not wearing a seat belt. The film became popular and raised public awareness on the issue, and the laws followed. It wasn’t the laws that changed people; it was the movie that made them think and value differently. That’s a great example of society changing and laws following suit.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        MLK, Jr was in fact trying to change laws. Polling laws, segregation laws, who could serve on juries or not laws, etc. No, he didn’t lobby (only), he also raised public awareness. Laws and norms aren’t separate- what you describe is very common, where a norm starts to change, gains some momentum, faces some pushback, and is encoded into law to maintain that momentum and enshrine it more permanently. Do you really think our attention spans are long enough we would have worn seatbelts just because of one movie, this long after the fact? The movie raised awareness, but the law ensures it’s not forgotten. The ways laws and norms interact is very complicated, but they definitely affect each other. It’s not a one-way street from society to law.

        And you know what? MLK, Jr did change laws (or get new ones). Voting Rights Act of 1965 has had huge impacts on what we consider to be acceptable expressions of institutional racism- it hasn’t fixed the problem, but it has made a big dent in it. A lot of Supreme Court rulings (which interpret what the law means) have set limits on how much we can screw over people we don’t like based on race. Those legal opinions often led public opinion, not followed it, though there are of course complicated interactions of how public opinion changed in some places before others and the justices’ personal upbringings.

      • smrnda

        “The state only “gives” the options it wants them to choose from. And what the state “gives,” the state can take away.”

        And exactly how are parents any different then?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=141304249 Sarah Jones

        Again, you’re literally pulling information out of thin air. You have no idea how many children are sheltered, or abused, or educationally neglected in homeschool families. Lax regulations make it difficult to determine the true numbers, but given the rate of abuse victims coming forward this willful refusal to take them seriously and react appropriately is akin to the Catholic church’s refusal to investigate pedophiliac priests.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> Again, you’re literally pulling information out of thin air. You have no idea how many children are sheltered, or abused, or educationally neglected in homeschool families. <> given the rate of abuse victims coming forward this willful refusal to take them seriously and react appropriately is akin to the Catholic church’s refusal to investigate pedophiliac priests. <<

        I don't see those two things as similar. The Catholic Church was the employer of these priests, and that church also has a very top-down authority structure. The modern American homeschooling movement isn't controlled by any central authority that has the ability or authority to investigate claims of abuse internally.

        Now, the Catholic Church did have a legal obligation to report the pedophiliac behavior when it learned of it. Similarly, certain people also have a legal obligation to report abusive behavior in secular life. The state's obligation to investigate the truth or falsity of these claims relates only to the person accused and his/her victims. A (homeschooling) parent who is accused of abuse, whether falsely or not, doesn't give the state the authority to investigate all (homeschooling) parents. I sincerely hope, in a similar vein, that you wouldn't demand a criminal investigation of every Catholic priest in America on the basis that accusations were made against some of them.

      • Jo Hargis

        Just get over it, huh? You completely ignore the fact that the rest of us have to LIVE in society with those ignorant fundies, who don’t know the difference between “our country” and “are country, kk?

        This is a disaster in the making. If people would self-regulate properly, we’d have no need for laws for *anything*, but that simply isn’t human nature. This is a recipe for a whole lot of fundamentalist indoctrination sans education, and a lot of lazy parents keeping their kids home with zero education. Laws and regulations are in place because we *do* have stupid people, and it’s the government job to protect ordinary citizens from the actions of those stupid people, and that protection includes standards for educating children ready to perform in society.

      • Madonnahorr

        FTR, I took honors English classes all through my public school career (in a very good public school district), and about half of my twelfth-grade AP English class graduated still misusing our/are. Clearly, if that type of “stupid” bothers you, government isn’t the answer.

        >> it’s the government job to protect ordinary citizens from the actions of those stupid people, and that protection includes standards for educating children ready to perform in society. <<

        Actually, the government's job is to protect EVERYONE from whom its authority derives (not just citizens, and not just ordinary ones) from fraud and violent crime. And by "protect," I mean preventing convicted criminals from continuing to prey on society, and deterring potential criminal acts with said retributive justice. (The government does have a few other legitimate functions, but they are off-topic in this thread. Making sure that your neighbor isn't stupid enough to annoy you isn't one of them.)

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Boring libertarian boilerplate is boring…

      • smrnda

        Fraud and violent crime. What a shitty, limited government not worth paying taxes to. If the government can’t keep other people from being stupid, it’s useless to me and doesn’t get my allegiance.

        If my neighbors are stupid, they can sink the whole ship, because there’s this thing called ‘externalities’ – the effects of one’s actions on everybody else. A nation full of stupid people will become unlivable and will fall apart. Look at a 600 year old earth being taught as ‘science’ in the US – better educated nations aren’t having those debates, and their kids do better than ours do on tests, too, and some of these other countries don’t allow homeschooling, so that doesn’t look like the fix all.

        Retributive justice is an obvious failure, as even with the death penalty in effect in many states of the US, our crime rate is higher than many nations that have no death penalty. It’s been shown again and again that punishments don’t deter crime since they don’t address the causes of crime.

      • NeaDods

        The government does not “own” your children. The government is ensuring that all of ITS CITIZENS, which include your children, have access to the same basic civil rights, which in this country includes schooling for a certain amount of time.

        That people keep referring to a child’s civil rights as if the government was contesting parental property rights really freaks me out. And it makes me question how those parents really view their kids.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> The government does not “own” your children. <> The government is ensuring that all of ITS CITIZENS, which include your children… <> That people keep referring to a child’s civil rights as if the government was contesting parental property rights really freaks me out. <<

        Other people get freaked out when their attempts to care appropriately for their children get treated as though they were contesting the government's ownership of their children.

      • NeaDods

        “You don’t just think the government owns my children; you think the government owns ME, too”

        I don’t think that there’s a conversation that can be had with someone who thinks the 14th Amendment is creating ownership of people instead of ending it. I don’t know who you think “We the people” of the Constitution are. Obviously not your children and apparently not you either, if being called a citizen is so threatening.

      • Madonnahorr

        LOL, I haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about re: the 14th Amendment. Trying to set up a straw man much?

        You’re the one who said, “The government is ensuring that all of ITS CITIZENS…” key word being the possessive ITS. You seem to be implying that the government owns the citizens rather than the citizens owning the government. It’s a window of clarity into how you think.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        … the government owns owes the citizens …

        Fixed that for you.

      • Madonnahorr

        The government doesn’t “owe” its individual citizens anything except respecting their rights and otherwise staying out of their way.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I disagree entirely with you. You’re referring only to negative rights. Negative rights refers to things the government may not do to you, but there’s this whole other category called positive rights, which talks about what the government must do for you. The United States is fairly unique in having only negative rights in our constitution. Other documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child do not make that mistake.

        Governments have a responsibility to their citizens to see to all their rights- that means rights to education, health care, food, shelter, safety, clean air and water, and so on. A good government takes care of its citizens, recognizing that government is made of citizens and that healthy citizens make for a healthy government.

      • Madonnahorr

        Government does not create or confer rights. All it can legitimately do is protect them.

        But, just for the sake of argument, let us assume that the government could legitimately confer upon people a right to a free education at government expense. Does it follow that the government has legitimate authority to FORCE individuals to exercise that right if they don’t want to?

        Of course not. So please be reasonable. You might as well insist that government force people to vote, or force them to own a gun, or force them to remain silent when questioned by police, simply because they have the right to do so.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Nono, governments do not confer positive rights. They must merely ensure all people residing within their borders are provided with those rights. You clearly misunderstand from whence rights come as opposed to whom ensures they are respected.

        As we all know, children are not full citizens. They have circumscribed rights and circumscribed responsibilities due to their small size, undeveloped brains, and dependence on others. That means that while adults may not be forced to, say, go to school, we can force children to go to school (courts have consistently ruled truancy laws constitutional, for example). That also means that courts clearly recognize the government’s interest in well-informed citizens. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson considered it a necessary precondition to a functioning democracy, and I must agree with him. Given that illiterate, ill-informed citizens are much more likely to fall prey to demagoguery and smear campaigns, it’s no surprise that educational oversight and reform is such a big deal.

        Also, many countries do force citizens to vote, at cost of a not insubstantial fine if they don’t. Those countries tend to have far more developed polling systems than we do to ensure everyone can vote in a timely fashion and have much higher turnout, ensuring the result is more likely to be truly democratic. Mandatory voting is definitely not implied by a right to vote, but it would probably be a good idea given how well it works out.

        Forcing everyone to own a gun, on the other hand, would be a terrible idea that would raise our homicide, suicide, and accident rates through the roof. Remember, empirical evidence matters! Also, that particular amendment is worded as a negative right- even the most liberal interpretation says government may not stop people from owning guns, but in no way implies that government must provide guns.

        Everyone remaining silent instead of talking to the police without a lawyer would have significant benefits to the justice system as a whole, though it would annoy the police a lot. Again, that is worded as a negative right- the government may not compel you incriminate yourself, and it may not question you without a lawyer present without first informing you that you may request one. If at any point you request a lawyer, you may not be questioned further until a lawyer arrives. Note the repetition of “may not”. None of the things you have brought up are positive rights the way education is.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> Nono, governments do not confer positive rights. They must merely ensure all people residing within their borders are provided with those rights. <<

        But you go on to defend the idea that government should force people to partake of the "positive rights" that government has so graciously afforded them. I somewhat doubt that you understand what positive rights are. The court decisions allowing compulsory schooling were based on the state's "legitimate interest" in a well-educated populace. But "positive rights" simply means that the government provides certain things to people that it had to steal from other people first. Positive rights don't imply that anyone has to accept the stolen goods. If compulsory schooling (as opposed to free schooling) is part of your definition of positive rights, I think you are going to start scaring people off of the idea of positive rights.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        You do realize that children are citizens and people too, right? That the government has a legitimate interest in and responsibility to children getting an education? Because education is a right, the government is obligated to make sure that every person has access to it. That means the government has the duty to make sure the child has access to an actual education. That means, at a minimum, some basic oversight of homeschooling. Accepting the statement, “I’m the parent, trust me, I got this” does not count as basic oversight.

        I think it is you who does not understand positive rights. Your description of government “stealing” means you don’t understand what society, community, or responsibility to others means. You don’t understand what government is. You’re right, compulsory education is a legitimate exercise of state power because of the interest in a well-educated populace, not a function of everyone having the right to an education. It’s a separate issue, compulsory vs. accessible education. However, homeschooling can and sometimes does violate the right to access to education; if the parents prevent the child from getting an education, the child’s rights have been violated. The government has the responsibility to protect the child’s rights over the parents’ wishes. Where on earth did you get the idea that positive rights implied people being forced?

      • Madonnahorr

        >> Because education is a right, the government is obligated to make sure that every person has access to it. That means the government has the duty to make sure the child has access to an actual education. That means, at a minimum, some basic oversight of homeschooling. <> I think it is you who does not understand positive rights. Your description of government “stealing” means you don’t understand what society, community, or responsibility to others means. You don’t understand what government is. <>You’re right, compulsory education is a legitimate exercise of state power because of the interest in a well-educated populace, not a function of everyone having the right to an education. <> Where on earth did you get the idea that positive rights implied people being forced? <<

        Positive rights DON'T imply that. But your previous post seemed to imply that you think that positive rights imply that.

      • smrnda

        ” But “positive rights” simply means that the government provides certain
        things to people that it had to steal from other people first.”

        If you think taxes are theft, please explain an alternate program for civilization.

        On ‘theft,’ the whole United States of America is stolen. All property comes from theft or violent seizure.

        Other nations actually require people to do things like serve in the military or do alternate public service, and I don’t think that makes them totalitarian states. In fact, I think many of those other countries have more meaningful freedom than the US. Freedom as ‘protection of property rights and government non-interference’ is great if you own a sweatshop and lousy if you work in one.

      • Madonnahorr

        >> If you think taxes are theft, please explain an alternate program for civilization. <> All property comes from theft or violent seizure. <> Freedom as ‘protection of property rights and government non-interference’ is great if you own a sweatshop and lousy if you work in one. <<

        You are assuming that sweatshops could exist in a free society. Since I'm not aware that any truly free societies have ever existed, I think it's an assumption that should not be made.

      • smrnda

        Given that you’re program for an ideal society has never happened, I’ll shit-can it along with the utopian visions of Karl Marx. I’d prefer to stick with things that have a proven track record of delivering results, since I live in the real world. Enjoy your pipe dreams and Ayn Rand novels.

      • Anat

        Well, I am the citizen of two countries. So if anyone mentions one of those countries’ citizens, that includes me. At the same time, of each of those two countries I can say ‘my country’. I am country X’s citizen. Country X is my country. So does country X own me or do I own country X? Neither of them is true.

      • Madonnahorr

        In the same way, my children refer to me as “my mom” and I refer to them as “my kids.” This grammatical structure, by itself, doesn’t imply ownership.

        What DOES imply ownership was the context of the original quote, and the fact that it used a possessive form lends credence to that.

      • Anat

        I reread the original quote and don’t see how anything but selective interpretation leads you to this conclusion.

      • Random_acct

        The same people who quote the Fourteenth Amendment as legal cover for gay marriage like to throw that around even though it would horrify the authors and supporters of that amendment to know that they are doing that.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Huh. I usually point to the full faith and credit clause, myself.

        You know what else horrified the authors of the 14th Amendment? Women voting. That’s right, when women tried to claim the 14th Amendment implicitly granted them the right to vote in Section 1 (arguing that “persons” meant “persons”), the authors of the amendment (who were still alive) quite clearly stated that they did NOT mean that. They were appalled by the very idea, in fact.

        So what was your point again? That we should be bound by the antiquated, bigoted opinions of prior politicians?

      • Random_acct

        We should, like all documents, attempt to follow the intentions of the authors and supporters of the amendments and laws. This is common sense. The entire argument that gay marriage should get legal cover under the Fourteenth Amendment is disingenuous and absurd.

        The authors and supporters would be horrified to see that. It should never be used as legal cover. It is idiotic. But you knew that already.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        * <— The Point.

        O <— Your Head.

        Many of the people who wrote high-flying words about freedom and liberty were bigots. They were racist and sexist and homophobic. Why would we want to be bound by their ideas of who "deserves" rights and equality, when they were so clearly wrong on women and POC? We should, like all documents, ascertain the spirit of the thing and then apply it universally, recognizing that the authors were products of their time and its prejudices. Quite simply, if it's "equality for all" in words but "equality for some" in intent, follow the "equality for all" wording. Don't let (not so) ancient prejudices impact modern life when we've worked so hard to get rid of them.

      • tsara

        I’ll consider this stance when the NRA starts limiting itself to supporting the people’s right to carry guns from 1791, as part of a well-regulated militia.

      • Random_acct

        I’d take that deal any day. But gay marriage under legal cover of the Fourteenth Amendment?? Totally and completely absurd. But again, you knew that already.

      • tsara

        No I didn’t; I didn’t read most of the discussion on the Fourteenth Amendment, and, as it isn’t one that comes up in internet arguments very often, I don’t actually know anything about it.

      • Madonnahorr

        LOL, and you won’t learn anything about it by reading the discussion about it in this thread. Save yourself the time. :-)

      • smrnda

        Then we should scrap the whole constitution and draft a new one. The idea of living people being forced to accept the judgments of dead people on what rights are legitimate or not makes no sense.

      • Random_acct

        Yea…that’s right. Scrap a document that has worked quite well for the U.S. for over 200 years. Come on. Be very careful what you wish for. You may not like the results you get with the “new” document.

      • smrnda

        Quite well by whose standards? The constitution worked pretty poorly for non-white people until when? Pretty recently.

        Most other nations are functioning with much newer constitutions, many of which contain provisions that make me think of emigrating. I just think that it’s best to regard these documents as ad hoc type things that need to be open to modification, not religious texts to be worshiped.

      • Random_acct

        Quite well by just about any standards. Get out and see the world sometime. You’ll learn a lot I do all the time. There are good reasons that hordes of folks want to live in America…and hordes who want to escape their own country.

        By the way, I agree that the document should not be worshipped.

      • smrnda

        I’ve been to enough countries that I can see the US is falling behind other industrialized nations. We look pretty bad compared to Western Europe, though we look nice compared to India or China, though I feel we’re heading closer to India and China than to Western Europe.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Really? Not a clue? Let me help you out. The 14th amendment defined citizenship and demanded equal protection under the law to all citizens.

        Funny how libertarian paranoiacs love to beat people over the head with the constitution but generally don’t know very much about it.

      • Madonnahorr

        LOL. I am quite familiar with the 14th Amendment and what it did. Since you failed to read the thread you’re responding to, let me quote the relevant portions:

        >> I don’t think that there’s a conversation that can be had with someone who thinks the 14th Amendment is creating ownership of people instead of ending it <>LOL, I haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about re: the 14th Amendment. Trying to set up a straw man much? <<

        Claiming that a Constitutional amendment does the exact opposite of what it actually does, and then claiming that someone else, bizarrely, holds this opinion, when nobody has even mentioned that amendment except you … is very juvenile. I called it "trying to set up a straw man," which is essentially what it is. "Let's put words in someone's mouth and then make fun of them!" Go ahead if that's how you have to level the playing field, I guess. It's just telling (and sad) that so many people in this thread, including you, fell for it.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        I did read the thread, actually. You still don’t make any sense. And I guess the fact that you failed to see how the 14th amendment was relevant to a discussion about the meaning and concept of US citizenship was just too rich to let slide for someone who has actually formally studied the Constitution.

        I pity your children, having their entire education managed by some trolling, tin-foil hat idealogue.

      • Madonnahorr

        LOL. The discussion wasn’t about the meaning and concept of US citizenship. And what I said I “haven’t got a clue” about was why someone would claim that the 14th Amendment created ownership of people. Because it doesn’t. If that still doesn’t make sense to you, you’re the one who deserves pity.

      • NeaDods

        “I haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about re: the 14th Amendment”

        Obviously.

        So, using the phrases “being a citizen of a country” and “a country’s citizens” infer ownership instead of citizenship? Someone in this conversation is certainly giving a window of clarity into their thought processes, that much is true.

      • Madonnahorr

        I think the word you’re looking for is “imply,” not “infer.”

        And no, the use of the phrase “ITS CITIZENS” (which was the actual phrase used) doesn’t imply that. The context in which it was used did. I made that clear already. There aren’t many thought processes to analyze if you don’t even read the thread.

      • Richter_DL

        Look, it’s a rabid Randian.

        Grow up. Normal people end their terrible twos at about three years.

      • smrnda

        I figured it out when I was told that a ‘free society’ had never existed, but that the totally untested Randian formula would deliver perfect results.

      • Madonnahorr

        LOL. I’ve never read a novel by Ayn Rand. And I didn’t promise perfect results from anything. You asked me how a society might function without government theft, so I brainstormed a few possibilities for you.

        But you’re not interested in anything other than making snide and untrue comments about people who have principled disagreements with you, are you?

      • smrnda

        It’s just that a lot of your ideas aren’t just the same, but phrased using similar language.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=141304249 Sarah Jones

        Reading comprehension isn’t your thing, is it? There’s a pretty basic difference between subject and citizen; in the former a sense of ownership is certainly implied but NeaDods is talking about citizenship, which implies mutual responsibilities. It’s completely different.

