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Farris: Obama May Ban Homeschooling!

With no examples of actual persecution of Christians in this country, the Christian right is always on the lookout for opportunities to invent wildly ridiculous predictions of the persecution to come. Michael Farris says that Obama may issue an executive order banning homeschooling. Talking about a case where a German family is seeking asylum because that country won’t let them homeschool their kids:

plying for asylum and we really don’t need to worry about it after all, how does this impact me? Why does this matter? How can this impact the homeschooling freedom that we have right here in the United States?

Farris: It can because of the precedent that any case like this can set and it also reveals the heart and intention of our current administration. Their belief is anti-individual liberty on a very broad basis and their group think is at a deep and dangerous level. That repudiation of individual liberty should shock every American. Secondly, for homeschooling itself specifically, you know we’ve seen executive orders on lots of different subjects and so if President Obama gets it in his head that he is going to issue an executive order to ban homeschooling, you know, I wouldn’t put it pass that administration to try something like that especially as they get closer to the end of this four year term. They are capable of anything, who knows?

Such an executive order would be struck down in a New York minute. No president has such authority. Have you noticed that all of Obama’s previous executive orders have not been challenged in court? That’s because he’s stuck within his executive authority. Even if Congress tried to ban homeschooling — which is about as likely as me winning an Academy Award — the courts would strike it down. But hey, when you’re trying to scare your followers into sending you money to protect rights that aren’t actually at risk, irrelevant details like, oh, reality just don’t enter the equation.

Comments

  1. says

    “Farris: Obama May Ban Homeschooling!”

    Especially if it includes firearms training.

    That won’t happen ,though, until the burqabooted jackthugs of the nannystate have the FEMAdrrassas ready.

  2. says

    It never fails to amaze me how American RWAs get so outraged about what are effectively fictional speculative violations of their Constitutional rights – while, as far as I can see, ignoring Obama’s ability to indefinitely detain any one of them on, more or less, his say-so alone.

  3. Sastra says

    Farris is not really concerned about a ban on homeschooling: he’s concerned about a ban on real homeschooling — the kind of homeschooling where parents have the individual liberty to teach their kids anything they want and avoid teaching their kids anything they want, too. Creationism and pseudoscience of all sorts; sex roles and bigotry of all kinds; ignorance masquerading as tradition and isolation hiding itself under the mantle of “keeping our children safe from worldly influences.” No math, no science — hey, maybe they ought to be illiterate, too! The children are their property. They can do with them what they will. They are accountable to no one but their own good intentions and God.

    What they’re really concerned about is any secular accountability: standards, rules, regulations which are intended to make sure that kids are educated well enough to make their own choices when they grow up about how they want to function in society and they are not limited by an appalling and substandard home school environment.

    (I don’t have to mention that many homeschoolers do just fine, of course. Anyone who reads this blog and also home schools knows the subset I’m talking about.)

  4. slc1 says

    There is a legitimate question as to whether and to what extent state governments should regulate home schooling, In particular, how home school “graduates” should be evaluated for acceptance at state colleges and universities. In addition, there are controversies over whether home schooled “students” should be required to pass state examinations that public school students have to pass to obtain a high school diploma.

  5. says

    Yes, there are going to be police at every house, to make sure parents don’t teach their kids anything. We must protect people’s right to have only a public education.

    When I was a kid I wanted to learn chess and my dad set aside a certain amount of time for us to play and discuss the game 2 nights a week. Amazingly, though, I did not get pulled from my normal school curriculum for this – it was “extra” stuff that was “added on” to my existing curriculum. So was I both “home schooled” and publicly educated, or did my dad “just teach me some stuff on our own time”?

    Apparently the christians aren’t happy with just teaching stuff at sunday school and whatnot – they want to make sure that the kids don’t have access to a real education, or something like that, because it might make the sunday schooling less likely to stick. Or something like that. There’s lots of stuff you can teach kids on your own time. Like how to shoot, chew tobacco, and drive. Amazing how that works, isn’t it?

  6. gshelley says

    I can almost see the logic
    Obama hasn’t changed the regulations for what reasons people can be granted asylum so that it includes not being allowed to home school (assuming he has that authority, I don’t know if that is something the executive branch can do, but it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch)
    Therefore Obama doesn’t value homeschooling
    Therefore he might try and ban it

  7. AsqJames says

    @gshelley,

    And if he had the power to change those regulations and had done so, they’d have been screaming about his “tyrannical executive overreach” and that it was part of a secret plan to import millions of muslim immigrants to be home-schooled indoctrinated by their radical, Marxist, Islamist parents.

