I was under the weather and out of action yesterday but perhaps might have rallied to respond to this article at the News and Record had I seen it: Home school inspections would intrude on privacy?
A day ago, the Lt. Governor’s office sent out press releases alerting the public that NDPE (Division of Non-Public Education) might be thinking about bringing back random spot inspections and searches of home schools. NDPE and the Lt. Governor’s office then issued a joint statement saying such inspections would not happen.
The article, written by Doug Clark, seems to take aim at the Lt. Governor for advocating the privacy rights of home schoolers. The article reports the facts of the case in the first couple of paragraphs, then it turns a bit statist sounding. From the article with emphasis added:
Such a token inspection program, if that’s what it was, would be virtually meaningless. Five visits out of tens of thousands of home schools?
But Forest’s hostile reaction strikes me as odd. Because education is compulsory for children ages 6 through 16, home schools must register with the state and document an education plan.
So, is it really nobody’s business whether the kids are being educated or not? What if the home school exists only on paper?
Token inspection. Hostile reaction. Anyone’s business? Seems to me the hostile reaction is all Mr. Clark’s. He seems to suggest that the state should be able to walk into a home simply because of a ‘what if’ scenario? Dear Mr. Clark, home schools have rigorous requirements – almost more so than public schools. Do your homework, then get back to us. You won’t mind if we come into your home and check if you’re doing that, right?
If it takes “probable cause” and a warrant for a state education official to visit a registered home school, should the same apply to private schools?
Why wouldn’t home school parents agree to a visit, anyway? What’s to hide?
I did a double-take on these two sentences written back to back like that.
Let’s examine sentence one:
Holy logical fallacy, Batman. Newsflash: A Public School is PUBLIC. It is paid for by the taxpayers and therefore open to all who wish to examine it. A Home is PRIVATE and falls under Constitutional protections. Is Mr. Clark insinuating that choosing to home school your child somehow waives your rights to privacy? (UPDATE: Yes, he is comparing home schools to private schools in the article in order to make it seem like a fair comparison to the home, which it still is not. I opted to play the same game and plugged in public schools.)
Now the second sentence:
Why should they agree? If paperwork and testing are done, if the family is compliant in their paperwork, then why is there a need ‘randomly’ to check on them? The whole point of home schooling for some people is to be able to educate one’s own child the way that parent sees fit – in the privacy of their home. There are few more fundamental liberties out there than a parent’s right to teach one’s own child.
What’s to hide? What a disgusting strawman argument, not to mention a rather obvious shaming tactic, which is followed by a paragraph insinuating home schooled children are at “risk”. The soft linking of child abuse possibilities to home schooling is rather irresponsible. This kind of reasoning reminds me of the DHS ‘if you see something, say something‘ campaign or even the whole Obama campaign “Attack Watch” debacle which has been pilloried with ridicule and parody as it should be. Spy on your neighbor, citizen because.. WHAT IF!
Let’s flip that coin, shall we? Should I list the terrors our kids are being subjected to on public school grounds? The general bullying being done by administrators like suspending a seven year-old for eating a pastry into the shape of a gun? The growing number of teachers sexually involved with students? That doesn’t include the extensive data mining of our students and the empty, corrupt one-size fits all of Common Core yet. We have to shut up about Common Core though; we might be creating ‘unrest‘. One could argue sending your child to public school has become a form of child abuse. Perhaps we should send the state in to do random checks… on itself. By appointment, of course — because that makes it o.k.?
There doesn’t have to be anything to hide, Mr. Clark. A person can simply wish to keep their privacy and not have their home subjected to random searches by the state. It’s their 4th Amendment right. These families don’t have to justify their refusal or their opposition to such an inspection to anyone.
Julie Borowski made a relevant argument when it came to NSA surveillance:
UPDATE: Thank you to Carolina Plott Hound for linking!