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Author Topic: religion, culture, biology and parental roles  (Read 22263 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 28, 2008, 05:52:35 PM »

In a world where, as wasn't the case during much of humanity's history, at least one of the parents of nuclear families has to work outside of the home, what do you feel is the 'ideal' solution for families and why?

Both parents working part time? Having a SAHM? Or a SAHD? Both parents working full time?

What is the reason behind your 'ideal'?

For instance, if you believe a woman should stay at home full time with her children, is it for:

a) religious reasons: 'God ordained it so', etc.

b) cultural reasons: 'It is traditional in my culture and this is the way I was brought up' etc. or

c) biological reaons: 'Women breastfeed and that is why they should stay with their babies'. Would you change your mind if a woman was given a long maternity leave, like in my country (a year) after which the toddler would not really need to be breastfed ALL the time and could be taken care of by daddy (too)?

To what extent do you think each family should find their own perfect mode of existence? To what extent do you in fact judge others' choices and think there is an outside ideal to be followed? To what extent do you believe there is a particular Orthodox way of dealing with this decision?

What has been your personal experience?

Thank you.

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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2008, 07:32:19 PM »

I think each family should do what works best for them.  I just saw a nasty flame war on another board (not a religious one) with SAHMs vs. mothers who work outside the home.  One person wrote that putting kids in daycare means somebody else is raising them.  Another person wrote that because women keep dropping out of the workforce to become SAHMs, women still don't have full equality in the workplace: they're discriminated against because they're expected to leave the job, etc.  That's the problem with extremes: One side has the mistaken assumption that women who work outside of the home--for whatever reason--don't care about raising their kids and just want to foist them onto other people.  And now I've seen another side that has the mistaken assumption that equality in the workplace is important enough that every woman should work even if all her money goes to daycare, even if she really longs to stay at home.

I thought about staying at my job when I became pregnant.  But I was working part-time at a clerical job, so paying for daycare just didn't make sense.  My boss retired just a few days after I left, so it all worked out in the end.

I hear that many women would go crazy at home all day.  I can see why that would happen.  I also hear of men who would love to be stay at home dads.  In many couples, this makes sense, because the wife makes good money and the husband doesn't.  Why use tradition to force such a couple to have the wife at home and the husband at work, when the family can barely survive on his income?






 
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2008, 07:56:45 PM »

I agree, I think what works best is what should be done.  For instance, I could quit my job and stay at home but my family would be without health insurance and I feel it would be unfair to expect my husband to do all the work outside the house.  And yeah, I think I would go a little crazy.  So I work part time and carry our insurance and just barely enough paycheck to cover daycare.  But hey, it works. 
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 08:13:46 PM »

I believe the decision is definitely a personal one and should fit each circumstance, but I do consider myself fortunate in that my husband was making good money at the right time and I had the opportunity to be a SAHM. My younger daughter has taken it one step further and is a SAHM homeschooling Mum (with me doing most of the teaching - how did I get roped into that?). Homeschooling is, however, something I certainly would have done when my kids were at home if there had been the opportunity. I guess it suits my over-protective personality, or something.  Tongue



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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 08:33:42 PM »

Before my wife and I were married we discussed this and we agreed that she should stay home with or kids.  And of course this is personal decision for every couple, but the one factor is essential:  discuss it before you get married and do not avoid the topic because a nasty battle is likely to ensue if the two of you don't find out that you have differing opinions until she is pregnant.
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2008, 02:57:46 PM »

Before my wife and I were married we discussed this and we agreed that she should stay home with or kids.  And of course this is personal decision for every couple, but the one factor is essential:  discuss it before you get married and do not avoid the topic because a nasty battle is likely to ensue if the two of you don't find out that you have differing opinions until she is pregnant.

Indeed, and an argument with a pregnant (read: hormonal) wife is not something you want.   laugh
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2008, 05:19:08 PM »

In a world where, as wasn't the case during much of humanity's history, at least one of the parents of nuclear families has to work outside of the home, what do you feel is the 'ideal' solution for families and why?

Both parents working part time? Having a SAHM? Or a SAHD? Both parents working full time?

What is the reason behind your 'ideal'?

Ideally, both should work. Now if the best job one spouse can get is McDonalds then there may be practical reasons for that person to stay home, their job probably wouldn't even pay for daycare. But I do believe that women dropping out of the workforce to stay at home (generally) causes both social and economic ills. I don't even think it's necessarily healthy for a child to stay at home just with their parents until they go to school and at that point what difference does it make if they come home at three or stay in daycare for two hours and come home at five? In our evolutionary history we were social animals, so while children would stay with parents the wouldn't stay just with parents, they'd continuously be with the entire tribe or society, the tribe or society that would possibly define the limits of the remainder of their lives. It's important for children to be able to socialize with other members of society outside their immediate family from a young age, having a time when they're at home with their parents and a time when they are learning to deal with others is a very healthy thing.

Quote
To what extent do you think each family should find their own perfect mode of existence? To what extent do you in fact judge others' choices and think there is an outside ideal to be followed? To what extent do you believe there is a particular Orthodox way of dealing with this decision?

The economics of the situation always plays a role, but I personally would never marry a woman who did not intend to work and have her own career. Then again, I wouldn't want any more than two children at the absolute most.

Quote
What has been your personal experience?

