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Incidentally, racist

I don’t approve of homeschooling. I understand how sometimes, the local school is in a state of intellectual collapse and it becomes necessary (although I’d rather the state realized it has an obligation to maintain school quality in all districts), but too often it’s because parents demand a bizarre ideological purity — in particular, because they don’t want their kids exposed to liberal ideas like diversity and tolerance.

Which leads to…

The major homeschooling textbook sources, like Bob Jones University Press and Lighthouse Christian Academy, generating material that is so narrow and intolerant that white supremacist home schoolers love them, endorsing their books for some very racist reasons.

The biggest increase in intermarriage has occurred in recent years, due to the social interaction of children of different races in the school room and subsequently the board room and then bedroom. In the year 2000 – 9 percent of married men and women below age 30 were intermarried, compared with 7 percent of those ages 30 to 44, 5 percent for those ages 45 to 59, and about 3 percent among those age 60 and older. Obviously school busing, the promotion of interracial marriages by “Christian” preachers, visible images in all types of media, and 12 (plus) years of social conditioning in the schools for each and every child has had a devastating effect on the racial integrity of white America.

It’s interesting how racists can twist anything, whether it’s the Bible, Christianity, or even evolution, into supporting their cause.

Comments

  1. davidnangle says

    I’m amazed at how many people just aren’t ashamed of being on the same political side as white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, sovereign citizens, right-wing terrorists and even Republicans. It’s like their ability to feel shame died, at some point.

  2. dianne says

    “A devestating effect on the racial integrity of white America”…but why do they say that like it’s a bad thing?

  3. raven says

    Homeschooling is like volleyball, fishing, or anything else. It can be done well or poorly.

    1. In the real world, often it is done poorly.

    2. I’ve only seen a couple, both New Agers oddly enough.

    3. Both kids were of normal intelligence. At 18, one read at a third grade level and the other one not at all. In these cases, homeschooling = No schooling.

    4. Both kids struggled as young adults without much education. One is now dead from a drug overdose.

  4. nontrad says

    It’s interesting how racists can twist anything, whether it’s the Bible, Christianity, or even evolution, into supporting their cause.

    This is such an obvious, important point, but seemingly impossible for so many to understand. I get as absurdly angry at sciency/atheist types who try to paint religion as a (or the) cause of racism as I do at the Christians who try to reduce all racism down to evolutionary pseudoscience. The problem isn’t atheism or religion; the problem is racism. Racism, especially for racists in the US, is prior to pretty much any other ideological or political commitment.

  5. raven says

    The major homeschooling textbook sources, like Bob Jones University Press and Lighthouse Christian Academy, generating material that is so narrow and intolerant that white supremacist home schoolers love them, endorsing their books for some very racist reasons.

    1. This isn’t the least bit surprising. Expected. Normal. Racism for them is a feature, not a bug.

    2. As Ed Brayton posted a day or so ago, fundie xianity is highly correlated with racism!!! Studies by sociologists out of IIRC, Princeton.

    Fundie xians = Racists. They probably aren’t all racists but a high percentage are.

    This isn’t surprising. The Southern Baptists, Lutherans, etc. broke with the Northerns to defend slavery and help destroy the USA during the civil war. Nothing’s changed except they lost the war 149 years ago.

    PS What isn’t quite correct is Homeschoolers = Fundie Xians = Racists = Ignorants. Roughly half of all homeschoolers aren’t fundie creationists i.e. seculars.

  6. knowknot says

    - One thing I’ve seen done well but only in earlier grades is homeschooling supplemented with outside classes, and with the understanding that this was only workable in earlier grades (in these cases, given available resources, etc.)
    – Note that this little sampling equals a grand total of three children, with extremely responsible and well informed parents.
    – In those cases, the purpose was escape from ABYSSMAL math and science programs, with poor language/lit programs as a additional issue. In one case the child’s nature and the school environment threatened to spoil a lifelong attitude toward education, for a quite brilliant mind.
    Problem is that most “outside” programs of this kind are, for the most part, fundamentalistically religious in nature.
    Still, as a movement, I am also opposed, for what it’s worth.

  7. Larry says

    What? They sound like nice people. Nice, jebus-lovin’, racist, fundie, xenophobic GOP-base people.

  8. frugaltoque says

    “… has had a devastating effect on the racial integrity of white America.”

    Mission. Fucking. Accomplished.

  9. moarscienceplz says

    Homeschooling is like volleyball, fishing, or anything else. It can be done well or poorly.

    I think modern education is a lot like modern car maintenance:
    Everyone should try to learn as much about it as possible in order to help the pros work more effectively.
    It takes a lot of specialized knowledge and tools, usually more than an amateur is able to acquire, or even realizes.
    People who try to do it themselves very often make the problems worse instead of better.

