GeoCitiesRank My SiteTake A TourMy GuestbookChat
Pages Like MineSearchSend This PageForums
Email Me
Click Here to Buy a CD and Get a Free T-Shirt!
Click Here to Buy a CD and Get a Free T-Shirt!

Argumentative Comments on a Few Public School Injustices

Copyright 1995 © N.S. Gill

Before submitting homeschooling essays, I try to run them by a public school parent. My most recent essay was aimed at a mainstream publication, and to my knowledge, would be the first they'd run on homeschooling. Thus it was crucial that my public school friend scrutinize it for errors that would reflect badly on homeschooling. I worried that her favorable attitudes towards the public schools would cloud her judgment or our friendship would stand in the way of honesty.
BLANKI needn't have. She pointed out that the schools have already corrected one of the problems to which I'd alluded. Children no longer need permission to go to the bathroom. She assures me that they can stand up and stretch when they need to and get a drink of water, as well. In fact, she said if I wrote that homeschools are different from public schools because at home children do not have to seek anyone's permission to meet bodily needs, I would be leaving myself open to needless criticism as an ignoramus. Maybe.
BLANK On a computer bulletin board I got into a argument with a teacher who was proud of having punished her high school class by depriving it of a field trip. She said teachers must know where the students are at every moment. So, when some of her students had "taken advantage" of a substitute teacher by going out in the hall for a couple of moments without permission, they all lost privileges. At best, this doesn't sound to me like they're allowed to fulfill bodily needs at will. At worst, as I told her, it suggests a prison. I hope my friend is right, though. The argument with the school teacher was a couple of years ago. Public schools copy other lessons we've taught. But it doesn't mean the public schools are the best place for children to enjoy these newly regained liberties. It just means that they are trying a piecemeal approach to improving themselves.
BLANK As far as I can tell, most homeschoolers also try one thing and then another, ever in search of the elusive, perfect system to help their children learn what they need. Definitions of what they need constantly change, as parents debate the validity of such credentials as college degrees and think about apprenticeships for their children. The big difference between families changing all the time and schools doing the same is that schools do it after years of studies and research, whereas families institute instantaneous change. By the time a school can implement a change, it may be time the change was changed. Not so, the homeschool.
BLANK Not every parent can make the best decision each time about what will work. That's part of the reason for constant re-evaluation, but there are other reasons as well. For instance, the child learns bits of different things at different rates. A hands-on method may work best when he doesn't know how to read very well, but once he does, theoretical study may be better.

Some people think the state has the best interests of the children at heart. If they do, it is only children as a collective unit. If you think otherwise, read Mary Pride's Child Abuse Industry.
BLANK One woman at my church fears that homeschoolers commit incest. She said she doesn't know what she would have done if it hadn't been for her school. However, she did go to school and still the incest continued. Going to school is no guarantee against it. And, fortunately, most parents who homeschool do so because they are concerned for their children's welfare.

Since our country is an offshoot of England, it is fitting that much of our culture has been borrowed from the British. In England, where public schools are what we would call private schools, homeschooling and tutoring have long been common.
BLANK When our founding fathers established the Constitution, they couldn't agree on education. Some thought an educated electorate would prevent tyranny. Others, like Benjamin Rush, weren't concerned about tyranny. They wanted children to become docile instruments of the state so they would compliantly work to provide tax money and become obedient soldiers. The model of education Rush lusted after was the Prussian which was based on the idea that children are the property of the state and must be completely loyal to the government. Their schools worked very well. So efficiently, that by the twentieth century we witnessed the takeover of the Germans by the Nazis.
BLANK Thomas Jefferson, diametrically opposed Benjamin Rush. He believed it was more important for parents to guide their children than that the children receive an education. He trusted parents to love their children enough to provide an education for them, if they could. However, he recognized that since some parents might be too poor to provide an education, the states should offer three free years of instruction in reading, writing, arithmetic and the history of Greece, Rome, England and America.
BLANK Although we did eventually adopt the Prussian compulsory model of education, our notions of independence and individual liberty are more in line with English and Jeffersonian tradition. Thus, when people say we might as well use the public schools because they've done some things to make it better, they've got it backwards. Unless the public schools could provide what our children need, without any of the negatives, it wouldn't make sense for homeschoolers to send their children there. The children are better off at home with loving parents who, having sorted out their years of education, can now pass on whatever is valuable of our cultural tradition, within a safer and more nurturing environment.Even if we make some errors in logic or in our teaching methods, we homeschooling parents should not be the ones on the defensive--although we will be for a long time.
BLANK Compulsory government education (the stuff based on the Prussian model) only began in 1852, in Massachusetts, where it took thirty years before the resisting 80% of the population could be coerced--yes, sometimes at gunpoint--to comply. Homeschooling, tutoring, and private schooling went on successfully before that. As Senator Ted Kennedy's office reported, since the advent of compulsory education, literacy rates in his home state have never reached the 98% level they had attained prior to compulsory instruction.
BLANK Maybe they'll reach the 98% level again--when more people revert to traditional teaching methods.

Copyright © 1996 & 1997 N. S. Gill.

This page hosted by Get your own Free Home Page