HA note: The following is a transcript of the Generations Radio episode “Homeschool Educational Neglect: Media Rages Against Homeschooling,” broadcast on August 27, 2014. It features Kevin Swanson (former CHEC Executive Director and current Director of CHEC’s Generations With Vision program) and Steve Vaughan (CHEC Board Member). The program is a response to Daniel James Devine’s “Homeschool debate” article published by WORLD Magazine on August 25, 2014. This transcript was created by HA Community Coordinator R.L. Stollar.
See the context of and “highlights” from the episode here. Content warning for transcript: abuse denialism and apologism and homophobic remarks.
(introduction, not transcribed)
Kevin: Today we’re going to take a look again at homeschooling. Why? Because homeschoolers, generally speaking, like to restore and reintegrate the family — as a family in the 21st century. And homeschoolers tend to like freedom. They’re the ones fighting for freedom. You want to find anybody interested in decreasing the influence of government in our lives in an era where 60% of the GNI is consumed by governments at all levels up from 9% in 1900? You want to find people interested in backing government off from education, backing government off from family-owned economies, backing government off from all areas of life? Homeschoolers at the forefront of fighting tooth and nail for any semblance of freedom left in the 21st century. I’m thankful for home educators. It’s hard to find anybody else fighting the good fight for freedom in the 21st century.
There are a few. There are some. Here and there. But not very many.
Hey you want to look at the Tea Party and you want to find the people who are fighting at the forefront for freedom? Tends to be homeschoolers. Not always. But I tell you what, you want to find pro-lifers out there? Tend to be homeschoolers.
People out there on the front lines of the battle fighting for the right to life — generally speaking, you’re going to find homeschoolers. K? Homeschoolers at the forefront of a battle for restoring family, faith, and freedom in the 21st century. and I’m thankful for them.
Allright, so there’s my little spiel. Now, now, WORLD Magazine. Now I’ve been getting WORLD Magazine since the 1980’s. I used to think that WORLD Magazine was interested in home educators and home educators were some of their primary market. They were the ones buying the magazines.
Steve: Yeah, we did that.
Kevin: Then they got a lot, a lot, a lot of spread to public schools. A lot, a lot, a lot of spread to private Christian schools. And homeschool has kinda taken the back seat, I think. That’s my impression, Steve. Maybe I’m wrong. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong. But the recent piece published in WORLD Magazine on home education was not particularly positive.
Steve: Yeah it was particularly negative. (laughter)
Kevin: You think it was negative? It was more negative than positive.
Kevin: I think so too. You know they found the 25 people upset with home education…
Kevin: …that started the little IHateHomeschool.com and then they gave them a nice little publicity piece. And HSLDA, you know, did their faithful thing, they wandered up to the microphone and tried to fight for homeschooling and its reputation but…
Steve: Yeah they got a paragraph in the middle of the article. (laugh)
Kevin: They did. But, but you know what? And I realize that makes news. I realize that the 25 people upset in America make news. But they’re not interviewing the 3.2 million kids who have been homeschooled. That didn’t show up in the magazine. And I don’t see that showing up much in the magazine these days. But you know, here’s the problem with Christian organizations. They turn into circular firing squads.
Steve: Yeah. (laughter)
Steve: You know how that works? Everyone just stands in a big circle. Aim, fire, shoot. And everybody falls. What happened? We turn into circular firing squad way too much. And I think it was a couple months ago they kinda had a negative piece on Mike Farris.
Kevin: And they apologized afterwards, thankfully. But what is with WORLD Magazine, guys? I mean, come on. Aren’t we supposed to be one big family? Isn’t there supposed to be a little bit of symbiosis happening in the Kingdom of God? We are overwhelmed, we are outnumbered. The, the other side is gonna kill us when it comes to homeschool freedoms, the freedom to speak against homosexuality. The left is on the rise, baby! Barack Obama is President of the United States, the most pro-infanticide president ever to serve and what are we doing? Cutting each other down? I don’t think so! Try not to do that!
Now we talk a little about homeschooling negligence and homeschooling abuse. Now granted there are abuse cases out there. We know that.
Steve: Oh yeah.
