Maryland must be a very safe state, because it has time to prosecute a mother who is teaching her daughter at home. The little girl of 7 scores above the national average on tests given by the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, which leading colleges across the country rely on. But that is not good enough for Maryland prosecutor Andrew Jezic.

What this fearless defender of law and order wants is for the state to come into the mother’s home and see how she is teaching her child. Good results aren’t enough.

In one sense, this is just one of many harassing tactics used by the educational establishment to discourage people from educating their own children at home. Home-schooling thwarts the main purpose of the public schools — providing jobs for teachers and administrators.

With an estimated 11,000 people educating their own children at home in Maryland alone, and more than half a million nationwide, home-schooling could get out of hand. Like the little girl in Maryland, home-schooled children nationally score above average on standardized tests.

Think what this means: With all the “expertise” claimed by the educational establishment, with all the highly-touted “innovations” that spring up like mushrooms in schools across the country and with all the thousands of dollars per child poured into the system, parents do a better job in their own homes.

While home-schooling remains a relatively small movement, it is growing by 15 percent per year, according to the National Home School Education Research Institute in Oregon. The number of children being home-schooled today is double what it was just a decade ago, and is about 30 or 40 times what it was 1970.

Much more than the numbers bothers the educational establishment. As home-schooling becomes a larger and more visible phenomenon, more and more people are likely to question the performance of the public school system and the vaunted “expertise” it hides behind.

At a time when there are constant pressures to have parents’ rights and responsibilities over-ridden by “experts,” whether at school or in the home, the idea that a mother can tell the education bureaucrats to mind their own business is anathema to those with the collectivist mentality, who talk about “America’s children” and say “It takes a village” to raise a child.

It even goes beyond education. If the peasants are allowed to talk back to their betters, who knows where it could lead? All the anointed who think it is their role to tell others what to do would be frustrated in their constant quest to “make a difference.”

Most of the differences they have made have been for the worse, but that is another story. The wellbeing of children is not their real concern here, any more than it was their real concern at the big June rally in Washington called “Stand Up for Children” or in the efforts of liberal groups like the so-called Children’s Defense Fund to over-ride parents’ rights.

Power and money are the issues. The rhetoric of “compassion” and “caring” are ways of getting power and money.

The power to brainwash the next generation with politically correct fads and fashions will be lost if parents keep their children out of the public schools. Indeed, many parents are keeping their children out of the public schools precisely to avoid having them indoctrinated by those who are supposed to be educating them.

Home-schooling takes much time and dedication but the academic results speak for themselves. As for associating with other children, the parents of children who are home-schooled have many ways of providing that, including connecting with other parents who are doing the same and engaging in joint activities.

Auxiliary educational materials designed for home-schooling also help. So can the Home School Legal Defense Fund, which helps fight off prosecutors who harass parents on behalf of the educational establishment.

Although home-schooling has grown rapidly in recent decades, in response to the deterioration of the public schools, it is not a new idea. Among the many people who were home-schooled in the past was John Stuart Mill, one of the best-educated men in history, though he never set foot in a school house.

Among the arguments being used against home-schooling is that this will permit all sorts of far-out notions to be taught to young children. It is ironic because that is what is already happening in the public schools, where everything from witchcraft to homosexuality is being taught, at the expense of the academic basics.

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell has published a large volume of writing. His dozen books, as well as numerous articles and essays, cover a wide range of topics, from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college. Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to read the THOMAS SOWELL column in your hometown paper.