"A" is for Abundance

Updated: Feb 22


 

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"I'm all for a marketplace of ideas...but there seems to be a dearth of resources for celebrating capitalism and celebrating individualism and and individual liberty. And so that's what you know, we wanted to do with this book." — Kerry McDonald, author, "A" is for Abundance
 

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Curt interviews Kerry McDonald, author of the new children's book, A is for Abundance: The ABCs of Capitalism (book illustrated by Gabriel Valles.)


Kerry is a Senior Education Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education, an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, and a frequent Forbes contributor. She also authored, Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom.


Kerry said she noticed plenty of books, such as A is for Activist, which celebrate socialism and collectivism, included on public school curricula and in public libraries — but a "dearth of resources" celebrating capitalism, and individual liberty.


In this interview, Curt and Kerry not only discuss Kerry's new book, but also the benefits of capitalism, the current state of public schooling in America, the current state of homeschooling and educational alternatives, and why a free marketplace of ideas, rather than ideological indoctrination, would be healthier for our children and our society.


The summary of Kerry's new book reads:


"The siren song of socialism is sweeping through classrooms and communities, and parents need tools to stop it. Children are increasingly being taught that capitalism is evil and socialism is virtuous while history reminds us that the exact opposite is true. Through colorful pages and simple rhymes, this book helps parents to teach their children why free-market capitalism is the greatest generator of personal and economic freedom, prosperity, and progress the world has ever known."



FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THIS EPISODE:


Curt:

Well, Kerry, this is the third time I've had the pleasure of having you on one of my podcasts. The second time on the Freedom Media Network. We took a year off of the Freedom Media Network because we were traveling and had no internet. And so we've restarted it up, so I'm so happy to have you on the program again. Thanks for joining us.

Kerry:

Great. Glad to be with you, Curt. It's great to see you.

Curt:

And the first time we had you on, it was interesting. You had the book "Unschooling" and wait, was it "Unschooling" or "Unschooled?"

Kerry:

It's "Unschooled."

Curt:

"Unschooled," that's right. Yeah.

Kerry:

Raising curious, well-educated children outside the conventional classroom, which has gained a lot more interest over the past nearly two years, even though it came out in the spring of 2019.

Curt:

Yes. And last year when we were talking in the midst of, well, not last year, I guess it was two years ago, 2020, in the midst of all the craziness and the calls for bans on homeschooling. But when I read "Unschooled," we were traveling and living our freedom lifestyle. We were actually in Italy and I remember sitting there reading the book and then we had our interview right after that. And we were there with a family who was considering unschooling. And I said, you got to read this book. It had a huge influence on them. And right now they're in New Zealand and they are very freedom loving people in a country that has gone the opposite direction.

Kerry:

Absolutely.

Curt:

Your book has paid dividends with them because now they're unschooling and homeschooling in a small island nation that is going in the opposite direction of freedom. I want to thank you so much for the work do, for the books you've written and just the ongoing... If you go to fee.org, you find all your great articles there. It's had a huge impact on me and people around us.

Kerry:

Oh, thanks Kurt. I really appreciate the kind words.

Curt:

And today, we're here to talk about a new book that you have called "A is for Abundance." We talked about that in the intro. "A for Abundance," the ABCs of capitalism. And I'd love to focus first on, and it's obviously the first, they're not chapters, but the first piece is A is for abundance. And it goes A through Z, but that word abundance, I find if you ask 10 people, what abundance means to them, you might get 10 different answers. What does abundance mean to you?

Kerry:

Yeah. This little children's picture book, I don't know if your audience can see it "A is for Abundance," really, my colleague and friend Gabriel Valles who did all the heavy lifting with the illustrations, which are just stunning. He gets most of the credit for this lovely little book, but yeah, it goes through the alphabet with little rhymes that celebrate free markets and free minds. And just the ways in which capitalism creates enormous abundance for all of us. If we think about 100 years ago, the wealthiest people would be living like paupers today. The poorest people today in our country live so much better than the Rockefellers did, for example, at the turn of the 20th century. And that's all has to do with capitalism and free markets and free enterprise and private property and all of the pieces that go into supporting a capitalist structure.

