Saturday, August 02, 2008

Obama's Position on Homeschooling

This week, Spunky Homeschool contributed a little hand-wringing and consternation to the discussion of how an Obama presidency would affect homeschoolers. Apparently, Obama hasn't said enough in support of homeschooling. He did say that he would honor parents' decision to do it. This has the conservative homeschoolers in a paroxysm of "Oh dear!" and "What if?"

What if what?

It's not like McCain has come out leading a homeschool parade. He said he would support it, along with private schools, public charter schools, and other choices parents might make. Sounds like he will honor my decision too. Fine.

What more can we ask of these people? It's kind of ridiculous to expect a presidential candidate to come out in strong support of homeschooling. Like it or not, the public schools are within the purview of the federal government, and a president encouraging homeschooling would be like a Ford or General Motors exectutive saying, "Yeah, you know what? You really should ride bicycles instead."

Let a president encourage people to homeschool, and you'll hear the already criticized, maligned, underpaid teachers of the country heave a collective groan of despair. The president has to exude confidence and hope for the public school system, as long as there is one. As long as the car companies tell me they're not going to get bicycle-riding made illegal, I'm not expecting them to stand there and applaud and cheer as I fail to buy a car. I expect the government to have faith in its public schools, and work to fix them. Saying, "Yeah, go ahead and homeschool -- it's the best choice!" is tantamount to giving up.

Okay! Obama hasn't proclaimed his support for homeschoolers. Well, McCain hasn't proclaimed his support for people who use cutesy Christmas dishes out of season. If I'm clutching my curriculum in a hot panic, I should also worry about my rights to eat off these stripey plates in the middle of August. Cringing and worrying over the true meaning of what it means to "honor" our choice -- what does he mean he'll honor it? Will he really honor it? What does "honor" really mean anyway??? -- just seems like an excuse to not vote for the guy. An excuse that assumes we are all judging the candidates solely on their homeschooling platform, and not on the rest of their agendas.

Even if Obama had cackled fiendishly and declared he was going to put an end to homeschooling as we know it, I would still consider voting for him. If I have to do more paperwork, fill out more forms, take more tests, endure more certification, that's a small price for me to pay against the cost of another war. What's more important to me? Fewer homeschooling hoops to jump through, or tens of thousands of people dying in Iran, tens of billions of dollars being spent on killing them? The truth is that neither president could reverse such a strong cultural trend as homeschooling by regulating it, even if they wanted to. The only way to end homeschooling (or send it back to the religious fringe) would be to make the schools so awesome that we all were clamoring to get our kids involved. If that happened, I would be the first one celebrating.

There are lots of reasons for conservatives to hate on Obama. Worrying over some imaginary position on homeschooling is a real stretch. I posit that any homeschooler voting against the guy because his support only extends to a promise to honor our choices, was already going to vote against him because of some other issue. Let's be honest. As much as it may pain us diehards to admit it, there are more important things that homeschooling. Fluffing and clucking over imagined threats distracts us from the real issues of the campaign.


  1. Thanks for the common sense words about a President endorsing Homeschooling.

  2. Wha--there are more important things than homeschooling? gasp!

    I love your refreshingly honest view! I am more concerned about the economic and environmental stance of our future leader and his position on the war. I feel homeschooling is a more localized issue.

    I will now honestly admit that we use the Christmas dishes all year long. They are solid, chip-free, and it's nice to look at a snowman when we're sweltering in the middle of summer. :o)

  3. Much of what you had to say makes good sense. Than I read this...
    "The truth is that neither president could reverse such a strong cultural trend as homeschooling by regulating it, even if they wanted to. The only way to end homeschooling (or send it back to the religious fringe) would be to make the schools so awesome that we all were clamoring to get our kids involved. If that happened, I would be the first one celebrating."

    Having been a mom that actually homeschooled underground with my curtains drawn.... I read those words and wonder if maybe a good fight to hold on to the freedoms we fought for would be good for you.

    The President may not reverse the trend, but having one in office that would veto the Congress, might be worth considering. After all, I also live in California where until May we thought Homeschooling was safe here too. Yesterday they ruled the ruling in May Unconstitutional. But doors shut faster than they open.

    You might not want to dismiss this issue so quickly.

    because of Jesus, Bobbie

  4. I agree, I also feel that without a healthy economy, many people will not be able to homeschool. I wrote about it here... of course the site I write for has a McCain ad right in the middle of the article.

  5. Anonymous6:40 PM

    I agree with bubbebobbie on not dismissing this issue to quickly. I live in a great state for homeschooling but even here they are trying to make it more restrictive. I can't imagine living in California right now. I worry about what the candidates don't say. I am planning to vote for Bob Barr this year for many reasons but one of them is because he is very clear on his thoughts about homeschooling. There are no what ifs or wondering what he really thinks.

