Monday, July 23, 2007

Pro Home Visits?

An important issue was raised in comments below, though exhaustion prevented me from pursuing the point at the time. The issue: should those Home Educators who stand up for the right not to have their homes invaded by Local Authorities expect support from those HEors who do have home visits? Can these two sets of people work together against an increasingly intrusive government?

Perhaps I don't know the right crowd. Perhaps they cross the street to avoid me, but all the HEors I know who do actually have visits, accept them only grudgingly. They would far rather not have them, and they therefore support all activism to prevent LAs from being able to insist on them in situations where there is no reason to think that a suitable education is not being provided. This makes it very possible to work together, I think.

Tell me what I'm missing!

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The guiding principle in this is not restricted to HE.

If we do not stand up for the rights of people, even ones that we despise, then we all lose our rights eventually.

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

translated:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.


This is true and is always true. Sadly the HE crowd doesn't seem to understand even the most basic principles of liberty, to the extent that they have to ask about wether or not people should stand up for each other.

I support autonomous learners and their right to do that. I support the people who replicate school in their homes. Both of those approaches might seem irreconcilable on the surface, but in fact, there is one thing both of these groups have in common that overrides everything - these people are parents who have fundamental rights in common.

This is what binds every HE family together, and it is what everyone should understand and fight for collectively. Every piece of legislation should make it clear that parents have both the right to opt in and to completely opt out, and everyone who thinks that someone should help them fight 'their corner' should also understand that it is their duty to help people who they have fundamental philosophical differences with. Once again, if you do not accept this, then in the end, they will come for you and there will be no one there to speak out.

The HE landscape in the USA is facing a similar sort of challenge; families who accept computers and curricula from the state, but who educate at home. This is being seen as a threat to 'real HE', because the state takes total control over what you can and cannot teach and what you can and cannot submit as work. Its a trojan horse attack to get the state back into the minds of the growing mass of HE children.

The position of the HSLDA on Home-based Charter Schools is illustrative; they say why this trend is bad, but that does not interfere with their core work of protecting all HE families and their rights. They ask you to think about what you are doing before you enter this system and provide testimonials so that you can go into it knowing what to expect in advance. Once again, this has nothing to do with the work that HSLDA does to protect all HE families.

Should HE people who do not want home invasions expect support from those HEors who do have home visits? The answer is yes. Can these two sets of people work together against an increasingly intrusive government? Once again, absolutely yes, but they are not two sets of people; they are actually one group and this is what people really need to begin to understand and take advantage of.

The question is, why do people not understand this, and why is there no unifying force to harness this common thread that binds us all?

33, 452 said...

Rather gorgeous poetry there (the whole post, not just the quote). But I'm not so sure about the merits of the substance...

The thing is, those who call for state monitoring believe that *they* are the ones following the advice of that poem. They believe that they are "speaking out" for the children. They believe that state montioring is right. They believe that it is the right of every child to an education and that LA inspectors are defenders of that right. They really believe this. They're not neglecting to speak out; they *are* speaking out, though, unfortunately, they are saying (what I would consider to be) the wrong things!

Take this problem, add apathy, and the "if-an-official-person-says-something-then-it-must-be-right" mentality that is so widespread, and you start to see the problem.

As to us being "one group"... Hmmm... Well, we're certainly not two groups... We're either one group or we're many individuals.

The other point that you're missing here is that HE rights apply to *everyone*, not just HEers; so, if you think we should all stand together in the fight to preserve rights, *even if we don't wish to use said rights*, then why segregate HEers from non-HEers?

*If* we are a group, we are a group of *parents*, not of home educators. And, by the quote (which, btw, has been a favourite of mine for many years) it is *all people* who should be standing up for HE rights, not just all HEers.

And this won't happen. Because not all people *agree* that they are a good thing. Sadly, many people believe that what we do is little better than child abuse and they want to see it stopped.

I think the earlier mentioned PR idea is a good one. I have long said that if I won the lottery, the first thing I'd do would be pay for TV airtime for HE promoting adverts (I daydream about these a lot! LOL!)

In the meantime, I would be wary of perpetually urging people to "speak out" because you may find that you don't like what they have to say.

You cannot use democracy to argue for HE rights, because the majority think home education is wrong.

If we had a written constitution, however...

[Wanders off thinking]

Anonymous said...

The thing is, those who call for state monitoring believe that *they* are the ones following the advice of that poem. They believe that they are "speaking out" for the children. They believe that state montioring is right. They believe that it is the right of every child to an education and that LA inspectors are defenders of that right. They really believe this. They're not neglecting to speak out; they *are* speaking out, though, unfortunately, they are saying (what I would consider to be) the wrong things!

