What would you do?

has asked the following question:
So, what I’d like to hear from anyone is what do you think needs to
happen in order to provide an education for the kids that homeschooling
is not a viable option? How would you change public education?

Via: Chris
A few months ago, a conversation similar to this one occurred with
Jonathan, also a public school teacher. In his initial post on the
subject he said the following:

I really enjoyed reading an analysis of some of the moral
implications of compulsory public education in the book "The Moral
Dimensions of Teaching". The article "The Limits of Teacher
Professionalization" by Barry L. Bull presents a primer on public
education through the lens of the liberal philosophy. The fundamental
principal of the philosophy is each human being’s right to ‘life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ the latter meaning the right to
pursue whatever the person’s vision of the good might be. Moreover, the
person must be as free as possible from coercion in rationally
determining what is good. One of the central aims of society is to
promote free choice while preventing choices that harm others.
Education, then, is about creating citizens who are fully capable of
exercising their right to choose freely and resist coercion. Perhaps
ironically, this includes compelling people to attain this freedom.

(Ed: Snip)

This has some interesting implications, about which I plan to write
more. One of these implications is the permissibility of home or
private schooling. Children must be sheltered from indoctrination; that
is, exposure to one viewpoint to the exclusion of all others. Home
schooling sits in very dangerous territory. Another questionable but
common practice is the request for permission from parents (or giving
parents the right to exclude their children) before exposing students
to potentially objectionable material. If education is supposed to be
developing students’ abilities to choose for themselves, allowing them
to opt out would seem to be permitting the abridgement of their freedom.

He had an extensive conversation with a number of homeschoolers. After
about a month, he posted another entry where he was summarizing the
conversation. In that post, he excerpted a number of homeschoolers
including a post I had written. The following is part of the excerpt of
me and his response to it:


Finally, I expect my youngest child to be reading at least 2 years
before her public schooled peers will be expected to. Her publicly
schooled peers will be compelled through a prescribed set of
instruction to arrive at said reading skill while she both has and will
have freely pursued and acquired hundreds of hours of happiness in the
course of acquiring that same skill. Assuming a continuation of the
freedom of pursuit, she will arrive at her graduation with a level of
expertise in and understanding of both what to pursue as happiness (i.e
an extensive repertoire of things that have made her happy) and how to
pursue it (i.e. an extensive repertoire of strategies which succeeded
in getting her there), that compulsion cannot produce.

In a perfect world where a public school could educate all children as
well as a homeschool, perhaps we could rightly raise an eyebrow at
those who kept their children out of the system. Until such a day (I
won’t hold my breath), we should be looking in the mirror instead of at
our homeschooling neighbors.

My intent is not to say, ‘see we were right’. I hope to draw your
attention to the fact that I set out to (and believe I succeeded in)
explaining to Jonathan that the base theories on which public education
policy and implementation are erroneous.

Therefore, I suggest that a program be created for prospective
educational theorists seeking their accreditation (Education PhD). That
program would entail writing a thesis on the subject of how children
learn, based on their experiential learning in a homeschooling
environment. The experiential learning would include extensive
observation of and participation in a homeschooling family. The host
family would have the opportunity to interview and approve or reject
candidates for the internship. Also the host family would be
compensated from the student’s tuition and the institution’s research

In addition to altering the base from which educational theory is
drawn, a program like this would have other benefits. Both the public
(example via Daryl) and the educational profession’s perception of
homeschooling should improve significantly. Secondly, in recent years,
homeschoolers have pioneered nearly all of the real innovation in the
field of child education out of their own pockets and this program would
direct a portion of the funds currently spent on Educational Research
toward those responsible for said innovations.

Finally, Andrea will follow-up this article with one which suggests a
number of things which we believe the above research program would
recommend as changes to the educational policy.

Author: Ron

Homeschooling dad of 4 (ages 27 - 14), grampy to 3, WordPress core contributor, former farmboy & software developer by profession.