Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
How Home-Schooling Harms the Nation

By Dlugar in Culture
Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 10:06:03 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Once upon a time, "school" was a place one spent one's leisure, away from work and away from the cares of the day, studying pursuits of the mind in order to become a well-rounded person. The "trivium" of grammar, rhetoric, and logic was taught in order to make a person "free" (as in liber). The Greek word for school, "schole", from which our own word derives, means in fact "freedom from labour; leisure, resting," etc.

What happened?


I've been reading the cover article in Time magazine about home schooling, and it makes me wonder. One of the primary questions the article poses is this: "Home schooling may turn out better students, but does it create better citizens?" Also present is the accusation that home schooling threatens the current public education system:

"Home schooling is a social threat to public education," says Chris Lubienski, who teaches at Iowa State University's college of education. "It is taking some of the most affluent and articulate parents out of the system. These are the parents who know how to get things done with administrators."

Permit me a small digression from these questions; I promise you I'll return to them in a moment. But first, I think a closer look at the current public school system in the United States is in order. How have our schools changed from the Greek "schole", and is this change for better or for worse?

First, I think it's heavily ironic that the word "schole" itself means leisure. Would any of us term our current places of education as places of rest? I doubt it. This, to me, means two things:

  1. We spend too much time at school "working" and not enough time "learning".
  2. When we do have free time or leisure, it ought to be spent in learning and in bettering ourselves, not in watching television or wasting time.

I do not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, to point fingers--I am just as guilty as anyone. But isn't it true that we should "love thinking" (philosophy), and not waste our time on more frivolous pursuits (panem et circenses)? This, however, is only tangentially related to schooling. If schooling is no longer a place of leisure and a place to love thinking, what has it become?

In past times, working individuals were trained on the job in various apprenticeships in order to become skilled in their particular craft. These apprenticeships are no longer very common--instead of apprenticing to become a computer programmer or a doctor or a lawyer, what do you do now? You go to school. That is one of the big roles that the public schools have usurped; they are now trade schools and preparations for such schools.

This is not inherently bad, I suppose, but what of the trivium? Is it no longer considered important? Grammar has all but been dropped from school curriculum. Rhetoric is perhaps taught in high schools or in collegiate courses, and most often studied rather than practice; the study of logic has had a similar fate. I do not understand why these have been so neglected. Do we consider them to be subimportant? Another interesting irony in etymology appears: our word "trivial" comes directly from the Latin "trivium"--because the trivium was so basic and so commonplace, it eventually came to mean commonplace, vulgar, unremarkable--now used of things less weighty than grammar, rhetoric, and logic. Are they now so trivial as to be neglected entirely?

Since the trivium is not taught, what has taken its place? The "trade school" idea has not completely taken over. The basic core of public schooling is usually considered "reading, writing, and arithmetic". But does it take six to twelve years to teach these basic skills?

John Taylor Gatto (1991 New York State Teacher of the Year) doesn't think so--and offers a rather sinister explanation for the current curriculum. He states very clearly:

It only takes about 50 contact hours to transmit basic literacy and math skills well enough that kids can be self-teachers from then on. The cry for "basic skills" practice is a smokescreen behind which schools pre-empt the time of children for twelve years and teach them ...

And teach them what? A series of lessons that "is an essential support system for a vision of social engineering that condemns most people to be subordinate stones in a pyramid that narrows to a control point as it ascends," says Gatto. "Compulsory schooling was the secret Plato reluctantly transmitted in the Republic when he laid down the plans for total state control of human life." Gatto outlines six lessons which he says are "training for permanent underclasses, people who are to be deprived forever of finding the center of their own special genius." Perhaps I'm just cynical, but what he outlines does sound a lot like my public school experiences. Please read the remainder of his article--it is far too interesting to pass up, and far too long to summarize here.

Could it be that our public school system is--through inadvertence, malice, or simple misunderstanding--a place to "replace community, family, and church with propaganda, education, and mass media"? I am not certain it is so, but it certainly is a frightening proposition. Is the business of schooling really so devious? It is no surprise to any of us that the economy of the United States is firmly based on consumerism--that is to say, things are made to wear out. You buy a pen or a watch or even a camera or a lamp with the expectation that it will wear out in a year or two. Corporations obviously have a vested interest in keeping consumerism alive and well, and in fact have been the driving force behind it. Even George Bush (Sr.) has said "the American way of life is not negotiable." Anything besides rampant consumerism would hurt our economy. But is this what we want for our kids?

