Why teach your children

When heaven is beckoning?

A Texas family who taught their brood nothing because, you guessed right, the rapture is coming will have their day in the state’s supreme court.

In a earlier ruling against the family, the judge said in her ruling

“No parents have ever prevailed in any reported case on a theory that they have an absolute constitutional right to educate their children in the home,”

and I hope the supreme court justices share her views.

But maybe Texas is just a crazy place or it has crazy people. You must recall this old news article from 2012 in which the Republican platform on education was

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

And to cheer you all up, Ben Carson does seem to agree with what most of us think, that is, a big majority of Americans are stupid. In his own words

[..]Everything was perfect. Except the underestimated the intelligence of the American people. The people are not as stupid as they think they are. Many of them are stupid. Okay. But I am talking about overall.


About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

29 thoughts on “Why teach your children

  1. Texas is a crazy place with crazy people. I’ve been there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      I don’t think we have this level of crazy. Here only those who can’t afford to pay school fees don’t educate their children beyond primary school.


      • That’s very sad and unfortunate.


      • fojap says:

        Sometimes, the easier something is to get, the less we value it. I remember that my ex-husband was shocked when he realized that my grandmother, whose father had been a miner and who grew up in a poor, rural area, had a high school degree. Many of his older relatives were illiterate.

        From Wikipedia:

        After the Revolution, an emphasis was put on education, especially in the northern states, which rapidly established public schools. By the year 1870, all states had free elementary schools. The US population had one of the highest literacy rates at the time.

        The south generally lagged behind the north, but a Daily Beast article on this same family mentions that Texas has required children to be schooled for a hundred years.

        Liked by 1 person

    • ladysighs says:

      Lucky you that’s only been there. 🙂
      I live there. 😦


  2. Some years back we met a (British) couple who were doing home-schooling. They were a really interesting family. They’d come to Tarifa to watch the raptors (we get a lot at migration times of year), they’d taken the kids to Morocco, they were obviously learning French, Spanish, history, geography, ornithology, different cultures, and I thought it was a great way to learn more about the world. They were quite young kids though so I don’t know if they were going to put them in secondary school later to get GCSEs. I suppose the difference is, this wasn’t being done on whacky religious grounds.


    • makagutu says:

      Those parents seem to know what they were doing.
      The religious motivated home schooling in some American homes and elsewhere in the world are an insult to education.


  3. Hariod Brawn says:

    “. . . what most of us think, that is, a big majority of Americans are stupid.”

    I’m a lefty Brit, and lefty Brits usually have a pathological disdain for the U.S, but I don’t. I’ve spent a lot of time there on many visits over the years, and don’t regard American citizens as any more stupid than those of other nations. Perhaps they have a more uniform and focused form of stupidity in their religious adherences, but in a way that makes them easier to negotiate. We each of us have ape brains, and are far from having slipped the grip of stupidity altogether – we just specialise in the way we do it! 😉


    • makagutu says:

      I think you are right. I could enumerate the stupidity that goes on here at home and it wouldn’t be any worse than the US. Maybe they get a lot of press and so the stupid is in our face a lot of the time

      Liked by 1 person

      • fojap says:

        Don’t forget there’s the “man bites dog” aspect to what gets in the press. A while back a teacher my mother worked with said something about Jesus in class. He wasn’t proselytizing and I personally didn’t think what he said was a firing offense – maybe the kind of thing that would get a warning from the principal. However, he was fired. It didn’t make it into the papers because it’s normal.

        Our education is very secular. Mine was far more secular than the education my ex recieved in Canada, although Quebec has changed in this respect since he was a kid. However, we have a religious fringe here that wants to change that, so it comes up in the news a lot. Also, people repeat the news from the U.S. a lot for some reason. There’s been a major battle about a charter of values that was going on in Quebec about a year ago. I was going to write about it on my blog mainly because I haven’t seen it mentioned much outside of Canadian venues and I think people might be interested in it. It’s far more central to the place religion has in Canadian society than this episode in Texas is likely to be regarding religion in U.S. society. Still, no one mentions it. Why? I don’t really know. Language barrier, in part. Anglophone papers have covered it, but they’re coverage is one sided. A lack of knowledge of the context for most of the world. You need to know something of the history of the power of the Catholic Church in Quebec to understand the PQ’s position. Oh, you need to know the political parties in Quebec. Why didn’t I write about it myself – because it was too much reading to get caught up on a subject I hadn’t been following.

