Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Proclaiming ignorance

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano doesn't think much of home-schoolers. The governor recently refused to sign a ceremonial proclamation declaring "Home Education Week" in Arizona:

Kevin and Frances Scroggins home-schooled their youngest child, 8-year-old Michael, for two years. They sent him back to a public school this year.

And they have decided to home-school him again next year.

The governor does not agree with that decision. She has criticized programs like vouchers and home-schooling. "While I support choice, I believe choice must be accomplished within the public school system," she said last year in a candidate questionnaire.

Napolitano this year refused to sign a proclamation declaring "Home Education Week." Staff members were concerned that signing the proclamation's timing was "inappropriate," that it might offend other education "stakeholders."

Those stakeholders apparently do not include Michael Scroggins.

The proclamation was not an ideological manifesto. It was perfunctory, just recognizing the excellent job some parents have done with their children, a fact beyond dispute.

"Whereas, the State of Arizona is committed to excellence . . . and recognizes the importance of family participation and parental choice in pursuit of that excellence . . . and individualized preparation for citizenship and life work is provided by home education . . . Now, Therefore, I, Janet Napolitano, do hereby proclaim the week of February 3rd as Home Education Week in Arizona."

It's amazing a politician in this country can say, in effect, "I support choice, but only choices determined by the government," and still hold office. Yet when it comes to education, such a quasi-fascist position is not just acceptable, but mainstream, especially in the Democratic party.

For their part, home educators shouldn't take the governor's snub too seriously. In this case, they should consider it an affirmation that they are putting their children before altruist political concerns.

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