  10. raven says

    from Ed Brayton’s blog August 24, 2014

    quote from Philip Zuckerman Psychology today
    In his latest analysis of 40 years of aggregate data from the General Social Survey (see his book Changing Faith, 2014), sociologist Darren Sherkat reveals that strongly religious Americans are far more likely to support laws against interracial marriage than secular Americans; indeed 45 percent of Baptists and 38 percent of sectarian Protestants (conservative Evangelicals) support laws against interracial marriage, but only 11 percent of secular people do. And while 26 percent of Baptists and 21 percent of conservative Evangelicals state that they would not vote for an African American for president, only 9.5 percent of secular/non-religious people state as much.

    Sherkat’s analysis is no outlier. He’s found what many others have found: that the more religious a person is, the more likely he are she is going to be racist, and the less religious he or she is, the less likely.

    Them’s the facts. Fundie xians are racists.

    He’s found what many others have found: that the more religious a person is, the more likely he are she is going to be racist, and the less religious he or she is, the less likely.

  11. sugarfrosted says

    @3 On the other end of the spectrum, I had a friend who was “homeschooled,” though she took classes through and online program and was taking community college classes at 16. I seem to recall her parents being astrobiologists, so they’re not like your average homeschooling parents.

  12. Rich Woods says

    @davidnangle #1:

    I’m amazed at how many people just aren’t ashamed of being on the same political side as white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, sovereign citizens, right-wing terrorists and even Republicans. It’s like their ability to feel shame died, at some point.

    I think the ability to feel shame deteriorates at the same rate as the capacity for empathy.

  13. Trebuchet says

    Dana Hunter is of course working on a new series on homeschool science texts, especially geology.

  14. yazikus says

    I think I’ve mentioned it before but I know someone who actually dropped out of college (New St. Andrews in Idaho) because of the revisionist and racist teaching that was going on there. She was young and didn’t know how to complain, but couldn’t keep attending.

  15. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    While we’re at it, can we as a society please fucking start distinguishing homeschooling per se – true “parents as teachers” homeschooling – from correspondence coursework and other forms of curriculum-and-qualified-instructor-based distance education? It’s bad enough that I self-consciously feel like I have to make that distinction explicit, because of all the badly done, bad-reasons homeschooling, but then people seem to resist it: “You mean you were homeschooled right?”

  16. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    Ick. The more of this kind of vile garbage I see, the more I realize that I’m some sort of unicorn.

    I was homeschooled beginning in the fourth grade, because I was being bullied and the fourth grade teacher I’d been assigned had a history of behaving sexually towards the children in his classes. Instead of firing him, they just kept assigning him to younger and younger classes. When I was thirteen, I was old enough to enroll in a high school correspondence course and then went on to college at seventeen. The goal was never to “protect” me from an education, but to keep me from being abused into an early grave by a school system that didn’t care.

    I recognize how rare my experience was. I recognize most homeschooling parents don’t give their children a set of encyclopedias and quality textbooks and then make them argue and defend their interpretations and genuinely pick ideas apart. I recognize that most homeschooled twelve year olds aren’t familiar with the origins of the sexagesimal system for time and can’t draw Punnett squares.

    Yet it still comes as a shock every time I see just how bad homeschoolers can get. It’s difficult to remind myself that, no, this is really what it means when people talk about the problems of homeschooling. And they are terrible, terrible problems.

  17. yazikus says

    That is a fancy tentacle you have there, Mellow Monkey!

    I met several of these extraordinary young people recently who were 17ish, going to community college and about to graduate with both their high-school diploma and their AA. I asked one of them (a 17 year old girl) what she wanted to “be”, and without blinking she says, “I’m going to be a neurosurgeon” and I have not one drop of doubt that she will. However, I think these kids would have been extraordinary even if they had been public schooled. Supportive parents and a safe learning environment go a long way, whether they are in the house or in a school building.

    My mom wanted to home school us, but unfortunately (for her), we had the opportunity to go to some pretty schnazzy schools on the govt. dime. So we went. And she blames that (and “too much freedom”) for our many ‘failings’ (read as: not actual failings).

  18. David Marjanović says

    both New Agers oddly enough

    Homeschooling is legal in the US today because hippies campaigned for it in the 60s or 70s. It’s still forbidden in most other countries, AFAIK.

  19. yazikus says

    David, according to wikipedia (I know, I know) it was more likely that the Amish campaigned to keep their children out of schools for religious reasons. Later, it looks like in Meyer v. Nebraska (in 1923) they found that

    “held simply that while a State may posit [educational] standards, it may not pre-empt the educational process by requiring children to attend public schools.”

    I only comment because I had never heard the hippie connection and wondered if that were true, and you are always full of interesting information.

  20. fernando says

    Homeschooling should only be allowed temporarily, in some very specific situations; for exemple, if the student is recovering from a medical situation, in wich would be very dificult for him to go to a school.

    Homeschooling is terrible in so many ways, being the worst consequences a very poor education and poor social interaction with other children, with diferent skin color, diferent cultural backgrounds and diferent genders.

