The goal of Education is Transformation

Transformation is Always the Goal of Education

By Regina Piazza

What is one thing public education and home education have in common? The obvious answer would be…education. However, as we see in Vladimir Lenin’s ominous promise to, “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world,” perhaps transformation is the true common denominator, as transformation is always the goal of education. Therefore, at the heart of the question of whom we trust to educate our children lies the bigger question of whom we trust to transform our world.

Education in America is Eroding

Four decades ago, Former President Ronald Reagan illuminated the outcome of trusting the declining public school systems in his 1983 report titled A Nation at Risk:

“Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people…

If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves….

Our concern, however, goes well beyond matters such as industry and commerce [i.e., STEM & College and Career Ready]. It also includes the intellectual, moral, and spiritual strengths of our people which knit together the very fabric of our society.”

Are We Embracing Socialism?

Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, states, “When one in four Americans want to eliminate capitalism and embrace socialism, we know that we have failed to educate about the historical and moral failings of these ideologies.”  This startling statistic is widely evident in the government-controlled school systems’ promotion of Critical Race Theory (CRT), Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and LGBTQ++ coercion, where children are deceitfully maneuvered from parental teaching to State indoctrination.

At the heart of the question of whom we trust to educate our children lies the bigger
question of whom we trust to transform our world.

Undeniably, a parent is charged to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”(Proverbs 22:6 NKJV) However, in an act of calculated division, totalitarians such as Hitler, Lenin, and Mao have used this Proverb in their attempts to eradicate the family and shape the minds of the upcoming generation with the intent to, in those infamous words of Lenin, “…transform the whole world.” This exceedingly conspicuous tactic is front and center throughout America today. It has been clearly spelled out in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4 of the United Nations Agenda 2030, with which the United States has cooperated:

“Our vision is to transform lives through education, recognizing the important role of education as a main driver of development and in achieving the other proposed SDGs. We commit with a sense of urgency to a single, renewed education agenda that is holistic, ambitious, and aspirational, leaving no one behind. This new vision is fully captured by the proposed SDG 4 ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ and its corresponding targets. It is transformative and universal, attends to the ‘unfinished business’ of the EFA [Education For All] agenda and the education-related MDGs [Millennium Development Goals], and addresses global and national education challenges. It is inspired by a humanistic vision of education and development based on human rights and dignity; social justice; inclusion; protection; cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity; and shared responsibility and accountability.”1

Is the intent of this agenda not clearly stated—“to transform lives” through global state control of education and the Marxist indoctrination of children?

The Family is The Solution

This agenda is in stark contrast to American parents’ unique success in cultivating a firm foundation of freedom in our nation, even before the development of our Constitution. Historically, American families have worked, worshiped, and educated while being undergirded with the self-evident truth that sacrifice over self-service and self-governance over government restraint cultivates freedom, yet our modern families continue to succumb to the subtle and consistent conditioning toward the UN’s divisive preference to bring all schools under government control.

Now, more than any time in our Nation’s history, is the time for parents to boldly and courageously assert our inherent responsibility to direct the upbringing and education of our children and vehemently reject the UN report’s claim that “the State remains the duty bearer of education as a public good.”2

Now is the time for families to awaken from their self-imposed financial slumber, revive atrophied personal civic responsibilities, recalibrate family priorities, and recapture their God-given right to educate, by exiting the institutions of indoctrination—the government-controlled K-12 schooling systems.

Now is the time for families to cultivate and practice ownership and discipline with the honorable motive of self-governance and freedom.

“The family has always been the cornerstone of American society.
Our families nurture, preserve, and pass on to each succeeding generation the values
we share and cherish, values that are the foundation of our freedoms.”

President Ronald Reagan

Kevin Roberts, President of the Heritage Foundation, states, “If a nation takes on the character of its people, then our classrooms are ultimately about the formation of citizens and souls.’’ Family is the best classroom—not government, entitlements, or vouchers.

Family necessitates devotion to one another, to our work, and to our inheritance. 

Family promotes time-honored values, protects the dignity of life and marriage, and is the most trustworthy institution in civilization.

Family teaches that work is worship, and you must pay your own way—freedom’s prerequisites.

Ronald Reagan once said, “The family has always been the cornerstone of American society. Our families nurture, preserve, and pass on to each succeeding generation the values we share and cherish, values that are the foundation of our freedoms.”

Through devotion, sacrifice, and commitment, the family establishes, inculcates, and maintains freedom. Families, therefore, are incomparable educators and the trustworthy remnant to guarantee that enduring transformation occurs in the world.

Check out these other blogs on family and education.

Regina Piazza profile headshot

Regina Piazza is a 13-year home educator with Classical Conversations® and has held multiple roles including Tutor, Director, and Support Representative. She is a former Air Force veteran and two-time business owner who ran for Florida State Senate for the first time in 2022. She is currently working to preserve education and religious freedom as the Florida State Advocate for Classical Conversations.

To hear more from Regina, check out Episode 24 of our podcast, Refining Rhetoric, “Why a Homeschool Mom Ran for Senate with Regina Piazza.”

  1. Education 2030: Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. (2016). Accessed 5/9/2024. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000245656
  2. Zancajo, Adrián & Fontdevila, Clara & Verger, Antoni & Bonal, Xavier. (2021). Regulating Public-Private Partnerships, governing non-state schools: An equity perspective. 10.13140/RG.2.2.16374.93760. Accessed 5/9/2024. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/356915329_Regulating_Public-Private_Partnerships_governing_non-state_schools_An_equity_perspective
Feminism: Unveiling the Truth Behind the Anti-Choice Movement - Explore the hidden agenda of feminism, exposing coercion disguised as choice.

