Not to invite myself over or anything…

By JESSE SCACCIA

But I want to learn more. If someone in the Norfolk, Virginia, area would like to invite me into their home so that I can observe a dayof your homeschooling practices, I would be honored to attend. Here is my email address: jessescaccia@gmail.com

One other quick note… for those of you who don’t think I respect homeschoolers, or suppose that I would like to see it banned, you are wrong. The homeschooling community left hundreds of critical comments on the site I co-edit. I could have easily just deleted them, or revised my article to appease your audience. But I didn’t, because I respect your intelligence, right to disagree with me, and very American (and beautiful) right to educate your child as you see fit.

Looking forward to hearing from you. And, as always, thank you for being teachers.

About these ads

67 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

67 responses to “Not to invite myself over or anything…

  1. K.T.

    Dear Jesse,
    You will find that the homeschool movement is very open to discussing reasons, methods and philosophy. I would love to give you something to satisfy your curiosity. But what so many of these families are trying to get across is that, even if you were able to observe, what you saw would only apply to that family for that day. We do all share some common traits in that we all in some way teach our kids to “read and cipher” but the lifestyle isn’t a static reality.
    Can you be more specific in what you’re interested in?

    • K.T.,

      If homeschooling situations are so very different that my visiting one wouldn’t be all that instructive, then how can people defend homeschooling as a whole?

      • andrea

        They are different because different families, even different children, are involved. I do think you could learn from observing one, however, just as I learned from observing a public school classroom last year. :) I’ll link this to a home school group I know and hopefully someone will get back with you.

      • K.T.

        Well, looking back, I suppose if you were a complete neophyte, observing an active family would help you begin to understand. If you wanted to observe I would suggest visiting a few families, a few coops. There is a giant conference coming up in this month, June12-13 in Chantilly VA. That would be a good place to see some of what homeschoolers use for curriculum, as well as hear speakers on different aspects of teaching/parenting.
        You have to understand that the strategies for homeschooling a family with 8 kids is a lot different than homeschooling with an only child for obvious reasons.
        The point is that the schooling is adapted to fit the child/children’s needs. But the goal of each is the same – a well-rounded, well-educated adult.
        There is even hot debate within the homeschooling community itself over methods – Classical, Traditional, Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies, Unschooling – the list goes on and on. If you ever want to listen to a bunch of people talk till your head falls off – simply ask them about A Beka Math vs. Saxon Math.
        Your inbox will be filled for the next 5 years. I’ve never met another homeschooling mom who doesn’t revisit the topic of publishers and methodology at least once a year. We’re constantly revising, updating, reviewing and critiquing what we’ve done/will do.

      • Jenan

        Probably the same way one can defend any other form of schooling, or marriage, or literature. One defends the concept, not the specific example.

      • Homeschooling is different from family to family because the whole point of homeschooling is that we all get to figure out exactly what works for each family. THAT’S what’s worth defending.

        Did you really need that explained? Really?

        It’s a good thing I’m getting an article out of this…

      • Michelle in GA

        “If homeschooling situations are so very different that my visiting one wouldn’t be all that instructive, then how can people defend homeschooling as a whole?”

        This is one of my primary criticisms of the public school (or private school) classroom. Public schools want to take this cookie cutter approach with kids. But kids are all different. What works great for Susie might not work so great for Bobby. And then there are family differences. What works great for the Smith’s might be awful for the Brown’s.

        One of the things that I think makes most homeschool families so successful is that we recognize that our children are individuals….not cookie-cutter-kids. Does this make sense at all?

        One of my children is an auditory learner primarily, while another one of my children is primarily a visual learner. If I try to force both kids to sit there and listen to me lecture or read, my one son LOVES it…my other son could not tell you anything I said, unless he has a textbook to follow along with me.

        Families are different also. The Brown’s family may have a father who works third shift, so the family tries to homeschool the children in the afternoon. Or maybe the Mom works, so she homeschools in the afternoon. On the other hand, my family likes to get up by 7am and be at the school table (that crazy thing we eat on also) by 8am.

        Homeschooling works as a whole because as a whole we want to do what’s best for our individual children. No cookie cutter homeschool classrooms allowed. It’s a very successful plan.

      • It would and wouldn’t be instructive. Just as visting only one of the many institutional school settings (NYPublic School 101, a small rural public school, a Waldorf school, a college-prep school or Montesorri school, charter school) wouldn’t give you the whole picture for more traditional school settings. It will just give you a feel for other options.

        People can’t defend homeschooling as a whole. This is the same reason you can’t make a “case against homeschooling” as a whole.

  2. Homeschooler/Journalist

    “for those of you who don’t think I respect homeschoolers, or suppose that I would like to see it banned, you are wrong”

    Homeschooling parents are “self-aggrandizing”…
    Everyone should be forced to go to public school…
    Teaching your own children is “dangerous”…

    I’m missing the respect part, somewhere.

  3. One can be critical of a concept or another person and still respect them. I could have (and might in the future) write a piece entitled The Case Against Public Schools. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect public school teachers, or that I think public schools should be shut down. It’s all so extreme up in here!

    Even for great movements, criticism is necessary so that they might advance.

    • Homeschooler/Journalist

      But you’re not being critical, you’re being insulting. There is no respect in these statements from your original post:

      1) self-aggrandizing, society-phobic mother
      2) “You were totally home schooled” is an insult college kids use
      3) Homeschooling is selfish
      4) God hates homeschooling (this one is just silly)
      5) Homeschooling parent/teachers are arrogant to the point of lunacy.
      6) As a teacher, homeschooling kind of pisses me off.
      7) Homeschooling could breed intolerance, and maybe even racism.
      8) Not to hate, but they do tend to be pretty geeky.

      “Not to hate” … Is that like a get-out-of-jail-free card for hateful statements?

      Again, why does homeschooling scare you so? Out of the millions of people in this country who are doing badly by kids, why pick on parents who are taking action to make their kids’ lives better?

    • Jenan

      The key, however, is that it be constructive criticism. “God hates homeschooling” and “geeky” are about cute, about flip– not about respect.

      And at the risk of being yet another in the long line of those who’ve cried arrogance– just what is it that makes you think you’re particularly well-equipped to “advance” homeschooling?

      • Homeschooler/Journalist

        @Jenan – “just what is it that makes you think you’re particularly well-equipped to ‘advance’ homeschooling?”

        You talking to me? What kind of qualifications do you think I need?

        I have two teens who have always been homeschooled. They are smart, well-informed, nice people. We have a terrific group of homeschooling friends that we get together with regularly for learning and hanging out.

        I promote homeschooling in print, online and at education conferences by talking about my positive experiences.

        In addition, I share homeschool-type learning activities with the public by presenting enrichment workshops in public schools, libraries, and summer programs. Sometimes my kids assist me, sometimes they volunteer in other teacher’s classes. The other teachers love them, and so do the kids they help.

        OK, your turn: why do you and Jesse (not a very long line of name-callers, when you look at it) think homeschoolers are arrogant? Do you as a teacher or parent take it as a personal insult that I choose not to send my kids to public school?

    • Criticism is fine…snarky comments that you think make you sound cool…nah.

      If you are really interested in learning more about homeschooling, I encourage you to visit the upcoming homeschool convention in Richmond. If it is anything like the Florida homeschool convention, you will see all kinds of homeschoolers there. Here is the website: http://www.heav.org/convention/index.html

      Visiting the state homeschool convention is what convinced me that homeschooling was an option for us. I was amazed to see so many kids who were well-spoken, seemed to like their parents and siblings and were, well, still kids and not trying to fit some sort of media generated idea of what “cool” is.

      And hey, I really think you should go with the case against public schools article. Just be sure to keep up the derisive tone and the name calling.
      You’ll probably get twice as many hits as you did with the homeschooling article!

    • bw

      “One can be critical of a concept or another person and still respect them.”