  21. cameradragon says

    In a number of states it is near impossible to homeschool unless you are using a church run umbrella school which probably explains why homeschool culture has a lot of vocal religionists. A few years ago i homeschooled a pregnant teenager who was afraid to go back to school because of some anxiety issues and i am currently schooling a teenager who wishes to learn without disruption from anti-education classmates. Schooling at home can be a valuable tool in many circumstances (rural TN where we live has some very real issues regarding the public education system) and i think a better solution than dismissing it is to create truly useful nonreligious curricula.

  22. raven says

    It’s still forbidden in most other countries, AFAIK.

    1. The laws in the USA are by state. Which means 50 different sets that are always changing.

    2. In practice, they aren’t enforced or enforceable. With millions of homeschoolers, how can they? The local governments are always broke and don’t have the staff or money.

    3. Legally you have to educate your children. And sometimes if it is reported that the kids aren’t being educated, they might do something. But they won’t go looking for it.

  23. says

    While I admit that most home education is done badly, and i’ve certainly met my fair share of people who use it to shelter their children from outside influences from other religions, please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, I home educate my children, and I do it because the overall school system is insufficient, in my opinion. My children learn formal grammar and Latin, to do maths with their head not their calculators, and aren’t subjected to anyone else’s artificially imposed timescales of learning. The dumbing down of the Australian national curriculum is astonishing, and we aspire to better.

    So please don’t talk in terms of bans, because there are many people who do it well, and for the right reasons. Talk about regulation and upholding educational standards is completely acceptable though. And bring on the non-religious curricula!

    I think we’re a little less crazy religious here, thankfully. The intermarriage issue is not something we really see here, and i’m certainly glad of that. But with 20% of the population born overseas (I think) it’s a bit hard to find a true ‘Australian’!

  24. damiki says

    We’re a bit of an exception, but we homeschooled (or more accurately — unschooled) all four of our children until middle school for strictly non-religious reasons. We did it because we didn’t think the public school system was well-suited to nurture creative learning for young folks (and frankly was too tied to the status-quo). Also, it turns out it’s not that hard to provide a healthier social environment than primary school.

    Really, you’d be surprised how well kids learn on their own if they’re surrounded by piles of books and educated adults to ask questions of. The only exception was math, which I love too much to not teach them myself.

    Two have graduated college and two are on track to. All four are creative, funny, and well-adjusted.

    Like anything else, religion is going to poison anything it touches, but that doesn’t mean that intelligent parents can’t provide their children a superior education without the public schools.

  25. Adela Doiron says

    I find there is a certain level of class privilege in home schooling since it is not an option for the lower incomes already working their asses off to survive. It takes some money, resources and free time to be able to opt out of the community and social contract. The more people with the luxury to opt out of public education the less motivation there is from the status quo to fund and manage it properly for those that remain in the system thus screwing over the poor and disenfranchised that are stuck with it.

  26. wilsim says

    My wife and I are homeschooling our 2 kids through Connections Academy.

    It’s an online public charter school. He has a teacher but most of the teaching is done by us at home.

    My son will be entering second grade, my daughter will be in kindergarten. We are homeschooling specifically because both of our children are not neurotypical and have behavior and focus issues. They also have a genetic disease that makes them small for their age and also makes it dangerous for them to interact physically with other kids. We aren’t willing to take that risk, sending them to public school where they are at risk of being bullied by other kids or teachers. At home, we are in charge of the lessons in terms of when, how much time, extra discussion, and getting through behavior issues without them being ostracized or othered as they would most likely be in a public brick and mortar school.

    AFAICT there hasn’t been any racist or creationist material at all in the lessons. This is something specific my wife and I looked into before deciding if we were going to home school and where, and we are on constant vigilance for anything of the sort.

    I know you have a problem with home schooling PZ but you shouldn’t lump everything into the same category.

  27. says

    wilsim:

    I know you have a problem with home schooling PZ but you shouldn’t lump everything into the same category.

    I don’t think PZ is doing that. Yes, there are parents who homeschool for good reasons, and not only do it right, they do a great job. For all that, the contrast between those parents and the majority of homeschoolers (at least in the States) who do it in order to fuel their kids on bigotry of various kinds is stark, and should be highlighted.

  28. Xaivius says

    Kelly George@24; Damiki@25

    If your children can read, write, have healthy socialization with their peers, and pass the public school standardized tests in the testing environment, for the most part, I have no problem with homeschooling. Its the much more likely cases of illiterate 15 year old children from parents that makes me say ‘fuck homeschooling’.

    Frankly, I agree heartily with Azkyroth@16: If your kids are doing distance education, they’re still in school, just a different venue.

  29. Xaivius says

    @29

    “From parents who don’t think it’s necessary

    Fucking hell. I need my vacation.

