18 August 2015

Good News For Learning - Bad News For Control Freak "Education Experts"

From a recent article in the City Journal:
Not so long ago, homeschooling was considered a radical educational alternative—the province of a small number of devout Iowa evangelicals and countercultural Mendocino hippies. No more. Today, as many as 2 million—or 2.5 percent—of the nation’s 77 million school-age children are educated at home, and increasing numbers of them live in cities. More urban parents are turning their backs on the compulsory-education model and embracing the interactive, online educational future that policy entrepreneurs have *predicted for years would revolutionize pedagogy and transform brick-and-mortar schooling. And their kids are not only keeping pace with their traditionally schooled peers; they are also, in many cases, doing better, getting into top-ranked colleges and graduating at higher rates. In cities across the country, homeschooling is becoming just one educational option among many.
*I've been predicting the same for years as well.

And then there's the "critics", i.e. control freaks in academia who want to use the heavy hand of government to protect their turf, suppress freedom of choice and continue to indoctrinate future group-thinkers..
Critics of homeschooling have support in academia. Stanford University political scientist Rob Reich has argued for tighter regulation of homeschooling to ensure that “children are exposed to and engaged with ideas, values, and beliefs that are different from those of the parents.”
In other words, we want to indoctrinate your children with values that are in opposition to what you want them taught. Arrogance, elitism and narcissism on parade.

And . . .

Georgetown Law School professor Robin L. West laments the “virtually unfettered authority” that state laws afford homeschoolers. She worries that homeschooled children grow up to become right-wing political “soldiers,” eager to “undermine, limit, or destroy state functions.”
Ahh, I see, it's all about politics and indoctrination, not education. Forget that homeschoolers, as a group, are light-years ahead of their public (and private) school peers. Funny, isn't it, that this professor is ignoring the elephant in the room - the nutty leftism and indoctrination taking place on many college campuses today.
She, too, would like to see homeschooling more tightly regulated and homeschoolers subjected to mandatory testing and periodic home visits—“to give the state a window into the quality of home life, and a way to monitor signs of abuse.”
"Signs of abuse"? That's laughable. Public schools now have metal detectors and armed police officers patrolling the halls and she's worried about abuse by homeschoolers? Her time might be better invested worrying about what CBS news has called the "silent epidemic of teacher abuse" in public schools.

As the article mentions a persistent "concern" about homeschoolers suffering from a lack of "socialization", it's hard for me to believe that myth still persists. I've dealt with it before. And, in the linked article, someone who works in the admissions department of an Ivy League school notes what I've pointed out numerous times before as well:
An alumnus who does admissions interviews for another Ivy League institution confirms Cammarata’s experience. He finds the homeschooled kids he interviews more self-assured than their peers from traditional schools. “They are much better at interacting with me as an adult,” he tells me. “They know who they are—much more so than the prep school kids.”
Why is that? There are a number of factors, but one major one is that homeschooled kids spend much of their day with adults and interacting with those adults, rather than their peers and trying to impress and mimic those peers. Also, many homeschoolers are taught to ask questions and to be non-conformists - the opposite of what many of the "experts" want. Moreover, homeschooled kids have a much wider array of experiences and activities than do their public and private school peers. This encourages self-confidence and curiosity. Both traits are essential to learning and exploring. The modern classroom model is, in many ways, a failed one. It's amazing the "experts" continue to embrace it. But, that's what happens when you become close-minded and seek, at all costs, to protect your territory.

The article quoted is a fair and honest look at urban homeschoolers and appears in the City Journal. I recommend it and you can read the complete article here.

As always, I acknowledge that there are good teachers doing the best they can in a system that often works against them. 


Genevieve said...

As a young woman raised at Wellesley and Georgetown Law to be a career professional, I was flummoxed when, shortly after I was married, a baby appeared! Right then, I knew, day care could never be an option for me. It seemed like hypocrisy to pay for someone to care for my child while someone paid me to concern myself with their legal problems! And so I learned what working at home was, while two more children appeared in short order. A quick inspection of the educational options manifested another problem. Why would I leave my children to be educated by persons far less educated than my husband and I were (both J.D.'s), among strangers in places that would dictate to us what our travel schedules and daily schedules would be like? Thus, homeschooling became our choice and our life. What a blessing it has been, to learn along with my children, during these years. And, incredibly, we have found other homeschooling parents with advanced degrees (PhDs) who are willing to teach ours at the high school level in a unique and lovely educational model. Homeschooling has been the most fascinating, difficult, challenging, and rewarding journey of our lives. With a 12, 14, and 16-year old now this year, I can echo some of the things you are writing about. Each of them is well-versed and articulate in things that matter most, and can express themselves to others of any age, whether a baby, a child, a peer, an adult, or a senior. They are far more educated at their ages than I was, for all the fancy DC private schools I attended! I am just humbled and extremely grateful for this journey.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thank you for the comment - that's a great personal story! My oldest daughter has a degree in history and her teaching certificate, but has chosen to homeschool her four girls at home. We have six children of which 5 have children of their own. All of our children (save one) who have children homeschool. I am so blessed and proud of them. They ALL excel and amaze me with their intelligence and independent thinking.

"I am just humbled and extremely grateful for this journey."

Absolutely. We, too, are very grateful. Thank you again for taking the time to share your experience.