Monthly Archives: November 2019

Homeschooling, Gun Violence, and Left-wing Social Engineering

I just read an article someone placed on Facebook that stated more parents are homeschooling because they are fed up with “left-wing social engineering and violence in public schools.”  Using a quote from the Washington Times the article said, “the top three reasons that parents choose homeschooling are a desire to provide religious instruction or different values than those offered in public schools; dissatisfaction with the academic curriculum, and worries about the school environment.”  I worked as a teacher and administrator in private and public schools, and I can say with confidence that those were the same reasons parents said they chose home school over public school thirty plus years ago.  The only two factors that have changed is the number of school shootings, and what I can only assume is the invention of a left-wing social engineering curriculum.  I say invention since there was no such curriculum – academic or otherwise – taught in the 37 years I was in the profession, and I dare say, there is no such course taught to this day.  There may be some who look at certain course offerings in that light, but that is more a personal ideology issue than a public school issue.  There have always been parents who home-schooled their children and even some parents who home-schooled their children for a short period of time before eventually sending them back to the public school, and they do it today for the same reasons they did thirty years ago.  Parents choosing to home-school does not signify public schools are being abandoned.

Homeschooling is a parental choice that works for some and not so well for others.  To a certain extent, homeschooling does shelter children from outside influences and that is generally the ultimate goal of parents who choose to home school.  The potential for violence in public schools does cause some parents to lean toward homeschooling, and who can blame them?  However, violence not only occurs in schools, but on playgrounds, in low income neighborhoods, in affluent neighborhoods, and in society in general, but overall schools are still one of the safest places for children.  The biggest violence concern today of which schools have little or no control over is the growing probability of gun violence on the school campus. There have been at least thirty school related shootings this year alone, so that is a very viable concern for any parent of school age children – public, private, or home-schooled.

As for left-wing social engineering, anyone making such a statement has spent little if any time in today’s schools, especially schools in the South – and most likely across the nation. Overall, teachers tend to be the most conservative family-oriented people in our society, and that has not changed regardless of fear tactics some people try to push.  There are two major influences on what a child is taught in school – the local and state adopted curriculum and the community in which the school exists.  It is highly doubtful teachings in schools, especially public schools, stray too far outside the parameters of the adopted curriculum or values upheld by the community in which the school exists.

Of course, parents should do what they feel best for their children, and if that is homeschooling, that is what they need do. As for me, I believe in public schools, especially since I have been blessed with three children who received a great education in public schools and I now have eight grandchildren getting an equal or better education in public schools.  No, I am not concerned about left wing social engineering in the public schools my grandchildren attend.  Their schools have professional teachers who follow the adopted curriculum and respect the values of the community in which they teach.  Yes, I am concerned about violence, especially the threat of gun violence.  Unfortunately, these days there are few places immune from such violence including schools, the mall, the streets, the church, and even the home.  In some respect, we are all hostages/victims of this atrocity, and it is ludicrous to think we can wrap our children in a cocoon of safety indefinitely – even in the relative safety of our homes –  until this issue passes or is addressed.  Unfortunately, the gun violence issue will not pass until adults across this nation summon the courage to face it head on even if it means taking an unpopular stand to address the violence.  Until that day arrives, who can blame parents if they decide to home-school to protect their child, but at the same time, blame should not be placed on public schools for this issue.  If blame is to be cast, cast it on a society that allows the slaughter of its children to be looked upon as collateral damage.

Public schools are not without fault, but they are not the reason our society is struggling with its sanity, the loss of civility towards one another, or our self-righteous cherry-picking piousness regarding what is right and wrong. The mess we are in begins behind the doors of conservative and liberal homes where the morals and values of our society are instilled or neglected.  A bigger fault than public schools may lie in the abrasive/abusive gum-flapping and finger pointing that threatens to destroy our country and lately seems to have replaced the values we claim to be so important.  Name calling, finger pointing, labeling, and judging are testaments to the values we hold closest to our hearts, and most likely none of that will change in the foreseeable future.  Neither public schools or homeschooling can shelter our children from such hypocrisy.

Therefore, point fingers at the public schools if you like, sneer at the conservatives if that makes you feel fuzzy and warm about yourself, rant against the liberals if that makes you feel superior, and home-school your children if you believe in scare tactics and left wing conspiracies.  I have nothing against homeschooling, but don’t home-school out of fear and doubt cast by fear-mongers, haters, and conspiracy stalkers – home-school because you, as a parent, believe homeschooling is the best education value for your child.  That is exactly why I sent my children to public school and my children send my grandchildren to public school.