Kerry:

And so I think that's really what I wanted to do in this book was to celebrate the ways in which capitalism has created abundance, that it has improved human flourishing. It's improved lifespan. It's improved quality of life for people around the world. We've lifted a billion people out of in just a few decades. Of course, now sliding backwards due to coronavirus policy, sadly, in many cases. But overall, this is free markets that have done this and it's avoiding central planners and it's encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship. And I think particularly in our society now, and certainly in classrooms across the country, there is a demonization of capitalism and an elevation of socialism and collectivism. And so that's really what triggered my interest in writing something like this. Several years ago, when we were allowed to go into libraries before COVID hit, I saw in my local library, I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a book called "A is for Activists," which is a picture book, a children's book that is widely popular.

Kerry:

It's in every public library. It's in almost all public school classrooms and it celebrates collectivism. And it talks about how we need to create co-ops that for example, for C create co-ops and communal living and demonizes what they call corporate vouchers. This real negative view of society and of enterprise and an elevation in their case of socialism. They talk about environmental justice and demonize fossil fuels and so on and so forth. I really wanted to provide an antidote to that. Curt, my people are here. Can we pause for a moment?

Curt:

Oh Yeah, absolutely.

Kerry:

Give me a second. Hey Curt, it's probably going to be about five minutes. Do you want to just hold on or do you want me to call you back?

Curt:

Yeah, we can hold. I'm going to step away real quick. Yeah. No problems. No worries.

Kerry:

Thanks. Sorry about that.

Curt:

No worries. Thanks.

Kerry:

Hey, Curt. Sorry about that. Oh, now I'm not hearing you.

Curt:

How about now?

Kerry:

Oh, now I can. Yeah.

Curt:

No worries. No worries. We just moved in here on New Year's Eve, so we had plenty of stuff and we're still figuring out our internet.

Kerry:

Yeah.

Curt:

And things.

Kerry:

Yeah. It's always nice when the delivery is on the early end of the window than the later.

Curt:

Yes. Yes. Absolutely.

Kerry:

Anyway. We can continue now. We should be good.

Curt:

Yeah. Cool. Well, I'm going to clap. I know where to start. You mentioned the teaching of collectivism in our schools. And there's a couple ways I could go with this. I guess let's start with there's a lot of things that people see as indoctrination going on in schools, from what you mentioned, the "A is for Activist," collectivism. Certainly in the news, people are very upset about critical race theory being taught, et cetera. But on the same token, I'm with you that there's a lot of "freedom loving people" who want maybe so thing on the other side. What was it? The 1789 project? Is that what it was called?

Kerry:

1776 project.

Curt:

Yeah, I guess that would make sense.

Kerry:

The antidote to the 1619 and interestingly the "1619 Project," which of course was the New York Times initiative that has an associated curriculum that's very anti-capitalist embedded in the curriculum materials and in the articles of that project as well. I'm all for a marketplace of ideas. I love that "A is for Activists" exists and books similar to that. And there are a whole host of them that are in, again, public libraries, public schools across the country, but there seems to be a dearth of resources for celebrating capitalism and celebrating individualism and individual liberty. And so that's what we wanted to do with this book. And I will say the gold standard and the real leader in this area is certainly Connor Boyack and the Tuttle Twin book series that are just phenomenal. The more that we can offer parents who want to provide a different perspective, particularly if their children are in schools that are not in any way providing another perspective, then that we feel is a good thing.

Curt:

Yeah. And we had Connor on back in 2020, I believe. I had the pleasure of meeting Jen on his team who markets Tuttle Twins. I went and spoke at SPN in September, down in Florida, and so got to meet her and we have all those books, actually, not all of them because they keep coming out with them, but those books are aimed and there's a lot of other resources out there, but probably eight years old, nine, 10, and above, your book is certainly aimed at a younger. It's like a bedtime story book for what preschoolers, toddlers is that the age you have in mind for it?

Kerry:

Well, I will say that Connor is always expanding his resources and he does have a series of board books now for younger children. That's wonderful. Yeah. I would say certainly adults could read this book to children of all ages and certainly they'd want to help them understand the concepts because there's a lot of economics in there and there's a lot of talk about free markets. I think that they would want to be able to kind of guide their children through that. But in terms of reading level for children, yeah, I think we're looking at the maybe four to eight, four to nine range. Yeah.

