Sunday, December 30, 2007

Huckabee, IBO and Global Citizenship

In previous articles I have focused on homechooling, state reform, and the role of the federal government in education. In this post, I will examine international involvment in US education.

Prior to the HSLDA-PAC endorsement, Michael Farris interviewed Mike Huckabee. Here's an excerpt on international law,

Mike Farris: International law is becoming a pervasive influence in the United States and a major concern, for our constituency, is the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Governor Huckabee, how would you guard Americans’ rights in the face of this international legal threat?

Governor Huckabee:It really is of great concern that there are people who believe that the United States should subject itself to treaties in which some international government or international government organization would dictate how a parent raises his or her child, including the disciplining of a child. If we were to adopt the policies of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, we essentially have done something that I personally think is not only unconstitutional but I think is unconscionable. That is, we have sacrificed the rights of mothers and fathers in this country to some international entity that is simply unacceptable and it is of utmost concern to me.

Huckabee's "utmost concern" sounds impressive and obviously persuaded Farris, but can we trust him to keep the UN and international law from influencing our lives? I have my doubts given that Huckabee already submitted students in the Akransas schools to an international entity associated with the UN.

With the approval of SB 1024 now Public Act 2152 (PDF), Mike Huckabee officially brought the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to Arkansas high schools and gave control of the education of many Arkansas school children to an international entity based in Geneva, Switzerland. The IBO is part of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). This organization teaches the very principles, beliefs, and values of the United Nations that Farris is rightly worried about; values which conflict with the very founding of our country, our parental rights, and our faith.

IBO undermines the beliefs of our nation's founding fathers and endorses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to Alan Quist of EdWatch,
This means that IB promotes the view that the United Nations has higher standing than the United States Supreme Court on issues of human rights involving U.S.
The IBO also undermines Christianity by calling upon students to engage in a more spiritual education using the principles of the Earth Charter, international law, and the Theory of Knowledge to create a global citizen where a common morality supersedes any specific culture's view of right and wrong. The goal of the IBO is to get the children into its schools early, preferably before age seven, because soon after that age they become much too questioning to accept a common view of morality and ethics.

International law could include teaching such things as the UN Rights of the Child. The very principles Farris has worked hard to prevent from being ratified in the US are taught to Arkansas children so that they can become global citizens who will participate in the global economy. It's not hard to figure out where parent-led directed home education and training fits into this philosphy. it doesn't.

In 2005, then IBO President George Walker described a global citizen,

So, I have learned that to be on the first rung of the ladder of international education is not enough. The best educated workforce is no longer just internationally aware. It has an understanding of the major influences that have consigned the concepts of the independent nation state, national company and national economy to the history books. I have learned that students need to be globally aware...

At the heart of global citizenship is a lively mind but a mind that will be operating within boundaries defined by truth and falsehood. The sky is not the limit when it comes to exercising the intellect: our concept of truth will define the limits and that will need refocusing depending on the particular area of knowledge – scientific, mathematical, artistic, literary, ethical, religious and so on. That is why I have learned to appreciate the value of the Theory of Knowledge course in the education of the global citizens." (emphasis added)

A global citizen is one who understands the influences that have consigned the concepts of indpendent nation state, national company, and national economy to the history books? Last I checked the United States was still an independent nation state not a by-gone concept to read about in a history book! But that's the guiding philosophy of IBO.

World Magazine culture editor, Gene Edward Veith, wrote about IBO in an article titled, One World Education. Veith does not share Walkers appreciation for the IBO or the Theory of Knowledge,

The IBO goal is the formation of students "who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” Not just that other people can be right, but that people with differences can “also” be right. At the heart of the IB approach is a view that no actual culture holds truth. The keystone course for the International Baccalaureate diploma is “Theory of Knowledge.”

Not “theories,” but “theory.” While it is fine for high-school students to study epistemology, this is a course in postmodernist epistemology. This theory employs a “hermeneutic of suspicion” that undermines the very possibility of accepting any kind of objective truth.

It does take a certain kind of braininess to convince oneself that it is true that there is no truth, and it is no wonder that major universities—the patrons of postmodernist theory—are impressed with all of the young relativists clutching their IB diplomas. But this philosophy does not produce a good education; rather, it produces a mindset in which good education is impossible.

The international diploma is well known and given Huckabee's leadership in education organizations it is hard to believe that he didn’t know the goals and agenda of the IBO when he allowed the organization into Arkansas.

