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Judge Orders Homeschooler into Public School for Being Too Religious

ObeyConformThe Alliance Defense Fund is attempting to dissuade a New Hampshire court from ordering a 10-year old girl from homeschooling into a public school.

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?).

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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.

SubmitIt 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.

IndependentThoughtNo, 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.


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19 Responses to “Judge Orders Homeschooler into Public School for Being Too Religious”

  1. Another check to the ADF is in the mail! How can we, Americans, countenance such behavior and arrogance from those elected or appointed to serve our interests. This judge and her surragates should all be fired.

    I've got an idea—if the judge has a teenaged child let's suggest that her child be examined by 'experts' and compared to Amanda. If the findings warrant it, the judge's child could be ordered into “home schooling!” Makes sense to me.

  2. This case is truly disturbing, and I applaud you for taking action. You will find additional ammunition to support your position in my recent book, The Case Against Adolescence (see: http://TheCaseAgainstAdolescence.com). The book will be out in an updated edition this fall, complete with parenting tips this time, under the title TEEN 2.0: What Every Parent, Educator and Student Needs to Know About Ending Teen Turmoil (http://Teen20.com). Both books are pro homeschooling. I also correct the myth – which seems to underlie the judge’s ruling – that schooling is necessary for healthy socialization. I’ll be discussing the socialization issue in a Webinar sponsored by the Home School Legal Defense Association (http://HSLDA.org) at 9 pm ET on Oct. 7, 2009. /Dr. Robert Epstein (http://DrEpstein.com)

  3. …I've read other accounts about this case and unfortunately I'd have to agree that this does not sound like a normal, well-adjusted 10 year old child. It's a sad situation and the father has every right to be concerned!

    What does anger me about the situation, though, is that the father wasn't seeking custody? He was perfectly willing to leave his child in an unhealthy environment… and wanted the courts to step in and do his job of making sure his child was being raised properly.

  4. Thank you very much, Dr. Epstein, for weighing in here.

  5. Yes, academic excellence, being sure of what you believe, moral clarity and ethical training are very unhealthy.

  6. The excellent results of homeschooling speak for themselves. There is NO reason for anyone to oppose it unless they oppose the Christian viewpoint that such children are often taught in context of. And, as Communist countries have demonstrated, the main reason those in control would oppose the Christian viewpoint is that it keeps people from being controlled by them.

    The situation described in the article demonstrates naked arrogance and desire to control. May God deliver children from the grip of such evil.

  7. Is this judge for real? He’s scared this child will develop into someone with good morals, respect for authority, a productive person in society, not a burden to the state, will pay their taxes, will respect the law, be a person who will enhance the lives of those she comes in contact with throughout her life, and do well in college. Except for teaching on the very dubious teaching on evolution, we had very little indocrination when I went to school compared to today. Who needs it. Its better to stay away from public education. The school should be there to teach the three R’s of reading, writing, and arithmatics. There would not be homeschooling if the schools would do that. Perhaps the schools should indoctrinate the kids to have good morals, get a college education, get a good job, raise a family where the parents don’t fight a lot, and help the children learn about how to stay married.

  8. This is scary. In our country we have freedom of religion. I wouldn’t doubt the Pilgrims are rolling over in their graves over this one. They don’t care about her education. They want to stifle this little girl’s faith.

  9. This court decision has me in an uproar. I am so glad that it is being addressed by the Alliance Defense Fund. If we don’t all stick together we will lose our freedom of religion altogether. A court making such a decision also opens the door for them telling us how to raise our children. The government has no place to do that except in circumstances involving abuse or neglect.

  10. Sounds wonderful but remember the judge isnt intrested in academics (where im sure Amanda is smarter than the judge let alone his child) levels its “social education” where Amanda would no doubt fail due to her lack of unmorals

  11. I think that homeschooling is a wonderful alternative to many of the social ills found in public schools… particularly overcrowding. There's no denying that a one-on-one teacher to student ratio will result in a much better self-paced education than a one-on-thirty ratio can ever hope to provide.

    That said, however, there is also no denying that not every home is a healthy or stable environment. For many children, public school is their only escape from the abuse, the yelling, the drinking and drugs, and yes, even religious zealotry they may face at home. (* and please don't twist my words, you know perfectly well that I don't mean that any person who attends church is a zealot)

    Problem is that groups such as the HSLDA rush to defend any parent whose right to homeschool is being challenged… no matter how detrimental the situation actually is to the child. They are afraid of the precedent it might set for the whole of homeschooling, and (pardon my pun) they don't seem to mind throwing the occasional child under the bus to maintain the status quo.

  12. It's good to see that the government agencies correctly recognize that a child caught between divorcing parents needs an advocate.

    BTW, the word 'elitist' is used several times in this story – I'm not sure that the author knows exactly what it means.

  13. This is an example of the unexamined fascism of many secularists. They don't understand that by getting the state to force children into a public school they are establishing a state worldview ie secularism. Secularists can wrongly think that “keeping all the options open” when it comes to ideas is better than the intentional indoctrination of children by Christians (I think its a good thing), but when they use the state to enforce their worldview, they are acting as cultural fascists.

    My fear, is that we will move to be like Europe where forced secular indoctrination is mandatory. Its time that Christians to wake up.

  14. Agreed.

  15. As a judge you are NOT to have a bias opinion over things you rule over. This judge obviously allowed his personal opinion of religion and homeschooling to get in the way of judicial un-bias duty. I was wondering if you are going to do a follow up story on this. I would love to find out what happens.

  16. As a judge you are NOT to have a bias opinion over things you rule over. This judge obviously allowed his personal opinion of religion and homeschooling to get in the way of judicial un-bias duty. I was wondering if you are going to do a follow up story on this. I would love to find out what happens.