The Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder recently stated publicly that banning homeschooling would not be a violation of our fundamental rights. Perhaps he should be considering banning public school teachers unions instead. Did you know that New York City just announced that 80% of their high school graduates could not read near their grade level? They needed "remedial reading" just to enter community college! In my adopted hometown of Las Vegas, newspaper headlines recently reported that over 2/3 of high school sophomores couldn't pass a basic math exam.
Meanwhile, since 1999 homeschooling has increased by 74% and homeschool students score 72 points above the national average on the SAT. This is not an anomaly.
My new book, “The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide” is about investments anyone can make to survive, thrive and prosper during the next 4 years of Obamageddon. But the most important investment of all is in your children’s future. A quality education will determine their success or failure, as well as their earning power for the rest of their lives. In my opinion, a quality education is therefore the civil rights issue of the 21st century.
Let me tell you about my daughter, Dakota, who was home-schooled in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dakota scored perfect SAT scores of 800 in reading and writing. She was a National Merit Scholar and Presidential Scholar nominee. She was accepted by many of this nation’s finest universities including Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Columbia, Penn, Brown, Chicago, Virginia, and Cal-Berkeley. She actually had the confidence to turn down an early admissions offer from Yale before she had gotten any of her other acceptances. My kid turned down Yale!
At Harvard, she has earned straight A’s and the John Harvard award for being in the top 5 percent of her class. Today she attends Oxford University in England. Dakota is a scholar and an athlete- fencing for Harvard, she earned Second Team All-Ivy League honors. Dakota is among the best and brightest ever produced by the great state of Nevada.
What makes Dakota’s story so remarkable is that she was educated in the same city (Las Vegas) that produces some of the worst public education results in America. So how did it happen? What was in the water at the Root household? Can others learn from Dakota’s story? Can others replicate her remarkable “Homeschool to Harvard” story?
YES they can!
The key is the same as achieving success in all other areas of life: taking action, taking charge, taking personal responsibility, and being RELENTLESS. It requires taking back the power from government. You can’t trust the government to educate your children- any more than you can trust them to guarantee your retirement, provide your medical care, or deliver the mail without losing $15.9 billion per year. “Free” public education may have been a great deal in the past—just as Social Security was a bargain for the first recipients, who paid into the system for only a few years (and were paid much more than they ever contributed). But by this point in time, Americans entrusting their kids to most public school systems are just being cheated.
Education is not “free” if it ruins your child’s prospects in life. The worst SAT scores in history and the shocking low rankings of our students compared to other countries (even though we already spend far more) prove that we aren’t getting any bargain. “Free” in this case is actually very expensive.
Do you want to let the public schools educate your children to be dependent clients of the welfare state? Or do you want them to get a REAL education that will make them independent achievers? If you want them to grow up to be people you can be proud of, with a foundation of rugged individualism, self-reliance, personal responsibility and patriotism, you’re going to have to take their education into your own hands.
What did we teach Dakota that isn’t being taught in the public school system? Since the day she was born, her mom and dad taught her a work ethic. She learned that to succeed she would have to outwork, outshine, outsmart, and out-hustle every other student. She was taught that “talk is cheap,” and there are no short cuts. The foundation of success is to get up early, do the work, make the sacrifices, live with discipline, and fight passionately and relentlessly for your dreams. And do it all with “an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!”
We taught her to relish competition and embrace winning. We taught her to build her life around detailed and specific goals, to set the bar high, and aim for the stars. We taught her that dreams become goals only with a plan, and that she must be willing to risk courageously to turn dreams into reality. We taught her to embrace and learn from failure, but to always get right back into the battle. And we taught her to never settle for anything less than her definition of success.
Almost from birth, we set the bar high- Dakota’s acceptance at either Stanford or Harvard. For eighteen years we talked about it, planned it, dreamed it, and worked for it. The result? Remarkably, the first classroom of Dakota Root’s life was inside the hallowed halls of Harvard University.
And it happened right here in Las Vegas—without government, teachers’ unions, or education bureaucrats involved. I shutter to think about what might have happened to our incredible daughter if she had been subjected to the national disgrace known as public education.
