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[Overturning WI v. Yoder] I get super irked by the self-proclaimed expert authorities on the Amish (who are neither Amish nor ever bothered to learn our language). One of the HUGE problems is that these so-called experts go around perpetuating the myth that all the Amish are well off and that all Amish entrepreneurs are successful, and that there’s therefore no need for Amish children to be given the right to an education beyond the Amish 8th grade.

NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. A few months ago, I gave an interview to John Roth of the Mennonite World Review and he just could not accept the fact that this belief (all Amish are successful entrepreneurs; therefore Amish children should not be given the right to an education beyond the Amish 8th grade) is actually a myth. He even attended my nonprofit’s 2-day inaugural conference (via a comp press pass), in which we went into great detail through various speakers and attendees about why WI v. Yoder needs to be overturned, how a lack of education created grave consequences–great harm to Amish kids–40 years later, etc.

And even after all that, John Roth still refused to accept the facts. He ended up writing an article about us that insists, yes, insists, that we Amish children don’t need an education beyond the 8th grade.

Part of the insanity of John Roth’s claim is that he is NOT Amish and personally knows only 5 men–no women–who were raised in the Amish church who are “doing okay” in making a living (he admitted to this statistic after I backed him into a corner trying to get him to understand the fallacies of his assertions during the interview I gave him). Based on that, he believes he’s qualified to claim that we Amish children should not have the right to an education beyond the Amish 8th grade.

John Roth himself is college-educated and a professor. WHY are college-educated white men with a career in education going around insisting that Amish children, who do NOT speak English fluently, should be denied an education beyond the Amish 8th grade? That’s enabling child abuse. Period.

Every child deserves the ability to make an independent choice about their future and to thrive in the modern world if they choose to do so. #Amish kids CANNOT compete in today’s economy. Neither can they make informed decisions about the world because they’re denied a fair education, an education that would equip them to compete.

To education for ALL children,

Torah Bontrager