Further on the Pennsylvania homeschooling teen murderer: it's interesting to note that these murders happened in a state where homeschooling is as tightly controlled as anywhere in the US.
Apparently the law:
"enables everyone to homeschool if they could find an evaluator (a teacher, former teacher, or psychologist) who would certify that their children were receiving an appropriate education".
So presumably the family of the murderer had been so assessed, which would rather incline one to draw the conclusion that these checks are utterly spurious. It is sad to see that precisely the reverse conclusion is also drawn, and doubly sad that this comes from the pen of a supposed home-schooling advocate:
Self-appointed home schooling educrat: Howard Richman, again of Pa Homeschoolers.com:
"This message board recognizes that homeschoolers are not perfect and we like the fact that the homeschool law in Pennsylvania recognizes that that homeschool parents need accountability and checks and balances".
Hmmm. I am at a loss to understand precisely how he arrived at such a conclusion in the current circumstances. Is he actually calling for much more accountability and checks? Should he not really now be calling for checks and balances on the people doing the checks and balances, ad infinitum?
Just to make my own position clear on this. I am of the opinion that many minds may provide a substrate for better answers, but these answers are always formulated in the minds of one person, even in the situation of collating average information from large groups. There is often much benefit in seeking out others for help and criticism. However it is infinitely superior if this is achieved without coercion, so that criticism is freely sought and may be either acted on or rejected freely, whilst being subject to further critical thought.
By forcing people to accept unwanted intrusion into their private lives and by controlling them without their consent, we not only risk damage from inept or corrupt bureaucracies, but we also foreclose on the genuine possibility of autonomous rational thought and freely chosen responsible action.
Home Educators may easily be alerted to the usefulness of freely chosen and critiqued criticism through many channels, such as the support charities, the websites, the listservs, the on-line discussion groups, and the groups with whom they socialise. There is no need to force compliance to a prescribed rule upon people, since, to paraphrase Godwin: if something is good it can be shown to be good.
The PA murders seem to suggest that this would be the better way to go.