  30. cameradragon says

    Adela Doiron @ 26, not necessarily. My family is most definitely financially underprivileged, and yet we find ways to make it work. The cost of renting essential textbooks online plus the yearly fee for the umbrella school that we use (The Farm School is legally a church run school, but their “religion” is more or less “dude, we don’t care about your worship habits so long as your kids learn the same stuff the school curriculum requires”. ) is roughly equivalent to the expenses that sending a child to public school would incur over the course of a school year. Granted, that is all at once instead of spread across the year, but we make it work. I think a bigger obstacle than money is time, but schooling at home means you can wrap educational schedules around other obligations, so long as you are not tied to the traditional notion that school must always and only be Monday through Friday 8am to 3pm.

  31. raven says

    Adela Doiron @ 26, not necessarily. My family is most definitely financially underprivileged,

    1. I’ll add here that in many places, parents form informal or formal groups for homeschooling. This takes a lot of work out of it and let’s the kids have a peer group of other homeschool kids. You end up with a teacher to student ratio of around 1 or 0.5.

    They go on field trips, to the library, play games and sports and so on.

    2. A whole lot of homeschool kids do go to school as well. They may go until 6th grade when they can then be left at home by themselves. Or part time. Or finish school in high school.

    One you realize there are no rules or limits, you can get creative.

  32. Matrim says

    @Raven, 3>

    I’ve noticed that the New Ager homeschoolers always seem to be of the “no school” bent in my (admittedly limited) experience.

    I don’t know any Christian homeschoolers, but I do know one child whose homeschooling is going very well. She was a student of mine in preschool, her mother is a biochemist (who quit to be a full time mother) and her father is a mechanical engineer. She’s of a first grade age and she operates at around a third or forth grade level academically.

  33. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    cameradragon @ 32, but if a family doesn’t have a parent available to teach children, then they cannot homeschool. Regardless of how flexible you can push the schooling schedule, parents need to sleep. Some families only have one parent and that parent has to work multiple jobs. If school isn’t doubling as a child-care service necessary for survival, then you’re better off than the families that need it. If you don’t need to send your children to school so that they get a guaranteed two meals a day that they couldn’t get at home, then you’re better off than the families that need that.

    I grew up fairly poor–government cheese sandwiches and donated Christmas gifts, woohoo!–so I know that it doesn’t take extreme wealth to be able to homeschool. But the exact conditions that allow it aren’t available to everyone and it is good to remember that. Society as a whole is better off fixing education and pooling resources, so everyone can benefit.

  34. says

    Xaivius@29-And it’s all of the adults without functional literacy who have been through 12 years of formal schooling that make me say “Fuck school”. Like my husband-I taught him to read at 20. School is no guarantee of an education.

    We’re on an ‘under the poverty line’ income here too, but in Australia we get government welfare assistance to families. I know it’s different in the USA but here we have the luxury of anyone being able to home educate if they wish, if they’re willing to live frugally, even if they’re a single parent on benefits.

  35. says

    The homeschooling required reading list includes “A Handmaid’s Tale.” We see it as cautionary. For the homeschooling cult it’s an instruction manual.

  36. plainenglish says

    PZ “…but too often it’s because parents demand a bizarre ideological purity — in particular, because they don’t want their kids exposed to liberal ideas like diversity and tolerance.”
    Perhaps this is partly why I chose to unschool, to allow liberal ideas like diversity and tolerance. Where on earth you get the idea that diversity and tolerance is some guarantee in public schooling is beyond me. I recall Rue Kream suggesting once, when she was asked about not having her kids at school, that she chose instead to bat them around sometimes and steal their money so that they would not miss what school had to offer them. My daughter showed an early interest in film, while, as a new unschooling dad, I fretted about times-tables. Last year, at age 16, she won a full scholarship to film school by making a film and submitting it. That was her earning 25 to 30 grand I was not able to garner for her studies but I was able to support her in her interests, to encourage and connect her with mentors and teachers in areas of her choice. At 17, she has just passed her final flight exam and is a private pilot. Her examiner stated that he had never had as high a score and she attained throughout the test. She wanted to learn to fly. I don’t, nor does my wife or any of our extended family. Alas. just last week, she failed her driver’s test and will have to repeat it… life giggles on. My son, at 15, is an accomplished keyboard player and is learning the violin. He is interested in theatre and has acted semi-professionally. He has a sharp wit he hones on his father almost daily. My wife, a survivor of teaching in the public and private school systems, (and who still consults in education among homeschoolers, unschoolers, deschoolers and so on) also supports both our kids in their interests. Neither of my kids can charge through all the times-tables even now and I have learned to be at peace about it. It appears to have been and still is my problem and not theirs. Both of them have been tutored in math because they found it a necessary part of their learning plans. I encourage any and all parents who are willing to put their kids interests above all, to spend more time with them and learn what they love, then make it possible for them to follow their passions. I could say as PZ said of homeschooling, that I disagree with sending kids to school because it shuts them down and closes their minds, blunts their passions. It does not offer them diversity and tolerance and quite often the contrary. It might not do that all the time but it surely happens alot. In B.C., people are departing the scruels in droves in favor of deschooling, unschooling and even the dreaded homeschooling. I started out our journey with our kids by worrying about curriculum. They brought me around and I dropped all that after realizing they could ask for what they needed to learn and they could tell me what they wanted to learn. I say, free the little ones! Listen to them and watch them sponge up knowledge without grades and required prerequisites. When they are ready, if they ever are to become a scientist or geologist, a doctor or study international law, or be a damned good plumber they will choose a course (maybe PZ if he is not some Christian prison by then) on their own and will easily qualify for entrance. The doors of learning open at home. If you don’t have time to listen to kids, send them to school. Let them stand in lines, get ‘toughened up’ and deal with all the bullshit. And as for religious homeschooling, it is the same-but-worse kind of controlling poison public schools often are, the vampire that sucks life away, that kills joy and passion. I hate homeschooling done for religious control. I hate military schools too for similar reasons, the destruction of human potential, the reduction of life to being factory-made grunt fodder fed to Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan. The bullshit bombs bursting in air are our kids fed into the greed. Public schools might not be the best solution, where there is a wish to learn and all children have that wish. Public schools might be the second worst choice, hot on the tail of religious homeschoolers. The school paradigm is no longer rigid and is rapidly evolving as public schools fail. Apologies for not being much more succinct…. but PZ is a fav blog-read for me and oft-times makes me itchy.