      Yes, but in that case, their criticism does not even come close to taking the form that yours did. You didn’t even have enough respect for those with whom you disagreed to construct a coherent, logical, fact based criticism worthy of a sixth grade writing assignment. Nothing you’ve said in this sad episode is as disrespectful as the implicit assumption that homeschoolers weren’t capable of seeing your utter failure to put an ounce of intelligent thought into what you wrote.

      For example, “5. As a teacher, homeschooling kind of pisses me off. (That’s good enough for #5.)” I wager most homeschoolers would need to suppress the urge to slap the 12 year old who wrote something that stupid in an assignment. If you’d tolerate it from one of your students, then I doubt all the homeschool observation in the world could help you.

      You left it up there, but you still can’t bring yourself to admit what a profoundly ill-conceived screw up it was. Stop defending your mental diarrhea. The only way to live it down is to own up. I pity the teacher who can’t admit when they’re wrong who encounters a truly sharp student.

  4. If you want to drive 3 hours to Raleigh, we’d be more than glad to let you observe.

    I think you’d be more time efficient to check out a few message boards, where parents are actively discussing methodology and curriculum and behavior issues, etc:
    Well Trained Mind is my favorite: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums
    I think you linked the blog to Afterschoolers board
    http://afterschoolers.yuku.com/

    You can check out my blog. I do a weekly update of what we accomplished for the week http://cuddyacademy.blogspot.com

    My favorite blog is:
    http://higherupandfurtherin.blogspot.com

  5. Liz

    It was interesting to me that you assume we do not know or support public school teachers. Many of my friends teach in the LA Unified school district and I think they are saints. They love their students and do a great job, even when the district gets behind and does not pay them for a while. All of them are big supporters of my home schooling journey. I can’t see why different educational options can’t be part of a spectrum of possibilities with all of us supporting each other. Us vs Them mentalities benefit no one.

    • bw

      “It was interesting to me that you assume we do not know or support public school teachers.”

      I found that striking as well, along with the implicit assumption that we hadn’t thoroughly hashed this out with any public school teachers before Jesse.

      Jesse, I’ve had many discussions of homeschooling with far less manic public school teachers than you, including someone defending for a PhD in science education who also has graduate degrees in the pure science, a former president of a teachers union local chapter, and several other public and private school teachers across a wide variety of subject areas and grade levels. Almost all of them are supportive of homeschooling, and NONE of them would ever think to disagree with anyone on any subject in such a small minded manner as you chose to do. You say your request is for your own learning benefit – I suggest that request will be better received once you persuasively demonstrate that you can learn from your own mistake, which, as far as I can tell, you still can’t even accept for the mistake that it is.

  6. I posted but I guess it went to spam file.

    • Elizabeth Conley

      Aunt Pol,

      Yepindoodles. Ditto here.

      Mr. Scaccia is well thought of in academia at O.D.U.

      I hope he’s not as crazy and arrogant as the worst of my professors. Some of them got vicious when students, whom they viewed as inferior, called them on their delusions.

      If he’s unbalanced, the home school community may have created a dangerous enemy, just by refuting his points.

  7. Cindy

    Jesse, I have to second the question concerning your assumption that your “criticism” somehow advances or improves homeschooling. You may be better off apologizing for your tone and approach, if you are interested in constructive discussion.

    You have to understand that your “Case Against Homeschooling” actually made many of us laugh out loud. Literally. It was nothing new, though perhaps more childish than much of what I have seen.

    I wasn’t upset; I am used to the fact that most people have little to no understanding of homeschooling. I did find your approach condescending (though amusing), and, frankly, I was too busy to “fill you in”. So were many others that I know.

    If you are truly interested in learning about homeschooling, you may have to do some serious reading first. I tell my kids the same thing. Producing adults who know how to learn is one of my primary goals. If they have a question for me, I must see evidence that they have made some intellectual effort to understand first. Otherwise, it is a waste of my time. I do not encourage intellectual laziness.

    You may find that homeschoolers are distrustful of outsiders coming in “to watch”. There is good reason for this, particularly with journalists. Check out the Home Education Magazine news blog for a mere glimpse of the track record.

    I think your curiosity may well be genuine (I didn’t the other day), so I am giving you a heads up. I wouldn’t invite you into the midst of *our* homeschooling as things stand at the moment, because that requires some level of trust, but if you became more familiar with the books, articles and blogs out there, I would seriously reconsider. I suspect this would be true of other families as well. You would have to put up with being put through the ringer by my kids in regard to your blog posts, however. I warn you; they wouldn’t let you off easy, though they would be polite about it.

    Check out this crossword (which is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but fun).

    One last note; though I have always been supportive of the concept of homeschooling, I didn’t truly understand how life-changing it could be until we left school at the behest of my kids. I thought we did this primarily for educational reasons, but I found that was the least of the benefits. The sudden feeling of freedom was surprising, but there was a renewed closeness within the family that is impossible to describe to anyone who has not experienced it.

    Intellectually speaking, my eyes were opened to the artificial constraints of “the system”. There is nothing like leaping out of the box into the unknown to learn more about the unknown. But then you can also turn around and see the box in a whole new way, seeing things not able to be seen from the inside. I sometimes liken it to stepping out of Flatland into the three dimensional world.

    I wish you well in your quest to understand homeschooling. Be aware that this topic is deeper and broader than you likely imagine, and could take quite some time to grasp.

    • “Intellectually speaking, my eyes were opened to the artificial constraints of “the system”. There is nothing like leaping out of the box into the unknown to learn more about the unknown. But then you can also turn around and see the box in a whole new way, seeing things not able to be seen from the inside. I sometimes liken it to stepping out of Flatland into the three dimensional world.”

      You just describe how I feel. The freedom is exhilerating. I really didn’t realize how much influence the government schools affected our lives until we were out of the system. Our family is closer. Everyone is calmer. Even the dog is happier!

      • Cindy

        LOL! Yes, it is amazing how the whole dynamic and atmosphere of a household changes. It is something I have tried to describe to those who don’t homeschool, but I don’t think mot can get it, just as I couldn’t before I took that leap of faith.

      • Elizabeth Conley

        It’s funny you say “even the dog is happier!” That rings such a chord here. I’d go so far as to claim, “Even the goldfish is happier!” We have some of the most spoiled pets on the planet. There’s abundant love to spare around here, and the animals lap it up.

        Life is good.

  8. Nance Confer

    Will your report on the home visit and the comments made here by homeschoolers be part of the book?

    Nance

  9. Elizabeth Conley

    Mr. Scaccia,

    Plenty of home school families live in Norfolk VA. Unfortunately, They’ve seen your articles, and simply don’t trust you.

    You’ve expressed deep prejudice against home school families, and displayed many traits of pathological narcissism. Who wants to expose their family to the sort of dysfunctional drama that results from contact with a personality disordered individual? They could end up entangled with a self-righteous nut who won’t leave them in peace.

    One of the reasons people home school is their preference for healthy relationships over dysfunctional ones. If you would like to build a healthy relationship with members of the home schooling community, I suggest you start slowly. Relationships take time. You have gotten started on the wrong foot.

    Since Norfolk VA is convenient for you, start here:

    http://www.heav.org/convention/index.html

    http://www.vahomeschoolers.org/

    Over time, you may be able to correct the impression you’ve given the home school community.

  10. Amanda B.

    It was silly to write a diatribe on home schooling and the whole concept when you don’t know much about it. Rather uneducated in my opinion.

  11. Right idea, wrong order. I seriously doubt any homeschooler would want you in their home or around their kids after your making such snap judgments.

  12. Mimi

    I’ve invited him. He’s within driving distance. We’ll see if he comes.

    Of course, it’s summer, but we’re still doing a bit.

    • Nance Confer

      I wouldn’t invite this stress into our lives on a bet!

      I hope Jesse will understand that no one hsing family or group represents hsing. That we all live and learn differently and most of us are not asking to be judged or examined by others.

      Good luck!

      Nance

  13. Mimi

    I like to show my children the alternative, Andrea, in a protected environment. :-) Never, however, should he be in a position of authority over any child.

    • Elizabeth Conley

      Good luck with that Mimi. Are you a member of HSLDA? If not, that might be a good investment. Please be careful.

