Monday, December 17, 2007

Despite What the Elite Media Asserts, Not All Homeschoolers Heart Huckabee

The elite media is jumping all over the supposed groundswell of homeschooler support for Mike Huckabee. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have articles today on the subject. Both give prominent placement to Michael Farris of the HSLDA and the WP one also mentions Gregg Harris. Neither mentions Dr. Ron Paul (is it just me or does it seem like the elite media has deliberately decided to ignore him despite his significant grassroots popularity?)

As I mentioned last week, what really irks me about the coverage is the use of "homeschooler" in the elite media as codeword for superfundamentalist Protestant. Most families who educate their children at home do not have 10 kids or believe that the Biblical commandment to "honor thy father and mother" mean that parents should dictate their children's votes such as the Hurleys of Iowa whose quote leads off the NYT article.

According to the 2003 survey done by the National Center for Education Statistics, 29% of homeschool families have only 1 or 2 kids. The NCES unfortunately lumped together medium-sized and larger families, but it's pretty safe to assume that the majority of the rest have 3 or 4 kids rather than 5+. Not that there's anything wrong with having a larger family- it's just not the norm, even among homeschoolers. The media may give a lot of attention to the Duggars and other very large homeschooling families, but that paints a misleading portrait of the average homeschooler.

The NYT and WP articles also implied that homeschoolers have monolithic opinions on gun control, abortion, homosexual unions, a flat tax, and other "hot-button" issues. While certain homeschoolers do agree with Huckabee's position on these issues, others disagree with him on some or all of them. People from all over the political spectrum educate their children at home. Just because we've chosen against traditional schools does not mean that we all heart Huckabee or anything else.

I'm not trying to pick on Mike Huckabee, who seems like a decent guy personally. It's not his fault that the media has decided a good way to try to discredit him is by linking him with groups viewed with suspicion by a large segment of their readers (Evangelicals and homeschoolers) and to perpetuate the stereotype that all those in the latter also belong to the former.

1 comment:

Carmon Friedrich said...

Dear Crimson Wife...

You and I seem to think alike!

Keep up the good work!