Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Different Kind of "Red State"

As a general rule, I love the concept of a "Red State." I wish I lived in one. Alas, I live in New Jersey, which has the reputation of being the bluest of blue states, but may have a secret red heartland.

From Wikipedia:

"The terms "red states" and "blue states" came into use in 2000 to refer to those states of the United States whose residents predominantly vote for the Republican Party or Democratic Party presidential candidates, respectively. A blue state tends to vote for the Democratic Party, and a red state tends to vote for the Republican Party, although the colors were often reversed or different colors used before the 2000 election. 

According to The Washington Post, the terms were coined by television journalist Tim Russert during his televised coverage of the 2000 presidential election[1]; that was not the first election during which the news media used colored maps to graphically depict voter preferences in the various states, but it was the first time a standard color scheme took hold. Since 2000, usage of the term has been expanded to differentiate between states being perceived as liberal and those perceived as conservative.

This unofficial system of political colors used in the United States is the reverse of that in most other long-established democracies, where blue represents right-wing and conservative parties, while red represents left-wing and socialist parties."

HSLDA provides a state map for members that enables them to see at a glance which states are friendly to homeschooling, using color coding  not unlike the Homeland Security threat assessment chart above. On this map, Red States are BAD.

States with little or no regulation, like New Jersey, are green.  States that have low regulation, like Montana, are colored yellow.  Moderately regulated states, like Virginia, are colored orange.  And the deadly six Red states are all in the Northeast except North Dakota: New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. This is the only reason I have resisted moving to Pennsylvania over the years.

New Jersey, which has a regulation covering every other facet of human existence, is one of the most homeschool friendly states in the US.  If you can stand the property taxes, the high car insurance, business regulations, congestion, and corruption, it is a great place to homeschool.

Then there is New Hampshire.

With a reputation for fiercely independent thinking and its "Live Free or Die" state motto, one would not expect HSLDA to feel the need to raise New Hampshire's status to a dreaded "Red State".  It isn't that its homeschooling laws are "inherently unfriendly", but rather that the last four years have seen increasing hostility in the legislature.  While other states are tending toward reduced regulation of homeschoolers, New Hampshire has made several attempts to increase homeschool regulations. The Department of Education in NH has also tried to implement new restrictions, some of which were in conflict with current state laws.

Then there is that judge in New Hampshire who last year ordered 10 year old Amanda Kurowski to attend public school  because her Christian beliefs were deemed a bit "too rigid" and that it was in her best interests to be exposed to other beliefs and experiences.

"Red State" indeed.  This last one is a precedent that cannot be allowed to stand. The ramifications for Christian homeschoolers in other states are enormous.


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  2. New Jersey baby! Although I'm proud to live in a blue state.