He brilliantly positioned my latest homeschooling post into a cultural and historical perspective. You should go read the whole thing, but here is the gist:
“We have lost so many of our freedoms so gradually and so slowly, we don’t know, understand, or appreciate what the founders created. . . .
Nonetheless, occasionally a miracle still occurs, and some citizen takes it upon herself or himself to do what needs to be done without waiting for the government to do it. . . .
When Alexis De Tocqueville visited America in 1831-32, he found our people doing something so remarkable he had to study it. He found of nation of self-starters, people who took it upon themselves to fix what needed to be fixed.”
I told him what a great point that was, and then Tom answered with a comment that warrants a whole post of its own. Here’s an abridged version:
Linda, when you expressed reluctance to blog on homeschool issues, I was disappointed. I think you should write about homeschooling, and I wrote this post to help you understand why.
. . . . As a homeschooling mom, you have an unusual perspective. Please share it with others.
. . . [L]etting politicians educate our children is destroying our republic. That’s why I believe we must make school choice this generation’s civil rights issue. The public school system will never teach children how they can get things done without the soft tyranny of government.
. . . . Did Jefferson accuse King George III of not providing the American colonists with happiness? Was Jefferson campaigning for a welfare state? Of course not. . . . Ultimately, the Pursuit of Happiness is about freedom of religion, and that is the freedom power-hungry politicians most hate.
To protect our children’s God-given right to the Pursuit of Happiness, we need school choice.
You are right, Tom. I serve as a potential window for others who may be trying to decide whether to homeschool. I should pull the shades back further. It’s just hard. I worry about whether my words are actually helping matters or just putting people off with an appearance of being ‘better than thou.’
At this point I’m wondering what exactly ‘school choice’ even means. (Or, as our political opponents probably see it, what form of The Destructor do we choose?)
I used to think that education could be fixed through two complementary avenues: a) vouchers and b) parent-initiated change from within, starting at the school board level. Frequent relocation sidelined me from pursuing those avenues, though.
It was for mostly personal reasons that I ended up abandoning the whole system for the short-term. Older Son had such a tough time in 3rd grade. I’ve never posted much detail, in an effort to maintain privacy–another aspect that makes blogging difficult.
Now, we’ve been settled in Tampa for a year. As I read Tom’s wise words and ponder my old ”a and b” solution to education, I feel a little lost. I’m not so sure the public school situation can be improved, given the current state of our culture.
In the short-term, vouchers would help a ton of children who are otherwise imprisoned in failing schools. I am still pro-voucher.
But in the long run, I’m not so sure vouchers are a solution either. Couldn’t they end up providing another way for government to dictate how kids are educated? To make sure we are using that voucher money in an authorized manner, of course. Or, if folks get dependent on voucher money, will that lead to the same situation states are now in, i.e., agreeing to certain curricula in order to keep the funds flowing?
The only sure way to give taxpayers “school choice” is to not tax them for schools in the first place, or at least drastically reduce the amount of government spending on schools.
What are my chances of successfully selling that one to the public at large?
Alright everybody. Guess I’m done. Please do share your thoughts.