A writer at the Colorado Springs Independent has written three reports about homeschooling:
- One of these things … (the cover story for the 31 January 2008 edition)
- Long Story Short
- By the Book (conservative Protestant textbooks)
These three articles are the only three homeschooling articles written by the writer that are carried by this newspaper. Another article finished the series of homeschooling articles.
- What it was really like … in one family
“I’ll admit: I hated being homeschooled at that time, and I loathed my parents for doing it.”
I looked at the main article (“One of these things …”) and found that it focused on a conservative Protestant viewpoint, contrasted against the opinions of academics who are opposed, for liberal reasons, to homeschooling.
I counted color-coded paragraphs (represented by the hash marks) and words in the article (the numbers are courtesy of Word’s word-count tool), and found the rough breakdown shown in the chart above. It is possible to include HSLDA in with the “Christian” label, and to relate “Critics” to “Tragedy,” which would increase the percentages of 43% for “Christian” and 32.5% for “Critics.” Those categories combined make up 75% of the article.
Placing opposing opinions in contrast with each other is a good recipe for raising the lions-and-tigers-and-bears-oh-my quotient within a piece of writing, especially if insults and death threats are added to the mix. Concerning discussion at the National Home Education Network forum boards about Professor Reich’s viewpoints, the writer characterized the discussion as,
Dozens responded when Reich tried to defend his position on a National Home Education Network forum. Some dismissed Reich’s arguments, others insulted him, and many hinted at fears of an overarching plot to take control of their children.
Imagine the reaction if homeschooling parents tried defending their position on a teachers college forum board.
The homeschooling voices discussing the opinions of professors Reich and Apple — 22 pages worth — can be read at the NHEN forum board.
And since I’m looking at the professors, I find it disingenuous that Professor Reich says that asking homeschoolers about homeschooling,
… is a bit like using studies sponsored by tobacco companies to dismiss the risks of cigarette smoking.
That’s just insulting because the comment backhandedly labels homeschooling as risky, and equates it to smoking cigarettes. Perhaps Professor Reich could have used the example of asking university professors who need to ‘publish or perish‘ if they think it’s a good idea to continue an alternative educational method that might deprive them of students.
The difference between parents and professors is that homeschooling parents want to educate their own children. Professional academics are interested in other people’s children. Lots of them.
Almost exactly a year ago, I commented on the lack of moderate homeschooling voices in the national conversation on homeschooling. If this article from Colorado Springs is any indication, the moderate voices are still invisible. But why? Is it a national thing, or maybe (for this article) a Colorado Springs fling?
I looked at the ‘about us’ page for the Colorado Springs Independent, and found,
No sacred cows. Balanced investigative reporting. Bold graphics. Crisp writing. Crusading columnists, often at odds with one another. Arts and cultural reviews, previews, insights and trends. Absolutely the best events calendar around. Plus a healthy dose of comics and humor.
“We’re read so widely due to our local focus,” says Publisher/Co-founder John Weiss. “Local politics, local angles on national news, local artists, local offbeat characters, local bands, local heroes, local villains, local everything.”
The newspaper likes notoriety. Local notoriety. I assume that would include James Dobson’s conservative Protestant Focus on the Family organization? Focus on the Family is mildly famous for having its own zip code. The New Life Church is also in the area. Then there is the Air Force Academy, a military college sued over religious intolerance from conservative Protestants. Which groups wield more influence? Organizations with their own zip codes, mega-churches, and academies with federal backing, or random families schooling their children? The hot springs of Colorado bubble over?
Is the writer of the articles serious about homeschooling, or is the purpose of the articles a potshot at fellow swimmers of the big fish in the local pond?
posted by Valerie