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S/O ed.neglect thread: FaithManor's posts on Amish schools and the law


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From the other thread:

 

This is very interesting. For all of those that favor government intervention for educational neglect, not one person thus far has vocalized being pro constitutional amendment to make education a fundamental right of the citizenry, the minimum being defined by the will of the majority, and therefore as a result, the thousands of Amish, Old Order Mennonite, and Dutch Brethren children being undereducated to the point of both reading illiteracy as well as cultural illiteracy, placed under the supervision of government agencies.

 

I don't think you can have your cake and eat it too! Either you believe that is it morally wrong and you would seek to take control of all religious groups that use illiteracy to "control" their society, or you don't. Making a case that just the children in the OP's original post somehow have an inalienable right to a minimal education except the above groups is legal duplicity.

 

I think an awful lot of people want to judge the family and demand action, but don't have the guts to say we should no longer respect the Amish and other similar religious sects' ways of educating or undereducating their children because the naysayers aren't comfortable with sending social workers descending into Lancaster, PA; Holmes County, OH; numerous other counties around these locations as well as in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Indiana, etc. to begin governmental oversight. Knowing that these communities will not cave because they believe their salvation is at stake, most of these children would have to be placed into foster care.

 

So, the general consensus seems to be, "The family of original post are neglecting their children to such level that the government should intervene and force an education by will of the majority on the these children. But, hey, let's leave all of the many THOUSANDS of other kids alone because, you know, those Amish, Mennonites, Dutch Brethrens, etc. we don't want to look like the bad guy for interfering with them."

 

If you advocate for government intervention on behalf of the children in this thread, then you advocate for government oversight and forced education for ALL groups, period. You can't pick and choose because that is not how the constitution is written. Either they have a religious right to limit their children's education or they don't and if you are against the religious exemption applying to the OP family, then you are against it for these other peoples as well. It is illogical to apply the standard to one and not to the other.

 

Faith

 

I would really like to hear others' thoughts on this.

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I think it's a slippery slope and I hate to use that cliche. It would be nice to have uniform standards, but we don't. Those of us in states without testing requirements are likely to lobby against those standards. Those who wish to hold homeschooling accountable are likely to want at least testing standards. I don't think the government should be able to force a parent to send their children to school.

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Wisconsin v. Yoder

 

:iagree:Pulling up my old constitutional law class, but basically the Supreme Court said that Amish children to not have to abide by the compulsory education laws past the eighth grade because of their religion. The Amish children are firmly prepared to follow thier religious career path (farming, etc.) with an eighth grade education. It was proven that their lack of education did not make them a burden on society, in fact the opposite was found.

 

This the only exemption for a group of people from compulsory education laws that I know of off the top of my head. They are a special case according to the SC.

 

ETA: I recently met an Amish woman who had left the Amish faith. She was working on getting her GED so that she could take classes at the local community college. She wound up passing the test with no problem and is now enrolled, so one could make the case that even her lack of high school education didn't severely hamper her future out of the Amish world either.

Edited by pw23kids
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What confuses me though is that I think Mennonite and possibly Amish curricula is rigorous if I am not mistaken. Or am I confused? What about Rod and Staff and CLE??? Even if they only go to 8th grade, it could be fairly rigorous possibly as my 2 grandfathers had back in the day. My grandfathers only went to 8th grade back in the 1910s and 1920s and it was quite rigorous. I daresay they seemed to have as rigorous an education as many high schoolers today:D

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I replied to this issue in the other thread, but I will repeat here that the Amish & Menonite materials I have used (Pathway Readers and Rod & Staff English) provide a solid education. From what I have seen, I do not believe they are raising illiterate children.

 

Also, there is a big difference legally between belonging to a legally established religion which advocates certain things and personally believing certain things. If my CHURCH advocates pacifism, I can probably be exempt from going to war, but if I personally believe in pacifism w/o a church teaching to back me up, I am SOL and will go to war.

 

It is always about balancing the various rights of the parties. It is rarely black and white, which is why the Supreme Court is so vital.

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What confuses me though is that I think Mennonite and possibly Amish curricula is rigorous if I am not mistaken. Or am I confused? What about Rod and Staff and CLE??? Even if they only go to 8th grade, it could be fairly rigorous possibly as my 2 grandfathers had back in the day. My grandfathers only went to 8th grade back in the 1910s and 1920s and it was quite rigorous. I daresay they seemed to have as rigorous an education as many high schoolers today:D

 

 

Have you seen the Pathway Readers? Some of the exercises seem somewhat pointless or awkward. The reason they are included is that those illiterate, school-hatin' little Amish farmers are doing those exercises in a foreign language.

 

ETA: All four of my grandparents learned English in school.

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Have you seen the Pathway Readers? Some of the exercises seem somewhat pointless or awkward. The reason they are included is that those illiterate, school-hatin' little Amish farmers are doing those exercises in a foreign language.

 

ETA: All four of my grandparents learned English in school.

 

I have not seen the Pathway readers but I have several years of Rod and Staff and have looked at CLE Language Arts. I am not sure what you mean...:001_smile:

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Ah so if I declare myself Amish do I get to stop reporting after 8th? I mean come on.

