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The Tea Partys War on Education

How the Tea Party Will Destroy School Reform - The Daily Beast:

Uwe Romeike teaches two of his children, Josua and Lydia, at their home in Morristown, Tennessee on March 13, 2009. (Wade Payne / AP Photo)

Across all these issues, “We can’t have government officials coming in and supervising the decisions that fit parents make,” said William Estrada, director of federal relations at the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

Education reform has been pushed to the background on Capitol Hill as of late what with taxes and equality taking top billing for the lame duck session, not to mention a recession going on. That being said, the Tea Party, and many of it's members who were put into office in the midterms, have not forgotten about it and are ready to wage their own private war on the public education system starting in January.

The above quote raises two questions to me. First, who decides the parents are "fit"? If Mr. Estrada doesn't want the government supervising the decisions parents make, how will anyone determine whether or not the decisions they make are in the best interest of the child? I'm not against homeschooling, not in the slightest, but you cannot say that you want the government to leave "fit parents" alone, without determining who gets to make the decision as to whether or not they are, indeed, "fit parents".

Second, where are these government officials they speak of? Is there some sort of homeschooling police that I am unaware of? Granted, I am not overly familiar with homeschooling, having never done it, but I don't see how setting specific curriculum guidelines is tantamount to direct government supervision of a homeschooler. I think we should all be able to agree that there are certain minimum requirements all students, be it public, parochial, private or homeschool, should have to meet in order to qualify for a high school diploma, and no, I don't see that as some kind of Big Brother system where the govt. is telling you what you can and can't teach.

I'm not against homeschooling, not at all, I am against the idea that a parent has the right to decide whether or not their child has achieved a level of education that is equivalent to other children. Parents, fit or not, are not objective when it comes to their children and that is what we need, objectivity. 

I for one sincerely hope that the Tea Party does not succeed in eliminated the DOE and creating a system where parents get to determine what their kids curriculum needs to be. While I don't think that NCLB should be extended (it's a ridiculous, ineffective top-down reform that does little more than create paperwork for teachers and funnels money away from schools that really need it), I certainly don't think that we as a nation should put the future of our collective society on the partisan chopping block.


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