In fact, IBO had already been in Arkansas for two years before Huckabee signed the bill. Here's a photo of the first group of students receiving their IB pins in 2003. Dr. Raymond Simon, director of the Arkansas State Department of Education, was the speaker for this momentous event. He spoke about the excellence of this program, and commended the students for participating in something challenging and new. Dr. Simon was appointed by Governor Huckabee. There are now 7 publically funded IBO schools in Arkansas.

The idea of global citizenship undermines the principles set out by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I do not want a President who believes that one world education is appropriate for our nation's children. Unfortunately, George Bush already signed up and is helping to fund the international education effort.

The Bush administration has begun issuing grants to help spread a United Nations-sponsored school program that aims to become a "universal curriculum" for teaching global citizenship, peace studies and equality of world cultures. The U.S. Education Department has issued its first $1.2 million grant to implement the European-based International Baccalaureate (IB) program in middle schools..."
Bush also incorporated IB into the Amercia Competes Act signed this year (2007). The IB universal curriculum is sold as an "elite" education to compete with advanced placement exams. Tony Blair, in on of his final acts as Prime Minister, made the IB Diploma the "elite" diploma in the UK. The IBO is truly seeking to create a universal curriculum and standard to prepare workers for a global economy. Huckabee, Bush, and Blair have all signed up.

Huckabee promotes "local control" to persuade and pacify conservative voters but legislated to allow an international organzation of the UN to control Arkansas schools. It's up to him to explain why he ceded control of Arkansas schools to an international government organziation that promotes global citizen over national citizenship, international law over the US Constitution, and common morality over absolute Truth. Until he provides an adequate explanation, no conservative Christian should consider him a viable candidate for office of President of the United States.

It has been said that the rise and fall of a civilization rests in the education of its youth. In the long run, no other issue will matter if the next generation does not know or understand the principles that distinguish the United States from other forms of government.

We are a people founded on the belief that we are "one nation under God" not one world under the United Nations. Let's elect someone who will keep it that way.

My previous posts on Huckabee and homeschooling
Part One. The Huckabee Homeschool Hustle
Part Two. Huckabee and state reform
Part Three. Huckabee and federal policy
Part Four. Huckabee and global citizenship
Huckabee responds
Ned Ryun's statement on homeschooling.
Ned Ryun's statement on HSLDA.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Huckabee and HSLDA

In my last post, I mentioned Ned Ryun's statement concerning Mike Huckabee. He's updated his blog to reflect that he is no longer at HSDLA. He had some very interesting things to say,
My web designer is on a month long honeymoon, and I’m behind on updating my blog profile. I think some people thought I was still at HSLDA. I am not at HSLDA anymore, folks, and have to say, thank God. Dissent is not allowed in Mike Farris’ world, as was demonstrated last year at PHC (a travesty, and BTW, the professors accused of not being Christians, etc. were all cleared by their churches of any wrongdoing; I could blog on that issue for awhile, and maybe I will in the future). If I was still at HSLDA blogging like I have been, I would have probably either been told to stop or risk being fired. So I hate to disappoint some who think that freedom of thought and conscience are allowed at HSDLA. I was still at HSLDA when HSLDA-PAC endorsed Huckabee, but even though I was the PAC director at the time, was not informed of the endorsement until after the fact. I actually laughed when I was informed of it. I brought up the fact that we do not endorse in primaries unless there is a clear-cut conservative vs. liberal match-up. I was told by Mike Smith, President of HSLDA, that these were extraordinary circumstances, which I heard as really meaning Smith and the HSLDA board members lacked the courage to say no to Farris. As has been clearly documented by Spunky Homeschool, HSLDA has condemned Huckabee’s anti-homeschool legislation in the past, and yet now endorses him because . . . I think HSLDA members need to ask, Is the defense of homeschooling still the priority for HSLDA, or are there other things that are priority? And really, what are membership dues being used for?
Why did HSDLA-PAC endorse Huckabee and not tell their director until after the fact? There's clearly something odd going on at HSLDA. Ned Ryun may have left HSDLA, but his courage and willingness to stand up and ask "why" is the hallmark of most homeschoolers I know. We don't accept something just because...

So I'll join in with Ryun and ask, is the defense of homeschooling still the top priority of HSDLA? And if so, why did their PAC endorse a candidate who clearly opposes the very things that they exist to defend?

My previous posts on Huckabee
Part One. The Huckabee Homeschool Hustle
Part Two. Huckabee and state reform
Part Three. Huckabee and federal policy
Huckabee responds
Ned Ryun's statement on homeschooling.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Iowa homeschoolers are you open to hearing another opinion?