So, back to my original questions: does home schooling create better citizens? Is home schooling a social threat to public education?

Home schooling isn't the only possible escape that I see--small, de-institutionalized schools or a free-market school system are two others--and each have flaws and drawbacks. But in a word, I think home schooling has the opportunity to do a better job of leaving children with free-thinking skills and a love of learning. These obviously create horrible citizens, since the "hidden curriculum" of public schooling gives us citizens who are already well-trained in subordination and dependency, with the dangerous free-thinking and leadership skills suppressed and damaged. Not only does home schooling turn out inferior citizens and harm public schools, but--without the daily lessons of consumerism and the unsurpassed value of money--it is harmful to our economy as well.

Have I just become warped and cynical? Or is there some semblance of truth in all this? Please, share the stories of your own schooling experiences. Remember what Mark Twain said, "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." Has your schooling interfered, helped or hindered, or been the sole source of the important things you've learned in this life? And is there any hope of changing it?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
I do most of my important "learning" ...
o At an organized school of some sort. 13%
o At home by myself. 57%
o At home with the help of others. 6%
o On the job or at work. 18%
o Huh? TV Rules. Is "Survivor" on yet? 4%

Votes: 121
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o cover article in Time magazine
o John Taylor Gatto
o sinister explanation
o his article
o "replace community, family, and church with propaganda, education, and mass media"
o business of schooling
o consumeris m
o the driving force
o this what we want for our kids
o Also by Dlugar


Display: Sort:
How Home-Schooling Harms the Nation | 215 comments (211 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Hrm... (3.16 / 18) (#1)
by Electric Angst on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:23:08 PM EST

Another "School create slaves" rant. Interesting. Especially considering my own personal experience of school being the place to go to get drugs, sex, and general other means of subversion against the conservative community in which I was raised.

The way I see it, school are important, for one particular reason, you have to learn how to interact with other people. True, there are times in which education and schooling are seperate entities, but without spending the time around other people that you get in schools, especially considering that isolated nature of the suburban communities that a majority of USians live in, all the knowledge in the world isn't going to make up for a basic inablilty to function around others.
--
I fly the UN Flag.

How to interact with people (3.33 / 6) (#4)
by Dlugar on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:31:29 PM EST

So what you're saying is, to make up for our isolated suburban communities that are too dysfunctional to actually spend time together, we ought to farm the kids out to a building under the guise of "education" for 8+ hours a day so that they learn how to socialize?

I agree with the problem, but I don't see public schools as being a decent solution.


Dlugar

[ Parent ]
My observation of home schoolers says... (4.20 / 5) (#15)
by elenchos on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 08:44:57 PM EST

...they are damn well adjusted. I don't think they have exactly the brash, self-centered persona that we see in TV personalities or anything, but that doesn't mean home-schooled kids are anti-social. On the contrary, they have excellent empathic skills and seem to both listen and speak with an air of gravitas that is highly respectable. I think more people like them would be an improvement in our society.

The threat of home schooling is that it can serve as one more excuse to leave public schools underfunded, and more reason to claim that child rearing and education is all in the hands of the parents. Therefore poor school districts turn out poorly educated kids because of the parents' defects, not the school's.

The answer, I think, is to say that while the few families that have the ability and means to home school are lucky and their kids will do well, that is no reason to turn our backs on our schools. Those parents least able to home school are the very ones most in need of a quality public school system, funded in a progressive manner.

Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong, he was arrested one fine morning.
--Franz Kafka
[ Parent ]

good call (5.00 / 2) (#44)
by 3pennyTroll on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 04:39:23 AM EST

The answer, I think, is to say that while the few families that have the ability and means to home school are lucky and their kids will do well, that is no reason to turn our backs on our schools.

Yes, that is absolutely correct. Education is recognized as one of the better, least invasive forces for equality in society. The assumption is that it equips rich and poor alike with an equal opportunity for parity and social mobility. If the public school system is allowed to degenerate, then the children of parents who are either rich or smart or both will sucessfully institute an unholy alliance between meritocracy and plutocracy (by design or inertia.)

