The Terribly Biased Left
Those of us old enough to remember might recall an issue of Life magazine that appeared in the 1960s that contained a double-spread photograph of a myriad of Chinese students, all dressed alike, chanting and waving their copies of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. As a young man I recall that photograph and how, in an adolescent manner, I thought it was very sad for masses of people to be indoctrinated in such freedom-robbing dogma to such a degree that you could see the zealous fervor in their faces. Today we call what I saw then “political correctness.”
I begin with this example because on March 13, 2008, two emeritus professors, Walter P. Coombs (Social Science) and Ralph E. Shaffer (History), from California State Polytechnic Institute in Pomona, CA submitted a “blowback” article entitled “Regulating home schoolers” to the Los Angeles Times. This was not the first time these two professors submitted articles in favor of public schools, which is their prerogative since it is still a free country the last time I looked.
What I found particularly disconcerting about their blowback was their strident and unfounded bias against home schoolers. One can only hope that these two men did not manifest the same kind of bias when they taught their students, but it seems plausible that they did. They reference the CA Education Code, which contains the statute that those taught at home must be taught by a credentialed teacher. I called the CA Education Department in Sacramento and found that this is the case. When I asked why it had not been enforced until now, the answer was that it was within the purview of freedom to allow parents to choose among public school, private school, and home school. The representative also told me that Mr. Jack O’Connell, Superintendant of the CA Education Department had issued a press release on March 12, 2008 wherein he stated that in light of the case under scrutiny, CA would continue to allow uncredentialed parents to home school their children.
This is an important and essential fact because it rightly underlines a principle that our two professors want to ignore, namely that our children are our children. Unfortunately, parents have wrongly gotten the idea that their children belong to the state. Yours might, but mine do not! Moreover, you will scour the founding documents of the United States in vain to find anything requiring free men and women to send their children to public schools. There simply isn’t anything in those documents. Do we have any laws and statutes on the books now regarding public schools? Oh, yes. The CA Education Code alone contains over 100,000 sections. But if there is nothing in our Constitution or other founding documents about government funded schools—and there isn’t—then why do we continue to act like the state owns our children? As professors Coombs and Shaffer write their diatribe, they fail to mention that federal intervention in education is, in the very first place, unconstitutional. It might very well be that California’s Education Code contains different language, but they should not act and write as if it is a foregone conclusion that the secular humanists have a right to our children. They don’t.
These biased men make this assertion: “In fact, they (the parents in the case under investigation) were home schooled at home (where else would you home school? These men are geniuses) by parents not qualified to teach the kids in subjects appropriate to their age and grade level.” Really? Our two fair friends fail to point out that these same unqualified parents had already more than adequately home schooled their adult children. Why, all of a sudden, are they now disqualified, unqualified?
But there is more to the utter disdain that these two learned educators have for those who refuse to send their kids to government schools. They write, “The court’s decision means that home schoolers must be given some substantive instruction in social studies and not simply spend their time watching Fox with its strange assortment of oddballs pontificating on current events.” Take that quote and copy it and put it in a place where you can look at it often. Coombs and Shaffer make my case why Christians and thinking people should not be submitting themselves to this type of professor. Remember the Chinese students in Time magazine! What do Coombs and Shaffer think home schooling entails? Well, we all know that no one who is schooled at home ever could get “substantive instruction in social studies,” which explains why our founding fathers, all of whom were home schooled or privately tutored were such mental midgets and had such a poor grasp of social studies. It is statistically true that children schooled at home typically do better in a wide range of subjects when pitted against their public school counterparts.
But I want you to focus carefully on the bias (if a Christian said something similar they’d be excoriated) against Fox news. Get this: these two credential scholars are very, very prejudiced. They can’t stand it—in the name of freedom of speech, of course—if someone happens to watch Fox news. What they assert is in no way verified, but I contend that Coombs and Shaffer really don’t care. And it’s this type of Little Red Book that they want everyone to follow. Apparently, they’ve spent too much time listening to Air America with its assortments of oddballs, socialists, and feminists pontificating on current events.
Their prejudice rushes to the foreground again when they get their tenured shorts in a knot about the home school cottage industry. Listen to what they say: “On the other hand, there is a formidable cottage industry run by conservative evangelicals that provides ‘suitable’ materials for home schoolers.” Fox News takes a hit and now the witch hunt is unleashed against conservative evangelicals. Again, without a shred of evidence, the dynamic duo set forth their case. But what is the case? In the first place, not everyone who home schools their children are conservative evangelicals or even Christians. This sweeping is highly unscholarly.