Here's a VERY informed opinion on Mike Huckabee by Ned Ryun that supports exactly what many here have been saying -- Mike Huckabee is bad news for conservative homeschoolers. Ned Ryun says, I’m not an Elitist and I don’t Like Huckabee. (Note: Please read his bio after you read this quote.)
"I just find it somewhat humorous and frightening all at once that the homeschoolers are supporting him; he’s playing them. When I saw his “floating cross” ad, and other materials coming out of the Huckabeee campaign, I thought, “He’s playing the evangelical bumpkin card.” He assumes, and sadly enough, rightfully so, that if you say Jesus, Christ, God, show the cross, and on every occasion use terms of faith, then you can win the evangelical vote. But go back to where he actually stands, not what he’s saying. If evangelicals insist on ignoring the other issues, like the fact that he’s a foreign policy light weight, he welcomes and appreciates increasing taxes and government, etc., and want to focus on the social issues, then ask does he still think the same way about Lawrence v. Texas and why does the NH NEA feel so strongly about him? So far, the Huckster’s manipulation of the evengelicals in Iowa is working. As Ann Coulter rather bitingly said, Huckabee’s followers are easily led.
Who is Ned Ryun and why should we care what he has to say? Here's his bio....

A former presidential writer for George W. Bush and son of sitting U.S. Congressman Jim Ryun, Ned Ryun is the Director of the Generation Joshua program, a division of Home School Legal Defense Association. Ned also directs the HSLDA Federal Political Action Committee. After earning degrees in English and History from the University of Kansas, Ned coauthored Heroes Among Us with his father and his twin brother, Drew. Ned and his wife Becca reside in Northern Virginia with their son Nathaniel.

The views expressed on this blog are solely those held by Ned Ryun and do not necessarily represent the views of his current or previous employers.

I realize that Ned Ryun is speaking personally and does not speak for HSDLA, but his analysis definitely makes you wonder what's going on at HSLDA? Iowa homeschoolers are you listening?

(My apologies for the large font in the headline, my template is acting up and I can't change it at the moment. Hopefully it will get back to normal soon.)

Huckabee and the endorsements

I've received quite a few emails asking why HSDLA-PAC endorsed Huckabee. Since I'm not affiliated with HSDLA in any way, I obviously cannot answer that. I did talk with an HSDLA representative at length a few weeks ago and I hoped to write a bit more about that, but it will have to wait until after Christmas.

In the meantime, The National Review's Jonathan Adler noticed the NEA endorsement of Huckabee and wonders the same thing I did in my first post on Huckabee and homeschoolers.
"It seems to me there are some strange bedfellows among Huckabee's supporters. For instance, he's reportedly received significant support from the home-schooling community. Given his evangelical roots, this is understandable. Yet Huck was also endorsed by the New Hampshire NEA affiliate (which also endorsed Hillary on the Dem side), largely because the teachers' unions see Huck as the least supportive of vouchers and other school choice initiatives. Last I checked, teachers' unions were also the biggest opponents of home-schooling, advocating various regulatory measures that make home-schooling more difficult. If both groups are enthusiastic about Huck, my question is which group understands who they're really backing, and which is being taken for a ride?
You know what I think, but I'm interested in your answer. Who's being taken for a ride the NEA or the homeschoolers?

Crunchy Con author and former homeschool dad Rod Dreher chimes in and thinks it's possible that neither is being taken for a ride. He bases his argument on Huckabee's stand on school vouchers. I offered some thoughts in his comments. I'll add more after the holdidays.

Merry Christmas

My previous posts on Huckabee
Part One. The Huckabee Homeschool Hustle
Part Two. Huckabee and state reform
Part Three. Huckabee and federal policy
Huckabee responds

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Huckabee Responds

I still have one more post to put up about Huckabee and education, but David Brody of CBN was on the bus with Huckabee and talked with him about the NEA endorsement and his education policy. (I emailed Brody about a week ago about the NEA endorsement and Huckabee.)

You can watch the video clip here.

In the interview Huckabee says, "leave the homeschoolers alone." He failed to mention, however, what I'll call the "The Huckabee Homeschool Hustle." He didn't leave homeschoolers alone as governor. Huckabee somehow convinced homeschoolers in Arkansas that increasing regulation on homeschooling was their only option even over the objections of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. That's a pretty good hustle, when you can convince homeschoolers that you know better than the organization whose purpose is to defend homeschoolers! You can read more about it here.

He also seems to think it is an "amazing" thing to get the endorsement of the most conservative and the most liberal education group, the NEA. Sorry, but I'm not as enamored with the endorsement of a group that wants to severely restrict the rights of homeschool families and a host of other policies that are detrimental to the family. By the way, the NEA also endorsed Hillary Clinton.

