Because public schools are economically, morally and spiritually bankrupt, home and private education soon will become a necessity rather than a luxury, those attending the 10th annual Utah Home Education Association convention were told Saturday.
Author and retired teacher Glenn L. Pearson, who presented the conference's keynote address, said families and churches, not schools, provide the best forum for discussions that broaden and expand true learning."I don't mean that most public-school teachers are morally and spiritually bankrupt, though a lot of them may be on the verge of economic bankruptcy," he said. "What I meant was that the system in general - that vast, cumbersome, costly bureaucracy we call the public schools - is bankrupt."
It may still be blasphemy in Utah to speak ill of public education, Pearson said.
"Any yet, ask yourselves these questions: If your children get drugs, where will they get them? If they become sexually active before they should, where was the source of the influence that brought it about? If they get into almost any manner of anti-social or suicidal behavior, whence came the germs of these fatal diseases?"
Pearson called state education unconstitutional because "it is based on a system of legal plunder. That is, those who expect to benefit directly from state education use the government as their agent to extort money from everybody for the expected benefit of some."
In addition, he said, state schools violate the principle of separation of church and state because they are an established, state-supported state religion.
"In the name of religious toleration, the basic doctrines of Christianity and other religions based on the idea of a God who speaks were forced out of the schools. The theory was that the subjects taught in the public schools would contain no religious instruction. But that was fiction.
"Humanism swept in to fill the vacuum when Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other God-centered religions were banned."
Pearson called humanism a religion that believes in only the physical world, has socialism as its ethic, bases its theology on organic evolution and restricts truth to scientific consensus.
"State education is the very essence of Babylon. It is the evil nest out of which every humanistic bird has been hatched," he said. "If the motives of the ACLU were honest and consistent, the main school thrust of the ACLU would be to eliminate state schools altogether, not just prayer in public schools."
Because every home is a school, Pearson encouraged parents to start a home library, teach their children how to look up things in books and impart a love of reading to their children.
"Every home is a school, and every parent is a home-schooler," he said. "It is just a matter of what kind of school and what kind of teacher. No parent can escape this."
Saturday's convention, which featured numerous exhibits and more than 50 workshops, attracted participants nationwide, said UHEA President Ken Parker. If growing attendance at the conference is any indication, he said, home education is a growing movement.
"Two years ago we had 600 people at our convention, last year we had about 800 and this year we probably have closer to 1,100 if you count all the kids involved too," he said. "It's continuing to grow."
Parker attributes growing interest in home schooling to several factors.
He said home schooling improves association between family members, allows children to develop without negative peer pressure, enhances their chances of being socially adjusted and lets them progress at their own pace.