  8. says

    ITS’ ALREDY HAPPNING, PEOPLE! JUST THIS MORNING OBAMA HUSEIN OBAMA’S JACKBOOTED THUGS BROKE DOWN MY DOOR RAN TO THE KITCHEN AND TORE ALL THE MAGNETIC LETTERS OFF THE FRIDGE DOOR!

  9. stever says

    It’s worth remembering that there are two sorts of homeschoolers: the ones who want to insulate their children from reality and the ones trying to rescue their kids from the rotting wreck of American public education.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    Which is only a “rotting wreck” because of the political efforts of those who wave the flag of privatizing school, religious schools, and…wait for it…homeschooling.

    Private education ought to be banned entirely. It is in the best interests of civilization to make sure that every child be educatated and socialized. The objections of the Bible-jumpers who want their brats unexposed to Sex Ed. or evolution or the rich bastards who who don’t want their spawn to associate with the lower class should be told to shut up and do as they ate told. If they refuse, their kids still get sent to a public school, and the parents get sent to prison.

  11. felicis says

    Is homeschooling your children actually a right? Do you have the right to do things that may harm your children? While mildly sympathetic to those who want to homeschool their children because, for example, their local school is so poor, their children would be better off – like the myth of ‘I need my gun for self defense’ – it seems like that is not nearly so often the reality of the situation as is the parents’ attitude of ‘I want my children’s schooling to have a strong religious component, but I can’t afford a private religious school’.

    Certainly, I think it within the state’s and federal government’s authority to regulate homeschooling.

    Marcus – your father taking extra time with you outside of your regular school is not what is meant by ‘homeschooling’.

  12. raven says

    It’s worth remembering that there are two sorts of homeschoolers: the ones who want to insulate their children from reality and the ones trying to rescue their kids from the rotting wreck of American public education.

    No one denies this. Homeschooling, like cooking, gardening, or microvascular surgery can be done well or badly.

    In fact, to some extent the homeschooling movement has been taken over by…gasp, horrors, normal people. Estimates of how many are religious = death cult fundie vary wildly. A good guess is maybe 40%.

    There just aren’t enough parents who want to set their kids up to fail with a medieval education.

  13. amyjane says

    When I was a kid they took geography out of the state syllabus and our roof leaked. My school teacher father didn’t make enough money to fix the leak and the cosmetic damage to the room so he fixed the roof and went dumpster diving at his school. He brought home a bunch of huge school maps, with which he covered the peeling walls. That room had the only phone in a semi private space, remember phones wired to walls? I stared at maps while chatting for a couple of years. When they started talking about Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan in recent years I knew exactly where they were.

    I learned grammar at the kitchen table.

    I learned a the word ecology and what it meant from my Dad mostly in reference to the’ Damned Army Corps of Engineers’ ruining his favorite trout streams.

  14. raven says

    Certainly, I think it within the state’s and federal government’s authority to regulate homeschooling.

    In theory they do.

    In practice, at least on the west coast, they long ago gave up.

    1. In areas with lots of fundie death cultist homeschoolers, the politicians spend more time worrying about who keeps sending those death threats, and wondering if and when the well armed survivalists in their bunkers are going to shoot it out with the cops over something or another.

    These people are violent and not rational and everyone knows it.

    There have been two terrorist incidents near my house in the last decade. The local xians firebombed the local mosque and some right wing kook got into a gun battle with the cops while on his way to bomb an environmental group.

    2. The local authorities don’t have the personpower or money to do any sort of job of enforcing state standards or education standards. If someone just ignores all that, no one is going after them.

    The fundies do worse things than brainwash their kids. Some of them are faith healers and routinely kill their own kids in gruesome human child sacrifice rituals. It’s taken decades to get the political will to go after them for murder and it still only happens in a few cases.

  15. matty1 says

    Private education ought to be banned entirely. It is in the best interests of civilization to make sure that every child be educated and socialized

    I’m sympathetic I really am, parents should not have rights over their children in the sense the term is often used. But I’m not sure I trust politicians and administrators enough to make them the sole arbiters of what counts as educated and socialised and that is the risk if you ban other types of education.

  16. Michael Heath says

    mvemjsun writes:

    I feel sorry for the home schooled kids if parents that stupid are their teachers.

    Next time we’re in book store I recommend check-out the magazines targeting homeschooling parents. The description child abuse easily fits. These are people who invite retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin to be their key-note speaker at a national convention one homeschooling organization hosted a few years back.

  17. tomh says

    @ #11

    Private education ought to be banned entirely.

    Exactly right. But in America, so-called “free exercise” of religion trumps all other considerations, which means that religious parents will always have the privilege of brainwashing their kids and keeping them divorced from reality. This means that homeschooling will always be one of their sacred rights.