      We’re still pretty busy wrapping up the school year. We won’t be done until around June 2oth. With a politely worded “get lost” sign posted on our front door, I can’t see entertaining a high-maintenance guest. I’m impressed that you have the time and energy. You go girl!

  14. People don’t trust you, as has been pointed out. Given the things you said about homeschoolers and homeschooling and the dishonest way you portrayed the comments to your posts (in some cases attributing to homeschoolers sentiments that were actually expressed by people who don’t homeschool), I wouldn’t trust you to honestly and objectively observe a homeschool.

    My oldest daughter graduated from our homeschool and went on to college. In her speech class she was assigned to debate a topic with a partner. They chose homeschooling, my daughter taking the pro position, and her classmate taking the con. Her classmate chose the topic, saying she disapproved of homeschooling.

    After a couple weeks her classmate came to my daughter begging for help- she couldn’t find any good reasons not to home-school, and no matter how she searched, she wasn’t coming up with in sound arguments against homeschooling in general- only reasons why it might not be best in any one particular case.

    So my daughter and I went over all the discussions we’d ever had with people online and in real life about why they objected to homeschooling and we really tried to help her construct a sound case against homeschooling. They got an A on their assignment, and the anti-homeschooling girl actually decided she would homeschool her own children if she ever had them.

    Had she attempted to debate using the points you made in your first post, she’d have gotten an F.

  15. Pingback: The case against homeschooling « Teacher, Revised

  16. Mimi

    He’s not going to call.

    We’ve exchanged several emails. He can’t understand my arguments and mistook my attempts at clarity for yelling. (I capitalized important topics and key words.) And his only response is that I’m being irrational and ignorant.

    Oh, and he’s also putting words in my mouth. Nice work, there.

    I’ve got my phone on, Jesse! It’s on my hip.

    (I live in MD. He’s in VA. I’m not worried. :-P)

    • Nance Confer

      What the heck! An argument and the trip hasn’t even happened yet? :)

      Nance

      • Mimi

        Oh, he didn’t want to call. He didn’t want to meet us. He wanted to make sure I’m *nice* first.

        Apparently, I’m not nice, ‘cuz so far, all he understands is that I’m a h8tr and think he’s “malevolent” for calling HS kids geeks.

        No. Childish, Jesse. *Childish.*

        • Mimi, you’re a true nut case. What did I ever say about ‘nice’?

          You kindly invited me, and then within hours I got another email from you, full of insults and accusations. Which led me to believe your invitation was not sincere, or possibly some sort of HS ambush (half joke).

  17. Mimi

    Here are my two main emails:

    I read every single thing you wrote about homeschooling and some of your other articles. It was EXACTLY that which lowered my opinion of you so much.

    You wrote about homeschooling from your authority as an ex-teacher and an individual with multiple advanced degrees, including journalism. You also argued so poorly from both the standpoint of an English major and a journalist that you undermined the credibility of your degrees.

    Your arguments are not maintained from sentence to sentence. You contradict yourself freely and use most of the fallacious tactics covered in an elementary logic course. All that you’re left with, in the end, is an argument that you don’t like homeschooling from an emotional standpoint because 1) homeschoolers might have a different worldview than what you find acceptable and 2) they’re weird.

    What makes me so very impatient is that you are, unknowingly, the prime example of just what is wrong with public school education today.

    I’m debating about what to start with. Your lipservice to moral relativism? Homeschoolers’ cultural difference? Their weirdness?

    I think the most egregious of your major sins is your fear of homeschoolers because they might raise their children to have different beliefs than your own. (Oh, excuse me. WRONG beliefs. Because your beliefs are the RIGHT ones.)

    First, I must ask: Do you recognize any kind of objective truth, or do I need to step you through the fallacies of relativism? Or can we agree that there are some things that are right and some that are wrong?

    Please note that there are not merely “facts” and “opinions.” There are facts, opinions, and tastes. “I don’t like homeschooling” is most properly termed a taste. Tastes cannot be false or invalid. “Homeschooling is bad” is an opinion. Opinions can be both false and invalid if the logic supporting them is faulty. It is this conclusion that makes people believe that they can say anything as long as they add “I think” or “in my opinion” in front of it and not be called into account.

    We can deal with relativism later as long as you’ll concede that yes, you meant something that means something to other people when you criticized homeschooling. You must then restrain yourself during the course of this dialog from making statements about how no one can be right or wrong whenever you’re backed into a corner. It’s a reflex, but it’s a sloppy one, and you need to cut it out.

    Please think VERY carefully about the form of your arguments. LOGICALLY. Do you know the form for syllogisms? Let’s use this, then.

    First, let’s cover the difference between a false argument and an invalid one.

    I was about to write something long, but this covers it quite well:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Validity

    and this covers truth in an comprehensible way, though somewhat incidentally:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soundness

    Got that? Good. Now, maybe we can talk.

    This has been one argument you’ve made so far:

    Major Premise: It is important for people in society to learn to embrace people and be exposed to people from all kinds of backgrounds.
    Minor Premise: Homeschooling is a non-mainstream background.
    Conclusion: People shouldn’t homeschool because their kids will get called names and it isn’t good to be different without a good reason.

    Here’s another one you’ve made:

    Major Premise: It is important for people in society to learn to embrace people and be exposed to people from all kinds of backgrounds.
    Minor Premise: Homeschooling is a non-mainstream background.
    Conclusion: Homeschoolers are bigots who hate people from other backgrounds.

    Notice the lack of soundness, here? That’s why you were getting your clock cleaned in the comments, most of which you couldn’t follow.

    I don’t think you’re “born stupid,” but you were never taught to think or to analyze and follow arguments. In fact, very little of any of your arguments last for very long before devolving to your emotions. This is a fault of your education, and you inability to realize this fault and correct it is a FURTHER fault of your education. This does not put you in a strong position for arguing for institutionalized school. FYI. Hence the hysterical merriment of many of your readers, which you didn’t seem to understand.

    Here’s some of mine:

    Major premise: A plurality of cultural backgrounds is a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.
    Minor premice: A plurality of cultural backgrounds necessitates the existence of those, by definition, outside of the mainstream.
    Conclusion: Cultural backgrounds outside of the mainstream are a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.

    Major premise: Cultural backgrounds outside of the mainstream are a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.
    Minor premise: Homeschooling provides a cultural background outside of the mainstream.
    Conclusion: Homeschooling provides a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.

    I will not argue whether this is sound, as the truth of the first major premise is actually a d**ed hard thing to establish. (I actually am mostly convinced of it, BTW. But it is very hard to argue.) But it’s valid.

    Major Premise: Every person is a single individual and can have the life experiences and beliefs of only a single individual.
    Minor premise: A person’s culture is determined by a person’s life experiences and beliefs.
    Conclusion: No matter how blended or “mixed up,” a person can only have one culture of his own.

    Major premise: If a person can be taught and believe that the value set called multiculturalism is a virtue to such an extent that the belief becomes the defining part of their worldview….
    Minor premise: and no matter how blended or “mixed up,” a person can only have one culture of his own….
    Conclusion: then that person can have only one culture though it be defined by the belief that multiculturalism is a virtue.

    Major premise: If many people can be taught and believe that multiculturalism is a virtue to such an extent that that belief becomes the defining part of their worldview….
    Minor premise: and no matter how blended or “mixed up,” a person can only have one culture of their own…..
    Conclusion: then those people will form a single culture that demands the belief that multiculturalism is a virtue.

    Major premise: Many cultures exist.
    Minor premise: “Multiculturalism” (as it is called) is a defining part of a particular monoculture.
    Conclusion: The vast majority of cultures are not “multicultural.”

    Major premise: The culture of multiculturalism does not tolerate non-multiculturalism.
    Minor premise: The vast majority of cultures are not “multicultural.”
    Conclusion: Multiculturalism does not tolerate most cultures.

