Pharyngula - Science Blogs August 3, 2010
I am the wrong person to answer this email
by PZ Myers
I am not a fan of homeschooling; in fact, if I had my way, I'd make it illegal. Too often it's an excuse to isolate kids and hammer them full of ideological nonsense, and in a troubled public school system, it doesn't help to strip students and money from a struggling district — it should be part of the social contract that we ought to provide a good education to everyone.
Before you start protesting (aw, who am I kidding? Some will be howling in protest anyway) I know that there are good homeschool programs, and I have students who were homeschooled and were better prepared than kids coming out of the public school system. You may be one of them. But I don't think sending everyone to be taught by your mom and dad is a good solution, and I think we're better off investing in good public education.
OK, but now on to the email. Here's a sincere and worthy request from a homeschooling mom in Arizona.
Next summer, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis is coming to Phoenix to speak at the local homeschool convention. As a secular homeschooler in Phoenix, I am appalled. I feel like I must respond in some way, stand up and say, "This guy does not represent me or others like me!"
I am interested in creating some kind of large, public response, but not sure where to begin. I thought that one of you might have some ideas.
See what I mean? This is one of the big problems of homeschooling: for every good, science-oriented parent, there are dozens or hundreds who buy into the awful, horrible, no-good nonsense peddled by Ken Ham and other creationists.
So I recuse myself as an opponent of homeschooling, but I appreciate that as long as we are going to have homeschoolers, something needs to be done about this ridiculous association between homeschooling and bad education. I turn it over to the readers here: what should be done? What can be done in the short term to protest damning choices like bringing Ham in to speak to a convention, and what can be done in the long run to get better quality science into homeschool programs? That last one will be a real challenge, given that my impression of the majority of homeschoolers is that they're doing it specifically to indoctrinate their kids in a specific conservative Christian ideology.
This article was found at:
Bob Jones University science textbook for home schoolers ignores science and critical thinking
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New Hampshire court orders home-schooled Christian girl to attend a public school
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Get tough on home-schooling to weed out abuse, says UK review
Home schooling 'could be a cover for child abuse and sexual exploitation'
Queensland state schools will begin teaching creationism as part of history lessons on controversy of human origins
Religious indoctrination thrives in B.C. private schools because education ministry does not vet textbooks or courses
Atheist group files complaint with B.C. Ministry of Education over Christian school teaching creationism in science class
Louisiana school board wants believers to teach creationism in science classes, thinks it will solve discipline problem
U.K. zoo that promotes creationism approved by government as destination for school field trips
Young-Earth students go on 'creation vacations'
The Center for Inquiry Responds to Kearny High School Club Fieldtrip to Creation Museum
Reactionary Christian fundamentalists take over Texas school board, rewrite history books to indoctrinate America's children
Hearing for Ohio science teacher sacked for evangelizing and teaching anti-science shows great divide in U.S. society
Ex-superintendent: Science teacher should have avoided religion
Vacation Liberty School uses Christian fundamentalism to politically indoctrinate children
Rapid growth of Bible-based education in Canada spurred by Christian nationalists eager to indoctrinate the "Joshua Generation"
Richard Dawkins: Muslim parents 'import creationism' into schools
Jehovah's Witnesses propaganda discourages children from pursuing the "temptation" of university education