    As for the secular parents who homeschool – how many are really qualified to do so. How many can spend 6 or 7 hours a day teaching all the varied subjects necessary. Very few, I would wager. Homeschooling should have been banned long ago. But in the US the kid’s welfare ranks far behind parents’ desires, rational or not.

  18. dmcclean says

    What would his position be if a brown family, or thousands of “them”, were applying for asylum because homeschooling was banned in their country?

  19. JustaTech says

    Akira MacKenzie @ 11: Not all private schools are religious or unspeakably rich. There are plenty of places where the public schools are crap, or your kid is too weird, and secular, accreditited private schools fill the gap. (Yes, I went to private schools because there wasn’t a good track for me in the local public schools, and I was a bit too weird to fit int well.) There are also private schools that specialize in a particular area, like the arts, or science, or aviation. In many cases private schools proivide more attention, which might keep the more messed-up kids from going off the deep end.

    And what about private colleges and universities? It’s not like all private schools are fly-by-night wharehouses or diploma mills. There are accrediting organizations, and at least at my private school we had to take some of the standard assessment tests as all the other kids in the state (not to mention the SATs).

    Basically, I respectfully disagree and argue that education is way more complicated than you presented it.

  20. tomh says

    @ #20

    There are plenty of places where the public schools are crap

    The solution to that is not to pull kids out of public schools but to improve the schools.

    And what about private colleges and universities?

    Colleges are not really relevant to the homeschooling question. No one is required to go to college.

  21. says

    If you read a Time article on what I’m pretty sure is the same case, you’ll see that it is mostly the usual parallel reality bullshit:

    One of the Romeikes’ concerns was about their kids getting bullied. But their main objection involved what was being taught in the classroom. “The curriculum goes against our Christian values,” Uwe says. “German schools use textbooks that force inappropriate subject matter onto young children and tell stories with characters that promote profanity and disrespect.”
    [...]
    But beyond that, many religious parents have problems with sex education and other curricular requirements. “Whether it’s a state school or a private school, there’s still a curriculum that is forced onto children,” says Kuhnle.

    And need I mention that Farris is discussed in the Kathryn Joyce book, Quiverfull? Pretty much says all you need to know about him and his ilk. I retain my view that religious misogyny, sexism, and the oppression of women should be illegal. Religion should not be an excuse for oppressing girls and women. An ideal society would not allow the religious oppression of women and girls.

  22. slc1 says

    Re raven @ #15

    One thing that states could do to enforce standards for home schoolers is to require that they pass an entrance exam, before being admitted to any of the states public colleges and universities.

  23. JustaTech says

    tomh @21: I agree the real solution is to improve the public school system. The problem is that it is just that, a system, filled with people with vested interests that may be different from your own. By the time you fix the school (assuming it stays fixed through the next round of budget cuts) your kid may have graduated.

    Going before the school board does not help a kid who is being bullied, or who isn’t being challanged, or whose needs aren’t being met. When you need an immediate fix, often the only answer is another school. It may be another public school or it may be a private school.

    Would there be fewer private schools if there weren’t so many problems with the public schools? I don’t know. In Baltimore there are private schools because so many public schools, for so long, haven’t been working. In Bostson, the public schools are great, but there are still lots of private schools.

    The important thing is that all schools, public, private secular, private religious or home, meet the basic standards of education. Then there can be true choice (Single-sex education? Mandarin-immersion? School for the Arts? All would have to meet the same standard as public school.)

  24. abb3w says

    @12, felicis:

    Is homeschooling your children actually a right?

    More or less. The question hasn’t quite been addressed directly by the SCOTUS, but Runyon v McCrary, Pierce v Society of Sisters, and Wisconsin v Yoder all pretty much point that way.

    Contrariwise, that doesn’t preclude states from putting in some regulations and/or minimal standards for universal education… though how well those standards are implemented is debatable.

  25. raven says

    Re raven @ #15

    One thing that states could do to enforce standards for home schoolers is to require that they pass an entrance exam, before being admitted to any of the states public colleges and universities.

    They do that anyway. Just about all higher ed. admissions requires SAT scores.

    California had a challenge from private xian academies (aka moron factories) about some of their admissions testing. The fundies lost.

  26. kermit. says

    Akira, don’t be silly. The ultra rich send their offspring to private schools – they don’t spend all day home schooling the kids themselves.
    ****************************
    Our kid was precocious mathematically and linguistically but not athletically and socially; skipping grades was not appropriate, but normal grades weren’t sufficient. Her mom and I considered home schooling, and we were qualified to do so, but we crunched the numbers and decided that it was cheaper to move to another state and school district that was set up for kids like her. We still had to settle in, find two new jobs, and take a big hit on the house when we sold it after a housing bubble.
    .
    Several of her friends have been home schooled and they turned out fine (they were not quiverful-type families). Home schooled kids are tested on a regular basis. There’s no reason (on paper) why these kids should fall significantly behind, and some kids just don’t fit well in public schools.
    .
    It’s easy to talk about “fixing the school system instead of home schooling” but but I don’t want to hear any complaints from those folks about society, culture, politics, or the economy. If it’s worth complaining about, it’s worth fixing, right?