    And THIS is exactly where you are. Because you don’t understand arguments, you don’t understand how you got there or even how ridiculous such a position is, but you spout bile at homeschoolers and are “afraid” of them because might be different even though you claim to believe that cultural plurality is a good thing.

    You will not tolerate the belief in an exclusive religion because it isn’t “multicultural” even though all three major Western religions are flatly exclusive and the Eastern religions are almost all exclusive after a veil of similarity is withdrawn. (When you believe in reincarnation, it is quite sensible to advocate that people be good Muslims in this life–maybe in the next, they’ll be worthy enough to be a Hindu! That’s not “nonexclusivity.” That’s an entirely coherent and fully consistent exclusive Hindu belief.) You will not tolerate the condemnation of homosexuality even though the vast, vast majority of cultures does not recognize it as a valid lifestyle. You will not tolerate people who condemn premarital sex even though, again, the VAST majority of cultures do so. In fact, the ONLY culture you will tolerate is the monoculture of multiculturalism, which no other cultures share.

    This is the irony that you aren’t understanding and everyone else is pointing this out. Got it yet?

    You justify your intolerance by labling other cultures “intolerant” when, in fact, you are the only bigot in the room. Other people have said what they DO believe and that they believe you are mistaken, but they do not say you have no right to believe that there is no religious absolute or that homosexuality is a fine alternative lifestyle. They disagree, but they do not say that you are “scary” for having a different viewpoint than theirs.

    If all this is too much at once–I know you’re not really used to thinking yet, and it can be hard at first–think about this:

    If all the public schools were dominated by teachers who come overwhelmingly from anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-birth control, anti-governmental Christian universities and who teach from likeminded texts, would you change your mind about the value of a child’s inculcation in public schools?

    Second email:

    This is about accepting diversity and what that really means.

    I said I was “mostly convinced” of the first major premise in my own first syllogism in my last email–and this covers everything that is not in that “mostly.”

    It also shows that the entire syllogism is unsound, as written.

    Now, I knew it was not sound when I made it. I was, however, taking that major premise from your own ideas. The argument is VALID. The minor premises are TRUE. Tat means that you cannot refute my conclusion without refuting your own major premise. Since my conclusion may be unpalatable to you, perhaps you are ready to examine your own idea that I took for the major premise

    If you are unwilling to bend on the point, then you must accept my argument as sound, even though I do not. You also must accept this argument, as well:

    Major premise: A plurality of cultural backgrounds is a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.
    Minor premice: A plurality of cultural backgrounds necessitates the existence of those, by definition, outside of the mainstream.
    Conclusion: Cultural backgrounds outside of the mainstream are a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.

    Major premise: Cultural backgrounds outside of the mainstream are a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.
    Minor premise: Traditional Aztec society with human sacrifice provides a cultural background outside of the mainstream.
    Conclusion: Traditional Aztec society with human sacrifice provides a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.

    In other words, let’s look at the idea that “A plurality of cultural backgrounds is a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.” I am going to shorten and generalize this to a similar statement:

    “Diversity is good.”

    Let’s examine, first, what diversity IS. Then we will determine whether or not it is good.

    Situation #1:

    I like red and blue flowers. I think choosing either red or blue flowers is okay. I happen to prefer blue flowers in my own home.

    You like red and blue flowers. You think choosing either red or blue flowers is okay. You prefer blue flowers in your own home.

    There is no diversity of opinion or of choice in that situation. In fact, we agree about everything.

    ONE PERSON CANNOT HOLD A DIVERSITY OF OPINIONS. One person’s opinion on a topic is a single opinion, no matter how many options he allows or disallows. A single person cannot be “disverse,” by definition. A person can, at best, be conflicted.

    Situation #2:

    I like red and blue flowers. I think choosing either red or blue flowers is okay. I happen to prefer blue flowers in my own home.

    You like red and blue flowers. You think choosing either red or blue flowers is okay. You prefer red flowers in your own home.

    There is STILL no diversity of opinion or of choice in that situation. In fact, we STILL agree about everything. Our preferences for ourselves are different, but there is still no disagreement.

    Yet this is exactly what you call “diversity.” It is not because there is no actual disagreement or variety of opinion. Differences are those of outcome alone, not of opinion. Two people holding the same opinions, then, do not create diversity.

    Situation #3:

    I like red and blue flowers. I think choosing either red or blue flowers is okay. I happen to prefer blue flowers in my own home.

    You like blue flowers only. You think only choosing blue flowers is okay. You prefer blue flowers in your own home.

    This is an actual disagreement of opinion, even though the outcomes are the same. If both opinions exist, this is, in fact, a diversity of opinion.

    Our big lesson for today:

    DIVERSITY IS THE DIFFERENCE OF OPINION, NOT OUTCOME.

    Whether or not there is a blanket tolerance for diversity depends on each person’s response. If I say, “You are narrowminded and scary and society would be better off without you,” I am a liar if I say I want diversity and the reason I condemn you is because you don’t value diversity.

    This is Response #1. It is a response of blanket intolerance. Ironically, it is the response given most often by people claiming “diversity” and “tolerance” as their screed.

    (Do these words sound familiar? They should. They’re yours.)

    All I want, in that case, is agreement with my ***single opinion.*** It matters not that my single opinion could provide more outcomes than your single opinion, nor would it be any different if our opinions were inverted. Different outcomes aren’t diversity of thought. Different opinions are. I am, in fact, being intolerant of your opinion, as well as making a damned stupid argument by calling you “closeminded” because you do not share my opinions.

    (This is why so many people called you an idiot. It isn’t because they’re meanies. You did something specific to garner that response. This is it.)

    If I actually believed in diversity as a blanket virtue, in and of itself, I would properly say, “You are an important part of society because you offer a differing viewpoint.” I would say this NO MATTER WHAT the difference of opinion is.

    This is Response #2. It is an expression of blanket tolerance. Only people who are highly drugged or insane give this response. (The difference of opinion may be over whether I should chop of your leg for fun. Yes, that’s a real diversity of opinion, there.)

    Reiterating here: Notice that it DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE whether either one of us chooses red or blue. A difference exists only when the belief in what flowers are good is different. THAT IS WHAT IS REAL DIVERSITY.

    Now, diversity just for the sake of diversity is bullshit. No one REALLY believes in that, and no sane person would have the second response I gave to every difference of opinion. The pretense of “tolerance” that you’ve been taught to adopt blinds you to this and allows you to make knee-jerk condemnations in its name whenever someone disagrees with you as well as to believe that you have a liberal–haha–application of acceptance of “differences.”

    Don’t follow? Here’s a simpler version: You’ve adopted response #1 because other people won’t give response #2 when you want them too. So this idea will be hard for you because you’ve never thought about it before. I’ll walk you through it, though, with examples.

    If I believed that we should kill unwanted infants, that would be an opinion contributing to the diversity of our society. That does NOT make it a good and valid opinion, however, nor does its existence automatically mean that it deserves respect.

    Got that?

    Now, if I believed in pedophilia, that, too, would be an opinion contributing to the diversity of society. But again, that does NOT make it a good and valid opinion, deserving of respect.

    See where this is heading?

    If I believed in killing unwanted unborn babies, it is not automatically deserving or respect because the opinion is “diverse.” If I believed in homosexuality, its “diversity” does not give it soundness.

    For that matter, if I believed in the death penalty or only marital sex, those opinions do not gain validity from their diversity.

    Diversity, then, only exists when there is a difference of opinion (NOT OUTCOME!!!!). Lesson #2, then, is DIVERSITY IS NOT GOOD JUST BECAUSE IT EXISTS. One the other hand, here comes Lesson #3, fast on its heels….

    DIVERSITY IS NOT BAD BECAUSE IT EXISTS, EITHER.

    This means that if your opinion is different from mine, it is not automatically wrong because it causes diversity. Additionally, if your opinion is different from that of mainstream society, it is not automatically wrong because it contributes to diversity.

    Put these together to get:

    Diversity simply is a state of disagreement. DIVERISTY IS NOT A VALUE-LADEN STATEMENT.