      • Composer 99

        This is a couple days old but re-read it today and felt it needed re-emphasizing.

        The government is ensuring that all of ITS CITIZENS, which include your children… [NeaDods' comment]

        Wow! You don’t just think the government owns my children; you think the government owns ME, too! Scary.[Madonnahorr's response]

        Frankly, the framing behind Madonnahorr’s comment strikes me as extraordinarily disingenuous.

      • Mogg

        The government has an interest in children’s education in that it is better to have children given a decent enough education that they are able to function in society. Kids who aren’t will likely be a burden on the government in the future. And how are you going to spot the kids being neglected in time to make a difference for them if you don’t actively look at things that are correlated with abuse and neglect, such as some form of oversight of education?

      • Madonnahorr

        >> And how are you going to spot the kids being neglected in time to make a difference for them if you don’t actively look at things that are correlated with abuse and neglect, such as some form of oversight of education? <<

        You made an accurate statement here, although I don't think you meant to. You're right, oversight of education IS correlated with abuse and neglect. That's because the vast majority of abuse and neglect cases involve children who are being publicly schooled, which is the most oversight-intensive form of education.

      • smrnda

        Given that they are such a huge majority, it’s not a particularly meaningful statement.

      • Mogg

        And how do you know how that compares to home schooling on a percentage basis? Oh right, you don’t. Because the data is incomplete and often biased towards the best of home schooling examples by volunteer bias. And you don’t want to know, because you oppose the kind of information gathering that would allow accurate comparisons to be done.

      • Susan Gerard

        I homeschooled my kids in PA. We are required to file incredible amounts of yearly paperwork – goals and expectations in every subject, certified teacher examiners to examine and report on each child’s portfolio, standardized testing, etc. – and I can tell you with certainty that the school district supervisor never once looked at the results. Not once. Trust me, my portfolios got slimmer and slimmer every year. So laws don’t really protect children the way you think.

        It was only because I was a concerned parent that I gave my children the best education I could, including French, Spanish, and Latin as languages (aren’t you glad I didn’t homeschool you?), all the other subjects, and every day 45 minutes of what I called “cultural literacy”: sometimes they had to watch classic movies like Gone With the Wind, 2001, Glory, Amadeus, and West Side Story, sometimes listen to music they wouldn’t normally choose, anyway enough, you get the picture. I hired tutors for Art and Chemistry. And they did it all in about 4 – 6 hours/day, which meant lots of time to play/socialize. And they were taught evolution, too!

        My kids always scored in the 99th %ile on their standardized exams, one was a National Merit Scholar, and all received honors scholarships for college.

        It’s not the law that protects kids. It’s the parents. No law can insure a good education.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        So, as you continued to show you were providing a good education in a safe environment, the government gave you less oversight. That doesn’t actually prove anything about how these laws affect abusive parents. If you had suddenly stopped complying altogether, the results would likely have been far different.

      • Susan Gerard

        No, you missed the point. The government never looked at the kind of education I was providing my child. When I would ask the school district superintendent what I could do to improve the education I was giving my kids, he’s start at me blankly (my portfolio in hand) and give me a non-response. If I asked what he thought I was doing well, it was the same. He was clearly not even looking at the portfolio. No, it was because of the lack of oversight that the portfolios became slimmer, and safety of my child was never an issue. That is why I don’t think govt. oversight is THE answer.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        No one is saying that it is THE answer. But is is PART of the answer. And one bad administrator doesn’t show that oversight is a failed system any more than all the instances of abuse Libby Anne posted earlier show that homeschooling should be banned.

      • Susan Gerard

        Agreed, one bad administrator doesn’t mean the system is failed. But all of us in my school district experienced the same. Do you think many an administrator, busy enough with the work he/she already has, is going to look at portfolios carefully. My guess, and it’s only a guess, is, “no”.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        But all of us in my school district experienced the same

        Wouldn’t that be because you all had to deal with the same administrator?

        Anyway, my point is not that if there is regulation, everything suddenly becomes wonderful. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? applies here, just as in every other system and we should always be looking for ways to improve. However, taking away regulations improves nothing and make it easier for abuses to avoid the law, which is a definite bad thing.

      • Susan Gerard

        [i]Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur. [/i] To your point, precicely. The lawmakers have too little oversight themselves. Their laws do no good. They did no good in my situation.

      • Susan Gerard

        “Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.”

        To your point, exactly. Why have laws that are not good?

      • smrnda

        I’m actually thinking it might depend on the administrator and the parents. People are rarely unbiased – I’m guessing that certain parents aren’t going to get much scrutiny, but I can imagine say, a white administrator giving Black parents higher level of scrutiny in a situation like this.

        The problem with any sort of accountability is people in charge of investigating things sleepwalk through their duties. It happens in more places than just education.

      • Anat

        While the law can’t ensure good education, the law can ensure *some* education. And that the child is still alive and has a reasonable chance of staying so.

      • Random_acct

        Anat…you should check big city school districts to see if the law ensures “some” education. It doesn’t. But you knew that already.

      • Anat

        Ehh what? Lots of education taking place in the city around here.

      • Random_acct

        Which city? I can name many that are utterly failing and have been failing for years.

      • smrnda

        I went to high school in Chicago. I can assure you that white, affluent high schools are doing great in that city, it’s just that pretty much all segments of society have conspired to make sure minority kids won’t get a shot. I’ve recently noted the private sector getting into the business of pretending to educate minority kids, but they’re now abandoning the market after sucking up some tax money.

      • Random_acct

        Do you realize that Washington DC public schools get upwards of $16,000 per child for education last I heard? I want to see the minority students get a good education. Unfortunately, the teachers’ unions care about their next contract and works cope more than actually educating children.

      • smrnda

        The factors that keep kids from getting good educations are mostly things that happen outside of the classroom. The problem we have is kids living in poverty.

    • gimpi1

      Actually, if you look into it, I believe you will see problems with the home-schooling in both those states. It doesn’t have to be “swarms” of kids for there to be a problem. Why do you oppose basic accountability for home-schooling parents?

    • smrnda

      On profiteering – home-schooling is a business too. There are people making money off their curricula and conferences, and organizations like the HSLDA which keeps home-schooling parents paranoid enough to keep sending them dues.

      I think, when writing laws to regulate anything, the worst case scenarios are useful because that’s what you want to avoid. I’ve heard the ‘good cases make bad precedents,’ mostly implying that particularly heinous crimes are often used as a pretext to suspect ordinary checks and balances when it comes to investigations.

      Some minimal requirements don’t imply that homeschoolers aren’t doing their job any more than the same requirements imply professional teachers aren’t doing their job – someone has to define ‘adequate.’

    • Sarah

      Well said, Shay. I had also commented with the same viewpoint you put forth and apparently had all my comments taken down. All the comments seem to have gone poof, actually. Were they all wiped intentionally, or was this some sort of technical fluke?

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Sarah, I did not take down your comments. The Patheos system burped and deleted this entire post, so I had to repost it, bereft of its comments, which made me very sad because I thought we were having a very good conversation. This has never happened before, and I’ve emailed the Patheos teach people. I also made a note at the end of the post about the comments that disappeared. I never delete comments unless they included sexism, racism, etc., or include name calling. Yours contained neither. Feel free to repeat what you said before, if you want to take the time. Like I said, something like 20 comments were lost in told, all that had been made on this post, and I honestly don’t understand HOW.

    • Maria Smilios

      Shay, no regulations, really? and why? No one is suggesting implementing standardized test or any outside curriculums, so there is no need to feel that “big” government is breathing down your throat; however, each child should be taught the basics in reading, writing, math, science, history, etc, so if one parent decides that he/she doesn’t like Jews and decides not to teach his/her child about Jews and WW II, well then this kid is going to have a very skewed and selective idea about history. Lastly, there are kids being abused and not taught anything at all, so there does need to be some oversight.

    • Guest

      I want to know the child abuse and early death statistics from AK and TX before I say that leaving kids at home with no oversight is a good idea and does not contribute at all to abuse. ESPECIALLY as AK and TX rate uncomfortably high in infant deaths compared to the other states.

      • Richter_DL

        Depends on your definition of abuse, too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=141304249 Sarah Jones

      You may not see the ‘swarms’ of uneducated abuse victims, but that hardly means that they don’t exist.

  • antimule

    I think Steve Dutch got it right. What we are dealing with now are sixties in reverse. Just like in the sixties we had a bunch of hippies angry at the system they can’t change, now we have Tea Party equally angry at the system that left them behind. Neither group really had a clue how system works or how to change it for the better, they just wanted to wreck everything and worry about the details later.

    When you look at the endgame of the sixties, all those sit ins and protests and weed ultimately resulted in Nixon administration. Likewise, Tea Party’s orgy of destruction is unlikely to increase anyone’s freedoms but it WILL increase the power of corporations and Christianist cults.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Wow, you don’t know anything about hippies. Nothing came of the sit-ins but the Nixon Administration? Are you serious?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Well, clearly desegregation doesn’t count. I mean, it only got rid of Jim Crow laws, which only oppressed non-white (thus unimportant) people, so it’s not like the crazy hippies did anything important, amiright?

  • Caleb G.

    It may be too late for this, but here is message from Rebecca Gorman who is sponsering the petition on Change.org to hold the HSLDA accountable for protecting child abusers.

    “We urgently need 5 minutes of your time to protect kids in Iowa.

    Long story made short: A repeal of all Iowa’s homeschooling
    regulations ‘passed’ the Iowa Senate and House today as an amendment to
    another bill.

    Please call Governor Branstad’s office (515-281-5211)
    TONIGHT or first thing in the morning and tell him you want him to use
    his line item veto on Division XI of House File 215. Tell him why you
    think that homeschooling parents should have to report that they are
    homeschooling and have their children participate in annual academic
    assessments (the regulations that are repealed under this amendment.

    More info: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/05/iowa-just-repealed-all-of-its-homeschool-requirements.html

    Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/336582663137073/

  • CarysBirch

    Most of my friends growing up were homeschooled at one point or another. I was educated in a teeny church-school with less than 20 students — essentially a glorified homeschool group. Most of my friends turned out relatively well educated. A few did not. One of my dearest friends in high school was “homeschooled” solely because his rather meek mother couldn’t get him out of bed in time to get to school in the morning (we later found out he had a sleep disorder that made it extremely hard for him to be woken up), but once he was pulled out of school he had NO education whatsoever. He had to work really hard as an adult to get his GED.

    One of my other friends had a learning disability that was obvious to all of us, but was never diagnosed because she never saw anyone capable of diagnosing it. I think she probably still can’t read.

    There were others among my friends who had abusive situations going on worse than educational neglect. One married at 14 to escape – she didn’t escape the subculture though (you can’t marry that young without parental consent) and she’s a good Debi-Pearl-style wife homeschooling her own kids now.

    I haven’t been vocal on Libby Anne’s HSLDA stories because technically I wasn’t homeschooled, but this story just horrifies me. When just in my small group of friends and acquaintances I can tell this many stories, there’s a problem. The laws in my state didn’t protect any of us. Iowa is doing an irresponsible thing here.

  • Sue Blue

    Maybe the only way to convince people to repeal this bill is for colleges and universities to refuse to admit students who have been homeschooled in Iowa, or refuse to admit them unless they have full documentation of progress and testing. Unfortunately, that just punishes the unfortunate kids and might just reinforce the paranoid persecution complex of fundamentalist homeschooling parents. But really, telling parents that they’re crippling their kids’ futures is all I can think of…except to just keep throwing the horrific abuse cases in front of lawmakers. That means letting the abuse happen and piling up the evidence. Not good.

    • Sally

      There’s a whole subculture that doesn’t value college. Girls are to be homemakers and boys are to learn a trade or start their own business.

      • Madonnahorr

        You’re still using my moniker. Good thing you aren’t saying anything offensive. ;-) Are you doing it by accident, or should I take the hint and change my own moniker?

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Using your moniker? I don’t see what you’re talking about.

      • Madonnahorr

        A bunch of people’s posts have shown up under the name Madonnahorr since I started using that name yesterday. Makes it look like I’m having extended conversations with myself. LOL.

        I don’t mind much, it just seems likely to confuse people.

      • Rosa

        I see you replying to Sally, who replied to Sue Blue. Do you see all of those under the Madonnahorr name?

      • Madonnahorr

        I did at the time, yes. The problem seems to have fixed itself when I refreshed the webpage. Someone mentioned that Disqus has that problem occasionally.

      • Random_acct

        People would value college if college provided value. Have you checked the cost of college lately? Have you seen the escalation of college costs relative to any number of other goods and services over the past thirty years? Take a look. You might be shocked. But on the other hand, maybe you think that a young adult graduating with an education degree and $100,000 of debt is a great “value”!

      • smrnda

        I think college provides people with the false choice of ‘study what you love’ or ‘get vocational training.’ This ends up encouraging a bunch of people to study thing that won’t help them find jobs, or forces people to study things they don’t like just to find work. I just think it ought to be possible to study what you love and still get some credentials that will help you get a job.

        Of course, I have a degree in a tech field (actually, three of them now) but I got that just because my parents were wealthy.

        I think college needs to be better funded, bu I also think we need to make sure all graduates are both getting an enlightening education that helps broaden their horizons and get job skills.

      • Random_acct

        Agree. Although colleges have received an incredible amount of funding over the years…far exceeding the rate of inflation.

      • Sally

        Just getting back to this thread today. I wasn’t commenting on the value of college in terms of cost/benefit. I was commenting on a subculture that doesn’t trust *all that book lernin’* so to speak. – People who think universities will corrupt their children and that even affordable community college is unnecessary, especially for girls.

        I’m well aware of the issues you bring up. Nothing I said suggested otherwise. I was commenting on how meaningful it would be to withhold college entrance to a subculture that doesn’t value college.
        Is college too expensive these days and do we need to carefully consider the cost/benefit? Absolutely. But that’s really quite another subject.

      • Random_acct

        And you know, in your apparent infinite wisdom, that those who get a rather debased college education are somehow more fulfilled and have a better life than those who don’t? I seriously question this given the fact that so many graduate with a substandard education…and with tens of thousands of dollars in debt on top of that.

        I would advise anyone to look at other alternatives to college these days.

        Oh, and there is nothing wrong with being a homemaker or working a trade. One can self-educate very thoroughly today with all the online resources available.

        PS. Home-school kids are better prepared in life than those who aren’t…in general. I speak from personal experience.

      • Sally

        Please stop reading so much into my posts. I am a homemaker. I homeschooled my kids for 8 years. I completely respect people choosing a life that doesn’t include college if that suits them best.

        I am talking not about the people you are talking about. I am talking about a subculture that perhaps you’re simply not aware of. There is a subculture that is afraid of their children going to college not because of the money but because of what they will learn and experience there.

        Remember, I was commenting on whether or not adjusting college admission requirements will affect what homeschoolers do. Those who are afraid of college (or don’t send/go for any reason, of course) will not be influenced by college admissions requirements.

      • Richter_DL

        Or become soldiers who conquer other countries for the glory of Jesus Christ.

    • NeaDods

      I think Sally’s right. Being refused college entry isn’t a threat to someone who considers that college to be a threat to their beliefs and lifestyle.

      • Rosa

        It’s also a sanction on the children, not the parents or the pressure groups or the legislators.

    • Random_acct

      FYI…home-schooled kids outperform public school kids. Where is the protection for kids that attend public schools? They are generally getting a poor education.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        No, they don’t. This has been covered already IN THIS THREAD. See Libby Anne’s response to the previous claim above.

      • Random_acct

        In fact they do.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        Repeating a false claim doesn’t make it true. Here is Libby Anne’s source, since you appear to be too lazy to scroll up for yourself: http://icher.org/faq.html

        Note that it is taken from a homeschooling website.

  • Sue Blue

    One element that is glaringly clear in the arguments of many religious homeschoolers is the anti-government stance. This worry about “nanny states” and “big government” is a huge plank in the religiopublican and Tea Party platform and has been successfully used to whip up an almost frenzied paranoia – “Obummer’s gonna grab all your guns!”, “Your kids are gonna end up in forced reeducation camps to learn about socialism!” “Your taxpayer dollars are gonna be used to support gays, welfare queens, and evilutionist education!” It’s all a cynical ploy to get people to support a deconstruction of government regulation and oversight to enable exactly the kind of unfettered criminal greed that financial deregulation brought on, which we all, as taxpayers, forked over 7 trillion dollars to pay for (meanwhile, banks and financial institutions continue on exactly as before, unscathed). The old “we can regulate ourselves” has never worked for industry, corporations, or banks – and it won’t work for education either – for the simple reason that, when the cat’s away, many humans will play.

    Not everyone is as amoral as some corporate CEOs, but many are, and they are enough to bring everyone else down and threaten the security and future of a nation. When enough parents are convinced of a “government plot to poison our children” that they stop vaccinating, epidemics begin to kill children. When enough parents are convinced by their pastors that the schools are teaching socialism (communism!) and “evilution”, we get an undermining of public secular education with watered-down science classes and revisionist history. When some of those parents homeschool without oversight, we get teenagers who aren’t prepared for any kind of higher education or career future. The exceptions to this are not enough to warrant deregulation of homeschooling, and parents who are truly interested in their children as individuals with an independent future instead of as property of their parents will realize this and will have no problem documenting the quality of their child’s education.

    • Sue Blue

      …And, ironically, these same people who don’t want the government “telling me what to do with my kids (or property, or money, etc.)”, are the same people insisting that the government decide what can and can’t go on inside the bedroom, at the altar, inside women’s bodies, and at the end of life.

      • Random_acct

        No one is trying to “insist” that the government decide what happens in the bedroom.
        As for the altar, gay people can get married anywhere now. They should not be able to gain the special status that male/female marriage has from government though because their married relationship provides no value to society.
        Inside a woman’s body? I assume you don’t know about the brutal murders that are occurring to children in the womb. If you understood, I think you’d change your mind. On the other hand, perhaps you are too cold-hearted.

      • tsara

        Can you please define the word “murder” for me?

        EDIT: Also, I’d like to know what you mean by “value to society.”

      • Random_acct

        Gay marriage has no more value to society than does two platonic roommates living together. I suppose you also support polygamy, polyandry, etc.?

      • http://www.facebook.com/anonomouse.fred Anonomouse Fred

        I notice you still didn’t define what you meant by “value to society”.

        Nice try with the distraction. We’re not talking about poly this and that, try to pay attention.

      • Random_acct

        Government has rightly recognized that the basic social unit in society (dad, mom, children) is the ideal social unit for a thriving culture. Of course, perhaps you can name a country that has thrived for any reasonable period in history without the existence of this social unit. That, my friend, is what I mean when I talk about “value to society”. Homosexual marriage cannot procreate in and of itself. Government has thus rightly granted special status to male/female marriage. …as it should. It is certainly of critical value to society…unlike homosexual marriage.

        Try to pay attention next time.

      • NeaDods

        Quite a few countries allow gay marriage; is Canada not thriving? Whereas America does not test for fertility and thus allows men and women who cannot (or do not intend to) have children to get married anyway (not counting states with gay marriages). So much for those arguments..