So home schooling is a threat to democracy. Generally, all forms of inquality are a threat to democracy.

[ Parent ]

Good questions (3.71 / 7) (#2)
by rebelcool on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:28:52 PM EST

The office girl at my place of work is about 16, and is home-schooled.

She's nice, and has fine social skills. But what she lacks is in writing and spelling. It's absolutely atrocious. If she didn't have spell-check, should would never make it.

Is it because shes homeschooled (and has been all her life?). Hard to say. I would say I've got fairly good spelling from the rigorous spelling tests and vocabulary training through years of public school, but also my parents snapping at me if I misspelled something.

I believe (someone here homeschooled correct me on this) that theres usually a neighborhood association of homeschooled children, which meet often and let their kids socialize with one another.

What about clubs and other extracurricular activities? While I realize there are some sports clubs that non-school related, the vast majority of activities are based in the schools.

Also, how hard is it to get into college? How do colleges honor the credits (or lack thereof) required to get in?

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

There's irony for you... (5.00 / 3) (#13)
by kaemaril on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 07:36:59 PM EST

It's absolutely atrocious. If she didn't have spell-check, should would never make it.

This, of course, is a classic example of why one should never put one's faith completely in "spell-check" ;)


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
doh. (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by rebelcool on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:29:40 AM EST

haha. i never use spell-check anyway, now if only there was a general 'makes-sense' check...

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

general 'makes-sense' check (none / 0) (#50)
by wiredog on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 08:44:38 AM EST

Well, there is the 'preview' button...

Not that I always use it, either.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]

i did preview (none / 0) (#84)
by rebelcool on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:21:37 AM EST

but as everyone knows, proofreading what you write yourself you tend to skip over mistakes like that.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

false (2.25 / 4) (#26)
by Mad Goose on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 10:35:21 PM EST

I believe (someone here homeschooled correct me on this) that theres usually a neighborhood association of homeschooled children, which meet often and let their kids socialize with one another.

This is false. I was home schooled, and while there were things like that, I largely wasn't interested.


-------------------------------------------
How do you know this post isn't the result of a drunken bet?

Discworld "Map":
"There are no maps. You can't map a sense of humor."
-Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]
Huh ? (4.33 / 3) (#51)
by retinaburn on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 08:46:09 AM EST

How is it false ?

You state that such things did exist but you simply didn't attend. This in fact means that the statement was correct.

Home skuling wins again !

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
Bah! (5.00 / 3) (#39)
by mold on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:10:27 AM EST

Spelling has little to do with your type of schooling. Just read hope you never have to read an email from me someday ;-)

While I seriously doubt that there are neighborhood associations in common practice, I do know that social events are easy to get into. If they're school based, it really doesn't matter. The student has the legal right to join activities, and most take this up, at the local school. And this isn't only for home school students. I go to a private school. We don't have a wrestling team. If I, for some unknown and bizarre reason, decided that I wanted to be on one, the local public school would have to take me in on it's team (assuming I made the cut, which I wouldn't ;-).

A lot of home school kids are way more involved socially than public school kids for the sheer fact that their parents are more involved and know what they (the students) are doing, and public school kids (private, too), frankly, don't.

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
Hmm. I'm not so sure (none / 0) (#45)
by FeersumAsura on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:50:40 AM EST

I wasn't homeschooled, I went to a normal school and got preety good grades. While I was in school I always had a higher than expected reading age. However, my spelling is incredibly bad as is my grammer, most of the time.
Maybe she's just dyslexic (now that's a bugger for dyslexics to spell).

[ Parent ]
Yes homeschool families get together (none / 0) (#66)
by Hefty on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:09:31 AM EST

My Brother and Sister in law have about Six kids -- all girls. They are devout Catholics and choose not to immunize their children and also homeschool. Mind you I don't really poke around in there business to much. But from what I gather is that yes they meet with other families at their church that are into home schooling. They all work together and help eachother with teaching and crafts. They go on field trips and stuff, so there is a bit of interaction.

