(An Address Delivered to the 2000 Christian Educators Association of California)
It's a delight to be able to discuss the importance of home schooling to our nation. We are just beginning to understand how profoundly significant the home school movement has become, particularly at this time in our history when we are engaged in a full-fledged cultural war between humanism and Christianity, when government officials can behave in ways totally contrary to what our Constitution tells us is permissible.
For example, when federal agents are used to invade a home and seize a child at gunpoint and take him to his communist father who wants to take him back to communist Cuba, we must ask ourselves, is that the proper way to solve a custody case? Custody battles are supposed to be settled by courts, not by SWAT teams. But poor, misguided Janet Reno, who was responsible for the attack at Waco that ended with the incineration of 80 or so men, women, and children, doesn't seem to have learned much from her earlier blunder.
The excuse used in both the Waco and Elian cases was that it was necessary to save the children from abuse. They used charlatan psychologists to bolster the case for child abuse without even having interviewed the children. Do you have any doubt that there are psychiatrists in America who would be more than willing to testify that a home schooled child is being abused by his parents because he is being denied socialization in a public school?
Many educators consider home schoolers to be fanatics. For example, one such educator, a professor by the name of David Blacker, wrote in the February 1998 issue of the American Journal of Education an article entitled Fanaticism and Schooling in the Democratic State, in which he said:
In both its spectacular terroristic forms and, perhaps even more so, in its quieter and currently expanding institutional agendas, what I shall call fanaticism challenges the democratic constituted state to its core. Nowhere is this challenge more acute than in the educational arena in which tectonic shiftings in the century-old United States public school movement have given rise to a range of particularist initiatives charter schools, vouchers, parents rights, a variety of ethnocentrism, home schooling as a national movement which provide cover and legitimization for an array of emboldened fanatical groups. . . . Schools run by fanatics, as I shall argue, act so severely against these democratic premises that, whatever else we decide we want to do or want to try, we must not permit them in any form...
Obviously, professor Blacker is hardly a friend of educational freedom. Do you want to know how he defines a fanatic? He writes: A fanatic . . . must possess beliefs that are characterized by both their single-mindedness and comprehensiveness.
Christians, of course, are known for their single-minded belief in God, their single-minded adherence to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and their comprehensive Biblical worldview which radically differs from the worldviews of secular humanists, atheists, communists, and socialists.
I don't think I exaggerate when I state that we are indeed involved in a cultural civil war the outcome of which will determine whether or not America remains the land of individual and religious freedom which we inherited from our forefathers, and whether or not we shall be able to pass on to future generations this precious legacy of freedom.
You see, the totalitarians in America don't like what you're doing because you have freed yourselves from state education, you have liberated yourselves from the governmental institutions that want to brainwash your children so that they will become willing servants of the state.
So whether you like it or not, you have become a bulwark against government tyranny. That's the political reality which all home schoolers must face. And we must face it cheerfully, believing that most Americans truly want what we want: well-educated, well-behaved children, created in the image of God, with a love of God and country. Achieving educational freedom has not been easy, but with the help of the Home School Legal Defense Association, home schoolers have been able to assert their parental rights to educate their children in accordance with their own beliefs and values.
As for academics, you have proven through your experiences that you are better educators than the professionals in the government system. What an affront to those certified professionals! How can you, mere parents, possibly be better educators than they are? But you are, for one simple reason: you truly believe in education, while the professionals no longer do. They don't even know how to teach children to read, or write, or do arithmetic. In fact, their stated aim is to dumb down the nation so that they can impose their rule over us with little or no resistance.