        Also, I know quite a few platonic people living together (and am in this situation myself) and it has a direct, measurable benefit to society. With mutual support, neither of us will end up on public assistance. When pay is good, shared bills means more money for both of us to spend elsewhere in the local economy.

      • Random_acct

        “Whereas America does not test for fertility and thus allows men and women who cannot (or do not intend to) have children to get married anyway (not counting states with gay marriages). So much for those arguments..”

        Why do some insist on letting the exception trump the general rule? I never understood that.

        Is Canada thriving? What is their their rate now? Replacement rates?

        As for your last point, you are really arguing that because you share bills with friends you thus won’t be on public assistance? That is a rather weak argument and misses the point that married male/female relationships provide LONG TERM value to society by having children and raising them to be responsible and productive citizens. That is what government wants and needs, and why government provided special status to male/female marriage relationships. It is logical and rational. Homosexual marriages do not provide such benefits to society as they have fundamentally redefined the purpose of marriage. And no, it is not about “falling in love” or “finding your soul mate” or other such nonsense.

      • NeaDods

        So, basically, the only social good is counted by the number of children, not standard of living. Childless marriages are an “exception” despite no citation of # of marriages with or without kids. And no gay person has kids, ever. These are your principles?

      • smrnda

        Same sex marriage will not deprive traditional couples from getting the same benefits they have always had.

        Loving relationships increase people’s quality of life, and in turn, those people function better in society.

        My relationship with another women makes it possible for me to do a lot I wouldn’t be doing without her. Relationships don’t have to produce children, and they don’t even have to involve sex to be beneficial for society. I’d actually be fine with granting more relationships special legal status. I’d support polyamory, though polygamy is basically just ‘women are property’ (which marriage was for quite a long time too) so the mechanics of that might be messy, but I’m not totally opposed to granting more than 2 people marriage-like benefits. Shit, I think you should be able to band together in ‘chosen families’ or ‘tribes’ if you will and apply for group benefits.

      • George Lorenz

        If straight people with children cared so much, then the divorce rate would not be so high. Divorce does more damage than a gay relationship any day. There is no value to society when straight people can’t get their lives together. If you want to see what straight people can do, read some confessions on scarymommy.com. I certainly don’t want the government giving any kind of priority to whores who have kids out of wedlock, losers who leave their kids, and the like. So social unit be damned, I just don’t want damaged kids living anywhere near me.

      • tsara

        Gay couples and platonic friends both sound pretty valuable; happy, productive people add value to society. Unless you define “value to society” as “letters [on official documents] loosely corresponding to sex genotypes capable [under ideal circumstances] of sexual reproduction,” I’m afraid I don’t follow.
        I know a few poly people, and I see no problems with it as long as everyone involved is informed and consenting. Poly marriage is a bit complicated (legally speaking), and I don’t think there’s a great deal of demand for it, but I’m not categorically against it. Why should I be?

      • Random_acct

        So you want to grant special status to those who are deemed “happy”? Interesting. I’m referring to something much deeper and more meaningful to society. That is, procreation, and the raising of children in the ideal basic social unit (dad/mom/children). That is worthy of granted special status by government.

        Why am I not surprised that you are okay with polygamy? I mean, why be against anything as long as it feels good? That is the “progressive” mantra, after all.

      • tsara

        I don’t consider procreation to be particularly special or meaningful.

        But no; that ["So you want to grant special status to those who are deemed "happy"?"] isn’t what I said. I asked what you meant by “value to society,” and noted that the things you spoke of dismissively do, in fact, have value.

        But if getting married makes gay people happy, why not let them? I don’t consider allowing people to get married to be granting them “special status.” I consider marriage to be a form of family-by-contract. If being legally family makes gay people happy and poses no particular burden to society, why not let them? If being legally family makes platonic friends happy (and again, poses no particular burden to society), why not let them?

        Happy, productive people add value to society. If such a tiny thing as marriage makes a significant number of people happier, it’s in society’s best interest to make that possible.

        But you do define “value to society” as”letters [on official documents] loosely corresponding to sex genotypes capable [under ideal circumstances] of sexual reproduction,” apparently (unless you want to limit marriage only to those who are capable and intending to procreate, and exclude platonic friends of opposite sexes/genders). I don’t agree with that.

        And, erm, the progressive mantra is “why be against anything if it isn’t hurting anyone.” Nitpick. :)

      • smrnda

        Procreation does get special perks. You can claim your kids on your taxes. There are programs like WIC specifically for parents of young children. The government already subsidizes having kids, and benefits do not require that you be married, so it is, essentially, perks for having kids.

      • Random_acct

        Exactly. This has been a big problem for our society too. Most all social problems can be tied to kids not having a father in the home. Do you think this should be rewarded or encouraged? Of so, get ready for more crime, drug use, dysfunction, teenage pregnancy etc. it always happens when dads aren’t present at home.

      • smrnda

        Nobody is going to get married because you shut off government benefits to them. You might want to study this field called ‘sociology’ and learn about why marriage and child-rearing patterns are different across different demographics.

      • Random_acct

        Again…marriage is what it is. It is a term that is “by definition” and descriptive. You can’t change that is a male/female proposition any more that you can start calling a tree a rock, for example. Those words belong to certain specific things and can’t be changed.

        All children have a right to be raised by both a dad and a mom. That is the ideal basic social unit. We all should strive for the ideal, because it is best for the good of society.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Could you show me where this right is conferred? Other than in your religion, I mean, as religion cannot be the basis of laws.

        I see no mention in the Constitution of a child’s “right” to two-parent homes.

        Further, this “right” is highly problematic. It automatically overwrites the rights of the adults involved. Saying that a child has a “right” to a two parent home means that you want to force adults to stay in situations that may be bad or harmful to them because then the kid will look like it has two parents.

        Meanwhile, in reality, just having two adults in the home doesn’t automatically mean the kid has two parents. Being a parent is more than just cohabitating with a child. Way more. It involves actively *being* a parent, which you cannot ensure just by forcing the adult to live with the child.

        And then there’s the aforementioned harm that could possibly happen to the parents. If the child has a “right to two parents living under the same roof, you would have to go about outlawing divorce and separation. That leaves the adults open to abuse, manipulation and general misery. I guess you think the parents should just accept all these bad things because there’s a child involved?

        Or you could come to reality, where the rest of us are, and realize that you don’t have to live in the same house as a child to be a parent to it. You don’t have to be married to the other DNA donor to be a parent. And “two parents under same roof” CAN be a good thing, but it is not the default good. This particular situation is way too widely varied for there to be one right answer.

      • smrnda

        Marriage is a social construct, meaning that it is something that people invented at slapped a label on. Let’s take something like ‘Italian cooking’ – what foods fall under this category change over time, and include things today that wouldn’t have been included in say, 1400. Given that polenta is made of corn, which is a new world crop, it’s obvious that human-invented terms have ever-changing definitions.

        I also have doubts that, even if some practice were to be said to be ‘good for society’ that it’s necessarily means they are always the best for everyone across the board. People also have a right to do what’s good for them unless it’s actually shown to be adequately harmful. Same sex marriage hasn’t caused a disaster in any of the places its been approved.

        If people should be bound to do what is good for society, then I guess you’re okay with confiscating all personal wealth and redistributing it, right? :-)

        I also don’t see why you bring up children. It isn’t like *all same sex couples* will be having or adopting children.

      • smrnda

        The state owns marriage. If you aren’t married by the state, you aren’t married. The idea that they can *get married at a church* is like saying if you bar women from office it’s not discrimination since they can imagine they’re town mayor.

        No value for society? Who gets to decide that? You get to decide that the relationship between me and my partner offers nothing to society? What metrics are you using here? Can you prove this offers no value? Our friends who, fortunately, haven’t been infected by the same bigotry, would disagree that our relationship offers nothing.

      • Random_acct

        The government has rightly granted male/female marriage special status for several reasons. The most important is that a dad and mom working together provide the best environment for raising balanced children. Male and females provide a unique perspective on life and child-rearing.

        If you asked one thousand Americans whether a child has a fundamental right to be raised by a dad and a mom, I am confident that over 90% would say yes. Of course, I have yet to see that poll question asked. Go figure.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Then you are barking up the wrong tree. Why focus on the small number of gay and lesbian unions rather that on banning any couple with kids from divorcing, and removing the children of unwed mothers to have them raised by married heterosexual parents?

      • Random_acct

        My point is that any gay couple can now find a cleric to marry them. Problem solved. Then get a lawyer to draw up protections and privileges that normal (I.e. male/female) married folks have. It’s pretty simple.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Will since spouse isn’t automatically awarded estate. Medical proxy. Adoption papers for children (if allowed by state). That’s the bare minimum of legal papers, by the way.

        Then, become aware that you will pay taxes as if single. You can still be denied access to your spouse in hospitals as non-family. If one person dies, the other will have to pay estate taxes, unlike a male/female married couple. If the relationship should end, divorce will be immensely complicated by the fact that there was no civil marriage, thus there can be no civil divorce before a judge. Prenuptial agreements may or may not be honored by a court. Non-biological parents may be denied all visitation rights.

        In other words, it’s not simple at all.

      • smrnda

        The problem is that no matter how many legal protections I have drawn up, there will be some right-wing jackass who will *pretend* that my partner can’t visit me if I am on my deathbed because they *don’t think the papers are in order* and *she isn’t family.* By the time the error is sorted out, I’ll be dead. People who don’t like GLBTQ people are mean and nasty enough to do just that.

        I already mentioned that clerics provide no meaningful role in marrying anyone – the government lets them preside over a government-sanctioned piece of paper.

      • tsara

        That sounds expensive. Why not just let them get married? It’d be simpler.

      • Random_acct

        Expensive? Not at all. Like I said, they can already get married (even if that is absurd and a violation of natural and moral law).

      • smrnda

        Natural law is a meaningless term. Homosexuality occurs in nature. The only ‘natural laws’ would be what, the laws of physics? They don’t seem to be relevant here. Moral law is, as far as I can tell, simply a matter of opinion which informs legal codes but mostly by debate and consensus.

      • Random_acct

        So does the existence of animals that eat their own. Any homosexuality that exists (which is absurd to use as a rationale for human homosexuality) and is justified as “natural” because it has been observed in nature doesn’t understand that in nature it exists for exerting power.

        Be careful your rationale that moral law is a matter of opinion. We saw the results of that with Stalin, Hitler et al. I’m sure they thought their opinion was valid.

      • tsara

        I meant the lawyer.
        (Also, my well-thought-out and carefully reasoned opinion is that ‘natural law’ is a pretty stupid basis for morality.)

      • Random_acct

        There can’t easily be boilerplate legal documents that would handle all situations. This should not be expensive at all.

      • tsara

        …and if the papers for something that basically looks at lot like spousal benefits exist in template form for same-sex couples to use, how is that not marriage?

      • Random_acct

        It can’t be called marriage. Marriage deserves special status in society. I am speaking of real marriage. The only legitimate marriage (male/female).

      • Baby_Raptor

        You can sit there and insist all you want that your personal view is the only “real” and “legitimate” one, but you’ve already shown that all you’re doing is projecting your personal opinion onto a situation that you have very little actual understanding of.

        Meanwhile, out in the world that actually exists, none of what you’re claiming plays out. If you want to sit there like a child throwing a tantrum and never, ever call a same sex relationship “marriage,” fine. More power to you. But the government does not have that option. The government must base any discrimination on actual facts, of which your side has none.

        Live your own life and leave everyone else alone. It’s only in your head that two complete strangers marrying has any effect on you or anyone else but them, and if you let go of your bias and actually looked, you would realize that.

      • Random_acct

        Interestingly, you are calling my personal view just an opinion, while elevating yours as preeminent and morally correct. Based on what? You are the one who wants to make radical change based on an impact to society that is not yet understood. The burden of proof is on the pro gay marriage mob…as it should be. The bar should be set high to prove no harm to society. This is no trivial matter, despite attempts by the mob to make it seem so.

      • smrnda

        Same sex marriage has already been approved, without negative consequences in many places.

      • tsara

        But I’m lazy, and so are a lot of people; everyone’s just going to end up calling not!marriage-[because-the-people-in-it-are-gay] ‘marriage’, because your way is excessively complicated. You’re quibbling about a name (the name itself means absolutely nothing to me), when using that name is a) easier, and b) would make a lot of people who want to get gay married happier. And the only argument(s) you can offer against it is the essentially religious ‘natural law’ argument, when my position is that it’d be a violation of church/state separation for the gov’t to reserve (on that basis) a special word for hetero couples that it won’t give to homo couples. Your other kind-of argument is the benefits-for-child-havers argument, which fails for (at least) two reasons: 1) some people in gay relationships have kids, 2) benefits-for-child-havers can and should (and often are) awarded on the basis of actually, you know, having kids to look after, not on having the the right combination of M and F letters on their government identification that would maybe, in ideal circumstances and if their chromosomal makeup matches what is assumed with those letters, make them having biological children that are just theirs a possibility.

        /wall o’text.

      • Random_acct

        Again, marriage is what it is and always has been: male/female. The word is descriptive and “by definition”. You can’t change the definition of a word.

        Children have a right to a dad and a mom. They do best under this environment and the studies (as if we need them) show this. Men and women each bring unique and critical perspectives in the raising of children. Unfortunately, because of the selfishness of people, this ideal social unit has been distorted and debased. All of our social ills can be traced back to a dramatic increase in fatherless families in the household. We need to do all we can to strengthen the ideal family unit.

      • tsara

        “”You can’t change the definition of a word.””

        Depends. The legal definition does not need to match the religious definition or the colloquial definition. The colloquial definition is changing. The legal definition in Canada does not match the legal definition everywhere. Even some religious institutions are changing their definitions.
        (figures you’d be a prescriptivist, though.)

        “”They do best under this environment and the studies (as if we need them) show this.””

        1. Yes, you do need studies.
        2. What do these studies compare married hetero couples raising children to? My gut feeling says that trusting the well-being of children to two people is less than ideal unless there’s a lot of outside interaction and oversight. I like the ‘it takes a village’ approach. It also seems to me that single-parent households would do worse in these sorts of studies for reasons that are due more to economic factors than anything else. Do you know of any studies that control for that? And do you have any studies that compare hetero couples, same-sex couples, and pairs of platonic friends?

        “”All of our social ills can be traced back to a dramatic increase in fatherless families in the household.””

        Actually, I see a pretty steady increase in society’s levels of awesome, coinciding, funnily enough, with the very things that you don’t like. (Seriously. Who would pick living in the fifties over living now? Nobody I want to be friends with. Unless they’re doing it for the pretty clothes.)

        In conclusion: I don’t give a fuck about marriage. I do give a fuck that denying it to some pairs of consenting adults makes those pairs of consenting adults miserable.

        Also, you’ve just either ignored all of my points, or stated that restricting marriage to M+F is nothing but a symbolic defence of the ‘ideal family unit’. (see my above comment about ‘benefits for child-havers’, which basically says that such a restriction of marriage doesn’t stop gay couples from having kids and allows people/governments to refuse to help those kids [the same ways every other kid is helped] solely on the basis of who their parents are.)

      • Random_acct

        I like your use of the “f” word. It is really classy and shows your sophistication. Congratulations.

        PS. As a question to ponder, show me one example of a thriving culture that has significant numbers of gay married folks. Just one. Let’s be honest too. You would reject every single study I quoted because you don’t want the facts. You only want your selfish and distorted values to prevail and promote radical and destructive change upon society.

        PPS. You do realize that most all of the social ills that societies face are due to a lack of a dad in the home. Or perhaps you don’t care. That would not surprise me.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        First, you are violating my comment policy, which requires readers to focus on arguments rather than on how the argument is made. You’re also flirting with name calling, another violation.

        Second, are you aware that there have been matriarchal societies that functioned just fine?

      • tsara

        “”I like your use of the “f” word. It is really classy and shows your sophistication. Congratulations.””

        Thanks! I don’t know that I’d agree with you about it being classy, but I do like to use it to show emphasis, and getting across one’s point is a sort of sophistication, potentially.

        “”…show me one example of a thriving culture that has significant numbers of gay married folks.””

        erm. Canada? I think we’re doing pretty well (despite Steven Harper’s best efforts). The problem here is that you didn’t define ‘thriving’, and I suspect you’d disagree with me on what ‘thriving’ means.

        (Also really want to go off on tangent about ancient Greece, despite, again, only tangential relevance.)

        “”You would reject every single study I quoted because you don’t want the facts.””

        I might reject every study you quoted, but not because I don’t want the facts. I do epidemiology. I am well aware that you can’t solve a problem if you don’t understand the problem or acknowledge its source. Evidence is the foundation of my value system. If I rejected a study, it would be because the study sucked.

        “”…most all of the social ills that societies face are due to a lack of a dad in the home.””

        I don’t think that the evidence supports this assertion, to be honest. I also don’t think that allowing gay marriage significantly changes the number of fatherless households.

        “”You only want your selfish and distorted values to prevail and promote radical and destructive change upon society.””

        Look, gay marriage doesn’t affect me at all. I’m asexual, and about ninety-five percent aromantic; I’m not planning on getting married. My social circle is tiny, and doesn’t happen to contain any (out) gay people. I don’t have a horse in that race. If the evidence supported the hypothesis that gay marriage is harmful to society or to children, that would be a good reason to not allow it. But the evidence doesn’t support that. And in the absence of harm from allowing it, the most important factor is the happiness of the people it would directly affect.

        EDIT: you also still haven’t addressed my points.

      • phantomreader42

        If “children have a right to a dad and a mom”, as you claim, how do you propose to enforce this right? What should be done with single parents? Should they all be shot? Should they be forced to remarry against their will? It’s telling that you screech in horror at the thought of even the most rudimentary effort to ensure children are being educated and not abused, but gleefully cheer for totalitarian restricitons on the rights of consenting adults to choose their own marriage partners while fraudulently claiming that your goal is to protect the rights of children you don’t really give a flying fuck about. Face it, you’re not the least bit interested in the kids except as human shields for your cult’s sick ideology and bigotry.
        Again, what you are saying is not true. Isn’t that imaginary god of yours supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness?

      • smrnda

        What about men owning women like property? Is that a ‘real marriage?’ After all, if women have rights it goes against longstanding traditions…

      • Random_acct

        You are off topic. We are talking about the stupidity of gays getting the special status of marriage. Marriage is “by definition” and descriptive…and always has been. Only fools who can’t think critically somehow believe that gay marriage is a reasonable option.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        You are violating my comment policy. Consider this your last warning.

      • phantomreader42

        Why does your cult, and ONLY your cult, get to decide what constitutes “the only legitimate marriage”?

      • Sue Blue

        Define “value to society”. Define “personhood” as it relates to “murder”. Explain how all the anti-choice, anti-contraception, and anti-gay legislation that is constantly circulating through state governments is NOT the government invading the most intimate parts of peoples’ lives (said legislation always proposed by religious Republicans).
        BTW, gay people CAN’T get married “anywhere” now. They can get married in a few states, but the US Supreme Court has yet to rule on DOMA and California’s Prop. 8. Not so long ago, this same battle was fought over interracial marriage. When are you people going to learn that human rights are not subject to vote? All humans have the same rights just by virtue of being human – or none of us do.

