Some people think that unless you have large wads of cash for insanely expensive private schools, you are limited to two choices: public school, or home school at the kitchen table. Today I’m going to describe a handful of alternatives and there are probably many, many more. (Add links in the comment section if you know of some.)
But first: DO NOT FEAR. Whatever you choose can work. If your family’s circumstances mean that you have to send your child to public school, still do not fear.
As I teach my children, they can pretty easily discern the p.c. indoctrination at school and do come home reporting the silly propaganda.
You and your child can and will roll your eyes together, after you’ve taught him/her:
- That your child is a child of God, not just “human capital” meant to serve the collective economy and compete in a global economy.
- That there’s a world of difference between voluntary sharing (God’s way) and forced sharing (social justice or socialism.)
- That your child is an American (or Canadian or Swedish or Bolivian) citizen, not a global citizen– because global citizenship does not guarantee sacred, sacred American rights.
- How to use traditional math tools (algorithms, multiplication tables, formulas) if all he/she’s getting in school is fuzzy math and silly ways of wasting time to find solutions.
- How to read and write in cursive, even if it looks like chicken scratch.
- To love imagination and reading and learning –by having really, really interesting books on your home library shelf. Really, really great books.
- To be anchored in truth. Read at the very least one verse of scripture at the breakfast table as he/she gets ready for school. Talk about why it matters.
- To politely refuse school surveys and standardized testing unless the school has parental, written consent. Teach them to excuse themselves and call you if they ever feel “not okay” about something even if they can’t explain why to the school.
- That you, the parent, are the resident expert on your child and nobody but God can claim to be a “stakeholder” over a child –ever.
Here are the schooling alternatives that I have found and have liked:
Traditional Home School – From the myriad of home school helps, here are just a few: Thomas Jefferson Education, American Heritage Prep, Ron Paul Curriculum, Kimber Academy, Easy Peasy All In One Home School.
Aspire Scholar Academy – This is a remarkable face to face home school co-op that caters to teenagers, located in Orem, Utah. No one under age 12 may attend. In addition to traditional classes based on classic principles of education and morality, this school offers a speech and debate program with teams that compete statewide against public school debate teams. They also offer a “socializing only” option, where your student can attend many social events without attending classes at Aspire. (The classes have filled up for this year, but the social-only option is still available.)
Freedom Project Education (FPE) – This private, online, Common Core-free school is free of any government influence — so there’s no standardized testing, no U.N. or “sustainability” worship, no anti-American or anti-religious agenda hiding in the assignments, no “human capital” here.
I’m excited that I’ll be joining FPE this year, teaching three filmed and live sections of tenth grade English at this wonderful school. We’re learning how to write clearly. We’re reading imaginative literature: Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, William Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne… Details below. There are still openings if you know a tenth grader in need of an online English class and an enthusiastic teacher. They have classes for every age. And for a private school, it’s inexpensive.
George Mueller Academy – This remarkable school is in person, not online. It’s in Lehi, Utah, and I’m sharing it here because it’s a great model for those in other places who are aiming to build something that goes way beyond a home schooling co-op and becomes much like a traditional private school (but cheaper) with a physical building, face-to-face classes, specialists in advanced subjects, field trips and parties. There is no state oversight of this school, either, so like FPE above, there’s no political agenda and no standardized testing required. It’s called the George Mueller Academy Center for Educational Liberty. See the incredible list of classes– biology, coding, martial arts, U.S. history, logic, languages– with prices set by individual teachers and varying greatly.
I’m teaching an English class at GMA for twelve-and-up (year olds) that meets for two hours, once a week. It’s called “I Love My English Class”. I’m also co-teaching a kindergarten-first grade class that meets for two hours, twice a week, for four hours total per week, called “Little Red School House.”
My Tech High – This is both an online school for students in any location, and a Utah-specific program that can reimburse homeschoolers who take classes outside the home with certain conditions (the class can’t be religious, must be offered to a group of students, etc.)
Home School Support Group – For those pursuing hybrid schools or home schools, Marlene Fletcher offers a home school support group both on Facebook and in mini conferences where people can learn about the myriad of ways that parents and co-ops are creating the kind of education they want for their children.
On Data Mining:
The schools I’ve listed above are data-mining free! Your child won’t be hooked into the Big Brother SLDS at all, with one partial exception: MyTechHigh is connected to the data collection system of the government, but data mining there is minimal there since students can choose the “custom built” class option, thus attending classes that do not report to the government SLDS databases. My Tech High does require students to report periodically about what they are accomplishing in their classes, but SAGE opt outs are available and there is no daily SIS data upload about your child there (which you will find in all public and charter schools, including most online charter schools.)
Yesterday, the House unfortunately voted to pass HR5, the “Student Success Act” which is a No Child Left Behind rewrite with horns. More on that here.
Although HR5 did pass with some nice amendments aimed to 1) give parental opt-out rights more power, and 2) give states’ Common Core-opt-out-ability more likelihood, it seems to me that these amendments are little optimistic corks stuffed hopefully into the side of the Titanic.