In this clip there is absolutely NO mention of leaving education up to the states. He clearly wants to "expand the curriculum." He doesn't seem to realize that expanding the curriculum means expanding the role of the federal government. Greater federal meddling in a state issue will only make education WORSE, not just for homeschoolers but for all of America's children.

Thanks David Brody, for helping us all see that a Huckabee presidency will NOT be good choice for conservative Christian homeschoolers or any conservative who believes in a limited government where there is no federal role education policy. That's what Ronald Reagan believed when I voted for him in the '80's and what I still believe today.

I have written three posts on Huckabee and education policy you can read them here.The posts are lengthy, but it is better to take the time to question where Huckabee stands now, before the election than to regret the choice once it's all over.

My previous posts on Huckabee and homeschooling
Part One. The Huckabee Homeschool Hustle
Part Two. Huckabee and state reform
Part Three. Huckabee and federal policy
Part Four. Huckabee and global citizenship
Huckabee responds
Ned Ryun's statement on homeschooling.
Ned Ryun's statement on HSLDA.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Huckabee and Homeschoolers (Part 3)

In the last Iowa debate, Huckabee said that he believes education is a state issue not a federal issue.

“First of all, the whole role of education is a state issue. It's not really a federal issue. And the worst thing that we can do is to shift more burden, more responsibility, more authority to the federal government when more of it needs to go to the states. But I think the federal government can play a pivotal role in -- primarily in helping to make sure that the best practices that are working in the states are shared with states who are struggling.”

One, personalize the learning for the student. We have 6,000 kids every day drop out in this country. They don't drop out because they're dumb; they drop out because they're bored to death. They're in a 19th-century education system in a 21st-century world. If we really are serious, then first of all we make sure that we build a curriculum around their interests rather than just push them into something they don't care.

Second thing, unleash weapons of mass instruction. I'm a passionate, ardent supporter of having music and art in every school for every student at every grade level

In his answer, Huckabee attempts to have it both ways; stating that education is a state issue but that it's a federal issue as well. Huckabee’s duplicitous answer was not lost on candidate Tom Tancredo who responded,
"Governor, with all due respect, you can't say on one hand, you're against having government intervention and on the other hand, tell us that you want music and art and everything else in the school. That's not the job of a president. It is the job of a governor. That's what you should run for if you want to dictate curriculum."
I agree with Tancredo. But to be fair, a sixty-second sound bite in a debate is insufficient to know exactly what Huckabee believes. Let’s take a look at his campaigns website to see if we can draw a more definitive conclusion.

On Mike Huckabee's campaign website he said,
"We need a clear distinction between federal and state roles in education. While there is value in the "No Child Left Behind" law's effort to set high standards, states must be allowed to develop their own benchmarks.
Currently, NCLB allows states to set their own benchmarks, but they typically comply with federal mandates to get the much needed funding. This effectively shifts responsibility and control from the state to the federal government. Mike Huckabee has praised NCLB and a national effort to set high standards. In Iowa recently Huckabee said, "Throwing the whole thing out would be a tragic mistake." It appears Huckabee favors some measure of federal accountability if he were elected President.

Huckabee also stated that we need a clear distinction between the federal and state role in education. Does he believe the tenth amendment applies to education? According to the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) we don’t need a clear distinction because our Constitution already provides for one in the Tenth Amendment.
"The federal role in education is a violation of the 10th amendment of the United States Constitution which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government delegated the power to regulate or fund elementary or secondary education. "
Does Huckabee want to create a new distinction which allows a federal role in education policy or does he plan on disregarding the Constitution like previous Presidents?

Huckabee not only believes there is a role for the federal government in education, but also supports INCREASING that role.

As Huckabee mentioned in his debate answer, he wants to unleash “Weapons of Mass Instruction” and supports art and music in every students’ curriculum. Such an initiative would likely come in the form of increasing federal money to states that implement music or arts education in their schools. Huckabee told an audience in Iowa that he would like to make arts and music part of the tested curriculum and would provide the federal funds to make it happen.