[ Parent ]
School sports (none / 0) (#114)
by Chris K on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:47:00 PM EST

As far as sports go, there has been a controversy regarding just that here in Illinois. Schools here are funded almost entirely through property taxes, and judges have repeatedly said that home-schoolers can join in school sports because of that. However, the schools see this as a problem. They say that they do not know if the student is elegible grade wise to play, which I see as a scam to keep the home-schoolers out. But that does not mean it doesn't happen, so there ARE sports for these children.
duxup: I think people who give should be hunted down and hugged. (IRC)
[ Parent ]
Info (none / 0) (#148)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:21:52 PM EST

As far as spelling/grammar goes, these subjects are not taught very much in public schools anymore, nor is reading, so homeschooling is not necessarily a handicap in this instance.

Yes, communities frequently have homeschooling groups, which usually fill both social and educational functions.

Top colleges are actively recruiting homeschoolers. I have an article about this, which I will post with a list of other interesting links later on, as they need organizing first. Homeschooled are considered by such colleges as Stanford and Harvard to be more self-confident, better educated, and more creative thinkers than their public schooled peers.

[ Parent ]

Education or learning? (3.66 / 3) (#3)
by angelwings on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:30:44 PM EST

If home schooling encourages the love of learning and creates individuals,it must have some positive points. I have been teaching in universities for around 10 years and am quite disillusioned by the number of students that I have taught who are only interested in passing an exam and not in learning. Where is their love of learning? What has gone wrong?

One disadvantage I can see to home schooling is to whether it produces individuals who have social skills and can interact with others. In Britain (where I am from although currently living in Sweden), there have been children of maybe 12 years old who have been schooled at home and then gone to university who seem to know nothing but the particular subject(s) they have been brainwashed in. They seem more like computers programmed by their parents than well-rounded individuals. Then again, does the school system produce individuals who are well-rounded?


Angelwings

it wasnt better in the past, either. (4.40 / 5) (#7)
by rebelcool on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:46:59 PM EST

Given that more people than ever attend college now, its a great deal more competitive for getting in.

While there is alot of educational apathy, at most institutions these days there is something of a higher-than-average drive to succeed academically, when compared to the rest of the population.

The one great lack of homeschooling I can see is the utter lack of non-worldly experience. If you do socialize with others, its generally of those from your own neighborhood. People exactly like you basically. When you get to the university, you will see people of different races/cultures/sexualities that you never dealt with.

Though this still occurs to an extent with suburban highschool, there is generally a little bit more diversity (unless you live in a really small town...). When I came to UT (50,000+ student body) I came from an enormous high school of over 5000 students. I wasnt overwhelmed by anything here. But I can see someone who did all their learning at home, and their socializing with the neighbors can get lost in the system. Especially when the system used to be merely your parents and not faceless beauracrats.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

RE: Love of learning (4.50 / 2) (#59)
by mrgoat on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:37:03 AM EST

I went to high school in a fairly well off town in the U.S. One thing they do the least here, (or did in my school) is to try to instill a love of learning. The lesson implicit in the teaching methods (save one or two of those rare teachers that really cared about teaching) was always that learning is a chore, and that you really aren't supposed to enjoy it.

Really, how much would you love algebra after doing the same problem 50-75 times a night? (ok, I'll admit, there were a few different numbers. Same form.) Then a week later, you "learn" how to deal with a different form of equation. All this after the teacher had supposedly equipped you with the tools (i.e. knowledge) necessary to manipulate those equations to your heart's content.

In one of my high school english classes, we read Animal Farm. But we didn't discuss the social ramifications, the author's motivations, the political landscape at the time or its writing, all the things that made the book worth reading and examining.

We read half of Brave New World in that same class. Half. IMO, you can't just read half a book. I asked for an explanation. Turns out the second half of the book dealt with topics that just weren't in the curriculum. (I'll admit, I didn't care enough to read the whole thing on my own. I think I was working on Les Miserables at the time, outside of class, of course.)

Discussions were totally inadequate in all but the "advanced placement" classes. Thought invoking questions were not asked by the teachers. Arguments for and against various opinions were not supported, or even constructed. Of course, it was a rare day indeed when an opinion was voiced by anyone in a classroom!

This is where your "love of learning" went. Loving learning is something you gain on your own, seemingly against the wishes of the school system. There's just not enough people learning to love learning on their own to fill universities.