      • antimule

        >>They should not be able to gain the special status that male/female marriage has from government though because their married relationship provides no value to society.<<

        Considering that the planet is morbidly overpopulated, gay people are precisely the ones whose marriage provides the most value or, more accurately, does the least harm to society. And I am straight.

        Ironically, the most infallible recipe for more regulation is overpopulation. The most populated countries tend to be the most regulated. Conservatives must pick between low regulation or lots of kids. You can't have both.

      • Random_acct

        Since you believe that the earth is overpopulated, are you willing to step up and end your life now to do your part?

      • antimule

        First of all, it is not a belief, it is a fact. Idea that population can grow forever is a ponzi scheme as is every scheme that requires infinite growth. Second no one needs to die, just stop breeding like rabbits (or like quiverfull cultists.) I am going to have (at most) two kids, so yes I am doing my part. What about you?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I’ll do my part by only having 1-2 kids by controlling my fertility and spacing them appropriate to my body’s health. How does that sound?

      • antimule

        >> I assume you don’t know about the brutal murders that are occurring to children in the womb. If you understood, I think you’d change your mind. On the other hand, perhaps you are too cold-hearted.<> We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.<<

        http://www.reasonablefaith.org/slaughter-of-the-canaanites

        /sarcasm

    • phantomreader42

      Sue Blue, channelling delusional teabaggers:

      Your kids are gonna end up in forced reeducation camps to learn about socialism!

      You know, forcing people to learn what the word “Socialism” ACTUALLY MEANS, and thus showing them that the teabaggers screeching it every five seconds are full of shit, would probably result in massive improvements in our public discourse…

  • Random_acct

    Where is the law to protect public school children from neglectful and inadequate teaching?

    • tsara

      There are many laws in place; consider the credentials required to be a teacher at a public school (some kind of university degree is, I think, universally required in Canada. Don’t know about the US), mandatory reporting laws, standardized testing (which, for all its flaws, allows for comparisons between different teachers to be made), etc., etc., etc.

      Obviously, in many places, the standards and laws need to be changed because things aren’t working, but that’s no reason to get rid of them entirely.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        In the US, you need a university degree, yes. For high school teachers, at least, you also need to have that degree be in a field related to what you plan to teach. In many states, a teacher must also pass a certification exam for both pedagogy and subject material. I don’t know if this type of certification is required in all states.

        I believe elementary school teachers can have degrees in education, and of course a degree in education or masters in education are considered pluses in the higher grades as well.

      • tsara

        Sounds pretty similar to here, then.
        (though I’m not an expert; I went to a private school and am a bit of a space cadet, so pretty much everything I know about the subject comes from a friend who wants to teach.)

      • Random_acct

        The point is that the education standards are nonexistent in terms of following them…and anyone who claims that public education is so excellent and homeschooling is terrible has no credibility.

        By the way, I am not asserting that there should be no oversight of home-school education. I am merely pointing out the hypocrisy of those who claim that public education is “all that”. It clearly isn’t.

      • tsara

        I don’t see anyone claiming that public education is “all that.” I see people saying that it’s not a scary, evil thing, and that (despite its flaws — which I definitely don’t see anyone saying are nonexistent) it actually has a lot of benefits that people tend to overlook.

        Public education isn’t excellent, except in comparison with its absence.

        On the other hand, homeschooling has no credibility, because there can be no credibility without regulation*.

        *shrugs*

        Support of the changes discussed above to Iowa’s homeschooling law is de facto support of child abuse.

        *Note: subjective and possibly poorly phrased assertion there.

      • Random_acct

        I think public education would become much closer to excellent if we had a voucher system and people had choices. You know, it’s the American way (i.e. choices). Of course, the teachers’ union wants none of this because it upsets their ability to dominate the market, so to speak.

        As for “credibility”, results can and do suggest that home schooling indeed has credibility. But again, I am not against having oversight. There needs to be accountability to all teachers….whether they are in a public or private setting. Unfortunately, we have no real accountability even in the public school settinng.

      • tsara

        re: “the American way.” I wouldn’t know; I’m Canadian.

        re: credibility. I was speaking strictly about myself: I don’t trust unregulated homeschooling. I view it, as a whole, with suspicion. I view parents who argue against homeschooling regulation with suspicion. I probably wouldn’t trust the abilities of someone who “graduated” from unregulated homeschooling.

        Are there opinion polls looking at these things? How are home schooled grads wrt hireability?

      • Random_acct

        Well…in the U.S., our culture values choices. A lot of choices. Choices brings out competition. Competition usually brings out desirable “product” attributes to consumers.

        Public and private education need accountability. To suggest that public education has any real accountability is a fairy tale.

      • tsara

        Ah. I had heard that before (*cough*StevenHarper*cough*). And, well, there are a few problems with it, but it’s a nice ideal.

        Homeschooling needs accountability, too. And if public school doesn’t, then the thing to do is fix it.

        EDIT: Just to be clear, I love choices. Choices are awesome. I just value cooperation over competition.

      • Random_acct

        Do you realize how long and how many labor hours have been expended on trying to “fix” public education? Excuse me for being very skeptical of this assertion that somehow we can “fix” it without school choice.

      • Anat

        Are they really trying to fix public education, or are there politicians and organizations using school reform as a cover for undermining public education with the goal of driving middle class parents to withdraw their kids from public schools, so that they can do what they want with poor children and nobody will care?

      • smrnda

        You pretty much summed up the entire agenda right there.

      • Mogg

        But in pretty much every situation where an unregulated free-market approach has been applied or self-regulation has been the rule, it turns out that someone is cutting corners to beat the competition, and either inadvertantly or deliberately doing the wrong thing by the ultimate consumers. Hence health inspectors for restaurants, compulsory registration for certain professionals for whom safety and competence is important for their clients, such as doctors and electricians, banking regulation – the removal of which was a contributing factor to the GFC – and so on. I am absolutely mystified that anyone would argue against oversight for the education of children, when it is well known how crippling a substandard education can be.

      • Random_acct

        But I am not arguing for no oversight. I would argue passionately (and do) for school choice.

      • Mogg

        Ah. How are non-government schools regulated where you are? I should also add that I’m from a country where private schooling is becoming an issue because in some places the rate of private schooling, which does receive some public funding, is approaching one in three students. IMO that is problematic, because taking all the high performing and high socioeconomic background kids out of a school community is likely to either make a perceived problem real or greatly worsen an already troubled school. I’d rather see problems fixed in the public system, and more public schools concentrate on having an excellent academic reputation, including more selective and specialist public schools. I find the idea of separate schools for cultural, ethnic or religious reasons somewhat problematic, as it tends to mean children are cloistered in a monoculture and don’t get a chance to experience meeting different types of people and ways of living. Also, we have had a few egregious cases of what I would term misuse of funding such as the private school with ample money from bequests, assets and high fees, still accepting public funding and using it to pave their administration building with Italian marble tiles. That, IMO, is completely unacceptable. By all means get imported marble tiles if you are raising that funding privately, but don’t use the public dollar for it.

      • phantomreader42

        So, you’re NOT arguing for no oversight, you just can’t bring yourself to tolerate anyone ever even so much as LOOKING at homeschooled children to see if they’re actually being educated. You think ANY regulation at all is an intolerable assault on your freedom to beat your children into submission with plumbing supplies, but somehow the fact that you’re vehemently opposed to any and all oversight doesn’t mean you’re arguing for no oversight.
        What color is the sky on your planet?

  • reallymom?

    Homeschooler opinion here. I realize I just jumped in the shark tank but here goes!
    Parent’s know what is best for their children. They do I promise! My background before dumping my career to be a wife, homemaker and homeschooling mom was a teacher at a nationally accredited pre-school (yes, I have a degree in education). I loved my job and was excellent at it as were my fellow teachers but I couldn’t help feeling sad for the children (some only children) who’s parents were too preoccupied with their personal lives to raise them-these kids were in daycare/preschool 40-50 hours each week-educated wonderful teachers with low ratios (4 or 6:1) open ended, flexible but planned curriculum, gardens, indoor natural wood climbing toys and hugs were no substitute for children feeling valued by their parents. I decided to explore homeschooling and what I found was a group of extremely dedicated parents, polite, respectful (though a little quirky) children and mostly Christians (no bias, just saying). Homeschooling is not perfect but if it is a parent’s right to have someone they “feel like they trust and have a good relationship with” but don’t really know raise their 6 week old to 5 year old 50 hours each week without having to submit a letter of intent to the government why should parents have to do this to educated their children at home. I doubt enough people are going to let their kids watch looney tunes all day while they smoke pot and call it homeschooling for it to make a significant impact on society.

    • tsara

      “”Parent’s [sic] know what is best for their children. They do I promise!””

      “”I couldn’t help feeling sad for the children (some only children) who’s [sic] parents were too preoccupied with their personal lives to raise them-these kids were in daycare/preschool 40-50 hours each week””

      …you do realize that it was the parents who put their kids in pre-school, right? That’s making decisions for the kids just as much as homeschooling them is.

      • reallymom?

        I can see how that looked contradictory. Yes, these parents were making a childcare/education/lifestyle choice just as homeschoolers do. This is pure opinion/observation and I have no scientific study or otherwise to back this up but I do think that many parent’s wanted to be with their children more and tried to make sure their children were getting all of their needs met (they knew what was best).
        But many are pulled by a culture that says “put yourself, money, education, career first”. Some parents have to work to make ends meet or are undereducated and are trying to get ahead. Parents 100% do and should have the right to put themselves, money, education, career first – that’s freedom too and the government shouldn’t regulate our personal lives which do include choices we make about our children.

      • phantomreader42

        So, to recap, you promise that parents know what’s best for their children…except for parents who do things differently than YOU. Oh, and you pretend abusive parents don’t exist, because they’re inconvenient to your ideology.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      If parents know what’s best for their children, why are you criticizing parents who chose to put their children in what sound like excellent public schools? Wouldn’t those parents know what’s best for those children? It sounds to me like you’re saying you found the One Bestest Way(tm).

      And, sad to say, that’s actually not universally true. There are abusive parents out there. There are neglectful parents, lazy parents, hateful parents. Most parents are not like this; most parents have the best interests of their children at heart. How do you propose we handle those parents who do not have their children’s best interests at heart? How do you propose we even figure out who they are?

      • reallymom?

        I am generalizing “parents know best” to include any parent who is not an abuser, which is most people. I didn’t intend to criticize the parents who enroll their infants, toddlers, young children in full-time childcare and preschools I was just saying that the best government funded program (we received grants and funding on top of parent tuition for food, toys, curriculum even though these parents were all middle/upper income as all child care programs in my state are entitled to) was no substitute for involved/loving parents especially in the early years. You are right-these parents are making a parenting and lifestyle choices just like homeschoolers. No matter what choice a parent makes it may be beneficial or detrimental to a normally developing child-there is no way to tell until the child grows up and blogs about it I suppose. The government doesn’t regulate the parenting choices of parents who put very young children in childcare settings with 10-13 other needy children for long days. I’m just offering another perspective.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        I am generalizing “parents know best” to include any parent who is not an abuser, which is most people.

        Indeed it is. But since abusers do exist, enacting laws that act as if they do not is a BAD IDEA.

        The majority of people don’t try to pass off fake currency, but shops still have anti-forgery measures in place to protect them from people who do, despite it adding a minor inconvenience to people who are not breaking the law. This is the same principle.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Actually, the government does regulate daycare and preschool providers. I’m also pretty sure that in most states daycare and preschool teachers are mandatory reporters who receive training on how to recognize and report child abuse, meaning that parents who put their kids in daycare actually have additional protections from abuse. I’m not sure what kind of comparison you’re trying to draw here? The daycare example you bring up seems rather to support my point, not yours.

        Also, in spite of what you seem to be inferring, daycare isn’t bad for kids. Sure, you have to make sure you get a good daycare provider, but there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with daycares. In fact, having children stay home with a nuclear family stay at home mother the way we have it today is a very new phenomenon. Childcare has been in part or in whole communal in many places and periods in our world’s history, and kids seem to be just fine. (Note: I’m not talking about an orphanage setting, where there is no home parent, but rather a setting where each child has a parent but isn’t necessarily watched full time by that parent.)

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I am aware you didn’t intend to criticize anyone. Your post still came across as incredibly judgmental; I’m sure it wasn’t supposed to, but it may have shown a bit more of your true attitudes than you yourself even realized you had. It can be really hard to examine ourselves for our own judginess, for lack of a better term. I disagree that programs can’t compete with “involved/loving parents especially in the early years”, but I especially find that attitude to be extremely judgmental. You’re telling parents doing it differently that they’re doing it wrong. That’s not ok.

        The children in public daycare see mandatory reporters, people who are trained to see child abuse/neglect and must report it to authorities. Homeschooled children simply don’t see mandatory reporters. I am aware the vast majority of parents are not abusive, but there is a known subset that are. I ask, if there is absolutely no oversight, what if anything you think we should do to catch these parents and protect their children. Oversight now is how we do that- if we get rid of it, what then? I appreciate your perspective, but it has a lot of negative consequences that I’m not sure you’ve faced. Are you truly willing to sacrifice children on the altar of noninterference? If not, what regulations would you support?

      • reallymom?

        Clearly you care about children as do I.

        It is a strong judgement on the part of this blog that homeschoolers are likely child abusers because the two are separate issues. That is why I made my initial comment although I realize there are strong opposing opinions here, I appreciate that you are able to state your opinion in a way that is trying not to offend and yes, we are all biased. Some on this blog go as far as being bigots. I do not disagree that parents who enroll their children in full-time day programs do have specific goals in mind and they should (and do) have a right to exercise parental judgement without govenment interference. Homeschoolers deserve these same rights. Homeschooled children do see mandated reporters, I am actually a mandated reporter due to my current job with special needs adults and the fact that I maintain my registration as a child care provider in my state. I am involved in a co-op and participate in social activities at other homeschoolers homes on a weekly basis. Sunday school teachers (at my church at least), girl/boy scout troop leaders, pediatricians, nurses, coaches, day care workers (many homeschooled children go part-time) are all mandated reporters. Our church has a class on protecting children from abuse, a background check and a mandated reporter waiver we have to sign to be involved in children’s ministry maybe this would be a good route for co-ops to follow. Also homeschooling parents are still under Iowa’s child abuse laws which includes Educational Neglect (http://caffeinatedthoughts.com)

        Day care providers, nanny’s, babysitters, teachers, parents, coaches, pastors, family members and strangers are all types who have abused children. Children are killed in their homes and in the schools every year. Children with internet access can meet perverts online and be abused (some children don’t even realize they are being abused). Sometimes the perpetrators are caught, sometimes not, we all agree this is the worst kind of injustice.

        The truth is that the majority of homeschoolers are not hiding their children under a rock and you cannot make the stereotypical judgement that homeschooling = abuse but I will agree that a connection can be made between homeschooling and people with strong philosophical or religious views. Many people of faith believe that God is their authority and many are libertarian, a large majority are pro-life and with their whole being believe in protecting and upholding the rights of the vulnerable. But honestly I don’t think this would be an issue if we were talking about the freedoms of Buddists, Unitarians or any other religions other than Christians and orthodox Jews. Freedom of religion is important to society.

        This isn’t only to you Feminerd but to everyone on this blog-think of this when you are judging those with strong religious affliation. The family unit it the most primary form of human organization. “Men are moved most by their religion, especially when it is irreligion. For them anything primary and elemental must be evil” G.K. Chesterton

      • reallymom?

        I do have to add that I follow my states homeschooling laws which are much like what Iowa’s were. I don’t mind and am actually quite excited to see how my children do. I would probably do this even if our laws were loosened because I like to collaborate with other teachers (that’s what I went to college for). But I do understand and respect that stance of those who do not want to collaborate or justify their teaching methods-I see it as a rights issue.

      • Composer 99

        reallymom?:

        You state:

        The family unit it the most primary form of human organization.

        Got any cites to anthropological literature to support that? I’m no anthropologist myself, but what little I’ve read suggests that many human societies had (or have) much more fluid, yet still functional, forms of social organization than the nuclear family.

        You also state:

        The truth is that the majority of homeschoolers are not hiding their children under a rock and you cannot make the stereotypical judgement that homeschooling = abuse

        Since becoming a regular reader here, I have yet to see Libby Anne or any other commenter either claim that homeschooling parents as an aggregate are homsechooling just to hide their children from civil authorities & agencies, or that homeschooling necessarily leads to abuse.
        As far as I am aware, even the people who think
        homeschooling should be illegal have not even said that.
        At most, the claim appears to be that homeschooling, in the absence of oversight, can and, based on several of the legal cases discussed by Libby Anne and others, does allow abusive or neglectful parents more leeway.

        Finally, I would like to touch on:

        This isn’t only to you Feminerd but to everyone on this blog-think of this when you are judging those with strong religious affliation.

        I haven’t seen any judging of homeschooling parents, or homeschooling advocacy groups, on account of being religious qua being religious. Instead:

        (a) insofar as people’s religious beliefs lead to advocating for deregulation, their beliefs may be criticized if they support false premises for deregulation (e.g. paranoia over “the nanny state” and the like);
        (b) groups like HSLDA are being criticized for providing rhetorical & legal cover for abuse and neglect; and
        (c) commenters trying to defend deregulation are being criticized for not taking abuse and neglect into account in their defences (and perhaps even resorting to non sequiturs regarding abuse by non-homeschooling parents or by school staff, as if suggesting homeschooling needs some oversight somehow entails giving public or private schools a free pass).

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        A lot of the people here (though not me) grew up in abusively, oppressively religious homes. One of the reasons this happened was that they were homeschooled. Your children have many safeguards, because you let them have safeguards, because you’re doing it right. How do you propose we find those who are not? Remember that education is a right of the child, and freedom from abuse is a right of the child, but homeschooling is a parental privilege. Why does parental privilege override just checking in on children to make sure their parents are protecting their rights? How many abused children is your “freedom” worth?

        You’re not answering my questions. Please do so.

      • reallymom?

        Do you think these children would have been abused even if they were not homeschooled? My views rest mainly in the fact that educational oversight by the government infringes on the rights of parent’s making an educational choice for their children. I don’t think that tightening homeschooling laws will eradicate abuse and honestly Iowa’s previous laws were almost identical to my state in which everything is sent in by mail (unless your child sits for testing) and that doesn’t prevent the types of physical abuse that many on this site have experienced. I don’t have all the answers on how to end childhood abuse, I have contemplated this issue frequently in my work with children both in the U.S. and Haiti and in working with developmentally disabled adults. People that want to hide children away and abuse them will continue to do so-for example those poor women in Cleveland. I’ve been talking to other homeschoolers about this, this week. What I have deduced in my tiny study of 3 other families is that: homeschoolers are often treated with a strong bias by public school officials (denied access to “specials” and team sports), the media portrays a skewed image of homeschoolers (Duggers, murderer mothers). Maybe bringing more positive awareness to the community about homeschooling so that the “good families” don’t feel the need to be so defensive and worry about truency, infringement of rights, social workers “knocking on the door”. It’s not fun to be judged as commiting “educational neglect” because your kids play outside at noontime on a “school day”.