 

I think it's the correct decision by the SC (it was a unanimous decision, btw, which is very rare). Well over 90% of the Amish never leave their faith, so why would a farmer and a farmer's wife need anything more than being able to read and do baisc math? The Amish aren't known for beating down the doors to get into a university.

 

As far as the anabaptist subsets like Mennonites and others, I'm not sure that the ruling applies to them. As far as I know, it is only the strict Amish faith (like in Lancaster County and other areas).

 

I think the original thread, though, is completely different from the Amish. The Amish do school their children and teach them to read, do math, etc. at around the same ages as normal ps or homeschooled children. They just don't do high school. That's a big difference than the family mentioned in the original thread, IMO.

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In principle I agree with Faith (not surprisingly). I stopped following the original thread, though, because it has simply grown too much and I am lazy. :D

 

Now, I may be revealing my ignorance here, but I thought the Amish to get the equivalent of an 8th grade education and simply do not go on further? Well, in my view, high school should not be mandatory in the first place (I know. Shock. :lol: But I really think so.), so that is fine with me. Not having an 8th grade education is not fine with me.

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I have not seen the Pathway readers but I have several years of Rod and Staff and have looked at CLE Language Arts. I am not sure what you mean...:001_smile:

 

It was simply a question asking if you had seen them. The snippy bit wasn't directed at you. They have questions like:

 

1. One evening Peter and Rachel wanted to play. The game they wanted to play was upstairs. It was dark upstairs, but Peter was not afraid of the dark. He ran up to get the game. Peter could not find the game in the dark. He called to Rachel. Rachel said, "I will bring something to help you."

 

What did Rachel get for Peter?

 

The student is supposed to circle a picture of a flashlight.

 

This exercise is fairly unnecessary for most kids. It is designed to test English comprehension. I did exercises like this with my Spanish students.

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I agree. I wasn't impressed. They aren't horribly done, but I was so turned off with the whole "women's vs. men's place" theme I had to stop using it.

 

 

I wasn't criticizing them. Those particular exercises are pointless for my children. I was trying to make the point that the Amish children are doing their work in a foreign language.

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Well technically they go further. Their education is more of a technical/practical nature. They learn the trades needed in their communities.

 

I probably sound like I'm against them. I'm not. I just think it's unfair and I want to pout.

 

I get it :001_smile:

 

I'm glad that I live in a state where there is nothing I have to do (as in interacting with the government or schools at all). No reporting, no notifications, no testing, no set days, nada.

 

You could always move to TX :auto:

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The law says the Amish do not have to go past 8th grade.

 

The law also says the general public does not have to go past grade 12.

 

The info that I remember from the thread that prompted this thread is that the family was not educating up to 8th grade standards much less 12 grade standards.

 

Personally I think the Amish should be better educated, but the law says differently.

 

Who's old commercial said, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." I do not care skin color or religion or ethnic background. I think it is awful to not educate children for any reason.

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Amish 14 and 15 year old young adults work WAY HARDER and learn WAY MORE than most freshmen and sophomores in high school. I believe the reason they were exempted from higher education is that they demonstrated that they provide higher education in a different format than that provided in traditional schools. Is it algebra and biology? No, but it's still higher education.

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The law says the Amish do not have to go past 8th grade.

 

The law also says the general public does not have to go past grade 12.

 

The info that I remember from the thread that prompted this thread is that the family was not educating up to 8th grade standards much less 12 grade standards.

 

Personally I think the Amish should be better educated, but the law says differently.

 

Who's old commercial said, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." I do not care skin color or religion or ethnic background. I think it is awful to not educate children for any reason.

 

I've got to run, so I can't look up specific cases. However, attempts by students and/or their families to sue school districts for failure educate have been told that there is such a low threshold for what constitutes "enough" on the part of the schools that the students don't have grounds to sue.

 

 

WRT the Amish example, I'm waiting for the court case that will have a devout Muslim family that doesn't want to send their daughter to school after a certain age.

 

ETA: I think there will be an interesting by play between the Yoder case's precedent for religious communities having this choice as a religious freedom issue and the idea that women should not be held back from education. I think that this tension is actually the underlying concern behind Germany's not permitting homeschooling. When German officials write about the development of parallel societies, I don't think their big fear is a bunch of Volga Germans with old fashioned Christian beliefs.

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
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Ah so if I declare myself Amish do I get to stop reporting after 8th? I mean come on.

 

Well, if you claim you are a Jehovah's Witness you don't have to do jury duty. :lol: When I was young I was a JW and my exh told them that and they let me go and never called me again. I didn't even have to go in myself.

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The unvoiced question that I had throughout that other thread concerns social responsibility. If a child is illiterate, then he is probably not going to be able to support himself. Which means that I contribute to his support via my taxes. Should there be a social contract here? I am doing my part by paying into the system. May we assume that others could do their part to insure that their children can also contribute to society?

 

Can someone give me some statistics? I am assuming that the Amish are not relying on government social services to the extent that high school dropouts do.

 

Before anyone jumps down my throat, I am not addressing the original family in the other thread as I am the demographic group of the poorly educated. There are many who advocate for parental freedom to educate or not. Is there a larger societal price for that individual decision?