    “Diversity,” however, is a word that is abused beyond all recognition by the liberal establishment. Their “diversity” claim is, in fact, nothing more than a veil for an argument that people should adopt a single, particular worldview that promotes a particular set of options as valid, and all other opinions are subject to attack not because their arguments and merits are rationally and logically considered but because they differ from the orthodox view. It is, in fact, an expression of absolute and complete intolerance.

    (This is why you’re being called a bigot and a hypocrite. “That word you keep saying–I do not think it means what you think it means!”)

    Now, if I didn’t think that diversity is a good thing, period, I might alternately say, “I believe you are mistaken and that I am correct.” Then I would give a reason. And for some things, I would say, “But I respect your right to your opinion and your right to act on that opinion.” For other things, I would say, “I do not respect your right to that opinion and do not believe you should act on it and will act in a way to oppose you.”

    This is Response #4a and #4b. 4a is an expression of tolerance. 4b is an expression of intolerance.

    Tolerance, too, is not a good thing merely because it “tolerates.” Tolerance of some opinions is, in fact, morally reprehensible. Intolerance of other opinions is morally reprehensible. What determines this is the consideration process that comes that “reason” bit in the middle.

    The problem with, yes, people like you is that you feel no need for reason or logic. You stick with #1. You have been indoctrinated with the belief that your moral system is superior–in fact infallible–and that you should reject anything that differs from it with utter contempt and condemnation. You use the words “tolerance” and “diversity” with an irony you cannot begin to comprehend, and you believe that you should teach other people to BELIEVE LIKE YOU, not teach other people to THINK. That is because you’ve never learned to think yourself and have never valued it.

    Do you think I am being too harsh? Look at your own words. You’re obsessed with the thought that children will or won’t be taught specific ideas–that they will not be taught that homosexuality is good, that they will be taught in the exclusivity of a religion. You never mention critical thinking skills. You never wonder about whether they are taught logic. That’s because you don’t have either and haven’t got a clue how to apply them. That’s why your greatest fear is that children might be raised by adults who disagree with you–that’s why you’re obsessed with the idea that children need to be “socialized” to “fit in” to society and to share its views. You don’t actually want diversity of any kind–that is the one thing that you cannot tolerate.

    The funny thing is that MY greatest fear is that children are never taught to think. That is, in fact, what MOST homeschoolers fear. That is why you are mocked by them. That is why your blog confirms their decision to homeschool. It isn’t because you have opinions that differ from theirs. The vast, vast majority of homeschoolers are in constant contact with people of FAR more differences in opinion than you find in an average public school. If my children are taught to think, they will recognize specious arguments, and I have nothing to fear from IDEAS.

    But you–you were a teacher, and you have nothing to teach because you do not know how to think.

    That is why we don’t want you teaching our children. That is why you are good for being an object lesson but worthless as an instructor.

    His response:

    Did you invite me to meet just to yell at me?

    I am happy to read your emails, and possibly meet, but I have dealt with enough insults, assumptions, and aggression over the last few days. I am glad to have a progressive dialog about HSing with you, but only under a different tone.

    God bless,

    Jesse

    YES, this is the level of dialog our Jesse can handle!

    He can’t even respond to this:

    You fear that homeschoolers, in essence, will be bad citizens. You cite specific beliefs of yours they may not share as reasons for this fear. That is a very poor reason for fear. I’m rephrasing it for you in a way that won’t sound so bigoted. Let us say that you are afraid that homeschoolers won’t be good citizens.

    It is one of my arguments that, on the contrary, public schools breed intolerance and bad citizenship.

    This one comes entirely from within the educational establishment, which is strongly anti-homeschooling. It is the only study of its type:

    http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v7n27.html

    Another, by a home education group (scroll down for details):

    http://www.nheri.org/Home-Educated-and-Now-Adults.html

    There was another survey, done VERY recently, comparing homeschooled graduates and the general population on issues like whether people should be allowed to say and write things even if you disagree with them, about whether they feel capable of understanding politics, etc. The survey’s results demonstrated that homeschoolers were noticeably more open to opposing viewpoints as well as being more active in their communities and more likely to vote, etc. Their own politics were also notably more conservative than those of others, and their level of religious faith much higher. I can’t belive I didn’t bookmakr it when I saw it….

    Hey, guess what? I APOLOGIZED for seeming to yell at him. I did not APOLOGIZE for him being offended. (The wussy way out.) I actually gave a real APOLOGY and said I’m trying to be as nice as possible.

    I knew that Jesse didn’t mean it. He doesn’t want to dialog. He doesn’t want to think about things that make him uncomfortable. He is scared about thinking at all.

    He is, in fact, a coward who means none of the things that he said. I offered to let him put his money where his mouth was, but honestly, I recognized his type a mile off.

    His last email degenerated into this:

    “Read the sum of your emails to me and comments, and then my original posting, and you tell me who is more aggressive/hateful/ignorant. You seem to have an endless well of insecurity and hate. Release it, girl. It was just a rant by one person on a blog you had never heard of before. Nobody is going to eat your babies.”

    He never says a word that he doesn’t try to weasel out of later. For him, text has no truth-value, so there can be no such thing as formal argumentation. He is, sadly, a trained idiot.

    Pathetic.

    I am full of contempt right now. For one person. Jesse, you aren’t worthy of an emotion so strong as hate.

  18. Cowardice

    . Read the sum of your emails to me and comments, and then my original posting, and you tell me who is more aggressive/hateful/ignorant. You seem to have an endless well of insecurity and hate. Release it, girl. It was just a rant by one person on a blog you had never heard of before. Nobody is going to eat your babies.

  19. Nice moderation there

    Jesse has put Mimi on moderation. This is still me, though. Read it before he deletes it!

    Here are my two main emails:

    I read every single thing you wrote about homeschooling and some of your other articles. It was EXACTLY that which lowered my opinion of you so much.

    You wrote about homeschooling from your authority as an ex-teacher and an individual with multiple advanced degrees, including journalism. You also argued so poorly from both the standpoint of an English major and a journalist that you undermined the credibility of your degrees.

    Your arguments are not maintained from sentence to sentence. You contradict yourself freely and use most of the fallacious tactics covered in an elementary logic course. All that you’re left with, in the end, is an argument that you don’t like homeschooling from an emotional standpoint because 1) homeschoolers might have a different worldview than what you find acceptable and 2) they’re weird.

    What makes me so very impatient is that you are, unknowingly, the prime example of just what is wrong with public school education today.

    I’m debating about what to start with. Your lipservice to moral relativism? Homeschoolers’ cultural difference? Their weirdness?

    I think the most egregious of your major sins is your fear of homeschoolers because they might raise their children to have different beliefs than your own. (Oh, excuse me. WRONG beliefs. Because your beliefs are the RIGHT ones.)

    First, I must ask: Do you recognize any kind of objective truth, or do I need to step you through the fallacies of relativism? Or can we agree that there are some things that are right and some that are wrong?

    Please note that there are not merely “facts” and “opinions.” There are facts, opinions, and tastes. “I don’t like homeschooling” is most properly termed a taste. Tastes cannot be false or invalid. “Homeschooling is bad” is an opinion. Opinions can be both false and invalid if the logic supporting them is faulty. It is this conclusion that makes people believe that they can say anything as long as they add “I think” or “in my opinion” in front of it and not be called into account.

    We can deal with relativism later as long as you’ll concede that yes, you meant something that means something to other people when you criticized homeschooling. You must then restrain yourself during the course of this dialog from making statements about how no one can be right or wrong whenever you’re backed into a corner. It’s a reflex, but it’s a sloppy one, and you need to cut it out.

    Please think VERY carefully about the form of your arguments. LOGICALLY. Do you know the form for syllogisms? Let’s use this, then.

    First, let’s cover the difference between a false argument and an invalid one.

    I was about to write something long, but this covers it quite well:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Validity

    and this covers truth in an comprehensible way, though somewhat incidentally:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soundness

    Got that? Good. Now, maybe we can talk.