Curt:

Yeah. Back real quick to the discussion of the free marketplace of ideas in schools. And certainly you're a homeschooling advocate, home education, self education, unschooling, whatever you want to call it as we are. Do you feel that, for instance, "A is for Abundance" and there's "A is for Activist," do you think books like that should be pushed by, I'll call them, authority figures, teachers, government, whatever? You have a seven year old, a five year old whatever, and a teacher is, they're impressionable. That's part of your programming. Do you think not only "A for Activist," but the "1619 Project," all that, does "A is for Abundance" as well as those have a place in schools or is it better kept as a parental free marketplace of ideas? Does that make sense?

Kerry:

Yeah. I guess my issue is with government run schools more broadly, I would love to see completely privatized education market like we have in other areas of our lives. For example, we don't have government run grocery stores and eating and food are certainly basic needs and we have food stamps and other sorts of voucher programs for people in need. And I see the same process working with education. That would sort of be my primary answer to that. And then let the private sector decide what kinds of books and materials they want in their schools. And then families will be able to choose from among that assortment. To the extent that we have government run schools, I think it would be ideal to say that we have a balance of ideas in these schools.

Kerry:

But I think to the extent there that these schools can really be managed on the local level, which is less and less the case. Education is becoming increasingly centralized. The federal government taking over a much greater and unconstitutional role in education. It makes it much more difficult when you have much more centralization of curriculum and of what happens in schools. And back to the 1776 versus "1619 Project." When then President Trump announced his 1776 Project and mandatory patriotic education in public schools across the country, I wrote an article for FEE that said, if you don't want to Biden 1619 commission, you should oppose Trump's 1776 commission. In both cases, they are unconstitutional. The federal government has no role in education. It should be a state and local issue. And at the local level, parents can infiltrate school boards and influence school policies and curriculum. And if their community thinks that "A is for Activists" is the best book and there shouldn't be "A is for Abundance," fine. And on the flip side, that would work too.

Curt:

Yeah, it's so interesting now. Everything has become so political. And we talk about cancel culture. We talk about that. And people forget that a weapon you use against someone else, they forget that it can be used against you when the other people are in power. And so it's so interesting that you see that, and a little side obsession is reading about China, or I don't now if you've ever heard of Yeonmi Park, North Korean defector, who's been making the rounds and actually getting banned from YouTube, talking about what they do there. And one of the things they do, I guess, very effectively, but not in a good way in North Korea and China is indoctrinate their students according to a history that portrays the United States as bad.

Curt:

And I've seen some of what they do. And some of it isn't factually incorrect, but it's how you teach it. And you could say that about the 1776 Project, you could say about a variety of things, but it's like, do we really want to go the route of authoritarian regime in pushing these things? Because just like you said, do you want a Biden 1619 commission? And some people don't think about that your opponents are going to use it against you just as effectively.

Kerry:

Right. And I think one of the things that we've certainly seen very starkly over the last now nearly two years is just what happens when we empower government and the ways in which government interferes with the private sector. Certainly in 2020 government officials and public health bureaucrats, deciding which businesses were essential, which weren't, and then were just shutting down businesses and continuing today to decide for companies who you can employ and fire employees, if they are not complying with various public health directives or not allowing various customers into your business because the government said so. I think it's a really dark time and we need to remember that government involvement in the free market is not what we would think of a market economy or with the promise of capitalism. And my book tries to get at that. It doesn't address COVID and policy specifically, but it does bring up cronyism and the ways in which government intervention can negatively impact the market. For example, for B it's boom bust. Sometimes businesses are ahead of the pack and sometimes they trail, but no business should ever be too big to fail.

Curt:

Right.

Kerry:

Really talking again about government bailouts as a result of the financial crisis in 2008 and the ways in which government and tax payers bailed out these businesses, and that I think really has negatively influenced people's perspective on capitalism. That's not capitalism. That's cronyism. That's government involvement. And we're seeing that increasingly today. I'm hopeful though, because in the book I talk a lot about entrepreneurship and encouraging a free labor market and looking at individual preferences and choices that cannot be managed by a central planner. I'm hoping that kind of message can be attractive, particularly as more and more people have seen the damage done by government policy with respect to private businesses and individual lives and livelihoods.