Kevin: And sexual abuse, physical abuse, in the homeschool is as bad as it is anywhere else. And there’s a lot of it out there. Here’s an article from a South Dakota newspaper referring to child sexual abuse there. The estimate is 8% of kids in South Dakota are sexually abused. That’s bad. That’s really bad. That’s really, really, really bad. If we’re close to 1 in 10 kids in South Dakota are sexually abused, that’s really, really bad.
Steve: Now that’s overall, all the families of South Dakota?
Kevin: That’s right, that’s right. And WORLD Magazine, to their credit, did report that 7% of kids complain to some sort of unwanted touching in public schools.
Steve: Right. And that’s nationwide?
Kevin: That’s nationwide. So a lot of the sexual abuse is coming in public schools. But let’s not negate that issue. And HSLDA apparently has said 1.2% of HSLDA members complain of some kind of abuse. Or something like that.
Steve: Yeah, yeah but I think that’s the state complaining of homeschooling abuse…
Kevin: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Steve: …which could be a messy house. It might be that they didn’t have the right to… [cut off]
Kevin: It’s not just sexual abuse. It could be a messy house. It could be a lot of things. Ok, so it’s very possible there’s way, way, way less abuse happening in homeschools than in the rest of the population.
Steve: Yeah but it makes the news when it happens.
Kevin: Yeah. It does. It does. And of course what we’re talking is the minus 3 standard deviations. And it’s ok to refer to some of the abuse cases happening. That’s newsworthy. But we’ve got to keep these things in perspective.
Kevin: And by the way the report did not include references to individuals who have been sexually abused in homeschools. As far as I could tell, that was not part of the story. So first of all, let me say from the outset that sexual abuse, physical abuse — that’s verifiable, 2 or 3 witnesses, etc., etc., k? — a court or trial works through the issue and sure enough, someone was sexually abused? — that’s really, really bad.
Kevin: That should not happen.
Steve: Anywhere. (laughter)
Kevin: Anywhere. Thank you! And I think it’s due to the fact that we had this sexual revolution that unleashed itself in the 1950’s and 1960’s. And America and many other nations around the world have become a sexual cesspool in which homosexuality, incest, sexual abuse, all sorts of things are happening.
Kevin: Which is a very very sad thing, a very very bad thing. And may God bring repentance to the nation.
Ok. But when you talk about things like spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, educational neglect — we’re talking about things that are very, very slippery. Very, very hard to get your hands around. Okay? (laughter) And it’s fun for people to use those terms because, you know, you can just bring accusations against anybody and everybody as you use the slippery terms that are very, very hard to define.
Steve: So yeah, how would you define spiritual abuse?
Kevin: Yeah! Or emotional abuse! What IS that? What exactly is that?
Steve: “Well she spoke harshly to me and used the Bible to let me know I was wrong, so I was spiritually and emotionally abused.”
Kevin: Right, right! Someone came up to a rapist and said, “It’s wrong to rape!” (pretending to be rapist:) “Oh you’re abusing me! You’re abusing me! That’s not very grace-filled! You know, what in the world are you doing? Accusing me of sin? That’s terrible! Oh I’m so abused! I’m so abused!”
Steve: Yeah! “You need to honor your father and mother!” “Oh my!”
Kevin: “I’ve been so abused…” (laughter) “…because this Christian is telling me that I’ve sinned against God and I need to repent.” Ok, so if that’s spiritual abuse… (laughter) …I don’t think the Apostle Paul would agree with you. Put it that way.
But when someone says, I could have had a better education than that provided by my mother or by my father, that’s really, really, really hard to prove. How, how, how do you know that? Maybe it was a character problem on YOUR part. Maybe you didn’t obey your parents! Maybe you didn’t study your books like you were told to! And to think that you could have had a better education if you had done it this way versus that way is extremely hard to prove.
Kevin: Extremely hard to prove!
Steve: Because you can’t go back and do it that way!
Kevin: You can’t! (laughter) You can’t… and even if you could have, you would have dragged your same old person, with your same old character flaws, with your same old slothfulness issue, into the public school or private school setting or other setting ‚ and you could have done worse…
Kevin: …than you did with your parents — trying to do whatever they could have done with you, even with all of your character issues that you’re dealing with. It’s fun to blame your parents for your OWN lack of character!
Steve: Oh yeah!
