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The Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 2, March 1996

New Guy says "Hi"

by Steve Smith

When Marshall Fritz invited me to attend SepCon '95 last year, he asked what I wanted on my name badge besides name and hometown. I told him to put "Future Homeschooler."

At the time, the idea of having children was somewhat abstract to me. But I had already decided that if my wife Kathy and I ever did have children, we would not consign them to a state "irresponsibility training center" for twelve (or more) years of their lives. (We do have two fine "homeschooled" dogs, Winston and Spike ? an Alsatian and an American Staffordshire terrier, as we like to inform our dog-shy friends. Or, as we tell unwelcome strangers, a German shepherd and a pit bull. I didn't study marketing for nothing!)

Funny how quickly the hypothetical can become the real. By the time Marshall called in January of this year and invited me to become editor of The Education Liberator, I knew that parenthood wouldn't be an abstraction for long.... One baby on the way, ETA early August.

It has always seemed right to be concerned about the school problem, even without having children of my own. State-run, tax-funded schools implicitly teach (must teach) personal irresponsibility ? regardless of what the curriculum says they are teaching at any given moment. That's a prescription for the destruction of freedom for all and the productivity of many.

I would have been excited under any circumstances to be asked to do this job. Now I have an added motivation. I want my child to embark on the new century in the company of peers whose minds have not been deadened by a Prussian-style indoctrination system. I want him, or her, to know the joys and possibilities of living in a society where self-responsibility governs.

I'm confident I can save my own child from state schooling. But it may take winning the Separation struggle to have a realistic hope of that child inheriting the better world I envision. So, more than ever, I consider myself a "stakeholder" in the struggle's outcome (to use a possibly educationist buzzword).

Taking on this job is nevertheless humbling. Many of you have been teaching children, your own and perhaps others', for years. Some of you have started your own schools. Some of you have written books about the education problem, and devoted your lives to solving it. And some of you have come out of the state schools themselves to speak the truth about the system, possibly at great personal cost. I know I can learn much from you. The biggest challenge will be following in Chris Cardiff's footsteps. As editor beginning with the very first Education Liberator, Chris packed this newsletter with some of the best writing in the Separation movement. With your help, I hope to maintain the standards he set. Your feedback, and your article suggestions and contributions, are welcomed and solicited. Let's learn, let's teach, let's allow ourselves some fun along the way, and let's grow this movement, for the future of all our children--and in particular for a certain child whose most important birthday comes this August.

This article is copyrighted by the Alliance for the Separation of School & State. Permission is granted to freely distribute this article as long as this copyright notice is included in its entirety.