        Anyway, people really do like the “Oooh, look at the crazy Americans” type of story. The rest of the world treats us like we’re animals in a zoo. It’s dehumanizing and bigoted and very hurtful.


        • makagutu says:

          I think in a way our education system is quite secular even though in most if not all schools have religious education classes.
          Our system is controlled by the central govt. So the standards are easy to maintain though we still get students who are taught badly or who just seem not to do well.
          I think America gets an unfair biased reporting. But then again, everyone is told it is the greatest nation on earth, we would then expect the stupid who come from there not to be so ignorant.
          When you say

          “Oooh, look at the crazy Americans” type of story. The rest of the world treats us like we’re animals in a zoo. It’s dehumanizing and bigoted and very hurtful.

          I can relate. I am tired of having to explain to some people that no Africa isn’t a country and we don’t have lions in the streets of Nairobi

          Liked by 1 person

          • ” I am tired of having to explain to some people that no Africa isn’t a country and we don’t have lions in the streets of Nairobi” And probably far too often it is Americans you have to explain this to. Being an American, and proud of many of the good things we’ve done, I must say we’ve earned our criticism world wide. With the front runners of the Republican Party’s nominations for President being a racist, neanderthal bigot like Donald Trump, and an intellectually dishonest creationist like Ben Carson, I’m ashamed of my fellow countrymen. What we present to the world as acceptable behavior is disgusting, backward, and shameful. Until America, as a nation, shouts out from within about such tripe being shown to the world as representing who and what we are, I feel we deserve all the criticism we receive, and then some. $Amen$


          • fojap says:

            I didn’t mind so much when I hadn’t ever left the U.S. I have to confess that it was living in Canada that made me sensitive to anti-Americanism because I encountered it everyday and it had a tangible, negative impact on my life. I was constantly having people assume I was uneducated or religious or loved football. Trying to disprove stereotypes gets just plain tiring. Actually, it wasn’t just people who didn’t like the U.S. People who did like the U.S. had the same stereotypes. Several times Canadians told me they wished they had a big powerful military too. I’m not really very militaristic, so it wasn’t exactly a positive to me.

            There were times I thought it would be easier to be from a country about which people had no strong opinions – like Canada! (Pace, Canadians. That’s a joke.)

            It’s very strange that people don’t know Kenya. I think Kenya might have been the first African country that I learned to identify after Egypt. I do know that my geography is pretty good because I have a good visual memory. Some of it is just logical. Nairobi is a city. A person should be able to figure that you don’t have lions on the street just like we don’t have bears in New York. Then again, I had assumed it was much hotter, so….

            I don’t really understand why people don’t remember things. I’m pretty sure they must have come across the same basic information I have. You know, I don’t know anything really about Nairobi, just I’ve seen a few photos and it looks like a big, modern city – so I assume it has most of the characteristics of a big city. Like no lions. 🙂

            Ha – I just remember that the other day some guys from Guinea were happy that I knew where the country was and I spoke to them in French. I guess that visual memory was good for something.


  4. john zande says:

    Ben Carson: “It is important to remember amateurs built the Ark, and it was professionals who built the Titanic.”

    What does this mean????????????

    Liked by 1 person

  5. fojap says:

    One thing the Texas paper doesn’t mention is that children have rights as well. The Daily Beast puts it in a larger context.

    I remember when homeschooling first became an issue. I was in high school myself and stupidly favored it because I have something of an anti-authoritarian streak. I also had a brief flirtation with libertarianism around this time and I followed some of the stuff in the newspaper. Back then, many people on the far left wanted this as well. Basically, it’s people on the fringes who don’t trust the mainstream. These peculiar interpretations of religion are only one way of being on the fringe.

    The religious right has been waging a legal battle for several decades now to try to undermine the notion that children have any rights. They basically want to create a parallel society.