Feminism: An Anti-Choice Movement

By Elise DeYoung

There is a myth surrounding the ideology of feminism that has been carefully crafted by its makers. This myth is that feminism is a movement that promotes a woman’s right to choose. Slogans saying women have the right to choose to kill their babies; marketing that encourages women to choose to attend college; pep talks that embolden women to choose a “boss babe lifestyle”—all of this is designed to convince women that feminism just wants to give them options.

Consequently, feminism appears to many women as a pool of fresh water appears to a dying man in the desert—a life-saving source. However, much like a pool in the desert, the idea of choice is simply a mirage designed to trick women into falling for the feminist lie. And when women drink from feminism, they end up with a mouth full of sand.

The Choice Women are Forced to Make

Feminism has never been about choice. Instead, it has always been obsessed with creating a certain type of woman—one who kills her babies, pops pills and takes birth control, accumulates debt to attend leftist colleges, works impossibly long hours in a cubicle, and, most importantly, never stays home. Don’t believe me? I’ll let Simone de Beauvoir, the darling of modern feminism, say it in her own words.

In an interview discussing her book The Second Sex, Beauvoir said,

“No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children. Women should not have that choice because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

With those words, Beauvoir exposed the feminist agenda for what it has always been—an anti-choice movement.

Feminism is not—and never has been—a movement that promotes choice. If it were, feminists would celebrate women who work and raise children alike. But that is not what we see. Rather, wives, homemakers, and mothers are mocked as old-fashioned, demoralized by discontented women, and belittled by our society at large.

The Truth About Choice

The truth is that feminism cannot give women a choice alternative to the feminist way. It must trick women into killing their children, medicating themselves, heaping up college debt, working their youth away, then living and dying alone. Because if feminism did not—if it allowed women to choose tradition—”too many women would make that [choice].” And with that choice, feminism’s power over women would be lost.

Did you catch the first blog in this series?

Elisa DeYoung headshot smiling at the camera

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations® graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. Elise is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. Elise continues her journey towards the Celestial City with a determined resolve to gain wisdom and understanding. Soli Deo gloria!

School Choice and Your Child's Tuition

Vouchers, School Choice, And Your Child’s Tuition

By Edward Murray

School choice has been a debated topic for many years, and while you might think it’s a good thing, there are compelling reasons to reconsider. Although it is sometimes difficult to determine causation from correlation, there is the potential-future issue of inflating tuition rates due to state funding. Consider St. Paul Catholic school in St. Petersburg, Florida, which recently explicitly stated that they would raise the price of admission with the new voucher program. 

St. Paul Catholic School at 1900 12th St. N in St. Petersburg is one of many private schools expected to take advantage of Florida's expanded voucher program this year.
St. Paul Catholic School at 1900 12th St. N in St. Petersburg is one of many private schools expected to take advantage of Florida’s expanded voucher program this year.

On the face of it, one would think that state funding to aid families’ migration to the free market would be a positive. Of course, from that statement alone, it’s obvious that anything state-funded can’t be a free market; these are diametrically opposed ideas. But just for argument’s sake, let’s consider the prevailing idea that more money given yields more opportunity for choice.

Wouldn’t this bring costs down? Likewise, shouldn’t all U.S. families be on board with vouchers, ESAs, tax credits, and the like?

For some time now, many in the home and private school world have been sounding the alarm on these so-called school-choice policies. The primary issue raised concerns parental autonomy vs. state accountability (tantamount to coerced regulation). Let’s face it, when any policy is put on the books for spending, rarely does the growth of regulation shrink or go away. It typically grows. Regulation always follows funding.

And we want it that way, right? If the government is going to spend our tax dollars, don’t we want them to track the money and assure us it is spent responsibly? Again, this regulation over parental choice is the very reason why private options exist.

State-Funded “Choice” Will Inevitably Inflate the Cost of Private Education

However, there is another principle that private educators warn of: State-funded “choice” will inevitably inflate the cost of private education.

Consider the fact that all organizations need money to sustain their work, whether for the short or the long-term. As long as decisions don’t sink the buyability of a product, given the opportunity, companies will consider how better to fund their work.

This is exactly what is happening with St. Paul Catholic in Florida. After Gov. DeSantis (R) signed into law the state’s newest voucher program, representatives of the school stated,

“…we decided that we need to take maximum advantage of this dramatically expanded funding source. So instead of paying $6,000 per child, families at the school who are St. Paul parish members will now be charged $10,000 per child. Nonmembers will be charged $12,000 per child, instead of $7,000. Discounts for multiple-student families will be eliminated. Based on those numbers, and factoring in the $4,000 tuition increase, St. Paul could bring in nearly $1 million more in the school year starting this fall. Voucher critics said the decision was predictable, and expected more private schools to follow suit…”

Of course, one might argue that this still mitigates the cost of the program (likely only to aid families who can still afford it), and this would be true… at least for the present. However, keep in mind the annual increases in private K-12 and higher education.

From my experience working in higher ed. (public and private) …not only does tuition tend to increase every year, but institutional administrators always also factor in going rates for other similar institutions competitive in the same fields. Also, keep in mind that it isn’t necessarily popular to gravitate towards the cheaper education option. Rather, many opt for the more expensive programs because cost often indicates quality (i.e., people reason, “the greater the cost, the better the education”).