Both parents worked when I was really young, then my mother stayed at home after I was about four or five. I've long believed that she'd be much happier than she is if she got a job outside of the house, despite her protests to the contrary.
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2008, 12:08:59 AM »

It really is a case by case issue. In Seattle a good childcare center is over $1000 a month for a newborn, about $800 for a child that is 2-3 and $500 for a preschooler. And then a private school is about $1500 a month. Factor in the cost of extra gas, take out food (because when we both work we eat our MUCH more often) and the various other costs (diapers or diaper service) and it would actually cost us MORE if we were both working than it does now for me to stay home. Once all this deployment stuff is more settled I will go back to working part time a couple days a week. But at the moment it costs us less money in the long run if I stay home.
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2008, 10:25:48 AM »

$800 per month for a 2 - 3 year old?  I would sy that is pretty cheap.  I would say that $1000  month is a cheap one and $1200 a month is average; but I suppose it's different everywhere you go.  In Ontario we get a working families supplement which is based off income.

But I agree, if one spouse isn't earning $40,000 a year +, it's hardly worth it for them to work when you factor in the cost.  I'm not saying they shouldn't work but fiancial reasons shouldn't be the primary reason.

In my case with 4 kids, there would a considrable financial burden having them in daycare.
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2008, 10:57:47 AM »

My wife and I like our solution.  She always wanted to stay at home with the children and homeschool, I'm a hard worker and don't mind be the soul bread winner.  The results have been great with our 5 children.  The two oldest who are now home schooled excel.  They are noticeably ahead academically of other children their age.  We have them tested to make sure we are up to speed. Isaac, my 8 year old, is reading books most High Schoolers read, he just finished the complete, original Sherlock Holmes for instance.  We have him write reports to make sure his comprehension is matching his reading skills.  Our 7 year old, Mary, is doing well.  Her reading and writing is were it should be but she really excels in art and we let her spend a lot of time on that.  We have entire walls covered with her art work. The younger kids are in the school room and just mainly do constructive playing.

In order to socialize our kids, we have the older ones in club sports and other activities pretty much year round.  Between this, Church,  piano lessons, and cousins we have seen no socialization issues.  On the contrary, they thrive with other kids.  Sports is great.

Finally, this allows us the flexibility to do things how we choose, we don't have to follow or plan according the school year, etc.  If we want to go on a trip we go, if we want to take the kids to a museum we go.  If my wife and I get a wild hair and want to get lost for a few days, we pack everybody up and go.

This life is not for everybody, but its the best life for us and our children.  My son and I left Friday morning to go to a monastery.  We could not have done that if we were in public schools.  Saturday services started at 4am and Sunday services at 6am.  He was up and dressed sitting on the edge of his bed waiting for me to get up 15 minutes before each service.  I doubt if we lived our lives any other way our son would be so disciplined and excited about God.

My wife gets all the credit.  None of this could happen with her. She's constantly amazed more people don't try to raise their kids this way.  It is worth the effort.
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2008, 05:57:00 AM »

Thank you for your replies! It is wonderfully reassuring to see that Orthodoxy can never support a "one-size-fits-all" cultural ideology. You guys helped me a lot.

My situation:

I live in Serbia, where we never really had a "provider husband + homemaker wife" model. This situation may have only happened to a few fortunate bourgeois families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, like my great-grandparents. My mother and my grandmothers worked. Maternity leave is paid, a year long, and can easily be prolonged for minor reasons ("my child was sickly in early infancy, so..." etc.). The working hours are reasonable (both parents are usually at home by 3-4 PM), day care is excellent, and grandparents and other family members are usually close and willing to help with childcare. Besides, salaries which would actually feed a whole family are virtually nonexistent. Basically, in Serbia, this is a non-issue. I just always assumed I would work.

I am very energetic and go insane if I don't get out of the house at least once a day. I'll be getting my MA this fall and starting on my PhD. I love what I do. I was offered the perfect job, starting when my daughter is 19 months old - teaching a college course for 5 HOURS A WEEK compressed into only TWO DAYS A WEEK, for a salary that can almost support my family. I'll probably still go out for a few hours every day (to work on my thesis at the library, to teach a few more classes for some extra cash, etc.), but I'll actually be home most of the time!

My husband is a nurturing, calm, gentle high-school graduate, who is such a homebody that he gets irritated if I suggest a walk   Roll Eyes. He plays the guitar and keyboards in a band and they have gigs a couple of nights a week, but he is free during the day. For him, not having to find a "real" job and taking care of kids is a dream come true. Besides, the way things are in Serbia, it is highly doubtful he could ever find a job - doctors and lawyers sometimes have to wait for years to be employed.

My daughter is equally bonded to both of us, and the only time she exhibits a slight preference to me is when she wants to be breastfed.  Wink

Our situation seems clear to rational people, right? By accepting the job, I make my whole family as happy as humanly possible: I get to do the work I love, my husband never has to leave the house, and my daughter gets to spend lots of time with both mom & dad.

However, for the first year of my baby's life, I was in absolute wilderness, cut off from family, friends, and my spiritual father. I spent a lot of time on the Internet, especially CAF - Catholic Answers Forums, a very conservative US-based site. The women there were either SAHMs or trying desperately to become that. The unspoken (actually, often spoken) general opinion was that a woman has to stay at home with children unless it is absolutely financially impossible, after every conceivable corner has been cut. (You get crazy stuff on the Internet. Only yesterday I found a site that claims women sin if they go to college or work even before marriage... Shocked)

So I started feeling guilty about wanting to work and wanting to ever desert my precious child. I thought maybe we should both change and make sacrifices so we could fit this "perfect model" and be not who we are, but who God wants us to be. When I finally visited Belgrade (where I'm from), I discussed all this with my spiritual father. He was confused and asked me where on earth I read that women shouldn't work - he'd never even heard of the notion (His wife works, of course. Women in Serbia just do). When I explained about the cultural expectations of certain circles in the US, he rolled his eyes. That was enough for me to know what to do.  Cool

It is incredible how culture can be influential, even if it's not your own! I'm actually scared by the experience (of how mere culture can be influential on our moral and spiritual values, etc.) and can't stop thinking about it. I keep googling stuff like "role mother wife God ordained" etc. and am fascinated by some of the opinions out there. This is why I started the thread and wrote this long post. Sorry for boring everybody!
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2008, 10:27:48 AM »

Just to be clear, what you describe is not American culture: it is a cultish, fundamentalist subculture, which is fortunately rarely encountered here in the American West (though it's more common in certian regions of the South). We may have a large fundamentalist minority in certain parts of the country, but it's hardly fair to judge our society and culture by these sects; the overwhelming majority in this country would agree wholeheartedly with the sensible standards you put forth in your post.