Curt:

Yeah. And I love your focus in the book on the power of the individual and also cooperation. It's not coercion. It's cooperation between individuals and one of my favorite books, and I've read it five times now, and every time I read it becomes more and more like a nonfiction book, is "Atlas Shrugged."

Kerry:

Yes. Me too.

Curt:

And the interesting thing in "Atlas Shrugged" is someone could look at Galt's Gulch and say, well, that's a collectivist, socialist little community, but really it's based on cooperation rather than a central planning authority and so when a lot of people hear individualism. They think selfish. Everyone's out to screw one another and all this, but when you have cooperation, it's almost like you get what some of the utopian collectivists are looking for. It's kind of an odd circumstance.

Kerry:

Well, this is what makes capitalism really the only moral economic system. It's based completely on consent and voluntaryism, so that you are entering into negotiations entirely voluntarily. You engage in free trade through voluntary transactions and that you believe will lead to mutual gain. And that's what happens through trade. Everything is through preferences and consent. You can decide to shop at one business and not in another for a whole host of reasons, but the point is that it stops with you as the consumer, that you're deciding, no one's coercing you to do something. That is what I think makes capitalism so superior, and it's not perfect, but it's certainly the most perfect system that we have for improving human flourishing and really lifting the living standards worldwide.

Curt:

When you talk about individualism and you talk about true capitalism, not crony capitalism, and the lack coercion in a truly capitalist system, and a lot of people now point to capitalism and it's broken, and it's not working, especially over the last two years. Certainly there's been government coercion when it comes to where you can go, certain passes you need to be able to participate in public and all those things. But as someone who worked in, what the former president called, the swamp, which is one thing I think he got right. There is a swamp, but I don't know where I want to go with this, but over the last two years, one thing that really was interesting to me was seeing "free market minded libertarians" almost replacing the state with corporations as this.

Curt:

Well, because it's private, it's somehow better and we're going to worship. And so any technology that corporations produce is there for good, but I was in the advertising world. And when you talk about individualism and we have a choice and you talk about empowerment of the individual, in a system in which we have crony capitalism, but regulatory capture, and perhaps we see this, not perhaps, I think we really see it in healthcare, and forget even the current debate over vaccines and those types of things. But you see people becoming increasingly reliant on a warning label or a side effect label, or the government saying this is safe. Now, as someone who participated in the charade, in which I worked for trade associations, in which we would buy the scientists. You would find a scientist who you knew was going to produce a study that you liked.

Curt:

The other side would do the same thing. And so now people say, trust the science. Where does the responsibility come forth when people... Right now, you see what I think is junk science, but it's endorsed by the government, pushed by corporations, and you have regulatory capture from the unions and the schools. And you have them like this. I guess, where's that breaking point of responsibility for the consumer, but also to break up... Listen, corporations can do whatever they want. I can watch an ad and say, that's BS. But you almost have this seal of approval of the government in which people say, no, it's like mindless people saying, it's good. It's good. It's good. And then you have some libertarian saying, it's good because it's a corporation, but it's not really. Isn't it?

Kerry:

Right. I think that's the problem. We have the CDC issuing their "recommendations," but then they become codified in policies, certainly in municipal policy, but more and more in private businesses because private businesses worry about litigation, about going against the grain. And so, even though these are just recommendations or guidelines being issued from government bureaucrats, in this case the CDC in Atlanta, they still really impact individual lives and livelihoods, I would argue, in a negative way. I think that's where you're right. We have to reduce the size and scope of government and really weaken the power of these agencies that have grown and amassed tremendous influence over individual people's lives.

Kerry:

I will say it's interesting, last summer when my city for a blink of an eye allowed us to not wear our masks, it was just a few week period where that was the case, but there were still some businesses in my city that had signs in their door asking people to continue to wear masks. And as a consumer can decide whether or not to go to that business. If the benefit to you of walking into that store, exceeds the cost to you of putting on a mask, you can make that decision yourself. I think the trouble is when these recommendations or some group's individual preferences end up influencing all of public policy and affecting everyone's lives.