Moreover, even if tuition doesn’t appear to increase on the surface, an increase in tuition paid might occur even if the sticker face remains unchanged. These increased, hidden dollars are typically reflected in other ancillary fees and like charges.

Currently, it can be a little hard to examine the U.S. statistics due to the infancy of these programs.[1] However, many who claim that there is no data for inflation should rather backtrack that notion. Barnum notes that some school choice programs (ones with unrestricted subsidies) “lead to price increases yet no change in enrollment…” He continues, “…private schools did not admit additional students, but did raise tuition — by an amount the researchers estimated to be roughly the same as the public subsidy.”[2]

Consider Ty Rushing, who recently reported how Iowa’s private schools hiked their tuitions in response to Gov. Kim Reynold’s (R) voucher-ESA plan.

“While some private schools introduced minimal tuition increases—Holy Trinity Catholic School in Fort Madison increased tuition by less than a percent for parish members and about 3% for non-parish members—others swung for the fences including one Dubuque school that increased tuition by 40%, or an Anamosa school that literally doubled tuition.[3]

Of course, I don’t blame them for wanting to better their programs, increase their functionality, and provide adequate salaries for teachers. But one can’t deny the obvious connection. Brian Mudd (who denies the connection) even argues,

“In attempting to discern what the impact of school vouchers may mean for tuition rates it’s helpful to see how much capacity there is within the exiting private schools as it’s unlikely rates would be increased unless they’re at capacity with demand outstripping supply.”[4]

Yet, this is exactly the state of hundreds of private institutions needing to made ends meet.

At the end of all this, maybe St. Paul’s decision doesn’t seal the deal for many to correllate state funds and increasing tuition. Yet, the argument is not without warrant. It is worth everyone’s consideration, especially those who grasp the current political climate, who understand the dangers of our ever-increasing debt, and who are concerned with expanding government overreach (which is embedded in all our collective COVID-19 trauma).

Tuition is going to keep increasing, because they’re going to keep raising the voucher amount.”

Holly Bullard, Chief Strategy Officer for Florida Policy Institute

Holly Bullard, Chief Strategy Officer for Florida Policy Institute, states, “Tuition is going to keep increasing, because they’re going to keep raising the voucher amount.” With many raising the alarm, we should all heed the caution and prepare for tax increases to pay for these schemes. 

For more on this issue, see Enright, Marsha Familiaro, “I Run a Private School and am Against School Vouchers. Here’s Why.” Foundation for Economic Education, May 19, 2019.

See also, “ESAs: What You Need to Know with Israel Wayne.” Refining Rhetoric, Episode 31. Feb. 1, 2023.


[1] Hungerman and Rinz (Notre Dame and NBER) cite a study by Angrist, Bettinger, Bloom, King, and Kremer (2002), who find that winning a lottery in Bogot ́a for a voucher worth $190 raised average private school tuition and fees by $52 so that every dollar of voucher funding raised tuition and fees by about 27 cents, close to what the point estimate here suggests (vouchers worth $820 per user on average increase per-student revenue by $280 at baseline, or about 34 cents per dollar spent on vouchers).

[2] Barnum, Matt, “Do vouchers actually expand school choice? Not necessarily — it depends on how they’re designed.” Chalkbeat, June 20, 2017. https://www.chalkbeat.org/2017/7/30/21107261/do-vouchers-actually-expand-school-choice-not-necessarily-it-depends-on-how-they-re-designed

[3] Rushing, Ty, “Kim Reynold’s Private School Voucher Plan Led to Tuition Hikes.” Iowa Starting Line, May 12, 2023. https://iowastartingline.com/2023/05/12/kim-reynolds-private-school-voucher-plan-led-to-tuition-hikes/

[4] Mudd, Brian, “Q&A: Will Florida’s Universal School Choice Plan Raise Tuition Rates?” News Radio WJNO, iHeart.com. May 28, 2023. https://wjno.iheart.com/featured/brian-mudd/content/2023-03-28-qa-will-floridas-universal-school-choice-plan-raise-tuition-rates/

Edward Murray profile headshot

Edward Murray currently serves as Manager of Special Projects and Policy Research for Classical Conversations® and The Homeschool Freedom Action Center. He is a native of Augusta, GA, and an alumnus of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC, where he earned his M.Div. He lives in Newport News, VA, with his wife and three children.

Homeschool vs. Public School

Homeschool vs. Public School

At some point, you’ve probably heard the question asked (or maybe you’ve asked the question): why homeschool when your child can go to a public school funded by the government?

But perhaps we should flip that question around. Homeschooling has grown in popularity with families throughout the United States. Several studies suggest that between 5 and 6 percent of school-age children are homeschooled (that’s about three million kids), and this number increases year by year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents found themselves homeschooling either outright or de facto—and that only increased the popularity of homeschooling!

So what is it that makes homeschooling increasingly attractive and public schools so unattractive?

Why Homeschool?

There are more reasons to homeschool than ever.

Religious Freedom

Religious freedom is one of the most repeated answers offered by parents when making the decision to homeschool their child. Public schools don’t incorporate religious studies into the classroom. Public school curricula may teach a different set of values and beliefs than what parents believe and want to instill in their child.

Homeschooling, on the other hand, affords parents the opportunity to incorporate Bible studies, prayers, and values throughout the lesson plan.