Years later, I love learning, as long as I'm not doing it in a classroom.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

The bottom line (2.50 / 14) (#5)
by ucblockhead on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:41:11 PM EST

You can say education today is worthless, or "indoctrination", but one thing must never be forgotten:

Educated people in this country earn significantly more money and live significantly longer then uneducated people.

Given that, you do people no favors by convincing them that the should opt out, or worse yet (much, much worse), opting out for their children, who are not yet mature enough to make an informed choice in the matter.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

The question wasn't... (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 11:34:17 PM EST

... to educate or not. It was about how best to educate.

So your point about educated people making more and living longer is beside the point. Do you have any information comparing the various earnings potientials of those educated in the ways that were discussed? That would actually be on topic.

Good day.



[ Parent ]

The difference a decade makes (4.81 / 16) (#9)
by slick willie on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:53:19 PM EST

Back in my college days, I thought that there was nothing better than the public school system. I felt that I was a product of the system, and could be held up as an example of what the system could do. In fact, my wife was a teacher, and we believed in the system.

Now that we have children, we are seriously considering home schooling them, where we would have never considered it before, and, in fact were square against it. She had to deal with some products of home schooling, and found them to be rather difficult and maladjusted. However, the parents were the same way, so it wasn't much of a surprise.

The problem is two-fold. A large number of parents see the school system as a free baby-sitting service, and treat it as a surrogate parent. This type of parent won't spend the time to instill a work ethic into the child, and fobs that responsibility on the school. The school, however, doesn't have any teeth to enforce discipline anymore. Corporal punishment? No way -- that's child abuse.

The second prong of the problem is in our "let's all feel good about ourselves or else we'll sue" society, is that excellence, is almost actively discouraged. I bet a lot of K5 readers were hated in school because they were the ones who "blew the curve" for the teachers who graded on the curve. Well, now, we can't make the people who get "F's" feel bad, so we get grade inflation. C students are getting A's, and why?

Recently, in California, I think it was, they found that the vast majority of 4th graders fell below 60% on a reading comprehension test, which by state standards was a failing grade. Their solution? You guessed it -- they lowered the minimum passing grade to get more kids to pass. (I'm looking for a link...)

I refuse to let myself, or my children, be held to a lower standard. I'm not going to sacrifice their intelligence and curiosity at the altar of making other kids feel good about themselves. If they are capable of understanding Algebra when they are 9 or 10, I am going to teach them, and encourage them to take themselves as far as they can go.

As far as social skills, I'm not worried about that a bit. There are a number of like-minded individuals who have kids the same age as I do, they can play together and be just fine. Further, I'll put my bottom dollar that you'll find these kids more polite and respectful than any run-of-the-mill slacker today. Not only that, they will be able to construct complete sentences, and grammatically correct to boot. (Unlike their old man.)

I don't think that this promotes bad citizenship. One of the things I believe, and act on, is that you are part of the community and the world around you, and that you need to participate. You need to vote, you need to take part in a service organization or a charity. My kids will learn this, and they will know this.

They will also know that there are things such as "right" and "wrong" and that sometimes, it isn't worth the time to even stop and care what someone else might be "feeling."

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

Home schooling and the net. (3.75 / 8) (#11)
by xj479 on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 07:07:44 PM EST

During my sophomore year of highschool I attended class for roughly 12, out of 30 scheduled, hours per week. Spending most of that free time at home surfing the web (what little there was of it back then), I learned more essential trivium that year than I did in the fully attended remainder of my highschool career.

There is just something so infuriatingly wrong with forcing a student to spend a large portion of their time reading John Knowles, at the pace of the stuttering kid in the back row, along with the rest of the class when the student could very well be reading Dostoyevsky and chanllenging their intellect (not my situation, just an example).

It would be one thing if students were allowed to excel after completing the required assignment, but sadly, that is not often the case. Try doing an activity on your own while the class/group is doing another (that doesn't require your presence) and you're singled out for lack of participation and sent to the administration.

Take a look at the elementary and high school curricula... is there not an underlying theme of utilitarianism/consumerism? The emphasis needs to be moved from rote memorization to comprehending the structure of underlying theories.