Kevin: It’s fun to do! And I’m sure there are a lot of kids out there who are doing just that! They’re running across the country. Yeah! Their parents pointed out their sin, pointed out Christ. But they still rebelled and they were scoffers and they refused to take the correction their parents gave them. They violated every single principle in the Book of Proverbs. They made a point not to follow through on anything in the Book of Proverbs! Nothing! And at the end of their educational experience at home, they didn’t succeed. They didn’t make it into Harvard.
Steve: Right! But here’s the case with the WORLD Magazine article and this gal who wrote this. 31 years old. One of the things she was complaining about was that she still counts on her fingers and has to double-check the tip on her restaurant table.
Kevin: That’s 40% of public school graduates, by the way.
Steve: 31 years old now! She’s 31 years old and she set up a website and started an organization apparently counting on her fingers! And so, you know, give me a break!
Steve: If you can do THIS, you can COUNT.
Kevin: And if your parents failed in 18 years, or 12 years, of education, she’s had an additional 13 years!
Kevin: So, so…
Steve: GROW UP!
(laughter) (more laughter)
Steve: READ SOME BOOKS!
Steve: THERE ARE BOOKS OUT THERE ON MATH! YOU CAN LEARN HOW TO NOT COUNT ON YOUR FINGERS!
Kevin: I ran into a family, Steve, a couple of years ago, and these guys had made it through Littleton public schools for 12 years. Okay? They had taken the special needs track as well. Okay, for 12 years, both of them, they got married at 20, 22 years of age and they couldn’t read. Okay? Littleton public schools had spent 100, no, no, excuse me, $347,000 on the education of these kids. They couldn’t read. So they went to church and there were some elderly church people who, you know, took them in and taught them how to read. They were concerned because they went down to the library to get some Dr. Seuss books and he said they couldn’t read the big 27 point font stuff.
Kevin: And they got concerned because they were having kids. Pregnant with the first. So, so they went to some folks in the church and the church folks helped them. They taught them how to read. And so they thought to themselves: Okay, let me get this straight. The Littleton public schools spent $347,000 and they couldn’t teach us how to read. (laughter) They couldn’t pull it off!
Steve: I know there are stats out there about how many seniors can’t even read their diplomas.
Kevin: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s really high. Functional literacy really, really, really high. In fact, college graduates? It’s about 40%.
Steve: Yeah. Isn’t that crazy?
Kevin: College graduates! So this little whiner, talking about her bad experience with home education, um, you know she’s had 13 years to learn how to count.
Kevin: And to learn how to add. And still hasn’t happened. Sounds to me like there’s something wrong. With HER.
Steve: Yeah! Or she’s whining without any reason.
Kevin: Yeah! So anyways this couple decided, you know, if the public schools spent $347,000 and couldn’t teach us how to read, why would we send our kids to these schools? That was their logic. And I’ve met this family again — well, it’s been about 10 years — and their kids are doing very well. Very, very well.
Kevin: They’ve got 8 kids. They live in Nebraska. They’re doing very, very well… So anyways, so why are we sending our kids to public schools? And, and ok, there are sort of the minus 3 standard deviations everywhere. Thankfully homeschoolers are averaging somewhere around the 80th percentile for reading and literature and such. So, if they’re at the 80th percentile, my guess is that there’s got to be something like 93% above the functional literacy level. Or 99% above the functional literacy level! Therefore, people like WORLD Magazine are going to have to look HARD and LONG for the 1%!
Steve: Yeah, that’s right.
Kevin: The minus 3 standard deviations on the standard curve! And they found them! Evidently they found them, they interviewed them!
Steve: Yeah! Yeah, and if you take a look at just the overall standardized tests, homeschoolers score consistently in the 60 to 80% percentile average, for public schools 50%. So, so we’re above that, too.
Kevin: The other, psssh, illustration given by the WORLD Magazine article was a young lady whose parents were divorced. And, and here’s one thing that almost every educator understands: that if the family situation is dysfunctional, the marriage is breaking down, there’s divorce in the family — the kids generally are not going to do well in school.
Steve: Right. No matter where they go.