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I agree. Yet as a homeschooler in NY there are very specific regulations I have to follow (including which subjects I must teach and how long I must spend on them). My children must get minimal scores on specific tests that ask specific questions. Why the different regulations for the Amish verses me, even if I can demonstrate that what I'm doing is rigorous and worthwhile?

 

I think it is because the law likes to generalize. It is easy to make an exception for the Amish because they can lump them all in a group. They aren't willing to go through and make exceptions on smaller groups. So, they lump the Amish in one category, homeschoolers in another, private/public schoolers in another, etc. While you, I don't doubt, are exceeding what many do, they just aren't willing to put forth the effort to make a Wendy category. Unfortunately that lumps you in with homeschoolers in general.

 

With the Amish, they are probably following what other state's have done (though I don't know which state made the law first..would assume PA but I don't know for certain). It's easy (lazy) to adopt the same policy. The Amish are a bit different than homeschoolers in that they attend a private school for a period of time, so it isn't easy for them to lump them in with homeschoolers. It boils down to compulsory attendance law. Because of the differences between the generalized categories, it still comes down to what is easy. The Amish get the exception mainly because they've had it for so long. They are mainly "grandfathered" in to most compulsory attendance laws.

 

Anyway, I really just wanted to give you a hug and say that I understand what you are saying. It must be frustrating. :grouphug: It sounds as if NY (and some other states) needs some better homeschool lobbyists working in their best interest.

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I thought specifically of our Amish friends during that thread, particularly with my agreement with Chucki's comment that education needs to enable functionality in the culture in which one lives.

 

These children are well educated. They (those who are of a reasonable age, of course) are literate, bilingual, able to compute. I'm not sure how much history they get, or science, but really, they have a good handle on life science, being farmers. They certainly have engineering...

 

So, if I examine MY daily life in comparison, exactly how much history, chemistry, physics or higher math do I use? Almost none. I use functional aspects of all, but none I learned in a classroom.

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Can someone give me some statistics? I am assuming that the Amish are not relying on government social services to the extent that high school dropouts do.

 

 

Definitely not an expert (hope someone more knowledgeable comments) but I believe the Amish do not accept government assistance. They take care of their own, even through retirement (widows, disabled, temporary loss of income, etc.). That probably has a lot of influence with the lawmakers.

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Please note that there is a difference between abhoring a lack of educational rigor that gives homeschoolers a bad name and shortchanges one's children, and deciding that the law should step in. These are SEPARATE ISSUES.

 

(Please forgive me if that was already covered ad nauseum in the other thread, which I have not read. Carry on and ignore me if so.)

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I always assumed those one-room schoolhouse educations were pretty good for life preparation for a future Amish farmer, but I really only have Beverly Lewis books and my own collection of Rod and Staff curriculum to base that upon.

 

It was Faith's assertion that they don't all learn everything in the curriculum and someone else's opinion that they don't do enough to teach English to Pennsylvania Dutch-speaking students that made me wonder. Is that true? I mean, obviously I'm not doubting Faith's experience. But do we have any statistics about the success of Amish schools in fulfilling their legal requirements? Does 8th grade mean 8th grade, or is failure winked at as it is in some public school situations?

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Please note that there is a difference between abhoring a lack of educational rigor that gives homeschoolers a bad name and shortchanges one's children, and deciding that the law should step in. These are SEPARATE ISSUES.

 

(Please forgive me if that was already covered ad nauseum in the other thread, which I have not read. Carry on and ignore me if so.)

 

It was. At least, I was nauseated by the end. (Kidding!)

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I grew up in an area with Old-Order Mennonites (as well as more liberal ones), and it was not the case that even Old-Order Mennonite children were forced to leave school if they were obviously academically oriented. In fact, academically talented children were encouraged to stay in school and to go on to the Mennonite high school, college, and seminary precisely SO that the community would have those people who were trained to be teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountants and so on.

 

One of my friends growing up is one of several girls in a traditional Mennonite family. My friend was always good at school, and was encouraged to go on past 8th grade. She attended a Mennonite high school, college, and seminary, and now works for a Mennonite publishing house. She's still unmarried and still lives at home-and is very happy. Her sister was not academically oriented at all, and struggled in school. However, she is wonderful with children and was great, even as a child at sewing and hand-work, so after 8th grade she essentially did a 6 year internship, where she learned how to manage a household and everything needed to run her own sewing and crafts business for sale to the "English". She's currently a Pastor's wife, raising 7 children, and selling beautiful baby dresses and doll clothes at a local farmer's market. She is also extremely happy.

 

 

Regardless, though, I can't think of a single Mennonite child I grew up with who is an uneducated adult-they're ALL knowledgeable experts in their respective fields, whether that field is agriculture, animal husbandry, carpentry, quilting, lace making, baking, cooking or something more academic. I may not know ANYTHING about their fields, and they may not know anything about mine, but the level of knowledge and skills and the effort it took to learn the trade is apparent.

 

 

I can think of many kids I went to school with who arguably would have been better off going into an apprenticeship-type program after 8th grade than trying to stay in an ill-fit academic environment.