Unbelievable? Let me quote one high-ranking Harvard professor, Anthony D. Oettinger, chairman of the Harvard Program on Information Resources Policy and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He said in 1982:
Our idea of literacy, I am afraid, is obsolete because it rests on a frozen and classical definitionThe present traditional concept of literacy has to do with the ability to read and write. But the real question that confronts us today is: How do we help citizens function well in their society? How can they acquire the skills necessary to solve their problems. Do we, for example, really want to teach people to do a lot of sums or write in a fine round hand when they have a five-dollar hand-held calculator or a word processor to work with? Or, do we really have to have everybody literate writing and reading in the traditional sense when we have the means in our technology to achieve a new flowering of oral communication? What is speech recognition and speech synthesis all about it if does not lead to ways of reducing the burden on the individual of the imposed notions of literacy that were a product of nineteenth century economics and technology?
I could write a book critiquing that Harvard professor's views on literacy. He doesn't like the traditional concept of literacy which is really the one that home schoolers adhere to. You want your children to become fluent readers. That's why you use phonics. He says we don't have to teach arithmetic or writing because we've got little calculators and word processors. But how can you use a word processor unless you are literate? Then he says: Do we really have to have everybody literate? What he means is that some people, an elite, have to be literate, but the rest of the population can be semi-literate and use oral communication, like music. In this new social order, who decides who is to become literate and who is not?
Professor Oettinger doesn't want to impose on American children notions of literacy that were a product of nineteenth-century economics and technology. What he chooses to forget is that literacy was high in early America because of the need to be able to read the Bible and know the Word of God. To our forefathers the purpose of education was to pass on to the next generation the knowledge, wisdom, and values of the previous generation. To our forefathers, man was made in God's image and therefore children had to be educated with that concept in mind. And for Christian home schoolers that is also the purpose of education.
I don't know of any parent who sends a child to school not to learn to read, write, and do arithmetic. Yet, the top professionals are telling us that these are things not all children have to learn. So why do we have compulsory school attendance? So that they can keep asking for billions of more dollars for education. What kind of education are they talking about? They're talking about values clarification, multiculturalism, sex education, death education, drug education, sensitivity training, evolution, and a whole lot of other programs that have nothing to do with learning basic academic skills. That's what all of that money is being used for.
And that's why home schoolers have left the government system. The government schools no longer educate. Their main activity is behavior modification through emotional manipulation, and they use psychotherapy to change a child's values and beliefs. It was Professor Benjamin Bloom, a behavioral scientist at the University of Chicago, who set the standards and guidelines for Outcome Based Education in a book entitled Taxonomy for Educational Objectives, published in 1956 and 1964. He wrote:
This taxonomy is designed to be a classification of the student behaviors which represent the intended outcomes of the educational processWhat we are classifying is the intended behavior of students the ways in which individuals are to act, think, or feel as the result of participating in some unit of instruction.
You know, when I was going to public school in the 1930s, the last thing my teachers were interested in were my feelings. They didn't want to know how I felt about reading, writing, or arithmetic. They wanted to know if I was learning what they were teaching, and that was easily done by periodic tests. There were no complex national tests in those days to see if you could read or write. Your classroom teacher knew whether or not you could read or write, and she made sure that you could read and write because she knew how to teach reading and writing, which is not true of today's teachers, many of whom are themselves semi-literate. Professor Bloom, commenting on the difficulties involved in changing values, made this significant statement:
The evidence points out convincingly to the fact that age is a factor operating against attempts to effect a complete or thorough-going reorganization of attitudes and values.... The evidence collected thus far suggests that a single hour of classroom activity under certain conditions may bring about a major reorganization in cognitive as well as affective behaviors.
So you can see what the educators now consider their primary task to be: effect a complete or thoroughgoing reorganization of attitudes and values. They're out to take your children and rid them of the values and morals in which you've inculcated them. They're out to destroy family harmony and replace it with family conflict. This is not what the education system of a free people should be doing. But we can't stop them from doing it because they have the support of state and national legislators. They have access to billions of taxpayer dollars.
What he chooses to forget is that literacy was high in early America because of the need to be able to read the Bible and know the Word of God.
