If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet you might want to mosey on over to the University of Maryland’s Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly, there you will be treated to a first class example of an academic with their thinking cap screwed on just a wee bit too tightly : Robin West’s stunningly myopic essay, “The Harms of Homeschooling”. It is one of those pieces that lets my heart rest easily that homeschooling is safe — if this is an example of the argument for tighter homeschooling regulation then there is no real argument.
Just for fun, here is her list of “harms” .
- Homeschoolers are in danger of being abused with no school official present to report it. “Homeschooling, without visits or review, removes the children from the one forum in which their abuse may be identified.”
- Homeschoolers aren’t required to immunize their children.
- Schools provide unconditional love that children can’t get at home. (no, really, stop laughing, this is actually something she suggested)Here is the quote: “… although I have yet to see studies of this, a safe haven in which they are both regarded and respected independently and individually. Family love is intense, and we need it to survive and thrive. It is also deeply contingent on the existence and nature of the family ties. Children are loved in a family because they are the children of the parents in the family. The “unconditional love” they receive is anything but unconditional: it is conditioned on the fact that they are their parents’ children. School—either public or private—ideally provides a welcome respite. A child is regarded and respected at school not because she is her parent’s child, but because she is a student: she is valued for traits and for a status, in other words, that are independent of her status as the parent’s genetic or adoptive offspring. The ideal teacher cares about the child as an individual, a learner, an actively curious person—she doesn’t care about the child because the child is hers. The child is regarded with respect equally to all the children in the class. In these ways, the school classroom, ideally, and the relations within it, is a model of some core aspects of citizenship.”
- Homeschoolers are political drones that vote for people like Bush.
- Homeschool parents are authoritarian and that is bad.
- We can’t really tell what homeschoolers are learning since most aren’t tested, those who are tested are probably the “elite” of homeschooled children and some homeschoolers probably only teach their children out of the Bible or let them play video games and skateboard all day.
- Homeschool parents make more money on average than non-homeschool parents (according to USA Today) but some of them at least are homeless and have no job skills and are passing this on to their children.”The husbands and wives in these families feel themselves to be under a religious compulsion to have large families, a homebound and submissive wife and mother who is responsible for the schooling of the children, and only one breadwinner. These families are not living in romantic, rural, self-sufficient farmhouses; they are in trailer parks, 1,000-square-foot homes, houses owned by relatives, and some, on tarps in fields or parking lots. Their lack of job skills, passed from one generation to the next, depresses the community’s overall economic health and their state’s tax base.”
Seriously???? I can’t believe this thing even got published. Anyhow it is good for a laugh.