On Tuesday, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) announced a drastic turnaround on the part of the federal government: The German Romeike family, which sought asylum in the United States to home-school their children, will now be allowed to stay in America.
Let teachers assess the needs of students so that these results can tell us what we need. It is not the place of outsiders to make one-size-fits-all mandates to a world of different shapes and proportions. In doing so, they create an atmosphere where pebbles are polished and diamonds dimmed.
An anonymous teacher from Maryland who is leaving her profession because she feels education policy makes her work ineffective at best and damaging at worst, in an article tragically titled, "I would love to teach but…" (via hipsterlibertarian)
This entire essay is phenomenal. The modern education system is bankrupt practically, philosophically, and bureaucratically.
But the Harding children insist they are not geniuses. Instead, they credit their achievements to home-schooling, as well as a concentrated focus on their passions, which their parents taught them to hone in on from an early age.
Just look at that backwards, ignorant, separatist, anti-education family. They choose to indoctrinate their kids themselves, rather than let the (neutral) state do it for them.
I was watching a bit of Brannagh’s Hamlet tonight and luxuriating in the language (some of which I understood) when my dear wife asked me for my opinion: “Do you think the groundlings actually understood what was going on in those plays?”
I said I thought they did (but that’s probably a subject for another blog post).
Then she asked for another opinion: Why do you think people today can’t understand it?
I must warn you, I’m about to say something that will sound caustic. You probably want to cover your children’s ears while you read this.
Germany is a liberal democracy. Yet the actions of the state in this instance are antithetical to democratic government. The raid seems overtly harsh towards a family that—the state has already acknowledged—treats their children well. There are no allegations of abuse or neglect. According to HSLDA, the government hasn’t even claimed that the parents are providing an inadequate education.
Although the government should have the ability to monitor a child’s education, it should not control it entirely. Parental freedom and choice are also necessary and important factors in the equation—especially when a family’s ethical and religious convictions are involved. Without such educational freedoms, children truly become “prisoners of the state” and its teaching methods.
Introducing his proposals for education reform last week at the Sorbonne, the French president declared that work “must be done in the [school] facility rather than in the home if we want to support the children and re-establish equality.”
Education Minister Vincent Peillon told Le Monde, the state needs to “support all students in their personal work, rather than abandon them to their private resources, including financial, as is too often the case today.” The problem, in other words, isn’t with homework per se. It’s that some homes are more conducive to homework than others.
There’s also something unhinged about framing a strike by government employees as a “grass-roots fight against the plutocracy.” The teachers union’s adversary is the taxpayers, not just rich ones; and the victims of the strike are parents who don’t have enough money to live in the suburbs or send their children to private schools. That excludes many of the teachers themselves. As Breitbart.com’s Dana Loesch notes, a study a few years ago found 39% of Chicago Public School teachers send their own kids to private schools.
Even as the once-mighty University of California system slashes programs and raises tuition, it has created a new system-wide “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This is on top of the already enormous University of California diversity machine, which, as Heather Mac Donald notes, “includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.”
The past 40 years or so have seen an explosion in the higher education industry as colleges and universities have marketed themselves as, among other things, providers of job-hunting licenses, producers of “leaders” and sellers of indulgences for racial sins. Government subsidies have created an enormous artificial demand, driving prices higher, and the quality of education has declined as institutions came to focus on things other than the intrinsic value of learning. We are not the first to observe that this looks like another economic bubble. It would be a lovely irony if it burst during the presidency of a man who is so much a creature of the faculty lounge.
Schools are just one government institution that take on tasks for which they have no expertise or even competence.
Congress is the most egregious example. In the course of any given year, Congress votes on taxes, medical care, military spending, foreign aid, agriculture, labor, international trade, airlines, housing, insurance, courts, natural resources, and much more.
There are professionals who have spent their entire adult lives specializing in just one of these fields. The idea that Congress can be competent in all these areas simultaneously is staggering. Yet, far from pulling back — as banks or other private enterprises must, if they don’t want to be ruined financially by operating beyond the range of their competence — Congress is constantly expanding further into more fields.
Having spent years ruining the housing markets with their interference, leading to a housing meltdown that has taken the whole economy down with it, politicians have now moved on to micro-managing automobile companies and medical care.
They are not going to stop unless they get stopped. And that is not going to happen until the voters recognize the fact that political rhetoric is no substitute for competence.