Monday, August 5, 2013

Dumb and dumber

(Originally published in the Bargain Hunter on July 22, 2013)

One of the intellects in Columbus has come up with yet another brilliant idea.

Delaware County Republican state Sen. Kris Jordan wants to give a tax break to parents who home school their children.

According to Jordan’s official Ohio Senate website, he is sponsoring Senate Bill 127. Let’s hope it dies quickly.

The website provides this quotation from Jordan:

“Home schooling requires an immense amount of parental involvement, which has many positive benefits for children, but it also involves a great deal of sacrifice.

“Families that elect to home school their children often pay directly out of pocket for many of the materials and other items needed, and my proposal could help significantly in defraying some of these costs. This could free up resources that could be used for other needs or to further enhance a child’s education.”

Jordan’s website claims there are more than 20,000 home-schooled children in Ohio, which in my mind is an alarming number. That’s a lot of parents who think they know better than the professionals.

Under Jordan’s proposal, families who home school would be eligible for a property tax reduction after submitting an application to the county auditor.


I think I’m correct in noting that the idea of our forefathers was to make public education a right granted to each citizen. In return, we’d all be responsible for paying for public education because an educated population benefits all of us.

Get it? Let me repeat: It benefits all of us.

All those kids we educate, well, eventually a lot of them do great things, such as engineering cars that park themselves, or using satellites to help navigate our vast system of highways and byways, or cure cancer.

If we start excepting segments of our population from paying for public education because they choose a different educational path for their children, well, we’re in trouble. If we give home-schoolers a tax break, shouldn’t we give a tax break to people who send their children to private and parochial schools?

And if we do that, why don’t we just charge the families who use public education? So that means childless couples shouldn’t have to pay school taxes. Or senior citizens. Or Chinese businessmen who buy property in our state as an investment.

Why should anyone other than families who use the public school system have to pay school taxes?
Because public education benefits all of us – even home-school families and even if they won’t admit it.
Don’t they get that down there in Columbus?

I’ll answer that.

No. They don’t get it.

I’ve always believed – at least in Ohio – that public schools do a pretty good job with the resources they have. The six urban districts – Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron and Youngstown ­– are exceptions. We need to retool and resize those districts so that they can better serve their respective populations.

Rather than do that, the ultra-conservative forces in this state are bent on encouraging the creation of charter schools, which has resulted in another layer of educational bureaucracy that taxpayers are funding (yes, you are) that encourages among other things private-sector greed and shoddy curriculum. 

And now we have a state senator who wants to further the cause of public education mediocrity in Ohio by cutting even more resources.

If there are indeed 20,000 home-schooled children in this state and if that number keeps growing, heaven help the future generations because I can’t imagine a population that relies on Mom and Pop to teach subjects that are better left to specialists.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

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