    This has been one argument you’ve made so far:

    Major Premise: It is important for people in society to learn to embrace people and be exposed to people from all kinds of backgrounds.
    Minor Premise: Homeschooling is a non-mainstream background.
    Conclusion: People shouldn’t homeschool because their kids will get called names and it isn’t good to be different without a good reason.

    Here’s another one you’ve made:

    Major Premise: It is important for people in society to learn to embrace people and be exposed to people from all kinds of backgrounds.
    Minor Premise: Homeschooling is a non-mainstream background.
    Conclusion: Homeschoolers are bigots who hate people from other backgrounds.

    Notice the lack of soundness, here? That’s why you were getting your clock cleaned in the comments, most of which you couldn’t follow.

    I don’t think you’re “born stupid,” but you were never taught to think or to analyze and follow arguments. In fact, very little of any of your arguments last for very long before devolving to your emotions. This is a fault of your education, and you inability to realize this fault and correct it is a FURTHER fault of your education. This does not put you in a strong position for arguing for institutionalized school. FYI. Hence the hysterical merriment of many of your readers, which you didn’t seem to understand.

    Here’s some of mine:

    Major premise: A plurality of cultural backgrounds is a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.
    Minor premice: A plurality of cultural backgrounds necessitates the existence of those, by definition, outside of the mainstream.
    Conclusion: Cultural backgrounds outside of the mainstream are a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.

    Major premise: Cultural backgrounds outside of the mainstream are a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.
    Minor premise: Homeschooling provides a cultural background outside of the mainstream.
    Conclusion: Homeschooling provides a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.

    I will not argue whether this is sound, as the truth of the first major premise is actually a d**ed hard thing to establish. (I actually am mostly convinced of it, BTW. But it is very hard to argue.) But it’s valid.

    Major Premise: Every person is a single individual and can have the life experiences and beliefs of only a single individual.
    Minor premise: A person’s culture is determined by a person’s life experiences and beliefs.
    Conclusion: No matter how blended or “mixed up,” a person can only have one culture of his own.

    Major premise: If a person can be taught and believe that the value set called multiculturalism is a virtue to such an extent that the belief becomes the defining part of their worldview….
    Minor premise: and no matter how blended or “mixed up,” a person can only have one culture of his own….
    Conclusion: then that person can have only one culture though it be defined by the belief that multiculturalism is a virtue.

    Major premise: If many people can be taught and believe that multiculturalism is a virtue to such an extent that that belief becomes the defining part of their worldview….
    Minor premise: and no matter how blended or “mixed up,” a person can only have one culture of their own…..
    Conclusion: then those people will form a single culture that demands the belief that multiculturalism is a virtue.

    Major premise: Many cultures exist.
    Minor premise: “Multiculturalism” (as it is called) is a defining part of a particular monoculture.
    Conclusion: The vast majority of cultures are not “multicultural.”

    Major premise: The culture of multiculturalism does not tolerate non-multiculturalism.
    Minor premise: The vast majority of cultures are not “multicultural.”
    Conclusion: Multiculturalism does not tolerate most cultures.

    And THIS is exactly where you are. Because you don’t understand arguments, you don’t understand how you got there or even how ridiculous such a position is, but you spout bile at homeschoolers and are “afraid” of them because might be different even though you claim to believe that cultural plurality is a good thing.

    You will not tolerate the belief in an exclusive religion because it isn’t “multicultural” even though all three major Western religions are flatly exclusive and the Eastern religions are almost all exclusive after a veil of similarity is withdrawn. (When you believe in reincarnation, it is quite sensible to advocate that people be good Muslims in this life–maybe in the next, they’ll be worthy enough to be a Hindu! That’s not “nonexclusivity.” That’s an entirely coherent and fully consistent exclusive Hindu belief.) You will not tolerate the condemnation of homosexuality even though the vast, vast majority of cultures does not recognize it as a valid lifestyle. You will not tolerate people who condemn premarital sex even though, again, the VAST majority of cultures do so. In fact, the ONLY culture you will tolerate is the monoculture of multiculturalism, which no other cultures share.

    This is the irony that you aren’t understanding and everyone else is pointing this out. Got it yet?

    You justify your intolerance by labling other cultures “intolerant” when, in fact, you are the only bigot in the room. Other people have said what they DO believe and that they believe you are mistaken, but they do not say you have no right to believe that there is no religious absolute or that homosexuality is a fine alternative lifestyle. They disagree, but they do not say that you are “scary” for having a different viewpoint than theirs.

    If all this is too much at once–I know you’re not really used to thinking yet, and it can be hard at first–think about this:

    If all the public schools were dominated by teachers who come overwhelmingly from anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-birth control, anti-governmental Christian universities and who teach from likeminded texts, would you change your mind about the value of a child’s inculcation in public schools?

    Second email:

    This is about accepting diversity and what that really means.

    I said I was “mostly convinced” of the first major premise in my own first syllogism in my last email–and this covers everything that is not in that “mostly.”

    It also shows that the entire syllogism is unsound, as written.

    Now, I knew it was not sound when I made it. I was, however, taking that major premise from your own ideas. The argument is VALID. The minor premises are TRUE. Tat means that you cannot refute my conclusion without refuting your own major premise. Since my conclusion may be unpalatable to you, perhaps you are ready to examine your own idea that I took for the major premise

    If you are unwilling to bend on the point, then you must accept my argument as sound, even though I do not. You also must accept this argument, as well:

    Major premise: A plurality of cultural backgrounds is a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.
    Minor premice: A plurality of cultural backgrounds necessitates the existence of those, by definition, outside of the mainstream.
    Conclusion: Cultural backgrounds outside of the mainstream are a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.

    Major premise: Cultural backgrounds outside of the mainstream are a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.
    Minor premise: Traditional Aztec society with human sacrifice provides a cultural background outside of the mainstream.
    Conclusion: Traditional Aztec society with human sacrifice provides a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.

    In other words, let’s look at the idea that “A plurality of cultural backgrounds is a valuable resource for a society to draw upon.” I am going to shorten and generalize this to a similar statement:

    “Diversity is good.”

    Let’s examine, first, what diversity IS. Then we will determine whether or not it is good.

    Situation #1:

    I like red and blue flowers. I think choosing either red or blue flowers is okay. I happen to prefer blue flowers in my own home.

    You like red and blue flowers. You think choosing either red or blue flowers is okay. You prefer blue flowers in your own home.

    There is no diversity of opinion or of choice in that situation. In fact, we agree about everything.

    ONE PERSON CANNOT HOLD A DIVERSITY OF OPINIONS. One person’s opinion on a topic is a single opinion, no matter how many options he allows or disallows. A single person cannot be “disverse,” by definition. A person can, at best, be conflicted.

    Situation #2:

    I like red and blue flowers. I think choosing either red or blue flowers is okay. I happen to prefer blue flowers in my own home.

    You like red and blue flowers. You think choosing either red or blue flowers is okay. You prefer red flowers in your own home.

    There is STILL no diversity of opinion or of choice in that situation. In fact, we STILL agree about everything. Our preferences for ourselves are different, but there is still no disagreement.

    Yet this is exactly what you call “diversity.” It is not because there is no actual disagreement or variety of opinion. Differences are those of outcome alone, not of opinion. Two people holding the same opinions, then, do not create diversity.

    Situation #3:

    I like red and blue flowers. I think choosing either red or blue flowers is okay. I happen to prefer blue flowers in my own home.

    You like blue flowers only. You think only choosing blue flowers is okay. You prefer blue flowers in your own home.

    This is an actual disagreement of opinion, even though the outcomes are the same. If both opinions exist, this is, in fact, a diversity of opinion.

    Our big lesson for today:

    DIVERSITY IS THE DIFFERENCE OF OPINION, NOT OUTCOME.

    Whether or not there is a blanket tolerance for diversity depends on each person’s response. If I say, “You are narrowminded and scary and society would be better off without you,” I am a liar if I say I want diversity and the reason I condemn you is because you don’t value diversity.