Curt:

Yeah. And the number one question, and we've discussed this before, when someone asks you, oh, where do your kids go to school? And you say, oh, we homeschool. Or God forbid, you say we unschool, which they don't understand. The number one question we get is well, what about the socialization? And in your book "Unschooled," you write about the difficulty in overcoming some of that programming and you write about, it becomes a fabric of a local society from the Friday night lights and the football games. And it much of it has little to do... When we told relatives that oh, we're going to homeschool. Well, what about prom? And some of that was coming from people who didn't even get asked to prom. They were miserable in high school, but it becomes such that, so when I hear socialization, but that's taken on such a bigger meaning over the last two years. Now, when I hear socialization, I hear almost conformity.

Curt:

And you see people going in that direction on both sides where it's like, yeah, you know what? I don't really support the 1776 Project, but you have socialization on the right where it's like, well, you hate America. But by the same token, in my book I read about that people are often usually motivated more by pain than they are by the pursuit of happiness. And is it true? Do you think this? Over the last two years, that some of that conformity and socialization and conditioning and programming of you got to send your kid to a "mainstream school," whether that's private or government has been overcome by the pain of my kids got to wear a mask. My kids' got to get a jab. My kid's got to listen to indoctrination. Do you see maybe that is the cure for some of it is the pain caused by the government schools themselves?

Kerry:

Yeah. I think we talked about this a little bit too in previous episodes, but I think we're in a moment of education transformation for sure, brought on by COVID policy where parents are back in the driver's seat and now are demanding and selecting various schooling alternatives to their kids, including homeschooling. But one of the things that I've found really shocking, again, over the past couple of years is just the ways in which people want to be led. And maybe this does have something to do with the conformity and obedience that is programmed and conditioned into us when we go through 13 years of government schooling. And this is what I write a lot about in the beginning pages of "Unschooled" that we become conditioned to follow and to follow orders and to obey authority.

Kerry:

And I think we're seeing that now manifesting in our larger society. I'm shocked in various places where we spent a lot of our time, for example, in Vermont and the governor resisted recently imposing a statewide mask mandate, and this caused outrage by a lot of businesses and municipalities [inaudible 00:40:59]. How can we be expected to make these decisions ourselves? And I thought, how can you not? Why on earth would you want some king in a capital making decisions for you and for your life and your children and your business? These are choices that you need to make. And I think that, again, goes back to this creeping sense of collectivism that has been inundating certainly our schools and in communities across the country over the last decade or two and accelerating more recently. And that's why we need to go back to really looking at the principles of for free society. And that is limited government, free markets, and individual Liberty.

Curt:

It's funny. Last time we spoke, we were living in Charleston, South Carolina. And when they did the mask mandate, it was clear. And I had talked to some folks that businesses actually lobbied for it for the same reasons that you just said, which was, if we apply it on our own, we're going to make half our customers mad, but if we don't do it, so please force us to do it. And we've also had people say, we've been traveling free places in they come visit and it's like, but can we wear one if we want? And it's like, that's called freedom. You could do that in any year. But it's like, people want to be... there. I'm a big fan of superhero movies. And there's so many lines in some of these where some people say they were want freedom, but really they want order.

Curt:

And in the movie the Avengers, Loki says, "You were made to be ruled and I've come to free you from your freedom. There's so many people who just, they want to wake up in the morning and don't want to have to think and want to be told what to do. And so it's great to see that growth, especially in the schools, of people breaking free, doing their own thing in a variety of ways. Here in Arizona, all of a sudden there's an explosion. Well, maybe it was here before. I don't know. We just moved here, but I'm seeing TV commercials and billboards for these online learning resources that I've never seen before.

Kerry:

Yeah.

Curt:

Yeah. Yeah. What's the growth been like in all of this over the last two years?

Kerry:

Well, I think this is really maybe the turning point or a certainly a hopeful sign as we see parents who have been really shocked by what they saw in classrooms through remote schooling in 2020, and then continued school closures throughout the previous academic year, pulling their kids out of school, homeschooling doubling according to the US Census Bureau last year in 2020 alone to now more than 11% of the overall K to 12 school age population, more than five and a half million students homeschooled in the US and lots of other students fleeing public school districts for private school or private virtual options, micro schools, pandemic pods, and so on. We just see a continued exodus from particularly public schools in large urban districts, for example, show Chicago, which of course is going through this week, their own issue with the Chicago teacher's union shutting down schools again, which will likely lead parents to pull their kids out of these schools.

