Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Home Education is Not the Problem.

Spot the trend:

Here in the UK, we hear of the tragic case of Danielle Reid and in the US, we read of the sorry tale of the Jacks family.

The implication behind both stories: that neither situation implicates the social services involved since they had insufficient powers to intervene with home educating families and that they therefore require more powers to monitor and intrude upon all home educating families.

The truth of the matter: that the children in both families were known to social services. They were known to be at risk. Social services have adequate powers to follow up and act in such circumstances. They made bad calls.

Protests from UK HEors got the offending BBC article cached and re-written but the damage continued with Judith Gillespie of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council putting it about on radio and making the same ill- researched assertions and drawing poorly thought-out conclusions.

Message for welfare- and edu-crats everywhere:

Stop blaming home education and get on with your jobs. We cannot possibly live with the level of state scrutiny that you seem to be proposing. You're talking about our PRIVATE LIVES.


Anonymous said...

I have the impression society is evolving so we have less privacy, not more.

Commenting on that article you linked:

"Some education directors, meanwhile, have been concerned a fast decision would amount to a rubber stamp - and lay them open to legal action from children who in later life feel their education has been lacking."

Is this legally possible?

Maybe we should discorage the compensation culture instead?

Maybe we should stop believing that academic education should be age based and crammed in childhood?

What stops adults from learning later if they want to? They frequently do.

"She cited a case involving five-year-old Danielle Reid, who was murdered by her mother's partner in Inverness in 2002. A report into the case found the authorities had lost track of the youngster when her mother withdrew her from school."

In what the fact that the mother withdrew her from school has to do that her partner was a murderer?

The only irresponsible act on the part of this mother was to chose this man for a partner. Education authorities have nothing to do with such a case.

The growing idea that parents cannot be trusted with their own children is quite sad and how these shocking cases are being used to impress the public negatively is even worse.

"obviously they have to check that they cover all the subjects and they give them a good social interaction"

Many parents withdraw children from schools because they frequently fail in all this! It has nothing to do with freedom of learning to be forced to cover all the subjects the state decided should be curriculum.

narrator said...

The problem with home education in the US is not "home education" (or "home schooling" as it is called on "this side"), but an overall lack of education. When home education is practiced by parents who have no real education themselves (in school or out, formal or individual) except blind adoption of a faith (far too many of the "home schoolers" in the States - that is, there problem with school is not the hideous structure of education but that their children might learn things from "outside influences"), there is a problem. Combined with a complete lack of social services in America and a government (Republican led) with no interest at all in supporting children or families, you get disasters of this type.

Thus, it is almost an inconceivable leap to imagine the same circumstances in the UK - which - for all of its downfalls (sure) - is an evolved, educated society with (if anything) a bit "too much" concern for child welfare (at times).

from SpeEdChange

Carlotta said...

I agree that the issue of parental attitudes is a significant one in home education. As I see it, the greater problem results from parents who promote a fundamentalist, infallible approach to knowledge and who seek to limit the knowledge that their child can acquire, which I suspect is more of a problem in the States than it is here. On the other hand, parents who recognise that they don't always know, but who seek to improve upon their ideas, and who take the interests of their child seriously, these parents are likely to promote very successful learning outside of school, ime.

Indeed, as I remember it, Paula Rothermel's research http://tinyurl.com/j2bvn
found that poor parental education was far from a barrier to very successful home education. I think the book by Barbara Tizard "Young Children Learning" may go some way to explaining why this may be the case.

However, the thought of parents implementing school at home, limiting access to contradictory theories and teaching their children that their prefered set of ideas are infallible, well it is almost enough to make one stop advocating HE and turn to promoting rational parenting instead.

Anonymous said...

"an overall lack of education"

What do you consider an overall lack of education? Even the Amish children learn.

We all limit our children's learning to some extent.

What is your worry, that parents educate to some acceptable average standard (or fundamentals)? That the children can show off something traditionally academic?

We should not encourage the government to coerce parents to suit any standards of education.

We should instead encourage it to abolish age laws.

"parents who take the interests of their child seriously"

Even this idea would be bad if adopted by a government. Parents cannot equally and infallibly take all their child's interests seriously. Not to mention authorities will be negatively impressed if a child is not interested in traditional academic subjects.

"it is almost enough to make one stop advocating HE and turn to promoting rational parenting instead"

Good idea.

Anonymous said...

Or better still promote HE and rational parenting!