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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Somebody Needs a Logic Lesson

One Andy Horowitz wants to show how ill-educated is Rick Santorum, so he "disproves" Santorum's contention that most early presidents home-schooled their children with the following:
Santorum may find it pleasant to imagine George and Martha Washington sitting by the hearth with her son Jacky Custis, helping him read from a primer, but in fact, Washington imported a Scottish tutor named Walter Magowan to live in Mount Vernon and provide the classical education his stepson needed to enroll at King’s College (today’s Columbia University).

John Quincy Adams sent his son Charles Francis to public school at Boston Latin.

Andrew Jackson’s adopted son Andrew Jr. went to the Davidson Academy in Nashville.

Martin Van Buren’s son Abraham attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and Zachary Taylor’s son Richard attended private schools in Kentucky and Massachusetts. (Both later became Confederate generals.)

Ulysses S. Grant sent his sons to the Emerson preparatory school in Washington, D.C.
Horowitz presents no evidence whatsoever that any or all of these presidents didn't home school their children. (And notice that for Washington, he provides evidence that he did do so!) What he presents is evidence that these presidents' kids spent at least some time in institutional schooling -- and in some cases, at the university level! So what? My kids have been both home schooled and been in public and private schools, at different times. What Horowitz has done is like "proving" someone has never played chess by showing us a photo of them playing checkers!

By the way, I have no idea if Santorum's claim is accurate: I just know that Horowitz's method of disproving it is nonsense.

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