        As positive homeschooling becomes more socially acceptable it will be more obvious to everyone in our communities (homeschooling or not) when abuse is happening-this is similar to what happened when people with developmentally disabilities were taken out of abusive institutions in the 1980′s early 90′s and integrated into private homes and the community in a positive way-I work with these individuals and it’s like their being homeschooled (although they can choose developmental day programming or jobs if they want and are able, they are adults). Stigma’s and biases were lifted and abuse cases were reduced significantly because we (as a society) started to see these people as “normal” and we knew what to look for. Although unfortunately abuse still does happen (I have seen it).

        To answer your questions no child should be abuse ever for any reason. I have hope that freedom can be attained without any sacrificial offerings. I also believe in a just God and that those who sin in his name are committing the gravest of sins.

        I’ve enjoyed this discussion with Feminerd because it helps me keep my values in check. I think there has to be a consciousness shift about homeschooling but as the movement grows it will happen. Lot’s of groups have had to fight for equal rights and continue to fight to protect those rights-it’s doable, there is a balance that can be achieved. I have to be done with this blog for now though because it’s taken up a ton of my time this week!

      • tsara

        (this is mostly for the sake of saying this. Feel free to ignore.)
        My view is that nobody has the right (in the idealistic sense) to sole (or partnered) authority over another human being — and children are human beings. I firmly believe in the ‘it takes a village’ principle for childrearing, on the principle that if you can get a large number of people with different life experiences and different stakes in the matter (i.e., parents, a few teachers, a few social workers and child development psychologists, a doctor or medical practitioner, and a handful of government officials) to agree on something, then that’s much less likely to be harmful. (If they don’t agree? Compromise. Work something out. Removing the child[ren] from the custody of their parent[s]/guardian[s] is a last resort.)

        I contend that any parent/guardian who does not voluntarily submit to such assessments and measures as people have (seriously) suggested here OR try very hard to change the specific assessments/rules they have a problem with while keeping some measures in place for the protection of children… should not be homeschooling, because the ease of isolation and abuse of children (and lack of mandatory reality checks for parents) is built into the structure of unregulated homeschooling.

        I further contend that, if you wish to change homeschooling’s reputation, adequate regulation and good, solid record-keeping are required; we need to see qualitative and quantitative assessments, we need statistics, we need to see what works and what doesn’t.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I don’t believe in God at all, though. The idea that he’ll punish people after they’re dead doesn’t scream justice to me, it screams delusion. We have this one life, and if we let children be abused in it, that’s it. We let children be abused. That’s … so very all kinds of not OK. And the women in Cleveland were an anomaly- yes, we’ll never stop all abuse, but no one thought what happened to them was acceptable in any way. There are a lot of people who normalize and support abusive homeschooling (the Pearls, Vision Forum, etc). Without some sort of oversight, do you really trust fractured, group-based homeschooling families to police people in other groups that they don’t ever see? I don’t. People in general suck at that sort of thing. You may hope you can do both, but we live in the real world, and you can’t. You have to make a choice, and I choose children’s lives.

        Based on some of the stories I’ve read, abuse seems to decrease if children are seen by mandatory reporters. It doesn’t stop altogether, but public schooling seems to check the extent of the abuse. Beatings become fewer and lighter, rapes decrease in frequency and violence, food and sleep deprivation cease. Parents become concerned about covering it up, and so they do more easily cover-upable things, which also tend to be the less harmful things. Now, this isn’t based on any study, just anecdotes I’ve read, so take it with as much salt as you like.

        As for bias against home schoolers in that they can’t do team sports or electives at schools- well of course not! The schools get money based on attendance, and your child doesn’t attend. If your child takes up a spot on a team, or space in a play, they are stealing money, time, and attention from the kids who are going to that school. Public schools are already usually underfunded- you want to make that worse by taking resources without giving any back. Not to mention that most of those require passing grades- especially without oversight, how can the school tell if your child is passing or not?

    • NeaDods

      “Parent’s know what is best for their children. They do I promise!”

      Including Andrea Yeats?

      • reallymom?

        No not including Andrea Yeats, that is a sad, sad case. We could have a discussion about better supporting or supervising women with postpartum issues but that’s another blog.
        I was referring to normal parents making individual choices for their child’s care and education. I could have been more specific.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        But that’s the whole point. You can’t tell who is going to need help and support if you don’t even know how many kids there are in the first place, never mind how well they are doing.

      • reallymom?

        I will make the assumption that most women have some type of pre-natal or postpartum care. But ultimately everyone cannot be regulated unless drones start flying around video taping our every move.

      • Composer 99

        Hello, false dichotomy! Why is it people arguing against regulation seem to keep insisting that the choice is either “no regulation” or “drones flying around video taping our every move” or some similar nonsense?

        Conflating filling out some paperwork and allowing periodic outside party assessment of homeschooled children with “drones flying around” is disingenuous. Certainly I have yet to see people making such conflations come up with some reasonable justification for it.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        I will make the assumption that most women have some type of pre-natal or postpartum care.

        I don’t think that assumption can be supported.

        But ultimately everyone cannot be regulated unless drones start flying around video taping our every move
        No one’s saying the government should oversee everyone all the time, but checking in once or twice a year isn’t in the same league.

      • victoria

        CDC Natality data shows that the vast majority of women do have some form of prenatal care (the percentage who don’t have any generally ranges from 1-3%), although the percentage who get late and/or inadequate prenatal care is much higher — between 10% and 25%.

        There would be some reason to think that homeschoolers would be overrepresented among people who are in that group of people who don’t get any/adequate prenatal care, however, because of the existence of sects that counsel both homeschooling and homebirth (itself associated with a lower rate of people getting trained prenatal care) as moral imperatives. But the absolute number is small.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        Sorry, I misread the original post as “all women” rather than “most”. Apologies to reallymom?

      • victoria

        I don’t think it takes away from the main point at all — that it’s eminently possible find a happy medium between allowing people to educate their kids as they please and as they believe is best, and also putting some safeguards in place to protect kids whose parents do a neglectful or inadequate job.

        It’s just that when I see someone invoke statistics that are likely available, it’s like waving a red flag at a bull for me. I am THAT kind of dork, and I should probably be apologizing to you for my pedantry.

      • Composer 99

        The point that others are trying to make is that without some kind of information-gathering and keeping track of children, there’s no meaningful way to identify children at risk of abuse and/or neglect before it happens, and the work of HSLDA and other groups to systematically roll back such regulation as exists vis-à-vis homeschooling eliminates an avenue to do so.

        If you can’t distinguish between normal parents and abusive parents because you can’t gather information, what’s to stop abusive or neglectful parents?

        Given that 40-50% of children are abused by family members, merely counting on the family or homeschooling community just isn’t going to cut it.

        If an outside agency isn’t keeping track of children’s educational progress, what’s to stop even well-intentioned parents from falling short because of knowledge gaps, time constraints, critical/chronic illness or injury, or any number of other factors?

      • NeaDods

        Except we can’t make it another blog. Andrea Yeats was a very messed up human being, but she was doing precisely what this culture tells her to do. Obey her husband. Homeschool her children and keep them from hell… any way possible.

        Up to the moment she snapped, Rusty Yeats would have defended his family and wife with exactly the same defenses used here. She loved the kids best. She knew what was best for them. And to be fair, she absolutely did not let the kids watch Loony Tunes all day or smoke pot.

        Everyone looks normal right up until the moment they snap. You can’t say “well, I’m just talking about the normal people” without addressing how you’re going to find and address the issue of the inevitable ABnormal people.

    • Mogg

      Parents do not always know what is best for their children, even if they are well-intentioned, and sometimes even if they know what is best they are incapable of providing it themselves. I’ll use myself as an example. My mother is a wonderful person in many ways, but is incredibly mistrustful of anything that smacks of intellectualism. She is intelligent, but genuinely thinks that just because she had no more than a year 10 education – standard for girls in the 1960′s, when she finished school – that nobody needs more than that, and anyone who goes to university is being pretentious. I now know that she tried to convince each of her children to leave education at some point – me when I failed my first year at uni, both of my siblings during high school when they hit a snag of some type or another. In addition, both of my parents are “sit back and hope the problem disappears” types, both with depressive tendencies which means that at times looking after general life was difficult enough, let alone trying to educate three children without oversight to keep them on track. As it was, we kids did most of the cooking, a lot of the cleaning, and the basics of keeping the yards tidy from high school age upwards. Two of the three of us kids have learned and/or inherited that behaviour pattern along with some other psychological problems, so we wouldn’t have been self-motivated enough or have the mental tools required to go through our schoolwork on our own.

      Now, how do you think we would have gone had my parents been allowed to home school with no oversight at all? My parents wouldn’t have failed us deliberately, but I’m sure they would have failed us. As it is, two of us had a public education and the youngest a private Christian school education, and we all completed, perhaps not as well as we could have in perfect circumstances, but well enough. We all went on to finish degrees, too, although the youngest didn’t get to go to uni until after she married and had spent a good amount of time working through the messages she got as a child that she was dumb and rebellious – something which the supposedly superior private schooling should have been better at managing than those horrible, horrible public schools. Turns out she has ADHD… a problem my teacher father doesn’t believe in, and the private school didn’t pick it up either. I failed my first year, but went back to the equivalent of community college for a two year diploma, then went back and finished my degree. It wasn’t until later that the problems I had with education and socialisation were properly diagnosed as major depression and moderate anxiety, rather than “lazy” and “a bit shy”.

    • smrnda

      I used to work providing child care for kids in a crisis. I can assure you that lots of parents not only don’t have a clue what is good for their kids, but aren’t concerned enough to care. Have you ever seen an adult give an infant a bottle full of soda? Does locking kids in a dog crate sound like a great idea? There are parents doing that, and a whole lot worse. Worst, there are cults that openly espouse child abuse that call on parents to home-school because (they claim) public schools are evil and don’t hit kids enough.

      Parents who abuse and neglect kids aren’t necessarily going to homeschool, but certain religion-fueled homeschooling movements openly advocate child abuse. This might be a minority, but no kids should get such a shit deal.

      My parents were academic workaholics, and I honestly liked it that way. Most of the people my age had involved helicopter parents, but I was glad I was forced to be independent and that my parents allowed me to do what I felt like and minded their own business. Sure, there was some tradeoffs, but over all it was good preparation for life.

      • reallymom?

        That must have been intense work, I have seen things like that in the past. I’ve spent time in a Haitian orphanage and seen children given up by parents who cannot keep them alive because of lack of food, medicine, shelter. It’s a sad reality-it seems like a shit deal for everyone.

        I have also worked in adult mental health care and seen the repercussions of children growing up in unfit environments, none in my experience were homeschooled as children but many were homeless at times. These people generally still want contact with their families and try to build a relationship the best they can even in their adult lives with their limited coping skills.

        Most advocates for children say that keeping a family intact is the best case scenario for children. Even parents who make bizarre choices like soda in a bottle or hours of T.V. everyday (the cage thing is in another category).

        I’ve also seen homeschoolers dedicating their lives to creating a positive family environment for their children, people working on their marriages, getting involved in the community and improving their own and their children’s quality of life through homeschooling. I think society can benefit from diverse educational methods. Some people will always irk you-like the Religious right but everyone has their place. I am far from a gun-touting, evangelical but we are all entitled to our freedoms even if some make poor choices.

        I’m glad you had a great childhood clearly you were able to give back as a result of that. As a homeschooling mom I hope my kids will feel independent and empowered to make good choices.

      • smrnda

        I just wanted to point out that the concern about home-schooling isn’t necessarily the belief that all home-schoolers are doing something bad to their kids, but because there are home-school proponents who promote child abuse. I don’t typically promote anything that looks like profiling, but I look at home-schooling kind of like gun ownership. We’d hope to have a few safeguards in place to make sure that certain people don’t get to own guns.

  • freedomfirst

    Whose children are they? Yours? The State’s? Why are you so afraid of freedom?

    • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

      Children aren’t propertry. The State has a responsiblity to protect all citizens from violence and abuse, particularly the more vulnerable ones (such as children).

    • Anat

      And how is the freedom of the children going to be protected when they are 100% in the hands of their parents?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=838440579 Lisa Luke Easterling

    This is one of the most asinine pieces I’ve ever read on homeschooling law. Your most visible and foundational flaw is that you complain about parents saying their children belong to them, but seem to have no problem saying they belong to the State. You hypocrite. Our children are our own responsibility, and the Iowa legislature got it completely right. I can only hope other states follow suit, since there is no Constitutional basis for laws regulating parent-led education (although that hasn’t stopped them from gutting the Constitution in other areas). How about you raise your own kids and leave ours to us. After 25 years of homeschooling I hold up the five amazing adults we raised and educated and shake my head at your whining over the fact that homeschoolers actually want to take care of their own. Go pick on people who don’t care. We don’t need your meddling.

    • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

      How about you raise your own kids and leave ours to us.
      Mostly because I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the eye when the first child is murdered by their homeschooling parent(s). Leaving kids without protection from abuse and violence is not something I am able to do.

      …but seem to have no problem saying they belong to the State.
      No one is saying that. Ensuring children are not being abused does not equal ownership. Demanding complete control over thier life kinda does though.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      I don’t think kids belong to either their parents or the state. I think they belong to themselves: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/05/checks-and-balances-except-for-homechooling.html

      Question: If the government bans companies from firing workers based on race or sex, or requires employers to ensure that their workers have safe work environments, is that an example of the government *owning* those employees or protecting their rights?

      Another question: What if a homeschool parent isn’t educating their kids (and I’m not talking about inch oolong, where parents create rich educational environments and facilitate child-led learning)? What if a homeschool parent has no books at all in the home and never let’s the kids leave the house? Are you arguing that should be allowed to happen because those kids belong to those parents and they can raise and educate them however they like?

  • Winnie

    I’m addressing the tenor and content of the comments rather than the story itself. I’ve just read through them and want to address various points.

    First — in circumstances where people are satisfied with their schools, it may seem or “feel” logical that school oversight of homeschoolers provides protection to children in regard to academics. Unfortunately, people must be operating from their own corner here without realizing what things are like in other states and communities. In many places in our country, the academic education in public school may more closely reflect what some of you criticize as the “fundies’” agenda — and it’s supported by state and local officials. I’m not sure you realize that homeschooling can actually be an expression of academic freedom that is more in line with your philosophy. In some cases, homeschoolers may be the ones who are, say, the secular humanists in their community — if they sent their kids to school, that is where they would be immersed in a culture dominated by the world view I perceive you to oppose.

    This is the problem with giving government this kind of power of oversight. You can’t be sure which way it is going to go. It is hard for some to believe, but some parents homeschool IN ORDER to depart from the government-backed curriculum that, for example, makes evolution an “issue” rather than an organizing point of science, or in order to depart from school-instituted Christian prayer, etc. (These things ARE present because people want their elected officials and school board to support them — it IS a dominant culture in many states).

    So, if you give public education academic oversight power of homeschooling, be sure you realize that in many communities — maybe nowhere YOU have ever lived — but in many communities nonetheless, you have just removed children’s only opportunity to receive an education that is outside that culture. You have just reduced the academic diversity in that community. You have just dried up the intellectual watering hole.

    I know, you didn’t mean to do that, did you?

    Now let’s consider that between 1/3 and 1/4 of all kids who enter public education fail to graduate (CNN says 25% here http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/03/how-u-s-graduation-rates-compare-with-the-rest-of-the-world/ . A recent TIME article put it closer to 1/3). In minority majority schools, the rate is about 50%.

    It does not make sense to give public education the power (or greater power) to regulate homeschoolers when one of every four of their own students fails to achieve the overt goal of the system. I believe this would be akin to the fox guarding the hen house, as they say.

    Additionally, we have a patchwork of state regulations around the country. I have lived in various states, and I work as a homeschool evaluator, and I’ve never seen that homeschoolers in higher reg states have better outcomes — either in my experience anecdotally or in any data. So we’d like to think this would be helpful — again, it “feels” right that higher regs would ensure better outcomes — but this is actually not an evidence-based thought. It’s a feeling.

    Keep in mind that many homeschoolers are purposely not sending their kids to school IN ORDER TO differentiate from the schools that fail 25% of their students(and up to half their students in high minority communities). Given that, it’s not hard to see why homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers who support home ed push back on regs. Public ed needs to get the log out of its own eye before it is qualified to pass judgment on homeschoolers through testing, curriculum requirements, home visits, etc.

    Now — some have said — well the answer to the problems with public ed isn’t to homeschool. Are we SURE? Because people have worked for generations on public ed. I know I have. But at some point, parents do say, hmmm, I can’t continue to sacrifice my kid on the altar of broken public ed, because it’s going to perpetuate the problem. At some point, people take personal responsibility to make sure their family members can be contributing members of society.

    What if homeschooling can be a model for what could work in public ed? What if public ed needs just that much shaking up? What if the homeschoolers have it right and the schools as they have come to be have it wrong? Do we really want government to be that much more forceful in squeezing out the alternative, the niche, the innovation, that can be so prevalent in homeschooling?

    I mean, do the numbers on 25 PERCENT of children not graduating in the U.S. It’s HUGE. Are we really holding up public ed as the ideal that should regulate homeschoolers? Again, I think cultural bias makes this FEEL right, but it just does not make any sense.

    Now to address identification of homeschooling with child abuse. This is a logical fallacy of the worst kind: Some members of a group may commit a grievous crime. Therefore, all members of the group are suspects. (I think many of you here are quite against this sort of thing in other circumstances)

    Let’s take it a step further. If parents are likely abusers, why are ALL parents of at-home children not subject to state visits and pre-emptive regulation? Why? Because it doesn’t make sense. Because some other parent abused a child does not make me a suspected abuser.

    Most abused children are not, in fact, homeschooled. Most attend school. We see case after case of school children whose abuse was reported but never resolved, ending in tragedy. The school is an extremely highly regulated environment with many professionals, and yet children continue to be abused.

    It does not make sense that we would thus subject all homeschooling families to suspicion of abuse with greater regs administrated by professionals — when this scenario has not managed to eliminate abuse right within the professionals’ own domain. If there is a problem with enforcement against suspected abusers, I believe we need to work on the agencies responsible for enforcement — not cast our net wider to include people just because of their educational choice. If anything, this might even dilute effective enforcement, as profiling frequently does.

    Because that is what is being advocated. Profiling. Because someone is a member of a certain non-mainstream group, they are suspects.

    Now, a couple of other points. According to the latest NCES data, 2/3 of all parents choose other than a religious reason as a main reason for homeschooling their kids. This is despite the poor wording of the question, which said “for religious OR moral” reasons, which could mean that a portion of those respondents were also not choosing a “religious” reason persay for homeschooling.

    So, when we look at the homeschooling stereotype, we’re not even getting THAT right, yet we’re talking about making all homeschoolers suspects based on a perception that is not even true. I mean, just look at the comments here. Whew.

    Similar stereotyping and profiling of other groups would not be sanctioned by many posters here, yet the perception of homeschoolers as all part of a particular type of extreme seems to make it ok in THIS case. Many commenters here would not want to stereotype racial or ethnic groups and make laws governing THEM because they are “all” suspects based on the actions of some members of the group, but it is fine to stereotype people based on their educational choice — because we “know” that they are all “fundies”.

