Apple and Reich are SQUELCHERS, Oh My!

1 02 2008

They’re ba-ack . . .

The ultraliberal scholars of “HomeSchooling Let’s Don’t Allow.” (so that’s what HSLDA stands for in their dogma!)

Oh, and this time with art, of Apple at least. He said he was raising “black” children so I wasn’t sure about him until I saw this picture (still can’t be sure, but why not just go by handy political stereotype as he does?)


So what we seem without better data to have here, is simply more white men demanding the power to Decide for everybody.

What difference does it make to me loving my own family at home in guaranteed freedom from all of them, just desiring to be left out of their Grand Plan for Global Domination, whether megalomaniacal men are liberal or conservative or communist or fascist, atheist or Southern Baptist or Jewish or Mormon or Muslim — if what they’re peddling drags us all down to the same place, servility to their agenda rather than freedom to set our own course and laugh in their frowning faces?

I’ll continue to resist and mock Reich and Apple, preferring Howard Gardner’s real education scholarship and power of story research on effective change and leadership, oh and Richard Florida’s creative class political thinking about SQUELCHERS:

The way to foster creativity … is to encourage everyone to have a voice, to feel comfortable offering their own quirky opinions, even the weirdoes, the nerds and those in the minority.

They’ll be encouraged as long as what he calls the “squelchers” are kept in check. These are the naysayers, the guardians of the status quo.



7 responses

1 02 2008

Maybe I’d follow up my public resistance of their homeschooling-as-servility dogma by describing how homeschooling in fact can “break the chains of childhood.”

1 02 2008
Nance Confer

That’s the link to the original article.

I put it here because it had The Chart.

Which is my favorite part of this article, so far.

The Chart is nifty. It has colors and bars and numbers and everything.

And if you don’t look at it too closely, it seems like hsing is taking over the world! 🙂

Which is, of course, the point with a chart like this.

The key to making this chart scary is to use the actual numbers for the number of hsers versus public schoolers. But to use different scales on each chart. So 2031 hsers in El Paso looks like a lot more than 105,157 psers in El Paso.

Gee, I wonder where these folks learned to make bar graphs? 🙂

And the biggest yuck about this chart? Right below it we have these words of wisdom from RR:

“Rob Reich, a Stanford University political science professor who studies homeschooling, says the situation is a bit like using studies sponsored by tobacco companies to dismiss the risks of cigarette smoking.”

Not to defend HSLDA’s self-serving research but . . . The Chart may not be the best way for RR and friends to make their point. 🙂


4 02 2008

What is meant by saying Rob Reich “studies homeschooling”? Does he actually have studies published somewhere? Or do they mean he studies it like I study a stain on my t-shirt…Justs look at it?

I’ve avoiding knowing anything about the man until now.

4 02 2008

He is a political philosophy professor at Stanford. It seems he developed (or refined, not sure) an academic political philosophy or “theory” (not scientific research like the theory of evolution, more like Marxism is a theory of government, I suppose?) he calls “ethical servility.”

It is his claim to fame. Along the way, he decided home education would be fertile ground to demonstrate his “theory” if he could find some way to argue that homeschooled children were theoretically in danger of being “ethically servile” to their parents. A fate the State must “save” them from, of course. With reporting requirements and periodic testing, mandatory exposure to “public” school ideas and basic knowledge, to insure broader objectivity and socialization than an insular family might choose to provide, etc.

The problem was that he couldn’t get enough “data” on homeschooling to do the deal — his only research finding is that we have no data to demonstrate any problem — so then he apparently decided to define THAT as the problem itself, that some homeschooling kid somewhere might be ethically servile (theoretically) under the Reichian Research and we wouldn’t know about it to intervene, ergo State Action must ride to the rescue with Data Collection on All Homeschooled Children, pronto!!!!!!
Or else!!!!!!

4 02 2008

Dawn, I’ve tried publicly and seriously three different times, to get this fellow to discuss his hs “research” with me as an education academic, also as practical politics, or any combination of the two. He slides back and forth. If you ask him about the specific practical legislation he recommends from his “theory” then he says oh no, not my job, I am a political philosopher up in the rarefied unreal stratosphere and you just don’t appreciate the nuances of my brilliance. So then if you challenge him up there on the theoretical esoterics, and point out that he’s still wrong at that level, that his ethical servility idea fails to finger homeschooling as the problem and public school is much worse, hence cannot be the example of avoiding ethical servility and educating kids more broadly for life in democratic society, thinking for themselves, then he switches back to his proposed specific legislation, about what the State should require as “minimal regulations” for all homeschoolers.

It is maddening and circular and sophist, and needs to be vigorously refuted at both levels by those of us capable of doing so, apparently with a lather, rinse, repeat approach!

4 02 2008

Apple is more political, less theoretical from what I have seen of his writings. He was I think, a public school teacher and union activist, verging on Marxist? — can’t recall exactly — and he’s all about the hardball politics of the thing, unabashed about wanting to just make religious conservative homeschooling illegal, period, who cares about pretending we want freedom for all, this is about my politics WINNING!

Btw, while I despise how he uses home education freedom as his own political punching bag, let me underline that I nevertheless completely agree with most of what Apple sees as disturbing and in need of attention, such as:

I spend a good deal of time detailing the world as seen through the eyes of “authoritarian populists.” These are conservative groups of religious fundamentalists and evangelicals whose voices in the debates over social and educational policies are now increasingly powerful. I critically analyzed the ways in which they construct themselves as the “new oppressed,” as people whose identities and cultures are ignored by or attacked in schools and the media. They have taken on subaltern identities and have (very selectively) re-appropriated the discourses and practices of figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King to lay claim to the fact that they are the last of the truly dispossessed groups.

This claim to being the new oppressed has led many of them to withdraw their children from state-run institutions and embrace home schooling. Such a practice is meant to equip their children both with armor to defend what these groups believe is their threatened culture and with a set of skills and values that will change the world so that it reflects the conservative religious commitments that are so central to their lives.

What started out as movement that was made up largely by white conservative religious parents has now become one of the fastest growing educational reforms in the country. Indeed, while many educators devote a good deal of their attention to reforms such as charter schools—and such schools have received a good deal of positive press—there are many fewer children in charter schools than there are being home schooled. In 1996, home school advocates estimated that there were approximately 1.3 million children being home schooled in the United States. More recent estimates put the figure even higher. Given the almost reverential and rather romantic coverage in the national and local media of home schooling (with the New York Times and Time providing a large amount of very positive coverage, for example), the numbers may in fact be much higher than this and the growth curve undoubtedly is increasing. At the very least, more than 2.2 percent of school age children in the United States are home schooled.

My analysis of home schooling has not been positive. I warned that it was a form of “cocooning” and that it threatened to become the educational equivalent of “gated communities.” I also expressed worries about its ideological and religious commitments in which God is seen as only speaking to a very select group of people who see the entire society as largely a mission sphere. In the process, I also noted that all too much of these overall commitments seemed to be based on a clear fear of pollution, of having their children be too close to the culture and body of the “Other.”

I haven’t changed my mind about these things. . .

My ideas about how to to help education and families and kids progress beyond these problems are just diametrically opposed to his, that’s all. 🙂

4 02 2008

P.S. They both remind me of Greg Laden. He was a Harvard-educated “biological anthropologist” claiming to be objective and even favorably disposed to family freedom including home education, but in fact he was ethically servile to liberal politics as the enemy of home education freedom, and that was his decidedly anti-academic agenda all along . . .

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