  27. slc1 says

    Re raven @ 326

    I think that the suit in California was over the textbooks that the so called “school” was using. They were creationist textbooks that the University found unacceptable, for obvious reasons.

  28. says

    I had neighbors who home-schooled their three daughters. I was at their house once and the mother was teaching third-grade math to her eldest daughter. She gave the girl a math problem and the girl, after much work, figured out the answer. The problem was a simple addition question. Her mother checked out her answer book and said, “You’re right. I have no idea why that is the correct answer, but it is.” This was third-grade math!
    I was at their house with my two sons and my younger son, who was nine at the time, said something about evolution and this girl said that they don’t believe in evolution. My son said, “You’re joking, right?” I gave him a look and he changed the subject.

  29. raven says

    I had neighbors who home-schooled their three daughters.

    LOL. We’ve all seen them.

    1. Two of my acquintenances homeschooled their kids. Actually they homed them but didn’t school them. One kid ended up reading at a third grade level as an adult. The other never learned to read very well.

    Both were of normal intelligence. One kid did not end well, dying of a drug overdose.

    2. Where I went to uni,. some guy started randomly attacking women students at night. Shortly after that one was stabbed to death. It was some fundie homeschooled kid who had no explanation for what he was doing, none at all. Best we could figure out, he had never had the chance to learn how to behave around other people his own age.

  30. tomh says

    @ #27

    Home schooled kids are tested on a regular basis.

    This varies widely by state. In line with a general easing of requirements, due to heavy lobbying by homeschool advocates, less than half the states now require any testing or assessment. California, for instance, encourages private schools (homeschool or not), to take the same tests that public schools do, but does not require it. In Texas, the Texas Education Authority has no authority to regulate home schools. Virginia lists subjects that must be taught, but allows a religious exemption for content that is contrary to the parents’ religious beliefs. States are all over the map on homeschooling.

    One thing is for certain, homeschooling is growing rapidly. In 1980 homeschooling was illegal in 30 states and not until 1993 was it allowed in all 50 states. Since then it has taken off, mainly fueled by conservative Christian parents. There is a brief overview here, in Education Week.

  31. raven says

    Since then it has taken off, mainly fueled by conservative Christian parents.

    Don’t be too sure of that.

    The fundies started it

    usnews. com:

    Ian Slatter, spokesman for the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, a Christian-led advocacy group. The association estimates that evangelicals account for just over half of home-schooling households today, down from about two thirds in 2000.

    Estimates of how many homeschoolers are religious versus secular vary all over the place. But a rough estimate is maybe half with the seculars growing most rapidly.

    States are all over the map on homeschooling.

    It doesn’t really matter what the state laws are. Enforcement is essentially zero, none, nein. There are hordes of homeschoolers on the west coast and the last time there was any enforcement action was….well who knows, probably about never. I can’t think of a single case among 40 million people.

  32. Ichthyic says

    ITS’ ALREDY HAPPNING, PEOPLE! JUST THIS MORNING OBAMA HUSEIN OBAMA’S JACKBOOTED THUGS BROKE DOWN MY DOOR RAN TO THE KITCHEN AND TORE ALL THE MAGNETIC LETTERS OFF THE FRIDGE DOOR!

    Modus, you, more than anything else, are the reason I keep coming back here.

  33. says

    Such an executive order would be struck down in a New York minute. No president has such authority.

    But Obama will be able to do it because Soros!

    Also, remember that we’re dealing with people who believe that the fact that Obama has never done anything to indicate he would take a certain action is proof that he’s planning on doing it real soon!

  34. dingojack says

    “THEY ALSO CONFISCATED MY ALPHA-BITS!”
    – well at least Mrs Modus can quit using ‘headaches’ as an excuse! :)

    Of course Obama isn’t gonna ban homeschooling. Who else is gonna flip the burgers and pump the gas?

    Dingo

  35. says

    The supreme court did just rule many of his executive orders as unconstitutional. Classically trained (home-schooled) kindergarteners memorize all of the presidents of the united states, all of the continents, and the ancient history timeline just to name a small sample. Don’t make the mistake that they are destined to “flip burgers” that is ignorant.

  36. tomh says

    Heather Scott wrote:

    The supreme court did just rule many of his executive orders as unconstitutional.

    Really? Can you name some of them?

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