Ignoring the Log for the Speck

The Parable of the Mote and the Beam by Domenico Fetti (c. 1589 – 1623)

A reader sent me an article from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). It is about a summit being held by Harvard Law School. Scheduled to happen in June of this year, the summit is supposed to address problems that exist within the homeschooling community. As the HSLDA article indicates, the lineup of speakers is a “Who’s Who” of anti-homeschooling advocates and advocates of strict governmental regulation over home education. HSLDA is rightly worried about this conference, especially since there don’t seem to be any homeschooling advocates among the speakers.

The HSLDA article provides a link to the summit’s website, and I was struck by the title: “Homeschooling Summit: Problems, Politics, and Prospects for Reform.” When I read that title, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words, recorded in Matthew 7:1-5:

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

The organizers of this summit are behaving exactly the way Jesus describes. They are worried about the problems associated with homeschooling, when those problems are incredibly rampant in the public schooling system. What are these problems? The website says:

The focus will be on problems of educational deprivation and child maltreatment that too often occur under the guise of homeschooling, in a legal environment of minimal or no oversight.

The irony should be obvious. Educational deprivation and child maltreatment are RAMPANT in the government-regulated public schools, but the organizers of this summit think that government regulation is needed to keep it from happening in home schools!

If you don’t understand the severity of these problems in government-regulated public schools, you haven’t looked at the data. Students in our public schools routinely experience educational deprivation. It is estimated that about one-fifth of high school graduates are functionally illiterate. Testing indicates that seniors in public school perform well under the international average in mathematics. Performance on the ACT indicates that more than 25% of high school graduates who plan to go to college are not prepared for it. The list could go on and on.

What’s even more alarming is the rate of child maltreatment in the public schools. A government report estimates that 1 out of every 10 children will suffer sexual abuse in the public schools. If you weren’t aware of how rampant sexual abuse is in our public schools, I suggest you spend some time at Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation. The stories are heart-wrenching, and unfortunately, the public schools have a pattern of covering up these incidents, which leads to them becoming even more common.

Now please understand the point I am trying to make here. I am not saying that we shouldn’t try to address the issue of educational deprivation and child maltreatment in home schooling. What I am saying is that government regulation isn’t very effective at getting the job done. After all, government regulation is much, much easier in public schools, where the students are regularly in the presence of government employees. Even in such an environment, however, educational deprivation and child maltreatment are rampant.

In the end, if these speakers and the organizers of this summit are really interested in the welfare of homeschooled students, they should work with homeschooling organizations, not against them. Homeschooling organizations know the homeschooling population better than government organizations. As a result, they would be more effective at helping to correct educational deprivation and child maltreatment among homeschoolers, which I suspect is significantly less common than it is in the public schools.

Unfortunately, based on the list of invited speakers at this summit, my guess is that the participants will advocate working against homeschoolers, which will ultimately produce more educational deprivation and child maltreatment, not less.

7 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Nightingale says:

    I think you need to be there to represent both forums of education. Please. Your insight would be valuable shad I thank you for that. This infuriates me. Not that the sentiment in Ontario is any better. However, you do your part and I shall try to do mine. God bless!!

    1. Jay Wile says:

      Unfortunately, the summit is by invitation only. I will be watching the situation as best I can.

  2. red says:

    They’re on the run if they’re so frightened of real education. niio!

  3. David H says:

    As across the United States schools are shut down and everyone is homeschooling because of COVID-19 concerns, an anti-homeschooling conference seems absolutely asinine.

    1. Leah Chappell says:

      Perhaps this summit, like many other events this year, will be cancelled or rescheduled.

      I wonder a great deal how the current situation might affect the homeschooling world going forward. All of a sudden, millions of families will be getting their first experience of homeschooling. Will some decide that it’s worth making the switch permanently? Will the perception of homeschoolers become more favorable in general? I anticipate hearing more about this as time progresses.

  4. Riley Harro says:

    Thanks so much for this article!

    One interesting piece to see was the event’s list of speakers. It looks like one of the professors, Robert Kunzman, has spent 12 years studying the homeschool lifestyle. His book, Write These Laws on Your Children, has an intriguing premise: visit homeschool homes, and phrase the movement to the public. After one visit, he wrote, “Some observers will no doubt disapprove of certain aspects of their homeschooling, but it would be tough to argue that their children are receiving a demonstrably inferior education than what is provided in many public schools.”

    While it would be most representative to bring in a homeschool organization, I feel he could bring a balance of opinion. From this angle, it looks he is open to a fair, even-handed view of the homeschool movement.

    1. Jay Wile says:

      Thanks, Riley. I was not familiar with him.

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