    Commenters are even willing to prescribe regulations that we know don’t work in public ed’s own domain because it “feels” like it will be a protection. Commenters are more than willing to suppress the diversity of education in the U.S. and the vitality of homeschooling and the differentiation that homeschooling families can/could make in their own educational approaches — because homeschoolers are automatically suspects because they are making a choice that only two percent of the population makes.

    Homeschoolers are among the last groups that it is ok to profile.

    One more slightly off-topic comment. I frequently hear that “not everyone can homeschool.” Not to borrow a phrase I never liked, but I think there is a lot of soft bigotry in that statement, and we need to examine its assumptions carefully. Truly, today, with public ed working like it works for many students, not everyone can homeschool. But if homeschooling were supported (and I don’t mean by government compulsion) — if communities had learning opportunities that people could choose to take part in — I think that more people could be empowered to take personal responsibility for their kids’ education and also build communities of learners working together. I’ve seen an awful lot of families homeschool successfully that people thought “couldn’t” do it.

    Oh, and related to this — I love anecdotes from people who believe they have informed opinions on home education and THEY have “only seen uneducated, socially awkward, backwards homeschoolers.”

    Four observations here. First, many parents homeschool BECAUSE their kids are socially awkward or different, often in response to the experience their awkward kids had in school.

    Two, we know that 25% of our public school population doesn’t receive a diploma if that is the measure we are using for “educated.”

    Three, I think we can all agree that we have seen more than one or two socially awkward public school students. (Why is it that homeschoolers are awkward BECAUSE of homeschooling, but public schools are never blamed for THEIR students’ awkwardness?)

    Four, keep in mind that the non-awkward and well-educated homeschoolers “pass” as regular people (!). That is, in many groups of young professionals, say, you will find that no one ever even realizes that there is a homeschooler among them. So the reason that you have only “seen” homeschoolers you identify negatively is because the others you have been around are seamlessly integrated into college or the workplace, and you are NOT actually informed about home education, so you don’t know this.

    Critical thinking, folks. Name of the game.

    • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

      Profiling. Because someone is a member of a certain non-mainstream group, they are suspects

      Wrong. Homeschool parents are no more being treated as suspects, than public school parents are being treated as suspects by making teachers mandatory reporters.

      • Winnie

        Commenters here are definitely talking about regulating all homeschooling parents because they are part of the group of parents that chooses home education. I would expect any mandatory reporter to report abuse regardless of a child’s educational circumstance; I would not expect all parents to be regulated more because someone else making the same educational choice had been abusive.

      • winnie

        “I would not expect all parents to be regulated more because someone else making the same educational choice had been abusive.”
        Ack. My lack of clarity — in a hurry here. I should have said I would not expect all HOMESCHOOL parents to be regulated more because someone else making the same educational choice had been abusive.”

        Mandatory reporting applies to all children, regardless of educational choice. I am in full agreement with this.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        Yes, people want people who homeschool to be regulated. They also want teachers to be regulated. This isn’t discrimination, any more than enforcing health regulations on both “Mom & Pop” restaurants as well as large chains is discrimination.

      • Winnie

        Teachers are acting in loco parentis. They are employed by the government as a substitute for parental supervision and education. Homeschooling parents aren’t “teachers” — they are parents. Their homes are not restaurants, and their meals and cooking are not regulated.

        You weren’t meaning to suggest that parents should be licensed by the government to have children, were you?

      • tsara

        In an ideal world, I’d be all for that.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Would you mind explaining what you’re trying to prove with this argument? You don’t state specifically where you’re going with it.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        Children have a right to education, and anyone provding that should be held to reasonable standards for the benefit of the child (and society as a whole).
        Or are you willing to throw kids on the scrapheap because Mom and Dad never bothered to teach them to read and write?

      • Jayn

        “I would expect any mandatory reporter to report abuse regardless of a child’s educational circumstance;”

        The loophole, though, is what happens when children don’t come into contact with mandatory reporters–you can’t report abuse you have no way of knowing is occurring. And that’s the concern many of us have, some children never come into contact with anyone outside their family, or the people they do come into contact with share the same abusive philosophies their parents do. Just having that contact can cut down on the abuse that happens, even if nothing gets reported, because parents are more cautious about being caught.

        Our concern isn’t really home education so much as isolation, which home education makes easier to accomplish.

      • Winnie

        I understand and appreciate the clarity with which you have made this comment.

        “And that’s the concern many of us have, some children never come into contact with anyone outside their family, or the people they do come into contact with share the same abusive philosophies their parents do.”

        Homeschooling is not equal to isolationism.
        Prevention of isolation does not, unfortunately, prevent abuse, as we see from the vast majority of abused children, who are students at our public schools.

        In order to effectively differentiate from the failing public education system, homeschoolers need to not to be subject to regulation by that ineffective system in order to curtail hypothetical abuse, when actual abuse of children within the system is where the greatest number of problems are.

        Pot. Kettle.
        Non-guilty homeschoolers do not deserve to be stereotyped by those who have an uninformed view of homeschooling.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        Homeschooling is not equal to isolationism.

        No, but it makes it a whole lot easier.

        Prevention of isolation does not, unfortunately, prevent abuse, as we see from the vast majority of abused children, who are students at our public schools

        It doesn’t prevent it outright, but it makes it harder. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
        .

      • Jayn

        Does it prevent all abuse? No, and I won’t claim it does. Does it prevent some abuse? Based on stories from people who suffered less abuse when they went from homeschooling to public schooling, I will say absolutely.

        I also won’t say that public schools are perfect, but because they’re public their failures are much more visible than failures in other schooling systems, which allows for something to be done about those failures (whether the community can or will do anything to address them is another matter). The first step to solving any problem is knowing that it exists–if there’s a problem in an unregulated homeschooling scenario, how can anyone know that it’s even there to be addressed?

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        What stereotyping is going on here? I honestly don’t see any.

    • tsara

      “”Let’s take it a step further. If parents are likely abusers, why are ALL parents of at-home children not subject to state visits and pre-emptive regulation? Why? Because it doesn’t make sense. Because some other parent abused a child does not make me a suspected abuser.””

      You misunderstand. Children in public schools (and probably private schools — if not, then they should be) are observed five days a week by mandatory reporters. This is strong evidence (for the government, society, whoever) that the child in question is alive.

      Not trusting the welfare of children solely to one or two people is standard. Homeschooling removes safeguards that exist (or should exist) on every other child.

      Wanting some proof that every child is alive (at the bare minimum), recognizing that unregulated homeschooling removes all of the usual avenues for obtaining this proof, and formulating rules for obtaining that evidence that are intended to apply to that circumstance where that evidence would not necessarily exist without those rules is not profiling.

      • Winnie

        “Homeschooling removes safeguards that exist….”

        Hmmm. I think this sounds like fact to you, but it is an opinion, a cultural bias, for which we do not have evidence.

        I believe many people just as strongly believe that homeschooling PROVIDES safeguards for children.

      • tsara

        Are you being deliberately obtuse? Contact with mandatory reporters five days a week is a safeguard. Attendance-taking and truancy laws notice and call it a problem when this contact doesn’t happen.

        I don’t trust any set of parents with absolute authority over any child’s life. I don’t care whether those parents believe that homeschooling provides safeguards for their children; I require that those parents give evidence that their children are alive and not exhibiting obvious signs of any kind of abuse or neglect. In the absence of that evidence, I support removing all children from the custody of those parents unless they can provide very good reasons for missing the deadlines for providing it. If the proof of continued life reveals signs of abuse or neglect, I support the government following the exact same procedures it would follow for any other set of parents and children in a situation of potential abuse.

        In the absence of a system that requires homeschooling parents to submit this evidence, I will distrust all adults who participate in the system.

      • Winnie

        I am not being deliberately obtuse. I have looked at the system which has all the mandatory reporters and seen that said system neither safeguards children from abuse nor provides all the children with sound academics nor consistently prepares them for adult responsibilities.

        I have also functioned in the homeschooling community in many places in the United States for several decades.

        I have reached a different conclusion than you have.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        And since there is still crime in society, we should probably just fold the police service too, right?

      • winnie

        BringtheNoise — I actually conclude that homeschooling has a protective factor and is positive. I have not equated that with not having police investigation of those that are suspected of crimes. I am not sure where you got that.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne
      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        You seem to be arguing that because some abuse still exists in the public school system that the protections it offers aren’t worthwhile. I was offering the analogy of the fact that we continue to have a police force despite the fact that it does not prevent (or even solve) all crimes.

      • tsara

        It is factually wrong to say that safeguards to recognize and prevent abuse do not exist for public school students. It is factually correct to say that those safeguards do not exist for homeschooled children in places where homeschooling is not regulated.
        I have given examples of such safeguards; those rules exist, and their purpose is to recognize and guard against parental (and other) abuse.

        The effectiveness of the safeguards is a different argument.

        Edited to add:
        “It is factually wrong to say that safeguards to recognize and prevent abuse do not exist for public school students.” –and that is exactly what you were saying.
        “It is factually correct to say that those safeguards do not exist for homeschooled children in places where homeschooling is not regulated.” — and you were denying that.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        If I may point out, just because you homeschooled your kids and were in the homeschool community and didn’t to your knowledge see problems doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I grew up homeschooled and I saw kids who weren’t educated. Further, some parents homeschool in order to hide child abuse, and they aren’t likely to be involved in the homeschooling community.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        What safeguard does homeschooling provide children? Before you answer that, I should point out that we’re talking about child abuse here, not bullying from other kids. I think bullying should be dealt with wherever it happens, but that’s a different issue from child abuse suffered at the hands of parents.

  • Brandy

    I know that change can be hard, but it sounds like your new law looks a lot like…wait for it…standard law in a lot of other states. For example: my home state of California. I’m not sure why public schools need to have governance over private or home schools, and it seems like a simple solution to do what Iowa is finally doing. Those homeschool laws were, frankly, archaic. Many other states do this, or some variation thereof, and it’s not a big deal. Home and private school graduates in California still do well in the future without all that government oversight and intervention. I think you will find that everything will be okay. :)

    • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

      Many other states do this, or some variation thereof, and it’s not a big deal.

      Except to the kids who have to suffer abuse made easier to hide by repealing this law.

      • Brandy

        Appealing to exceptions to the rule does not change the rule. In the past year here, we have had four local teachers be arrested for molesting children in their classrooms. But it would be silly of me to think that we should outlaw teachers or public schools because that has gone on. I know that most teachers do NOT abuse their students, just as I know that most parents do not abuse their children. I think you will find that the number of children abused does not change with this law.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        I think you will find that the number of children abused does not change with this law.

        And what evidence do you have backing up that assertion?

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/05/iowas-homeschool-regulations-protect-children.html

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Except that it’s not okay. I grew up in one of those unregulated states and I saw homeschooled children who weren’t educated—and I’m not talking about unschooling, where a parent provides a rich educational environment and facilitates child-led learning. I’m talking about parents stopping any instruction in grade school and instead forcing their kids to clean houses and do other such jobs for money, and taking that money. I’m talking about big families where the mother gets so overwhelmed dealing with one child’s special needs that she simply stops doing any education with the others. There was nothing there checking to ensure that these parents educated their kids, so they didn’t. Iowa’s laws weren’t archaic, they were instead essentially perfect models of what the law *ought* to be.

      I don’t know if you homeschool your kids or not, but I’m finding that one difference between how I come at this issue and how homeschool parents come at this issue is that I’m seeing the child’s perspective, and all they can see is extra paperwork or annoying tests and assessments. I was homeschooled K-12, and I think homeschooled kids deserve some sort of standards ensuring that they actually are educated. These standards won’t bother parents who are doing a good job, but for the kids whose parents aren’t, they will make a huge difference.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=141304249 Sarah Jones

    Guys, do yourselves a favor and ignore the libertarian troll. She (or he) is only interested in protecting an ideology, rather than abused children, and therefore doesn’t have anything positive to contribute here. Take the effort with people who actually back up their arguments, or at least express a modicum of concern for the rights of children.

  • uncondition_yourself
    • uncondition_yourself

      ^^^ When a child is not FORCED through standardization to “learn” what he/she has no interest in learning, the mind is slowly dulled and destroyed. But when the child has the FREEDOM to purse his/her own interests and to develop his/her own PASSIONS, then their human potential is unleashed. Nurturing of an INDIVIDUAL’S needs and passions is the best education and the government, by definition, cannot nurture individual needs. Think about that, really really think about it, and work towards removing the false idea that without the public education system, children would immediately go uneducated!

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        You do know that homeschooling doesn’t automatically give a child freedom, right? Rather, it gives *parents* freedom. Some parents use that freedom to give their children freedom, others don’t.

      • Unschooling Rocks

        You’re absolutely right! It is my opinion that schools are nothing but jails for children. Parents leave their children at the mercy of strangers day after day, without giving it a second thought. If parents took education seriously they would give their children the autonomy to decide what and when to learn, because only that would allow them to fall in love with learning.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        And then when their illiterate selves wanted to get a job, oh what an unpleasant shock that would be! But clearly, they’d deserve it, because as 7-year-olds they decided to not learn to read.

      • smrnda

        What about parents who don’t have enough education to teach their kids or who are working too much to have time to educate their kids? It seems like universal unschooling just means ‘kids learn what their parents know’ which sounds like something that would have gone on under feudalism…

        I don’t see why ‘school’ and ‘love of learning’ have to be mutually exclusive. I mean, none of those people in graduate school must love learning since they’re going to a school. If they really loved learning, they’d just bum around cafes.

      • Composer 99

        Yes, those troublesome things we have to learn that we have no interest in learning.. like how to keep house, or cook, or run a household budget, or communicate effectively with other people, or how our societies are structured, or the nature of the universe…
        How about instead of providing anecdotal articles or ALL CAPS exhortations to “really really think”, you provide some references to sociological literature showing the superiority of your proposals.

  • Nan Mcv

    Again and again, ad nauseum, but it needs to be stated again: “Hard cases make bad law.”

    The vast majority of homeschooling parents are good parents, who make sure their children are educated and fed and clothed and will be able to make their own way in the world as adults.

    Libby Anne is standing in front of a large diseased, scabby, tree, and believes that she is looking at the entire forest.

    Her pleas are becoming more emotional and less rational:

    “Because they’re his kids, dammit, and he should be allowed to do what he
    likes with them. Require that he actually educate them? Ha. They’re his, dammit. His possessions, his property.”

    Really, Libby? Does that mean that each time a parent says those damning words, “my children”, that parents is claiming that his or her children are “property” ?”

    “… rather than just focusing on how annoying the paperwork is.”

    Really, Libby Anne? Putting words into the mouths of other people is not a logical basis for an argument, nor is it ethical, or even just plain fair.

    You ignore the real reasons why parents who homeschool don’t want to be subjected to the biased judgements of public school advocates.

    BTW – I am a registered and active Democrat, and am not a Christian of any type.

    But heck, let’s keep your readers bonded to polarized memes, because an honest look at the real issues wouldn’t support your thesis.

    You are as politically and ethically honest as the extremists you hate.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Your political and religious leanings don’t matter one bit to your actual arguments, you realize.

      Now, onto those arguments. You think Libby Anne is missing the forest for the trees. You do not acknowledge that the “large diseased, scabby, tree [sic]” is actually a problem. Those are real children whose real lives are being ruined through educational neglect and/or abuse. Not to mention, we really truly do not know the extent this “disease” has infiltrated the forest. No one’s counting the scarred trees. Or to leave this ever-more-strained metaphor behind, no one knows who is being homeschooled or how well it’s working. Of course it looks great when we have no data, if you consider “blank” to mean “no problem”. By your logic, we shouldn’t have anti-child abuse statutes or CPS, because most parents aren’t abusive, and it’s just silly to spend resources on the small number that are. I mean, child abuse is just a diseased tree in a great big forest of healthy childhoods, right? Hard cases make bad law, right?

      That logic is absurd and immoral. I suggest you consider thinking things through next time instead of posting from your emotions instead of your brain.

    • NeaDods

      Pointing out that a tree is diseased and should be treated is not the same as condemning the forest. Nor does defending the forest cure the tree or stop it from spreading its disease to others; it just makes it sound as you can’t see the big, dying tree yourself.

      Not the best metaphor there, just as slamming Libby Ann as emotional does not make you sound more rational – only makes you sound stung and defensive.

      • Nan Mcv

        It’s a shame that Libby Anne can’t find a way to condemn the tree without condemning the entire forest. She’s decided instead to take the lazy way of condemning the forest. She’s made enemies of those who are also against the abuses she knows.

      • NeaDods

        I think if you’ve missed the number of times Libby Anne has said that she isn’t condemning all of homeschooling, just unregulated homeschooling, then you have also missed the number of people who are against the abuses and remain on her side.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        As far as I can tell, Libby Anne’s been very careful not to condemn homeschooling. If you want an opponent to homeschooling, period, look to me! I think it’s pretty much always a bad idea, that most parents can’t be trusted to educate their kids, that a functional public school system is required so everyone should be required to buy in. I think in an ideal world private schools and parochial schools and homeschooling should all be banned. Yeah, homeschooling can work, but overall it’s just not worth the downsides.

        But that’s me. That’s not Libby Anne. It’s not fair to her much more moderate view to conflate her criticisms with mine.

      • Composer 99

        You have a point, apart from the tiny, almost insignificant detail that almost every single thing you assert about Libby Anne is false.

        (And since when is Libby Anne supposed to be a robot?)

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        What are you talking about? I’ve never condemned all of homeschooling, I’ve never called for banning homeschooling, and I’ve even said that if public schools don’t work out for my kids homeschooling will be one of the options I consider. What have I said that sounds to you like I’m condemning all homeschooling?

      • Nan Mcv

        You would have homeschoolers submit to the whims of the teacher’s union, which wants to outlaw homeschooling.

        Irony. You don’t understand that the public schools used to make it impossible, in many states, for parents to homeschool their kids, even when home education was legal. That is exactly what empowered HSLDA.

        If I had been dependent on the good will of the local school when I pulled my daughter out, we would have been forced to put her back into that school. This is the school in which she was taught that “evolution is against God”, and that science is :mostly just made up”. Yes, a public school… and we’re not even in the Bible Belt.

        Had I been forced to subject my autistic son to standardized tests, instead of letting him learn athis own pace, ignoring subjects for months while working in other areas, we would have been forced to put him back into the public system, where he’d be prey to bullies and worse. And he would not have graduated from college Magna cum Laude, as he did just this spring.

        “Hard cases make bad law”. restricting and regulating homeschoolers will serve only to make life difficult for decent families, whose kids are already in public life – stores, library, 4-H, Scouts, community service, etc. The families who are inclined to “shelter” their kids will NOT report to the school. They’ll just withdraw even more from the world beyond their church group. They’ll go underground, as they did decades ago.

        Your suggested measures condemn homeschoolers to be viewed with suspicion by authorities who you’ll empower to interfere with family life. But you won’t save one child. Not even one. Because the abusers are law-breakers, and making more laws wont make them suddenly law-abiding.

  • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

    Good for Iowa. Good for freedom and liberty.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Freedom and liberty for whom, exactly?