Your spiritual father seems like a sensible person, good for you, that's not always easy to come by.
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2008, 12:02:38 PM »

Just to be clear, what you describe is not American culture: it is a cultish, fundamentalist subculture, which is fortunately rarely encountered here in the American West (though it's more common in certian regions of the South). We may have a large fundamentalist minority in certain parts of the country, but it's hardly fair to judge our society and culture by these sects; the overwhelming majority in this country would agree wholeheartedly with the sensible standards you put forth in your post.


Of course, I wasn't implying this was "American culture", don't worry  Smiley. That's why I said
Quote
the cultural expectations of certain circles in the US
. It's just that they're so loud, and they're all over the net - which is why they can be so influential to the likes of me, who can at present only socialize with 'virtual' people.   TongueEmbarrassed

I guess it's only natural - if you have a sane, balanced view on any such issue, you're not going to spend a lot of time and affort trying to tell people what to do.
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2008, 03:53:45 PM »

I don't think the positive view of full-time mothers should be dismissed as a "Catholic" or "American" peculiarity.  Both of the Orthodox priests I have spoken with about this have stressed the importance of mothers to Orthodox family life, and I have found this advice very helpful.

A full-time wife and mother can provide material and spiritual benefits which are tremendously valuable, and probably impossible for a "SAHD" to duplicate.  Recently my wife read an article about the fact that a mother's hormones are tuned to the developmental stages of her children as they grow.  The mother's brain actually re-wires itself to help her cope with the particular challenges of raising and educating children.  Not that biology alone can provide answers, but the intricacy of God's design never ceases to amaze.

Of course, we have to deal with the hand we are dealt.  For instance, Americans in most states are blessed with relative freedom to educate their children at home, or in an alternative setting to the classroom.  I know that this is actually illegal in some countries (such as Germany), which means that the issue of home education simply never comes up.  Similarly, if it is difficult for men to get jobs which can support a family in Serbia, then you have to work within that reality.  As in most things, there will always be trade-offs.  As long as we move forward with prayer and spiritual consideration, we can trust that God will guide us along the path.
 

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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2008, 05:27:28 PM »

I don't think the positive view of full-time mothers should be dismissed as a "Catholic" or "American" peculiarity.  Both of the Orthodox priests I have spoken with about this have stressed the importance of mothers to Orthodox family life, and I have found this advice very helpful.

A full-time wife and mother can provide material and spiritual benefits which are tremendously valuable, and probably impossible for a "SAHD" to duplicate.  Recently my wife read an article about the fact that a mother's hormones are tuned to the developmental stages of her children as they grow.  The mother's brain actually re-wires itself to help her cope with the particular challenges of raising and educating children.  Not that biology alone can provide answers, but the intricacy of God's design never ceases to amaze.

Of course, the value of motherhood is strongly stressed everywhere in Orthodoxy, but that does not automatically translate into an obligation for mothers to be physically present with their children 24/7. Fathers' role and presence can also never be duplicated by a mother - that is why children have both. It is a sad reality that some kids with SAHMs rarely get to see their fathers, who have to work LOOONG hours to provide for the family, and I think this absence of fathers is just as worrying as an absence of mothers. Ideally, we'd never have to leave our kids. Ideally, we wouldn't have to work or labor in pain - but we live in a fallen world. 

What is an American peculiarity, and probably justifiably, is the prominent notion of a stay-at-home parent. I believe this has practical causes in some other American peculiarities:

1) the often insane working hours - try getting most Europeans to work the long hours that Americans do. No way!  Grin There are mothers and fathers in the USA who almost never get to see their children , b/c they arrive home around or after their bedtime! This is inconceivable in Serbia! My parents, who both worked, were both home by 3.15PM. Then we had the whole day before us! It is indeed cruel to children to grow in circumstances where they don't see their parents, but this is not a problem only mothers should be made to face.

2) the commute - America is big; Serbia is small. I'll be able to reach home from work and vice versa in 7.5 minutes of light walking. So I just factor in 15 more minutes into my absence due to work.

3) the lack of significant maternity leave - it is true that infants need their mothers at all times, if this is at all possible, but this exclusive need diminishes in time, and the child is then ready to socialize with other loving caretakers as well. In Serbia, mothers get a full year of paid maternity leave, so it is not an either/or (work/stay at home) situation. We are not made to leave tiny infants in daycare.

4) the distance (geographical) from and lack of close relationships with other relatives. Mothers are important, but they are not the only person in a child's life. There are other indispensable, or at least very important, people in childrens' lives: first fathers and siblings, then grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins... I fondly remember being taken care of by both sets of grandparents at times. It is customary in Serbia for kids to be minded by grandparents until they're 3 or so, and then to be enrolled in preschool. In America the SAHM has to replace all these people with whom a Serbian child grows up and is comfortable with from birth.