Instead of inventing banners of disenfranchisement such as “left wing social engineering”, why don’t we practice a little common-sense social engineering for a change?  Maybe, if common sense comes back in style, we might actually find a way to improve our schools and resolve the gun violence issue to create a better and safer nation for all children – home-school and public school alike.


©Jack Linton, November 15, 2019

Will Mississippi Teachers Make a Difference in Tomorrow’s Election?

At the close of the Mississippi legislature session this past spring, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves showed his true allegiance to K-12 education.  After once again successfully standing in the way of a meaningful public school teacher pay raise, he secretly slipped two million dollars into a non-education bill to support education vouchers for private schools.  Though his lack of support for public education is legendary, why would he risk such a blatant misuse of power during an election year?  It is simple!  He knew there is nothing Mississippi teachers can or will do about it!  Like so many politicians, he looks at teachers as a bunch of little schoolmarms with little serious power or backbone to stand up and be taken seriously.  He believes 20% of teachers might get upset by such a betrayal, another 20% of teachers simply won’t care for whatever reason, and 60% of teachers will be thankful for the crumbs they get and go about business as usual.  So, in his mind, what does he have to fear if he sticks it to public school teachers?

Based on public school teacher voting history, Mr. Reeves knows the odds are in his favor that tomorrow teachers will be among the first in line – if they go to the polls at all – to vote for him as the next governor regardless of how badly he may have treated teachers in the past.  He understands teachers have short memories, are submissive to a fault, and as long as he flies the Republican banner, he has little to fear from a potential power that is basically dormant in the state.  It is sad politicians like him get away with it year after year after year, but in Mississippi it is a fact!

To their credit, there are those teachers who advocate a strike or walkout to get their voices heard, but years ago the Mississippi legislature adopted a “proclamation of servitude” aimed at teachers that effectively squashes any action in that direction beyond words.  However, teachers have a tool that is potentially far greater than the impact of any strike – they have a VOTE!  Teachers have the power to vote politicians like Tate Reeves out of office.  With their vote, teachers have the power to end the disrespect of their profession and the underhanded deals that shortchange public school children and teachers.  It is time teachers stop voting for people because they are from a certain party, they are “good ole boys,” or they know their mamas.  Together teachers have the power to vote out of office Tate Reeves and anyone else who has demonstrated repeatedly their support for public education is only a token nod at election time.

Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely Mississippi teachers will ban together.  Tate Reeves knows that well, and as a result of statewide teacher apathy, once elected governor, he will continue to do unto teachers as he pleases.  Tate Reeves is not a friend of public education or its teachers!  The sad truth is unless educators wake up, the next four and most likely eight years will be little better and probably worse for public school educators.  If Mr. Reeves’ history and past underhanded shenanigans are an indication of his integrity and commitment to public education in Mississippi, Mississippi teachers are in a world of trouble if he becomes the next governor.

It is in their best interests for teachers to stand up for themselves and be heard at the ballot box tomorrow.  Instead of casting a submissive vote based on how the spouse votes or blindly voting party affiliation, teachers should vote as a profession knowing the future of Mississippi and its children are at stake.  If they don’t, there shouldn’t be any future teacher complaints of disrespect, moaning over lost public education funding, or tears over being jilted out of another pay raise.  Instead, teachers should be content to stand aside and watch quietly as more and more of their money and the money of public school children is funneled to private education.  Without a public education infused vote in tomorrow’s election, that is exactly what will happen.   Money intended to support public schools will be funneled to private schools eventually resulting in the dismantling of public education.  The only way for public school education to get its fair share is to hold legislators accountable for their actions towards public education.  The state legislature holds teachers accountable for their actions in the classroom, so it is time teachers held legislators and politicians such as Tate Reeves accountable for their actions regarding public education as well.

The worse thing that could happen to Mississippi in tomorrow’s election is for teachers to have a memory lapse and forget what Mr. Reeves and others like him have done to them rather than for them.  The worse thing that could happen is for teachers not to have the courage to rock the boat and say we are not going to stand for politics as usual anymore.  The worse thing that could happen is for teachers to stay home and not vote!  It is time educators show Mr. Reeves that when it comes to being elected governor in Mississippi there is no such thing as entitlement, especially for someone who has shown so little regard for public school education.

The question is not can Mississippi public school teachers and those who support them make a difference in tomorrow’s election.  The question is WILL THEY?


©Jack Linton, November 4, 2019