A stand for public schools includes pushback of Huckabee/ Duggar connection | Arkansas Blog

A stand for public schools includes pushback of Huckabee/ Duggar connection

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DYNAMIC DUO: Huckabee and Duggar meet home schoolers in Iowa. (That's Janet Huckabee at right). - TWITTER/JANET RANTALA
  • Twitter/Janet Rantala
  • DYNAMIC DUO: Huckabee and Duggar meet home schoolers in Iowa. (That's Janet Huckabee at right).

I stumbled across a fine column by Rekha Basu in the Des Moines Register, which rises in defense of public education in the face of pandering by Republican presidential candidate, including Mike Huckabee, to home-school parents in Iowa, where the Religious Right dominates the GOP primary.

Basu says the candidates have taken destructive aim at the thing that has made America great, the public education system. Amen.

The Republican candidates are happy to give away public dollars to religious schools and homeschoolers. She took particular focus on Huckabee, campaigning with the Jim Bob Duggar clan of reality TV show fame.

Earlier last Thursday, Huckabee was joined at an event by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, who became reality TV stars after birthing and home-schooling 19 children. Said Huckabee: "They exemplify the family you'd love for every family in America to be like." He said they were saving the state millions by keeping their kids out of public school. "Shouldn't we be grateful for that and be giving them back some of that money?" he asked.

No, we shouldn't.

The Duggars may be great parents who've done a remarkable job of caring for and educating their children. But they made the choice to school them at home. Had they chosen public school, they would have had the benefit of taxpayer dollars. Siphoning money away from public to private schools would cause already fragile public schools to fail. Public education needs all the resources it can get.

And is it wise to make role models of people who don't practice family planning and end up with such large families? How many parents could manage or afford it without their own TV show? How many have a solid enough educational foundation or teaching skills to give their kids what they need to be truly educated? As it is, America is falling behind other countries in our grasp of math, sciences and technology. Now states, including Iowa, are exempting home-schooled children from testing and other requirements.

Basu doubts if the candidates would hold up a large Muslim family as an exemplar. "It seems the real intent here is finding the backdrop to frame a narrative about a supposed war on Christianity," she wrote.

Basu also quotes well from a founding father, John Adams, on a free and universal public education. That ideal is under attack by more than the Republican presidential candidates.


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