I know it’s not a flawless parallel, but the HSLDA’s position and response to Libby Anne’s recent posts reminds me very much of three other issues: prayer in public schools, abortion and gay marriage.
Anti-abortion advocates seem to assume that outlawing abortion will remove both the need and desire for abortions. In their eyes the answer is so simple because making abortion illegal will magically make women think twice about engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage and, when they do, abortion’s illegality will make them magically want to carry a child to term and keep or seek adoption.
Likewise, it reminds me of the over-simplistic argument against gay marriage. In particular, the idea that children need a mother and father so gay marriage will take away one or the other from a child, stunting their development. I guess if gay marriage is kept illegal then the family will magically revert to a mother and father who live together and are sexually attracted to each other.
Finally, I hear repeatedly that if we could just put prayer back in schools then our country would return to the wholesome, wonderful state it was in sixty years ago. Never mind that students can still pray on their own in the school and the “Meet You at the Pole” event is perfectly fine with schools, apparently there is something magical about prayer when sponsored and led by the school.
Maybe it’s because I subscribe to more liberal thinking that I see this sort of across-the-board simplistic thinking from conservatives. I would certainly assume that the HSLDA and its members are against gay marriage and abortion and for prayer in public schools (even if they are a homeschool organization) although that might not describe every single member.
Some might think it a contradiction because I argue as an atheist that people are fundamentally good and that Christians assume people are fundamentally bad since inheriting original sin. This isn’t really a contradiction. I still believe that the vast majority of parents love their children and act in their best interests.
It seems, however, like the HSLDA intentionally overlooks the possibility that there might be a few bad parents in their membership and seem steadfast in their refusal to help the children caught in those situations.
The HSLDA’s overarching mission is to free parents of any restrictions to homeschooling with the assumption, I assume, that when parents are free of restrictions then they can turn their full attention and energy to providing the best education possible to their children.
As Libby Anne has pointed out, though, the idea that some parents are not fit to provide that education or are even abusive seems to be completely outside of the HSLDA’s comprehension. It’s pretty telling that their mission isn’t to provide the best possible homeschooling environment to kids but rather provide the freest possible environment to the parents. They assume that parents always want the best and provide for their children while working to eliminate any safeguards.