Kevin: No matter where they go! Oh yeah! The reason you’ve got such problems in public schools is not the teachers, generally speaking. It’s the home life. And just taking a kid who is raised in a dysfunctional home — single mom, etc., etc. — putting them in the public schools is not going to fix the problem necessarily. In fact, it generally doesn’t fix the problem. Why? Because they come from dysfunctional home backgrounds. There’s a reason why inner-city schools typically are producing the very worst results. Well, that’s because the family situation for these kids attending these inner-city schools are dysfunctional. And you can’t fix the problem by fixing the schools! And you can’t fix the problem by fixing the education! I’m sorry, you’ve got to fix the family relationships. You have to fix the family. And that should be a no-brainer.
Moreover, I think WORLD Magazine should think biblically about these things. What does the Bible say about educational neglect? Again, look it up in the concordance! See, people aren’t used to that. Let me explain to you what a concordance is. A concordance is typically found in the back of a Bible. You can find them online. It’s called BibleHub.com. Go there. And… and you look up the word. “Educational neglect.” Look it up in the Bible. You say it’s not there? Yeah. Yeah, exactly! Why? Because it’s not an issue. What’s the issue?
Kevin: The issue is discipleship neglect.
Kevin: The issue is, biblically speaking — if we were thinking biblically — not, not with the psychobabble of the world gives us — but if we’re thinking biblically, educational neglect is the failure to teach God’s Word as you sit in the house, as you walk by the way, as you rise, as you lie down. Okay? So, so, so those are the categories in which we should be thinking, friends.
And, now, here’s the next question: How do we prosecute that through the civil magistrate? That’s the next question that comes to the mind of the socialists — whether they work for TIME Magazine or whether or not they working for WORLD Magazine. I don’t know if socialists work there or not. But, but the question in the minds of a socialist that are in the Christian population and the non-Christian population is: If there is an educational neglect — where a parent refuses to teach their children God’s Word as you sit in the house, as you walk by the way, as you rise, as you lie down — the question in their minds is, should the State prosecute it? My answer is: No.
Kevin: Thank you! I’m glad that you have a biblical worldview, too!
Steve: Oh yeah!
Kevin: Oh it’s incredible, Steve’s got a biblical worldview, I’ve got a biblical worldview!
Kevin: Yeah! The State doesn’t prosecute it! So, who prosecutes it? Um, well — where there are church relationships! Where there is somebody who cares! Here’s one thing I’m learning, Steve: the State can’t fix these problems. They can’t fix the family. They can’t fix educational neglect.
Steve: They’re not designed to!
Kevin: They can’t! And it doesn’t matter how many compulsory [unintelligible] laws they pass down, it doesn’t matter how many… uh, their minions they hire… to enter into every single home and double-check and double-check and double-check. It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t fix the inner-city family! It has NEVER fixed the inner-city family! It has never fixed the educational problem in the inner-cities where there is all kinds of dysfunctionality in the families. Friends, the government can’t fix it! Period! Get. That. Down. Straight!
Those of you working for WORLD Magazine and Time Magazine and anywhere else where there’s people trying to be the do-gooders and trying to fix society’s problems: how you fix society’s problems, it doesn’t happen by government. It happens by people who care. Yeah. People who care. People in the church, people in the community, who come side by side and help those families to homeschool and disciple their kids. That’s how it gets fixed.
(commercial break, not transcribed)
Kevin: We’re back on the Generations Radio broadcast talking about homeschool educational neglect. Educational neglect: “when my fa—, when my parents did not get me into Harvard.” (using fake whining voice) “Why didn’t my parents get me into Harvard? What’s wrong with them?” And you know, the point is, the point is, the goal is not to get you into Harvard. The goal is to get you into Heaven.
Kevin: Mike Smith gives that talk. Heaven, not Harvard!
Kevin: Um, the goal is to teach as you sit in the house, as you walk by the way, as you rise, as you lie down. And teach what? The Word of God. The goal is biblical discipleship in the Word of God because the Word of God is the core in the education program of a child. And I understand there are secularists who may listen to the program and don’t believe that. I understand. That’s a different worldview, a humanist worldview. I don’t. I have a biblical worldview.
Steve: Yeah! And so, really, when they talk about spiritual abuse, spiritual abuse REALLY is not following Deuteronomy 6.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s not teaching the Word of God as you sit in the house.
Steve: Right! And that’s what’s really going on. They’re thinking that when you DO do that, that’s spiritual abuse.
