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Emmy Griffin / May 18, 2022

Christians Hijacking Homeschooling?

An MSNBC columnist neglects the core reasons that parents are fleeing public schools.

An opinion column by Anthea Butler for MSNBC flat-out accuses white evangelical Christians of hijacking homeschooling. Her premise focuses on the shift to homeschooling that, she claims, occurred as a direct response to Brown v. Board of Education — the 1954 Supreme Court decision that integrated schools. In other words, evangelical homeschoolers are segregationists. But her main thesis isn’t the tired bromide about supposed conservative racism, but that the movement toward homeschooling thanks to the pandemic “is part of a larger project about dismantling the public education system in the United States.”

Let’s start with her inevitable first claim of racism. To give Butler the benefit of the doubt, some parents may have withdrawn their children from public schools after the Brown v. Board of Education decision. But the claim that homeschooling was a direct response to the Supreme Court’s ruling ignores the grand history of homeschooling in the United States that was prominent before Brown and has gained significant traction between 2020-2022.

Her next charge that homeschooling was hijacked by the religious Right also ignores history. Homeschooling has always had a religious bent. Parents who were seeking to educate their children at home wanted them to be literate and to be able to read the Bible. To quote John Adams, this country and its laws are made for a “moral and religious people.” Parents wanted to ensure that their children could read religious texts for themselves.

Though irrelevant to her core argument, Butler’s final plea that public schools are underfunded and dealing with staffing issues and violence is still poignant to point out. She neglects to mention why. Schools are “underfunded” partially because progressive-minded teachers unions, school administrators, and school boards squander funds on nonessentials like “anti-racist” teacher training. Schools are dealing with staffing issues because of bad leftist policies (like refusing to hire teachers who might be conservative) and plain teacher burnout. Violence is a horrible tragedy in public schools, though this is due to societal ills exacerbated by bad leftist policy — fatherless homes, welfare-trapped poor, gangs, and guidelines that cripple public schools’ ability to address the problem in an effective way.

Butler does admit that besides racism, parents are leaving for other reasons. She touches on the fact that parents of every race and creed have started retreating to homeschooling after seeing firsthand the indoctrination of their children. Parents entrusted the public school system to teach their children reading, writing, math, history, geography, science, and other important skills to prepare them for the future workforce. Schools have betrayed that trust and are foisting the critical race theory worldview and “Queer Marxism” on children in lieu of actually educating them. It creates an ignorant, easily manipulated population for down the road. Yet Butler feels that homeschooling creates an environment rife with child abuse and indoctrination. Oh, the irony…

Butler neglects another core reason that parents are fleeing public schools. Their children might be struggling with a learning disability that requires more personalized attention that can be addressed more effectively in a homeschool setting. These disabilities are not effectively addressed in public school classrooms that are notoriously overcrowded. The increase in learning disabilities amongst children is a major issue that has grown exponentially over the past decade. It’s not just that more children are being diagnosed early with disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, or dyscalculia; it’s that there has been an actual growth in cases. Some of the reasons for this increase in learning disabilities include: diets, environmental issues, genetic issues, lack of social interaction, lack of play in early education, parental unwillingness to teach, growing up in a digital age, and cultural priorities that deemphasize academic excellence.

Butler’s article is ultimately just leftist propaganda that doesn’t actually address why parents are deciding to homeschool their children. That’s because the fruits of the poisonous tree would lead back to these same failed leftist education policies. More and more parents are unwilling to sacrifice their children on the altar of the leftist agenda. It is unsurprising that Butler is trying to salvage that sinking ship the only way she knows how: by painting the homeschooling community as racist white evangelical Christians who are going to impose their fundamentalist views on you and your children.

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