I have a homeschooling fantasy — my own little vision of civil disobedience to get critics to leave homeschoolers alone once and for all: “National Send Your Homeschooled Kid to School Day.”
Imagine what the first day of school would be like if the estimated two million homeschooled students showed up and said they wanted to enroll. While some schools could manage a few (or a dozen) new students suddenly needing teachers and classroom space, others would be overwhelmed with dozens of new students. If all those homeschoolers decided to remain enrolled, school districts across the country would certainly feel the strain, with many having to hire new teachers and some perhaps even needing to consider new buildings.
Homeschoolers are no strangers to complaints that removing their children from the public schools violates some sort of sacred trust that members of a civilized society owe to one another. Detractors argue that homeschoolers are somehow damaging the public schools by their absence.
Tony Jones, writing at Patheos, argues that Americans — Christians in particular — have a duty to send their children to public school for the good of society:
“So it seems to me that to withdraw my children from public education is to not play my (God-given) role as a missional member of society — like I can’t just choose to withhold my taxes.”
Jones compares the “good” of public education to polio vaccinations. Polio has been nearly eradicated only because nearly all Americans agreed to the vaccinations for the “good” of the rest of society.
“I don’t, as a Christian, have the option to “opt out” of the societal contract. Instead, I live under a mandate to be the most involved, missional societal participant that I can be.”