Kerry:

But Chicago public schools lost 14,000 students last year and another 10,000 students this year out of the district. That's according to data from NPR. Parents are leaving. They're fed up with what they're seeing these government schools do. They're fed up with these unpredictable and ongoing school closures and the switch to remote schooling. They're tired, in many cases, of these coronavirus restrictions that are negatively impacting their children's lives. And so they're voting with their feet and increasingly being more vocal about these. They're pushing for school choice policies that allow education dollars to follow students instead of funding these bureaucratic school systems that are really managed heavily by the teachers unions. I think we are going to see this continued and hopefully see this continued decentralization of education and really ongoing family empowerment when it comes to education choices for children. And I think this is also going to be [inaudible 00:45:28] by this explosion in education entrepreneurship. I'm always eager to spotlight startups that are recognizing this as a tremendous opportunity to expand education options for families.

Kerry:

You and Arizona are really in the thick of it. Arizona and Florida lead the nation in school choice policies that then encourage education entrepreneurship, but it's a chicken or egg thing. You can have states that don't have a lot of good school choice policy at the legislative level, but can encourage and support education entrepreneurs who then can come in and create these options for families. And I think we're seeing that. For example, there's a company, a startup, called getschoolhouse.com that saw this pandemic pod movement happening, and so they created this company that connects families that want to create these pods, which are these home based, multi-age, one-room schoolhouse micro school communities. And then they'll connect those families with a certified teacher. They just raised more than eight million dollars in startup venture capital funding last year. There is I think real momentum and I really encourage anyone who wants to be an education entrepreneur to do that now. Now is the moment. And there's a lot of investors who are willing to back these kinds of innovations.

Curt:

And something I would urge parents who are either currently doing home education, self education, or looking to do that is, and we've learned this traveling around the country and looking where to settle. And we're originally from Illinois, which on paper is incredible in terms of it's the wild west for homeschooling, because homeschools are considered the same Catholic schools. And as of right now, you don't mess with Catholic schools in Illinois and Chicago. But we moved to South Carolina, which has stricter laws, and now we're in Arizona. I would urge people not just to look at the laws, but at the culture, because while the laws were good in Illinois, the culture was not good because you have teachers unions that basically run the state, not just education, but the entire state. And so they try these little things.

Curt:

I remember things were past, little local laws, where they would get fire inspections for schools that had under 10 students. Well, okay. Let's guess at who they're going after. So the laws are important, but also pay attention to the culture of the state that you're going into, because that's important too. And are they going to enforce it? Did they pass the law, but no one really cares about it? Last year, well maybe it was earlier, well I guess we're in 2022 now, 2020, maybe at the end. And I think we tweeted back and forth. I had this pessimistic view and the Harvard law professor calling for a presumptive ban on homeschooling. And now with all these people fleeing, I was convinced, and we may still see this war, but I don't think they're going to win it, that there is going to be this last gasp from a cornered tiger. The teachers unions, the educational industrial complex, and you see it now, parents being branded as domestic terrorists. You see these types of things. And however, with so many people leaving and with the ineptitude from a messaging and communication standpoint-

Kerry:

Right.

Curt:

... Of teachers unions, et cetera, do you feel that it's got momentum, it's a snowball, and now they're going to gasp. They're going to try. They're going to do things at the federal level, but it's past the point of no return. The cats out of the bag.

Kerry:

Yeah. I don't think that the proponents of homeschooling regulation are going to back down. I think that Elizabeth Bartholet in her Arizona Law Review piece, she's the Harvard Law School professor who called for the presumptive ban on homeschooling, and she makes it very clear in that law review piece, the plan, which would be to get the federal court system to essentially outlaw homeschooling at a national level. And she uses as Germany as the model to follow. I think that those efforts will certainly continue, but I think I'm more optimistic that it's not going to get very far. And I think the most recent example of this is that you look at the governor's race in Virginia, where insulting parents and parents desire though to have some say in what their children are learning in their local schools, completely backfired on the democratic candidate and that parent empowerment was the message that ultimately won for the victor. I think that certainly sends a signal to politicians and policy makers that you don't mess with parents because it's a losing battle at the moment

Curt:

And in that race, but overall, they try to brand it as a Lilly White, suburban parent issue and racist. But it wasn't. Not just in Virginia, but the largest, well, you have the stats, the largest group of homeschooling growth is not white people.