  37. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    ….you know, paragraph breaks would significantly improve your case. Just sayin’.

  38. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Ah, homeschooling. We are seriously considering it for our kids (after they completed grades 1-3) because we literally can not find a school where christian domination is not the norm. They have weekly assembly with religious singing and bible reading every week, they do “bible study” in class everyday, their reading is very heavily focused on biblical stories and that. One teacher told my daughter flat out that people who don’t believe will burn in hell for eternity. When my child (who was 7 at the time) told her that her mother doesn’t believe, the teacher shrugged and said “then she’ll burn”.

    So yeah, we’re seriously considering it, but if we do it we’ll be working towards the goal of getting the National Senior Certificate with full university exemption (South Africa’s matric, which you get after grade 12 with higher requirements to allow university study) because it’s important to me that my kids go to university.

    So in a way, we are in fact also pursuing ideological impurity. And we’ll be doing “parent teaches at home”.

  39. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Oh just to add, these are public schools for first language Afrikaans speakers. The private schools are even worse.

  40. Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority) says

    Education needs to be monitored properly. Children have a right to a good start in their educational life. Nice as all the anecdotes about successful homeschooled folk who were protected from the evils of poor public education are, the lack of proper monitoring means there isn’t enough actual data about the reality of homeschooled kids. The perception (generated by the market shares of various homeschool materials) is that most kids in that situation are being sold short.

    Teaching isn’t easy, and having those with the education, free time and ability to do so withdraw their kids from school means that the kids who would be doing well in school (as they have the support of parents with the education, free time and ability to support them in their studies) won’t be there to create a more positive learning environment for the other kids, trapping them in a negative cycle of economic, social and educational paucity, where schooling is culturally seen as unnecessary or uncool.

    I’m well educated, well read and I’m a trained and experienced teacher (and have trained teachers for a living). I could, I’m sure, educate my son at home to at least the standard he’d get at school, and in some ways well beyond. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to supplement his education at home by encouraging him to learn for fun, and helping him to explore whatever he finds interesting. I’m going to help him and his peers to have a better education by taking an active part in improving whatever school he goes to.

  41. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    I’m well educated, well read and I’m a trained and experienced teacher (and have trained teachers for a living). I could, I’m sure, educate my son at home to at least the standard he’d get at school, and in some ways well beyond. I’m not going to do that

    And that’s fine for you. My point, and the point of many others on this thread, is just that banning homeschooling completely or making it more difficult legislatively to be able to homeschool is problematic, because people who homeschool often have damn good reasons beyond just “public schools are evil” or “I want to teach my children that it’s fine to be bigoted”, though there are of course those types too.

  42. says

    This brings up another one of my beefs with the professional atheist promotion organizations, particularly, at the moment, American Atheists. Given that education is a recognized priority for atheist organizations, both for its intrinsic social good and because (we think) better quality education increases the odds of people becoming atheists, and, given that high religiosity is correlated with racism, and, given that racial disparities in education are a major problem in the USA, why isn’t “ensuring that the quality of a child’s basic education isn’t dependent on the color of a child’s skin” higher up on the list of atheist organization priorities? I brought this up with Dave Muscato on Facebook one day and he literally used the words “mission creep” in his response to me.

    I mean, it hits all the major atheist pressure points: making fundamentalists look bad, increasing the quality of science education, and increasing the appeal of atheism to the wishy-washy religionists who go to church more because they like the sense of charity and community they find there than for the sermons.

    It’s frustrating.