The mass of the language in HR5 was not on our side. (Neither is the language in twin senate bill S1177)
Some say that HR5’s section 6521 can protect us against all the other language that contradicts it in the bill. Section 6521 has a “Prohibition against Federal mandates, direction, or control.”
It sounds magnificent: “No officer or employee of the Federal Government shall, directly or indirectly, through grants, contracts, or other cooperative agreements, mandate, direct, incentivize, or control a State, local educational agency, or school’s specific instructional content, academic standards and assessments, curricula, or program of instruction, (including any requirement, direction, incentive, or mandate to adopt the Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative or any other academic standards common to a significant number of States), nor shall anything in this Act be construed to authorize such officer or employee to do so.”
But, sadly, bills that are hundreds of pages long are designed to deceive well meaning people– and they do. That prohibition section is a very thin burger, and the oversized buns have taken over that sandwich: there is SO much language in the bill that contradicts that one sentence! Not only in the bill: the whole structure of ed reform dwarfs that little, good sentence. The whole Race to the Top set up a federal power structure over testing and standards that one sentence cannot now overcome.
Using the precedent of the Obama administration and its pure robbery of liberty, educational autonomy and student privacy rights– and the shrugging off of that fact, or lack of knowledge of it, by most members of our current Congress, we can predict that the feds will use whatever “authority” they can bluff up to do whatever they want with ed policy. The Supreme Court clearly is not going to protect us from ambiguous or contradictory language. If HR5 and Congress really wanted something, it had to say so in this bill, in uncontradictory, uncertain terms, and not allow the mass of the bill to dictate master-and-servant style rules, where the feds are the master and the states are the servant, while one sentence prohibits it. Talk about cognitive dissonance.
Contradiction and soft language begs for federal and corporate overreach, which Congress has sadly shown it lacks the interest to rebuff.
So, HR5 passed the house. See how your representative voted. Call and ask him/her why.
HR5 could still get vetoed. I’m crossing my fingers.
Meanwhile, its twin bill, S1177, sits in the Senate!
So below, republished, are key problems with S1177 “The Every Child Achieves Act” with the number references and key language “bites. If you want a more thorough, lawyerly version (which is much better, but not as easily readable) see the PDF on S1177 from American Principles in Action.
Please share these as you call and write to your Senators. And find more! As you do word searches and spend time in this bill, you will find awfulness. When you do, please share those language bites in the comments section here and with your senators in D.C.
Many hands make light work.
S.1177 “THE EVERY CHILD ACHIEVES ACT” (duplicated on another post.)
- Pretending to protect states and parents from federal overreach using redundant, nonhelpful (and contradictory) language:
First the bill raises our hopes; the talking points sound good; maybe this won’t be a federal sledgehammer to parents and states. The bill’s sections 5001-5010 (a large chunk of the very large bill) even go under the title “Empowering Parents and Expanding Opportunity Through Innovation”. Sounds good.
But deep inside, the S1177 (almost) conceals ugly and unconstitutional words like this:
“If the Secretary determines that a State plan does not meet the requirements of this subsection or subsection (b) or (c), the Secretary shall, prior to declining to approve the State plan immediately notify the State of such determination… offer the State an opportunity to revise” –1111
“A State educational agency may use not more than 5 percent of the amount made available to the State… for the following activities…”
“Closing student achievement gaps, and preparing more students to be college and career ready” -2501(4) (Making everyone common does tend to close the achievement gaps, by slowing those who would otherwise soar ahead of the mediocre and the slow.)
- Cementing the unconstitutional Fed-Master/State-Servant relationship:
“State plan disapproval: The Secretary shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” –1004
“For any State desiring to receive a grant under this part, the State educational agency shall submit to the Secretary a plan…” – 1111
- Retaining federal testing and standards mandates:
“Same standards: … standards required by subparagraph (A) shall be the same standards that the State applies to all public schools and public school students” –1111 (Do you want to give the feds the authority to dictate uniformity to us? What if a state wants to be innovative and diverse and various? That won’t be allowed by this federal law.)
- Adding to the list of programs States must consult, and aligning with workforce socialism program:
“(aa) student readiness to enter postsecondary education or the workforce” -1111 (repeated many times)
“an application … shall include the following: A description of… assets, identified by the State… which shall include— an analysis of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education quality and outcomes in the State… labor market information regarding the industry and business workforce needs within the State….” –2504
- Dictating types of testing– including using nonacademic, interpretive, and diagnostic student reports:
“produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports… include information regarding achievement on academic assessments aligned with challenging State academic achievement standards… in uniform format” –1111(b) (2) (B) (vi) (xiii)
“(vi) involve multiple up-to-date measures of student academic achievement, including measures that assess higher-order thinking skills and understanding, which may include measures of student academic growth and may be partially delivered in the form of portfolios, projects, or extended performance tasks” –1111 (b) (2) (B) (vi)
Assessments must “be administered through a single summative assessment; or be administered through multiple statewide assessments during the course of the year if the State can demonstrate that the results of these multiple assessments, taken in their totality, provide a summative score” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (viii)
“(xiii) be developed, to the extent practicable, using the principles of universal design for learning.” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (xiii)
- Forcing out the parental opt-out movement; also, booting family out and putting government in to the center of the universe: