The parents of the girl are divorced, and as often happens in such cases, this family division has resulted in government meddling in the family.
The mother Brenda Kurowski Voydatch seems to be a Christian who is instructing her daughter Amanda in her faith, as good parents should. The father Martin Kurowski, however, seems ambivalent at best toward the Christian faith, and also seems unwilling to participate in Amanda’s homeschooling when he has custody of her.
The disagreement has led to the court getting involved, and Judge Lucinda V. Sadler has ordered Amanda to attend public school full time.
The judge’s opinion makes it clear on Page 7 that academic performance is not an issue: “it is clear that the home schooling Ms. Voydatch has provided has more than kept up with the academic requirements of the Meredith public school system.”
It goes on, on the same page, to make it clear that the agenda is not the student Amanda’s education, but her “socialization.” Apparently our education system has the dual role of social engineering: in the minds of elitists like this judge, one must have their heads properly filled with socialist mush before the job of educating a child can be considered complete.
It does not matter that this child already takes some classes–including theater–at the local public school, providing her more than adequate social interaction with others, nor apparently does her interaction with her parents matter. In the eyes of government elitists, a child must be fully immersed in the moral cesspool of the public education system to meet their satisfaction.
This, of course, ignores the fact that throughout the course of human history, many children have grown up in far greater isolation outside urban areas. Indeed, conditions during the colonial and Revolutionary era of America involved immeasurably greater levels of isolation, and yet these children managed to grow up to be far better educated, responsible, morally grounded and adjusted than the modern generation. The same was true for many years after the founding era, as families took off across the plains and deserts of middle America to settle and develop this continent.
Again, none of this matters.
Incredibly, these government elitists find fault with this student Amanda because she is apparently too mature; she isn’t acting in the immature fashion they find more comfortable (for themselves or for her?).
The girl “lacked some youthful characteristics”? Which ones? I can only conclude from the context of this document that the “proper youthful characteristics” should involve sheep-like behavior, pliability, conformity to state indoctrination, moral ambiguity, uncertainty, ignorance, and philosophical rudderlessness.
She is apparently expected to enter a public indoctrination, er, public education center where she “must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior and cooperation in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”
Obviously it has never occurred to these secularist elitists that she may be light-years ahead of them in this process. Perhaps she has already evaluated systems of belief and found the Christian worldview to be both reliable and “suitable to her own needs.” If you find the right answer, are you obligated to continue exploring other possible answers? If you find that “4” is right for the question “2+2=?”, are you obligated to continue on and explore whether “5” might be right, or perhaps “8” or maybe even “37”? Obviously if you try “839” for the answer and find that it doesn’t work, you need to continue searching, but if “4” works, what sane person goes on to explore all the wrong answers?
More likely, these elitist statists consider her acceptance of Christianity to be unsuitable to their needs–their need for moral ambiguity to excuse immoral behaviors.
As the ADF brief says,
In other words, the evidence shows that socially and academically, Amanda is doing great, but her religious beliefs are a bit too sincerely held and must be sifted, tested by, and mixed among other worldviews. This is a step too far any court to take.
This is a good example of the brazen arrogance of these statists. They hold anything other than their own moral ambiguity in deep contempt. Someone who is sure of their beliefs and certain of what is right is a threat to them…so they do all they can to undermine that certainty.
It is also interesting that this document chides the girl Amanda for not engaging in “some element of independent thinking.” She is engaging in independent thinking, and her refusal to bow to their secularist indoctrination is proof. But she is not engaging in their version of “independent thinking.” Which brings us to the next irony of this morally bereft judge.
The next passage says Amanda lacks “tolerance for different points of view.” Where, I wonder, is their tolerance for her point of view? Apparently it is AWOL. But Amanda’s point of view doesn’t really matter to them, does it? What matters is that she accept their morally adrift practice of “tolerance” of any fool idea that comes along.
My children are homeschooled, and are academically years ahead of their public school peers. With regard to socialization, they do not exist in a vacuum; we do not keep them in a closet between lessons as this anti-homeschooling establishment seems to believe. My children (as do most homeschooled children) interact with their family, children in the neighborhood, children and adults at church, and in many other settings. For instance, my daughter was involved in Girl Scouts from the age of five on, and she has been taking Ju-Jitsu lessons for about three years now. There is no lack of “socialization” for most homeschooled children…but there is probably a lack of exposure to the moral rot of the public education system; perhaps this is what elitists like Judge Sadler find so offensive.
I did not go to headstart/kindergarten like most of my public school peers, and when I joined them in the first grade, I was at least a year or two ahead of them academically; my parents were not “homeschoolers” (that term was barely known if at all back then) but they and my grandparents began teaching me at age 3 to read, count and such. What’s more, I quickly learned most of my bad habits and behaviors once I started public school. And with the moral degradation I experienced in a country school 30 years or more ago, I shudder to think what my children would be exposed to in a medium-sized urban school of today.
The ADF brief cites the findings of Dr. Robert Epstein, a prominent psychologist, which reinforces not only my moral indictment of the public education system environment, but the difference in quality and outcome between a homeschooling environment and the public education one:
In pre-industrial cultures, where teens spent most of their time with adults, the majority of these societies didn’t even develop a word for adolescence, and most young males in these cultures did not display anti-social behavior. Studies show that, beginning in the 1980s, delinquency increased in non-western countries when western-style schooling, television, and movies were introduced.
No, this decision is not based on anything legitimate or substantive. It is not based on the academic or even social and developmental interests of Amanda. It is instead based on a sinister and corrosive agenda.
This court opinion drips with anti-religious and anti-parenting contempt. The level of its audacity is alarming in the extreme. This type of hostility to the values that fostered a great civilization, and the eagerness to meddle with a parent’s moral upbringing of a child is something that cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. If allowed to stand, this could set a precedent for government interference in family matters never before seen in this country.
In the free America our founders set up, we do not have a government that tells its citizens what to think or what to think about, nor one that dictates the moral instruction a parent provides to their child. This decision violates everything America is about, on a core and fundamental level.