    From the Dallas article:

    “Part of the problem is, on the political right they’ll remove oversight to score points with their base and there isn’t a strong enough opposition to that on the other side,” said Coleman, who was home-schooled in her native Indiana. “This happens especially in states where their legislatures are more conservative.”

    This is a big part of the problem. There’s no constinuency for the opposing side.

    One reason I haven’t supported “common core” and some of the other attempts to get the federal government involved in education (it’s almost exclusively a state and local issue) is because this will become an energy sapping fight on a national level that I’m not confident the sensible middle will win. The far right has all the motivation and passion here. The center and moderate left are splintered, divided and not up to snuff on the issues. Liberals are just such annoyingly bad strategizers.

    The parents will probably lose this particular battle, but it’s part of a longer war, and only one side even knows it’s fighting.


  6. Ben Carson calling anyone stupid is truly amazing. This is one of the dumbest idjits around, and it’s by CHOICE. What an ass. Until Texas is walled off from the rest of America, I won’t get a decent night’s sleep. Scary, scary place.


    • makagutu says:

      He might win the GOP nomination and you will not have the end of it for at least four years. I read elsewhere he is scared for his life, some liberals or is it secularists have threatened him.


      • He won’t get the nomination. He’s not electable. He’s not being threatened either. I do not believe him. His own Party members might be threatening him, but liberals in America are wimps, imo. They’re afraid of hurting people’s feelings. That’s why I’m a fascist liberal. When I become emperor of America, I’ll tear the wealth from the cold dead hands of conservatives and deliver it to the poor and needy whilst laughing manically into the sunset like the Joker after defeating Batman. HaaaaHaaaHaaaHaaa!!!! 😀


      • fojap says:

        I’m seriously trying to resign myself to the possibility of a Republican president with a Republican House and a Republican Senate. The really sad thing is that the Democrats won’t take any responsibility for it. They’ll just go home and say to themselves, “Americans are just too dumb,” when in reality they just totally suck at politics.

        It’s very frustrating as a registered Democrat watching them basically lose an election. Essentially, there is a conservative movement in the U.S. and many of those people, while self-interested, are interested in promoting the conservative agenda. The Democrats are basically a collection of individual actors with few real common goals. Hillary is the world’s worst candidate. Of all Democrats who could have run, she’s the one I like least. Yet, the rank and file of the party have been told by the upper echelon that she is basically the only choice. Why? Because it’s all cronyism. Other people who might have run stayed out because it was all but given that she would be the nominee. Sanders is there mostly as a symbolic gesture to push Clinton to the left, not because he thinks he will win. He’s not even a Democrat. O’Malley is probably there to raise his national profile for a future run or perhaps to be considered for a cabinet position or something else.

        The treatment of O’Malley shows how badly the Democratic Party is run. He has no chance of winning the nomination, but members of the party minimize his achievements. While he was governor the schools in Maryland improved significantly and Maryland became the state with the highest average income.

        “In 2014, Maryland again ranked first in the nation in median household income at $73,971, thirty-seven percent higher than the national median of $53,657.”

        You’d think the Democrats would be screaming this from the rooftops. “Our ideas work! Yay for us!” But they don’t because there’s no long-term strategy.

        I’m sick of hearing the Democrats blame everyone else for their own faults. They’ve got to own up to their own failings or they’re going to keep losing. And I very much mean that as a Democrat – who wants to win.

        Maybe “my boyfriend”, Cory Booker, will run in 2020. He came to an art exhibition I was in before he was mayor of Newark and spoke to me for a long time, so my sister calls him “my boyfriend.” He’s an impressive and brilliant guy. Moderate, though.


        • basenjibrian says:

          I agree with 90% of what you say, but Maryland is wealthy because (to borrow from that awful teen movie series) The Capital is right next door. As imperial capital, it will inevitably be wealthy as it attracts the courtiers and crony capitalists.

          The War Pigs and the War Party are centered in DC (and Maryland and Virginia). So, it’s full of lobbyists and lawyers and defense contractors and other pernicious forces. Democrat or Republican doesn’t matter. Someone needs to divvy up the spoils, and the spoils divvying means lavish salaries.


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