Monday, January 16, 2012

Home School Speech and Debate Contest - A Review

Below is the unadulterated post made in Charlie Meadow's OCPAC email for the week of 1/16. 

I wanted to re-post his post simply because of the fact that - even when I speak about home schooling to Republican lawmakers - I am often greeted with some form of horror story. It seems - just as with most things I suppose - people are only willing to (or do) remember the 1% of ANY subject and that's usually the 1% that made them upset/mad/uncomfortable, etc. 

In fact, I remember speaking with Representative Janine Noland at the Capitol one day. Home school was mentioned in that conversation somehow, and she proceeded to tell me that she isn't sure about home schooling because she knows of a child who has been taken out of school by his crack-addicted parents and receives no schooling at all at home now and how awful that is. It frustrates her that this child could ultimately fail in life and land on the public dole.

Well sure that's awful and I feel sorry for that kid - and his parents - and I understand her frustration, but isn't it ultimately a PARENT'S prerogative as to how their child/children is/are schooled? If we are truly Conservative (and/or Republican) we must, ultimately, fight for the rights of parents to raise their children in the manner they see fit.  I would, in fact, have to argue that because of the amount of welfare, and other subsidies, available to struggling people/families today, there's no actual impetus for a parent to attempt to really parent their children. I mean, why should they if the state is going to step in and provide willing support at any stage of the process? 

Why don't we quit subsidizing failure and give parents ultimate REPONSIBILILITY for their children and see how quickly they assume that job. It's amazing how fast the prospect and/or actuality of failure causes changes in human nature. We just don't see that much anymore because we quit allowing failure. Today, failure is a bad word and ultimately unavailable as an option for those that TRULY need to understand its lessons.

At any rate, I digress as I mainly wanted to make Charlie's commentary available for even more public consumption. If you know of anyone who seems squeamish about the prospect of home schooling/home schoolers, please, pass this blog on!

++  HOME SCHOOL DEBATE AND SPEECH CONTEST

I had the opportunity and privilege to be a judge this past Thursday
and Friday evenings as well as Saturday morning for the Oklahoma-Texas
regional qualifier round for a national home school speech and debate
tournament. With somewhere over 200 students entered, it was an
amazing experience.

Thursday evening I was judging biographical speeches. These speeches
had a maximum time limit of 10 minutes with the speeches having to be
prepared and memorized by the students. The first student did a 9
minute speech about Karl Marx and the effects that his ideas have had
upon the world over the past 160 years. I was particularly impressed
as I would guess 7 out of 10 people 25 and under who were educated in
the government schools have never heard of Marx, and then of the 3 who
might have heard of him, they couldn’t tell you much about him. Don’t
believe me? Start asking anyone you see 25 and under if they have ever
heard of Marx. Other speeches were about Sigmund Freud, Al Capone, one
young lady gave a compelling speech about her great grandfather who
was a heavy bomber pilot in WW II.

On Friday evening I was judging impromptu speeches which had a maximum
time limit of 7 minutes. The young people were given a list of topics
then they had 30 minutes to research and prepare a speech. They were
allowed to use notes on a 3X5 index card, but no electronic devices.
What were some of the topics chosen? One speech was about the question
of whether or not Japan was decommissioning their nuclear power
capabilities too quickly? Another was about Iran’s capabilities to
prohibit the flow of crude out of the Arabian Sea? Then there was a
speech about the possibilities of Iraq being able to prevent sectarian
violence without outside help? This is just a sampling of the type of
difficult speeches which had to be delivered. These kids did an
incredible job.

Then on Saturday, I had a brief orientation for judging debates.
Having never been a contestant or trained regarding formal debate
contests, my only hope is that the team I didn’t pick as a winner were
not thrown to the lions! Having been active in Toastmasters for about
3 years, I was very comfortable judging speeches, but a formal debate
was a challenge for me to accurately score such an event.

Bottom line, these young home schooled kids, I would guess they were
between 12 and 18, were an outstanding example of the good job their
parents are doing in the training-up of their children. Most of these
young people will go on the accomplish a great deal in life and make
outstanding parents and citizens. This was the first time this
tournament has been held in Oklahoma. Several OCPAC members served as
judges, if we are fortunate enough to have it in OKC again, I would
suggest as many folks as possible serve as judges. It will give you
real hope for the future.