- - Thursday, October 2, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The modern liberal’s quest for victims is never ending. He sees criminals as victims of poverty. Looters loot because society’s racism made them do it. Obesity is caused by sugary snacks, not overeating. For all life’s problems, something else is to blame. The latest fall guy is home schooling.

This became clear last week as the state advisory committee investigating the Sandy Hook elementary-school shooting in Newtown, Conn., met to discuss “gun safety” recommendations. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, convened the panel to exploit the tragedy and take guns away from law-abiding residents.

By the left’s reckoning, madman Adam Lanza, 20, opened fire on students and teachers because Connecticut’s gun-control regime, already the second-strictest in the nation, didn’t go far enough. So Mr. Malloy imposed universal background checks, firearm storage requirements and restrictions on the size of magazines, turning thousands of law-abiding Nutmeg State gun owners into criminals overnight.

The 16-member Sandy Hook Advisory Commission consisting of government officials, mental health activists and politicians chosen by the governor saw an opportunity to expand their inquiry into education. Task force bureaucrats reason that Lanza has emotional and behavioral issues and was partially home-schooled by his mother, therefore thousands of other families seeking alternatives to public schooling should be subject to heightened government scrutiny.

“We need a holistic approach,” explained Susan R. Schmeiser, a University of Connecticut Law School professor and commission member, “that will follow children from birth to adulthood … . Home schooling … may not adequately address those children’s needs or help them develop the skills they will need to function in society.”

The commission members insist that government must get more involved in raising children by requiring parents to file detailed plans with local officials. “Continuation of home schooling should be contingent on approval,” said Ms. Schmeiser.

Instead of, say, looking for signs of violent behavior, the task force thinks the best way to identify the next shooter is to monitor “school connectedness” and “school engagement.” The kids who don’t join the booster club will surely be the next to snap.

One flaw with this convenient theory is that Lanza was no stranger to Connecticut’s school system. He attended public schools all the way through 10th grade when his mother pulled him out. Lanza completed his degree with a combination of home schooling by his mother, classes at Newtown High and classes at Western Connecticut State University, where he studied computer science, American history and economics.

Facts are of secondary importance when there’s an opportunity to accomplish long-sought goals. The teachers unions can’t stand home schooling because the kids who are educated by “amateurs” tend to score higher on achievement tests. Using a “gun violence” task force to crack down on the practice would be a dream come true. Patricia Keavney-Maruca, a representative from the state board of education, cautioned that “it may be hard to implement [the home-schooling recommendation] because parents may get their backs up.”

That’s an understatement. America’s nearly 2 million home-schooling families won’t take kindly to bureaucrats attempting to drag them into a tragedy in which they were not involved in any way. Unlike the public schools, home-schooling parents instill values like personal responsibility in their children. These parents ought to let Mr. Malloy know they’re not going to play along with his victimization scheme.

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