5) the cost and difficulty of finding good daycare - there are absolute horror stories out there! of infants being left in cribs all day, with bottles propped against the wall and inserted in their mouths... Shocked In Serbia, if you want to work in daycare/preschool/kindergarten, you have to study AS MUCH AS a future lawyer! That takes dedication and real love for this vocation. I remember loving my preschool so much that I was angry when my dad came one day to pick me up early. "We're in the middle of something - wait!", I told him.

6) not enough general love for children in society - children viewed as 'personal choice' and thus personal responsibility, so working mothers tend to receive little understanding and flexibility from their employers. In Serbia, undergoing rapid depopulation, children tend to be viewed as little treasures, bearing them as a patriotic act, and mothers as heroes of some sort. That results in understanding and flexibility.

7) school and after-school activity proximity - my kids' school will be in our street, only two buildings away. Any sports or arts my kids want to take part in are likely to be within easy walking distance. That will hardly require someone to drive them around and make sure they arrive safely. There is no 'suburbia' in Serbia, only urban areas and actual farming villages.   

These American 'peculiarities' make the SAHM thing a painful, burning issue not likely ever to be resolved. In Serbia, for instance, the stakes are just not nearly as high. If a woman works, it will just not be as big a deal.

Of course, we have to deal with the hand we are dealt.  For instance, Americans in most states are blessed with relative freedom to educate their children at home, or in an alternative setting to the classroom.  I know that this is actually illegal in some countries (such as Germany), which means that the issue of home education simply never comes up.  Similarly, if it is difficult for men to get jobs which can support a family in Serbia, then you have to work within that reality.  As in most things, there will always be trade-offs.  As long as we move forward with prayer and spiritual consideration, we can trust that God will guide us along the path.
 



Amen. God bless.  Smiley
« Last Edit: April 01, 2008, 05:30:22 PM by paradoxy » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2008, 06:14:07 PM »

FYI, Homeschooling with the mother staying at home is a nationwide movement.  In California there are over 200,000 homeschooled children and one of the strongest areas is the San Francisco Bay Area, hardly southern or christian.  When we lived there my wife helped a homeschooling stay at home mom who was as liberal as you can get.  When California had the recent ruling that was threatening to homeschooling, one of the most outspoken  groups was SF Bay area liberal homeschoolers, you should check out the comment section of the article at the SF Chronicle online to see how riled up they were. Many of the posters joked that it was the first time they had agreed with Christians on anything! Grin
« Last Edit: April 01, 2008, 07:04:34 PM by livefreeordie » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2008, 06:29:33 PM »

Mississippi, a very SOUTHERN state, has about 14,000 home schooled children.  Minnesota, a traditionally liberal state, has about 17,900 home schooled students. Arizona and Alabama have an almost equal number of school age children, and more children are home schooled in Arizona than Alabama. Oregon and Kentucky have a similar number of school age and Oregon has more home schoolers.

If you look at the numbers and check your prejudice at the door, you'll see homeschooling is a nationwide movement that while it started in the south for religious reasons, has spread across the country to all types of groups and people because more and more are disillusioned with public schools and feel compelled to do it themselves.

It's not for everyone, I by no means think it should be an ideal that everyone should try, but people on the whole do this for one reason, they think it is better for their children and their family.

Here's a link to the numbers on homeschooling. To say it's a southern specific movement is wrong, and sad when its used to make fun of people.

http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/weblinks/numbers.htm
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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2008, 07:37:58 PM »

Thank you for your replies! It is wonderfully reassuring to see that Orthodoxy can never support a "one-size-fits-all" cultural ideology. You guys helped me a lot.


However, for the first year of my baby's life, I was in absolute wilderness, cut off from family, friends, and my spiritual father. I spent a lot of time on the Internet, especially CAF - Catholic Answers Forums, a very conservative US-based site. The women there were either SAHMs or trying desperately to become that. The unspoken (actually, often spoken) general opinion was that a woman has to stay at home with children unless it is absolutely financially impossible, after every conceivable corner has been cut. (You get crazy stuff on the Internet. Only yesterday I found a site that claims women sin if they go to college or work even before marriage... Shocked)

So I started feeling guilty about wanting to work and wanting to ever desert my precious child. I thought maybe we should both change and make sacrifices so we could fit this "perfect model" and be not who we are, but who God wants us to be. When I finally visited Belgrade (where I'm from), I discussed all this with my spiritual father. He was confused and asked me where on earth I read that women shouldn't work - he'd never even heard of the notion (His wife works, of course. Women in Serbia just do). When I explained about the cultural expectations of certain circles in the US, he rolled his eyes. That was enough for me to know what to do.  Cool

It is incredible how culture can be influential, even if it's not your own! I'm actually scared by the experience (of how mere culture can be influential on our moral and spiritual values, etc.) and can't stop thinking about it. I keep googling stuff like "role mother wife God ordained" etc. and am fascinated by some of the opinions out there. This is why I started the thread and wrote this long post. Sorry for boring everybody!

I know what you mean!  I've always wanted to stay at home with the children, at least in their early years.  I also wanted to be a housewife--but that was so I could have time to pursue my writing.  But I usually held the moderate position that each woman was free to choose for herself whether she should work outside the home or not.  After all, my own mom stayed at home with us for a while, but while I was a small child, my brothers started babysitting me while she started working again.  For a while she cleaned houses and businesses, so she could take me along.  I believe she was tired of being at home all the time. 

Then I started hanging out online with people who felt that working outside the home was leaving a child to be raised by others.  I started to wonder if they were right.  I eventually left that group, for various reasons, and now my position has moderated again.  It's so easy to be influenced by the people you hang out with.   Tongue
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« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2008, 07:44:05 PM »

What is an American peculiarity, and probably justifiably, is the prominent notion of a stay-at-home parent. I believe this has practical causes in some other American peculiarities:

You've hit the nail on the head with all your points.  The commute, BTW, is also the reason why we fuss so much about gas prices.  Wink
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« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2008, 08:13:04 PM »

I am in the liberal NW and there is quite a homeschooling movement. And up until fairly recently it was illegal to homeschool in the state of Oregon.

