Every once in a while someone will say something that I realize I had been thinking for a while. I will think to myself, “yes, that’s exactly what I was feeling, I just didn’t know how to say it.”
I had such an experience when I read an article about homeschooling on Breitbart. Dr. Ron Paul said some things during his farewell address to Congress that I think every American should consider. The article is called How the Homeschooling Movement Can Be the Catalyst for Freedom In America. It is worth a read.
The Original Goal of American Education: Responsible Citizenship & Preservation of Liberty
Bias alert: I was homeschooled. Therefore, you have my permission to discount everything in this post. If you’re still reading, let me say a few things about the goal of our education system. Education has long been an important issue in our country. The Founding Fathers believed that education was an essential component of liberty.
Thomas Jefferson said:
“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
George Washington put it this way:
“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”
To put it simply, if people are not educated, they can’t be free. Education, however, goes beyond the rudimentary studies. Of course, it is important to know how to spell and add. However, the rudimentary skills served a larger purpose of preparing a young man and woman to be able to comprehend the science of government and the principals of the Constitution in order that they might be able to properly govern themselves.
The risk of establishing a nation of self-governing people necessitated a population sufficiently education to govern themselves. Teaching the principals of government and preparing youth for civic involvement was not always the narrow study path it has become today. It was originally part and parcel to the entire education system, or at least the rationale behind it.
Homeschooling and Civic Involvement
A lot has been made about studies showing home schoolers scoring 34-39 points higher than other students on standardized tests. Perhaps there are other, natural explanations for this. I’m sure that any student that received the regular, undivided attention of a teacher, whether at home or in public school, would progress faster than a student that merely attended class every day. In a class of one or two, a teacher is not slowed by the stragglers but can push each student to their limit.
But there’s another measure by which home schooling out performs: civic involvement. If the goal of education is to equip youth as citizens and engage them in the defense of liberty through civic involvement, then home schooling is the statistically superior method of education–and it’s not even close.
Consider this report:
“Only 4.2% of the homeschool graduates surveyed consider politics and government too complicated to understand, compared to 35% of U.S. adults. This may account for why homeschool graduates work for candidates, contribute to campaigns, and vote in much higher percentages than the general population of the United States. For example, 76% of homeschool graduates surveyed between the agesof 18–24 voted within the last five years, compared to only 29% of the relevant U.S. population. The numbers of homeschool graduates who vote are even greater in the older age brackets, with voting levels not falling below 95%, compared to a high of 53% for the corresponding U.S. populace. Interestingly, the three participants in the age-55–69 category were also more civically active than their peers nationwide.”
Homeschoolers are much more engaged as citizens. Even if you take math, language art and science out of the equation, the education gap on issues of civics, government and the comprehension of politics is staggering.
If the goal of education is to prepare students to be knowledgeable and engaged citizens, then the home schooling movement has a clear statistical advantage. In this sense, I think Dr. Paul is right. By educating youth in the science of government, home schooling moms and dads are serving as a catalyst for freedom.