Safety and Security

Concern over a child’s safety is another reason why parents choose to homeschool. Some children are subjected to negative influences such as bullying and the presence of drugs and alcohol in public schools. These negative influences can affect a child’s academic performance in the classroom.

However, in a homeschool environment, parents are able to watch over their child and help them develop without those stressors and dangers.

Personalized Learning

In a homeschool setting, parents are able to offer more personalized learning for their child. Public school teachers have a classroom of students with different abilities and levels of learning.  The lesson plans won’t be tailored for each individual student.

Homeschool allows for the parents to assess their child’s strengths and weaknesses and help build lessons around their needs. This type of teaching provides flexibility to give the child what they need to learn and skip ahead if they grasp the subject.

Family

Homeschooling is a family effort. There is collaboration between siblings and parents to come together and share knowledge and experiences. This level of connectedness goes beyond what can be provided in public schools.

The opportunity to reinforce family values and beliefs while developing a stronger sense of self is why many families choose homeschooling over public schooling.

Want more reasons to homeschool?
Read: “The Benefits of Homeschooling: A Graduate’s Perspective

Why Not Public School?

These are a few reasons why homeschool parents often decide to homeschool their children rather than send them to public school. Here are two such reasons:

Lower Academic Outcomes

Studies have revealed that homeschool students typically score higher than public school students on standardized tests. Parents’ level of education does not change the student’s success.1

Homeschool students also typically do better in college. Homeschool students have a higher rate of graduating college than students who attended public school. One study revealed that homeschooled students graduated with an average GPA of 3.46 while their public school peers graduated with an average of 3.16. The same study also showed that homeschooled students graduated from college at a higher rate (66.7%) than their peers (57.5%).2 3

Poorer Social Environments

Contrary to the popular misconception, homeschool students are often better socialized than their public school counterparts. They are more likely to participate in political drives, sports teams, church ministries, and community work.4

Public schools, meanwhile, often present challenges for social development, such as bullying, discouragement, and negative peer influences. For example, according to one study, 5% of students between the ages of twelve and eighteen reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm at school in 2019.5

That’s 1 out of 20 students, and the average class size in the USA is 20.3.6

The evidence is abundant and the collective experience of homeschoolers shows that homeschooling works. Public schools, on the other hand, afford poorer outcomes all around.

Why send your child to public school when you can homeschool?

Written By: Classical Conversations®

Homeschool Resources

Gluten-Free Table At A Potluck – Homeschool Resources

By Lauren Gideon

As I travel from state to state, I find two tables of homeschool resources: those that are total free-market options and those that are fully or partially taxpayer-funded. These resources could include tutoring services, classes, extracurricular activities, sports, fine arts, and so much more. What I have found remarkably interesting is that just like a gluten-free table, free-market options are either sparse or plentiful, bland or diverse.

An Illustration From My Gluten-Free Friends

Nearly every potluck I attend anymore has an accommodating table, based on the reality that a large segment of our population has chosen to abstain from gluten. We know there is a spectrum of reasons. Nearly every gluten-free consumer has some moderate to severe negative consequence they try to avoid, yet others take a proactive approach.

I also bet some are on the train because…well, they get on all trains.

Motivations aside, in my lifetime, the potluck scene has completely changed to accommodate this demographic.

Ok, nothing against my anti-glutenomist neighbors…If I still have you, follow me with the illustration.

The gluten-free consumer made a decision (forced or voluntary) that altered a major portion of their life. They have their position prior to any potluck. Once there, they are either delighted or depressed with the variety of gluten-free options. The most strict in this demographic choose only from this table. Rarely, in their disappointment, do they ever compromise and decide to browse the non-gluten-free selection. (If you have ever hung out with someone like this who has had accidental gluten contamination, you know why.)

Specifically, if there is no cake on the GF table, the consumer does not reluctantly go to the other table to get their cake; they simply go without cake. If this happens enough times, one of two things will probably happen. The friends and family of this individual will have compassion and bake a diet-friendly cake, or the consumer will get frustrated enough to bake their own cake.

How In The World Does This Intersect With Homeschooling?

As we evaluate options on the two tables, we must first step back and evaluate our commitment to the homeschool resource “diet.”  What are the pros and cons of only consuming free-market options? Are there any consequences to sampling options from the subsidized table if you don’t find what you like in the free market? Some states provide an “all or nothing” choice. In these states, no state-funded options are available for those who have chosen to homeschool.

Do you know what they DO have? They serve a feast of quality, diverse, competitive, free-market services. How do they have such options? There, you will find a rich legacy of groups and individuals who found a way to make a GF cake—by that, I mean a robust free-market buffet because the consumers in the state required that accommodation. In other circumstances, we find that families solved their own dilemmas with conviction and creativity.

In Many States The Free-Market Table Is Lacking

If you are in a state like mine, the free-market table is lacking. One reason this is true is due to the fact that the other table is easily accessible. Families discouraged by the free-market are welcome to browse the state-funded options. At first glance, this seems warm and hospitable. Consumers say things like, “I do not have a choice; the option I wanted (or a quality version of this option) was not available on the free market.”

Do you know what happens to our table when this is our outlook? Nothing. It stays sparse and bland.

What will drive change? The options are the following:

  1. Families will set their “diet” and commit to it before they ever attend the potluck
  2. Families will ONLY chose the bland options, or…
  3. Families will create better options, and more homeschool resources for the next generation

We all have a choice, and as we all know; all choices yield outcomes.

