Sunday, August 26, 2007

The State Has Crossed That Line

...and taken over responsibility for provision of education, if this article from the Republic of Ireland is to be believed.

Whoa, this way too scary and way too close to dare they do this! It looks as if they simply haven't seriously considered the impact upon themselves and upon relevant bits of legislation, for not only will the Irish equivalent of Section 7 have to go, but several sections of the ECHR will also have to be over-ridden. What's more, all those children who are failed by the education system that is forcefully imposed upon them, well they are in the money, I'd say. Get suing asap, before this dreadful precedent spreads.


Darren said...

So what exactly is wrong with the state ensuring that certain minimum levels of education are reached?
Argue all you like about what those minimum levels are but surely there must be some.
Are all parents capable of reaching these levels - I dont think so.
I home educate my children and I have no problem at all with having the sort of level of monitoring they have in Ireland

Fiona said...

Someone in the article is proposing to find the un-registered children by looking through child benefit records( children's allowance )and the PPS( Irish equivalent of National Insurance number, as far as I can make out). Reminds me of the English govt talking about "bulk download of child benefit records"( ISI consultation report)

Love, Fiona

Ruth said...

Fine Darren, if you want to have home visits, let strangers cross-examine your kids and poke around your house then that's up to you, have fun. I however have no interest in proving to the people in charge of the pathetic joke that is the State education system that I am fulfilling MY responsibilities. It would be a total waste of MY time and a major invasion of OUR privacy!

Oh and when are we going to see schools being forced to provide 'certain minimum levels of education'? Ha!

darren said...

Ruth. I dont think the level of monitoring they have in Ireland is the same as what you are talking about. I dont want people cross examining my children or poking around in my house, I never said that I did.
Do you think that children are entitled to a minimum level of education and do you think that all parents are capable of delivering it?

Wobblymoo said...

That is such an awful story. I want to know if there is any allowance for SENs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Darren,

I think that the main point is - why subject home edders to intrusive and probably completely useless and inaccurate assessments of ability, when children in school frequently don't attain what one might call a 'minimum level of education' anyway and yet schools and the parents who send them there aren't answerable?

It would be great if all children genuinely had the right to this minimum level, of course; but the reality is that children have pretty well no rights to anything and certainly not education. It is to confuse issues to imagine that government assessment supports children's rights.

I think parents who genuinely can not or will not facilitate their children's education at home are very unlikely to be at all interested in the subject. Of course, this still leaves the 'irresponsible' parents who might take advantage of the right to HE to neglect and even abuse their children and therefore their potential acquisition of an education, but there are other mechanisms in place to pick up such parents.


darren said...

I am not in the business of defending our school system, far from it.
What are the other mechanisms you speak about?
You seem to agree with me that children should be entitled to a minum level of education and that some parents are unable or unwilling to provide this through home education.
So how is this to be remedied?

Ruth said...

Some people abuse their children. Should ALL families submit to regular visits from a social worker? Some people grow pot in their greenhouses. Should all gardeners submit to regular visits by the police?

LAs already have the right to investigate IF, and ONLY IF they have grounds to believe that there is a problem. That's all they need.

In the real world there are good people working in local government and there are total jerks. People who would deem parents 'unfit' to teacher their children because of their race, beliefs or class, because of the clothes they wear or the colour of their hair or that stud in mum's nose or dad's tattoos.

I don't think it is in the least bit reasonable to give government that kind of power on the unproven claim that there might be parents out there who aren't 'good enough'.

So Darren, in answer to your question I give you a question. What EXACTLY is "a minimum level of education"?

darren said...

I havent a clear idea of what a minimum standard of education is in detail, I am sure different people have different ideas. That is a whole other debate.

LAs cant investigate people they dont know about can they?

It is an unproven claim that there are parents that arent good enough, this is true.
Conversely no one knows if there are such people, that leaves open the possibility that there are children out there being let down.
That is what worries me. For the sake of your privacy and time other children may be lacking an education.
I agree it a question of weighing up the risk against the intrusion.
As HE numbers grow and more people know it is an option the risk may go up. As long as the intrusion is small I think that the day wil come when the case for some form of monitoring of HE children will come.
Whether the government is capable of a fair, non intrusive system or not is another question.

Ruth said...

The problem with this argument is that it could equally be applied to anything where we have rights and that way lies a police state where we have NO rights.

I certainly don't see it as inevitable that we will be forced to accept monitoring and I for one will fight tooth and nail to prevent it.

The risk isn't just of intrusion there is a risk of actual harm. If the Irish system starts over here there WILL be families who get victimised by their LA because that already happens with the current system. All for what? Because in theory there might be a family or two where the kids aren't learning to read 'to the correct standard'?

You know if every child had to have a physical checkup and interview without their parents present every 6 months maybe child abuse could be stamped out?

Fiona said...

One of the issues for me is that ideas about "minimum levels of education" vary from person to person. I think that this registration scheme would scrutinise the level of formal academic qualifications of the home ed parents and I personally believe that is inappropriate. My autonomously home educated teenager takes very much the same line as Darren, though...In fact I suspect Theo goes further...Love, Fiona

Carlotta said...

Hi Darren,

Thanks for putting the counter-arguments. Am finding it all too easy not to question my own assumptions in this space, as a general rule, so all challenge gratefully received!

However, I do disagree, for the reason that I value individualism over the collective, and this for the reason that knowledge grows in the mind of the individual rather than the collective. As Fiona says, "ideas about 'minimum levels of education' vary from person to person". If the collective were to decide for everyone upon this issue in a way that imposes same requirements upon us all, they are more than likely to impose inappropriate limits upon the growth of knowledge.

OTOH, in the situation that they are not going to try to apply universal standards, but would still require some kind of assessment of appropriateness of education, the degree to which they would have to get to know an HE family would mean that there would be no hope of any privacy whatsoever.

The parents of a friend of ours (who was meant to have been schooled, but who truanted throughout his school years), were both illiterate heroin addicts. Our friend's truant life left him with an intimate knowledge of the ecology of the bomb and building sites of his city. Despite not having an exam result to his name, he decided to try for a degree in ecology and was promptly told at his university interview this was ridiculous and that he should take up a lectureship...which he did.

I very much doubt that the LA would have permitted his parents to formally HE under this regime, and I also doubt that this person would have succeeded had he stuck with his miserable school life.

The effect of knowing that you have to take responsibility is also interesting. If parents do have to face the fact that they really are responsible for the future of their children's lives, instead of handing this over to the state, perhaps it really would finally act as a wake up call.

I liked this piece on the benefits of individualism over collectivism.

darren said...

Thanks Carlotta

I suppose that we just dont agree about the individualist versus collective argument.
I found the piece you liked a little simplistic and patronising to be frank.
I dont see myself as a weak minded peasant who needs someone to tell them what to do.
I see my self as someone who through choice gives up some of my individual fredoms for the good of the whole of soceity, for example I give up some of my income in tax.
The systeem is not perfect and it leads to many flaws but I basically believe in a liberal democracy.
It is impossible for everyone to have and do whatever they want isnt it?
Anyway I supose you have thought through your views and I have mine and I doubt if we will change each others.

Best regards