The costs I listed previously where mine if I worked at the place where my kids were going to childcare. I would have a 50% discount on tuition. I made roughly $2,000 a month when I worked there and I would have been paying $1000 a month for tuition if I went back to work there after the birth of my first child. Now there is no way I could do it. Once you hit child #3 working and having your kids in childcare are MUCH more expensive. And we chose to have more than two children.

I don't hear of many families where both parents work outside the home that have more that 2-3 kids. The only people that do are those where both parents hold a professional degree or two. And here in the US a professional degree either equals TONS of debt or rich parents. You see a ripple effect of education. If the great grandparents paid for their childrens education who then paid for their childrens education and so on a so forth you see more professional degrees in a family today. But no parents EVER pay for their childrens education after highschool in my world.

I don't really buy the whole "it would drive me crazy to stay home" logic because you AREN'T home all the time. I spend about 50% of my time running around town getting this and that done. Groceries, gas, medical appointments, parks, libraries, post office runs ect. And frankly it is just sort of insulting to think that when you are a SAHM that you don't go anywhere or do much outside of your home. I would be experiencing MUCH more boredom in the workforce than I would be at home. And I would be stuck in one place much longer also. As a homeschooling mom I wish there was more time in the day. My working counterparts actually have more free time than I do because they have lunchbreaks ect. But many first time moms or those with toddlers think that you don't really go anywhere or do anything outside of the home Roll Eyes The amount of running about goes UP a great deal with the age of your children.


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« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2008, 03:09:58 AM »

I am in the liberal NW and there is quite a homeschooling movement. And up until fairly recently it was illegal to homeschool in the state of Oregon.

Nothing wrong with that, provided the parent doing the teaching has knowledge of the subject comprable to that expected for a bachelors degree in the same. If you can't manage Real Analysis and Abstract Algebra, you have no business teaching highschool mathematics, if you don't get quantum mechanics and geneal realitivity you probably shouldn't be teaching highschool (or even Junior High School) science. The problem with homeschooling is that most parents don't actually fully grasp the subjects they're teachings...but if you have three or four Ph.D.'s in a variety of subjects, go for it; otherwise, it should be illegal.
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« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2008, 11:02:51 AM »

If only public schools had the same standard for themselves you have for home schoolers!

Public schools have a 30% drop out rate nationwide, and 50% in big cities, and struggle to find qualified teachers in the sciences and math.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=080401184532.kxjxy7xo&show_article=1

Home schooled children consistently test higher than public school children across the board (http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp), and are actively courted by major universities.  This is one of the main reasons homeschooling has spread nationwide across all economic and political groups.



Nothing wrong with that, provided the parent doing the teaching has knowledge of the subject comprable to that expected for a bachelors degree in the same. If you can't manage Real Analysis and Abstract Algebra, you have no business teaching highschool mathematics, if you don't get quantum mechanics and geneal realitivity you probably shouldn't be teaching highschool (or even Junior High School) science. The problem with homeschooling is that most parents don't actually fully grasp the subjects they're teachings...but if you have three or four Ph.D.'s in a variety of subjects, go for it; otherwise, it should be illegal.
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« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2008, 11:15:29 AM »

Nothing wrong with that, provided the parent doing the teaching has knowledge of the subject comprable to that expected for a bachelors degree in the same. If you can't manage Real Analysis and Abstract Algebra, you have no business teaching highschool mathematics, if you don't get quantum mechanics and geneal realitivity you probably shouldn't be teaching highschool (or even Junior High School) science. The problem with homeschooling is that most parents don't actually fully grasp the subjects they're teachings...but if you have three or four Ph.D.'s in a variety of subjects, go for it; otherwise, it should be illegal. 

Right.  Except (a) the school districts don't follow such a strict standard, which is why you have many teachers teaching classes in subject areas they don't have degrees in, and (b) more important than a parent's education level is their involvement in a child's education.  Homeschooling and active parental tutoring while children are in public schools both testify to this, as both provide significant boosts in parental involvement and in child performance.
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« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2008, 11:51:18 AM »

If only public schools had the same standard for themselves you have for home schoolers!

Of course the standards for public schools are terrible as well...that's the problem with barely paying teachers a living wage. But in general people teach subjects they have degrees in and have to pass tests to teach other subjects. Homeschooling should at least have the same requirements: a college degree and proficiency demonstrated through testing in all subjects taught.
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« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2008, 01:03:43 PM »

Of course the standards for public schools are terrible as well...that's the problem with barely paying teachers a living wage. But in general people teach subjects they have degrees in and have to pass tests to teach other subjects. Homeschooling should at least have the same requirements: a college degree and proficiency demonstrated through testing in all subjects taught.

They don't have those standards here. You could have a degree in literally ANYTHING, go in and get a teaching certificate and then teach whatever there is an opening for.  And to say that the quality of teaching is low because the pay is low is ridiculous. I enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables that I get from my local stores. The migrant workers are paid nearly nothing to harvest it. The one issue has nothing to do with the other. You don't change harvesting techniques of humans just because the pay is lower. But the better the machines used in harvesting and processing the fruits and vegetables the better the resulting crop. And teaching quality has more to do with the money put in to materials than the pay rate of the teachers. Good materials used by even the worst teachers will result is a pretty good education. I would love to see more money put into materials rather than pay raises. Then the really good teachers wouldn't be going into debt to provide for their own classrooms. And cut the pay of all the superintendants Smiley

And when it comes to subjects I am not very knnowledgeable in I will be having a private tutor either online or in person to do the bulk of the teaching.
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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2008, 01:20:15 PM »

I'm a SAHM, and I have a friend that is a SAHD.  We BOTH get flack that we don't do anything, and that the spouse shouldn't help out when they get home, because after all they bring home all the money. I'm sorry, when did I last get to punch out of my 24/7 job???

sorry, that irks me.

