Education, though it is emphatically not a proper function of government, is an area in which governments are appallingly active. State education departments mandate specific aspects of school curricula. Elected school boards negotiate with “educators’” unions and set tax rates for their school district. Taxpayers foot the bills willy-nilly. The parents of school-age children must decide where to live to get the best education for their kids.
Activists who want control over such things strive to capture these agencies and the associated bureaucracies, and generally succeed. No activist group ever proclaims itself satisfied with its piece of the pie, for satisfaction would render the group’s organizers unemployed. Thus contention over funding, curricula, optional offerings, and the rules of operation never ends. In consequence, our “public” schools are hotbeds of struggle over virtually everything about them. The recognition is rising that subjecting innocent children to this strife is a form of child abuse.
So steadily increasing numbers of parents are opting out in favor of some non-governmental alternative. The alternative that’s gained most sharply in recent years is homeschooling. As attendance figures in the “public” schools determine funding levels, the “educators” and their political allies are greatly frightened by the trend. Needless to say, they’re looking for a way to discourage it.
Some “educrats” – my blanket term for everyone who’s involved in government-run schooling in any capacity – hope to outlaw homeschooling, as Germany did some years ago. The prospect for a ban is poor, owing to adverse court decisions pertinent to the matter. (See in particular Pierce v. Society of Sisters.) So, the educrats reason, “If we can’t abolish it, let’s get control of it.”
There are several approaches to corrupting homeschooling. Various states have tried to establish curriculum requirements. Others have demanded that the homeschooled child keep the same daily and weekly hours as the local public school. Some demand competence certification from the parents or their chosen teachers. None of these have put much of a brake on the trend toward homeschooling.
According to a 2022 report from BESTNC.com, approximately 16 percent of North Carolina families homeschool or attend private school. Families already have school choice, and this freedom allows for extraordinary educational innovation and entrepreneurship at a net gain to taxpayers.
For the 280,000 students and their families who have opted out of public education, HB 420 will allow them to collect state welfare checks twice a year to pay for eligible expenses. Further, language in HB 420 will require schools that are currently independent to comply with accreditation agencies to receive those funds, which, in turn, requires unnecessary mandated government and woke accreditation agency oversight. The consequences are significant: increased costs to manage and maintain the schools, potentially forced woke ideological indoctrination, and reduced quality of education due to a client shift — the government, not the families. With shekels come shackles.
(Applause to David De Gerolamo for the link.)
Every insertion of government into any human activity always conceals a control agenda. Money, by far the most addictive substance known to man, is a particularly devilish way of insinuating the State into the privacy of the homeschool, and ultimately destroying it. Read this piece for a simple illustration of the method. A government subsidy could albatross homeschooling families with an array of requirements and regulations that would destroy their independence of the public school system. The decisions of homeschooling families – what the students are taught, when and where, how they’re tested, and much else – would gradually be arrogated by the educrats, on pain of losing the subsidy.
I estimate the probability of such a development at 99% or higher, should North Carolina enact the proposed scheme. Yes, my opinion of the character of persons in politics and government today is that low. They’re in government because they want power. Experience has shown that the form of power with the greatest reach and firmest hold is the power to shape young minds: the very thing homeschooling families reserve to themselves. Why else would politicians be so ardent to treat schooling as a “public good?”
Beware, North Carolinians.
Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man. — Aristotle