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It Burns My Britches…

April 30, 2020
5 Things That Burn Me Up About WordPress And Web Sites | Joy of WP

It’s popped up a few times on my Facebook feed, but I didn’t do much more than glance and move on. But this morning I had occasion to look closely at remarks made by a Harvard professor toward Homeschooling that had been in those Facebook posts. What I read burns my britches!

The prof’s name is Erin O’Donnell. She writes in Harvard Magazine about the “risks” of homeschooling (here’s a link for the whole article: read online). Here are just a few unedited cuts from the article.

She writes that homeschooling not only violates a child’s right to a “meaningful education,” but “may keep them from contributing to a democratic society.”

It gets worse. Under homeschooling, she writes, without the intervention of government-based education, children will not “grow up exposed to community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints.”

Addressing one of the concerns homeschoolers sometimes express, …“requiring children to attend schools outside the home for six or seven hours a day… does not unduly limit parents’ influence on a child’s views and ideas.”

And then the coup de gras, “… do we think that parents should have 24/7, essentially authoritarian control over their children from ages zero to 18? … I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless and to give the powerful ones total authority.”

If your britches aren’t burning a little by now, you may need to start buying your clothes somewhere else.

It seems clear to me that Professor O’Donnell is uninterested in the academic records of homeschooled youth. Their college entrance exam scores consistently outperform public school educated students by many measurables. Their grades and scores as college students reflect this, too.

Apparently, this Harvard professor isn’t interested in academic education at all. Her interest seems to be cultural indoctrination. Her agenda has little to do with the metrics of what has been the objective of education for lo these many generations. What a student has mastered in terms of subjects of study is of secondary interest when compared to what they have swallowed of cultural doctrine.

What I can draw of her view of the homeschooled leads me to wonder if to this Harvard elite, the rest of us who aren’t a part of her peer group are hillbillies who hold our worn out britches up with bailing wire and spit tobacco juice on the dirt floors of our log cabins.

This is unfair of me. Surely not all Harvard professors hold O’Donnell’s view. But I wonder if she has rubbed shoulders with a homeschooled individual?

If your britches are burning like mine are, what are we supposed to do? Good question. I’ve been wrestling with this, myself.

The reality is that not many of us have a Harvard Magazine-like platform to purvey our alternative view. My own platform is tiny. Yours is perhaps bigger than mine. But the size of our platform isn’t so much the issue as what we will do with what we have at our disposal.

Here’s what I’ve got. Social Media. I will be posting my opinions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I don’t have thousands of followers, but the several hundred I have have several hundred, and if what I write is winsome enough and thought-provoking enough, they’ll share it with their followers, who just might share it with their followers and so on, and so on, and so on.

Letters to the Editor. I’ve never had one published, but I’ll be making a run at it with this topic.

I have friends. Not thousands, but lots of them. And even with the lock-down (which is mercifully coming to a several-phased end, praise God!), I connect with and communicate with them pretty regularly. I’ll be bringing this up as a point of conversation when we connect.

I know a few influencers. Not many, but a few. I’ll be doing what I can to influence the influencers.

And MOST IMPORTANT, I am a child of the God Who is the Author and Giver of Life, and I will be asking Him to frustrate the advice of Professor O’Donnell and her ilk. There’s actually biblical precedent for this.

When King David was fleeing Jerusalem (in 2 Samuel 15) as his son Absalom was executing a coup, one of the things David prayed was that God would “…turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.” Ahithophel was Absalom’s most trusted advisor. You can read the rest of the story for yourself, but this is exactly what God did. Ahithophel’s advice was disregarded by Absalom.

I hope you can tell I’m not promoting that we gather a mob of angry homeschoolers with pitchforks and torches to storm the citadel of Harvard and expunge the evil from among us. If, like me, you’re angry about these ideas, then let’s take up other implements and advance truth with dignity and respect.

I must be careful to be observational, not judgmental, with this. I am not the Judge and I don’t have the right to judge another. Scripture makes this plane. But I do have the responsibility to be observant. This observant thing prods me to call out truth and to call out error. This is a somewhat prophetic role, but I think every Christ-follower has the mandate to pay attention. Me, you, all of us.

I do not know the character of Professor O’Donnell. I know nothing about her other than that she is on staff at Harvard University. And even if I knew more of her, first-hand, I have, as I said, no right to judge her. But as I observe what she has written and Harvard Magazine has published, I observe error. It won’t pass the “sniff test.” When I sniff it, I smell… Well, I’ll just say I don’t leave what I’m smelling on the bottom of my boots after I step in it…

From → Marriage, Parenting

  1. Greg Bandfield permalink

    What burns me worst than this H

  2. Sorry Greg, I only got the first part of your comment.

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