Kevin: And, and, and the problem is Huffington Post would not agree with you.
Steve: Yeah, that’s right!
Kevin: Or Patheos.com. Or Apostate.com or wherever. Um, here’s the other thing I think we ought to draw into this: Homeschooling families are not like public school families. They have different values. Generally speaking. Now, some share values, but I’m talking about Christian homeschool families. Their values are primarily first and foremost not to get their kid into Harvard or get them a good job.
Kevin: That’s not primary. It’s not being sure that the kid can read Plato before he’s 12 years of age…
Kevin: …and get really messed up with the wrong worldview. (laughter) That’s not the goal. See, homeschoolers bring in other values: like relationship building, character building, work, worship. These are important. So it’s not that you can count when you are 31 years of age. Now hopefully that’s a by-product…
Kevin: …of other things that have been happening. But homeschool families are focused on other priorities. And that’s a shocker to the world out there.
Steve: Yeah. Yeah, there’s a — do you remember the dad and the daughter who, like, split the city and went out into the wilderness and lived in a tent for a while?
Kevin: Yeah, right, right, right.
Steve: And she ended up, you know, they were so afraid that she was horribly abused and didn’t know anything. And she scored way high.
Kevin: She scored as a 12th grader, a high school graduate, at 12 years of age. And they’d been woods-schooling for 4 years. I remember that story. Um, but again, the goal is not to be sure that your child is hitting the 97th percentile in math or reading.
Kevin: That’s not the goal. That’s not the goal.
Steve: Jesus said something about that. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose your soul?”
Kevin: Yeah. Well, what socialists are doing — and I’ve seen this more and more, Steve, and I’m concerned about WORLD Magazine and I hope that they don’t go this direction — but what the socialists are doing is they’re looking for the minus 3 sigma cases and using it as the PR case against home education…
Kevin: …in America. I’ve seen this a hundred times if I’ve seen it once. I… And… And, you know, that’s what they do. That’s what they do. Never mind the fact that homeschoolers are registering, averaging, at the 87th percentile, and Dr. Ray’s study looked at other teaching— other testing services beyond Bob Jones. I think he was looking at a broader slice of the population than the Rudner study in the 1990’s. So I think Dr. Ray nailed it with the Ray study that came out about 3, 4 years ago. And the overall core average was running somewhere around 87 percent. And remember the Rudner study of the 1990’s was running somewhere around the 83rd percentile point.
So, so, you know, the bad guys are gonna come after us one way or another. I’m just hoping the good guys would understand a biblical perspective on issues like this and fight for freedom. A little faith! A little courage to get out there and shove this back in the faces of the socialists and the homeschool whiners that — by the way, these homeschool whiners, let’s get back to what they’re really all about. They’re jettisoning a biblical world and life view. They’re looking for more socialism. They want more governmental controls of education. They want more socialist services sticking their noses into homeschoolers around America. This is their agenda. From what I’ve read. And, and they’re traitors. Traitors to the cause. The cause of what? The cause of freedom! The cause of anybody who wants to fight for freedom against the rising tide of totalitarianism and socialism in America! I am seeing a lot of these guys. They’re bitter…
Kevin: …against the values represented by home education and their parents. And it’s probably due to broken relationships in the home. So they walk away from the home, all embittered against their parents and whatever stinkin’ issues their parents ever stood for. And whatever friends their parents ever hung out with. And they’re just angry, bitter people who are, have it in for home education. Now, not everybody. But there’s a handful out there that are making some noise. And as far as I am concerned I’m not giving their websites any credence whatsoever.
Steve: Right. And what they need to do is put the blame where the blame actually is supposed to be. They’re blaming the whole homeschooling movement. They’re taking… they’re… they’re actually committing the fallacies of… it’s, it’s a genetic fallacy. It’s a fallacy of generalization, that you take the small bit and you say that must be true of the whole. So, so since Judas was one of Jesus’s disciples and he betrayed Jesus, then ALL of the disciples must—
Kevin: —must be a bunch of nutcases—
Steve: Yeah. And so. So yeah.