HSLDA states their belief on such federal spending very plainly,
"It is HSLDA's firm belief that federal government spending on education is unconstitutional and must be eliminated. While we support the position that the federal government should not be involved in education at any level, we also support measures that incrementally reduce the control of the federal government over education."
When President Clinton proposed increased spending for education in 1999, HSLDA was very critical,
"For decades there has been a gradual erosion of the principle of local control of schools. Federal control has gradually increased through strings attached to various funding programs. Even though an average school receives about 6% of its funds from the federal government, nearly 50% of the regulations imposed on the school come from Washington. If Mr. Clinton’s proposals are adopted, federal strings become chains of hardened steel.."
But it's not just funding art and music education that Huckabee envisions a role for the federal government. Huckabee also favors teacher testing.
"We need to test teachers as well as students, replace teachers who aren't competent, and impose reasonable waiting periods for teachers to gain tenure."
HSLDA also opposed teacher standards when Clinton proposed them in 1999.

"Mr. Clinton’s third prong— mandatory teacher standards — should send a strong chill down the back of every homeschooler as well as those in private schools and even those in public schools."

But yet, HSLDA has been strangely silent on Huckabee’s call for increased funding and teacher testing. If they were bad ideas when Clinton proposed them, wouldn’t they still be a problem today?

Huckabee not only supports testing teachers, but students as well. When asked by a high school student in New Hampshire if he supports federally mandated testing, Huckabee used the Red Sox to make his case,
He asked the students how many had watched the previous night's [Red Sox] game. Hands shot up. Then he asked if they would have minded if nobody kept score. "You wouldn't go to the football game or the basketball game or the baseball game and say, 'Just turn the scoreboard off,' " Huckabee said. "And neither could we realistically say we're really interested in improving the quality of education, but we're not going to keep score. So do we need tests? Yes."
Clearly, Mike Huckabee sees an increasing role for the federal government in education, despite the fact that the Constitution prohibits any such a role. In the long run, such meddling will hurt homeschooling and our freedom to direct the education of our children.

Michael Farris of HSLDA wrote in 1995,
"The existence of the U.S. Department of Education is the only reason there are federal attacks on our rights as home schoolers. If we help to eliminate the federal role in education, we close down a substantial threat to our rights…. We need to show people that there really are a lot of us who believe in Constitutional government. The Constitution gives no role to the federal government in education and it is time to put a stop to this unconstitutional activity. You can help ignite a political wildfire.”
Farris wrote his call to action over a decade ago, but it is still true today. There are a lot of us who still believe in the Constitution which limits the powers of the federal government.

The next decade will be the deciding decade for education in this country. Will we increase the scope of the federal government in education and move toward the socialist policies of Europe or back to the Constitution which as HSLDA right points out, provides for no federal role in education?

The vote you cast in the next election will help decide which way we’re going to go as homeschoolers and as a nation. Help ignite a political wildfire and demand that any candidate who gets a homeschooler's vote will adhere to the constitutional principle of limited government and not expand the federal role in education and that the tenth amendment is still in force in the United States.

My previous posts on Huckabee and homeschooling
Part One. The Huckabee Homeschool Hustle
Part Two. Huckabee and state reform
Part Three. Huckabee and federal policy
Part Four. Huckabee and global citizenship
Huckabee responds
Ned Ryun's statement on homeschooling.
Ned Ryun's statement on HSLDA.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Huckabee and Homeschoolers (Part 2)

My previous post addressed the revision to homeschool law restricting the rights of homeschool parents in Arkansas signed by Governor Huckabee. Recently, Huckabee told one homeschool supporter, that the catalyst for the revision to the homeschooling law was legislation he strongly supported in 1998, Smart Start.

With the implementation and success of the Smart Start program some legislators wanted to reverse what we had done for homeschoolers in 1997 and put in place
very severe restrictions.
Huckabee’s answer perplexed me. Why would a program designed to improve public education in 1998 cause a legislator to seek a reversal in homeschool laws just one year later? Is it possible that homeschoolers pose a problem to the complete implementation of the desired education reforms and restricting them, at least a little more, would move them closer to complete inclusion in the education reforms sweeping the country? Let's find out.

Mike Huckabee is very proud of Smart Start and other major reforms in education while he was Governor.

"In 1998 I announced an initiative we called Smart Start, the first of several major reform efforts in Arkansas that were to focus on not only increasing funding but, more important, improved results. Later the K-4 Smart Start Initiative would be joined by Smart Step for grades 5-8. Ultimately we launched Next Step, which was the full implementation of a reform strategy that included grades 9-12.

It was a priority for me to develop more accessible and effective preschool programs and to make dramatic changes in both access and affordability in higher education. We developed a seamless curriculum from pre-K through college so that there was
coordination and continuity throughout the educational process." (From Hope to Higher Ground, by Mike Huckabee, p. 43-45)

This "seamless curriculum pre-K through college" is more commonly known as "P-16." A primer on P-16 can be found here.
"Imagine a system of education where every child enters school ready to learn, here all third graders read at or above grade level, where all students have taken algebra by the end of the 8th grade, where high school exit exams test sudents at the 12th-grade level and are aligned with college admissions requirements, where all young people graduate from high school prepared for college or work, and where every student who enters college finishes college.
In short, imagine a European style education model here in America.

