Social Question

trolltoll's avatar

Did the Texas Supreme Court make the right call in this case?

Asked by trolltoll (2570points) June 28th, 2016



“AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Supreme Court has sided with a family accused of not teaching its children anything while waiting “to be raptured.”

Laura and Michael McIntyre began homeschooling their nine children inside the family’s El Paso motorcycle dealership more than a decade ago.

Officials say the family did not have to teach state-approved curriculum or give standardized tests.

However, problems started when a relative told authorities that he never saw the children reading, working on math, using computers or doing anything educational besides play music.”

Basically, these parents kept their 9 children uneducated because they thought it wouldn’t matter since they were all just waiting around to be raptured.

Should this count as criminally negligent behavior? If you can go to jail because your child is chronically truant, then why should these parents get a free pass?

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43 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Criminally negligent? No.

Child endangerment? Yes.

These “parents” (and I use the term only in its biological sense) should lose parental rights. All they have done is raised 9 children who will be incapable of crossing a street, let alone take care of them selves or hold a job.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, that’s tricky. And the parents are stupid. But why should anyone be forced to get an education?

trolltoll's avatar

@Duchess_III I was forced to get an education. My parents would be forced to go to jail if they didn’t ensure I went to school on a regular basis. Why should these parents be held to a different standard? (Is what my question comes down to basically).

I think it’s less that children should be forced to get an education and more that parents should be forced to adequately provide for their children.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know that @trolltoll. In this country it’s illegal not send your kids to school. But….is that right? Why should we be forced to educate our children? (This is just a thought, not an argument.)

trolltoll's avatar

I don’t know, because if you choose to have children at all, you should be held accountable for at least providing the basic necessities of life for them, which include an education? So, as @zenvelo pointed out, they can survive in the real world once they finally leave home? These children are going to be at a disabling disadvantage in life through no fault of their own.

If we punish parents for neglecting their children through malnutrition, then we should punish parents for neglecting their children by withholding an education from them.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Dutchess III in most places the state is obligated to educate its children. But of course Texas is the trailblazer for innovative absurdity. As the country dumbs down, the state continues to blaze the trails that creep Northward for us all. And it’s impossible to predict. Today we hear that the utility in a literate population is now beyond the cognitive scope of the judicial branch in Texas.

Seek's avatar

According to Texas law an established homeschool counts as a private school. Children who attend private schools are exempt from compulsory school attendance as long as the school teaches “good citizenship”.

The argument that should be made is that this private school isn’t teaching good citizenship. If the plaintiff’s counsel didn’t succeed in arguing that point, they should lose their job.

Let’s not punish all homeschoolers (most of which are just people doing what they feel is best for their kids) because some whackadoodles haven’t finished mixing their Kool-aid yet.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If the children are happy, healthy and not acting like terrorist or criminals, then it is the parent’s call. If it were some other configuration people would by rallying around it with no true effort of how the child would be effected but the political right of the parent or the aim of the supporters.

Seek's avatar

I’ll add that in Florida, homeschoolers have a few options:

They can register under an umbrella school which has state-approved standards

They can register with the county’s distance learning program and take State-required standardized tests (good for public-schooled kids who have to be away from school for health reasons or bullying)

Or they can do what I do: Keep a portfolio of the child’s work and a list of materials used and books read, which is reviewed by a licensed teacher and the child’s progress is reported to the school board at the end of each term
(we have Ian’s term set at December 1st, so he can take the month of December off and he works through summertime, when no one wants to be outside anyway).

Texas has none of these requirements, just the “good citizenship course” requirement. It’s a rather poor law.

trolltoll's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central they may be happy and healthy now. In twenty years or so when they are well into their adult years and unable to hold down more than minimum wage jobs they won’t be so happy or healthy.

These parents are basically ensuring their children grow up with an intellectual impairment.

Seek's avatar

Also relevant:

In Florida the state can ask to see my son’s portfolio, with 14 days’ written notice.

Texas makes no provision for the State to review a homeschooler’s progress. That’s why they lost this case.

trolltoll's avatar

@Seek sounds like Texas needs its homeschooling laws overhauled. I wonder if this case will set a precedent for legal change.