    This is Response #1. It is a response of blanket intolerance. Ironically, it is the response given most often by people claiming “diversity” and “tolerance” as their screed.

    (Do these words sound familiar? They should. They’re yours.)

    All I want, in that case, is agreement with my ***single opinion.*** It matters not that my single opinion could provide more outcomes than your single opinion, nor would it be any different if our opinions were inverted. Different outcomes aren’t diversity of thought. Different opinions are. I am, in fact, being intolerant of your opinion, as well as making a damned stupid argument by calling you “closeminded” because you do not share my opinions.

    (This is why so many people called you an idiot. It isn’t because they’re meanies. You did something specific to garner that response. This is it.)

    If I actually believed in diversity as a blanket virtue, in and of itself, I would properly say, “You are an important part of society because you offer a differing viewpoint.” I would say this NO MATTER WHAT the difference of opinion is.

    This is Response #2. It is an expression of blanket tolerance. Only people who are highly drugged or insane give this response. (The difference of opinion may be over whether I should chop of your leg for fun. Yes, that’s a real diversity of opinion, there.)

    Reiterating here: Notice that it DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE whether either one of us chooses red or blue. A difference exists only when the belief in what flowers are good is different. THAT IS WHAT IS REAL DIVERSITY.

    Now, diversity just for the sake of diversity is bullshit. No one REALLY believes in that, and no sane person would have the second response I gave to every difference of opinion. The pretense of “tolerance” that you’ve been taught to adopt blinds you to this and allows you to make knee-jerk condemnations in its name whenever someone disagrees with you as well as to believe that you have a liberal–haha–application of acceptance of “differences.”

    Don’t follow? Here’s a simpler version: You’ve adopted response #1 because other people won’t give response #2 when you want them too. So this idea will be hard for you because you’ve never thought about it before. I’ll walk you through it, though, with examples.

    If I believed that we should kill unwanted infants, that would be an opinion contributing to the diversity of our society. That does NOT make it a good and valid opinion, however, nor does its existence automatically mean that it deserves respect.

    Got that?

    Now, if I believed in pedophilia, that, too, would be an opinion contributing to the diversity of society. But again, that does NOT make it a good and valid opinion, deserving of respect.

    See where this is heading?

    If I believed in killing unwanted unborn babies, it is not automatically deserving or respect because the opinion is “diverse.” If I believed in homosexuality, its “diversity” does not give it soundness.

    For that matter, if I believed in the death penalty or only marital sex, those opinions do not gain validity from their diversity.

    Diversity, then, only exists when there is a difference of opinion (NOT OUTCOME!!!!). Lesson #2, then, is DIVERSITY IS NOT GOOD JUST BECAUSE IT EXISTS. One the other hand, here comes Lesson #3, fast on its heels….

    DIVERSITY IS NOT BAD BECAUSE IT EXISTS, EITHER.

    This means that if your opinion is different from mine, it is not automatically wrong because it causes diversity. Additionally, if your opinion is different from that of mainstream society, it is not automatically wrong because it contributes to diversity.

    Put these together to get:

    Diversity simply is a state of disagreement. DIVERISTY IS NOT A VALUE-LADEN STATEMENT.

    “Diversity,” however, is a word that is abused beyond all recognition by the liberal establishment. Their “diversity” claim is, in fact, nothing more than a veil for an argument that people should adopt a single, particular worldview that promotes a particular set of options as valid, and all other opinions are subject to attack not because their arguments and merits are rationally and logically considered but because they differ from the orthodox view. It is, in fact, an expression of absolute and complete intolerance.

    (This is why you’re being called a bigot and a hypocrite. “That word you keep saying–I do not think it means what you think it means!”)

    Now, if I didn’t think that diversity is a good thing, period, I might alternately say, “I believe you are mistaken and that I am correct.” Then I would give a reason. And for some things, I would say, “But I respect your right to your opinion and your right to act on that opinion.” For other things, I would say, “I do not respect your right to that opinion and do not believe you should act on it and will act in a way to oppose you.”

    This is Response #4a and #4b. 4a is an expression of tolerance. 4b is an expression of intolerance.

    Tolerance, too, is not a good thing merely because it “tolerates.” Tolerance of some opinions is, in fact, morally reprehensible. Intolerance of other opinions is morally reprehensible. What determines this is the consideration process that comes that “reason” bit in the middle.

    The problem with, yes, people like you is that you feel no need for reason or logic. You stick with #1. You have been indoctrinated with the belief that your moral system is superior–in fact infallible–and that you should reject anything that differs from it with utter contempt and condemnation. You use the words “tolerance” and “diversity” with an irony you cannot begin to comprehend, and you believe that you should teach other people to BELIEVE LIKE YOU, not teach other people to THINK. That is because you’ve never learned to think yourself and have never valued it.

    Do you think I am being too harsh? Look at your own words. You’re obsessed with the thought that children will or won’t be taught specific ideas–that they will not be taught that homosexuality is good, that they will be taught in the exclusivity of a religion. You never mention critical thinking skills. You never wonder about whether they are taught logic. That’s because you don’t have either and haven’t got a clue how to apply them. That’s why your greatest fear is that children might be raised by adults who disagree with you–that’s why you’re obsessed with the idea that children need to be “socialized” to “fit in” to society and to share its views. You don’t actually want diversity of any kind–that is the one thing that you cannot tolerate.

    The funny thing is that MY greatest fear is that children are never taught to think. That is, in fact, what MOST homeschoolers fear. That is why you are mocked by them. That is why your blog confirms their decision to homeschool. It isn’t because you have opinions that differ from theirs. The vast, vast majority of homeschoolers are in constant contact with people of FAR more differences in opinion than you find in an average public school. If my children are taught to think, they will recognize specious arguments, and I have nothing to fear from IDEAS.

    But you–you were a teacher, and you have nothing to teach because you do not know how to think.

    That is why we don’t want you teaching our children. That is why you are good for being an object lesson but worthless as an instructor.

    His response:

    Did you invite me to meet just to yell at me?

    I am happy to read your emails, and possibly meet, but I have dealt with enough insults, assumptions, and aggression over the last few days. I am glad to have a progressive dialog about HSing with you, but only under a different tone.

    God bless,

    Jesse

    YES, this is the level of dialog our Jesse can handle!

    He can’t even respond to this:

    You fear that homeschoolers, in essence, will be bad citizens. You cite specific beliefs of yours they may not share as reasons for this fear. That is a very poor reason for fear. I’m rephrasing it for you in a way that won’t sound so bigoted. Let us say that you are afraid that homeschoolers won’t be good citizens.

    It is one of my arguments that, on the contrary, public schools breed intolerance and bad citizenship.

    This one comes entirely from within the educational establishment, which is strongly anti-homeschooling. It is the only study of its type:

    http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v7n27.html

    Another, by a home education group (scroll down for details):

    http://www.nheri.org/Home-Educated-and-Now-Adults.html

    There was another survey, done VERY recently, comparing homeschooled graduates and the general population on issues like whether people should be allowed to say and write things even if you disagree with them, about whether they feel capable of understanding politics, etc. The survey’s results demonstrated that homeschoolers were noticeably more open to opposing viewpoints as well as being more active in their communities and more likely to vote, etc. Their own politics were also notably more conservative than those of others, and their level of religious faith much higher. I can’t belive I didn’t bookmakr it when I saw it….

    Hey, guess what? I APOLOGIZED for seeming to yell at him. I did not APOLOGIZE for him being offended. (The wussy way out.) I actually gave a real APOLOGY and said I’m trying to be as nice as possible.

    I knew that Jesse didn’t mean it. He doesn’t want to dialog. He doesn’t want to think about things that make him uncomfortable. He is scared about thinking at all.

    He is, in fact, a coward who means none of the things that he said. I offered to let him put his money where his mouth was, but honestly, I recognized his type a mile off.

    He never says a word that he doesn’t try to weasel out of later. For him, text has no truth-value, so there can be no such thing as formal argumentation. He is, sadly, a trained idiot.

    Pathetic.