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        For parents.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Exactly. For parents, but not for children. And that’s the problem.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        Children have to submit to someone’s authority. In the context of education, it’s either going to be the State or the parents. The question is whether the State should force itself on parents using funding from taxpayers to make sure parents are doing an “adequate job” in their respective capacities as educators, and in so doing, forcing the child (and the parents) to submit to it; or allow the child to submit to his or her parents who will raise and educate their kids as they see fit, free from the State’s intrusion.

        I have no problem with the State getting involved in certain areas of our life. But education is not one of those areas. Yes, there are going to be some kids who are not as well-educated as others. You might say that they’re neglected. That’s the case in government schools probably more so than in homeschools. And perhaps your solution to that problem is to allocate more funding for public education and to make sure we get better teachers. But even on a pragmatic level, those things aren’t working to make sure kids are getting a good education. And it seems you’d prefer that kids be neglected by government education than by homeschooling parents. If kids are being neglected by their homeschooling parents, than that’s supposed to be evidence that we need a lot more government oversight into those parents who chose to homeschool. If kids are being neglected by their government educators, that’s supposed to be evidence that we need more taxpayer funding and better teachers or to otherwise “fix the system.”

        I would argue that the system can’t be fixed. It’s doomed to fail. It is failing. The State doesn’t care about the welfare of kids and making sure they’re all getting a good education. They care about one thing: control. Anything that transfers that control from the State to the parent/citizen is good. It’s good for families. It’s good for the country. And yes, it’s good for the children. I’d rather there be too much freedom and liberty than too little.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Do you believe children have rights? If so, how do you believe those rights should be protected?

        And it seems you’d prefer that kids be neglected by government education than by homeschooling parents.

        This isn’t just a strawman, it’s a flat out lie. Nothing I’ve ever said here could be construed to indicate that.

        The State doesn’t care about the welfare of kids and making sure they’re all getting a good education. They care about one thing: control.

        You’re aware that in a representative democracy, the state is not some entity that’s just out there and not subject to accountability or to the desires and needs of the populace, right? The government of North Korea cares only about control. Not so the government of the U.S.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        Yes, children have rights, and they should be protected beginning at conception.

        It’s kind of weird coming from someone who champions choice and getting the government out of women’s uteruses and out of our bedrooms, etc., that you would also advocate having the government effectively invade the homes and privacy of homeschooling parents to make sure that they are meeting the government’s own criteria for the education of children. Why should the government be so involved in making sure that parents are teaching their kids the “right” things? Who decides what “right” is? The majority? Since we live in a “representative Democracy?”

        I’m not asking to shut down government education tomorrow (although that would be fine; but it’s not going to happen anytime soon). Since government education is a reality now, I’m simply asking that if parents choose to homeschool their kids, that they be completely left alone by the State, that they be able to take full responsibility, and that they not have to pay any taxes that go toward public education (since they’re not using it). If parents choose to put their kids in public schools, then they should pay the taxes that support them, and they should be ready to accept any consequences that arise as a result of their decision. It was their choice to put them in public school, so it’s their responsibility. All in all, that’s what it comes down to: freedom and responsibility.

      • smrnda

        So, freedom and responsibility means, effectively, that wealthy parents will withdraw their kids from school, not pay taxes towards public schools, so that public schools will serve only poor kids and will only rely on the tax money of poor people to fund them? Great, sounds like ‘freedom’ means ‘poor kids get screwed.’ I mean, their parents will totally be able to educate them after their 60 hour minimum wage work week. I guess if their kids don’t make it its their fault for not having rich grandparents.

      • Composer 99

        Physick’s formula for education looks like a good way to not just fuck over the poor, but also the unlucky and the children of abusers and authoritarians. In other words, it looks like a disaster in the making.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        Are you really saying that abuse and “authoritarianism” are only seen in homeschooled families? That those things are not seen in families that choose to put their kids in public schools? Are you saying that public schoolteachers and school officials are neither abusive nor authoritarian by nature of the fact that they work for the State? You put that much faith in the State?

        And that “disaster in the making” that you reference was how our nation was formed. The majority of our founding fathers were homeschooled. This nation was the product of responsible parents taking their charge seriously to educate their kids.

        Just look at the great success of government education since then. We must have some really smart people today. Look at whom we elected to be president. And they didn’t vote for him because they agreed with the principles he espoused. They didn’t even know or care about what he believed. They voted for him because he’s black. They are the product of your “formula” for government education. That is not just a disaster in the making. It already is a disaster.

      • tsara

        “”And they didn’t vote for him because they agreed with the principles he espoused. They didn’t even know or care about what he believed. They voted for him because he’s black.””

        [citation needed]

        Obama’s not perfect (drones, anyone?), but a Romney presidency would have ensured that I stayed very firmly on the Canadian side of the border. I’m sure there are plenty of people who voted for Obama out of antipathy for Romney’s positions (which, by the way, is not voting for him because he’s black).

        (Also, Obama’s pretty centrist/moderate — and so is the majority of the Democratic party, from what I’ve seen. The Republicans, on the other hand… The entire political system in the States is skewed so far to the right it’s bizarre.)

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        I didn’t say anything about Romney. I didn’t vote for Romney. Romney would have been worse than Obama.

      • tsara

        You basically have a two-party system, and I know that a large chunk of the media was making the election seem either like a close race or like an inevitable Romney victory. That seems to me like reason enough for people who don’t like Romney to have voted for Obama — who was the next most likely candidate.
        (That comment was, by the way, intended to counter your assertion that people voted for Obama because he’s black.)

      • Composer 99

        Where to begin, Physick, where to begin?

        Are you really saying that abuse and “authoritarianism” are only seen in homeschooled families? That those things are not seen in families that choose to put their kids in public schools? Are you saying that public schoolteachers and school officials are neither abusive nor authoritarian by nature of the fact that they work for the State? You put that much faith in the State?

        Dishonest framing/misrepresentation on your part, plain and simple. All else being equal, the proportion of homeschool parents who are abusive should be approximately equal to the proportion of parents who don’t who are abusive.

        But if there is no means of external oversight of homeschooling, we can’t figure out which children are being abused and then correct the situation. That provides an incentive for abusive parents to homeschool in states which are completely deregulated. You know, market forces & all that.

        As far as authoritarianism goes, it is simply a fact that in the US highly fundamentalist or evangelical Christians are more likely to espouse authoritiarian viewpoints or possess highly-authoritarian personalities (see the work of Bob Altemeyer & others). People raised in authoritarian environments are much more likely to be authoritarian themselves. Authoritarianism is itself closely correlated to a number of undesireable constellations of behaviour.

        It has nothing to do with faith, whether in parents or in this mythical capitalized “State” of yours. It has to do with evidence. The evidence shows that having checks and balances on people who have power over others (whether parents, politicians, police officers, teachers, and so on) is good. The evidence also shows that even an imperfect oversight system is better than none at all.

        And that “disaster in the making” that you reference was how our nation was formed. The majority of our founding fathers were homeschooled. This nation was the product of responsible parents taking their charge seriously to educate their kids.

        First, please provide evidence that this is true. Frankly it strikes me as a David Bartonesque lie. Second, provide evidence that, if true, this claim is relevant.

        Just look at the great success of government education since then. We must have some really smart people today. Look at whom we elected to be president. And they didn’t vote for him because they agreed with the principles he espoused. They didn’t even know or care about what he believed. They voted for him because he’s black. They are the product of your “formula” for government education. That is not just a disaster in the making. It already is a disaster.

        This is all a pile of bullshit.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        “But if there is no means of external oversight of homeschooling, we can’t figure out which children are being abused and then correct the situation. That provides an incentive for abusive parents to homeschool in states which are completely deregulated. You know, market forces & all that.”

        Where does the State get the authority to grant itself oversight over those that choose to homeschool their kids? By what standard do they judge what is acceptable and what is not acceptable for parents to teach their kids?

        “As far as authoritarianism goes, it is simply a fact that in the US highly fundamentalist or evangelical Christians are more likely to espouse authoritiarian viewpoints or possess highly-authoritarian personalities (see the work of Bob Altemeyer & others). People raised in authoritarian environments are much more likely to be authoritarian themselves. Authoritarianism is itself closely correlated to a number of undesireable constellations of behaviour.”

        In government schools, kids are indoctrinated to follow orders blindly. Submit to what they’re being force-fed. Taught not to question authority. They’re herded like cattle. Military and police are trained the same way. Don’t question your superiors. Don’t question authority. Just follow orders. Don’t think; just do. How does this method inspire creativity or rational thought? How is this method not authoritarianism?

        Being “independent-minded” atheists, I thought people here would be in favor of questioning these authoritarian figures and freeing themselves from those that are intent on giving us our approved opinions.

      • Composer 99

        Where does the State get the authority to grant itself oversight over those that choose to homeschool their kids? By what standard do they judge what is acceptable and what is not acceptable for parents to teach their kids?

        First, there is no such thing as this monolithic “State” you keep going on about. It’s nonsense. So is this whole notion of “authority”: that’s authoritarian thinking right there, the notion that there needs to be authority.

        Second, if a state government or related agency has in its purview the provision of education, then it has the responsibility of ensuring all of its residents have the opportunity to get an education meeting at least some minimal requirements. Not authority: responsibility. Such agency can’t guarantee that its residents actually will get such an education: only that they have the opportunity. This does not change just because some residents are homeschooled.

        Third, all governments have the responsibility of protecting citizens, especially if they are not in a position to act in their own defence (such as, oh, I don’t know, most children); hence the establishment of police forces & constabularies. That responsibility does not vanish when children are homeschooled. It follows that, in the event homeschooled children show clusters of symptoms characteristic of having been abused, agencies with a responsibility to protect citizens have a duty to investigate further.

        Let’s turn this around: what standard or principle entitles parents to teach their children either factually false material, or violate their rights, or actively work against their children’s best interests? That they are parents or caregivers emphatically does not provide parents this entitlement. Quite the contrary: anyone engaged in childrearing has the responsibility of looking out for their childrens’ or wards’ best interests even if these stand opposed to their own desires.

        In government schools, kids are indoctrinated to follow orders blindly. Submit to what they’re being force-fed. Taught not to question authority. They’re herded like cattle.

        False.

        Military and police are trained the same way. Don’t question your superiors. Don’t question authority. Just follow orders. Don’t think; just do.

        First: the first sentence, conflating public schooling with boot camp, is false.

        Second, military & police personnel have avenues to question or complain about their superiors and their orders.
        Third, while granting that military/police training is more authoritarian than civilian training, there are some rather salient differences between being a fighter pilot and a freight hauler, between being a police officer and a postal worker, between being an infantryman and an interior decorator.

        How does this method inspire creativity or rational thought? How is this method not authoritarianism?

        Since the examples you gave are false, these questions require no reply.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        So the State doesn’t exist, and neither does authority. Only responsibility. So the whole “separation of Church and State” thing doesn’t make any sense, because the State doesn’t exist?

        Why do you believe in responsibility but not authority or the existence of a State? Why do you believe that the State (or, the government, or whatever you call that entity that makes rules and imposes them on us) has the responsibility to ensure that everybody has an opportunity to an education? Where does this rule come from?

        Does the State (sorry, the government) also have the responsibility to make sure everybody has an adequately sized house for their protection? A car or “free” access to public transportation? Health insurance? College education? Birth control? Personal security? Access to abortion and sterilization? An adequate income? Clothing? Groceries? For everybody’s protection, right? Where does this idea come from that the government is supposed to provide all these things for us? Because we live in a “representative democracy,” and it’s what the majority voted for? What protects the minority when the majority vote for something bad? Since “might makes right,” how can it be “bad” if the majority voted for it? There’s no need for authority or standards, so we should just go with what the majority want.

        So what’s wrong with Iowa’s decision to repeal their homeschooling law if it’s what the majority there obviously wanted? It’s “democracy” in action. You don’t like it? Don’t live there.

        If you don’t like what Iowa did, and you voice your disapproval, then you must be appealing to some other standard. If your only standard is “whatever the majority want,” then you should have no problem with what Iowa did, and you should have no problem with other states that have done the same thing.

        You ask how we’re supposed to protect kids from being taught false information. Again, who gets to define what false is?

        And you’re in favor of having the government keep tabs on homeschoolers to make sure they’re getting an adequate education…for the children. Child abuse happens in all sorts of families, even those who put their kids in public schools. Likewise, for their protection, shouldn’t their be some regular surveillance of everybody’s families to make sure there isn’t any abuse going on? It would be for the kids’ protection. Maybe once a month, social workers should visit everybody’s homes and interview the kids, search their rooms, look through the parents’ belongings, make sure they don’t have any guns, find out what books their kids are reading, etc., and make a determination as to whether there is any abuse or neglect. What would be wrong with that?

        They’d have to have quite a social worker force, but it wouldn’t be anything that higher taxes couldn’t solve. Or maybe instead of social workers, they could install surveillance cameras in everybody’s home and only visit the “suspicious” families. It would be for their own protection. The government does have a responsibility to protect the children, right? They have to make sure that no kids are being abused or neglected. Sometimes, people’s civil liberties have to be violated in order to protect their civil liberties.

      • Composer 99

        So the State doesn’t exist, and neither does authority. Only responsibility. So the whole “separation of Church and State” thing doesn’t make any sense, because the State doesn’t exist?

        Oh, yes, misrepresenting what other people say is a real winner.

        “The State”, as the monolithic, semi-tyrannical entity that you are talking about, does not exist. It is a boogeyman existing in your imagination.

        The aggregate of governments and related agencies, at federal, state, and local levels (or other divisions depending on what country you live in) can be reasonably referred to as “the state” or “the government” as a shorthand.
        If so, you have to keep in your mind that (a) this aggregate is not a single, monolithic entity, but a fractured hodgepodge of legislatures, civil services, legal systems, and other agencies, and (b) that it is just a collection of people.

        Your semantic games nothwithstanding, the notion behind the phrase “separation of Church & State” remains perfectly cromulent, since both “Church” and “State” represent aggregates of sociopolitical constructs, not monoliths.

        I could fisk the rest of your comment, but why waste the time? (Unless other people report that they find it valuable.)

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        Yes, I would very much value your response. Or do I not count?

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        What else was I supposed to think when you said this?

        “First, there is no such thing as this monolithic ‘State’ you keep going on about. It’s nonsense.”

        Or:

        “It has nothing to do with faith…in this mythical capitalized ‘State’ of yours.”

        When I say “State,” I’m referring to any government agency that uses its police powers to force its will on others without regard to morality or the law. You would call that “responsibility” or “protection.” I would say it’s a good example of authoritarianism.

      • Composer 99

        Oh, wow, a flat-out lie.
        How convincing.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        What was a lie?

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        Basically, what you’re saying is that homeschooling parents are guilty of “authoritarianism,” but when the government does the same thing or worse, they’re only acting on their “responsibilities” to “protect the children.”

      • Christine

        Physick, do you mind explaining what you understand authoritarianism to consist of? I’m not sure I see how requiring some sort of evidence that children are being educated fits the standard definition at all, and this debate would make more sense if we’re using the same language.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        When I think of authoritarianism, I think of a cruel dictator and people being forced to comply with his demands.

        Any kind of unwarranted, unconstitutional government intervention, I think is authoritarian. It may be their foot in the door, but it’s still authoritarian. If I were to accept on principle that the government should check up on everybody every so often just to make sure everything is OK or to their standards, I would have to accept that they could dictate to me how I should train my kids or what foods I should feed them or what books I should read them or what religion I should or should not teach them. They define their own standards.

        People on this page may argue that that kind of government intervention is just the way they protect kids. Usually, anything our government does is “for the kids.” Or “for the elderly.” Or “for the sick and disabled.” “For the poor.” But those are lies. They’re just trying to get people to support whatever it is they’re trying to do by appealing to emotions.

        I don’t want government officials dictating to me or frankly anyone else how to live our lives or how to raise our kids.

      • Composer 99

        Oh, look: slippery slopes and the ‘fallacy’ fallacy.

        How convincing.

        To get this subthread back on topic, how about, instead of tossing out generalized platitudes, logical fallacies, and badly-framed arguments, you explain to us specifically what is wrong the the Iowa homeschool laws as they are, with references to case law and the like.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        What gives them that “extra dollop of protection?” What does their being kids have anything to do with the amount of rights they have?

        And I still haven’t heard from anyone as to how invading a family’s home to make sure they meet government standards constitutes “protection.” This is like saying we’re going to wage never-ending war on the Middle East in order to bring them peace and freedom. And we’re going to control their elections in order to promote Democracy.

        If that’s protection, then what would be wrong with setting up surveillance cameras in everyone’s homes and visiting those families that appear “suspicious” to them? Wouldn’t that expose more child abuse and neglect?

        Are these really “slippery slopes” or are they reductio ad absurdum arguments?

      • Composer 99

        (1) As citizens, children have the same rights as adults.

        (2) Extra care must be taken to ensure children’s rights are considered, and children are entitled to extra protection, because they are more vulnerable than adults. To whit:

        (a) their cognitive development is incomplete,

        (b) not possessing the same breadth and depth of experience as adults, they can assume unacceptably abusive or neglectful situations are ‘normal’ because they don’t know that alternatives exist

        (c) given sufficient isolation, abuse, or indoctrination – or insufficient education – children can grow into adults with stunted cognitive faculties (not stupidity as I’m sure you’ll insinuate (*), so much as impaired reasoning skills), and/or a tendency to become abusive, neglectful or manipulative as adults, whether towards other adults or towards their children should they become parents themselves.

        Re:

        And I still haven’t heard from anyone as to how invading a family’s home to make sure they meet government standards constitutes “protection.” This is like saying we’re going to wage never-ending war on the Middle East in order to bring them peace and freedom. And we’re going to control their elections in order to promote Democracy.

        The reason you haven’t heard from anyone is because this is bullshit you’ve made up.

        If you want to show that the Iowa homeschooling regulations, as currently constituted, amount to granting government agencies the ability to “invad[e] a family’s home” or are equivalent to “wag[ing] never-ending war on the Middle East in order to bring them peace and freedom” you have to demonstrate it with something more than simply asserting it.

        Because, on this thread no one is proposing new comprehensive regulation of homeschooling, only that Iowa retain the system it had in place before the current educational reform bill takes effect.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        That’s all very nice, but you still haven’t provided any reason to believe that the government has a responsibility at all to educate its young citizens. You assert it dogmatically with authority (something you don’t believe in). I want to know your philosophical basis. What is your standard?

        It’s kind of funny coming from an atheist, who has absolutely no ontological basis for morality or anything for that matter, that you go on about rights and wanting the government to protect the children and all that. Why do you even care? So what if children are more vulnerable? What is the philosophical connection between one’s vulnerability and the supposed moral responsibility of a government to protect those people? And if it’s about vulnerability, than what about the unborn? They’re not protected, because…they’re not human? And they only become human when they’re born?

        Citing some data about cognitive development and the negative effects of isolation, etc. on kids is all well and good, but it is not offering a moral ontological basis for what you believe. That’s what I’ve been asking. And since I don’t have the home-field advantage, you can get away with asserting things like “that is a pile of bullshit,” and it’s considered an acceptable retort.

