If You Care About Kids and Families Present and Future, Read Today’s Paper

9 08 2009

It’s all about what we’re really teaching our kids, how we hurt them and ourselves even as we try to make their world better for them now, and them better for our world later . . .
Read the rest of this entry »

Schoolfolk Suffer From Reform Fatigue

30 07 2009

By Mary Kennedy
July 28, 2009

There used to be a saying that if you were not part of the solution, you were part of the problem. The implication was that we all, collectively, were creating the problem, and that the solution required all of us to change together.

But in education, solutions are a big part of our problem. School people are swamped by a deluge of solutions. They suffer from reform fatigue.

. . .There have always been zealous education reformers, of course. But the number and variety of helpful ideas is now so great that the solutions themselves have become Read the rest of this entry »

Homeschool Freedom Fighting: It’s So Not About the UN

12 06 2009

Homeschool advocates, please, please educate yourselves first before you “defend” homeschooling freedom in the public square, lest you make our community’s thinking skills seem inadequate and thereby bolster the regulators’ case or the standardizers’ case or the social worker-teacher union-UN case.

UN headquarters in Manhattan

UN headquarters in Manhattan

I can see this summer’s bloggery heating up for some self-righteous blood-boiling already. (Heck, Spunky never cooled off from last summer!)

So before homeschooling advocacy devolves into another long hot one of “who do they think they are?” and “you’re not the boss of me!” not likely to impress the president, the US Ed Dept or the general public with our maturity and superior educational philosophy 😉 I suggest we do our own homework, not because anyone can make us but because that’s who we think we are.

Only then can we understand, much less craft and succeed with, higher order arguments for homeschool freedom like “Government of the Gaps” or The Ethics of Teaching and Training”.

And seriously, you can’t win if you don’t enter. Ranting about something that doesn’t address the criticism or concern being leveled at us, is worse than useless. To win you have to figure out what the other side’s offense is and then engage them in a match, play by the rules of that game if you hope to ever beat them at it.

For example, if we hope to win against academic arguments, what academic ammunition options can we make and learn to use at home? (That’s kinda the whole point of home education, right?) And we need to keep that power dry — it’s important that we recognize and resist lowest-common-denominator peer pressure among ourselves (not just our kids!) as well as the cynically unhealthful doses of outrage and hysteria packaged like cheap fast food from WND and HSLDA.

Particularly this summer as anti-government rhetoric and lone wolf lunatic violence is spiking in the news cycle, thinking homeschoolers should redouble our commitment as good citizens to carefully reason our way through collegial public concerns, and thereby prove we can resist both the temptation to conflate every conversation into religious war, and to drag it down to tea party soundbites about socialism and Hitler and dark suspicions that our fellow citizens and elected leaders are conspiring to strangle homeschool parents with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Those of us who can home-educate ourselves and our families with higher quality food for thought sources than those, will enjoy the abundant fruits of higher quality critical thought at home and still have plenty to share freely with the neighbors.

As recommended introductory course material, here’s a virtual trip seven years back in time, to the beginning of the philosophical case against homeschooling and our challenges to that case. An intense and imo important discussion with Stanford philosophy professor and homeschool critic Rob Reich in August of 2002 took place on the list then known as NHEN-Legislative. That discussion Read the rest of this entry »

Why JJ Really Still Isn’t “Liberal” or a “Democrat”

8 04 2009

I just watched the new Ed Show on MSNBC, all about card check as the most important liberty in 40 years, oops, I mean the “Employee Free Choice Act” and how it’s Wall Street GREED that keeps the evil employers opposing it.

I have two words for anyone peddling that crap: Pat Tornillo. Godfather-like head of the teacher union in my large state for four decades, living large as he systematically ripped everybody off including all the other school districts really trying to work for school funding and teacher salaries, as he moaned and wailed and strongarmed and conspired in the name of the poor working teachers and the little schoolkids, meanwhile ripping us ALL off, including not just the poor working teachers but the schoolkids — and the taxpayers.

He might as well have been Bernie Madoff.

So maybe my two words should be: Bernie Madoff? Or: Power corrupts. Or as this newspaper story suggests, how about the words “Fidel Castro”! Read the rest of this entry »

School Folk Fighting for Control, Yep, Fits Right In

7 02 2009

“Perhaps the standoff should not be a surprise. Charter schools, which are publicly financed but operate independently, were founded in opposition to teachers’ unions; many of the movement’s supporters view union contracts as a fundamental flaw in public education that keeps ineffective teachers on the job.

And KIPP [Knowledge Is Power Program] like many charters, has hired teachers without traditional training and requires long hours and weekend work, usually for extra pay. . .”

With unionization heating up as the next big battle in federal politics as soon as our pesky economic crisis is addressed, this skirmish fits right in — see pro and con politics of union card check fight, and you might think the interests of you and your child to live free and peacefully don’t figure into it much, for either side.

Are public or private (government or corporate) controls on your side as an individual, or is the deeper truth that in the never-ending battles and/or collusions between them, we as self-governing individuals just keep losing, no matter which front is the news of the day?

Regulate Home Education? Yes and No

30 01 2009

From the UK Times Online business section (??) comes pro and con arguments we’ll all recognize on this side of the pond too, no doubt a bit wearily.

Here’s the nut graph imo:

It appears that the Government is not getting the answer it wants, so keeps asking the question. There is a confusion between child welfare and education.

Meanwhile another article in the same section makes it painfully clear that “Government” isn’t just asking wrong questions but lacks the right answers for child education AND welfare, of anybody’s children anywhere, anyway:

” Why . . . use physical intervention, including inflicting pain, on children so frequently? Is it as simple as poor management, or that they do not have the skills to defuse conflict and get good behaviour from the children?”

And this blogpost is interesting. Note the argument that legalese meant to mandate home educating parents will act in the interest of their own child’s welfare, can be similarly construed to make schooling parents legally responsible to save their kids from bad schools. . .

EDUCATION WEEK: No Grade Left Behind

8 01 2009

Everything you never wanted to know. . .