Families should work out what works best for them.  I stay home because I cannot afford the daycare, let alone gas for 2 cars to go back and forth. I'd owe people money every week!
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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2008, 03:03:59 PM »

Of course the standards for public schools are terrible as well...that's the problem with barely paying teachers a living wage. But in general people teach subjects they have degrees in and have to pass tests to teach other subjects. Homeschooling should at least have the same requirements: a college degree and proficiency demonstrated through testing in all subjects taught.

Homeschooled children test way better than other children across most if not all categories.  There is no evidence your standards are needed.  In our experience, and it's rare, the only instance where kids don't do well is when parents drop the ball and don't teach the kids.  They then either very quickly put them in school so they are educated, or authorities do step in when the child isn't being taught and get them in school. Which I would agree should happen in the very rare instance when homeschooling becomes neglect.  But of course, I would imagine the frequency of neglect in home schoolers is far less than neglect in the general population that sends their kids to school.

Also, advocating government intervention into how a parent chooses to educate their child seems contrary to your extremist libertarian agenda, especially when there is little to no evidence intervention is needed in this area.  You seem to want intervention because you just don't like homeschooling and want to paint people who home school with a broad stereotypical brush, which comes across as being a fundamentalist and close minded position.  Considering your hate for "fundamentalist" people, I'm surprised.
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« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2008, 03:08:01 PM »



Also, advocating government intervention into how a parent chooses to educate their child seems contrary to your extremist libertarian agenda,


(Knowing this will get under GiC's skin...  Wink )

Perhaps GiC's libertarianism is so extreme that he has 'rounded the political spectrum', so to speak, and become totalitarian in his libertarianism...

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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2008, 03:11:51 PM »

Considering how quickly he's been resorting to name calling lately you might be right! Shocked

But I have faith in GIC!


(Knowing this will get under GiC's skin...  Wink )

Perhaps GiC's libertarianism is so extreme that he has 'rounded the political spectrum', so to speak, and become totalitarian in his libertarianism...


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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2008, 04:15:45 PM »

They don't have those standards here. You could have a degree in literally ANYTHING, go in and get a teaching certificate and then teach whatever there is an opening for.  And to say that the quality of teaching is low because the pay is low is ridiculous. I enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables that I get from my local stores. The migrant workers are paid nearly nothing to harvest it. The one issue has nothing to do with the other. You don't change harvesting techniques of humans just because the pay is lower. But the better the machines used in harvesting and processing the fruits and vegetables the better the resulting crop. And teaching quality has more to do with the money put in to materials than the pay rate of the teachers. Good materials used by even the worst teachers will result is a pretty good education. I would love to see more money put into materials rather than pay raises. Then the really good teachers wouldn't be going into debt to provide for their own classrooms. And cut the pay of all the superintendants Smiley

Unlike with picking fruit, quality teaching requires intelligence and innate ability, people who have these qualities also have better opportunities in the private sector. Businesses are willing to pay top dollar to attract them, schools are not. So, in general, schools end up with people who couldn't cut it in industry (I know there are exceptions, but I'm talking economic generalities here)...making about a quarter of what they could in the corporate world. The people I know who would make the best teachers inevitably go into the private sector.

As far as standards go, I just know what's required in California...it, of course, varies from state to state. The tests are far easier than I believe they should be and I'm amazed that there are people who have degrees in the subject and still have trouble passing them.
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« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2008, 04:20:54 PM »

Homeschooled children test way better than other children across most if not all categories.  There is no evidence your standards are needed.  In our experience, and it's rare, the only instance where kids don't do well is when parents drop the ball and don't teach the kids.  They then either very quickly put them in school so they are educated, or authorities do step in when the child isn't being taught and get them in school. Which I would agree should happen in the very rare instance when homeschooling becomes neglect.  But of course, I would imagine the frequency of neglect in home schoolers is far less than neglect in the general population that sends their kids to school.

Parental involvement is a very significant factor, if these same children went to a regular school and their parents were just as involved they would do at least as well, in most cases probably better...notable exceptions being if both parents are highly educated professionals.

Quote
Also, advocating government intervention into how a parent chooses to educate their child seems contrary to your extremist libertarian agenda, especially when there is little to no evidence intervention is needed in this area.  You seem to want intervention because you just don't like homeschooling and want to paint people who home school with a broad stereotypical brush, which comes across as being a fundamentalist and close minded position.  Considering your hate for "fundamentalist" people, I'm surprised.

My libertarian ideals apply to the right of an individual over their person, it does not extend to one's family. Allowing each person to do as they will to others within a family setting is allowing each person to become a petty tyrant if they so desire: hardly consonant with libertarian ideals. As distasteful as the very concept of authority is, where it must exist it should be held collectively by a republican government, not placed into the hands of random individuals.
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« Reply #31 on: April 02, 2008, 05:47:33 PM »

My libertarian ideals apply to the right of an individual over their person, it does not extend to one's family. Allowing each person to do as they will to others within a family setting is allowing each person to become a petty tyrant if they so desire: hardly consonant with libertarian ideals. As distasteful as the very concept of authority is, where it must exist it should be held collectively by a republican government, not placed into the hands of random individuals.

