Quoting Quiverfull: Good, Better or Excellent?

Quoting Quiverfull: Good, Better or Excellent? June 10, 2013

by Mary Pride of Homeschooling World –“Good, Better or Excellent?”

I now would like to say that the time has come to stop thinking about being “as good as” or even “better than” the public schools.

First, it’s not a fair competition. It’s like running a mile against an opponent who is wearing concrete boots. The schools are so weighed down with nonacademic mandates and personnel imposed on them from the outside (usually, from Washington), and with impossible requirements to keep disruptive students in school, that it’s amazing they have the energy to teach anyone anything! Teachers usually have little to no authority to choose their own curriculum, and little to no authority to control their classrooms. All this, and dozens of students per teacher, too.

If you cast your mind back to what the schools were like before federal and state judges unconstitutionally took control of them . . . when local parents and teachers actually ran them . . . those public schools could have given us a run for our money. Let’s not kid ourselves that we’re doing great just because today’s federally-controlled public schools can no longer teach most kids to even read and write well.

Second, it’s not fair to our kids. Who cares if they are “as good as” or “better than” some other kid? The point ought to be that our children are becoming the best they can be.

If your son is Don Knotts, and my son is Mark McGwire, should I be impressed with myself that my son turns out to be better at baseball? No. Should I be impressed with myself if my son is one of the best hitters on his Little League team? Again, no. We all know that Mark McGwire was born with the potential to be the best at swinging a baseball bat. If he had quit trying when he found he was better than the kids in his local town, he would never had reached his true potential.

Now, let’s turn it around. What if Don Knotts is your son, and by ceaseless practice, careful diet, and weightlifting he builds himself up to be the second-best hitter on his team? Has he failed, since he is “not as good as” the best hitter on his team, let alone the best hitter in the league? No way! As much as I love Don Knotts’ acting, I think we can all agree he was not built for power hitting. A child with Mr. Knotts’ build would have to overcome tremendous obstacles to reach this level.

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Antigone10

    I feel like there are nuggets of wisdom in there that just don’t jive with the rest of the message.

    Nugget one: different kids have different strengths, and “failure” and “success” are arbitrary terms. Comparing yourself to another, or your children is a frustrating, mostly pointless task. Challenging and growing should be internal.

    Nugget two: too many children with too few adults is not a good recipe for individual attention, and teachers don’t have as much authority as they need to deal with disruptive students.

    But wrapped around this is completely backwards motivations. School wasn’t better before there was more state and federal accountability, and since we’re currently sitting at a literacy rate of 99% for people aged 15 years and older, I think we’re still doing a pretty good job of reading and writing. (Always room for improvement, though!) And, I doubt that it’s “unfunded mandates” that are choking the school- I doubt that cutting a one-a-year presentation on good oral hygiene is what’s breaking the bank (though, if we think that’s the case, there are some abstinence-only presentations that can go first).

    And I’m not even as opposed to homeschooling as many people here are. I begged my parents to send me to boarding school, or to let me unschool because of how much I was abused, jerked around in school and how bored and unnoticed I felt by teachers and administration. I am very aware of how terrible the public school in the US is and how it can be improved. (Hint, it involves spending money). But I still think there would have been better and more cogent points if the second paragraph would have just been dropped entirely.

  • Lolly

    ” and with impossible requirements to keep disruptive students in school, that it’s amazing they have the energy to teach anyone anything! ”

    Mary is blaming disruptive children now, saying that teaching them is an impossible requirement? What would Mary prefer, they be sent to prison and only the easy kids be allowed to go to school? At least Mary seems to admit in her amazement that kids are, indeed, being educated by energetic teachers who can juggle so much. Yes, Mary. I agree with you on this, teachers are amazing.

    Other than that, I’m not really sure what Mary’s driving at with her visionary 20/20 hindsight speculations about an actor and a baseball player and her complaints about the unfairness of it all.

  • Back in the days when the schools were so amazing? So were the dropout rates. I found a table that shows that only around 7% of students graduated from high school at the turn of the last century. My grandfather dropped out in seventh grade, which would have been somewhere around 1912 or 1913.

    If you are aiming to educate only the most academically gifted, then of course the education will be “better.” The fact that more than half of your students can’t keep up is immaterial because they don’t matter.

  • NeaDods

    So…. It’s okay for one kid to be a natural athlete, and another to be known for… physical comedy, actually, which takes a lot of body control. Ooookaaay. These things are not as opposite as she thinks, but it’s a good point, kids are different.

    But then she goes on about how the unathletic kid can force themself really, really hard to be something they’re not and that’s okay too. Um. And not one word about how it might be equally okay for the athletic kid to work hard at comedy. Why not?

    And she says it’s not that public schools are bad, it’s that they’re not what they used to be and not what they could be and (gasp!) have to deal with ALL of the public’s kids, not just the good ones or the related ones.

    Or the white ones, because if she wants to duck why the Feds got into schooling, I won’t make it easy for her to ignore Brown v Board of Education. Which is to be expected if the schools don’t get community support while they, y’know, serve the community.

    Basically – what the heck is the actual point here?

  • brbr2424

    “If you cast your mind back to what the schools. . . when local parents and teachers actually ran them” Ahh, the good old days, the 1890’s. Little one room schoolhouses didn’t have to bother with pesky little protocols like preventing physical and sexual abuse.

    What an enormous chip Mary Pride has on her shoulders. She was educated in New York city schools, got an engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytech and then a masters in Computer Science. It sounds like her public school education was not too shabby.

    I get that people think that homeschooling is a good choice but the constant harping on how bad public schools are (they aren’t) comes across as insecure. It is the same insecurity that Fundamentalist Christians have. If they’ve made the correct choice of religion, shouldn’t that be enough. Does constant denigration of others’ choices make their choice better.