The Free-Market Education Table at the Potluck

By Lauren Gideon

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

An Illustration From My Gluten-Free Friends

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

I also bet there are some 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 friends… 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 know someone like this who has had accidental gluten contamination, you know why).

To be specific, 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 home-schooling?

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, for those that have chosen to homeschool, no state funded options are available.

Do you know what they DO have? They are serving 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.

When this is our outlook, do you know what happens to our table? 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 willcreate better options for the next generation.

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

Lauren Gideon is the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for Classical Conversations. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship IQ 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.

A Generation of Transformation: Radical Reversal of Culture from Family to Government

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—“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.

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); 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, and 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.”

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.”

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.

Kevin Roberts, President of the Heritage Foundation, states, “If a nation takes on the character of its people then our classrooms are ultimately about 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.”3

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.

Regina Piazza is a thirteen-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 Classical Conversation’s Florida State Advocate.

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

Oklahomans Poised to Take Back Educational Sovereignty by Refusing Federal Education Funding

Originally reported by Kara Arundel, Senior Reporter, K–12 Dive

“‘The U.S. Constitution is very straightforward about education — this is a state power protected by the 10th Amendment and the federal overreach is alive and well in our education system,’ Bullard said in an Oklahoma Senate news release . . . . Schools would not lose money as a result of the legislation, Bullard said in the news release. The bill does not detail how the state would make up the federal revenue. The bill could be considered during the state’s 2023 legislative session, which runs Monday through May 26.”

Furthermore, “Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters has also cast doubt on the need for certain federal funding, according to a Feb. 1 article by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. Walters does not favor turning away all federal funding but wants to analyze programs that carry requirements for instruction that the state opposes.”

Read the whole article here.

Excellence in Education on Constitution Day

On Constitution Day, September 17, Classical Conversations® communities around the country will host Excellence in Education (EiE) events.

An EiE event is a wonderful way to give a peek behind the curtain and create a positive perspective for those who might be unfamiliar with homeschooling. Community, church, business, and political leaders are invited to celebrate with the homeschool group.

EiE events are ideally held close to Constitution Day , which is celebrated on September 17 to commemorate the signing of our Constitution in 1787. Naturally, the Constitution of the United States is a great focal point for these EiE events. Students can read the Amendments aloud or enumerate them from memory, debate pressing topics, or diagram challenging language from the Constitution. Similar EiE events may also be held for Veterans Day in November and Presidents’ Day in February, and activities arranged for those events can reflect their respective holidays.

Although this has long been a Classical Conversations event, any homeschool group can celebrate Constitution Day by hosting an event honoring our parental rights and homeschool freedoms. Consider hosting an Excellence in Education event in your community this Constitution Day!

Perhaps you’d even like to take your event to the state Capitol or make it part of your state’s Capitol Day? Not sure how to get started? Here are some ideas.