Saturday, May 24, 2008

"First they came for the....."

The controversial history of Martin Niemoler's poem is documented in Wikepedia.

The following version of Martin Niemoller's Poem "First They Came..." appears on the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston, MA.

"They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up."

When reading of this poem, I often think of the homeschooling situation here in New Hampshire, California and across the United States. It reminds me of what I hear from homeschoolers time and time again. To sum it up, too many homeschoolers do not want to get involved in public education issues because they do not want anyone coming after them. It is dangerous and naive to think that if we leave them alone, they'll leave us alone. Legislators will come after homeschoolers whether we speak up or not.

The NEA is a very large contributor to Democratic candidates and increasingly to Republican candidates because they have so many of our tax dollars. In turn these legislators will push the NEA's agenda. Homeschooling represents a real and direct threat to the NEA/AFT dream of educational hegemony. They have attacked and will continue to attack homeschoolers. Organized resistance, not stealth, is our only appropriate response.

What are we teaching are children if we stick our heads in the sand?

The following is the NEA's policy regarding homeschooling.

"B-75. Home Schooling

The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used. The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools. The Association further believes that local public school systems should have the authority to determine grade placement and/or credits earned toward graduation for students entering or re-entering the public school setting from a home school setting. (1988, 2006)"

We all need to speak up before it is too late.

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