Education has been a signature issue for Mike Huckabee. While his resume is impressive, it signals that he has accepted many of the liberal reforms of those seeking to remove local control in education in favor of national curriculum and standards. The primer on P-16 was written in 2001 by the Education Commission of the States (ECS). Mike Huckabee was chairman of the (ECS) from 2004 to 2006. During his tenure, he did not challenge or attempt to undo any of these reforms, preferring to concentrate on music and art in education. In 2004, he participated in the task force for "Redesigning the American High School" chaired by Democrat Governor Mark Warner of Virginia. This task force was funded in large part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which seeks to align education standards both nationally and internationally.

Phyllis Shafly wrote about the Governor Warner's Commission and their report,

"The National Governors Report of December 2004 (when Virginia Governor Mark Warner was chairman) makes clear that the purpose is to use the public schools to build a planned economy.

The report speaks approvingly of "using schools to feed workers into selected corporations," "identifying their state's key industries and needs for skilled workers in order to define a common agenda between their workforce and economic development programs," "the integration of education, economic development, and workforce development policies," "seamless connections between the components of the [education] system and with the skill demands of the workplace," and "connecting workforce development to economic needs."

It's hard to see any difference between the 2004 National Governors Association plan and the earlier plans floated when Bill Clinton was President. The plan uses a lot of mumbo-jumbo to change America from free enterprise to a planned economy, and to turn public school students into a compliant workforce for multinational corporations.

Governor Huckabee also joined ACHIEVE.
"A coaltion of states dedicated to aligning K–12 curriculum, standards, assessments and accountability policies with the demands of college and work."
Originally, 13 governors in the coalition agreed to adopt uniform high school standards developed by the American Diploma Project (ADP), an initiative of ACHIEVE. Achieve hopes to to have all 50 states adopt the same standards and testing in education. There are now 30 states in the coalition. Once all 50 state adopt the same standards we will have in effect a de facto "P-16" national standard in curriculum and testing.

Schafly's correct, many of the reforms encompassed in P-16, reinventing high school, ADP, and related reforms that Huckabee and other governors have endorsed are strikingly similar to the Outcome-Based-Education and School-to-Work initiatives introduced during the Clinton administration. The terminology has changed with different states adopting different aspects at different times, but the intent is the same - a smooth transition from preschool to the workforce to compete in the global economy.

HSLDA spoke against such initiatives in 2002 in reference to the 107th Congress and legislation regarding education and the reauthorization of programs in School-to-Work,
Although STW was not reauthorized in the last Congress and received no funding, we oppose any efforts to create educational requirements that force students into studies that are based on workforce needs rather than academic excellence, and which promote any system that encourages employers to recognize skills mastery over academic excellence."
HSDLA rightly understands that homeschoolers have strong reasons to be concerned about all such education reforms which create a seamless transition from preschool to the workforce, especially one that uses state exams as the benchmark for earning credentials. (HSDLA fought some of the restrictions of P-16 in Indiana in 2003.)

The goal in the Clinton administration and carried into the Bush administration, is to make sure that "no child is left behind" in the global economy. For the P-16 "seamless transition" to work as designed all learners must be included. Quoting again from the P-16 Primer,
"[P-16] Is inclusive. Since a P-16 system has as its goal that all learners will master challenging material and achieve at high levels, it creates an environment that expects success from everyone – the gifted and the ordinary, the rich and the poor, the white and the black and the brown, the young and the not-so-young, urban and rural, the native and the immigrant. A system that allows no throwaways is a system in tune with U.S. needs. "
To me, it is no accident that the 1998 education reforms passed by Mike Huckabee led to more stringent regulation on homeschoolers in 1999. Education reform advocates know that for the system to work as designed, ALL learners must be included. What happened to homeschoolers in Arkansas should be a red flag to homeschoolers in every state that any attempt to align standards and curriculum across state lines must include homeschoolers. So they incrementally chip away at the freedom homeschoolers have with the goal of bringing them under the "P-16" uniform standards.

Some may think exempting homeschoolers from the requirements or ignoring the standards is all that is necessary to protect homeschooling. Cathy Duffy, one of the best-known and most respected names in home schooling provides an excellent reason why that's not a realistic option.