With all due respect, what you describe is not libertarianism but instead libertinism.  Libertarians qua libertarians do not consider the "very concept of authority" to be "distasteful".  Clearly, we voluntarily accept authority in various ways simply by being part of the Church, within an Orthodox marriage, and so on.

This is not at all at odds with "libertarian ideals".  Libertarianism is concerned with minimizing centralized involuntary authority.  For instance, by preventing secular bureaucrats from dictating how families educate their own children.  While my wife's Orthodoxy is an important teaching qualification in our eyes, it goes without saying that a secular "education expert" will not agree.  The beauty of freedom is that we don't need to concern ourselves with their opinions, except insofar as they attempt to legislate that freedom away.
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« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2008, 07:05:52 PM »

With all due respect, what you describe is not libertarianism but instead libertinism.

Semantics...

Quote
Libertarians qua libertarians do not consider the "very concept of authority" to be "distasteful".  Clearly, we voluntarily accept authority in various ways simply by being part of the Church, within an Orthodox marriage, and so on.

You can speak for yourself on that one.

Quote
This is not at all at odds with "libertarian ideals".  Libertarianism is concerned with minimizing centralized involuntary authority.  For instance, by preventing secular bureaucrats from dictating how families educate their own children.  While my wife's Orthodoxy is an important teaching qualification in our eyes, it goes without saying that a secular "education expert" will not agree.  The beauty of freedom is that we don't need to concern ourselves with their opinions, except insofar as they attempt to legislate that freedom away.

The individual is the fundamental unit of society, families are secondary social units. These 'secular bureaucrats' don't dictate to families, they don't even deal with families, they deal with individuals. They are there to protect certain individuals, namely the children, from harm at the hands of other individuals, namely the parents. Generally, the interests of the 'secular bureaucrats' and parents are the same, and this isn't even an issue. But when one individual, namely the parents, attempts to abuse their position and undermine the interests, rights, or physical well-being of another individual, namely the children, the 'secular bureaucrat' is there to protect the rights and interests of the disenfranchised party; just like the police officer protects the rights of one individual, say the shopkeeper, from being usurped by another, say the armed robber.

This is the essence of a social contract, individuals collectively agree to ensure that each individual's rights are respected and that no one can have the means to usurp those of another. So you have the right to believe whatever you wish, you have the right to express and ignore whatever opinions you wish, but you do not have the right to physically or psychologically abuse or harass another individual and in doing so usurp their rights. Likewise you have a right to teach and share your opinions with your children, but you do not have the right to indoctrinate them or, by use of force (physical, psychological, or otherwise), deprive them of their freedom of conscious. You can decide what you will teach them, but you have no right to say what they cannot be taught...for to do so would be to usurp the right of two individuals, the child and the one teaching them. Libertarianism does not afford you this authority over your neighbours.
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« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2008, 07:45:14 PM »

Parental involvement is a very significant factor, if these same children went to a regular school and their parents were just as involved they would do at least as well, in most cases probably better...notable exceptions being if both parents are highly educated professionals.

This is incorrect.  In the case of almost every parent we know who has taken their kids out of public schools, the children do remarkably better at home than they did at school, and test better to prove it.  Most, remarkably better.

My 8 year old is reading high school level books.  He reached this level because he has the time, and my wife can tailor the program, so he can excel.  This would not have happened in a public school. When the kid is at school for 8 hours of the day, it's impossible for a parent to be as involved than if the child was home schooled.
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« Reply #34 on: April 02, 2008, 07:51:27 PM »

My libertarian ideals apply to the right of an individual over their person, it does not extend to one's family. Allowing each person to do as they will to others within a family setting is allowing each person to become a petty tyrant if they so desire: hardly consonant with libertarian ideals. As distasteful as the very concept of authority is, where it must exist it should be held collectively by a republican government, not placed into the hands of random individuals.

Society does not protect children, families protect children.  And when they don't, children get hurt, then government comes in after the fact.  That's why more and more people are taking the education of their children into their own hands, why wait for the government to do a bad job.
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« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2008, 08:52:58 AM »

Quote
This is incorrect.  In the case of almost every parent we know who has taken their kids out of public schools, the children do remarkably better at home than they did at school, and test better to prove it.  Most, remarkably better.


Yes, but some of us have neither the patience, the knowledge or the desire to home school our children.  I certainly don't. You may think that selfish, but at least I am up front in admitting it. If I could afford it I would consider private schools, but I can't so I have to work with what is available.

My one daughter  is in 4th grade, reading at 9th grade, and encouraged and expected to pick books at her level to read for school (by her teacher, well, and me too  Wink )  My other daughter is struggling under a rigid authoritarian teacher who does nothing to inspire her to learn.  She'd probably be a better candidate for home schooling, but we would kill each other inside of three days, not to mention the fact that I don't do math, and my husband is at best a lousy teacher, no patience at all. So we just have to work with her school on this one.  I depend on the school for speech therapy for the twins, and other services that I could never afford to provide for them.  If my kids don't know something I think they should, I teach it to them.

I think as long as parents care to keep track of the deficiencies in their particular school system, and fill in whatever gaps they think need filling, public school can be just fine.  My oldest did fine, shes off to a good start in life now.
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« Reply #36 on: April 03, 2008, 09:44:54 AM »

I've not said that I believe everyone should homeschool. If the best thing for your family is to send your kids to public school or private school, you should do that with absolutely no guilt. My only point is that those that have the desire, means, and time to homeschool should.  The main reason I've posted in this thread was to encourage people who want to homeschool, and I don't like it when people stereotype home schoolers in order to propagate their own prejudices.  I did well in public school, I thank God we try to educate our children as a country, although we could do it much, much better.  If that is what's best for your family, you should do it because you know better than me or anyone else.


