The New York Times has a
front page article today on
Patrick Henry College ("The Mission of Patrick Henry College is to train
Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture
with timeless biblical
values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding"), an Evangelical
school primarily for kids who were home schooled.
The article mentioned
that about two thirds of
school families identify themselves as Evangelicals, which surprised
us. We had always thought of the homeschoolers as a hodgepodge of sectists
and alternative life style extremists, due no doubt to the heterogeneous
eccentricities of New England variety of kooks and recluses. Obviously,
in other parts of the country, in the matter of home schools, Evangelism
The main point of the article is that the current right-wing regime
in Washington is making liberal use of these kids. For example, of the
currently 100 interns working in the White House, 7 come from 240-student
Patrick Henry College. A former PHC intern is now on Karl Rove’s staff
full-time. It seems that the ideologically pure Christian home schooled
kids are gaining power and pull in the burgeoning neo-conservative movement.
The Dowbrigade has long been an opponent of home schooling, except
maybe for kids living at McMurdoo Research Station near the South Pole.
Our objections are basically two-fold.
First, as a professional educator, we realize how difficult, complex
and many-faceted being a good teacher is. It takes years of training
and experience to just get adequate at it, and many people never get
beyond that point. If your kid needed brain surgery, you wouldn’t do it yourself,
would you, just to avoid the germs at the hospital? That’s basically what education is, after all – non-invasive brain surgery.
And just like even
the best doctors don’t like operating on family members, even the best
teachers falter when trying to teach their own flesh and blood.
The Dowbrigade, for example, teacher extraordinare, recently ignored
his own advice and tried to teach his teenaged son to drive the family
car. What an unmitigated disaster! The entire exercise ended with the
Dowbrigade himself getting thrown out of his own car by the State Trooper
during his son’s driving test. Lets not go there.
In addition, some people, despite great
intelligence, compassion and energy make terrible teachers,
to be a parent,
domestic manager and educator all at the same time makes each role
And second, we are strong believers of the benefits of education as
an introduction to society, to working and competing with others, to
experiencing diversity and learning tolerance for people who look, and
act, and think differently than you. Although a family is a beautiful
things and can be the center
of a person’s existence, in an open society it must be balanced with
a commingling, an interaction, a mutual learning and exchange of ideas
with other people, other families, and other traditions.
People need to read more than one book, to speak more than one language,
to study more than one religion. Not to BELIEVE in more than one religion,
but to know more than one in detail. People need to consider more
than one viewpoint if they ever hope to escape from the echo chamber.
Over the last four years, 22 conservative members of Congress have employed
one or more Patrick Henry interns in their offices or on their campaigns,
according to the school’s records.
"I would definitely like to be active in the government of our country and
stuff," Mr. Olmstead, 19, said as he sat in a Christian coffeehouse near
the campus, looking up from a copy of Plato’s "Republic."
love to be able to be a foreign ambassador, and I would really like to
move into the Senate later in my career."
from the New York Times