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Monday, November 30, 2009

More "Britiocy" from Across the Pond

Here's the latest example:
    Parents who teach their own children at home must undergo criminal records checks, say Government education inspectors.

    The estimated 40,000 parents who choose not to send their children to school should be vetted, says Ofsted [Office for Standards in Education]. It said that parents whose records throw up suspicions should be barred from teaching their own children.

With all the idiotic stories coming out of Great(?) Britain these days, I think the word "britiocy" should officially be added to our vocabulary.

5 comments:

Chris Wilde said...

Actually, if it was purely out of interest in preventing situations of child abuse, and not out of an ideological agenda against private religious education, I would accept more governmental oversight of homeschooling households. Including my own. The problem is how to consistently discern between the majority of good homeschooling situations, and the minority of bad or abusive ones. I'm not sure how to do that. It's probably impossible. Unfortunately, those who ideologically disfavor private religious education will be content to roll up innocent, well-intentioned homeschoolers in the anti-child-abuse dragnet. Those who ideologically favor homeschooling will tolerate a statistical minority of abusive and/or cultish child-rearing environments in order to preserve liberty. And there's a whole lot of gray area in between.

Lee Shelton IV said...

People tend to support things like this if they're told it's "for the children." One wonders why they don't require criminal background checks on anyone seeking to become pregnant in the first place.

But this has nothing to do with protecting kids from abuse; it's about protecting the state's monopoly on education.

Christy said...

Exactly, Lee! Also the notion that "homeschooler = abuser" is troubling as well.

Chris Wilde said...

Lee and Christy, I think I agree with your followup statements...sort of...though I'm a little bothered by a touch of hyperbole in them.

Government does indeed overstep its bounds sometimes in the name of "protecting the children," but I don't think that means (in principle) that government should not have the power of law to intervene to stop child abuse. The question is one of practice: enforcement methods and how child abuse is defined.

I suppose there must be some extremists out there that literally think "homeschooler = abuser", but I've not met one yet who admits as much. It should go without my saying so that there is a difference between the concept of "equals" and "includes". However small the number may be, it is a fact that there do exist parents who do not actually homeschool, but use homeschool status as a ruse to hide child abuse in the home. Everybody--most especially homeschoolers with a reputation to protect--should be in favor of those situations being rooted out, though there will certainly be disagreement about how and by whom, and failures of both omission and commission abound. Sadly, any deadbeat can conceive a child, and there's not much that can be done about that!

Also, unless all you want to do is preach to a conservative choir, I don't see how it's helpful to equate public education policies (as overbearing as you may perceive them to be) with a "state monopoly" on education. To quote Rush Limbaugh, "Words mean things." So, I suggest it's best when using the word "monopoly" to make sure that you're really referring to one. Though enrollment in a public institution is definitely the default path in our system, and the existence of public schools does cost tax money, I don't actually find my homeschooling and private schooling choices to be significantly impeded by the existence of the public schools or the Department of Education. Private schools are thriving everywhere I know about.

Meanwhile, I fully support laws that require kids to be educated, period. I do not have a problem with our homeschooling household being accountable to those laws, in providing simple verification that our child is being educated according to some appropriate benchmarks. I share your concern that those laws should not be inappropriately extended to force enrollment in public-only institutions, but I'm considerably less jumpy about what amounts to a real threat of that happening. In the end, I support public education because I think it is vital--moreso now than ever--that all kids receive at least a basic education, and I am not so naive as to think that all parents would do right by their kids of their own accord if education laws were simply dropped.

If it were just the three of us we were talking about, this would not be an issue. But, the world is just too full of stupid people who become stupid parents of potentially even-stupider kids. Without mandatory education as a stop-gap (and public schools to support the sheer capacity of the mandate), stupid inevitably outbreeds smart ten-to-one. How I wish that were hyperbole!

Lee Shelton IV said...

No one is saying that government should not have the power to intervene to stop child abuse. The only purpose of ANY government is to protect our God-given rights. What we're pointing out is the obvious attempt to target homeschoolers. If child abuse prevention was really the issue, why not require ALL parents to go through background checks? Why just homeschoolers? Why are those with a criminal background considered fit to have and raise children (who will be instructed by their criminal parents anyway), but not fit to teach their own children math or history?

The public schools (and many private ones) in America more closely resemble prisons than anything else, using a one-size-fits-all approach. Many even employ armed guards on campuses surrounded by fences and barbed wire. It's not surprising, however, given they are seeking to train kids to be compliant citizens rather than teaching them to live up to their full potential as individuals. Sure, you will find an exception here and there. You will even find a few teachers who actually care about educating kids. But the system itself -- with the help of the teachers unions -- is set up in such a way that direct parental control over education is discouraged if not outright attacked.

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