Lauren is a regular contributor. You can find Lauren’s other blogs here.

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations®.  She has been a home educator since her first student was born 18 years ago. She came to Classical Conversations for support when the student count in their home grew beyond what she thought she could navigate on her own. In addition to homeschooling her seven children, she co-leads community classes that unpack our nation’s founding documents and civic responsibility. However, she is happiest at home, preferably outside, with her husband of 18 years, tackling their newest adventure of building a modern homestead.

Joint Ownership and Your Child’s Education

By Lauren Gideon

Many people in America own timeshares or at least have been to one of those awful presentations. The concept is simple. Merriam-Webster defines a timeshare as “an agreement or arrangement in which parties share the ownership of or right to use property (as a resort condominium), and that provides for occupation by each party, especially for periods of less than a year.”

The concept at hand regards how investors share ownership and rights to property. For many Americans, this is a tolerable relationship where all parties get pages of fine print and give their informed consent. 

Does Joint Ownership Actually Exist?

Here is my question, though: Does joint ownership actually exist? In 1828, in the first edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Languageownership was defined as “property; exclusive right of possession; legal or just claim or title.”

The difference here is collective ownership vs. individual ownership. They sound similar, but they are, in fact, mutually exclusive. Once a collective owns something, the individual does not. And once an individual owns something, the collective does not have ownership. 

Culturally, we like the concept of collective ownership. Why? Vacations are both valuable and expensive. They are genuinely beneficial to relationships, mental health, and stepping away from life to gain perspective, see new places, and gain education. 

So many good things come from vacations. If time and money allow, one could say vacations are essential. For most families, the friction comes not from whether we should take a vacation but from the question: “How are we going to pay for a vacation?”

Enter the timeshare industry, which has capitalized on the strain between the value of vacation vs. the expense. The presentations capitalize on this tension and propose a solution: shared ownership. This proposal stems from the relationship between investing and ownership. (I don’t know of any timeshare holder who actually thinks they have exclusive right of possession.) 

A Multiplicity of Ownership Means No Individual Ownership

This leads me to my point: multiplicity of ownership means no individual ownership. Collective owners or investors are merely stakeholders. They each have a vote and a voice but are still subject to the collective’s will. 

The unfortunate consequence with outside investors is that—by definition—you have forfeited exclusive ownership. Individual ownership and collective ownership are mutually exclusive.

The stakeholder relationship works in many common relationships where responsible parties can tolerate giving up individual ownership. Roads, city ordinances, and vacation abodes are some of our collectively shared possessions.

But what about those central responsibilities we possess? When is deferring to the stakeholder option an abdication of responsibility? For instance, scripture indirectly warns about having outside stakeholders in a marriage (Gen. 2:24). No outsider should have a vote in your marriage. The couple answers to God alone; therefore, it is imperative that they do not sell out to other investors who do not share in their unique and personal responsibility. 

This same idea can apply to very private matters of the human experience. As James Madison said, 

“More sparingly should this praise be allowed to a government, where a man’s religious rights are violated by penalties, or fettered by tests, or taxed by a hierarchy. Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that, being a natural and inalienable right. To guard a man’s house as his castle, to pay public and enforce private debts with the most exact faith, can give no title to invade a man’s conscience which is more sacred than his castle, or to withhold from it that debt of protection, for which the public faith is pledged, by the very nature and original conditions of the social pact.”

To summarize, there should be no stakeholders in someone’s religion or conscience. Madison repeatedly warned against trampling the private property (exclusive, individual ownership) of someone’s conscience.

How Do We Categorize Our Family’s Education?

Here is our closing question. How do we categorize our family’s education? Is it common or sacred? Is it public or private? Referring back to the vacation dilemma, education is also an essential commodity. It is more essential than a vacation, and given our budget limitations, the appeal to invest with multiple investors is strong. 

The unfortunate consequence with outside investors is that—by definition—you have forfeited exclusive ownership. Individual ownership and collective ownership are mutually exclusive. Moreover, stewardship of your family’s education belongs to you at the end of the day; it cannot be outsourced. Our ownership in this field is sacred, and we all bear personal responsibility. This is the message we should aim to communicate to future generations.

  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

Read other articles written by Lauren here.

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations®. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship I.Q. on U.S. founding documents. She and her husband homeschool their seven children on their small acreage, where they are enjoying their new adventures in homesteading.

looking through a magnifying glass lens at the first words of the Declaration of Independence, "We the People"

9 Resources for Learning About the U.S. Constitution

By Lauren Gideon

There has been a revival among conservatives to improve our functional U.S. Constitutional literacy. It’s only natural when things devolve into disorder and chaos to wonder, 

“What happened?” 

“How did we get here?”

“Where did we get off course?” 

To answer these questions, one would have to learn what the course was and where the course came from before one could assess the deviation from that course. This curiosity to rediscover the “course” is a good thing. The human experience is full of good things, and like all good things, achieving or acquiring them requires of us the same weighty virtues of ownership and discipline that Classical Conversations® highlights for students in the Challenge programs. 

Thus, before proceeding to the following list, heed this disclaimer: 

If you want a “quick fix” for improving your U.S. Constitutional literacy…. this is NOT the list for you. 

The U.S. Constitution

When learning about something, one should always start with the thing itself. It’s interesting that when you finally meet someone that you have heard much about ahead of time, you can’t ever really unhear those things or unknow them. 