Second, if by “formidable cottage industry” they mean that home schoolers network, then the label would be fitting of any group, even emeritus professors that network together for their cause.
Third, one is hard pressed to decipher what the quotation marks around the word “suitable” might signify. The clear implication is that they are not “suitable” at least by the professors’ standards. Therefore, Coombs and Shaffer have once again set themselves up as the pontificators, which ostensibly they reserve for themselves and disdain in others—especially those who disagree with them.
These social engineers, who are socialists, are incensed that your tax dollar is being used for “For-profit charter schools specializing in ‘home schooling,’” but have little trouble with your tax dollar funding public schools that have been broken—badly—for a long time. In Los Angeles, for example, the public high schools have a 50% failure rate for students graduating on time or graduating at all. Clearly, those students spent too much time watching Fox.
Coombs and Shaffer also bemoan the fact that the state has “limited education dollars being diverted from traditional schools.” I laughed myself silly when I read that. Sadly, they were serious, as serious as biased professors can be. Who are they trying to kid? When was the last time you didn’t hear about the educational system needing more money and smaller classes? Every year more and more money is poured into the system and every year they come back wanting more. It’s never enough. You’d think after decades of whining about insufficient funds and classroom size that we might be able to see some measurable results in terms of improvements in public education, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Core subjects are no longer taught with rigor and have been replaced by inflated grades, affirmative action, values clarification, multiculturalism, evolution, minors getting abortions with the aid of school counselors, lower and lower SAT scores, and a system founded on the atheistic pragmatism of John Dewey.
By the way, since when did public schools earn the moniker “traditional” schools. Public schools began in the 1830s. Why are they traditional and private schools and home schooling that have a longer history not traditional?
All of this does not deter Coombs and Shaffer of accusing the children of home schoolers of “getting an extremely warped lesson in civics.” In the first place, that simply is a lie; not just “not true”; it’s a lie. If you are going to make such a serious charge, it should be substantiated with facts. Throughout their diatribe, Coombs and Shaffer rant and vent, but they do not produce one shred of verifiable, actual data. It is all conjecture; it is all fabrication; and it is all politically correct claptrap.
A warped lesson in civics might very well mean that those who are home schooled might actually get to read a non-revisionist history or civics books written by someone other than Al Franken, Michael Moore, Code Pink, or any of the other “Hate America First” crowd. They might be able to tell you who the President, Vice-President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense are. They might be able to explain how our government is set up to run with its three branches. They might be able to name the Presidents of the United States and pinpoint the Civil War within one hundred years, which a number of public school graduates cannot do. I contend that children from private schools and home schools typically do better than public school students in virtually every subject.
Here’s the kicker. If you want a healthy dose of prejudice under the guise of scholarship take this in: “It’s evident that the vast majority who teach their offspring in front of the television do so because they don’t want their children to be subjected to such dangerous doctrines as evolution, abortion, global warming, equal rights and other ideas abhorrent to the evangelical mantra.” Apparently, the two scholars have done extensive research and polled numerous people to be able to aver that the “vast majority”—are we talking 75% or more?—of home schoolers teach their children in front of the television. This continues to be a most curious accusation. Where are they getting this information? How do they know that those who home school rely rather exclusively on the TV? I have known a number of parents who home school their children who don’t even have a TV! The ones who have TVs tend to limit the amount of time their children can watch it and they closely monitor what they watch. Clearly, Coombs and Shaffer are guilty of the “Television fallacy” in their article.
Further, it is an alarming contradiction to say that parents that home school their children do not want them exposed to the “infallible doctrines” that they mentioned. Why do I call evolution, abortion, global warming, equal rights, and other such ideas—these are the ones that Coombs and Shaffer mentioned—infallible doctrines? The answer is quite simple. Coombs and Shaffer accuse home schoolers of being in possession of attitudes that are precisely what is allowed and found in the public schools. For example, if you mention Intelligent Design in a public high school or on a university campus today as an alternative to the hypothesis of evolution, there is a huge outcry. Intelligent Design is not even allowed to be taught, let alone the doctrine of creation by God. So who is it that doesn’t want their children exposed to biblical creation? Does the sword only cut one way? Apparently, for Coombs and Shaffer it does—all in the name of academic freedom, of course.