    His last comment to me:

    > . Read the sum of your emails to me and comments, and then my original posting, and you tell me who is more aggressive/hateful/ignorant. You seem to have an endless well of insecurity and hate. Release it, girl. It was just a rant by one person on a blog you had never heard of before. Nobody is going to eat your babies.

    Jesse is not deserving of my hate. He is a coward, pure and simple.

    • Chill baby girl, chill. Nobody put you on moderation. Not one of these hundreds of comments have been deleted.

      For people so deeply wounded at assumptions being made about you…

      • Elizabeth Conley

        “Chill baby girl, chill. ”

        Mr. Scaccia, you are treading on very, very dangerous ground.

        The supercilious mockery and patent sexism of this remark is beyond anything I’ve ever tolerated from anyone, ever.

        Mimi is right. You are beneath contempt.

        If you have any moral reasoning skills whatsoever, you’ll apologize. Of course, nobody expects that to happen.

        Good Bye

  20. Kasi

    This is so rediculous. I think this man is an obviously insecure,infantile human being. I am sad for the young minds being molded by this one. For I can not help but think that his poor attitude towards those who are different must spill over into every aspect of his life. Why throw insults and belittle others for choosing the road less travelled? At least read a book on the subject before you presume to know everything about it. I’m sure you require your students to do some form of research, or do you just take their prejudiced, ignorant, self rightous word for it?

  21. Cindy Fox

    Read, read, read….

    I recommend John Holt and John Gatto to start. Gatto is great (www.johntaylorgatto.com) and his POV is a career teacher, but I think John Holt (www.holtgws.com) is more of an analytical and research oriented person. His books include:
    How Children Fail
    How Children Learn
    The Underachieving School
    What Do I Do Monday?
    Freedom and Beyond
    Escape From Childhood
    Instead of Education
    Never Too Late
    Teach Your Own
    Learning All the Time

  22. Emily M.

    After reading his poorly-written “Case Against Homeschooling”, I find it hard to believe Mr. Scaccia is legitimately trying to extend an “olive branch” to homeschoolers with his request to observe a homeschooling family for his own betterment and education. I did not read anywhere (did I miss it?) that he has retracted or apologized for his insulting, uninformed screed.

    That said, I think your emails to him, Mimi, were a bit much. The extensive examples of how to make a logical argument, using sarcasm (“So this idea will be hard for you because you’ve never thought about it before. I’ll walk you through it, though, with examples.”), a few curse words (“diversity just for the sake of diversity is bullshit”) and, yes, even the use of capital letters (a common means of conveying text-based yelling) are all ways to make sure the horse being led to water will not want to drink. Perhaps /gently/ letting him recognize where his logic fell apart or was clouded by fallacies would’ve helped progress a more open and respectful dialogue on this issue. Or, not even addressing the faults of his original essay and merely letting the outstanding example of a well-tended homeschool overwhelm him and change his mind for the better.

    It is taking great restraint for me to write a moderate, “let’s take the high road” response given Mr. Scaccia’s own writing. “Chill baby girl, chill.” and writing “Nobody is going to eat your babies.” is inappropriate for someone “genuinely” wanting to open real dialogue. All that kind of commentary does is stoke the fire. Not at all constructive and not a mature way to defend oneself, Mr. Scaccia.

    Here is my own “olive branch”:
    Mr. Scaccia, do you /really/ want to learn about homeschooling and the families who do it?

    Are you ready to learn about homeschooling in a more objective, open-minded manner?

    If so, please consider attending a homeschool conference; reading texts about and texts by Charlotte Mason, John Holt, Susan Wise Bauer and others; and examining websites dedicated to curriculum, teaching materials, support, and personal experiences. I think you’ll find a very dynamic, motivated group of people who generally want the very best for their kids academically, socially, and personally.

    I mean this sincerely and look forward to your response.

    Emily M.

  23. You’ve done a great thing for homeschooling… seriously. You have created a such a big uproar that many homeschoolers are being reminded that they are not alone. There is much solidarity among homeschoolers, and I too am glad for that reminder. Thanks.

    Article I wrote in response with a comment that gave me the realization that I am not alone. http://homeschooling.families.com/blog/teachers-vs-homeschoolers-an-analogy

    • I agree, and I am genuinely happy with this unexpected result.

      It’s my belief that, more or less, all teaching systems are equal in philosophical strength and organizational intention. What makes the difference in a child getting a good education is how well, and with how much passion, the teacher and the administration enact their system.

      In other words, as long as we have faith in the act of teaching, and as long as we believe in the way we’re doing it, our students will learn, be it in private, public, home, unschools, or in a cave using pebbles and grunts.

      - Jesse

      • T

        Seriously! Unless you have become a sheep, Please LISTEN to Cindy Fox! READ this list! It will rock you. It will be painful! But you have an obligation to do this:

        Read, read, read….

        I recommend John Holt and John Gatto to start. Gatto is great (www.johntaylorgatto.com) and his POV is a career teacher, but I think John Holt (www.holtgws.com) is more of an analytical and research oriented person. His books include:
        How Children Fail
        How Children Learn
        The Underachieving School
        What Do I Do Monday?
        Freedom and Beyond
        Escape From Childhood
        Instead of Education
        Never Too Late
        Teach Your Own
        Learning All the Time

        As Orpheus said in The Matrix…
        Free your mind!

  24. College Professor

    Jesse wrote, “Did you invite me to meet just to yell at me?

    I am happy to read your emails, and possibly meet, but I have dealt with enough insults, assumptions, and aggression over the last few days. I am glad to have a progressive dialog about HSing with you, but only under a different tone.

    God bless,

    Jesse”

    Jesse, I considering ranting a bit myself in response to your series of blogs…then I read this email from you posted by Mimi….

    You know in your original blog – The case against homeschooling – you wrote: “(Personally I’m agnostic, but I’m just saying…)” How can you impart blessings from Someone you don’t believe in?

    Thank you so much for proving that you haven’t a clue about what you’re saying so I can save my intelligent retorts for a more credible debate.

    • Hi.

      First of all, I resent my personal emails being shared publicly. Most people, I’d say, would consider that a serious invasion of privacy, or at least unethical.

      Second, I do believe in God, but a very different version than the Judeo-Christian God. I say I’m agnostic because, when Americans have this kind of conversation, “believing in God” almost exclusively means the Judeo-Christian God.

      Inspiring misguided blood boiling since 1979,

      Jesse

  25. bw

    “First of all, I resent my personal emails being shared publicly. Most people, I’d say, would consider that a serious invasion of privacy, or at least unethical.”

    You know, I sense a pattern here. Combined with your claimed shock at the response when you, to quote George Costanza, “let fly like Mussolini from the balcony,” the above statement leaves me wondering if this whole cyberspace thing is a little new to you. For future reference, far too few people acknowledge any expectation of confidence in emails sent to hostile parties. Good or bad, that’s well known reality. If you view a communication as being in confidence, it’s best to make that clear right away, and if no commitment to that effect is forthcoming, break off the communication, ESPECIALLY when there’s conflict.

  26. Meagan

    Go to Yahoo and search for homeschool groups for your area.

    Put together a questionnaire of sorts and invite people to respond.
    See if there are co ops that you could visit or other support groups.

  27. Noyb

    I realize this is a couple of years too late, but I’m very curious if you ever observed a home school family, went to a convention, and/or read any of the material that was suggested. If so, what were your conclusions? Did you see/hear/experience anything that changed your initial POV?

  28. John A. Dix~ If anyone attempts to hall down the American flag shoot him on the spot.

  29. The very last thing you desire is always to plan your ideal vacation only to locate
    out things are sold-out when you’re getting there. The casino is more than 100,000 sq .
    ft ., it’s considered one of las Vegas’ largest. This can help that you decide in case you should utilize the phone, or
    use your individual cell phone.

  30. Choice of assorted types of rooms is very important– from exceptional presidential suites to
    Atrium suites to family suites. It also promotes the very best contemporary
    art in earth, ‘Transvangarde’. Eiffel towers look awesome inside the night with all the lights
    on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s