Edited by dmmetler
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I thought that most states say that the general public does not have to go past age 16, which would be about 10th grade.

 

Most are moving (or have moved) to 17 and 18. I believe some have graduation clauses, so I'm not sure if the compulsory attendance law can be satisfied via homeschool graduation or not. If so, then the age isn't so much an issue. If it can't be graduation from the parent, there are numerous umbrella/satellite schools that can graduate if it is an issue.

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What confuses me though is that I think Mennonite and possibly Amish curricula is rigorous if I am not mistaken. Or am I confused? What about Rod and Staff and CLE??? Even if they only go to 8th grade, it could be fairly rigorous possibly as my 2 grandfathers had back in the day. My grandfathers only went to 8th grade back in the 1910s and 1920s and it was quite rigorous. I daresay they seemed to have as rigorous an education as many high schoolers today:D

 

 

The curricula itself is decent. The application thereof is troubling. In the local one-room schoolhouse 2 miles from home, the teacher is 16, she does not possess even a GED, she admits that she cannot do math past the 6th grade book (we've had some conversations about this), her reading level is also admittedly limited, and the attendance of the children is sporadic. She says this is common for the Amish in our area and not only that, but fully 1/3 of the school days of the year, she has no students show up for school due to the fact that they are needed on the farm. I've met many, many Amish in my community that cannot do the following at their produce stand, figure my bill (one cabbage, three banana peppers, three red peppers, 1/2 bushel of green beans - $10.50 total), subtract that from $15.00, and give me change. The young lady (19 years old and married to the owner's son) "attended" school until the 8th grade. Every time she is in charge, I have to total my own bill and make change. While Mr. Miller is absolutely excellent with "business math" in it's most basic terms, (I once asked him if my discount on buying a full bushel of beans would be 15%), he said he could tell me how much he would charge me but he couldn't tell me the % of the original amount I would be discounted, his daughter-in-law and wife are completely mathematically illiterate.

 

The education is pick- and choose. The parents choose the future "profession" of the child. So, the boys who are chosen to carry on the roofing business, attend school and study hard. We had our roof done by an Amish crew, not only was the workmanship very high quality, their ability to do the math needed to make the estimate, figure the supplies, mileage charges, etc. all of it, very, very well done. But, they were chosen by their fathers to receive this education because they would be running a business in which they "worked for the English". On the other hand, my dad has sold pipe to several Amish men whom dad could have completely ripped off (if he were not a man of honor) because they did not have any idea how much 6% sales tax on $22.00 would be, etc.

 

So, again, the question begs, without oversight, one cannot make the case that an 8th grade education (and again, even with the best curricula which include almost no history and ZERO science) is actually being given. If you get into the inner workings of the community, you will find that many children are chosen as not needing much more than a 5th grade education.

 

Oh, and when I mention Mennonite - I mean the most conservative "Old Order"...those that have not progressed significantly. We have break off groups of Amish who attend Mennonite churches and the reason they broke off was in order to have telephones at their houses for emergencies. In terms of actual religious thought and daily life, the differences are only slight.

 

Faith

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WRT the Amish example, I'm waiting for the court case that will have a devout Muslim family that doesn't want to send their daughter to school after a certain age.

 

It would not succeed because there is no leg to stand on, religiously.

 

Those who desire single sex classrooms generally choose private schools. A few homeschool, but I haven't seen any evidence for the claim that this is any sort of sizeable movement, much less one that has much support in the Muslim community or through religious texts, which state that seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every male and female Muslim.

 

The Amish, being farmers, have a totally different lifestyle than most American Muslims. There are a lot of immigrant Muslims who are doctors, for example.

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In principle I agree with Faith (not surprisingly). I stopped following the original thread, though, because it has simply grown too much and I am lazy. :D

 

Now, I may be revealing my ignorance here, but I thought the Amish to get the equivalent of an 8th grade education and simply do not go on further? Well, in my view, high school should not be mandatory in the first place (I know. Shock. :lol: But I really think so.), so that is fine with me. Not having an 8th grade education is not fine with me.

 

 

Hi Ester,

 

If you mean that the schoolhouse may have "8th grade" curricula, then you would be correct. If you mean "all of the children attend school regularly to 8th grade and are tested over 8th grade material and must pass for leaving school" you would be mistaken. In addition, due to religious issues, there isn't any science taught (this could lead to the rebellion of using technology or changing long standing farming, food prep, hygiene, medical, practices) and the history is pretty much, well, Germany and Anabaptist history. There isn't any world history and even very little U.S. history except what they interpret to apply directly to them. Progressive Mennonite curriculum (Rod and Staff, CLE) is what most people think of, but in our area, most Amish do not use it....ie. sentences about people taking their cars to church, using tractors, figuring gas mileage, riding in an airplane to go to another country as missionaries, having electricity in their homes, using the telephone for personal use, pictures of children wearing patterned clothing, etc.) They have there own curricula and it is well, I'd say maybe the equivalent to the first two McGuffy readers, maybe the third...not much higher than that.

