Never to let a good crisis go to waste, the state is using this as a chance to crack down on a practice it has long disapproved of: homeschooling.
By Logan Albright @ Mises
Reportedly as a response to the high profile shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a commission of experts (one of the most terrifying phrases in the English language) under the supervision of the governor is recommending greater government oversight for homeschooled children with “social, behavioral, and emotional challenges.” The first question that immediately springs to mind upon hearing this ludicrously vague phrase is, “has there ever been an adolescent, anywhere, who has not experienced social, behavioral, and emotional challenges?”
Essentially, what this commission wants to do is to give state-appointed bureaucrats veto power over parents who want to withdraw their, perhaps slightly abnormal or troubled children from the rigid, dogmatic, crowded, violent, ineffective, compulsory leftist-brainwashing asylums we euphemistically call public schools.
In the first place, the commissions findings that appear to blame Adam Lanza’s decision to murder his classmates on the fact that he was briefly homeschooled is ludicrous and offensive. It promotes the stereotype of the homeschooled child as isolated, alienated, and weird. To the extent that there are examples of homeschoolers like this, why does no one ever consider the fact that maybe homeschoolers are not weird because they are homeschooled, but that maybe they are homeschooled because they are weird, and thus have greater difficulty excelling in a setting that stresses uniformity than do other, more “normal” children? Why does no one ever consider that, if Adam Lanza had continued to be homeschooled, maybe he would have had no classmates to murder, much less a reason to murder them?
It’s far better to let people facing mental challenges learn at their own pace and in their own way, with the flexibility homeschooling provides, than to force them into a standardized box of public schools where they will face immensely more stress and aggravation. This should be obvious to anyone with half a brain, but of course the issue is not really about what is best for the student, or even what is best for “society.” Just like the gun grabbers, the educational uniformists have no real concern for public safety, but instead are cynically exploiting a tragedy for the purposes of advancing their own political agenda, which is ultimately about one thing and one thing only: control.
Educational freedom has long been a hated bugaboo of the political left, and one which they have striven to stamp out for many decades. From Hillary Clinton’s odious “It Takes a Village” to the relentless efforts to oppose charter schools, to the imposition of an unceasing parade of uniform federal regulations standards designed to wipe out any semblance of educational diversity, the left resents any form of choice or independence that may undermine their ability, aided through behemoth teachers’ unions, to “get ‘em while they’re young” and make sure that all children are imprinted with an appropriate reverence for their paternalistic government.
It is unfortunate that fear is so powerful a motivator of men. While serving the very meritorious function of warning our ancestors away from danger and playing a key role in the survival of the species, fear is now, more often than not, nothing more than an excuse to give up a little liberty. It is easy to stand on pronouncements of individual liberty and the right to control one’s own destiny when all is warm and comfortable, but the second the wolf is at the door, the vast majority of people are positively eager to surrender their freedom into the comforting hands of Big Brother.
This is why the fight for freedom is destined, always, to be an uphill one. And this is equally why it is imperative to remember that, although tragedies happen, bad people do bad things, and no one is ever completely safe, in the long run the abdication of our natural rights and responsibilities will not make life better, more joyful, or more meaningful. Parents who want the state to tighten its grip on other people’s children, out of fear for the safety of their own, may soon find that they have undermined their own cause. They may soon find they have no children left to protect.