Kevin: And yeah. That happens when you go irrational when, when your relationships bust up and you begin to hate everything about whatever your parents were associated with because those relationships went sour. Moreover, these ex-homeschoolers to which WORLD Magazine is giving credence are pro-homosexual. They’re right there behind the emerging gay movement in Christian colleges. They’re encouraging the PatrickHenryGayBlogspot.com or whatever it is. Uh, don’t go there. I said it wrong on purpose. They’re encouraging the homosexuals showing up at the conservative Christian colleges as well and giving them as much credence as possible. Why? Because they are apostates. They’re embracing everything the Bible doesn’t. They’re embracing socialism, totalitarianism, homosexuality. If it’s ugly, if it’s wicked, if it’s totalitarian, they love it! Why? Because they’re turning away from the values they were raised with.
And guess what? This has happened since Day One. Think about Demus. Think about Alexander the Coppersmith. Think about Judas. I mean, these people have existed since the beginning of the Christian Church. And these traitors are nothing new in the history of the world, my friends. Um, and they’re making it hard on the rest of us. But that’s what the Benedict Arnolds have always done.
Steve: And that’s nothing new either.
Kevin: Yeah, exactly. So, now, now, let’s get back to home education. Are there problems with home education? Yes. Yes. There are problems. And, and, and we need to be the first to confess the weaknesses. Where there are weaknesses, confess them. And, and their slothfulness is an issue. Now again, is it any different, public schools versus private schools versus homeschools? I doubt it. Slothfulness with young men? Yeah. It’s a huge problem.
Kevin: Huge problem. Lack of discipleship for young men because they’re stuck, tied to their mothers’ apron strings until they’re 18 years of age? Yeah, that’s dysfunction. I’ve seen that. Yeah, I’ve seen single moms out there who may have these co-dependent relationships with kids and they won’t do any schooling at all with them. It’s just this weird little co-dependency. They won’t let them go to the public schools, won’t let them go to private schools, and they won’t even homeschool them because they’re just sitting there in the house in this sort of weird, co-dependent relationship. It’s all self-centered. Self-centered, self-centered. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, you see, you see issues — sin issues — in people’s lives everywhere.
Kevin: And as you see those things, I think the church, the local church, needs to address them.
Steve: Yeah! See, really, this is a, not only a family problem, but it’s also a church discipline issue as well. And that’s a whole different show.
Kevin: It is, yeah.
Steve: But it is. I mean, you know, there’s a book Jay Adams wrote that I just really liked about church discipline. And it’s not, you know, most people think of church discipline as a way to kick people out of church. But really, church discipline is a right that everybody has in the church. A well-disciplined church is gonna turn out well-disciplined families, which will have an effect on the community at large.
Kevin: Well, Steve, to close off the program, my hope is that homeschool leaders get a little chutzpah to ‘em and fight the good fight, engage the battle of ideas, come back to a distinctively biblical world and life view and be more self-consistent to it. Stop being so wishy-washy and… And those leaders who are discouraged, I think they’ve been beaten up by an increasingly hostile media to homeschooling. And, and we can expect that.
Hey, you know, homeschooling is making an impact. Of course the enemy’s upset. Of course the media, the academy, the political world is going to note and they’re gonna come after us and they’re gonna do their best to discourage us. But, man alive, get a little faith! You know, dig in for the long haul! Be self-consistent to your world and life view and encourage the next generation of homeschoolers — who, hopefully, should be more self-consistent — and, and, and more committed to the vision of home education than the previous generation.
That’s why I wrote my book “Upgrade: The 10 Secrets to the Best Education For Your Child.” And hopefully this will give vision to tens of thousands of people listening to the program, especially to our kids and grandkids who need a vision for educating their kids — a distinctively biblical vision because education is a point at which we have seen massive apostasy from the Christian faith. This is the catalyst to apostasy. So if you want to see a restoration of the good things of life, it’s gotta happen in the education of the next generation.
The bad guys understand it. Now it’s time for the good guys to figure it out. And that’s why I wrote my book “Upgrade: The 10 Secrets to the Best Education For Your Child.” Also, “Keep the Faith: Volume One” deals with the historical Christian perspective of education based on 2,000 years of the greatest Christians who have ever written anything on Christian education. You need to get these books. Get these resources. And empower the next generation to be even more faithful than we were.
The vision for home education, for family-based education? You’ll find it in my book “Upgrade: The 10 Secrets to the Best Education For Your Child” and our website, KevinSwanson.com.