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CBS Needs New Glasses
by Mark Stevenson
On October 13 and 14, the CBS World News Tonight ran two stories through their, “Eye on America” segments by Vince Gonzales. The segments were called, “A Dark Side to Home Schooling”, and, “Home Schooling Nightmares”. It was known one day in advance that these stories were running. Therefore, this was the HR 6 of the media. Home schoolers watched in dismay as the suspected angle to the stories became certain.
For several weeks after that, home schoolers across the United States responded to CBS and their evening sponsors by firmly disproving the notion that this was a true representation of home schooling. The stories were grim. However, they should have served as a wake-up call that home schoolers should not take any freedom they have for granted.
On both evenings, Dan Rather made these two statements. “...but in an Eye on America investigation, CBS’s Vince Gonzales uncovered a dark side to this largely un-regulated system of education”. The second statement, “Home schooling is largely unregulated, and some children have suffered abuse. And much worse, while no one was watching…”. Would Mr. Rather be attempting to make a case that abuse and home schooling are inseparable and that home schooling is unregulated and needs further regulation…? It certainly sounds like it. Vince Gonzales reported the following:
“Since it became legal here in North Carolina in 1985, the number of students being home schooled has jumped from just a few hundred to more than 50,000. But the number of full-time employees overseeing the program has not changed, just 3 for the entire state”.
Q. by Mr. Gonzales: “The laws in North Carolina, do they protect children who are being home schooled”?
A. by Marcia Herman-Giddens, North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute: “I don’t think they protect children because there is virtually no oversight.”
Mr. Gonzales also reported that a state task force in North Carolina concluded home school laws, “...allow a person to maltreat children to maintain social isolation in order for the abuse and neglect to remain undetected.” He goes on in the story...
“A CBS news investigation found dozens of cases of parents accused or convicted of child abuse or murder who were teaching their children at home, out of the public eye”.
“In 8 states, parents don’t have to tell anyone they’re home schooling. Unlike teachers, in 38 states and the District of Columbia, parents need virtually no qualifications to home school. Not one state requires criminal background checks to see if parents have abuse convictions”.
The above statements give an intentional picture that home school laws across the United States need to be more restrictive. I hope we do not see the day when we have to go through criminal background checks to home educate our children, as was being suggested. We certainly must be vigilant on reports like this and respond appropriately as many have already done.
On the bright side, I am happy to report that the 2003 candidates that were recommended to CHESCA members were elected to their respective offices! Also, State-wide Issue 1 was defeated. For those of you who do not know, Randy Pope, Councilman for the 3rd district in Alliance is a home schooler. Also, Brant Luther, Stark County Auditor and former Alliance City Councilman, 1st District, was home schooled, himself, and is a supporter of home education. He was endorsed by Canton Mayor Janet Creighton, former Stark County Auditor. It seems that God is making provision for us by giving us public servants that are on our side!
[addendum: Apparently homeschoolers are not the only ones that see CBS in a negative light right now, as this letter indicates.]
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