For better or for worse, you will (at least initially) always see that new person through the lens of what you heard about them. The same is true of ideas and documents. This is one of the reasons why classical educators are so passionate about reading source texts before we turn to functional summaries or commentaries. 

Webster’s Dictionary 1828

Inevitably, you will run into words that are outside our modern vernacular. Look them up! And look them up in a dictionary completed in close chronological proximity to the document itself. 

While you are at it, pick up a good biography of Noah Webster for a fascinating window into how unique and essential this dictionary was for the formation of American culture.

The Declaration of Independence

After reading the U.S. Constitution thoroughly, you might be disappointed. Let me explain. No one gets through reading the rules of Monopoly and says to themselves, “Wow, that was profoundly inspiring!” Rule books, by nature, are quite dry and boring. The point of the rule book is not the rule book itself, but the rules allow you to play the game! The game of Monopoly is enjoyed by many families for something other than the excitement of the rule book. 

The U.S. Constitution is merely the rule book. The Declaration of Independence articulates so beautifully the “why.” These documents are so intertwined that they ought never to be divorced. The U.S. Constitution is the manifestation, the conduit, and the protection of the truth claims spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.

The Articles of Confederation

It is important to remember that the U.S. Constitution was a “do-over.” It was not the first attempt to make manifest the principles of the Declaration of Independence. However, there was enough unfavorable public sentiment surrounding the Articles of Confederation and the perception that they had missed the mark, to tolerate what was called the Second American Revolution. 

The new form of government created was literally illegal under the Articles of Confederation. 

While this may cause internal conflict for those with warm affection for the rule of law under the U.S. Constitution, it is something worthwhile to wrestle with. It’s important to remember that things haven’t always been the way they are, nor is there any assurance that they will stay this way if the public perception and sentiment wills otherwise.

Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787

In modern America, there is debate on whether we can know what the Constitutional Convention meant by the words and phrases they used. This question is only tolerated by those ignorant of James Madison’s exhaustive notes on every conversation that transpired. 

What was included, what wasn’t included, why did they choose the words they chose; all this and much more give us the conversational context to every element debated. The fewer the debates, the more unanimously certain positions were held by the convention. 

Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers

Beyond the internal debate, a national debate transpired as well. The Federalist Papers argued for the U.S. Constitution, while the Anti-Federalists opposed ratification. More important than the sides men took are the ideas they unpacked. Often, these papers hospitably acknowledge the weakness of their positions while confessing the limitations of a free society.  

By reading these papers, we can deeply dive into the comparison, circumstance, relationship, and testimony of these ideas.

Discourses Concerning Government—Algernon Sidney

Like people, ideas have family trees and ancestors. While the ideas that shaped the U.S. Constitution are as old as time itself, curious observers have done their part to articulate what previously lived outside of the body of human discovery. 

Algernon Sidney was one of those discoverers. His thoughts ultimately cost him his very life when his own unpublished writing was used against him as a second witness to convict him of treason. Sidney’s writings, though written about 100 years before the American Revolution, were so influential that Thomas Jefferson had this to say about them in a letter to Henry Lee:

Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration—John Locke 

The other modern author named by Jefferson was John Locke. His Two Treatises of Government was published around the same time that Sidney was alive. These two men pioneered ideas such as “just power being derived through the consent of the governed,” which flew in the face of the Divine Rights Theory. So, it is plain to see how the Declaration of Independence did not invent any new ideas. The Declaration merely served as an inventory of collective sentiment shaped by the ideas discovered and shared by brave men who gave their lives for the transcendental ideals enumerated in our Declaration and consequently informed and transformed our form of government, the U.S. Constitution.

The Bible

It cannot go without saying that the U.S. Constitution is not divinely inspired. Only one text can make that claim. So, when looking at anything else in the created order, we must consider the authority of Scripture. 

We began this conversation considering “the course” or “how things ought to be.” While the Scriptures may not explicitly say how humans ought to form a good human state, it does teach us about spheres of authority, the principle of justice, the idea of having multiple witnesses, the image-bearing nature of humanity, and other building blocks. 

While we may often wish for a cookie-cutter example that we could cut and paste, there is no quick fix for searching out the mysteries of Scripture either. Let us remember Proverbs 25:2 (ESV), “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” 

It is our joy and responsibility to bring everything under the dominion of Christ’s authority: to discover, to name, to identify, to compare, to understand, to inform, to discern. In this discernment of revelation through Scripture and the created order, we, too, can wisely participate in this enduring classical conversation. 

Read other articles by Lauren here.

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations.  She has been a home educator since her first student was born 18 years ago. She came to Classical Conversations for support when the student count in their home grew beyond what she thought she could navigate on her own. In addition to homeschooling her seven children, she co-leads community classes that unpack our nation’s founding documents and civic responsibility. However, she is happiest at home, preferably outside, with her husband of 18 years, tackling their newest adventure of building a modern homestead.

School Choice has Come to Louisiana

School Choice Has Come To Louisiana

By Jennifer Bright

Each year, more and more states are embracing school choice options through education savings accounts (ESAs) and school voucher legislation. Alabama was the first state to pass a universal school choice bill in 2024! Louisiana will not be far behind as it is being debated this week in the Louisiana Senate.

