Homeschooling parents, however, are apparently up in arms. SNL's Weekend Update included a little blurb lampooning the protests (hat tip Crooks & Liars):
Many California parents who homeschool their children are upset by a California court ruling that may force their children to be taught by a credentialed teacher. Said one angry parent, "This is just like what the Nazis did to the Eskimos in the 1850s."Ha ha! Oh, the hyperbole! So amusing!
But wait. Since homeschooling is so often used by evangelicals to protect their children from reality, it's only natural that a Christian "news" site like One News Now would pick up the story:
"We will not give up home schooling our child," she states. "If it means moving from out of state, however we have to do that, we will do it because that is what we feel that God has called us to do." Kathleen says she and her husband have not had much chance to discuss the issue beyond that basic decision.Many of the commenters on that article applaud Kathleen's son for having such insight on world history, and hail this as a victory for homeschooling. But I'm guessing he didn't come up with the Hitler comparison on his own; either he was taught it directly, or he overheard his parents talk about it in that context, or he had already been primed to invoke der Führer to smear his opponents in a different context (maybe against us evil-utionists! just one month 'til "Expelled" is released!). In any case, his mother/educator clearly approves of the comparison, which bespeaks ill of the education he's receiving.
Even Kathleen's nine-year-old son understands what is happening to parental rights in his home state. "He said to me, 'This is like that bad man,' which he couldn't think of his name, 'in Germany. That's what it reminds me of,'" she continues. "And I was surprised at his perception, that he actually considered that a comparison.
Adolf Hitler outlawed home schooling in Germany in 1938. The practice is still illegal in re-unified Germany to this day.
Greg Laden links to some less Godwin-y articles on the homeschooling controversy here.
In other news...
A CDC study indicates that one in four teenage girls has an STD, with HPV being the most prevalent. Naturally, fundies see this as indication that we need more abstinence-based sex education. Never mind the fact that ignorance-only sex ed DOES NOT WORK, and more than likely is partly to blame for the current teen infection rate. I especially liked this quote in the article from National Abstinence Education Association official Valerie Huber:
"When we learn that one in four teen girls is infected with [an STD],Gee, one in four teen girls has an STD, and one in four teen girls isn't getting education about contraceptives? Hmmmm.... ;-)
it becomes clear that the contraception-based approach taught in 75
percent of U.S. schools is failing young people."
Meanwhile, via Americans United, a recent study has revealed that students at Catholic schools perform no better than public school students in reading, and actually do worse in math. Just one more piece of evidence that government vouchers for private schools are NOT the way to improve education in America. Instead, we need to reform and reinforce public education.
And boy, could public education use some reinforcements. For instance, the Disco 'Tute is trying to push an "academic freedom" bill through the Florida legislature as a countermeasure to the recent inclusion of evolution (and exclusion of intelligent design) in the state science standards. All is not lost, though. Ben Stein tried to peddle his propaganda to Florida lawmakers, but the event tanked. And Casey Luskin has let slip that the academic freedom bill is about intelligent design after all, and the press noticed... oops! (As a side note, Luskin appears to be trying to make amends for his indiscretion by churning out
another article on how ID isn't creationism, this time with the help of
Mike LaSalle of right-wing site Men's News Daily. I'm not about to give MND a close read, but somehow I'm not
inclined to trust it as a source of commentary.) Here's hoping that the Academic Freedom Act withers and dies. This isn't about academic freedom, this is about academic integrity and responsibility.
But the real humdinger is going on in Oklahoma, where House Bill 2211, the "Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act," threatens to undermine all that is education. In short, the bill is intended to make it so a student can get credit for a wrong answer, so long as that wrong answer is based on the student's religious beliefs. Teachers who ask the age of the Earth on a test would be required by law to mark answers of "6,000 years" as correct. Maybe it would work that way, maybe it wouldn't... there's a law like this already on the books in Texas, and it's just begging for a federal case. Bullshit like this makes me want to fly down to Oklahoma and apply as a science teacher; I'm mad as hell, and an angry letter to the Oklahoma legislature isn't cathartic enough. Sometimes you feel the need to inject a little reality right at the source.
This bill and others are being promoted by state Representative Sally Kern, a "hate filled, backwards bitch" (I really can't put it better than that) who (surprise, surprise) has been hiding a gay son.
This bill seems to be getting a fair share of attention, which is probably the best way to snuff it out. And snuffed out it must be.
Is our children learning? Not if some people can help it...