Monday, March 10, 2008

Education in America

Last week an appeals court in California said that Homeschooled children being taught by parents or others that are not certified teachers is illegal. This means that nearly 166,000 homeschooled students in California are in danger of being arrested for truancy, and their parents are subject to the same legal charges for not having their children under the guidance of an accredited teacher.

So how dangerous to society are homeschooling parents? How safe are children in the public education system? How do homeschool, public schools and private schools compare?

Since 1960, homeschooling has increased in tremendous numbers. There has been a growth in the homeschooling community that is unbelievable. The reasons most often given for homeschooling over public schooling is the agenda of the public schools. They have banned God from schools with the exception of the pledge of the allegiance. Public schools are accused of forcing their beliefs, or lack of beliefs on the children they are in charge both political and anti religious. The common thought is they are liberal and anti God.

Since the primary concern for children is their education let’s start with that. Homeschooled students have outperformed public education by a wide margin. They have outperformed private school students by a lower margin, but still outperformed. Colleges and Universities are looking more for homeschooled students and the reason given is their study habits. There are many web sites that will give you this information and you can get to them by googling Homeschool vs public education.

These children are being taught by their parents. Some of those parents are certified teachers. They gave up their teaching careers to teach their own children. The majority of these homeschooling parents are without teaching certificates. Not just in California, but nationwide. Yet, these students are outperforming the public education system. Given this information, can we really say that these parents who choose to educate their children at home are a danger to society and need to be removed and incarcerated?

Then there is the safety factor. We all remember Columbine and the students who died there in the shooting by two students. Since 1996 there have been numerous school shootings. Nearly every week we’re hearing that a school in some part of the country is in lockdown due to someone shooting in a school or someone spotted near a school with a gun. Try as I might, I can only remember one homeschooling situation where kids were in danger and that was the lady in Texas a few years back that drowned her five kids in the bathroom.

In the past three years we’ve heard of no less than 30 teachers sexually abusing their students and these are just the female teachers. How many homeschooled parents have you heard of sexually abusing their children?

Another argument presented by the opponents of homeschooling is the “socialization” factor. They claim that they are not dealing with the real world because they are not around others. They don’t get the activities that public schooled children get and they don’t get the diversity provided in public school.

This argument has been completely debunked in several studies. Homeschooled kids are involved in other activities in their community, and in their churches. They are subjected to a variety of people of all age ranges and it’s been discovered that homeschooled kids are able to converse with a wider age range than those in public education.

Can you name me any profession where you’re put in a group of people that are all the same age? If you work in a factory, there will be people near retirement, others with ten years experience and others that have just begun. In the office, you’ll have a wide range of ages. Even the teachers in public schools have a wide range of age groups. The teacher who taught you are still there teaching your children. The younger teachers your child has may be some day teaching your grandchildren.

Yet, in public schools, all kids are jammed together with other children that are the same age as them. Kindergartners are all five or six years old. First grade is six and seven year olds and so on. If there is an older child in the class, it’s the exception to the rule and it’s because the older child has been held back a grade. So the diversity that public schooled children get is non existant. They are with others their same age.

In the classroom, there isn’t supposed to be any socialization. The socialization the children get is on the playground, where there is virtually no supervision or if there is that supervisor is far outnumbered by the amount of children on the playground. In addition to that, the younger children in lower grades have their lunch recess at a different time than the older children. So they are separated from that diversity by their ages yet again.

However, a homeschooled student will be around more people of various ages. They aren’t all locked up in the house. They are outside playing when the public school kids come home and they play with them. They are using public libraries. They are participating in organized sporting events and many states have homeschooling associations that create sporting teams, science groups and more that compete against the public and private school systems.

Each one of the arguments against homeschooling is refuted. Homeschooling proves that accrediting teachers is not a benefit to teaching children. Public schooling has their problems. They are complaining about the lack of money. They are complaining that children are not learning and t hey spend their time blaming the parents for the children not learning or blaming the children for not having the desire to learn. Homeschooling doesn’t have that problem. In fact, homeschooling parents pay their taxes to the schools and get no benefit from those taxes and they still pay for their children’s curricula in addition to those taxes paid and you just don’t see the news stories saying that parents need more money to educate their children. You don’t see news stories complaining about the lack of education resources or that their children are just not willing to learn.

Finally, you might be interested to know that our founding fathers were homeschooled. Public education didn’t come into being until the 1850’s in Massachusetts. Our founding fathers were taught at home, or were taught by being an apprentice. I don’t think you’d find anyone, even in the public school system, who would say that our founding fathers were not intelligent.

Homeschooling is a success. Public education is becoming more and more the model for failure. Nationwide, we’re falling in math and science behind countries that don’t have indoor plumbing.

By declaring homeschooling illegal, the appeals court is saying, ‘success is not to be harnessed and exploited. It’s more important that our public school system has control over the children’. It is no wonder that public education is becoming more and more recognized as the Government Schools.

Homeschooling is a success. If our government and courts were at all concerned about the children, they would learn from the homeschooling community and try to incorporate what homeschoolers do into the public education system. Alas, with these courts and our government, what we’ll continue to hear is that we need to throw more money at the failed public education system. Homeschooled parents do more successfully with their children in 3-5 hours per day than the public education system is doing in 9 hours per day five days per week. That's a success rate to be admired, not criminalized!


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