  6. You commented on how the cost of war is more important to you than the cost of homeschooling. Good point.

    But I hope you realize that Obama has stated that no options will be off the table with Iran, including military ones, and his comments about bombing Pakistan. Now Biden has stated that there will be a contrived international crises designed to challenge Obama if he is elected.

    If you don't want more wars or911s then Obama probably isn't your best bet.

  7. Anonymous7:44 AM

    Hi, I just came across this blog while surfing. I just wanted to encourage you to be less optimistic (naive?) in comparing homeschooling to using out-of-season plates. The crucial difference is that no one cares about your plates. There are on the other hand, some powerful lobbies swimming in Obama's political waters who are opposed to homeschooling. period (the NEA, for example). (I am a former teacher and union member.)

  8. Anonymous2:47 PM

    I agree with the previous comment. Obama talks a good game. He is a lawyer and is constantly communicating like he is in the court room, elequently rebuking and disputing any form of criticism that comes his way. He wants to "spread the wealth around" and punish hard work and achievement. Can you say "Socialism?" I am a proud homeschooler who enjoys my freedom and appreciates living in a capitolist society. We should never be naive in what could happen to any country including our own. With Obama and a democratic Congress and House, there will be NO checks or balances. This could put some of our freedoms at risk.

  9. Anonymous6:26 PM

    Wow - I find it interesting that you are so concerned about teacher's salaries and really don't care very much what the leader of our country believes about homeschooling. Hard to believe you are homeschooling.

  10. Proud to be homeschooling. Proud to be voting Obama. I'm listening, I really am, but you just can't scare me on this one.

    It's a beautiful thing. :)

  11. Anonymous6:43 PM

    Now just out of curiousity since I am neither a Democrat nor Republican, why are Democrats (you sure seem to identify with that party) so emotional? I think that when we, as people, stick to facts and leave out the emotion more will be accomplished. I think that is why Republicans own talk radio. BTW - I rarely listen to their talk-shows but when I hear them I have to laugh when I hear Democrats getting emotional. It may work for now when the chips are down but if Obama doesn't fix the mess both he and the Democrats will be on the way out as the cynical American people slam the door.

  12. I'm not sure what to make of your comment, Chris. I wouldn't generalize that either Republicans or Democrats are more "emotional," nor would I agree that Republicans have mastered sticking to the facts.

    It has concerned me that our current President has professed to be motivated largely by his religious beliefs and what he feels God is leading him to do, internationally. That doesn't strike me as sticking to the facts, nor does it seem like a better plan than "getting emotional." Wasn't it Bush Sr. who invented "compassionate conservatism"? Is this fact-based compassion or is emotion okay when displayed by Republicans?

    If you're judging all Democrats based on the ones who call in or get put on the air during conservative talk shows, I think you might examine what motivation Hannity or Rush would have in screening for hysterical nonsensical Democrats. :) They aren't exactly looking for articulate and intelligent examples of the opposition. I'd guess they're looking for exactly the opposite. I've been accused of being naive in this thread, but I'd say it would be pretty naive to believe that the Democrats that Hannity chooses to show you are truly representative.

    Your last sentence confuses me. After eight years of a Republican administration, you say the chips are down and we're in a mess. You demand that Obama fix it or else? That seems strange to me. I want Obama to make intelligent, moral choices. I want him to stick to the Constitution. I want him to be responsible with money and with the lives of our troops.

    If the "cynical American people" are standing around with their thumbs in their belt loops waiting for him to fix everything, they're really not putting "country first" -- they're just hoping to be right. For years Democrats have been accused of wanting America to fail in this or that way so that they can score political points. Your comment exhibit exactly that attitude, one I expect we'll be seeing a lot of from Republicans if Obama wins.

    Derision, scorn, criticism -- all of those things that have been unpatriotic for 8 years. Imagine! :)

  13. Lostcherrios,

    I am curious as to what intrigues you about Obama? Truly trying to understand.

  14. Anonymous5:16 PM


    First, I don't watch Fox news unless I want to laugh and I cannot watch CNN unless I want to become severely depressed. Moreover, I really dont' have the time to waist so I have not had my TV connect for more than 3 years. I did this at first so I could complet an MBA without the distractions of sitting in from of the idiot box. I have not turned it back on in 3 years and I have more time to spend with my family. Secondly, I don't believe that either Barack Obama or John McCain has a "silver bullet" to rectify the economic problems that the banks have gotten the entire world into. What I am extremely concerned about is that the United States population has become politically polarized to the extreme. It all started with the Clinton administration and continued with the Republicans lashing back with Bush. This nation relies on the best that everybody together has to offer. Not Democrats alone and not Republicans alone. Neither party has it right but prior to the Clinton administration we all seemed to be able to get along a whole lot better (I am not approving of Mr. Bush). I can recall growing up in the 1970's and seeing just about every other house having a sign for a Republican and then a Democrat. Now, we live in neighborhoods where we all think the same.