  43. plainenglish says

    Ak@39, regarding paragraph breaks: No, the use of paragraph breaks would not improve my sharing. Being brief would be an improvement. And if I had submitted my ‘opinion piece project’ to you as my teacher, you would have yawned at it for shallow reasons, that it was not dressed properly…. jus’ sayin’… I spent all my education in public schools, through college. I had 3 wonderful teachers among that hoarde of trained folk. It is not about what I want for my son and daughter so much as what they want. I do not wish them to be well-rounded folk who attend the local clubs and play football or anything else for that matter unless they choose it. I want them to be free as can be to follow their passions. If you are suggesting that the local music teacher at the public school is a better teacher than someone I know who leads a community orchestra and just giggles with love of music, then I bow to you and depart. I have no interest in maintaining a system that is very akin to abusive towards young people, that perpetuates religious fantasies and patriotic stupidities, that does not listen to kids first. Dr. Marcus @42 feeds his kids to scruel as a missionaries to do good! I say that is bullshit of the first order. Listen to your kids first. It starts at home. (And PZ forbid, if one of my kids expresses a wish to attend school, I will be in support and help that along too.) There are many choices now in education. Studying independently does not reduce opportunities but enhance them.

  44. says

    plainenglish #45

    No, the use of paragraph breaks would not improve my sharing.

    Uh. Yes it would.

    I spent all my education in public schools, through college.

    Did you pay any attention during the English Language classes?

    If you are suggesting that the local music teacher at the public school is a better teacher than someone I know who leads a community orchestra and just giggles with love of music, then I bow to you and depart.

    Great; you know someone who can teach music. Do you know someone who can teach science(s), maths, history, geography, a foreign language, your own language…etc? Oddly enough, there’s a place where you can find all these people. We call it a school.

  45. chigau (違う) says

    plainenglish
    Just use paragraph breaks.
    It’s part of the English language.

  46. David Marjanović says

    David, according to wikipedia (I know, I know) it was more likely that the Amish campaigned to keep their children out of schools for religious reasons. Later, it looks like in Meyer v. Nebraska (in 1923) they found that

    Wow. Looks like I fell for a complete myth.

    There’s no reason to think made-up stuff is on that kind of Wikipedia article. Bad articles can easily be recognized: they’re badly written to the point of contradicting themselves, they don’t cite sources (often they have “citation needed” tags scattered over them), and almost always they are on outright obscure topics so that very few people have ever read them.

    I brought this up with Dave Muscato on Facebook one day and he literally used the words “mission creep” in his response to me.

    *facepalm*

    No, the use of paragraph breaks would not improve my sharing.

    That’s breathtaking arrogance. How can you tell what other people would find easier to understand?

    And if I had submitted my ‘opinion piece project’ to you as my teacher, you would have yawned at it for shallow reasons, that it was not dressed properly…

    So much projection.

  47. David Marjanović says

    It’s part of the English language.

    Not at all. It’s part of comprehensible writing.

  48. Pteryxx says

    SallyStrange #44: I really think the major atheist orgs aren’t interested in helping foster the wrong color of atheists. (How much money are they likely to bring in when they grow up, really? Even with a college education?) /bittersnark

    I tried to direct readers here to the livestream of Michael Brown’s funeral, for instance, because white atheists chronically don’t understand how central and vital churches are to the survival of black communities. Literally, survival. Faith leaders on the ground in Ferguson were putting their bodies between protesters and riot police to prevent violence. Faith leaders provided the first aid, coordinated the food relief, and run the programs that keep troubled and targeted youth off the streets. Faith leaders even offered grief counseling, while real counselors were begging on Tumblr for volunteers with experience to come provide mental health support to these people.

    So it’s not a simple matter of

    increasing the appeal of atheism to the wishy-washy religionists who go to church more because they like the sense of charity and community they find there than for the sermons.

    Most of US, white atheists, can take or leave going to church. If we neglect our relationship with a religious community, most of us aren’t going to lose the only people who will bail us out of jail or work to get word to our families if we get shot.

    (Black atheists do talk about this; see for instance Trudy at Gradient Lair. But as I’m a basically white regular commenter, maybe it’ll stick.)

    (Crossposting to the Good Morning America thread (here) because it might be less off-topic there… also that’s where all my references are.)

  49. Pteryxx says

    (afterthought) …I’d like to see how those stats correlating religiosity with racism took into account religiosity among black people, if at all.

  50. chigau (違う) says

    Not at all. It’s part of comprehensible writing.

    The commenter’s nym is plainenglish.

  51. says

    I really think the major atheist orgs aren’t interested in helping foster the wrong color of atheists. (How much money are they likely to bring in when they grow up, really? Even with a college education?) /bittersnark

    I totally agree. Bitter, but no snark at all. At least where AA is concerned, getting the big donors seems to be Mission #1.

    Most of US, white atheists, can take or leave going to church. If we neglect our relationship with a religious community, most of us aren’t going to lose the only people who will bail us out of jail or work to get word to our families if we get shot.

