Why aren't these two kids -- Alex and Cate Sutton -- in class? Because they are, actually.
They're home-schooled kids who have been given the assignment to drop leaflets in Woodbury today for Rep. Michele Bachmann, who's in a close fight for re-election in the 6th District. They say this is part of a paper they're writing on government.
Kristin Troyak, left, is driving them around and is responsible for 3 "teams" of home-schooled kids who have been deployed today in Woodbury. There are 64 teams being deployed around the region. They've also made 6,000 phone calls on Bachmann's behalf over the weekend, she said.
"Some people swore at us," Cate told me this afternoon, although she says most people have been nice.
"We're part of
Operation Generation Joshua," Alex said, although he couldn't explain what Operation Generation Joshua is. (Update: See comments)
Neither is old enough to vote, and even if they were, they couldn't vote for Bachmann. They live in Minnetonka, which is in the 3rd District.
I think its great that kids learn about the political process at a young age. I think its tragic that they be used as political operatives in support of a partisan agenda.
I would guess that young Alex is refering to http://www.generationjoshua.org part of Home School Legal Defense Association
My seven year-old daughter stands firmly behind the same candidates her parents do. No surprise there.
In the process of explaining why we don't support John McCain, I gave a back of the envelope explanation of social security rates and caps and what I think is fair.
What she will retain is dubious, but she asked questions and she was taken seriously. I can't think of a better start to good citizenship.
Just because kids might not have all the facts, please don't write them off.
We must ask ourselves: Are these home-schoolers pro-America or anti-America?
Is someone who supports Michele Bachmann smart enough to be educating children?
Sounds like they've been brainwashed. They're definitely being used.
What is "Operation Joshua"?
"Operation Joshua" from Wikipedia:
Operation Joshua was the 1985 removal of 800 Ethiopian Jews (called Beta Israel) from Sudan to Israel.
George H. W. Bush, Vice-President of the United States at the time, arranged a CIA-sponsored follow-up mission to Operation Moses, which had brought 8000 people to Israel. Under Operation Joshua, an additional 800 were flown out of Sudan to Israel. But in the following five years, a virtual stalemate occurred in the emigration of Ethiopian Jewry. All efforts on behalf of the Beta Israel fell on the closed ears of Mengistu Haile Mariam's dictatorship. The transfer only resumed in 1991 in Operation Solomon after Mengistu lost control.
What that has to do with home-schooled kids campaigning for a ... nevermind ... I can't imagine.
My children attend a public school. It would clearly be completely inappropriate for their teacher to take them out of class and assign them to door-knock for a political candidate or party. Why should it be any different for home-schooled kids? Using kids as shills for a candidate is not teaching them civics or good citizenship.
The reporter should have told us how many homeschooled kids are doing this, and for how many hours.
Thank God my kids are in public school, getting a good education, not running around neighborhoods passing out leaflets.
Looks like Bachmann needs to use free child labor. Pretty desperate.
This is a common Bachmann tactic - she opposes public schools as a rule and is a big booster of homeschooling. She is not a friend to public education.
Wouldn't homeschooled kids have learned more to gather together and have a mock election and debate points? Stumping for an advocate of homeschoolers is teaching them reletively little other than blind loyalty.
I'm glad that they are seeking to teach their children about our political process.
However, I feel as though the kids would learn more about the political process if they were to go door to door asking people who they support and why, then charting their results. And perhaps comparing/contrasting that with their family's views. Or, how about if they went door to door seeking voter registration?
I don't think I can fully support pulling kids this far into the partisan debate until they truly understand who/what they are supporting.
Excellent idea with the mock debate!! That would certainly help them learn all sides of the issue, how to make informed decisions, and the workings of our electoral process.
I agree, stumping really doesn't teach them that much about the process itself.
//The reporter should have told us how many homeschooled kids are doing this, and for how many hours.
See the "64 teams" part of the post. For how many hours? No clue. Why does it matter?
// Just because kids might not have all the facts, please don't write them off.
When I was a kid, I stopped in at a storefront office for the John Volpe for Governor campaign in Minnesota in the '60s. We got a stack of literature to hand out. And so I did , for several hours. But when I say "stack" I mean a huge STACK. AFter about five hours -- I'm admitting for the first time -- we went to the big whole in the ground where the old Saxon Theatre once stood in Fitchburg, Massachusetts... and threw them in.
That was the last time I was involved in any campaign, and I still have no real clue what Volpe's positions were on the issues.