 

In Wisconsin vs. Yoder, I don't think the court actually spent much time investigating what an 8th grade education means within every Amish sect. Yes, some do a lot better. Even in our own area there are two different bishops...one is more open-minded (if one can really say that about an Amish theologian :D),the other is a very serious control freak and what he says is the law. He is adamantly opposed to children receiving much of an education. So, the kids attend through the age of the typical 8th grader (though they tend not to begin formal schooling until 8 or 9) and the attendance is sporadic and especially during harvest season and planting season...most especially for the boys who have not been chosen to "do business with the English".

 

I've personally witnessed many instances of this. The young man who was the foreman of the crew that did our roof, was thoroughly educated in Math, English, and Reading though discussions with my husband indicated he didn't have a clue on any science topics or major historical events. Dh, corrupter for the innocent :lol: and sensing that this young man was thirsting for knowledge, spent a lot of time outside during their breaks and lunch times, talking to them about an wide array of science and history topics...they :bigear:!

 

So, again, what version of an "8th grade" education is an important element of this discussion.

 

Faith

Edited by FaithManor
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I agree. Yet as a homeschooler in NY there are very specific regulations I have to follow (including which subjects I must teach and how long I must spend on them). My children must get minimal scores on specific tests that ask specific questions. Why the different regulations for the Amish verses me, even if I can demonstrate that what I'm doing is rigorous and worthwhile?

 

You need to take that up with your NY state regulations folks. If they make the Amish attend to age 16 or 18 they will likely have a mass exodus of Amish to another state without that kind of regulation. Here in Indiana, we only have to keep track of "attendance" at our homeschool, though we are supposed to also provide equivalent education to other schools (that's not tracked or enforced but would likely be addressed if there were accusations of educational neglect).

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The unvoiced question that I had throughout that other thread concerns social responsibility. If a child is illiterate, then he is probably not going to be able to support himself. Which means that I contribute to his support via my taxes. Should there be a social contract here? I am doing my part by paying into the system. May we assume that others could do their part to insure that their children can also contribute to society?

 

Can someone give me some statistics? I am assuming that the Amish are not relying on government social services to the extent that high school dropouts do.

 

Before anyone jumps down my throat, I am not addressing the original family in the other thread as I am the demographic group of the poorly educated. There are many who advocate for parental freedom to educate or not. Is there a larger societal price for that individual decision?

 

I have some anecdotal comments. Where we used to live there was a young man dh used as a subcontractor from time to time. He was in his late 20s, dropped out in 7th grade. Was actually nice and personable, but "bragged" about the fact he hadn't opened a book since 7th grade. He had no clue how to operate a computer. He rarely had steady work, owned no car, lived with his mother and/or father and qualified for food stamps because of his income. The only type of work he could get was physical labor, in this case construction.

 

His case was not unique, because there was a stigma in the entire area against construction workers. Where dh and I grew up (and live now), construction is a viable accepted trade. You make a choice to go into the industry, most of the time. There is respect for the carpenter as a craftsman. In this other area those that dropped out, those that had little other avenues went into construction. It reflected in the quality of subcontractors, the way in which dh was treated by clients, and his ability to charge what he was worth. It took me about a year to figure out what it the world was going on. He finally quit hiring anyone because of the lack of quality work and theft of money and materials.

 

It was due to the educational neglect, in this case in the public school. While we were there one high school was shut down. An over 50% majority of 9th graders had been coming in at a 6th grade reading level or less. So they closed the school and farmed out the kids to other schools. Will they progress at those other schools? Probably not, they'll just get further behind.

 

So, yes, I believe there is some community responsibility to police educational neglect. Think about it, do you want your carpenter to be the guy that chose this as a profession or the guy that swings a hammer because that's all he's qualified to do?

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I'd also like to say that personally, I'm playing devil's advocate here...looking at things from a purely logical perspective and how attempts to regulate would play out, how they should play out, if they should play out, and the realities of the life and education of the religious ultra-conservatives that populate my county and whom I do business with on a very regular basis.

 

Now, if feelings constituted anything legally important, then I would FEEEEEEL that we need to regulate it in some meaningful way. I mean, most of you know me...dh and I are all about the rigor. I'm batting 4/4 kids headed to STEM professions and LOVIN' IT! (Don't take that as some elitist statement whereby I think I'm better than everyone else because of this...we just adore math and science around here, and in particular, science.) So, it's odd for me to be participating in this discussion from the other side.

 

But, one thing I've come to appreciate in my old years is cultural diversity. I am at that place where the concept of the government dictating everything to place that we cleanse societies, religions, cultural groups, etc. of their inate differences, is well, alarming. I am learning that a one-size-fits-all approach only dehumanizes humanity. I'm also a big believer that the constitution, while not a perfect document, was a pretty darn good one and that when we get into a frenzy to adopt laws that are in violation of it, we may end up with a lot more negative consequence than we baragined for.

 

I'd love to see every kid get a great education. That would be my personal preference. However, I don't think it's a criminal act that justifies government intervention to not give it.

