You could call NHEN’s Laura Derrick a dedicated public educator — she educates reporters and editors about home education, so they can help educate the public.
Like the Chinese kids translating Harry Potter, it’s a true labor of love and she does it beautifully.
This time her challenge was to respond in 25 words or less, to a personal attack on home education from the founder of USA Today. It is an ignorant ink-by-the-barrel throwback to Horatio Alger fables, full of mindless mixed metaphor and unexamined prejudice (mothers have apron strings, fathers have bootstraps??) all pandering to the public’s right NOT to know imo.
The NEA’s Reg Weaver, national teacher union mouthpiece, was the other invited response, not that reporters and editors ever ask NHEN to pile on when teacher unions are attacked by the press (do newspapers even print attacks against teacher unions though, much less have their founders pen them? Hmmm . . .)
But Laura raised none of these issues and she didn’t rise to all that stinking bait. She rose only to the occasion at hand, and responded within the newspaper’s absurdly contrived limits. She even had one word to spare! — although picayune zero tolerance NCLB accountability literalists might notice Laura used two contractions, which if counted as two words each, would put her one over the limit and perhaps prevent her from marching at graduation?
“Children can’t fly if they aren’t free, and they aren’t free if the conformity of a classroom is the only acceptable path to education.”
— Laura Derrick, president, National Home Education Network
Daryl did an unlimited, unabashed and therefore most enjoyable encore for his blog here, and I wrote a carefully counted (not counting one contraction) 25-word response too, just to see if I could:
“Daycare, a bedtime kiss after homework, supervised weekend visitation
— otherwise all kids are creatures of the State and that’s the only way
to raise ’em?”
I based mine on Judith Warner’s NYT parenting blog, specifically her parent involvement post that throws into such stark relief the media’s ignorance of School as the number one environmental toxin for a family-friendly culture.
I am worried about the toxic effects on humans of institutional school systems. After Abu Ghirab, a Stanford psychologist detailed how “place” can win over “person” through concepts like institutionalization, escalating dehumanization, stress and stereotyping, the seduction of boredom, the evil of inaction and much more.
Sounds too much like what’s gone wrong between school and education — we’ve institutionalized thinking and learning and productive work, and lost the individuals we meant to inspire and empower in the process.
So I can’t help focusing on all the ways Thinking Parents can create healthier education environments for ourselves, for our own children and families, for our neighbors and communities. I’ve been struck at almost every stop by the connections, how the ideas and information are the same and how opening your eyes to one can open your mind to the other.
(Hey, maybe that explains the liberal media’s virulent bias for schooling over real education, that their own K-12 schooling was like childhood lead poisoning, an insidious and invisible environmental killer of brain cells? And maybe that in turn suggests the breakthrough formulation of a real solution — get the lead out, before another whole generation loses its mind! )