    Finally, I cannot figure out what it is that Barack Obama truly stands for. I believe that he wants to be the president of our country but I think what we end up with in terms of policy will be unknown until he is finally in office. John McCain is the Devil I know and Barack Obam is the Devil I don't know. Which Devil is better????


  15. Anonymous11:21 AM


    I don't know if it's a coincidence, but your complaints about the divisiveness in this country since Clinton was in office corresponds nicely to the formation of Fox News Channel. Begun in 1996, this channel, along with perhaps only MSNBC has done more to split the US into factions of us vs. them. I've never heard another news station say liberal elite media, lies of the MSM, etc. The irony of it all is that Fox News, for all the complaining they do to discount other media outlets, continue to use the same reporting tactics they claim their opponents utilize.

    I agree that this divisive nature of the nation is not all that helpful to political discourse. However, we should evaluate facts like this to maybe look at where the problems are arising from.

    I never understand well-though Americans like yourself who claim they don't know what Barack Obama stands for. You visit blogs. Why don't you take a look at the candidate's website, or visit a news outlet you, yourself, trust. It's lazy to write a comment that you don't understand what he stands for. If you've bothered spending time typing a blog comment, why don't you spend some time finding out?

    Neither Obama or McCain are the devil. Nor is Bush. They are politicians who's job it is to lead the country while trying to appease the most people within it.

  16. Anonymous2:26 PM


    True, I am lazy, like most men, I hate writing. No, I don't visit blog web-sites or comment regularly but this caught my attention on Saturday. When I say I don't know what Barack's policie are - I don't. It appears that he changes his policy along with the changing mood of the public. That is reactionary and usually winds up taking you in the wrong place. I have followed Barack and John. Again, it is people like you who like to "stifle" people like me and you will see a third party rise up over the next few years. I am not going away just because you like to threaten or send derisive arrows my way. You should follow Lostcherrio's philosophy of listening.


  17. Anonymous9:50 AM

    It is mind-boggling how brainwashed so many members of this country can be. If I hear one more person say that Obama is a socialist, I'm going to PUKE! Open your eyes...he isn't for taking money away from hard-working achievers. He stands for stopping what the Cheney/Bush administration has allowed to take place - the largest robbery in history. Allowing these corporate giants to pad their pockets by dishonest means and avoiding being accountable with every possible loophole. They want less regulation. They award contracts to all their buddies who charge ridiculously inflated prices to the taxpayers. I don't think any of you who have posted comments even make enough money to worry about Obama distributing your wealth. If you vote for the McPain/Failin ticket, you are going to see hard economic times like you have never even read about!

  18. to "Anonymous" who is afraid of this whole pretend "socialism" thing that you *imagine* Obama will bring upon us all - Consider your VP choice of Sarah Palin - who's ENTIRE Alaskan government supports that "spread the oil wealth" policy of *sharing* the wealth of the oil income from Alaska to ALL of the residents.
    Can YOU say "Socialism"? (with a BIG "S"!!)

  19. Anonymous1:37 PM

    Can someone please let me know what this means from Obama...

    Prepare Teachers: Obama and Biden will require all schools of education to be accredited. Obama and Biden will also create a voluntary national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start teaching effectively.

    This is from Obama's website, as a homeschooling parent I'm concerned about "all schools of education be accredited" and "every new educator is trained"

    I'm sorry but that sounds like it would be very difficult to educate my children in my home.

  20. Anonymous6:12 PM

    You are very misinformed my dear~ Obama is the epitomy of Hollywood, he bought your vote & you should be ashamed ~ what has he done to deserve this vote?! Can you name anything?! He advertised the hell out of his campaign just like a Hollywood trailer!! He doesn't want to do what's right for the country or you! He's in this... for himself, he could care less about you or the United States~ Our rights are going to be ripped out from under us~ Homeschooling is a nuisance to him & his fellow actors & it is definatley on the list to be destroyed~

  21. Bella, relax. Your spelling is getting away from you. :)

    The rhetoric here sounds familiar -- aren't you the one who sent me that mass email forward about how Obama was a muslim who was going to take away my minivan and give it to a spotted owl? Forgive me if I'm not terrified by your prognosticating.

  22. Chris,

    I haven't threatened you or even been derisive. I was merely stating that you research rather than complain, since both take comparable time. I don't see you can claim that I'm not a listener. I am willing to listen to your argument, but ignorance is not an argument.

    I'm okay with third party's developing. I'm okay with you thinking that Obama changes his opinion, but that's not what you said originally. You said you don't know what he stands for, which sounded like you didn't know anything about even his general beliefs.

    Believe whatever you wish about this last election, but both candidates changed positions frequently as they saw fit. That's politics. You're fooling yourself if you think a third party will change that.