Ahh yes (4.66 / 3) (#63)
by mrgoat on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:52:41 AM EST

I remember sitting and listening to the stuttering kid in the back stumble through the protagonists name for the 30th time, remember the hideously slow 10 pages/45 minutes of reading aloud pace, and I remember the lack of discussion that went on about the books. I also remember ignoring the class, finishing the book, and taking out a better one. Oh yeah, I remember getting it trouble for it too. /me sighs [sarcastically]wistfully. I remember those days.

Either the whole point of the public education system is to make good little consumers or the point is to educate, and they're just doing a really shitty job.

By educate, I mean instill methods of individual thought and reasoning, not merely the aquisition of facts.

Man, am I glad I don't have to listen to some dumb kid named Phil sound out every word on the page phonetically anymore.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Critical Thinking (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by Hefty on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:44:08 AM EST

I do agree that I felt held back by the slower learning pace of some students in class. Which therefore made me get bored and made it easier to get distracted. However, I do recall about my 7th grade year in Texas the teachers started making a big deal about critical thinking skills. Requiring that we provide more thought out answers to quiz questions and test questions then just your standard multiple guess. I remember they made a big deal about critical thinking for like three years of my schooling. But then the whole idea of critical thinking essay questions pretty much dissappeared and everything went back to your standard regurgitated material.

[ Parent ]
where to begin (4.00 / 10) (#12)
by Sikpup on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 07:21:08 PM EST

My public school experience was all in California. The school district was in a very wealthy community, with adequate money available. However most of the money was wasted on administration, and the quality of the schools abysmal. Sending a child to one of these schools can only be described a child abuse.

The entire system is set up by formula, everyone moves along at the set pace. Those who try to go too fast a disciplined, those who go too slow set the new pace. Everyone is at the mercy of the vermin in the teacher/administrator union, whose sole concern is more money.

I can go on forever ranting about the pathetic condition of the California public school system, and shudder to think how those who are not as fortunate managed to get any education at all.

Personally, I will never allow my children (when I get to that stage) to go to a CA public school. If private schools are not available, then it may have to be home schooling. Sending them somewhere to be held back by the lowest common denominator is not an option.



Some schools are good, some are bad (3.88 / 9) (#14)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 07:56:06 PM EST

Same goes for students. Which is why I look on this quote as suspicious: "It only takes about 50 contact hours to transmit basic literacy and math skills well enough that kids can be self-teachers from then on."

I seriously doubt the practicality of the approach implied by this. First, we have the motivation factor--not all kids want to learn. If you've ever seen actual children (that is, outside of a Public Service Announcement) you know this is true.

Second, we have the directional problem--what if all little Susie will study is French Impressionism? Sure, she's a fantastic art historian, but what literature does she know about and can she balance her checkbook or apply the scientific method?

Third, has anyone here tried to actually teach themselves anything? I don't mean something relatively simple like "Introduction to Java" but something difficult and lengthy like (to non-randomly pick a subject) physics? I'm doing OK (see my diary for details), but I started with more than "basic literacy and math skills"--I started with 16 years of education. And I have teachers (you people and the rest of the Internet) to fall back on. Teachers can guide a student past hurdles and help them gain insight. And teachers need a support system. And that support system needs to be fair and therefore standardized. And funded. Pretty soon you've re-invented public school.

That's not to say public school as it exists now is optimum for it's stated or even hidden goals. But I don't think it's necessary to attribute maliciousness or even negligence to the system. Just subpar performance inherent in any aging system that is being pounded on without any upgrades.

Nor is "home-schooling vs public school" a valid dichotomy. There's private school--is *that* a threat to public school? Better yet, there's some kind of modified system where parents gasp supplement and assist with the school curriculum. That's right. Find out what your child is supposed to be learning and help them with it. If it is math skills, have them figure out unit prices at the grocery store. If science ask them questions like "where do you think all the insects go during the winter?" If literature, ask them if Tom Sawyer and Pippi Longstocking would get along or not. Don't have the knowledge to do this yourself. Well, apparently you can gain it if you have "basic literacy and math skills".

Everybody agrees that "real world application" is the best way to learn. But why are we so focussed on providing those applications at school. Instead of making school more like home, make home more like school. It's also a great way to overcome (the US's) anti-intellectualism.