As private homeschoolers in Louisiana, why should we be concerned about ESAs or school voucher legislation? Statistically, Louisiana has always been near or at the bottom in education as compared to the other fifty states. For example, in 2023, Louisiana ranked 46th. The question that is often asked is, why wouldn’t we support these school choice options? Wouldn’t ESAs help lift Louisiana students from the bottom?

School Choice

‘School choice’ is often referred to as educational choice, educational options, parent choice, etc., in which taxpayer-funded monies are channeled through school vouchers, educational savings accounts, educational empowerment scholarships, tax credits, etc., (which sound and look enticing) for parents to choose the educational option that they believe is best for their child(ren). Louisiana’s version, the Giving All True Opportunity to Rise (LA GATOR) scholarship program, is being decided this week at the capital.

Government Monies—Government Regulation

As with all government monies, there will be regulations, rules, accountability, and control. Currently, 13% of Louisiana school districts receive their funding from the Federal Government, and the rest is divided between the state’s budget and our local sales and property taxes.

How will this new legislation affect private homeschoolers in Louisiana? From HB 745, section 4037.5. (Schools and service providers; eligibility; participation), private homeschoolers who register either as a home study program or a nonpublic school not seeking state approval are not eligible to participate or concurrently enroll in the LA GATOR scholarship program. The LA GATOR scholarship program sets up a new class of government-funded students, just like Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. So currently, private homeschoolers will not be affected.

            “When parents take these funds, they sign a statement that they are no longer homeschooling, even if they may be educating at home. As a result, accepting ESA funds places the student in a new category as an ESA student. Because students are no longer privately funded homeschool students, but instead publicly funded ESA students, government regulation inevitably follows and impacts the education these students receive.”[1]

It may not affect private homeschoolers today, it could in the future. The current bill requires all students who participate in the LA GATOR scholarship program to comply with all program requirements (including yearly testing). But what about next year or the year after, how will the government change or modify the program requirements?

Other States’ ESA Programs and Problems

Let’s look at a couple of other states that have drunk from the well of ESAs, like  Arizona and West Virginia. Budgets have blown up! There is an administrative nightmare and a lack of accountability. Politicians and educational leaders are looking for solutions to fix the failed experiment.

Resist the Temptation

As Leigh Bortins shares in this article,

            Parents are presented with “choices” that aren’t really choices at all.” And “Receiving one-time government money with no strings attached makes the second, third, and fourth times easier with strings attached. With the shekels come the shackles.” So, “we must…resist the temptation posed by government funding.”

Educate Yourself

Think through these questions from Classical Conversations® Educational Freedom website, as you consider who do you want to control your homeschool—you or the government?

  • Do you want the state involved in your homeschooling on any level?
  • Is accepting any financial assistance from the state a slippery slope?
  • Where does the money come from?
  • Would it be more beneficial for homeschoolers to keep their education tax money rather than fund the Department of Education with that money?
  • In your state, are you still classified and protected as a homeschooler if you receive government funding?
  • Is making your own curriculum decisions important to you, or would you prefer the Department of Education to assume oversight in those decisions?
  • What historical examples can you think of where the government was involved in decisions like this? What were the initial intentions? Were the outcomes positive or negative, and how accurately did they reflect those initial intentions?

In Louisiana, there are currently over 45,000 children being home educated. If we were our own school district, we would be the second largest in the state! Just remember, the state government (and federal) will do whatever it can to bring us under its control, and ESAs are just one of their avenues. We need to stand firm against any governmental encroachment on our freedoms to direct our children’s education. We, as parents, know what is best for our children.

The Homeschool Freedom Action Center website is here to help you stay informed and to help families educate themselves on what true educational freedom is!

Jennifer Bright profile headshot

Jennifer Bright is the Communication Manager for Research and Quality Assurance for Classical Conversations. Jennifer’s passions are classical Christian education and discipling the next generation to live for Christ. She supports homeschool families by tutoring their students with the classical tools of learning. Jennifer and her husband began their homeschool journey almost 20 years ago in Russia while serving as missionaries, and currently, they reside in Covington, Louisiana.


[1] “Educational Savings Account.” Accessed 4/15/2024. https://classicalconversations.widen.net/s/swkgl26rw7?__hstc=87463879.1d548548b58a4ef2d8bb0d564a005567.1638826400930.1670868123213.1670943201710.270&__hssc=&__hsfp=&hsCtaTracking=d9ec90d4-0a2d-4d25-bcbb-c8c3b64bb33d%7Cbc6a2c98-eeed-4bdf-adba-2ef77c9a312a

Indoctrination

What is Indoctrination?

By Olivia Abernathy

Olivia Abernathy is a current Challenge III student in Classical Conversations®. She has been a part of CC for over a decade. Olivia enjoys books, writing fiction and nonfiction, theatre, and the mountains. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of her community newsletter. Olivia hopes to own and run her own creative arts magazine. Ultimately, she will go where the Lord leads her.

People often use the word “indoctrination” in our culture today. Democrats say that Republicans are indoctrinating children with conservative beliefs, and the Republicans throw it right back at them. What do we mean when we say somebody’s “indoctrinating” someone else? What makes us dislike the idea of indoctrination?

Where did the word “indoctrination” come from?

According to the American Enterprise Institute, when the verb “indoctrinate” first appeared in 17th-century writings, it merely meant “to teach.” Its meaning came from the Latin “docēre,” “to teach” or “to instruct.” It wasn’t until the 19th and 20th centuries that the modern connotation entered our language. “During the early part of the 20th century, the word’s pejorative meaning entered common parlance as a synonym for ‘brainwashing,’ especially regarding the inculcation of sectarian and partisan doctrines,” 1 says the aforementioned article.

