Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Homeschooled sixteen-year-old graduates college and high school in the same week

ABC News:

CBS News:

CBS local news reports on this amazing story.

Full text:

It’s that time of year when students all across the country will be celebrating high school and college graduations. One South Florida girl will get a diploma from both in the same week and she is only 16-years old.

Grace Bush already has her bachelor’s degree from college but she doesn’t have a high school diploma yet.

“It’s kind of weird that I graduated college before high school,” said Grace Bush.

The teen from Hollywood earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice Friday morning from Florida Atlantic University.

She did it with a 3.8 grade point average and completed the four-year degree in just three years.

“I started when I was 13 at Broward College and I also took my classes throughout the summer, so I was able to finish it before four years,” said Grace Bush.

The institution’s dual enrollment program allows high performing high school students to earn credit for the same courses towards their college degree and save thousands of dollars in tuition at the same time.

Grace’s parents wanted their nine children to earn college credit in high school because they can’t afford to send all of their kids to college. Their mother, who home schooled all the kids knew early on, Grace had a knack for learning.

“At two years old, she was already reading and I was totally shocked,” said Grace’s mother, Gisla Bush.

Grace is the third oldest in the Bush family.

“My two older sisters are doing it and I’m the third to do it. My oldest sister already graduated and my second oldest sister is graduating in the summer,” said Grace Bush.

The new college graduate said she’ll be pursuing a master’s degree this fall, and then going to law school.

“I would eventually like to become chief justice of the United States,” said Grace Bush.

During her spare time she plays the flute in two orchestras and that keeps her busy but she says she will finally take a little break during the summer.

“To study for the LSAT, so I can get as high a score as possible, so hopefully I can get a full ride into a good school, law school,” said Grace Bush.

Looking at the two videos above, I saw several interesting things. This young lady did not attend public school, she was home-schooled. She had a father who was proud of her and believed in her, which affects the graduation rates of children according to a recent study. She was filmed speaking in her home in front of a little plaque with a verse from the Bible.

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Obama administration wins court battle to have Christian homeschooling family deported

Todd Starnes at Fox News does the best job of covering the religious liberty issue, and here is his latest story.

Excerpt:

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike came to the United States in 2008 seeking political asylum. They fled their German homeland in the face of religious persecution for homeschooling their children.

They wanted to live in a country where they could raise their children in accordance with their Christian beliefs.

The Romeikes were initially given asylum, but the Obama administration objected – claiming that German laws that outlaw homeschooling do not constitute persecution.

[...]“I think this is a part of the Obama administration’s overall campaign to crush religious freedom in this country,” said Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. His organization is representing family.

“The Obama administration’s attitude toward religious freedom, particularly religious freedom for Christians is shocking,” he told me in an exclusive telephone interview. “I have little doubt that if this family had been of some other faith that the decision would have never been appealed in the first place. They would have let this family stay.”

Had the family stayed in Germany, where homeschooling is illegal, they would have faced the prospect of losing their children. Like the Pilgrims, they fled their homeland yearning for a place where they could be free.

Farris said the religious bias perpetrated by the Obama administration is “palpable.”

“It’s a denial of the essence of America,” he said. “The Pilgrims left England to go to Holland to seek religious freedom. They came here to seek religious freedom and parental rights for their children. Had this administration been waiting at Plymouth Rock, they would’ve told the Pilgrims to go back home.”

But the United States has become hostile to people coming here to have religious liberty. But there is one group that is allowed to stay – no questions asked.

Excerpt:

Building on pro-gay policies put in place by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama today ordered overseas federal agencies to fight local anti-gay violence and provide asylum to homosexuals seeking protection.

Obama said, “I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.”

His order was immediately praised by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s top lobby for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. “The Obama administration has made a tremendous difference in the lives of LGBT people in the United States and this new strategy helps to extend that presidential leadership across the globe,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. 

“There is no question that the administration’s record of advancing equality for LGBT people has been enhanced by the leadership of Secretary Clinton who consistently underscores the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights.”

A key element of the president’s memo to federal agencies would open up the United States to asylum seekers who are gay. “Those LGBT persons who seek refuge from violence and persecution face daunting challenges,” said Obama in his memo. “In order to improve protection for LGBT refugees and asylum seekers at all stages of displacement, the Departments of State and Homeland Security shall enhance their ongoing efforts to ensure that LGBT refugees and asylum seekers have equal access to protection and assistance, particularly in countries of first asylum.

“In addition, the Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security shall ensure appropriate training is in place so that relevant Federal Government personnel and key partners can effectively address the protection of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, including by providing to them adequate assistance and ensuring that the federal government has the ability to identify and expedite resettlement of highly vulnerable persons with urgent protection needs.”

