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SepCon2004 D.C. conference a great success
By Samuel L. Blumenfeld
The cause of educational freedom was given a great boost on the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. There, at this opulent inn, were gathered some of the smartest "rebels" in America, voicing uncompromisingly that the government should get out of the education business. The occasion was the tenth anniversary of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, of which the indefatigable President is Marshall Fritz. He chose the Omni-Shoreham because they don't show pornography in their rooms.
Since 1994 Marshall has sponsored a Proclamation for the Separation of School and State, which, to date, has been signed by 26,000 individuals around the world. It reads: "I favor ending government involvement in education." Marshall wants to get one million signatures. If readers of this column would like to sign it, get in touch with Marshall Fritz at 1071 N. Fulton Street, Fresno, CA 93728, www.HonestEdu.org. Their phone is: 888-325-1776.
The keynote speaker at the conference was none other than our own Joseph Farah, who said, "It takes a radical agenda to fight a radical agenda. We are the rebels." In the fight to take back America, Farah told homeschoolers that they were "the vanguard of the Revolution." He urged parents, who haven't yet, to get their kids out.
In fact, "Getting the Kids Out," was the major theme of the conference. Other speakers included Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association and President of Patrick Henry College. He was the recipient of the 2004 Alexis de Tocqueville Award presented by Tim and Beverly LaHaye. His address was on "Judging the Fruits of Secular Statist Education."
John Taylor Gatto, in a speech entitled "The Paradox of Extended Childhood," gave one of his stem-winders about the evils of public schooling and the benefits of educational freedom. He stressed that the structure of public education cannot be changed, and that the education act, No Child Left Behind, should really read, Every Child Left Behind. He also had the opportunity to tell us about the provocative documentary film he and a colleague, a former student, are making about American public schooling. We were shown a sample, which was quite impressive. He had just returned from Australia by way of a 28-hour plane trip. His wisdom is slowly spreading across the globe in ways that the media never hears about. He is a great American original in the spirit of Jefferson, Adams, and other major thinkers who shaped this nation. His remarkable book, "The Underground History of American Education," is slowly making its way into the minds of Americans who care.
Also at the conference were the two men responsible for introducing the resolution at the Southern Baptist Convention calling for the removal of Christian children from the public schools. Bruce Shortt and T.C. Pinckney brought their story to the conference in a symposium, "Get the Kids Out" Strategy for Baptists. Shortt has also written a new book, "The Harsh Truth About Public Schools," that should send any Baptist minister into shock.
Another speaker was Brian Ray, President of the National Home Education Research Institute, which has become the primary resource for information on homeschooling that the media turns to when in need. Beverly Eakman, author of "The Cloning of the American Mind," led a round table on Psychographics. Her earlier book, "Educating for the New World Order," has become a classic critique of government assessment programs that violate the privacy rights of students and parents. Yours truly also led a round table on Behavioral Psychology in the Schools.
Joseph Sobran gave one of his entertaining and provocative views of what our government is doing to protect us. Sobran has become something of a neo-anarchist in his later years, deeply suspicious of and greatly annoyed at the state. Homeschooler Cathy Duffy spoke about the future of education without government.
This conference was indeed an unbelievable embarrassment of riches. To have had so many great speakers and knowledgeable attendees at one conference for two short days is so rare as to be quite unexpected. Much to my surprise, I also received an award, The Diggers Award, for having written years ago on the need to get the government out of education.
I had attended four Alliance conferences in years past, and this one was not only the best, but also the most exciting. Not only were the speakers outstanding, but the conference resounded with a spirit of impending success as more and more people are beginning to understand that public education cannot be reformed and that the only solution is a return to educational freedom.
Samuel L. Blumenfeld is the author of eight books on education, including, "Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers," "The Whole Language/OBE Fraud," and "Homeschooling: A Parents Guide to Teaching Children." These books are available on Amazon.com.
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