      • Composer 99

        Conflating minimal regulation with “invading a family’s home” and “wag[ing] never-ending war on the Middle East”, or portraying it as hopelessly tyrannical and/or invasive, without providing any support for these conflations & portrayals, is bullshit argumentation. I’m sure you believe what you write quite sincerely, but sincerity isn’t enough to clean out the stench of bovine turd.

        I’m not interested in providing some magical “moral ontological” basis that you may or may not find satisfactory. Given your “from an atheist” comment, I rather doubt it will be worth the time.

        [Revision:]
        Suffice to say that as a signatory of the UDHR, the US has an obligation to ensure all its citizens have, if nothing else, the opportunity to receive an education. This obligation doesn’t vanish just because some of its citizens exercise their right (acknowledged in the UDHR) to homeschool their children.

        Upon doing some more research, I have determined that the UDHR is not a legally binding document itself, but is meant to inform the UN Charter (which is) and that further, the US Congress has not as of yet ratified the follow-up covenant that is legally-binding (once ratified).

        So I should like to take the opportunity to correct the error I have made and amend the struck-out paragraph to the following:

        Suffice to say, as a signatory of the UDHR, the US, while not obliged to, ought to follow the principles of the Declaration with respect to education and ensure its citizens have, if nothing else, the opportunity to obtain an education (even if we accept that the US cannot ensure that all its citizens achieve this outcome). The US should not be granted a free pass to ignore homeschooled students in this respect.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        So, you have no reason to believe what you believe, except that the United Nations says so. And you call my responses BS?

      • Composer 99

        So, you have no reason to believe what you believe, except that the United Nations says so.

        Another lie. What I wrote is that I’m not interested in justifying my position to you.

        And you call my responses BS?

        I made it quite clear what made them BS in my estimation, so, yes.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        Yeah, you’re “not interested.” How convenient, or convincing, as you would say.

      • Composer 99

        Hey, I’m not the one misrepresenting other people, relying on baseless assertions or even outright fabrications to support my conclusions & positions, and conflating more-or-less anodyne regulation with oppression.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        “…baseless assertions…”

        Atheism is a baseless worldview.

      • Sereg

        Why the fuck am I only getting PARTIAL threading which shows this at the same tab level as its parent comment with zero indication (except very small, gray, relative-not-absolute timestamps) of where this subthread ends and the one starting with “But if there” begins??

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        The UDHR is a consensus document from every nation then extant on Earth that these were the fundamental human rights of very human being. Why do you believe life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental human rights? Because they were written down by some smart dudes 270 years ago? Or because it’s a wonderful way of articulating the value of human beings?

        The UDHR is a wonderful way of articulating the innate value and rights of every human being, no matter where they were born, their social status, their gender, or their age. No human being is innately more or less valuable than any other, and everyone has the right to reach their full potential- the UDHR is a statement of what people need to do that.

      • phantomreader42

        So, Physick, you never had any intention or ability to discuss this in good faith, and all your posts are full of deliberate, shameless lies. To call your responses bullshit is an insult to bullshit, which at least has some possible value as fertilizer.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        Once again, I think the repeal of this Iowa law is a step in the right direction. I think it is good for Iowa, and it is good for freedom and liberty. If you don’t like it, don’t live there.

        I’ve simply been asking for a moral reason to believe that the State (I don’t care if you don’t like that term) has the responsibility to make sure every child has an opportunity to an education. Some appealed to the supposed authority of the United Nations. But then again, authority doesn’t really exist, they said. In fact, someone articulated that the very notion of authority is authoritarian itself. So the rights expounded upon in this UN document are not prescriptive, but descriptive. The Bill of Rights are the same way. The rights expressed in the UN document would exist with or without the document itself. Which brings us to the initial question. What moral basis is there to believe that the State has the responsibility to make sure every child has an opportunity to an education? Why not the parents?

        Beyond that and more basic than that, what is your starting point? What is the standard by which you judge what is right and wrong? If we’re all just molecules in motion, how can anything really be said to be “right” or “wrong?” If our brains are nothing but “meat computers” and our thoughts and opinions are nothing but chemical reactions, how can certain chemical reactions be said to be more valid or “right” than others?

        Telling me that my statements are bullshit is telling me that you don’t have an answer. And that’s completely fine.

      • tsara

        “”What moral basis is there to believe that the State has the responsibility to make sure every child has an opportunity to an education? Why not the parents?””
        Because the government is made up of people, and it is the reflection of the people’s will. The parents also have a responsibility to make sure that all of their children have the opportunity to get an education, but they may not fulfill that responsibility.
        My moral feelings tell me that this is unacceptable. The statistics tell me how to educate and how to reduce the neglect and abuse of children, who are vulnerable (especially to their parents).
        And so I work to change the government to protect them.

        Obviously.

        EDIT: I don’t trust parents in general. (This is different from the sentence “I don’t trust parents, in general.”) But working collaboratively to create and implement a set of minimum standards? Different story. Much more trustworthy.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        “Because the government is made up of people, and it is the reflection of the people’s will.”

        Then you should applaud Iowa’s decision of repealing their homeschool law. Their decision was obviously a reflection of the majority’s will. The fact that everybody’s here to challenge the majority indicates that they’re trying to push an ideology. They’re trying to assert their dogmas and will on others, something they claim fundies and religious nuts do all the time. I guess people here are no different. They have their own ideologies, their own sets of convictions, their own belief system, and they want everyone else to submit to them. And to top it all off, they have absolutely no ontological basis for morality, since we’re all molecules in motion and chemical reactions. They have no logical reason to connect a person’s “vulnerability” to the responsibility of a government to “protect” that person if all we are are sacks of meat.

        You said your “moral feelings tell [you] that this is unacceptable” and that you “don’t trust parents in general.” Well, my moral feelings (which from the perspective of people on this page, should be just as valid and just as arbitrary as anyone else’s since there is no absolute moral authority) tells me that parents should be responsible, not the State. I don’t trust the government in general.

        Yet everybody here (maybe not you, Tsara) advocates the State using force to impose its will on others, without regard to the law or morality. And whatever will the government has is only the product of the people’s will, so whatever they decide is fine. Ironically, Altemeyer’s definition of authoritarianism and authoritarian followers describes people on this page, not people like me. You’re the ones trying to empower the government to do whatever it wants since they’re only trying to protect the kids. I and people like me are saying the government needs to be smaller, and that what homeschoolers do is none of their business.

        As “anodyne” as these homeschool regulations seem to be, what happens if a parent decides to stop complying with them? Tax laws and regulations are “anodyne” until you stop paying taxes. Gun laws and regulations are “anodyne” until you break one of them. The consequences aren’t so “anodyne.”

      • tsara

        Did you read the post? It was done quietly, and behind people’s backs. It was not done in an open and democratic way, and I don’t believe that a majority of people would support it, if they knew about it. And even if they did, it would still be dangerous to children, and supporting the strikedown would still be morally wrong because of that.

        And your arguments from absolute morality make no sense. Because people are sacks of meat, but we are not just sacks of meat; we are also minds. A thing is good or bad (or wrong or right) because of how it affects people.
        As always, an xkcd: http://xkcd.com/1216/

        And if a parent or guardian stops complying with the homeschooling laws, they can and should be subjected to an investigation, and if, after following the procedures set out in the law, it is determined that this is the best course of action, the parent/guardian should lose the privilege of homeschooling, lose the privilege of having custody of anybody, and/or go to jail, in increasing order of severity.

      • Christine

        See, the fact that you don’t know what authoritarianism is really hurts your ability to defend the statement that it’s what school is all about. If you can’t find your sociology notes to review, http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/ has some really good in-depth information on it.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        “Authoritarianism…happens when the followers submit too
        much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them too much leeway to do whatever they want–which often is something undemocratic, tyrannical and brutal.”

        OK, so the slight distinction is that in mine, I emphasized the government “doing whatever it wants” part, and Altemeyer’s emphasizes those “authoritarian followers” who blindly follow an authoritarian government, which he acknowledges will do whatever it wants. Not really much of a difference.

      • Christine

        Your original reply implied that the definition was based on actions, rather than being an entire worldview, and that it was primarily to do with government. I’m not sure how you can claim that those wouldn’t make people think that you don’t actually understand what authoritarianism is.

      • Composer 99

        Oh, a false dichotomy fallacy and unsupported assertion wrapped up in dishonest framing.

        How convincing.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        “…it is simply a fact that in the US highly fundamentalist or evangelical Christians are more likely to espouse authoritiarian [sic] viewpoints or possess highly-authoritarian personalities…”

        The homeschooling movement is largely comprised of “fundamentalist or evangelical Christians,” yes? And since you say that it’s a “fact” that those fundies are more likely to be authoritarian in nature and in personality, their approach to educating their kids is also likely to be authoritarian.

        That’s where the “basically, what you’re saying is that homeschooling parents are guilty of ‘authoritarianism’” comes from.

        But I don’t really see much difference in the way homeschoolers are taught compared with how students are taught in public schools. Their methods are similar. Homeschoolers, granted, are given more freedom of choice regarding methods, but the idea is the same. The teacher communicates information to the students, and the students listen. The students are to respect the teacher, because he or she has authority over them (I know, you don’t believe in authority). The idea is the same, so why is it “authoritarian” in one case, but responsibility and protection in the other?

        Where does the idea that the government is responsible for the education of all kids come from?

      • Composer 99

        Where does the idea that the government is responsible for the education of all kids come from?

        Some little document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since the US has ratified this document, it is part of the US legal environment. Every citizen of the US has the positive right to an education.

        The Declaration explicitly states parents have the prior right to make educational decisions for their children; well and good. Since, however, not every citizen has the means, ability, or inclination to educate either their own or others’ children, the government is compelled, as the last-ditch advocate of rights, to ensure every citizen has the opportunity to exercise this right.

        —–

        Regarding your other statements, what you don’t seem to appreciate is that there is an enormous variety of approaches to educating children, both in homeschooling and in public/private schooling, and some approaches are more or less authoritarian than others. You’ll notice the statement of mine you quote does not anywhere make the claim that homeschooling is inherently authoritarian while public/private schooling is inherently responsible/protective. If I really felt that, I would write it.

        The concern with Iowa’s deregulation, or HSLDA’s efforts to promote deregulation across the States, is not about specific educational methods used.

        What is a concern (at least, my concern) is that total deregulation in homeschooling has two consequences:

        (1) Well-meaning, well-intentioned homeschooling parents who just happen to be, say, bad at maths, or who suffer a critical or chronic injury or illness, or who have special needs children consuming the majority of their available time & energy, or who inadvertently subscribe to poorly-designed curricula, may end up letting their childrens’ education, in part or in whole, slide, through no fault of their own. Oversight can make sure such parents, if they don’t think to get help, and their children don’t lose out.

        (2) No oversight or regulation means that our ability to detect, deter, and correct educational neglect, general neglect, or even outright abuse is impaired or even annuled. In public or private school settings, children are at least in a position where they can discuss such matters with mandatory reporters some of the time, at their discretion. But a lax regulatory enviromnent means homeschooling parents – even ones with good intentions who have the misfortune to, say, take up the Pearls’ childrearing techniques – can easily isolate their children, such that they never come into contact with mandatory reporters and that the other adults around are sympathetic to the parents instead of the children.

        (Situtation #2 is where, for me personally, the concern about parents or subcultures which are highly authoritarian comes into play.)

        —–
        No one, to my knowledge, has suggested that CPS, police, or whomever should be able to batter down the door of any household without following their already-established procedures for intervention (getting warrants or what have you).

        What is suggeted is that such agencies are given, or are allowed to retain, the ability to investigate suspected neglect or abuse, given sufficient cause to do so, and the ability to intervene upon finding sufficient evidence of abuse or neglect.
        —–
        For the TL;DR crowd, the bottom line is that public/private schools (*) have systems in place, however imperfect, to detect, deter, and correct neglectful or abusive situations. And as far as I know no one is going around saying that such systems should be weakened or dismantled.
        By contrast, homeschooling environments often do not have such systems in place, and groups like the HSLDA are going around saying that such systems should either never be implemented or, where they do exist, that they should be weakened or dismantled.
        And that’s wrong. Period. Full stop. End of story.
        —–
        (*) This may not be the case for all private schools, depending on the individual states’ regulatory environment.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Are you aware that the vast, vast, vast majority of African Americans vote Democrat in every election, and have for thirty years? Your suggestion that African Americans didn’t care about what Obama believed and only voted for him because of his skin color is not only incredibly ignorant, it’s also rather racist. And I don’t allow that here. This is a warning.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        I didn’t say anything about African-Americans voting for Obama. I said that the reason most people voted for him is that he’s black. White people voted for Obama too. It made them feel patriotic to vote for the “first black president.” They would have felt guilty if they had voted for a white person.

        “Are you aware that the vast, vast, vast majority of African Americans vote Democrat in every election, and have for thirty years?”

        If I had said that, you would have called me racist.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        I didn’t say anything about African-Americans voting for Obama. I said that the reason most people voted for him is that he’s black. White people voted for Obama too. It made them feel patriotic to vote for the “first black president.”

        You have a very low view of people in general, then. As it just so happens, I’m a white person who voted for Obama twice, and it had nothing to do with race. Actually, if McCain had won in 2008, we would have had the first female vice president. Being female, seems like I would have voted for McCain just to strike a historic blow for gender equality. But I didn’t, and you know why? Because I care about the issues.

        So here’s a question: Where’s your proof that the only reason Obama won was that he was black? Plenty of people have won the presidency without being black. In fact, I suspect that there were old school racists who voted against Obama simply based on race (notice that I am not saying that the people who voted against Obama in general did it based on race, because, unlike you, I actually do think people care about the issues), so I would suggest that it is harder for a black person to become president. Do I have evidence for that on hand? Not at the moment, no. That’s why I didn’t actually say it was the case. You’re the one who made an assertion, and you’re the one who needs to back it up.

        If I had said that, you would have called me racist.

        Jeez. Okay, let me see if I can explain this. I know that there are reasons that African Americans tend to vote Democrat, just like I know there are reasons that women tend to vote Democrat. I’m aware that African Americans and women don’t vote Democrat because they’re stupid or brainwashed or just want handouts, but rather for very real and very good reasons that have to do with the different parties’ divergent political interests and policies. If you’d said that the vast, vast, vast majority of African Americans vote Democrat because [insert items on that list above], then yes, that would have been racist. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be. It would just be fact, just as when I said it.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        Even the Huffington Post acknowledged as much:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/14/black-people-obama-2012-support-prejudice_n_1964609.html

        And just because you voted for Obama irrespective of the melanin content in his skin, doesn’t mean that you represent the majority of his voters. You know that.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        First, if you really think that HuffPo is a credible liberal site, try again. HuffPo is basically a tabloid.

        Second, you have not offered any proof that people only voted for Obama because he’s black, and have demonstrated an utter lack of understanding that Obama might actually have had actual policies, etc., that would make people want to vote for him.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        You will conveniently call into question the validity of anything I throw at you in the realm of “evidence” that supports the idea that people voted for Obama because he’s black. Are you looking for a government study or poll? I admit, I don’t have one of those. All we have is a conglomerate of personal experiences; quotes from leaders inside the black community, black and white celebrities, numerous Obama supporters; news sites/radio. Interviews with Obama supporters indicate that the majority of them have no idea what they voted for, only that they voted for the “cool, black guy” who can dance.

        Contrast that with, say, Ron Paul supporters, who knew exactly what they were voting for and why, and didn’t care that he was an “uncool,” old white and nerdy man with a dorky sense of humor. They weren’t voting for the image. They were voting for the ideas. And his ideas were fresh.

        Obama’s ideas are old and tired, and so it took a relatively young and good looking salesman type to sell the ideas to a populace with no discernment. And what better way to sell those ideas and gather votes than to ignite the masses with the prospect of being the nation’s first black president? Are you telling me that that thought didn’t register in the majority of his voters’ minds?

        Yeah, maybe they voted for him in ’08, hoping he was going to end Bush’s wars or shut down Gitmo, but I think the driving force behind Obama’s rise to the presidency was simply because he was a person of color on the appropriate political team, and the media went crazy for him. Anybody who disagreed with Obama or who didn’t vote for him was labeled a racist. “You don’t like him, because he’s black.” Give me a break. I didn’t like Romney either.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        I am by no means wealthy, and I homeschool my kids, because that is my responsibility. It is not my responsibility to pay for the State to indoctrinate every other child. Do you think it is my responsibility?

        But if I for whatever reason decided to withdraw my kids from homeschool and send them to a government school, I would willingly pay the taxes to support it. And I wouldn’t be surprised if, in their and our dependence of the State, they ended up functionally illiterate by the time they graduated (unless we taught them sufficiently before sending them off).

        Your proverbial “poor kids” are getting screwed right now with government education. But I guess if it’s the government that’s leaving so many kids uneducated, it’s OK. It’s only when the parents are teaching their kids something not approved by the State that we should be outraged that these “poor kids” are being neglected.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Yup. Exactly what I expected to hear. Life “starts” when you’re a two-celled clump of tissue, and ends when you’re born. From then on out, you’re someone elses’ property.

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        Yeah, I don’t know what everybody was complaining about with Kermit Gosnell and Douglas Karpen.

      • Random_acct

        I’ll believe that you are concerned about children when you tell me that you adamantly oppose abortion on demand. Until then, you are being a hypocrite.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Fetuses aren’t children. Can we move on yet?

      • http://renewthearts.org/projects/music/bands/physick/ Physick

        You just decided this, because…?

      • tsara

        I don’t have a source handy, but the word originated from the idea of ‘having been born’.

        Also, I’d like to know (because no pro-life person has been able to give me an answer yet): if I became pregnant and could not get an abortion, I would kill myself. What would you advise the law and the people around me to do in that case?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        After great thought and mental effort, I decided a person had to be able to survive independently without being dependent on another person’s body. I also decided that even if that was a somewhat arbitrary distinction (and it is), a woman’s right to bodily autonomy overrides a fetus’s right to life because in every other situation, a person’s right to bodily autonomy overrides another person’s right to life.

  • sg

    What about other states with minimal regulations? How are things going there? If other states are doing okay without regulating homeschooling, then, maybe it is fine to just let them do their own thing.

  • Austin

    Must comment. First of all, colleges should refuse to accept homeschooled children from Iowa? Wow, talk about being deluded into thinking you know every homeschooled child on a personal and intellectual level. But I guess maybe you have an idea there. It only makes sense that The machine produced public school kids should I straight into another machine that keeps crushing their individuality.
    Secondly, I’m bemused by the comments saying that if the government doesn’t do it, nobody will protect children and make sure they are “educated.” We’ll the education system sure did its job on you! Homeschooled children are creative and intelligent and inquisitive and love learning naturally. The joy of learning isn’t pounded out of them by boredom and being imprisoned in a desk all day not being allowed to say a word. And “it’s” in the title of this article isn’t used correctly.

  • taco

    This is the best news I have heard all year. I am quite astonished that Iowa would actually take a step towards safeguarding liberties for once. I’m not sure why it took 3 months for me to find out about this. I will have to learn more about this as it may make leaving Iowa for a freer state more bittersweet instead of just sweet.

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