//I'm glad that they are seeking to teach their children about our political process.
//However, I feel as though the kids would learn more about the political process if they were to go door to door asking people who they support and why, then charting their results.
//And perhaps comparing/contrasting that with their family's views. Or, how about if they went door to door seeking voter registration?
Sounds like a great idea. I'll bet that there aren't many "normal" schools who are doing this.
Some home-schoolers are passionate about their children's education - and- are willing to commit a large amount of time and effort to it. Some aren't. I question the ability of many people to independently provide a quality education beyond 4th or 5th grade. It doesn't mean it can't be done. I simply despise the blanket criticism of either system.
We've already handed over control of their education to their parents. If this is part of a paper they're writing ... so what? Passing out literature? seriously, so what? Mildly interesting; totally failing to convince me of child labor or brainwashing.
I would object if this is being presented as the whole of the political system (phone calls/flyers/door-to-doors). There is inadequate attention paid to civics in school today. The stunning shock of the country in '00 at the realization that there is an electoral college superceding the general vote was sad. However, I've been disappointed for years at the lack of interest in the political process; I can't really complain if people are getting interested at a younger age.
Generation Joshua heped Bachmann two years ago.
Learn more about Generation Joshua at the Dump Bachmann Blog.
I wonder what Bachmann would say about public schools letting their kids out to lit drop for Tinklenberg. My guess is she'd be calling for investigations.
If this isn't a news story being reported on MPR, it should be.
I am all for whatever education works best for the family and child. I do agree that it is difficult at best to provide a "well-rounded" education past 5th or 6th grade, when expertise in science, or math, or technology, or languages, etc. become more necessary. Handing out campaign literature for a political race that isn't even directly impacting your community does not seem to be an educational exercise. It's a long drive from Minnetonka to Woodbury or where-ever else in Washington County or possibly even St. Cloud. I would like to know what these kids learned? My children were lucky enough to be involved in mock debates, elections, and other civics lessons in their own "Public schools", but they were incredibly fortunate to have some of the best teachers I have ever met.
From what I have observed with kids in programs such as this, is an incredible backlash.. or maybe even whip lash inflicted on the parents when and if that child ever leaves home and hears another person's opinion.
I stumbled upon this blog while doing some research. I can't believe how narrow minded many of you sound. When did you stop thinking independently? Great job homeschool parents for getting your kids out in the real world for real live learning experiences! Great job kids for learning how to speak in public, be polite, and support a candidate! Great job parents who see that within the walls of public school classrooms is only one way to teach. I have kids in both situations. I homeschool 3 of my 4 children. I am educated (MA, education). I think public schools and home schools both have something to offer. Some of the comments in this blog make it sound as though they are the type of people who believe one way is the only way....hmmmm...get out and vote today, there is a candidate running that would like to have some socialist programs in our country, that is probably the candidate for you....on the other hand, there is another candidate that will defend your freedoms. Hopefully, you have enough individual thought to know which ones I am referring to.
Pro-America or Anti-America? If you look at it in the big picture, its not a bad question, just not politically correct....and that is another whole can of worms!...So, yes, think about it, think about what our country is supposed to be like, what the intentions of our country are supposed to be, and then ask yourself that question... You may be startled at your answers.
LK, thanks for writing. Your comments are valuable.
However, how is this:
"Some of the comments in this blog make it sound as though they are the type of people who believe one way is the only way."
Not reflected in this?
"Pro-America or Anti-America? If you look at it in the big picture, its not a bad question, just not politically correct."
Putting your kids to work in a coal mine might teach them them the value of hard work, but I don't think that's a good idea either.
While my kids weren't part of GenJ, we DID spend a lot of time on the campaign trail this year, door-knocking, phone banking, meeting the candidates, etc. Yes, we are homeschoolers and are taking an American Government class this year. The field experience we gained brought a lot of insight to my children that the book alone would never do. Hopefully the people on this list that are anti-homeschooling, believing that there is only one BEST way to teach a child, will wake up and realize that there are different BEST ways for different families. Please stop being so judgmental all the time!!!
Using kids to work a campaign and then trying to sell this as legit educational activity simply casts more doubt on the value of homeschooling as a viable alternative to public schools. Say what you will about the strengths and deficiencies of either system, a democracy depends on an informed electorate. Nothing challenges certainty like a round of interaction with public school kids. I bet homeschool parents are scared about what their kids might learn from other students. Fear breeds isolation and more fear.