Put simply but accurately, American public education has become a human-animal management system. Its purpose is to control the minds and movements of 40 million young Americans, using compulsory school attendance laws to force these millions of children into government buildings where their time can be managed and their access to real education restricted. Mind and behavioral control is the true purpose of the system, which is now called the Human Resources Development System. And all of this is being willingly paid for by the taxpayer who has been deluded into thinking that something of true value goes on in those public schools. The public school has become more like a concentration camp than an institution for learning. Psychotherapy is the method used to deprogram the children from their family's values and reprogram them into compliant animals. They are trained to become mere processors of information, with empty heads and empty souls.
And that is why the home schooling movement has assumed an importance that cannot be overestimated. You are pretty good at teaching American history, which is essential if we are to defend our heritage. The Declaration of Independence, our founding document, was written by and for men created in the image of God. It is so vitally important because it defines what government is all about. Let me read to you what it says:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Very simple, direct language, easy to understand. The purpose of government is to secure the unalienable rights of the people, rights endowed by God, not handed down by government. By your actions as home schoolers, you are exercising your God-given, unalienable right to educate your children in accordance with your own values and religious beliefs.
The United States Constitution is based on the principles outlined in the Declaration. And that's why it remains our ultimate protection against political tyranny. We have a Second Amendment, the right of citizens to own and bear arms, that gives teeth to the Constitution. Without that Second Amendment, the Constitution would just be a piece of paper that politicians could rip up at will.
To my mind, it is the home school movement that permits me to be optimistic about the American future. More and more parents are discovering the value of educational freedom, and more and more Americans are becoming aware of the true nature of what public education has become. It takes a Columbine to wake some of them up. But even with a Columbine, most of the parents will still put their children in a school that reeks of Satanic influences.
The home school movement has grown mightily in the last decade. In my state of Massachusetts, we have a state organization that began having conventions ten years ago. There were about 300 people at that first convention held in a church basement. Ten years later, there wasn't a hotel large enough to accommodate the convention that attracted over 3,000. They had to rent the convention center in Worcester, the state's second largest city.
This is the kind of growth we see all over the country. We are slowly, quietly, and steadily taking back our country. Home schoolers are now getting into politics and running for office. Michael Farris, President of the Home School Legal Defense Association, has founded Patrick Henry College to educate home schoolers to work in Congress. Home schooled graduates are entering every profession and pursuing all sorts of careers. Because they are literate and know more than the average public schooler, they will have advantages in the working world. You are very important to America. You are the purveyors of God's curriculum to your children who will, thus, be well prepared to enter the battle to preserve our Constitutional republic. It has required tremendous effort and dedication to have created a movement so vibrant, so strong in its convictions, so devoted to the moral and intellectual development of the future generation. There is no doubt in my mind that the great founding fathers of this country would be enormously pleased to see that you are upholding what they fought and died for. The price of our freedom has been the blood of our forefathers. American soldiers have fought and died for the very ideals that you are upholding on the home front.
The enemy in this war is within our gates. And that's where the battles will be fought: in courts, state legislatures, the Congress, in the universities, in the arts, in the media. But education will decide where the future generation takes us. I won't be around to see it. But I know that the spirit of liberty, which is so strong among home schoolers, will prevail in the end.
May God bless you in all that you do to raise a new generation of patriots well grounded in the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States.
They're out to take your children and rid them of the values and morals in which you've inculcated them. They're out to destroy family harmony and replace it with family conflict.
- Samuel L. Blumenfeld
Samuel L. Blumenfeld (1927–2015), a former Chalcedon staffer, authored a number of books on education, including NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education, How to Tutor, Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers, and Homeschooling: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Children.
He spent much of his career investigating the decline in American literacy, the reasons for the high rate of learning disabilities in American children, the reasons behind the American educational establishment’s support for sex and drug education, and the school system's refusal to use either intensive phonics in reading instruction and memorization in mathematics instruction. He lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad and was internationally recognized as an expert in intensive, systematic phonics. His writings appeared in such diverse publications as Home School Digest, Reason, Education Digest, Boston Magazine, Vital Speeches of the Day, Practical Homeschooling, Esquire, and many others.