Kurt Bahr graduated from Oklahoma Wesleyan University with a Bachelor’s degree in History/Political Science. He also earned a Master’s in Government/Public Policy from Regent University. Matt Simmons attended three schools: St. Louis Community College, Central Missouri State, and Ranken Technical College. He does not appear to have earned a degree from any of those institutions of higher learning. Mr. Bahr served in the United States Air Force. Mr. Simmons is a third generation pipefitter who “completed a five-year apprenticeship program with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, an organization that he has been an active member of for more than 19 years” (1). He has served on the Hazelwood school board; the O’Fallon, Missouri, Traffic Commission; and the St. Charles County Ambulance District #5 Board. Both men are candidates for the Missouri House of Representatives in District 19.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Two men with honorable backgrounds are competing for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives. We should be so blessed to have qualified candidates in every political contest; however, there’s more to the story.
Mr. Simmons is a graduate of Hazelwood East High School. Mr. Bahr is a homeschool graduate, and Matt Simmons doesn’t like it. Not one bit. Matt Simmons is so anti-homeschooling that he is making it a central focus of his candidacy. If you watch his campaign commercial, which you can find here, you’ll see that he is a staunch proponent of public schooling, which has earned him the endorsement of the Missouri National Education Association and the Missouri Association of School Administrators, as well as the undying support of his wife, a public school teacher. He wants “to ensure that Missouri’s children are allowed the opportunity to receive a world class education” (1). Clearly, that does not include homeschooling.
Mr. Bahr believes that “Education is first and foremost the responsibility of the parent. Missouri must assist our parents, making sure that quality schools with quality teachers are available to everyone regardless of where they live. Allowing parents a choice implements accountability, increases competition among public schools, and leads to a better quality education" (2).
Just wait, there’s even more!
Take a closer look at Matt Simmons’ campaign commercial. I took a screen shot from his first commercial.
It’s the commercial where this public high school graduate misspelled the word “lobbyist.” Look for yourself. The scrolling script read “lobbiest.” The error in this commercial has been corrected and the commerical re-released.
Look at the screenshot of this former school board member’s campaign website.
He misspelled the word “professional.” It reads, “proffessional” (1).
So, who would you want to have representing you in Missouri’s 19th district?
When I wrote the “Why We Blog” page for The Homeschool Apologist, I wrote that this is not the time to sit back and relax. As second and third generation homeschoolers, we cannot rest on the success of our late 20th century homeschooling predecessors. Home education is constantly under attack in this country. Public school educators and their powerful NEA union representatives command the attention of legislators who would write laws outlawing home education. Newscasters, reporters, websites and bloggers will cling to any negative mention of homeschooling and use it as a battering ram to break down laws supporting our academic freedom. Critics of homeschooling are everywhere. They shout loudly and clearly to anyone who will listen. It is time for homeschoolers to speak up, speak out, and make our voices heard. We cannot allow opponents of homeschooling to dominate the conversation or set the terms of the debate. If we do, we will lose the debate before it begins. If we don't speak up, we will lose the freedoms fought for by so many Americans just a few short years ago.
We only need to look at the Missouri District 19 race to see that this is true.