 

On a side note, given that a school district 15 miles from here only graduates 63% of it's student body, and that fully half of those that don't graduate tested at a 4th-5th grade reading level on the last MEAPS, I'm not convinced that the government ought to have much say in educational matters anyway...unless they clean up their own mess first. I know some of you are in the presence of marginally decent school so the opportunity to become literate is available...I'd have to contend that with 37% not graduating and of that percentage 50% not attaining functional literacy, that the opportunity is not actually there for children in such school districts.

 

By the way, I'm not knocking Rod and Staff or CLE. They are solid curriculums. It's the implementation or the lack of importance in completing them that is the problem driving the illiteracy in our area amongst these religious groups. They may obey the letter of the law in operating a one room schoolhouse and sending their children to it (sometimes anyway), but with the total disdain for education because it is seen as tempting the children to leave the faith, the opportunity to learn is not there for many of the children as some of those books are doing nothing more than drawing dust!

 

Faith

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The law says the Amish do not have to go past 8th grade.

 

The law also says the general public does not have to go past grade 12.

 

The info that I remember from the thread that prompted this thread is that the family was not educating up to 8th grade standards much less 12 grade standards.

 

Personally I think the Amish should be better educated, but the law says differently.

 

Who's old commercial said, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." I do not care skin color or religion or ethnic background. I think it is awful to not educate children for any reason.

 

None of the children in the other thread were at grade 12 and the ones at grade 8 were literate. Who says homeschoolers *must* be above average? It's great when we are, but you can't say those kids were not educated to 8th or 12th grade because they weren't there yet. Children will choose to learn to read, they want to fit in and don't want to spend the rest of their lives on their parents couches (in general). A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but it's not wasted if the child can't read by 12. Even illiterate people can have full lives.

 

The unvoiced question that I had throughout that other thread concerns social responsibility. If a child is illiterate, then he is probably not going to be able to support himself. Which means that I contribute to his support via my taxes. Should there be a social contract here? I am doing my part by paying into the system. May we assume that others could do their part to insure that their children can also contribute to society?

...

 

One must be careful with "social contracts". That is what got us a failing welfare system and a failing social security system. The government's job is enforce laws, regulate interstate commerce and protect the nation. Just imagine how wonderful our country could be if our government could focus on just those things?

 

We, as individuals, civic groups, churches and private foundations, should offer help to those in need. None of us has a right to force that help down someone's throat. We are individuals with individual rights.

 

I thought specifically of our Amish friends during that thread, particularly with my agreement with Chucki's comment that education needs to enable functionality in the culture in which one lives.

 

These children are well educated. They (those who are of a reasonable age, of course) are literate, bilingual, able to compute. I'm not sure how much history they get, or science, but really, they have a good handle on life science, being farmers. They certainly have engineering...

 

So, if I examine MY daily life in comparison, exactly how much history, chemistry, physics or higher math do I use? Almost none. I use functional aspects of all, but none I learned in a classroom.

 

Exactly! I didn't even have Geometry in hs; doesn't matter. I've only used a few algebra equations and they were taught in business math and my accounting classes. I don't use chemistry at all except to know that I can't mix household cleaners. I don't use biology. While history is interesting it doesn't have an impact on my daily life. That said, I am a small business owner and accountant. I am respected in my community for my business skills as well as my homemaking skills.

 

...

One of my friends growing up is one of several girls in a traditional Mennonite family. My friend was always good at school, and was encouraged to go on past 8th grade. She attended a Mennonite high school, college, and seminary, and now works for a Mennonite publishing house. She's still unmarried and still lives at home-and is very happy. Her sister was not academically oriented at all, and struggled in school. However, she is wonderful with children and was great, even as a child at sewing and hand-work, so after 8th grade she essentially did a 6 year internship, where she learned how to manage a household and everything needed to run her own sewing and crafts business for sale to the "English". She's currently a Pastor's wife, raising 7 children, and selling beautiful baby dresses and doll clothes at a local farmer's market. She is also extremely happy.

 

I can think of quite a few kids I went to school with who would have been MUCH better off had their talents been recognized to lie outside academics and been allowed to do a long-term internship with someone actively working in a field they were interested in instead of being forced into an academic path.

...

I can think of many kids I went to school with who arguably would have been better off going into an apprenticeship-type program after 8th grade than trying to stay in an ill-fit academic environment.

 

Isn't this what we want for our children? For them to follow their dreams and their passions and their God-given talents? That may not mean college; it may not mean finishing high school. That's okay. This is what it means to step off the conveyor belt of formal education.

 

But the laws don't guarentee that ANYONE will actually receive an education. If they did, then there would not be drop outs. There would not be illiterate adults. There would not be high school graduates who have never even learned how to write a clear sentence.

 

:iagree: So why are homeschoolers requesting that the government hold homeschoolers to a higher standard? I hold the education of ds above the ps standards in NM, that is my choice as a parent. I don't want the law to tell me that I must just because I choose to homeschool.

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One must be careful with "social contracts". That is what got us a failing welfare system and a failing social security system. The government's job is enforce laws, regulate interstate commerce and protect the nation. Just imagine how wonderful our country could be if our government could focus on just those things?

 

Hmmm...Jefferson, Madison, Locke and Rousseau had much to say on the social contract. I would not quickly dismiss the concept.