In a true democracy, a majority can say that ginger haired children must always have shorn heads in public, and it would be impossible for such a law to be passed, because the rights of the individual override the opinions of the majority. Britain is not a true democracy because groups like HE can be shut down on the basis of the opinion of the majority.

As to us being "one group"... Hmmm... Well, we're certainly not two groups... We're either one group or we're many individuals.

When we act collectively to protect our rights, we are one group.

The other point that you're missing here is that HE rights apply to *everyone*, not just HEers; so, if you think we should all stand together in the fight to preserve rights, *even if we don't wish to use said rights*, then why segregate HEers from non-HEers?

*If* we are a group, we are a group of *parents*, not of home educators. And, by the quote (which, btw, has been a favourite of mine for many years) it is *all people* who should be standing up for HE rights, not just all HEers.


This is absolutely true; all parents should support HEers, even if, at the most selfish level it is only to preserve the option for themselves should they want to choose it in the future.

And this won't happen. Because not all people *agree* that they are a good thing. Sadly, many people believe that what we do is little better than child abuse and they want to see it stopped.

And they are wrong, and in a democracy, their being wrong wouldn't be worth tuppence. Everyone's rights would be guaranteed, an no matter what the baying masses or the pig ignorant newspaper editors thought, your right to home educate would not be in danger.

In the meantime, I would be wary of perpetually urging people to "speak out" because you may find that you don't like what they have to say.

Sadly, I have to completely 100% times ten thousand in complete agreement with you

You cannot use democracy to argue for HE rights, because the majority think home education is wrong.

In a Constitutional Democracy you can. It is being done all over the world; HE rights are being enshrined in the constitutions of countries who didn't have one, and others are modifying theirs to include it.

If we had a written constitution, however...

Britain needs one desperately. The gentleman's agreement that was the way this country used to be governed can no longer work, because the people in parliament are not gentlemen.

And that is the saddest thing I have ever had to bear witness to.

33, 452 said...

If you want a group fighting for the rights of the individual, you won't get it. A group fights for the rights of the group. A collective of individuals doesn't stay that way for long; it quickly establishes it's own norms, it's own ideas of right and wrong, and starts to act as a single entity, the individuals within it forgotten.

And most people believe that they, and they alone, are right about pretty much everything. They will fight for *their* rights and the right of others to agree with them. They won't fight for anyone whose rights they perceive as in conflict with their own value system.

And the rights of any individual will always have to be balanced against the rights of every other individual. And this can be exploited...

You say "Everyone's rights would be guaranteed, and no matter what the baying masses or the pig ignorant newspaper editors thought, your right to home educate would not be in danger."

But as things stand, you would find "the baying masses" using the argument of the rights of the individual to "justify" all sorts of horrors in the name of "children's rights" (as happens currently).

All they would have to do is claim that HE infringed upon the rights of the child and the individual liberty argument would be done for.

And until the law recognises children as competent individuals themselves, this "in the best interests of the children" argument will enable our rights to be ridden over and children raised in the way that *the majority* think is best for them.

Any written constitution needs to protect the rights of children as people capable of making their own decisions, otherwise any protection of "individual liberty" would be meaningless.

Mike said...

The 'other side' in this issue, those who would welcome LA visits and monitoring for all, will do absolutely nothing to protect the rights of other HEors in this debate.

Carlotta, I know you have met with home educators who ask the LA for support, funds, guidance and in return welcome the prospect of some 'professionally qualified' person telling them they are doing a good job. (Eventhough the evidence of that is right in front of them anyway.)

These people, together with others who would allow intrusion for the sake of a 'quiet life' will abandon the trenches in the blink of an eye.

Many home educators only truck with the government is with education. They broadly agree with state intrusion on other issues, for example: smoking, recycling, pollution, global warming etc etc. Are they likely to fight for the rights of home educators they don't agree with anyway? Of course not.

Autonomous educators will largely be left to fight the battle on their own, with the state becoming more and more aggressive in it's attacks, using the more compliant HEors as their justification.

The general public, who never like the inconvenience of someone trying to be different and showing them a better way will just act with indifference and in some cases malice.

If I was in the UK, I would fully expect to be fighting for the rights of my children to home educate their children in the way we have educated them. The only way I see this changing is by the total collapse of the state education system but this only happen if the sheeple miraculously realise that they have sold their children's futures down the river and pluck up the courage to do something about it.