Play 囲碁
Self-teaching (3.50 / 2) (#17)
by Dlugar on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 08:53:44 PM EST

The original quote referred simply to "reading, writing, and arithmetic", not more complex subjects like Physics or French Impressionism. The "three Rs" can be taken care of in approximately 50 contact hours, leaving the rest of time spent with teachers learning the physics or French paintings.


Dlugar

[ Parent ]
Physics (4.50 / 2) (#38)
by mold on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:58:08 AM EST

Physics isn't really a complicated subject. Many people believe that is should be one of the first sciences taught (my physics teacher went on about this a lot), as it is the basic science upon which all other sciences build upon. All you really need math-wise is basic algebra, and you can get the essentials (Equiv of a Physics 1 course). =)

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
Say it Louder! (none / 0) (#145)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:05:33 PM EST

Physics (and other sciences) should be taught to little kids much, much more than they currently are. I have worked a lot as a day care teacher and have found that little kids, unless they have been stifled, are endlessly curious about the world around them and pick up basic scientific concepts very easily. This does not have to be textbook science with labs, necessarily. For example, I have never met a kid who wouldn't cook eight days a week if allowed. What scientific concepts can be taught through cooking? Raise tadpoles. Don't be grossed out by anything-kids will think up some doozies. Learn about spiders, bats, etc., instead of screaming when you see one. Pass the info on to your kid. As a serendipitous result, your kid who knows how the world around him works and is allowed to experiment will be much less likely to be afraid of the natural things that kids are commonly afraid of.

[ Parent ]
integration (none / 0) (#203)
by Luyseyal on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 03:43:22 PM EST

Yeah, we do that at home. Heh, my favorite example is when I explained to my five year old that the sun is going to swallow up the earth a few billion years from now. He cried himself to sleep. Numbers of years in the future don't matter when faced with the inevitable mortality of all you know.

But anyhow, he does go to public school. They have a "go over the syllabus" night for parents and his teacher also hands out a list of the things they're working on each week. Not all public schools are bad.

This week concerns the letter 'O'. So on the way back from his mom's, we went over words that start with O and ones that just contain it somewhere in the middle or at the end. We talk about all sorts of things and I ask him all sorts of random questions. Nope, I don't get to design the curriculum, but that doesn't keep me from participating in the process, directly or indirectly. The PTA sent out a 40 page list of volunteer opportunities for interested and able parents.

All children are different and just because you haven't met one that thinks cooking is boring doesn't mean they don't exist. Furthermore, they all have differing needs, some of which are better met away from mom and/or dad. I'm no party line public school defender, but in the absence of a better balance of priorities, public schooling fits our current situation the best. I'm not gonna speak for anyone else on this issue.

-l

[ Parent ]
Change in the US larger than just this... (5.00 / 4) (#47)
by Sawzall on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 08:09:57 AM EST

simple issue of home schooling. My Grandfather was home-schooled. He just did it later than others. He was an orphan at 5 and school was never really an option for him (this was 1922).

So as my mother went to school, he learned along with her. Devoted untold hours to working with his children with their homework. He was a laborer - he worked his body 10 hard hours a day - but still came home and did homework. So that by the time my Mother had graduated from high school two years ahead of schedule, he had gained an education too. Sure, he was a smart man, but he learned reading, math and many other skills. He missed some of the BS facts that we are tested on in school, but he was educated.

My Grandfather was not the exception for the time - he was much more the rule for children of the Depression. This occured all over the world as the world was in the same shape. It still continues in many places today.

So the fuck up here is not schools, or government, but us. We look at learning differently now - hey man, I am done. And this value is of course reflected in our schools. If you have the values that my Grandfather did, your childred will become educated no matter if they attend public, private or are home schooled.

[ Parent ]

Say it Louder (none / 0) (#146)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:07:11 PM EST

Physics (and other sciences) should be taught to little kids much, much more than they currently are. I have worked a lot as a day care teacher and have found that little kids, unless they have been stifled, are endlessly curious about the world around them and pick up basic scientific concepts very easily. This does not have to be textbook science with labs, necessarily. For example, I have never met a kid who wouldn't cook eight days a week if allowed. What scientific concepts can be taught through cooking? Raise tadpoles. Don't be grossed out by anything-kids will think up some doozies. Learn about spiders, bats, etc., instead of screaming when you see one. Pass the info on to your kid. As a serendipitous result, your kid who knows how the world around him works and is allowed to experiment will be much less likely to be afraid of the natural things that kids are commonly afraid of.