 

 

 

Exactly! I didn't even have Geometry in hs; doesn't matter. I've only used a few algebra equations and they were taught in business math and my accounting classes. I don't use chemistry at all except to know that I can't mix household cleaners. I don't use biology. While history is interesting it doesn't have an impact on my daily life. That said, I am a small business owner and accountant. I am respected in my community for my business skills as well as my homemaking skills.

 

 

Personally I believe that Geometry is one of the most important courses offered in high school. Developing logic via the proof is a skill that translates to all disciplines. Further, our culture demands scientific literacy in order to make good decisions. Look at the debates that recur on these boards! Do you trust double blind experiments or anecdotal evidence?

 

Educational objectives may vary but I will never understand anyone who avoids literacy and numeracy. The previous thread mentioned often that the children were "happy". Not my goal. Will they be content as adults? That is a more important focus.

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In principle I agree with Faith (not surprisingly). I stopped following the original thread, though, because it has simply grown too much and I am lazy. :D

 

Now, I may be revealing my ignorance here, but I thought the Amish to get the equivalent of an 8th grade education and simply do not go on further? Well, in my view, high school should not be mandatory in the first place (I know. Shock. :lol: But I really think so.), so that is fine with me. Not having an 8th grade education is not fine with me.

 

I agree with you. I would rather let those who actively seek to learn nothing and disrupt the classroom leave so that those who do wish to seek learning can do so.

 

But the people who make the laws continually confuse correlation with causation -- i.e. students who take classes past Algebra 2 are more likely to graduate from university, therefore we must make everyone take classes past Algebra 2 and then they will all graduate university! -- completely ignoring that of COURSE if you take the strongest math students they will be more likely, on average, to graduate from university.

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From the other thread:

 

 

 

I would really like to hear others' thoughts on this.

 

I agree with Faith. And I don't believe in government oversight of the situation.

 

Because I also believe that, while it is good for the well-being of a nation to have an educated citizenry, we are going about it the wrong way.

 

I believe that it is ultimately the individual's responsibility to become educated. Most young children can't/won't make that decision for themselves. They need to be presented with the alternative - work in poor-paying crummy jobs, so that they will seek an education with which to better their situation. Education should be free to anyone who wants to learn, at any time in their life. School should be able to kick out students for a variety of reasons. Student loans should only be needed for an adult to support a family while they are taking free classes (and therefore not working because they are going to school).

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The ages of compulsory education in NY state are 6-16, so the Amish are getting a 1-2 year break, grade wise, from the regulations. I was very impressed with the R&S materials I've seen. Old fashioned but quite challenging. Does anyone remember the TV show a few years back where Amish young adults were shown during their rumspringa, they were teamed up living in a house with other young adults from the "modern" world? It was a reality show. Anyway, one of the prejudices the Amish kids complained about was that people assumed they were illiterate and unable to do math. One of the "modern" people kept harping about how dumb and uneducated the Amish must be. But the Amish kids were far more capable and educated than any of the modern kids. It was actually painful to watch how stupid and inept the "modern" kids were in comparison (though I'm sure a lot of that was intentional in casting the show).

 

As far as educational neglect goes... my big question is why public schools aren't being brought up on educational neglect charges! More than half the kids in my district are not able to read or do math at grade level, despite massive amounts of money being poured into the system.

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I agree with Faith. And I don't believe in government oversight of the situation.

 

Because I also believe that, while it is good for the well-being of a nation to have an educated citizenry, we are going about it the wrong way.

 

I believe that it is ultimately the individual's responsibility to become educated. Most young children can't/won't make that decision for themselves. They need to be presented with the alternative - work in poor-paying crummy jobs, so that they will seek an education with which to better their situation. Education should be free to anyone who wants to learn, at any time in their life. School should be able to kick out students for a variety of reasons. Student loans should only be needed for an adult to support a family while they are taking free classes (and therefore not working because they are going to school).

 

I really really like your last paragraph. It aligns extremely well with my "If I made the laws" thoughts :D

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I think it's the correct decision by the SC (it was a unanimous decision, btw, which is very rare). Well over 90% of the Amish never leave their faith, so why would a farmer and a farmer's wife need anything more than being able to read and do baisc math? The Amish aren't known for beating down the doors to get into a university.

 

As far as the anabaptist subsets like Mennonites and others, I'm not sure that the ruling applies to them. As far as I know, it is only the strict Amish faith (like in Lancaster County and other areas).

 

I think the original thread, though, is completely different from the Amish. The Amish do school their children and teach them to read, do math, etc. at around the same ages as normal ps or homeschooled children. They just don't do high school. That's a big difference than the family mentioned in the original thread, IMO.

The bolded is not true. They are leaving the Amish church in droves. Many are going Beachy or Mennonite. Some simply remain unable to commune but with one foot in either world. There are many that do leave altogether as well.

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As far as educational neglect goes... my big question is why public schools aren't being brought up on educational neglect charges! More than half the kids in my district are not able to read or do math at grade level, despite massive amounts of money being poured into the system.