Here’s an example of how Obama welcomes some people, even as he rejects others. 

Imagine being deported back to a country that you know will take your children from you. That’s what the Obama administration did to this family. That’s how much they believe in religious liberty.

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German judge rules refuses to give homeschooling parents custody of their children

From the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

Excerpt:

Following a hearing on December 18, 2013, in Darmstadt, Germany, Family Court Judge Marcus Malkmus slammed the door on the Wunderlich family’s emigration hopes. Lawyers for Dirk, Petra, and their children had asked the judge to return legal custody to the parents because they have complied with court orders that the children go to school and because they wish to move to France where homeschooling is legal.

In August 2013 the four Wunderlich children were seized in a raid by 20 police officers and social workers simply because they were being homeschooled, an activity that is illegal in Germany. After an international outcry, the children were returned three weeks later on the condition that the parents send them to public school. Testing conducted on the children during their stay in a group home indicated that they were well adjusted, social, and academically proficient.

In Malkmus’s written order, (an unofficial English translation is available here) he compared homeschooling to a straitjacket for children. While acknowledging that the Wunderlich children were well cared for and did not have educational deficiencies, he refused to return legal custody to the parents.

He said it was necessary to keep the Wunderlich children in German public schools to make sure that they were integrated into society. If they were allowed to be homeschooled in Germany or anywhere else, the consequences might be that “the children would grow up in a parallel society without having learned to be integrated or to have a dialogue with those who think differently and facing them in the sense of practicing tolerance.” Malkmus also wrote that homeschooling creates “concrete endangerment to the wellbeing of the child.”

[...]HSLDA Director of International Affairs Michael Donnelly, who is coordinating HSLDA’s work on behalf of the Wunderlichs, said, “This is a disgraceful court decision. The German constitution and multiple international treaties guarantee the Wunderlichs’ right to leave their country. It’s one thing to disagree with homeschooling and enforce the law, but to prevent an otherwise loving and caring family from leaving because of homeschooling is a monumental violation of basic human rights. Judge Malkmus has effectively imprisoned the Wunderlichs in Germany over their intention to homeschool. It’s the kind of thing that you would expect from a communist bureaucrat in the former Soviet Union, not a modern German court of law.”

So, my advice for homeschoolers is that when you are raising your children, you must understand that the secular left is opposed to homeschooling because they think that government-run schools can educate your children better than you can. If you find that the public schools are not doing a good job of educating your children, then you have no right to pull them out of school, like former Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann did when her children were stuck in an underperforming school. You don’t have a right to raise MIT professors like this one, who was homeschooled. Why is that?

It’s because the government is supported by teachers unions, and the more teachers there are, the more dues are paid to the unions, and the more political contributions the teacher unions make to the party that supports bigger government. It doesn’t matter if your children are learning that the universe is eternal (Carl Sagan), that global warming is real (Al Gore), that premarital sex is a good preparation for marriage (Alfred Kinsey), and so on. You don’t have a right to good education, you have an obligation to pay enormous sums of money to the public schools so that your children can underperform Korean students at math and science.

 

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International tests show US children lagging despite record spending on education

Jay Richards tweeted this article from the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Since 1998, the Program for International Student Assessment, or Pisa, has ranked 15-year-old kids around the world on common reading, math and science tests. The U.S. brings up the middle—again—among 65 education systems that make up fourth-fifths of the global economy. The triennial Pisa report also shows—again—that East Asian countries like Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea produce the best outcomes.

U.S. performance hasn’t budged in a decade. For 2012, U.S. students placed 26th in mathematics, a bit below the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average, and 17th in reading and 21st in science, close to the average. The U.S. slipped in all categories compared to international competitors, plunging from 11th in reading as recently as 2009.

American teenagers seem especially weak in core academic subjects with high cognitive demands, such as translating concepts into solutions for real-world problems. A quarter never become proficient in math. In Shanghai and Korea, the comparable figure is 10% or fewer. Some 7% of U.S. students reached the top two scientific performance levels, compared with 17% in Finland and an amazing 27% in Shanghai. Is it tiger moms or tiger schools, or maybe both?

The U.S. is way out front in one measure: per-student spending. Only Austria, Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland spend more. Despite laying out $115,000 per head, the U.S. did no better than the Slovak Republic, which spends $53,000.

Perhaps most depressingly, the data show no statistically significant U.S. achievement improvement over time. None. In an era when it pays to be thankful for small mercies, at least we’re not getting worse, but America’s relative standing is falling as other countries improve.

[...]Massachusetts has been running public schools since 1635 and today is home to some of the best performers in the nation. The state entered Pisa as if it was its own country—but students of the same age in Shanghai performed as if they had two more years of math instruction than those in the Bay State.