What were the sacrifices? Many. While other kids spent their school days being indoctrinated to believe competition and winning are unimportant, Dakota was learning to relish competition and value winning. While other kids were becoming experts at partying, Dakota was learning about sacrifice and discipline. While other kids were busy getting their driver’s licenses at age sixteen, Dakota was studying for SAT exams, taking piano lessons, Spanish and French lessons, swimming lessons, tennis lessons, and fencing lessons and being tutored for academic excellence. While other kids shopped, dated, and gossiped, Dakota was debating with her dad about politics and current events at the dinner table (while devouring books on science, math, history, literature, politics, and business). While others were out experimenting with alcohol and drugs, Dakota was practicing the sport she loves with dedication, intensity, and passion—fencing.
Is Dakota’s story unusual? Actually, NO! Homeschoolers are more likely to attend college, are more likely to graduate, and have higher college GPAs than other students.
The old wives’ tale spread by the teachers’ unions (who are scared to death of competition) is that home-schoolers are not “socialized.” Well, the facts are in. Home-school students are almost twice as involved in their local community or church as public school students, and almost three times as involved in politics. Home-schooled children also have far fewer behavioral problems.
But why are positive home-school success stories like Dakota’s not covered by the mainstream media? Does the media have a biased pro-government, pro-teachers union agenda? Why did President Obama kill a successful school choice program in Washington D.C., while spending $60,000 to send his precious daughters to the most exclusive private school money can buy? Why is Obama’s Attorney General even discussing the banning of home-schooling?
The mainstream media and the big government politicians won’t educate you about home-schooling. So I will. I’m here to educate you that home-schooling is becoming mainstream. My family is the symbol of the change in the image and acceptance of home-schooling. Our Root family brand of home-schooling melded parental education with tutoring by handpicked retired teachers and college professors, combined with a personally chosen curriculum. You may be able to get great results with a slightly different combination of resources. There are myriad home-schooling resources out there, from curricula you can subscribe to, to online classes for kids, to home-schooling support programs (which will even allow your child to play high school sports).
The crucial factor isn’t what program you pick, or even whether you choose home-schooling. The crucial factor is that you realize it’s your responsibility, as their parent, to take charge of their education. The crucial factor is that you invest in your children’s future. My recommendation is that you find an alternative to the failing, disgraceful public school system- whether it’s home-school, charter school, private school, or religious school.
I respect and applaud teachers. I think most work hard, sacrifice, and care for their students. Dakota owes her home-school success to several retired teachers who are like members of our family.
Unfortunately teachers’ unions and education bureaucrats are a far different story. Education in this country has deteriorated for decades under their leadership. Home-schooling worked for our family because we took the best of education- dedicated parents and professional educators- and eliminated the worst- unions and government bureaucrats.
Dakota doesn’t just prove the success of home-schooling. She proves the success of the individual over dependence upon government. She proves the success of alternative education, parental freedom, and school choice. Her tremendous success as a scholar and athlete proves it doesn’t take a state-licensed teacher to educate a child. It takes two caring, motivated parents with the willingness and courage to seize control and take responsibility for their children’s future.
And the home-schooling success story continues. Fast-forward to 2011, when our son Hudson (then in sixth grade) took the same nationwide exam as Dakota took all those years ago. Same results. Hudson scored P.H.S. (Post High School) in every category. Our youngest son Remington took the same nationwide standardized exam for first graders in 2011. He scored at sixth-through-ninth-grade level in every category.
So now you have a remarkable pattern. One child achieving those results is fantastic, two is remarkable, but all three performing the same way (a decade apart) is proof positive that we are on to something special.
My final advice: You are the CEO of your child’s future. Don’t wait for opportunity to knock. Don’t wait for the approval or permission of others. Don’t wait for the cavalry. Don’t leave it to fate, or luck, or Big Brother. Don’t depend on Obama. In the end, no one cares or loves your child like you do. It is up to you to seize opportunity and take control of your child’s future. Dakota Root’s story proves the American Dream is alive, if only we’d stop depending on government to save us.
You can find more details on home-schooling, school choice, education alternatives, and how to invest in your child’s future in “The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide.”
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