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Ravage of Home Education
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The Ravage of Home Education Through
Exclusion By Religion
A White Paper by Raymond
A Homeschool Founder
Farris' homeschooling alarms
in states from Coast to Coast, and federally over the last four
years, and particularly his national alarm on the HR-6 amendment,
constitute a serious tactical error if homeschooling is to be
known for its serious contribution to American education instead
of simply another passing educational fancy, and if it is to
be truly respected by legislators instead of pressuring them.
Homeschools have come of age as America's most thriving education
movement as measured by state studies
of achievement from Alaska to Florida and of sociability in both
state and national studies, and honored by leading university
scholarships. After 1972 reports in Harper's and Reader's Digest
of school-entrance-age studies which we began in 1969, a
medley of parents -- missionaries, world travelers, movie
stars, sports heroes, farmers, wilderness people -- surfaced
as home teachers.
Schoolmen were first interested more in later school ages
than homeschools. Yet with troubled
American schools and help from radio and TV like Dobson,
Maddoux, Moody, Donahue, Winfrey and wide press, the idea flowered
into a movement. Now informed church and public schools profit
from it. It isn't all perfect; one model may be better than others,
but this old idea now scores very high!
Mike Farris is an engaging, energetic, strong-willed young
lawyer with a fine family, ever on the lookout for brighter prospects.
His HSLDA, like
Rutherford, NALSAS and other defenders, has helped many families.
But his service is offset by unilateral initiatives, creating
alarm after alarm that spell catastrophe to the home education
movement (Movement) and arrogance to those who were on the Movement's
battle line helping each other get started, often at great sacrifice,
while he was still in high school. He reminds me, an ex-Army
officer, of a draft-evading president who runs wars without reference
to the Senate, maybe worried that it might disapprove and unaware
that the Golden Rule is still 24 karat.
Yet as a senior professional, key researcher and founder of
the Movement, I must write not only for thousands of hurting
families, but also for key Coalition members who helped shape
this paper. I accept personal accountability for it, fully aware
of the probable diversity of its readers and of likely repercussions.
We hope Mike, his board, staff and all Protestant exclusivists
(PE's) who split other faiths, including Roman Catholic, Jew,
LDS, Muslim, etc., even a Lutheran the other day, from state
or federal home education bodies see their Bible's point that
the greater danger isn't non-Protestants, but mixing with greedy,
"I have written you...not to associate with sexually
immoral people -- not at all meaning the people of this world...In
that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing
you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself
a brother but who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater
or slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not
even eat." Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:9-11, NIV.
In other words, I deeply wish that they could truly understand
their Christ. Their divisiveness did not come from His Bible.
If any PE's deny anything of substance
that we say here, they can tell me or take me to court. That
would be a great opportunity to get all out in the open. To write
the worst here would seem so ungodly as to be unbelievable and
make this letter appear absurd. Yet the evidence is prodigious.
PURPOSES OF THIS PAPER
Our main concerns are four: (1) To reunite
state coalitions, (2) to protect vulnerable families, (3) to
propose a representative national homeschool coalition or council,
and (4) to build a strong sense of accountability among homeschools
as family laboratories to help improve our conventional schools.
We are not so personally offended by any of the persons mentioned
here, as at the havoc they are wreaking. For the first 15 years
(about 1969-84), most of us worked without pay until we had decent
laws in most states, and still do. PE has already created havoc.
Indifference to unity is more alarming than the HR-6 vote. Friendliness
and concern for other schools, and setting sound examples, are
homeschooling's best defense.
Outline of this paper
Maybe I am senile as Mike says, but
I still hold out a hope that he will yet make a selfless contribution
to the Movement. I wish him well also on his ambitions to be
a fine governor, senator or judge if he remembers that to be
truly strong is not to be willful, and if he gets his ethics,
money and political ambitions in order and his temper, tongue,
and religious judgmentalism under control. This means that he
must stop his projection of hostility in legislatures, courts
and newsletters. This is crucial to underpin the strong moral
example he wants to project. We are pained at him and his colleagues,
one of whom brags as home education's "Four Pillars",
for trying to control the Movement at the expense of others'
religious freedoms instead of winning laurels ethically. We here
include accounts of Mike's...
1. Losing crucial homeschool friends
by pushing state and federal alarm buttons, alienating state
and federal legislators and officials by treating them as pressure-vulnerable
political hacks instead of befriending them, informing them,
and reasoning with them as statesmen, as we have done for years.
(See civil rights lawyer below.)
2. Rising addiction in recent years
to use of alarms in states and nation which, while it attracts
heroic attention to him and brings in more HSLDA money and members,
actually destroys home education by turning a positive professional
movement into a defensive one, generating fear that feeds personal
3. Cooperation with, and active participation
in a PE campaign making homeschool state leadership and membership
a test of faith, splitting state coalitions through outlawing
Roman Catholics, Jews, LDS, Muslims, etc. by demanding the signing
of Protestant vows.
4. Inadvertently or deliberately, yet
unilaterally posing as state and national homeschool voice, offensive
to selfless veterans who believe this should be the province
of a representative national body. The HR-6 alarm is only one
symptom of the PE attack, systematically destroying homeschool
unity built against great odds for 15 years before Mike jumped
5. Inclination to use influential people
to build his hero's stage until he needs them no more or until
they question his wisdom.
6. Prejudice agenda much like the Massachusetts
Bay Colony ministers' against Roger Williams.
7. Onion-thin-skin intolerance to any
questioning of his or HSLDA's wisdom, and temper of almost insane
fury, yet reserving the right to judge others without checking
8. HSLDA has become well-to-do and prominent,
yet largely rejects the generally most trying, dismal situations
the custody cases.
9. The doubtful "Four-Pillar"
ethics anger home-schoolers by religious prejudice to divide
and destroy state coalitions.
10. Negative impact on the security
of parents in general who during the Movement's first 15 years
or so were delighted to see any and all who came fully into the
In the remainder of this paper we first
elaborate on its purposes, and include reactions of professionals
and laymen to the issues. Then we flesh out the outline above
and close with vignettes of the other three "Pillars"
to provide a context - some idea of the characters and methods
of his colleagues and, to some extent, reasons for Mike's agenda.
Full text continued
on next page
© 1999 Raymond
Moore. All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with permission given
to Ann Zeise.
When Farris is not using his considerable political influence in Loudoun and Virginia GOP circles to promote his quack theories about Lyme disease,
he is working hard to further his stated goal of replacing American democracy with “Biblical government.”
As Patrick Henry notes in its statements of faith and “Biblical worldview,” Christians may even overthrow a government if it “commands disobedience to God.”
Mankins on the HSLDA
A very important issue here: why bother to subscribe to the Home
School Legal Defense Association?
Freedoms At Risk
Mark & Helen Hegener reflect on how the breaking down of
the homeschool community is heralding more restrictive laws and
regulations for all homeschoolers. [HEM]
HSLDA & the Gun Free
School Zones Act
An example of past meddling by Michael Farris' legal firm. This
case has been resolved, but did harm to the homeschooling movement
by trying to force an unneeded difference in the legal definition
between private schools and home schools.
Only Christians need apply
Religious freedom and Michael Farris. 1998 Institute for First
Amendment Studies, Inc.
Theology and Home Education
Mary McCarthy explains how the Christian Reconstructionist movement
is using and abusing the homeschool movement to further their
Well-known Christian homeschool leader, Shari Henry, pleads for
unity among homeschoolers, even when beliefs clash. [HEM]