Irdial said...

They broadly agree with state intrusion on other issues, for example: smoking, recycling, pollution, global warming etc etc. Are they likely to fight for the rights of home educators they don't agree with anyway? Of course not.

You can add spanking to that list.

Finally, someone who actually GETS IT.

Raquel said...

I think the net can open the eyes of the sheepily ones..I propose we buy everyone a computer! And set their homepages for them ;)

Carlotta said...

Hi Raquel,

Not a bad idea!

My thinking: Whatever the other views of many HEors, the principle of parental responsibility is perhaps surprisingly primordial (as well as deeply rational). If people sense or are made aware of the fact that this principle is under threat, as indeed it is, interesting things happen.

I suspect that the DCSF will take this problem of appropriation of responsibililty for children seriously. Their lawyers will know what they are playing with. All we need to do is persuade the ptb that enough of us understand the consequences of their threatened actions, and they won't (if they have any sense at all) do it.

Mike said...

My thinking: Whatever the other views of many HEors, the principle of parental responsibility is perhaps surprisingly primordial (as well as deeply rational). If people sense or are made aware of the fact that this principle is under threat, as indeed it is, interesting things happen.

Don't kid yourself Carlotta. Many parents would gladly divest themselves of this responsibility, indeed they are doing, everyday. Schools offer breakfast clubs, late stay etc. to help those parents who are too busy to take responsibility for their own kids. Children are just not as important as paying the mortgage or being able to afford a new car. Schools now threaten parents if they want to take children on holiday. The number of Brits I speak to out here in Disneytown who have spent thousands and thousands of pounds extra on their holidays just so their children don't miss 6 or 7 precious days of school is astounding. Many of course have been threatened with fines or 'somethingworse' (Whatever that is, I have never managed to get to the bottom of it.)but some have simply been shamed into it by some kind of herd mentality that all children 'mustdobetter'.

The link between parents and children gets weaker every day. I find you surprisingly sanguine on this issue.

Carlotta said...

Ho hum...desperate rather than sanguine, I'd say!

The only hope that I think remains comes not from thinking that it is necessary to persuade a huge number of schooling parents (who actually might be persuaded to take up arms if they realised that the principle of responsibility for children being moved from parents to state would, at least in theory, mean that they would not have a choice about whether or not to use those breakfast or after-school clubs).

My hope comes from believing it possible to persuade a number of HEing parents who already have spent quite a good deal of time thinking about ideas of the primacy of parental responsibility to respond to this consultation to show that they are not willing to give this one up without a fight.

My general experience has been that whilst some HEors accept HVs and even think that they are a good and useful thing, that they are still much more aware than the general population of the primacy of their responsbilities to their children and their right to invite the LA in. The more of these kinds of peeps we can encourage to respond in a way that demonstrates their objections to state monitoring and state imposed standards, the better.

I agree that there must be some HEors out there who would not see it this way, but on the whole, I think there are fewer of them than we imagine. There is usually some point at which these parents will object to state intrusion...eg: in the dictation of standards, or in setting of curricula, and at that point the barriers to state intrusion come down.

And the reason to bother with this section of the population? I think numbers are important because I do believe that the state will think it easier to slip this by us, if the voice against such moves is not loud enough.

I will be trawling through libertarian websites to see if anyone will also lend a hand, but what else can we possibly do, I wonder?

Anonymous said...

Most parents think that their responsibility is to socialise their children and have experts taking care of them.

Carlotta said...

Yep...we just have to hope that more and more of these parents do come to see the light, say for example, do come to realise just what a charade school teaching theory really is. (Two HE friends would have had a whale of a time picking apart the learning theories in the PGCE had it not been so tragic and difficult to challenge in a genuine way), but in the meantime, the minority must make the cogent argument about parental responsibility.

If it is a good one, as I believe it is, and as such is the right decision for both parents and state, then there is just a chance that the better argument will hold sway in the corridors of power.

Mike said...

Hi Carlotta

Ho hum...desperate rather than sanguine, I'd say!

I think that the work that you (and everyone else) is putting in is staggering and it will show that, at least some people won't take this lying down. I have to be honest and say I don't think it will make a blind bit of difference but that is just good old positive me.

My thinking is the real battle will come later....

Carlotta said...

"I don't think it will make a blind bit of difference but that is just good old positive me.

My thinking is the real battle will come later"

I think you may well be right on both counts. In the meantime, I have to pin my hopes on a just about sufficient amount of objections and those DCSF lawyers.