Ted Cruz and Home-schooling

The tiff over Cruz's bill to give homeschoolers the opportunity to have an eduational savings account reveals some philosophical differences of emphasis among Christian homeschoolers.

American Vision (AV) opposes it, as the camel's nose in the tent of federal regulation and tyranny.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) supports it, (check out their recent interview with Cruz here) as a way of giving home-schoolers the same benefits offered to public- or private-schoolers.

AV's view of home-schooling is motivated by keeping the government out of our lives absolutely and at all costs.  HSLDA's view is motivated by giving home-schoolers the same rights and privileges as anyone else in our political system.

Cruz says he wants no role for the federal government in education.  He'd abolish the Department as president.  Yet he supports this bill.  You can see Cruz as inconsistent in this if you want, but it's really incrementalism of the legit variety, in my book.  Politicians work on two different level at the same time: the long range goals driven by the values you hold, and the laws in place and how you can realistically get them changed.

This is an issue over which faithful Christians do not need to choose sides.  Our media these days trains us to pick sides and fight over every last thing, but there is no need here.  It's very dirty politics to use this bill to turn the heart of Cruz' base against him.  Of course, we'll all have a primary vote to cast, but to reject Cruz over this would be poor political prioritizing.

Some home-schoolers in my state use a religious exemption, entitling them to report virtually nothing to the state about their education of their children.  This is the American Vision mentality: we're home-schooling partly to keep the guvmint out of our family.  Others use a more standard approach and report some things annually.  This is more characteristic of the HSLDA folks.  Either option is legitimate, in my book.  The AV approach can too harshly lambast this latter group and Cruz for working in the public square for the benefit of home-schoolers.  HSLDA, on the other hand, can be too naive to the pitfalls involved with its pursuit of getting a place at the political table for home-schoolers.

No comments:

Post a Comment