"Some people suggest that private and home schools can work around the standards by first teaching the required content, then adding worldview-focused curricula to the mix. Others suggest ignoring the standards but providing students with a solid liberal arts education with the expectation that they will then be intelligent enough to "outsmart" the tests.

Unfortunately, neither solution is realistic.....

Testing is likely to become more and more problematical. If private schools and homeschools try to ignore the standards and implement a classical liberal education (or any other alternative curricular agenda), their students might test poorly as tests become more and more narrowly focused on details dictated by the standards that would be unlikely parts of their educational program. As the standards movement gathers steam, pressure will be exerted upon private schools and home schools to adhere to the same standards and tests as government schools."

Well the standards movement is gathering steam and unfortunately for Arkansas, the result was the passage of Smart Start which lead to increased restrictions imposed upon homeschoolers just one year later.

This year the federal government brought the P-16 reforms into federal education policy through the passage of the America Competes Act signed by President Bush. (See Section 6401) Phyllis Schafly wrote about the impact of this expansion of federal education beauracracy earlier this year, "Look Out for Another Big Spending Boondoggle",

P-16 is a rather new term meaning that Big Brother government is now supervising the next generation from preschool through the 16th year of education (i.e., college graduation). We used to think kindergarten through 12th grade was the scope of government schools here.

The federal movement toward national standards is moving forward, endorsed by our current "compassionate conservative" President that many homeschoolers supported. Do we want to continue the trend by electing another "authentic conservative" who appears to support the very same policies?

The only safeguard for homeschoolers against standards movement is diligently electing leaders who see education reform for exactly what it is -socialism. Conservative homeschooler must stand against the trend to create workers to compete in a the global economy. Exempting homeschoolers from education reform is not enough. If homeschoolers are serious about protecting the right to direct the education of our children, we must elect a President who opposes any federal involvement in education.

This is the second post in a series on Huckabee and homeschoolers.
My previous posts on Huckabee and homeschooling
Part One. The Huckabee Homeschool Hustle
Part Two. Huckabee and state reform
Part Three. Huckabee and federal policy
Part Four. Huckabee and global citizenship
Huckabee responds
Ned Ryun's statement on homeschooling.
Ned Ryun's statement on HSLDA.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Huckabee and Homeschoolers

With the Presidential primaries coming up, I've received many emails asking what I think about Mike Huckabee. This post (cross posted at The Old Schoolhouse blog) is my attempt to answer that question.

With Mike Huckabee surging in the polls many are asking the obvious question, "What caused his rapid rise?"

ABC News examined the reasons and came up with at least one obvious reason, homeschoolers.

Home-schoolers Help Propel Huckabee

"'They stand for the same things, and they trust each other,' said Christine Hurley, a Pleasant Hill Republican active in the state's home-school network."

"'I think that's what's happening with the Huckabee thing,' said Hurley, who supports Huckabee. 'When you understand he's a Baptist minister, you don't have to ask what he stands for.'"

Is being a Baptists minister a reason NOT to question what a candidate for President stands for? I think not. So I'll ask the question Hurley decided not to ask...

Do homeschoolers stand for the same thing as Mike Huckabee?

There is no doubt in my mind that on abortion and marriage, Huckabee is rock solid in agreement with most Christian homeschoolers.

He values life and has defended our belief that marriage is between a man and woman. But what about another issue that is very important to homeschoolers--education?

Let's take a look at Huckabee's record and his policies.

Huckabee's Homeschooling Record in Arkansas

Mike Huckabee was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1996. In 1997, he helped ease restrictive homeschool laws in Arkansas. While governor, Huckabee also appointed the first homeschooler to the Arkansas state school board. As a homeschooler, I give Mike Huckabee credit for these achievement. It looked like he was off to a great start in Arkansas. That success, however, was short lived. Just two years later, in 1999, Mike Huckabee signed into law House Bill 1724 that undid many of those initial gains.

Here’s how the Homeschool Legal Defense Asssociation (HSLDA), Court Report tells it,
Home Schoolers Lose Ground with New Law
"The enactment of House Bill 1724 on April 5, 1999, gives Arkansas the unique distinction of becoming the first state in the nation to add restrictions to its existing home school law."
At a time when many states were easing requirements, Arkansas was sadly moving in the wrong direction. Huckabee signed HB 1724, known as Act 1117 that made homeschooling MORE restrictive. HSLDA’s website provides an overview of the new restrictions here and comments:
"Arkansas is now one of only 12 states to impose a deadline for beginning home schooling or requiring parents to provide advance notice to public school officials of their decision to do so. Because of this restriction, parents who encounter intolerable conditions at the public school, such as imminent danger to the safety or welfare of their child, will have to wait at least 14 days before withdrawing the child to begin home schooling or else face truancy charges for unexcused absences during the 14-day waiting period. No such restriction exists for parents who decide to immediately remove their children to attend a private or parochial school in Arkansas. This raises serious issues regarding the right of parents to direct the education of their children and equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution."
HB 1724 was introduced because Democrats in the legislature threatened to impose even more restrictive measures. HB 1724 was a compromise measure introduced by a homeschooling father to keep that from happening.