 

:iagree: Our local schools are TERRIBLE. Not just bad, but failing the majority of the students in the district. The local elementary school has 36% of 3rd graders reading on grade level and there was FIVE acts of crime or violence last year! At an elementary school! (And, no, regular fights are not counted, just ones that involve a weapon or cause serious bodily harm.:001_huh:)

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I get it :001_smile:

 

I'm glad that I live in a state where there is nothing I have to do (as in interacting with the government or schools at all). No reporting, no notifications, no testing, no set days, nada.

 

You could always move to TX :auto:

Wow. I really need to check out hs laws in other states lol... ours isn't bad, but seeing what I see about some others... wow. :D

 

Amish 14 and 15 year old young adults work WAY HARDER and learn WAY MORE than most freshmen and sophomores in high school. I believe the reason they were exempted from higher education is that they demonstrated that they provide higher education in a different format than that provided in traditional schools. Is it algebra and biology? No, but it's still higher education.

:iagree:

Definitely not an expert (hope someone more knowledgeable comments) but I believe the Amish do not accept government assistance. They take care of their own, even through retirement (widows, disabled, temporary loss of income, etc.). That probably has a lot of influence with the lawmakers.

:iagree: The Amish, to my knowledge, don't really do anything at all with the government - they don't vote, pay some taxes, etc.

Please note that there is a difference between abhoring a lack of educational rigor that gives homeschoolers a bad name and shortchanges one's children, and deciding that the law should step in. These are SEPARATE ISSUES.

 

(Please forgive me if that was already covered ad nauseum in the other thread, which I have not read. Carry on and ignore me if so.)

I didn't read the other thread because by the time I saw it, it was like 39 pages lol :) But I wholeheartedly agree. When DH and I are talking about the government stepping in any situation - welfare recipients, etc - I always think about things from a hs perspective. And I always decide what I really think about it once I've determined how it could potentially affect homeschooling freedoms.

 

I grew up in an area with Old-Order Mennonites (as well as more liberal ones), and it was not the case that even Old-Order Mennonite children were forced to leave school if they were obviously academically oriented. In fact, academically talented children were encouraged to stay in school and to go on to the Mennonite high school, college, and seminary precisely SO that the community would have those people who were trained to be teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountants and so on.

 

One of my friends growing up is one of several girls in a traditional Mennonite family. My friend was always good at school, and was encouraged to go on past 8th grade. She attended a Mennonite high school, college, and seminary, and now works for a Mennonite publishing house. She's still unmarried and still lives at home-and is very happy. Her sister was not academically oriented at all, and struggled in school. However, she is wonderful with children and was great, even as a child at sewing and hand-work, so after 8th grade she essentially did a 6 year internship, where she learned how to manage a household and everything needed to run her own sewing and crafts business for sale to the "English". She's currently a Pastor's wife, raising 7 children, and selling beautiful baby dresses and doll clothes at a local farmer's market. She is also extremely happy.

 

 

Regardless, though, I can't think of a single Mennonite child I grew up with who is an uneducated adult-they're ALL knowledgeable experts in their respective fields, whether that field is agriculture, animal husbandry, carpentry, quilting, lace making, baking, cooking or something more academic. I may not know ANYTHING about their fields, and they may not know anything about mine, but the level of knowledge and skills and the effort it took to learn the trade is apparent.

 

 

I can think of many kids I went to school with who arguably would have been better off going into an apprenticeship-type program after 8th grade than trying to stay in an ill-fit academic environment.

 

:iagree:

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Hubby's uncle was raised Mennonite in a rural enclave in Ohio back in the 30's-50's. He told me recently of how his life was as a child and I found it fascinating. Interesting thing, the teacher of the one room schoolhouse he attended as a Mennonite noticed how gifted dear uncle was -- and how it was a shame his education ended at 8th grade. Lo and behold the gift of a scholarship to a Mennonite boarding school for him came and he attended 9th-12th grades. He decided to become a surgeon and went on to medical school at U of Michigan. Became head surgeon at a secular hospital and had a great career. Married a woman not of the Mennonite faith and they raised 3 boys and they all were National Merit Scholars at their public high school.

 

Uncle's only concern with our homeschooling is making sure ds gets the academics down pat. Coming from his viewpoint -- I totally agree. ;) BTW, his brothers and sisters are no dummies either. Most only had an 8th grade education but many were apprenticed into a trade and now are very successful $$.

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if we require attainment of a basic education to prevent individuals from becoming a burden to tax payers as part of a social contract, then we should also be able to compel other behaviors as well.

 

There are behaviors that are far greater factors in determining whether individuals become burdens or independent. Correlation vs. causation - see my signature line.

 

 

The unvoiced question that I had throughout that other thread concerns social responsibility. If a child is illiterate, then he is probably not going to be able to support himself. Which means that I contribute to his support via my taxes. Should there be a social contract here? I am doing my part by paying into the system. May we assume that others could do their part to insure that their children can also contribute to society?

 

Can someone give me some statistics? I am assuming that the Amish are not relying on government social services to the extent that high school dropouts do.

 

Before anyone jumps down my throat, I am not addressing the original family in the other thread as I am the demographic group of the poorly educated. There are many who advocate for parental freedom to educate or not. Is there a larger societal price for that individual decision?

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