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Congress Reprimands CBS

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington DC 20515

22 October 2003

Mr. Andrew Heyward,
President
CBS News
524 West 57th Street
New York, New York 10019

Dear Mr. Heyward:

As members of Congress who either home school our own children or support the right of parents to homeschool, we were deeply offended by the recent "Eye on America" dealing with homeschooling.

The October 13th segment, which aired on the CBS Evening News, implied a tragic murder-suicide in rural North Carolina was somehow evidence of a "dark side" of home schooling, which justified further government regulation of home education. The tenuous connection between this two-year-old tragedy involving a single family, which happened to homeschool, and millions of law-abiding mothers and fathers who successfully and safely educate their children at home everyday is absurd.

What your correspondent, Vince Gonzales, failed to mention in his segment was the numerous child protection laws already exist that could have been used to safeguard the children in question. In point of fact, North Carolina Social Services had repeated contact with the family and had even removed the children from the home for a time. Despite numerous laws and the involvement of State agencies, this tragedy occurred. Yet, Mr. Gonzales solution is to shackle homeschool parents across the country with further laws and regulations that would not have prevented the tragedy in question.

Additional Information

Today American parents, following a tradition that is as old as the Republic itself, are teaching an estimated 1.6 to 2.0 million children at home. The number of families choosing to home school is growing at an estimated annual rate of seven to fifteen percent. It is worth noting that homeschooled children score, on average, 80 points higher on the SAT (an aggregate of 1100) than does the overall population. And as Time Magazine noted in its August 27th, 2001, issue, "Today Harvard admissions officers attend home-schooling conferences looking for applicants, and Rice and Stanford admit home schoolers at rates equal to or higher than those for public schoolers."

Rather than focusing on such a rare and remarkable case in a report on homeschooling, CBS News could have done itself and its viewers a great service in reporting the success parents have had in educating their children at home. Instead, you chose to take a handful of tragic incidents and, from them, cast aspersions on the entire homeschool movement. Your report was unfair and indicative of both bias and ignorance. We sincerely hope reporting of this kind is the exception and not the rule at CBS.

Sincerely,

W. Todd Akin (MO-2)
Member of Congress

Mike McIntyre (NC-7)
Member of Congress

Peter Hoekstra (MI-2)
Member of Congress

Trent Franks (AZ-2)
Member of Congress

Stevan Pearce (NM-2)
Member of Congress

John Sullivan (OK-1)
Member of Congress

Joseph R. Pitts (PA-16)
Member of Congress

Robert B. Aderholt (AL-4)
Member of Congress

Mike Pence (IN-6)
Member of Congress

Joe Wilson (SC-2)
Member of Congress

Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21)
Member of Congress

Darrell E. Issa (CA-49)
Member of Congress

Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46)
Member of Congress

Mark Souder (IN-3)
Member of Congress

 

John Shimkus (IL-19)
Member of Congress

John A. Boehner (OH-8)
Member of Congress

Lee Terry (NE-2)
Member of Congress

Steve King (IA-5)
Member of Congress

Donald A. Manzullo (IL-16)
Member of Congress

Mike Rogers (AL-3)
Member of Congress

Ed Whitfield (KY-1)
Member of Congress

Virgil Goode (VA-5)
Member of Congress

Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)
Member of Congress

Barbara Cubin (WY)
Member of Congress

Frank R. Wolf (VA-10)
Member of Congress

Roscoe G. Bartlett (MD-6)
Member of Congress

Zach Wamp (TN-3)
Member of Congress

Marilyn N. Musgrave (CO-4)
Member of Congress

View Actual Letter

Please take a moment to write a letter of thanks to your congressman for his or her support.

Posted October 27, 2003

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