Why Education Politics Isn’t Real or Clear

27 01 2008

Decisions by Harvard, Yale and other elite schools to make college more affordable to a larger pool of applicants might have the unintended consequence of harming less wealthy institutions and the students who attend them, some educators and financial aid experts say. . .

There’s a site called “Real Clear Politics” that I know literally nothing about, except that its name is by definition oxymoronic.

Which connects to something “New Unschooler” Colleen is learning this week about homeschool politics and the unintended consequences of assuming things are simple and clear! See “Brief Political Interlude” at her blog for details.

Here’s what I wrote there, trying to explain why “clear” is almost never what I see —

I should mention, more as a disclaimer than bragging, that for almost 20 years education communication, policy and politics were my professional bread and butter — after news-editorial journalism, before I became a mom relatively late in life.

So that’s the experience prism through which I see not just HSLDA or other homeschool businesses and advisers, but all campaigns, community issues and influence. I did have to learn the “home education” history and social lay of the land as a newbie just like anyone, but I started with a big ol’ story-sniffer-outer already oriented to education politics.

Homeschool politics isn’t something unschoolers get much say in, or care to fight over. We resist being spoken for or told what to be concerned about. Most unschoolers I’ve met along the way find all that hardball power-play group control, commercialized scheme stuff distasteful if not creepy, have no patience for it from anybody for any reason.

Unschoolers I’ve met (real ones, who aren’t disruptive sock puppet plants or just dabbling dilettantes) have some practical mastery of their own thinking and feeling and sense of self, so they can relate to each other the way we relate to kids, as real individuals with real concerns we can address in the moment, that needn’t be generalized or aggregated and then wielded like a weapon in the marketplace of ideas.

Working through my own skepticism with some bumps and bruises from unfamiliar fixtures, I gradually found even prescriptive-sounding unschoolers to be extremely caring, clear-eyed and reality-sensitive especially to kids, and almost blind to all our adult religious and political differences.

Which is very refreshing to someone with my professional past!



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