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Legally STUPiD: Why Johnny Doesn't Have to Read Review by Donna Campos

By R.C. Murray
Peach-Pine Publishing
PO Box 271
Spring Lake, NC 28390

Legally STUPiD: Why Johnny Doesn't Have to Read is a 312-page softcover book. It includes an Introduction, twelve chapters, an Addendum of Research, a Glossary of Education Terms, Acknowledgements, and an extensive listing of Works Cited. The author, R.C. Murray, is a former public school English teacher. He focuses this book on students who don't want to learn, parents who don't care if kids learn, and school administrators who won't let teachers teach. Using deconstructionism, the author presents what he learned about public schools while working within the system. Topics include the labeling of our children, the inherent problems in our student testing system, the advantages of a classical education, the ignorance of students, drop-out issues, behavioral problems, and the increasing problem of teacher resignation. The final two chapters cover the various options for education outside the public school system and a frighteningly well explained argument for the dumbing down of not only our schools but our Bibles as well. Legally STUPiD concludes with an obviously heartfelt call to prayer for our country. The Works Cited list offers a wealth of options for parents wanting to read more on this topic.

One way to describe this book would be "meaty." Families who are already homeschooling will appreciate the candor and the knowledge presented and will be thankful for their choice after reading this book. Families trying to determine their place in the education of their children will find new reason to sit up and take notice. This book requires deep thought in order to truly digest the information. The author believes that all public schools should go back to a classical model, and he lists the Core Knowledge Foundation as a source for more information. The book makes a convincing argument regarding the lack of successful education in recent years and offers many resources to solidify the author's observations. Although our homeschool does not use a fully classical approach, I will lean much more in that direction after reading the well-presented arguments in this book.

This book will leave you inspired toward educating your children well, with the confidence that removing them from public schools was one of the best things you have ever done as a parent! I came away from this book with a heart for my children and anger toward the "powers that be" who have allowed this failure in public schools, as well as frustration toward Christians for not speaking up more often, more loudly, and earlier. It is obvious that the author has a heart for the education of our nation's children.

As with many books offered for homeschool parents, I often felt that this book was "speaking to the choir." The author definitely has an agenda, and at times I felt his agenda a bit too strongly. That said, Legally STUPiD is still worth the time. But I would suggest checking it out from your city library or placing it in your co-op loaning program. I probably would not go so far as to purchase it for our home library. Unless your family truly desires to utilize the resources in the Works Cited or you plan to instigate your own local assault on "the system," your library space may be better filled with living books and quality family reading.

The strength of this book is its honesty. The honest heart of a frustrated teacher really comes through. The truths presented will strengthen the heart of every parent who desires to offer the right education for the next generation. And the book offers persuasive arguments to use with those who would attack your choice to homeschool. If you purchase this book, loan it to friends as often as possible. If you head a local homeschool co-op, get this book into your loaning library. Legally STUPiD will encourage you to be sure that your "Johnny," like mine, will gain a quality education at home!

Product review by Donna Campos, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2007