A while ago, we reported on the gross disservice putative “educator” Andy Schlafly is doing to his homeschooled students, and the parents that rely upon him. Far from giving te children a leg-up in the world through superior and rigorous education, a Schlafly education sets the bar incredibly low, both for instrutor and student, and clearly prizes ideological conformity far above intelligence, independent/critical thinking, or effort.
Sadly (and one would think impossibly), things have only gotten worse since then. In his latest course (World History), Andy explains away prehistory by saying, “There is no reason to think that man existed for thousands of years without ever expressing himself in written form,” and rewards students for explaining that Plato’s “Republic” is “the basis for our form of government in the U.S.” Interesting, because I don’t recall reading anything in the Constitution about philosopher kings…
Now Andy Schlafly wants to take his show on the road – at your expense – by getting himself accredited as a “Supplemental Education Service” for New Jersey. No Child Left Behind requires each state to develop these SES programs to function as private adjuncts to the public school system, funded and promoted by the state, charged with bringing remedial students up to speed. Given Andy’s noted distaste for public schools, this little stunt (if he follows through on it) is properly seen as his attempt to funnel the godless into his waiting hands, where they can be more easily converted: for the sake of New Jersey’s children, this can’t be allowed to happen.
Fortunately, there’s no reason to think he’ll pass the accreditation process. Most obviously, he seems to be on the “supply” side of the remedial students equation: the only difference between Andy Schlafly and an utterly incompetent teacher is that Andy uses religion to disguise his incompetence as “faith.” The extensive application for certification (PDF), we should hope, aggressively screens out such failures.
Even if Andy doesn’t flunk the certification based on soft estimates of his competence, a number of objective barriers stand in his way. Federal law requires SES providers to be “secular, neutral, and nonideological,” none of which are words that describe Andy, Conservapedia, or his “lectures.” ((See 20 U.S.C. § 6316(e)(5)(D) (2008) and 34 CFR 200.47(b)(2)(B)(ii)(D).)) Nor could Andy make the required certification ((Application p. 12.)) that, as an SES provider, he would live up to New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Content Standards. These standards would require that his students either understand ideas he doesn’t credit (evolution, the science explaining life’s origins, deep-time geology, hominid development), or learn methodologies he doesn’t teach (critical thinking in American and world history). Andy’s entire motivation for homeschooling is to enable him to legally ignore these standards: why he thinks they won’t apply to him the second he tries to step back into the public school system is beyond me.
A prediction: Andy knows this, and won’t follow through. When the deadline for applications rolls around on February 27th, he’ll either forget to file and subsequently pretend the whole thing never happened, or file a truly slipshod document and, when it’s inevitably rejected, blame liberals. If he takes the latter course, he’ll whine for a few weeks, gloat in the web-traffic he gets from gawkers based here or at similar blogs, and then pretend the whole thing never happened. Laughs will be had all around.
That said, there’s no accounting for government incompetence. Acccordingly, we’ll report back as this story develop, with contact information for New Jersey Department of Education officials if necessary.