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Laura Ingraham barely gives guest time to speak

Reported by Chrish - June 24, 2008 -

Laura Ingraham is so used to doing a monologue on her radio show that she has no interview or moderating skills at all - leave it to FOX to give her a show on which to trash the guests she's supposed to host (to give us those different perspectives FOX is so famous for). Today 6/23/08 her guest could barely get a word in edgewise as she chastised, lectured, and ridiculed his position.
With video.

Now I'm in agreement with her, that the idea that parents don't have a right to homeschool and teach their children as they see fit is wrong on many levels. The guest Dr. William Bainbridge, supports the California courts which found in February that parents have to be certified to teach their own children at home; that decision is currently being revisited.

The arguments by the guest were lame, ("what if the child wants to learn Japanese?") what we could hear of them, but Ingraham's treatment of him was abominable.

Bainbridge denied that he's opposed to homeschooling, but says there isn't a single person on Planet Earth who is qualified to teach an entire secondary curriculum, and the curriculum gets "compacted" if the parent has an unfettered right to control their child's education. Ingraham told him to "hold on, hold on, hold on" and said parents across the country would disagree - they have the right and are not obliged to turn their kids over to the bureaucracy, and with a little refresher, she could teach a 7th-8th grade curriculum. Bainbridge compared it to smoking in a car with children, asking if parents have that right, and we've got to draw a line between responsible parenting and child abuse.

There was disjointed nattering - he invoked the 14th amendment, she cited National Geography Bee winner stats, and then she proselytized on the problem as she sees it, and when he tried to engage, she insisted he let her finish. Parents are tired of the "stranglehold" the public school system has on their kids, vouchers are held up by the "outrageous" actions of teachers unions,
and parents figure they can teach the basics and their kids can go out into society and succeed. Bainbridge offered the hypothetical older child who wants to learn Japanese and Geometry simultaneously, defending them against parents who would hold them back. Ingraham rehashed her reasons why parents homeschool, saying if they're smart enough and industrious enough, power to them. Bainbridge retorted that if they're so smart, they should be able to figure out a way to get their kids in private schools, and Ingraham shot back "Do you know how condescending you sound?" (Irony-impairment must be a job requirement at FOX.)

Bainbridge said it's not him, it's the courts who agree with him, and Ingraham offered him a $1,000 bet (payable to favorite charity) that the courts will reverse and side with her. When he declined the bet, she dismissed him curtly and moved on.

Ingraham, a mother for all of six weeks, only knows a little about homeschooling, and it appears Bainbridge knows less, for all his higher education. There's a significant portion of homeschoolers who are not fleeing the secular aspect of public schools - it's something the schools have gotten right, in their opinion - nor do they want to control what their kids learn. These subscribers to "child led learning" or "unschooling" want their kids to learn naturally, exploring what interests them as deeply and as long as they want, and then moving on to the next area that engages them. Those parents are intimately involved with their kids and their learning process and have their best interests at heart; grades and competitions are not always the driving force. These parents feel that school smothers love of learning, with its rigid schedules and tests and age segregation, among other things. It's definitely not mainstream, but it's still valid and the courts should not be meddling in such personal pursuits of happiness.

So while in essence I agree with Ingraham that the courts should reverse the February finding and Bainbridge is out of line with his assumptions and cookie-cutter mentality, she was rude and the segment ended up being uninformative. The "We report, you decide" network isn't fulfilling their slogan. Again. Ingraham is just not cut out for this one-on-one stuff - she's a solo act.