|Summer 1991||REBOUND Volume 2|
CLAIMING OUR RIGHTS
In this pluralistic, democratic, so-called free American society, children and young adults have almost no control over their own lives. In the name of education, the state decides when children must go to school, regardless of whether the children are ready to leave their parents or not. The state tells children and young adults when to get up in the morning; what to wear and what not to wear; and what time they must be in school, ready to begin class.
In the name of education, children and young adults in this country are forced to sit in hard wooden chairs all day long without being able to stand or stretch or get relief of any kind. They are told when to sit and where to sit; when to stand and where to stand; when to talk and when not to talk; when to laugh; when to sing and what to sing; when to read and what to read; when to write and what to write; when to recite and what to recite; when to sit passively; when to ask questions and what kinds of questions to ask. Children and young adults in this so-called free society are given no choice or say in these matters. Nor do their parents have any say.
In this democratic, free society, children and young adults are told when to eat and what to eat, when to drink and what to drink, regardless of when they might actually be hungry or thirsty. They are told when they can use the bathroom and when they cannot, regardless of their physiological needs.
In the name of education, children and young adults in America are told what subjects they must take and when they must take them. It does not matter whether the child is receiving the information at the proper age, or if the child has had enough time to develop the necessary mental apparatus to engage in certain kinds of mental activities or not. Children and young adults are told what to study, when to study and how much to study (including how much homework to do each day), regardless of their natural systems or paces of learning. They are never asked whether they want to take a subject or not, or if they are interested in a subject or not, or if the subject has any relevance to them in their lives or not. Children and young adults in this so-called free society are lectured at, tested, measured and graded against their wills. They are threatened, punished (in some cases physically) and publicly humiliated on a regular basis when they cannot or will not conform.
In this democratic, free society, you as the taxpayer are required to pay for this tyranny and oppression. At least in the Soviet Union when the state is oppressing people and controlling their lives, the people do not have to pay for the tyranny and oppression. In America, you and your children are not only going to be oppressed and controlled by the state, but you are also going to have to pay for it.
It makes you wonder what ever happened to freedom and democracy. What ever happened to government of the people, by the people and for the people? What ever happened to individual human rights? The thirteenth amendment states that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." While the children and young adults of this country have committed no crimes, in the name of education the state has assumed almost complete control over their lives. No where does this amendment say that the state has the right to force children into involuntary servitude just because the children and young adults are under 18 or 19 years of age.
What ever happened to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? The fourteenth amendment states that "no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person life, liberty or property, without the due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction equal protection under the law." Now surely no rational person believes that children, young adults and their parents are allowed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness within our state-run schools. No where in the Constitution does it say that the State has the right to deny citizens these basic rights if they are under 18 or 19 years of age.
One might argue that while the State, in the name of education, has taken almost complete control over the lives of children, young adults and their parents, it is providing young citizens with a good education, and therefore, the end justifies the means. But, in fact, this is not the case. The State is not providing young citizens with a good education. All of the existing research on the subject of education indicates that the current educational system is a complete failure. America spends well over 240 billion dollars annually on the education of its youth. Yet statistics show that the United States ranks at the bottom of 19 industrialized nations in reading, writing and mathematics, and 49th in Literacy of 158 U.N. member nations. The literacy rate was higher in this country before the introduction of compulsory education than it is today. The research indicates that there are somewhere between 25 and 43 million functionally illiterate Americans in this country today, many of whom are graduates of the existing system, One out of five Americans cannot read the directions on a medicine bottle; determine if his or her paycheck is correct; write a check that can be processed by a bank; or address a letter correctly. Studies show that 40 percent of Americans cannot match their qualifications to a list of jobs in the help wanted ads, nor determine whether or not they have received the correct change when they make a purchase. After 12,000 hours or more of state-run education, the average high school graduate has no skills with which to enter the market place or to properly deal with the physical world in which he or she must live. Most high school graduates cannot change a tire, repair a leaky faucet or follow the directions for the proper use of a vacuum cleaner.
What is even more alarming is that the research shows that current educational practices are harmful to children. The research indicates that children should not be separated from their parents before they are at least 9 years of age and that taking children from their parents any earlier causes permanent psychological harm to both parents and children, and permanently destroys the nuclear family structure. Research shows that children should not engage in the types of mental activity required of them in school until they are at least 9 years old. Children's brain cells, eye sight and hearing apparatus do not develop sufficiently to safely engage in these types of mental activities until children are at least 9 years of age, and forcing children into mental activities prematurely permanently damages all children's mental apparatus, as well as causing sight and hearing problems in some children.
'The research shows that forcing children to sit in hard wooden chairs all day long can and does cause children physical harm. The research shows that memorizing disconnected data bits in the way that it is done in this nation's schools is one of the least effective ways to communicate knowledge, and that all human beings learn best through direct, practical, hands-on experiences. The research shows that children learn best in small groups with ratios of no more than five children to one adult. The research shows that public humiliation (including grading) is a very powerful psychological weapon that cannot be used against children in the way it is used in this nation's schools without causing them to be permanently harmed. Much of this information has been known by educators and public officials for over a hundred years. Yet, educators and public officials today still insist on doing these same harmful and destructive things to children earlier in their lives, more often and with greater intensity.
Now, if the State, in the name of education, can claim the right to force children and young adults into involuntary servitude and to deny children, young adults and their parents their Constitutional rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then surely homeschooling parents can claim the right not to forego the Constitutional rights granted to them and to their children by the United States Constitution. If the State, in the name of educating children, can claim the right to provide children with a dysfunctional, ineffective form of education then surely homeschooling parents can claim the right to provide their children with an education that has been proven to be superior by every research standard. If the State, in the name of educating children, can claim the right to permanently destroy children's mental systems, then surely homeschooling parents can claim the right to educate their children in a way that will prevent their delicate mental systems from being harmed. If the State, in the name of educating children, can claim the right to inflict permanent psychological harm on children through grading, threatening, punishing and most of all publicly humiliating them, then surely homeschooling parents can claim the right to educate their children without engaging in these dangerous forms of child abuse.
Most people in this country, including most homeschooling families, are not trying to stop the State from claiming its "right" to permanently harm children and their families in the name of education. Most of us realize that this nation's educational system, while engaging in obviously abusive practices, is just too big and too powerful an institution to be stopped by a few people who think that there is a better way to educate our youth. However, we also believe that if the State, in the name of education, can claim all of these rights to control and destroy children's lives, then surely the homeschooling parents must be granted the right not to destroy their children and to provide their children with a form of education that has been proven superior by every research standard. We also believe that homeschooling parents (who wish to preserve the well-being of their children) should be able to claim these rights without any form of interference or meddling on the part of the State, which after all is not in any way interested in the well-being of this nation's youth.