    Good point. What I said earlier was really talking about white wishy-washy religious people who kinda sorta don’t like racism. To make secular organizations actually useful and appealing to people of color who are on the fence about religion would take a lot more than just a solid commitment to promoting educational equality.

  52. Pteryxx says

    SallyStrange: we’re on the same page, then. But how would “ensuring that the quality of a child’s basic education isn’t dependent on the color of a child’s skin” (from your post) help appeal to wishy-washy religious white people who kinda don’t like racism? Specifically, how would it make atheism attractive to them? Or would supporting educational equality just be a decent project that atheists should be well qualified to perform?

    At the moment I just hope that no prominent capital-A Atheist makes any horrendous twitter statements about black people’s religiosity. <_<

  53. dianne says

    how central and vital churches are to the survival of black communities.

    I agree with your point, but just wanted to suggest a minor revision: a fair number of African-Americans are Islamic so would suggest that the line should read “…how central and vital churches and mosques are to the survival of black communities.” Islamic African-Americans, of course, have the added joy of being suspected of terrorism.

  54. yazikus says

    scienceavenger,
    I wasn’t a student myself, but from what I recall, basically they were teaching a white-washed american history that posited that slavery was not so bad and actually a great and harmonious time for both white and black people. Also, the whole america is a christian nation business. This was in the late 90’s, but I doubt much has changed.

    Considering this guy is ‘notable faculty':

    Douglas James Wilson (born 18 June 1953) is a conservative Reformed and evangelical theologian, pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, faculty member at New Saint Andrews College, and prolific author and speaker. Wilson is well known for his controversial work Southern Slavery, As It Was,[1] which he coauthored with League of the South co-founder Steve Wilkins.

  55. Pteryxx says

    dianne, you’re right. I’ve been reading a lot about the place of Christianity in the civil rights movement and before, but not much gets said about Islam – and part of the reason Islam is associated with terrorism *now* is from its place in civil-rights era black power movements. (Which is why there’s less information, obviously. Even more remedial self-educating to do…)

  56. Esteleth is Groot says

    An individual parent’s decision to homeschool can be excellent, well-thought-out (and well-implemented) and truly in the best interest of the child.

    That does not negate the fact that many homeschoolers are racist religious fundamentalists.

    Ages ago I read an essay by a homeschooling parent who complained about how hard it was to find textbooks/materials that were suitable for homeschooling use and were affordable that weren’t explicitly religious and/or chock-full of bullshit, and how reasonable books would over time morph into something abhorrent.

  57. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    Esteleth @ 60

    An individual parent’s decision to homeschool can be excellent, well-thought-out (and well-implemented) and truly in the best interest of the child.
    That does not negate the fact that many homeschoolers are racist religious fundamentalists.

    QFT

    My positive experience and the positive experiences of others doesn’t negate the second paragraph there. There are people being harmed and terrible, racist ideas being put into homeschooling curriculums. These are issues that need to be faced and can’t be waved off with “but my homeschooling experience was awesome!”

  58. says

    But how would “ensuring that the quality of a child’s basic education isn’t dependent on the color of a child’s skin” (from your post) help appeal to wishy-washy religious white people who kinda don’t like racism? Specifically, how would it make atheism attractive to them? Or would supporting educational equality just be a decent project that atheists should be well qualified to perform?

    I’m thinking of people like my mother and the women I work with often during political and activist campaigns–they are mostly in it for the community service. The main appeal of church activities is the opportunity to engage in altruistic activities. And they are politically engaged and very active–if they become engaged in secularism as a cause, they won’t be the ones sitting on the sidelines, they’ll be the ones holding bake sales and voter registration drives.

  59. says

    homeschooling has a weird overlap of super liberal and super conservative parents. I am just glad its an option for some kids who get tortured by bullying at public schools, or punished for excelling, etc.

  60. says

    I completely understand that homeschooling is usually just an excuse to isolate children for religious indoctrination but when you are parents of a child that you had to pull out of school because the existing school system wasn’t equipped for particular issues when it comes to your child what do you do? Then you even receive suggestions from teachers and principals that you homeschool for now what do you do? When you fight with multiple schools move across Canada then check every school in town until you find one school ready to work with you only to have your child’s anxiety reach a point that they are aren’t functional and no additional resources are available until you have an assessment done at a facility that takes over a year to get in and have the assessment done what do you do in the meantime?

  61. says

    Slightly OT, but related to reasons why the ‘not all homeschoolers’ folks have so many complaints about the public schools (the Yanks, anyway; I can’t answer for those from other countries). A primary problem with the U.S. education system (speaking of racism and education), is the practice of ‘school districts’, which create the twin issues of local funding and local school boards.

