It’s not often I blog twice in one day. The Subway brouhaha weighs heavily on my mind. Not so much the essay contest and the $5K grand prize, because honestly, that was only going to affect one student and one school. What’s pressing on me now is the emotional damage being inflicted because that can affect a great populace.
Clearly, the debate about whether or not homeschooled students should be allowed to compete in this contest taps into a much deeper emotional well than simply writing a children’s story that might win a gift basket. Both sides drag heavy baggage with them into this debate. Homeschoolers who’ve been demeaned, belittled and ostracized. Public educators who are defensive, snubbed and worried about whether kids are being properly educated. Years of passionate feelings on the issue are boiling over now.
I enjoy a good debate. I’ve read logical arguments for both sides of this one. What worries me is that I’m also reading a large amount of mockery aimed at children. This sweeps in from both sides. Home schoolers mocking the intelligence of public schooled children and public school defenders throwing out hateful stereotypes of homeschoolers, mocking their religion, social skills and brain power.
My prayer is for maturity on both sides. We can talk about all the issues related to Subway without descending to ridiculing children. Whether or not any children actually read these comments is irrelevant. We’re digging a deeper chasm in an unhealthy controversy. Why is there such a dichotomoy between public school and home school proponents? Aren’t there benefits to both? Aren’t they both legal and useful? Haven’t they both turned out a large number of well-educated people? We could debate which is better overall or which is better for individual families, and still all go home friends at the end of the day.
Here in our community, I’ve seen children from both “sides” working together, competing together, even doing public service projects that benefit each other. Barwise Junior High invites homeschoolers to their Fairy Tale Theatre productions during the school day, put on for benefit of visiting school groups. The homeschool drama club did the same thing, putting on plays and inviting public school groups to enjoy the show for free. I’ve seen homeschooled junior high kids go into public and private school kindergarten classes and read to the younger ones. They’re all just kids until their parents teach them to look down on someone else.
I’ve pulled some great quotes from another site that is promoting allowing homeschoolers access to public school sports (http://www.timtebowbill.com/answers.htm). These folks sum it up well.
Let us keep in mind…that a student is a student – regardless of where they receive their education. Each child is already a part of our society. Turning out the best equipped individuals should be the goal of us all.
And this one:
First of all there is no “you” nor “our” to this issue. We are all citizens…with hopefully the same goal in mind and that is to provide the best for our children. This is about what is best for the student – not what is merely good enough. A homeschooled student is a student…just the same as a public or private schooled student and therefore deserves equal and fair treatment…Many who exhibit this attitude [of us against them] often have the misconceived notion that homeschoolers think they are “better” than others. While this notion may be the case in some instances, the same could be said of public-schoolers. So it simply points out a bias or resentment…Again it has nothing to do with the intelligent debate that many on both sides of this issue are trying to conduct.
Okay. That’s my big picture. I hope it sounds more like the inspiring Dr. King’s “I have a dream…” than the somewhat more mundane Rodney King’s “Can’t we all just get along?”
Something to think about.