Seek's avatar

One can only hope.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But you have to wonder how Texas can sanction 2 whack jobs manufacturing 9 illiterates to reap the luxuries tumbling from the state’s extravagant welfare programs.

trolltoll's avatar

@stanleybmanly I wouldn’t say that Texas “sanctioned” their procreation. You just can’t prevent people from having children*, which in some cases (like this one) is incredibly unfortunate.

*unless you’re China

cazzie's avatar

@trolltoll….. China can’t either. I have Chinese friends who are professionals who have had more than one child. They just have to pay for them. When they are born abroad, it is also another case. My friend had three children. He paid a certain amount for the second born and then even more for the third born. If they had all been born over seas, there would be no cost. The strict ‘one child only’ policy was for the poor, immobile population.

trolltoll's avatar

@cazzie you might want to look up China’s forced abortions.

cazzie's avatar

if the couple had paid the 40,000 yuan fine for violating the nation’s one-child policy, they could have kept the baby. Like I said….. it is money and mobility. That is currently 389USD.

cazzie's avatar

This is no longer the practice in China, btw.

trolltoll's avatar

It isn’t – as far as the western media is aware, anyway.

I may be cynical, but I’m sure it’s still going on, if perhaps in a more limited way.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Texas is pretty much it’s own country. They have LOTS of things going on down there that are religious based. Christianity is deeply rooted in its state government, and therefore it affects people there in one way or the other. At one point the governor told his constituency to pray for rain. This doesn’t point to a higher level of thinking.
I feel like I’m kinda happy they can teach their own kids. Then by process of evolution their family line will probably fail and eventually be removed from the shallow end of the gene pool. Survival of the fittest. I feel bad for the children, but they would be crazy anyway. Bible thumping idiots don’t usually breed anything but more of the same. They often go to great lengths to keep their kids away from ‘normal ’ people. They’re afraid some common sense might rub off on their kid. Most religions can be picked apart quickly with very little intelligence. Then the parents might have to question their own beliefs. That would be cataclysmic. But they’ll never pick it apart if the parents can keep them brainwashed. I agree that most parents who home school kids are trying to do the best for the children. But in this case it’s clear that brainwashing was the goal. Or at least limiting the children’s exposure to a culture other than their’s.

trolltoll's avatar

@MrGrimm888 we both know that’s not how evolution works.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’m hopeful trolltoll . It’s probably more like idiocracy. If you haven’t seen it yet, do.

trolltoll's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Idiocracy is a funny movie, but I think it’s important to remember that it’s only satire, lest we become too cynical about the future.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have homeschooled and I am in favor of homeschooling. In California there are standard requirements for homeschooling. I don’t know what the penalty is if these standards are not met.

The state of Texas should have standards and consequences.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@trolltoll In twenty years or so when they are well into their adult years and unable to hold down more than minimum wage jobs they won’t be so happy or healthy.
Twenty years from now in spite of them getting AP class equivalent education they couls end up like so many drugged out on whatever, or lushy alcoholics who can function or hold down a job and spend the next two decades living off mom, pop, or grandparents.

zenvelo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central that argument makes no sense. At least the “drugged out” and the “lushly alcoholic” who has received an education can read the menu and cash register at McDonalds. These kids won’t know how to read or count the change.

Pachy's avatar

Texas Supreme Court: An oxymoron (emphasis on “moron”) if ever there was one.

And I’m a born Texan.

trolltoll's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Just because some people will still manage to be worse off even while being educated does not mean it was okay for these parents to deny their children an education.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@trolltoll by manufacturing, I didn’t mean bringing the kids into existence. It’s the illiteracy that’s been “manufactured”. Nine lives robbed of a future, and just what sort of prospects have they when their turn as parents arrives.

Buttonstc's avatar

The Supreme Court made the only LEGAL call available to them. As @Seek has already pointed out, apparently the state of Texas lacks any procedure in place to require accountability from those who,homeschool. There is no standardized testing required to prove whether the parents are doing an adequate job of educating those kids to a standard.

Of course we realize that the parents have a moral obligation to educate those kids so they can function in society, but the Texas court can’t base their case on that.

