This morning, a political plea for funds showed up in my email-box. That isn’t unusual — I’m on a lot of mailing lists. What did surprise me was who wanted my money today. Why was I, a California resident, expected to care about who was running for city council in Norfolk, Virginia?
As I said, I’m on a lot of mailing lists. I ended up on this one because of a conversation I had three years ago with the candidate in question.
His name is Jesse Scaccia.
Scaccia is famous in the homeschooling community. Not in a name-recognition kind of way; but he’s definitely on our radar. All you have to say is, “Hey, remember that guy who wrote that blog post a few years ago? The one about his top ten reasons for hating homeschooling? He called us a bunch of self-aggrandizing society-phobes who are arrogant to the point of lunacy? And I quote?”
You probably won’t even have to say that much to get the memories flowing. I know from experience that writing in list form can be a good way to get the Internet’s attention.
Of course I wrote to him. I was angry, but that didn’t bother Jesse. He loved the attention he was getting. You can see my half of the correspondence in the article I wrote about our exchange.
Scaccia was angry by the end of the conversation — but apparently not angry enough to remove me from his email address book. Either that or he believes that old adage about all publicity being good publicity. Because when he decided to run for city council in Norfolk, Virginia, he dropped a line to the Bitter Homeschooler. He’d love a donation of either money or time.
My first thought was to write back asking him to take me off a mailing list I never should have been on. My second impulse was to email back a request for his home address so I could send him a check for a million dollars. I didn’t do either, but I did mention the incident on Facebook.
“Oh, great,” homeschooling activist and writer Tammy Takahashi responded. “Where’s he running for office?”
I told her. And then I realized I ought to be telling a lot of other people. Specifically, the homeschooling community of Norfolk, Virginia. And maybe as much of the rest of the homeschooling community as I could reach while I was at it.
In the last presidential election, I heard a lot of conversations about which candidate was more supportive of homeschooling. Which isn’t something to worry about in a presidential election. Homeschooling is legal in every state in America — but every state has its own laws about what constitutes a home education. Some states require testing; some don’t. Some require portfolios and government oversight; some think it’s enough that parents say, “Hey! Guess what? We’re homeschooling! See ya!” The president has nothing to do with any of this. It would be nice if he liked us, but it really isn’t necessary.
Local politicians, on the other hand, can have a real impact on homeschooling. They can work to implement truancy laws, testing requirements, and daytime curfews.
Jesse Scaccia is viciously anti-homeschooling. He’s made his views quite clear.
It might be a good idea for the homeschoolers in Norfolk to mobilize to keep Jesse Scaccia from getting into office — and to keep a sharp eye on him if he does get elected.
I wrote to the moderator of a Norfolk homeschooling support group letting her know who Scaccia is and what he’s running for. I got a lovely reply, telling me that she’d been thinking of supporting him since the incumbents really need booting out. However, she isn’t prepared to support someone like him.
Homeschoolers are always outstandingly generous when it comes to sharing information. It shouldn’t take long for this bit to get around.
Scaccia asked me for money and/or time. I really can’t afford the cash.
But now that he mentions it, I think I can spare a few minutes toward his campaign.