Yes, but some of us have neither the patience, the knowledge or the desire to home school our children.  I certainly don't. You may think that selfish, but at least I am up front in admitting it. If I could afford it I would consider private schools, but I can't so I have to work with what is available.

My one daughter  is in 4th grade, reading at 9th grade, and encouraged and expected to pick books at her level to read for school (by her teacher, well, and me too  Wink )  My other daughter is struggling under a rigid authoritarian teacher who does nothing to inspire her to learn.  She'd probably be a better candidate for home schooling, but we would kill each other inside of three days, not to mention the fact that I don't do math, and my husband is at best a lousy teacher, no patience at all. So we just have to work with her school on this one.  I depend on the school for speech therapy for the twins, and other services that I could never afford to provide for them.  If my kids don't know something I think they should, I teach it to them.

I think as long as parents care to keep track of the deficiencies in their particular school system, and fill in whatever gaps they think need filling, public school can be just fine.  My oldest did fine, shes off to a good start in life now.
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« Reply #37 on: April 03, 2008, 10:10:22 AM »

Quote
My only point is that those that have the desire, means, and time to homeschool should.

Oh I agree with that, sorry if it sounded like I though you meant that everyone should.  I was just pointing out that some of us don't/can't. The only problem I have is when it is like the case of the neice of my BIL...they live on a farm and home school, which is great and she does very well academically, but (I'm told by BIL) they haven't made any effort to join the other homeschoolers in the area that do the group field trips or play groups or any of that kind of thing. And it isnt as though they have neighbors to run off to play with. So she is very isolated.  In fact my SIL is taking her and my daughter to Williamsburg and DC in a few weeks, they are hoping my kid can help break her out of her shell a bit. (if she doesnt talk her ear off, lol). Should be a fun trip, I'd like to stow away.
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« Reply #38 on: April 03, 2008, 05:03:02 PM »

As someone who is getting ready to leave the workplace to "change careers", i.e. become a stay at home mom. Honestly, I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life. Dirty diapers, housework and all!  Grin  However, I am open to the possibility of going back to the workplace if it is in the best interest to our family.  My husband and I made this choice together and discussed it at length prior to my pregnancy. 

Bottom line, it's a family decision. 
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« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2008, 04:30:18 PM »

In Missouri, to be a public school teacher, you must have a bachelor's degree in education and pass a competency test to be able to teach a particular subject. Granted, you don't actually have to teach what you have a degree in, but you do have to know how to teach. For example, I double-majored in English and education and minored in Spanish. I teach Spanish and drama, but I do not teach English. However, I did have to pass a competency exam in both English and Spanish in order to receive my teaching certificate, and I have to fulfill a number of professional development requirements in order to retain it. I agree with GIC that the minimum requirements for educators should all be the same, whether they work in public schools, private schools, or home schools.
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« Reply #40 on: April 07, 2008, 05:30:34 PM »

Gic and Mr. Y;

Have either of you ANY experience with homeschooling whatsoever?
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« Reply #41 on: April 07, 2008, 08:47:38 PM »

Gic and Mr. Y;

Have either of you ANY experience with homeschooling whatsoever?

 laugh

Mr. Y was homeschooled until 16 when he graduated and went on to college.  I'd say he has some experience in home school.
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« Reply #42 on: April 07, 2008, 09:06:15 PM »

Gic and Mr. Y;

Have either of you ANY experience with homeschooling whatsoever?

I was homeschooled for one year...had tutors and everything, but was still the biggest waste of a year of education (yes, it was even worse than going to school at Holy Cross, if you can believe that). If homeschooling is going to be allowed, competency exams should have to be passed by the instructor and a bachelors degree in something should be required (of course, I don't believe that the education classes should be required, but I don't think they should be required for public school teachers either).
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livefreeordie
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« Reply #43 on: April 07, 2008, 10:01:08 PM »

I was homeschooled for one year...had tutors and everything, but was still the biggest waste of a year of education (yes, it was even worse than going to school at Holy Cross, if you can believe that). If homeschooling is going to be allowed, competency exams should have to be passed by the instructor and a bachelors degree in something should be required (of course, I don't believe that the education classes should be required, but I don't think they should be required for public school teachers either).

GIC lowering his standards so quickly, from requiring 3 or 4 PHDs to a college degree and compentency exams!  Grasping for straws on this one! Wink

And interesting to see the consistency, GIC has a bad experience with something and thus, it must be a bad thing!
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« Reply #44 on: April 07, 2008, 10:33:04 PM »

GIC lowering his standards so quickly, from requiring 3 or 4 PHDs to a college degree and compentency exams!  Grasping for straws on this one! Wink

And interesting to see the consistency, GIC has a bad experience with something and thus, it must be a bad thing!

Well, if you don't have 3 or 4 Ph.D.'s, you'd probably be better off sending your children to an exclusive private school than homeschooling...if you're actually concerned about their education, rather than indoctrination, that is. But as a bare minimum, you should be able to provide the same level of education that is expected of a public school teacher. But with that said, I think the standards for public school teachers are too low and expectations for both public school teachers and homeschooling parents should be raised to ensure that the teacher has the level of knowledge that should be expected of one holding a bachelors degree (a type of comp exam, if you will).

But I'm practical enough to say that if you can prove you are fluent in classical mechanics, relativity, quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, and solid-state physics...whether you learned this in a classroom or through teaching yourself, you should probably be allowed to teach physics at the highschool level. I would imagine that the appropriate tests would be comprable to the GRE Subject-Specific tests.
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"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
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