Today’s meaning of indoctrination

Indoctrination, defined by the Random House College Dictionary, means “to instruct in a doctrine or ideology” or “to imbue a person with learning.” This definition intends to instill in someone certain principles or beliefs, specifically those that are not universally held. Imbue” is also interesting because “imbue” means inspiring someone with knowledge or saturating them with feelings.

Today, indoctrination has a negative connotation. CNN says, “…there’s a growing political argument on the right that children must be protected from ‘indoctrination’ by the government in schools…2 In this example, people usually use the word about children in the public school system. We say children are being “indoctrinated” with things we disagree with as part of a plot, that they’re being “conditioned” to accept certain things as fact whether or not they are factual. Is this true? Possibly. Is this a bad thing? Yes, but not for the reason you think I’m about to say.

The consequences of indoctrination

To indoctrinate someone is to instill in them the beliefs of your religion or social group. When you firmly believe something is true, it’s reasonable to want others to come to know the truth (or what you believe the truth is). However, if we genuinely want to have an open mind and exercise critical thinking—if we want that for our children as well—we must expose our children to all sides of an issue, even the parts we might disagree with.

In his book Why ProLife?: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers, Randy Alcorn shares how he once presented the pro-life case to a class of high school students. After Alcorn’s presentation, the teacher admitted that he had never actually heard the pro-life case. His exposure had only been to the pro-choice point of view. Alcorn states that the teacher “had uncritically accepted the pro-choice position from others, and his students had done the same.3 Is this the kind of nation we want to live in? I’m not even talking about pro-life versus pro-choice. I’m talking about a nation where a 55-year-old social studies teacher was only exposed to ONE point of view on a very controversial topic.

Another possible consequence of indoctrination is that children may not learn to question perspectives. In indoctrinating children, educators often teach them to accept a perspective as fact. Students need to develop the skills of thinking through what they see and hear and conducting more in-depth research to discover the truth. No matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, you don’t want to accept things unquestioningly without thought or research.

Did someone make the moon out of cheese?

Children are naturally very trusting. When I was a child, it would never occur to me to question anything my parents said was fact. If my mother had told me the moon was made of cheese, I would probably have believed her. As I’ve moved forward in my classical education, I’ve been taught to look at all sides of an issue, to question the things I’m taught, and encouraged to do research. I’m grateful for the education I’ve received, which regularly involves engaging in difficult conversations and researching many points of view. But only some children have this opportunity.

“Teach” vs. “Indoctrinate”

The definition of “teach” is “to impart knowledge or skill.” What is the difference between “teach” and “indoctrinate?”. The difference is that “indoctrinate” means you only present the thoughts and ideas of a specific group or system. In contrast, the word “teach” imposes no limit on the type or amount of ideas that one can teach.

In essence, we don’t want to merely indoctrinate our children. We want to teach them, give them the freedom to think their thoughts, and use critical thinking skills to carefully ponder both sides of an issue. People should think freely. They should not feel wrong for challenging previous teachings. In a recent podcast, Robert Bortins discussed the results of a survey showing how Gen Z males are fighting indoctrination.

In Conclusion

Indoctrination is filling a child’s mind with a specific belief system or ideology—almost always while condemning other points of view. Are we called to raise our children this way? It may be easy to teach them only what we believe, but it is far better to expose them to all sides of an issue and how to think about it for themselves. Let us be teachers, teachers of critical thinking, teachers of open-mindedness, teachers of brilliant young minds, and let us not be advocates of indoctrination. The American Enterprise Institute says it best: “The educational system is key to the modern state’s human and social infrastructure, and schools must fulfill their responsibility…”4

Olivian Abernathy

Olivia Abernathy is seventeen years old and a current Challenge 3 student in Classical Conversations. She enjoys books, writing fiction and nonfiction, theatre, and the mountains. Olivia is the founder and editor-in-chief of her campus newsletter. She hopes to one day own and run her own creative arts magazine, but in the end, she will go where the Lord leads her.

Footnotes

  1. Ben-Chaim, Micheal. “How Schools Indoctrinate and How They Can Educate.” American Enterprise Institute, https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/how-schools-indoctrinate-and-how-they-can-educate/. Accessed 22 February 2024. ↩︎
  2. Wolf, Zachary B. “The growing movement to protect children from their government.” CNN, 9 March 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/09/politics/education-government-role-what-matters/index.html. Accessed 22 February 2024. ↩︎
  3. Alcorn, Randy. Why ProLife? Sandy, OR. Eternal Perspective Ministries, 2004. ↩︎
  4. Ben-Chaim, Micheal. “How Schools Indoctrinate and How They Can Educate.” American Enterprise Institute, https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/how-schools-indoctrinate-and-how-they-can-educate/. Accessed 22 February 2024. ↩︎
the Texas capitol building

May Homeschool Days at the Capitol! Get Ready!

Homeschool Days at the Capitol, Legislative Days, Capitol Days, Pie Day, and other similar events foster communication between parents and their elected representatives. Seize this excellent opportunity to teach your children the importance of the legislative process. Help them mature into civic leaders who will help protect American freedoms.

The chart below lists May Homeschool Days at the Capitol. You can also check your state’s dates here if they’re not listed below.

LouisianaMay 15, 2024
New YorkMay 22-23, 2024