[...]Pisa also adds another count to the bill of indictment for the Democrats who block reform to serve their teachers union patrons. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the report “a picture of educational stagnation,” but liberals are major impediments to more accountability, merit-based compensation and school-choice competition. The Justice Department has even gone so far as to sue Louisiana to block its modest voucher program, which is a moral crime against the students consigned to failing schools.

There are a few areas of economics that I think that Christians really ought to understand, and education is one of them. We definitely need to be concerned about policies that make it harder for poor, minority students to get ahead. We keep throwing money at the unionized public school system, and we get no results. We need to think about making education more like online shopping. What makes online shopping great is choice and competition. If schools were allowed to compete with one another, then the customer would be assured of getting more quality for less money. The public school system is a monopoly, and it serves the teachers and the education bureaucrats – not the children.

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Police invade home of homeschooling family and seize four children

The UK Daily Mail reports.

Excerpt:

Armed police in Germany launched a terrifying raid on a family’s home to seize their four children after they defied the country’s ban on home schooling.

A team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed the home of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich because they refused to send their children to state schools.

The youngsters were taken to unknown locations after officials allegedly ominously promised the parents that they would not be seeing them again ‘any time soon’.

The only legal grounds for the removal of the children, aged from seven to 14, were the family’s insistence on home schooling their children, with no other allegations of abuse or neglect.

According to court documents obtained and translated by the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), officials did not even allege that the parents had failed to provide an adequate education.

The raid took place on Thursday morning at 8am at the Wunderlichs’ home near Darmstadt, 25 miles south of Frankfurt, in south-west Germany.

Citing the parents’ failure to cooperate ‘with the authorities to send the children to school’, the judge even authorised the use of force ‘against the children’ if necessary, according to court documents cited by the HSLDA.

[...]Mr Wunderlich said that he and his wife had been left devastated by the authorities’ decision to take their children. He said that his 14-year-old daughter Machsejah had to be forcibly taken out of the home.

‘When I went outside, our neighbour was crying as she watched. I turned around to see my daughter being escorted as if she were a criminal by two big policemen,’ he said.

‘They weren’t being nice at all. When my wife tried to give my daughter a kiss and a hug goodbye, one of the special agents roughly elbowed her out of the way and said — “It’s too late for that”.

‘What kind of government acts like this?’

Funny that you would ask that, Mr. Wunderlich, because here’s a story about a German homeschooling family that is being ejected from the United States.

Excerpt:

The White House has posted a response to the petition to stop the deportation of the Romeikes, a homeschooling family from Germany. The White House does not respond to issues before the courts, the response said, but they understand why parents would value the freedom to homeschool.

[...]Though the White House says it understands why parents would value the freedom to homeschool, the administration, through the Justice Department, has been trying to deport the Romeikes back to Germany, where they could lose custody of their children if they were to continue to homeschool. In the various court cases, the Justice Department has argued that the right of parents to decide their children’s education is not a fundamental right, and it agreed with a German court’s opinion that banning homeschooling teaches tolerance of diverse views.

The Romeikes lost their last appeal in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Home School Legal Defense Association, which represents the Romeikes, has now appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

In a blog post on the HSLDA website, HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris criticized the administration for taking so long say that it could not respond, and for allowing certain current unauthorized immigrants, the so-called “dreamers,” to stay in the country while going out of its way to try to deport one family.

“No one can understand why the White House is showing so much leniency to millions of immigrants who have come here illegally in hopes of securing better jobs, but is so determined to deport this one family who has come to America in search of freedom for themselves and their children,” Farris declared. “This petition was the perfect opportunity for the White House to explain why this administration appealed the original grant of asylum. This was a perfect opportunity for the White House to explain the blatantly unequal treatment being received by the Romeike family. But the White House stalled for four months and said absolutely nothing.”

Isn’t that interesting? The same administration that is pushing for amnesty for 20 million illegal immigrants wants to deport one family for homeschooling their children. What is it that causes people on the left to want to drive a wedge between parents and their own children? Why are they so anxious to raise taxes so that both parents are forced to work, and the children will be raised in government-run public schools? What is their goal in doing that? What pleasure do they get out of separating mothers from their 1-year olds? What pleasure do they get in taking a man’s child away and teaching the child things that are opposed to the father’s values – while taking his salary to pay for it?

I know that there are a lot of people who are very passionate about public education, and making everyone equal, and pushing left-wing ideologies onto children against the will of their parents. Every Democrat votes for it when they vote to tax families more to pay for higher pay and benefits for public school teachers. Still, you would think that a story like this might cause them to think twice about what their support for state-run education really means. Make no mistake, Democrats are opposed to homeschooling, and even private schooling. They don’t want parents to have a say – they just want them to pay for whatever the government decides to do with their children.

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