Hopefully this case will highlight the need for a better system of accountability for parents who homeschool. And I think that any right thinking homeschooling parent would welcome that because the overwhelming majority of homeschoolers are doing it with the right motivation and want the best quality learning experience for their children.

And most colleges welcome homeschoolers because they generally score higher on pre admission standardized testing and, more importantly, they generally have more mature study habits with less freshman flunk outs because they are accustomed to independent study as this has generally been the norm for them. They haven’t spent the majority of their schooling years. Feeling straight jacketed by a curriculum that fails. To take their individual needs into account or bored beyond belief by a system that has a one size fits all approach.

Because they haven’t spent their schooling years frustrated, they generally have a much more positive attitude toward learning which is perfect for doing college level work.

rojo's avatar

Yes they got it wrong. We are in the grip of a bunch of ignorant, inbred, fundamentalist MoFos at this time and so we get saddled with a bunch of ignorant laws and legal decisions.

50 out of 50 States are hoping to see a Texit type occurrence where we leave the Union and thereby increase the overall IQ of the United States.

Seek's avatar

This should have been an open and shut case. The law requires homeschooled students to take a course in good citizenship. Minimum. Unfortunately instead of asking for evidence that the students were receiving instruction in good citizenship, they started asking about things like reading and math, which the law doesn’t require. That constituted the unreasonable search.

You can’t just show up at someone’s house with the gestapo and demand to know the contents of their freezer if there’s no law saying one must always have Butter Pecan ice cream on hand. If you follow me.

trolltoll's avatar

Does Texas law define what constitutes “good citizenship?”

Seek's avatar

Nope. But it does use the words “good citizenship course”, so were I the plaintiff’s counsel I would have argued no curriculum, no course.

Of course, that’s just armchair lawyering.

trolltoll's avatar

I may be ignorant, but that seems like a pretty significant oversight to me. How can you enforce a standard that isn’t even defined?

stanleybmanly's avatar

@trolltoll & MrGrimm888. The thing that’s important to recognize about this business of pimping the bible to excess is that what the practice is actually about is the substitution of religious platitudes and homilies for the more difficult exertions involved with abstract thought. It amounts to religion as the universal “license to dumb down”. And this sort of thing is not exclusive to our own bible thumpers, but a fundamental aspect of any discipline that has at its heart the suspension of rational judgement. When people of such a mindset manage to accumulate in numbers sufficient to control governments, there can be no limit to the resulting stupidities, and the breathtaking flow of regressive and obtuse bullshit will bury all in its path. Those folks in Texas will continually push this stuff out with the righteous excuse that “the bible made me do it.”

trolltoll's avatar

@stanleybmanly off-topic, but I have to say that I love the way you write.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Thanks, and congratulations on your exquisite judgement!

MrGrimm888's avatar

Stanleybmanly, sounds like we agree on why these things happen. These practices are a remnant of a religious era that should have run its course a long time ago. The rest of the planet also still suffers from religion dragging down progress.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then religion is its cross to bear. Or anchor, that progress must drag as it betters humankind.
Civil rights, women’s rights, sciences of every kind, peace,education have continuously been occluded by religion. In this case education is probably not that great in Texas anyway, but Texas has some of the most right leaning , religiously constricted standards already. It seems odd to me that the parents were so afraid to ‘expose ’ their children to a school system still fighting to keep creationism as a legitimate science. Perhaps the parents were just crazy. There’s no law against crazy people having lots of children. Are they supposed to get a clue after the 7th kid?

Aster's avatar

“You don’t need to know math , history or English. You’re going to be raptured out.”
What a house load of primitive dopes. But knowing this society as it is now they’ll probably get away with raising these pathetic kids so nobody will be “offended.” Lord.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@zenvelo At least the “drugged out” and the “lushly alcoholic” who has received an education can read the menu and cash register at McDonalds.
They may read it better (when they are not 6 sheets to the wind), but they will never use it unless they have the munchies. It will not be because they are employed there because that would get in the way of them trying to find cloud 9, or if they do work there, it is only to try and see what they can skim from the cash register

Seek's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central – Your flawed and blatantly insulting insinuations against educated addicts are irrelevant to this conversation.

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