HSLDA opposed the compromise, "Home School Legal Defense Association opposes any effort to increase state regulation of home education and did not support H.B. 1724."

Despite HSLDA’s opposition, the bill was passed by the legislature. That left it up to Governor Huckabee to defend the rights of homeschool parents in Arkansas. But he didn't.

Huckabee and his supporters claim that signing the bill was his only option. But is that really true? No. He could have stood on principle and used his veto powers and challenged the legislature to override the veto. Or at the very least, he could have let the measure pass without his signature signaling his opposition to the state restricting the rights of homeschool parents. He did neither. Instead, he signed the law that added restrictions to homeschooling in Arkansas.

Huckabee’s signature demonstrates that he is not opposed to compromising our freedom to homeschool in the face of Democrat pressure. Do we want a President who will so easily surrender his principles in the face of sure opposition by Democrats in Congress?

As a homeschooler, I want a President that is not afraid to fight against and veto any legislation that would compromise our ability to homeschool no matter who introduces it. Our children do not belong to the state and no parent should have to wait 14 days before pulling their child out of a government school.

Despite Huckabee’s record on homeschooling as a Governor of Arkansas, HSLDA-PAC has endorsed Mike Huckabee for President. But when you consider that he also gained the endorsement of the liberal education group, NEA – New Hampshire, it makes you scratch your head in bewilderment. How did Huckabee manage to convince Christian homeschoolers he’s "one of us” and convince the liberal NEA he’s “one of them" too? He’s pulling a fast one on someone, do homeschoolers want to wait until Huckabee is in the White House to find out which one? Not me.

Huckabee has said, "Education has to stop being a [horizontal] issue - left and right, liberal and conservative. Education must be a vertical issue - it will either move our country up or take us down."

Huckabee's statement of unity seems a bit naïve. Most Christian homeschoolers believe education is not a "vertical" or neutral issue. We understand there are politicians and reformers whose faith rests in the power of the state and who are actively attempting to move this country away from the principles of our founding and toward socialism and a planned economy; where our children are viewed simply as workers to compete in the global economy. The NEA routinely opposes parent directed home education. The 2007 - 2008 NEA Resolutions makes this abundantly clear,
"The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state
curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used." "

It seems as though the only one who wants to compromise and make education a "vertical" issue is Mike Huckabee.

It's been exactly one year since I retired my blog and I don't plan on returning long term, but I will be posting my thoughts regarding Mike Huckabee and homeschoolers. This is the first post in that series.

UPDATE II: I have begun calling Huckabee's homeschool revisions while governor the "Huckabee Homeschool Hustle" because he has somehow convinced homeschoolers in Arkansas that increasing regulation on homeschooling was their only option; even over the objections of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. That's a pretty good hustle, when you can convince homeschoolers that you know better than the organization whose purpose is to defend them!

UPDATE I (editted):

My previous posts on Huckabee and homeschooling
Part One. The Huckabee Homeschool Hustle
Part Two. Huckabee and state reform
Part Three. Huckabee and federal policy
Part Four. Huckabee and global citizenship
Huckabee responds
Ned Ryun's statement on homeschooling.
Ned Ryun's statement on HSLDA.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Post Blog Update

Thank you to those who have written and asked how I'm doing and for the nomination in the Homeschool Blog Awards. I'm glad to see the awards continue, Heather and crew are doing an excellent job!

As for me, life is good and I'm doing well.

The article from the Washington Post, Pearls before breakfast speaks volumes about how we live our lives. (It's long but read the whole article.)

When I was blogging, in my busyness, I was beginning to miss the "music" that was all around me. I am hearing it once again AND I have the time to stop and listen. It isn't Joshua Bell, but my own children playing their instruments, singing while on a swing, or the "music" of the mixing bowls clanging as we bake bread together. It's all music and I don't want to miss another note.


Update on blog awards: Heather one of the administrators for the awards just found out she has a brain tumor. Please pray for her and the family during this difficult time. You can read more details here.