    This is a perfect example of structural racism in action, on several interlocking levels, and all without any actual racial language in official policies anywhere. In the U.S., funding for schools comes from property taxes, but these taxes are levied by ‘school districts’, sub-county level governments with the power to levy taxes (or at least propose levies) on real estate within their boundaries and spend the monies on schools.
    Now, as has been noted a few times in threads connected with racial issues in the U.S., there is massive housing segregation, such that POCs tend to be clustered into separate neighborhoods from whites. This is due largely to massive racism on the part of whites generally, leading to preexisting legally enforced segregation being replaced by white flight into the developing suburbs beginning in the post WWII GI bill induced housing boom (a boom from which blacks were excluded), and continuing via official and (after some rather toothless laws were passed in the late 80s) unofficial redlining to the present. This means that buildings in black neighborhoods are typically in poorer repair, reducing their value, and value assessments are further reduced by their being in a black neighborhood (property tax assessments are actually pretty arbitrary in most places, and are heavily affected by snap judgments on the part of the (usually white) assessors). This, combined with general poverty which would make higher taxes in the area harder to sustain, leads to school districts in minority areas being deeply and chronically underfunded, with crumbling physical plant, outdated and insufficient textbooks, few and underpaid staff, etc., and these schools, and the students therein, perform about as well as would be expected given that. Then right-wingers point to these schools, claim that the public education system isn’t working, and proceed to cut any federal or state grants that are alleviating some of those problems, and feed the money to christian charter schools for white people. The solution to this problem, incidentally, would be to collect taxes for education at the state and/or federal level, and distribute funds to schools on a strict per-student basis.

    The other problem with school districts is that they are controlled by local school boards, who have vast authority over curricula, materials, etc., and are easily coopted by right-wingers (and indeed in many districts don’t need to be actively coopted, because most of the voters are already frothing right-wingers), leading to the use of David Barton textbooks, the teaching of creationism, and all the other bullshit that routinely makes the FtB headlines. The solution to this is to bloody well have actual fucking Federal standards based on existing standards in places where the educational system actually halfway fucking works.

    The school boards that run them have vast power over the curriculumr

  62. plainenglish says

    chigau@47 et al, regarding paragraph breaks: gotcha, will do….

    Daz@ 46, “Great; you know someone who can teach music. Do you know someone who can teach science(s), maths, history, geography, a foreign language, your own language…etc? Oddly enough, there’s a place where you can find all these people. We call it a school.”

    Regarding these subjects, there are folks all over who are capable of sharing their expertise, their passion in the field of their choice. My English teacher in grade 9 felt that class readings of Shakespeare was teaching. I therefore hated Shakespeare till after I published my first book and fell upon a second-hand King Lear in a remainder shop. School does not own learning or the depth of passion and joy possible therein. In my experience, the drudgery of school challenged passion, challenged joy and curiosity. If my kids are interested in a subject, then I will do all I can to make their interest live in fecundity. Schools are great places for those who choose them and they akin to prisons to the many who cannot buy-in. For them, there are many many possibilities.

    @63…. I too am thankful for alternative choices for all. As independent schooling finds success, public school paradigms change to be more inclusive and viable. They allow for more choice and opportunity because they watch students leaving in droves. It might be said that alternative systems drive for excellence in a public system that is in serious trouble.

    (Not sure why, but I am leaving paragraph spaces between responses but they are disappearing when I preview?)

  63. Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority) says

    I should probably note that as a resident of a country that is (just about, things are changing for the worse) civilised in its school funding, I may have a different slant on this than many colonials. Schools here, by and large, get funding set centrally on a per pupil basis, and, in fact, there is a system of “pupil premiums” where kids from disadvantaged backgrounds attract additional funding. There are still some awful schools here, and they are still clustered in the more deprived inner city areas, but it seems the system is nowhere near as fucked up as in the US.

    I do support the right of people to have their children educated wherever they like. That right should be tempered by having a requirement that whatever education a child is getting, even if it’s homeschooling, should be subject to inspection to ensure that the quality of the education is sufficient. Of course, the definitions and tests for what constitutes good quality education are an enormous and heated discussion to be had, but that there should be such checks is, to my mind, not up for debate.

    Personally, I think the criterion for whether a particular child should be removed from the school system is to compare home schooling with school plus home support, and to see if the child would be significantly worse off staying in school (academically, emotionally, socially…). If the school system is so fucked up that you need to remove your child from it, you might also want to think about what you can do to make it better for those who can’t do so. If you’re homeschooling, you probably won’t have much time or resources to dedicate to that unless (like me) you’re fairly privileged.

  64. Stacey C. says

    Interracial couples FTW! I’m so proud to do something that makes them have frowny faces!

  65. says

    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D.

    I do support the right of people to have their children educated wherever they like.

    Why? I personally support the right of children to receive an education, regardless of their parents’ wishes.

  66. Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority) says

    Um, Dalillama, did you actually read the bit that I wrote immediately after the part you quoted? The bit that says that the right to homeschool is subject to this schooling being held to the same quality standards as mainstream education?