Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Amateurs in Education

I’ve been trying to write a post about the recent flaps in California and New Hampshire about home schooling. I only want to write a few paragraphs, but as I move into the third of fourth paragraph of a draft, I realize that this could get really long and involved. So, let me try to present this in the form of a few pity aphorisms.

The State has a vested interest in insuring the education of children.
The ultimate responsibility for a child’s education lies with the parents.
This is still true even when the child is being educated by the state.
If the state wishes to involve itself in education, the role of the state is not to assume responsibility for education, but to act as a resource for parent.
If the parents wish to contract with the state to use their educational services, the parents still bear the obligation for the quality and content of their child's education.
Home schooling is necessary - at some level - even for children who attend publicly funded schools.
Home schooling is unavoidable. Children learn from their home, regardless.

The state has a responsibility to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.
Home Schooling is not child abuse.
Home Schooling does not cause child abuse.
Eliminating or controlling home schools does not prevent child abuse.
States already have laws to detect and deal with abusive situations as such. Passing laws restricting home schools to prevent child abuse is beside the point. Enforcement of current laws is of greater value.

Not all parents are good home educators.
Not all teachers in public schools are good teachers.
Teacher Unions seem to want to claim that education is too important to be left to amateurs.
I might assert that it is too important to be left to detached professionals with no real personal stake in the outcome.
If only “credentialed professionals” are to be allowed to teach, then they must be held responsible for results. If the kids aren’t learning, those responsible must be fired.
Teacher’s unions cannot have it both ways.

Education is above all a spiritual endeavor. Education is the shaping and formation of a person.
Education is only secondarily about economics and information and careers.
Preparation for careers is training, not education. It is necessary, and is PART of education, but is different in kind.
The end goal of education is NOT a productive taxpaying citizen.
The end goal of education is a wise person.

I’m not sure how pithy those were, but I think they sum up the core of my recent thinking.


Anonymous said...

Here is my cheap shot for the day:

You say, "The end goal of education is NOT a productive taxpaying citizen" to which I may say amen! But I am not sure the public schools are even aiming at this. They seem to be aiming at COMPLIANT citizens more than PRODUCTIVE citizens. If students and parents can put up with all sorts of assinine rules to graduate, the school has done it's job.

Notice I resisted my tendency lately of calling them "government" schools?


Anonymous said...

"The ultimate responsibility for a child’s education lies with the parents." Do you intend this to be a personal point of view, as opposed to a legal right/responsibility provided in the New Hampshire Constitution? (BTW, I personally believe in this view).

Your first statement, "The State has a vested interest in insuring the education of children" has been judged to be found in the New Hampshire Constitution, Section 38. However, I can find no constitutional role for parents. I can't even find parents mentioned. (I believe that the United States Constitution also contains no reference to parents.)

I'm afraid if an issue related to home schooling made it to court we'd find that parents do NOT have a legal right or responsibility to educate their children, and the only rights they have are those granted by the legislature (and delegated to the state Education Department.


solarblogger said...

The United States Constitution binds the Federal Government, empowering it to do some things, and preventing it from doing others. There should be no mention of parents.

The idea that the state must mention a role for it to exist suggests that the state preexists the role.

I would hope that the rules governing your local supermarket didn't mention parents, either. Nor do I think that people would stop being parents when they entered the supermarket just because they were not mentioned in the supermarket's governing rules.

Before I would ask what the state has a vested interest in doing with regard to the education of children, I would ask whether it has any rights in this arena in the first place.