Kerry:

Yeah. According to the US Census Bureau data, last year, the largest growth occurred in Black families. Black homeschoolers had a fivefold increase in 2020 alone and they're now overrepresented in the homeschool population compared to their representation in the US K to 12 public school population. That is on top of separate data from Education Week, from last fall, the fall of 20, excuse me, the fall of 2020, that found that the largest driver in homeschooling at the time was low income families. Parents of all socioeconomic statuses want what's best for their children and they will do whatever it takes to make sure their children have the best education possible.

Kerry:

We can make it easier for them if we encourage education policy that enables tax dollars to follow students instead of systems, again, going back to this metaphor of government run grocery stores that don't exist, but we do have access to taxpayer dollars to help families in need. And I think that, again, that same model can and should work for education. And it frankly has. This has been a year of school choice or two years now of school choice where we've seen more than two dozen states introduce or enact legislation that expand school choice policies, encouraging tax credit scholarship programs, education savings accounts, voucher programs, the expansion of charter schools and virtual charter schools that can lead to a lot of education innovation.

Curt:

Well, if anyone listening or watching is considering homeschooling, and I know we've had some relatives who, well, I would if I could, but I can't, go grab Kerry's book "Unschooled" because in that... And go to fee.org, follow Kerry's articles there, because you provide a lot of options that people may have something in their head about homeschooling that it's not. You provide great options there. And your new book I have to say is just so wonderful because, not just the "A for Activists," but there's a lot of things that creep in, oh my gosh, we'll go to a bookstore. And you see the COVID propaganda too. I don't know if it was called F is for Fauci or something. It's like, oh my gosh. It was welcome to see "A is for Abundance." If you have a child who is, what would you say, the preschool, toddler age probably best for?

Kerry:

Probably a little later than toddler. I would say, again, the four to eight, four to nine year old range is really the sweet spot for this. And something that parents will want to read alongside their children, because I think it will prompt a lot of discussions. And that's what I've already heard from readers who purchased the book, it's available as paperback or through Kindle, is that it prompts discussion. And it, I think, is a way of encouraging family conversations about what creates a free society. And I'll just say one other thing that I've talked about in the book, I really try to celebrate entrepreneurs and the makers and the producers and the creators. And this is back to your point about "Atlas Shrugged," we need to celebrate the producers. We need to celebrate these brilliant minds and say, well done. As again, in Galt's Gulch, these makers and producers are told, congratulations, you've done good things for society. And I think that's also something that we see quite a bit now.

Kerry:

And part of it, again, goes back to cronyism where entrepreneurs or billionaires may have gotten there through unfair advantages and handouts from local and state officials or contracts with the government and various other curry favor. And I think that leads then people to think that accumulating wealth or being successful or becoming a billionaire are, again, evil things when it's not. Because when we think about the value involved in becoming a billionaire, again, aside from any of the corruption or government entanglements that might exist, an entrepreneur becomes that successful and that wealthy because they have created so much value for their consumers. And that's, again, something to celebrate, something to find that is remarkable. They've created these incredible jobs. They've created and improved the lives of the people that use their products or services. I think really giving those accolades to the producers around us, to the entrepreneurs and innovators is so crucial.

Curt:

Yeah. And starting it at a young age with your book is perfect because I talk about this a lot from age one through seven, our programming starts, our software programming, and we know people who we'll sit down and we love Shark Tank because we love instilling-

Kerry:

We always watch that too. Yeah.

Curt:

And we'd have relatives who come and they instinctively say those fat cats don't need any more money. And it's like Daymond John started in his mom's house, in poverty, making t-shirts. Most of these sharks came from nothing and through the power of their ideas built something. But again, like you said, there's apples who either got where they are through funding of government, or they're funding government themselves. Yeah. Thank you for writing this book because helping to counter, and again, in a free way, it's your choice, but to counter some of the negative program of entrepreneurs is so important. I got my copy on Amazon. Where's the best place that people can go and grab the book?

Kerry:

Yes, we self-published on Amazon. That is really, probably the primary place that people can go find the book and look forward to more readers and hearing their feedback.

Curt:

Well, Kerry, thanks so much for coming on the Freedom Media Network. Thanks for all you do. Thanks for this book. It's so important. "Unschooled," all your work, go to fee.org. Kerry, thanks so much.

Kerry:

Thanks, Curt.

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