Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Can We Do?

Now that awareness has been raised about the fundamental overhaul taking place in education, Terry and many others have asked, "What do we DO to protect our rights?"

That's the dilemma when those assigned the task of upholding and defending the Constitution and protecting our rights are the very ones trampling upon them for their own gain.

Complicating things even more, there is no collective voice speaking for ALL parents on education at the national level. There isn't supposed to be. America was designed with 50 states for a reason and education was intended to be a local issue. However, it has become a federal issue. At that level, public school parents are viewed generically as parents and homeschoolers are viewed as a special interest because we are more vocal in protecting our right to homeschool. However, directing a child's education is a natural right given to all parents that must be defended. Unfortunately, parents are left without a megaphone big enough to speak for all of us.

But all is not lost. There are some homeschoolers promoting a parents rights amemdment as a solution. However, that is a very time consuming effort with an unpredictable outcome and ironically, it also feeds the perception of homeschoolers as a special interest.

There may be a simpler more efficient means to ending the erosion of our rights and affirm our authority. If a convincing argument is made to demonstrate that the rights of ALL parents not just homeschoolers are being trampled upon, we can defeat this as parents no matter where the chldren are educated. I may be naive, but I actually believe that there is a large number of public school parents who are also frustrated with their increasing lack of control in education and even more hate all the tests their kids take each year.

We just have to reach the tipping point where the majority of parents are willing to act upon their frustrations because not acting would cost them more. The temptation might be to think that public school parents would have to pull their child out of school completely. That would be nice but it is not realistic. But parents must do something that will get the states attention and says, "enough is enough!" The question is what is the something?

Control at the federal level requires compliance at the local level. So the question becomes what must happen at the local level in order for federal control to operate efficiently? The obvious answer is testing. Children must take the tests to prove that they are learning, so the states will get their funding and the feds will get their control. An effective campaign protesting the tests could in John Taylor Gatto's words, "Grind these engines to a halt" very quickly.
Think only of the multi-billion dollar standardized testing aspect of the thing; with relatively little investment of time or money a well-orchestrated campaign to sabotage these instruments could be launched and prosecuted over the Internet. You need only think back to the mass of teenagers who brought the war in Vietnam to a premature conclusion, to see that an essential lynchpin of the fourth purpose system—testing—could quickly be destroyed. The fallout from such a termination would rock systematic schooling with unpredictable results for the stability of the institution.
I have visions of millions of school children skipping school on testing day walking around town t-shirts that plastered with ovals and a slogan in red that reads, "I'm not protesting, I just want to learn." Or if they do go to school, filling in all the ovals for every question. Could it happen? Sure. Will it happen? That depends on how badly parents want to show the state who is really in charge. There are even homeschoolers in many states that are required to take the state exam, if the exam becomes a national exam, are you ready to refuse?

(Note: This is only one possible solution, I'd love to hear other ideas.)

Subscribe to SpunkyHomeschool by email.

No comments: