January 03, 2008

Define "recently", please

From a post today on The New York Times politics blog, The Caucus (emphasis mine):
Will Iowa’s conservative Christians turn out in force for Mike Huckabee? ...

Despite a negligible organization here last summer, Mr. Huckabee pulled off his second place finish in the Ames straw poll in August with help from the strong support of Iowa’s home-school families. It is unclear how many evangelical Christians in Iowa teach their children at home — some estimates are over 10,000 — but the network of families is tightly connected and highly motivated. They come together in groups and online to share curriculum information, form sports teams, and stage other activities. And many, aware that homeschooling was illegal in almost every state until recently, fear that if they relax their vigilance politically[,] teachers’ unions will push to take away their rights.
While you could hold The Times's feet to the fire for such an inane comment and wish for a little more old-time New Yorker-style fact checking, I'm fairly certain that the little gem above resulted not only from the fact that Times reporters are so darned busy sorting out just how Stewart and Colbert are going to tap dance around the writers' strike, but also from an organization that happens to be mentioned in the post's very next paragraph, an organization you would think (are meant to think) has home schoolers' best interests at heart. Heck, the organization even has the words "home school" right there up front in its name -- Home School Legal Defense Association. So you might, just might, be forgiven for thinking that they want what's best for homeschoolers.

But you'd be wrong. I'll admit that when we first started home schooling, very abruptly partway through Laura's first grade year, I had no idea of the lay of the land and which way was up, so in addition to a few particularly lousy curricula choices, I also signed up for a year with HSLDA. It took me about a year, until the subscription renewal arrived, to get my bearings and figure out that the organization has a vested interest in keeping homeschoolers fearful. Because the more afraid we are, and the more we're made aware of just how far on the edge our educational choices are, the more willing we're going to be, supposed to be, to cough up $100 each year. Do the math when HSLDA says it "is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed." That strong voice is supposed to help all of the little people, those home education families with quavering voices quaking in their shoes.

And for shame trotting out that ancient NEA bugbear. The determined but ineffectual old dears have been trotting out the same anti-home education resolution annually at the big convention since 1988, and HSLDA knows it. By the way, does anyone else find it amusing, even without considering HSLDA reaction, that Mike Huckabee and the NEA get along so well?

Once I'm again, I'm reminded that Raymond Moore, the pioneering home schooler who with his wife established The Moore Foundation and who died last year, was right when he wrote his White Paper on "The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion" 10 years ago, all about HSLDA. The last two links include a lot to read, but are most worthwhile. Mr. Moore, who was 80 or so when he wrote his White Paper, refused to quake and quaver or put up with HSLDA nonsense.

New Hampshire, here they come. You can have 'em.

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