[ Parent ]
book smart (2.20 / 10) (#16)
by sneakcjj on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 08:46:37 PM EST

Being home schooled can make you book smart, but not being in the social environment of a proper school (public or private) really hurts you.

Home school students are VERY sheltered. Isn't the battle cry of the day "diversity"? I can't imagine how someone who is taught at home will come in contact with other cultures. Home schooling can also be VERY VERY biased (more so than proper schools) since you are only getting the point of view of your teacher (usually the parents).

I can't think of anyone famous who was a home school student. Not that being famous or holding a high rank in a major corporation is a major indicator, but doesn't it say something?

Famous Home-Schoolers (4.72 / 11) (#18)
by Dlugar on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 09:10:14 PM EST

I spent thirty seconds with Google and came up with a few. I don't know how much Hanson counts, but how about:

  • Francis S. Collins
    (head of the public portion of the Human Genome Project)
  • George Washington
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Thomas Edison
  • Booker T. Washington
  • John Marshall
  • Charles Dickens
  • Agatha Christie
  • C. S. Lewis
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Clara Barton

Anyway, there are plenty. And although being sheltered is a danger of being home-schooled, I promise you that not all of them are.


Dlugar

[ Parent ]
Another Famous Person Who Was Also Home-Schooled (3.00 / 3) (#23)
by rajivvarma on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 09:49:49 PM EST

Hello:

Don't forget about John Stuart Mill.

http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/m/milljs.htm
http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/m/milljs.htm
Rajiv Varma
Mirror of DeCSS.

[ Parent ]
Well, that's the idea (4.80 / 5) (#20)
by slick willie on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 09:37:02 PM EST

Home schooling can also be VERY VERY biased (more so than proper schools) since you are only getting the point of view of your teacher (usually the parents).
And the public schools are no better? And what determines a "proper" school to you? A proper school, to my way of thinking, is one that takes a child and, in the end, produces a productive, responsible member of society.

I don't want my children to go to "mandatory diversity training." They will know to respect other people without giving any thought to skin color, religion, hair length, or what-have-you. If someone suggests to them otherwise, they will shake their heads in disbelief, because, why would someone think otherwise?

For the element that wonders how we became a nation of mediocrity, I ask, "Have you pulled your head out of your fundus and looked around?" We pass kids who are failing so that their self-esteem doesn't get shattered. We lower standards when kids aren't living up to them. Self-esteem? How about that nice warm feeling you get from doing a job well, and know that you earned the promotion? That would do more for someone's self-esteem than bringing them along so they don't feel bad.

The United States is a nation that went from horse and buggy to the moon in less than a century. Now, we're a nation who doesn't want to take any risks for fear we'll offend the Chinese, or the Russians or whoever.

This actually made the news: a poll taken in Europe found that most western Europeans disapprove of President Bush, because they fear that he is only acting in the best interst of the United States. Why should this be news? Why should anyone care? And not only that, it's his job to act in the best interest of the United States. I find it somewhat akin to a poll being taken at General Motors, and find that they disapprove of Jacque Nasser (CEO of Ford). Who cares? This is what kids are learning in school: don't stand up for yourself, unless you have a consensus, and have made sure that you conform to the rules of mandatory diversity.

Not that being famous or holding a high rank in a major corporation is a major indicator, but doesn't it say something?
Not really, especially since it is a blanket statement with no proof whatsoever to back it up. The home school movement is still in its nascent stage. We really won't see the effects for some years yet.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]
Resident Bush (1.23 / 13) (#30)
by wierdo on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 11:48:02 PM EST

I know it's off topic, and un-original to boot but:

This actually made the news: a poll taken in Europe found that most western Europeans disapprove of President Bush, because they fear that he is only acting in the best interst[sic] of the United States.

You have apparently confused the current resident of the White House for his father, who truly did, and deserved to, carry the title "President of the United States." In the future, you should refer to George W. Bush as "Resident Bush," as that reflects his proper title. One must either have held a position and succeeded an elected President or been elected oneself to earn the title "President."

And no, having the SC steal an election doesn't count. Last I checked, it's not up to the Federal SC how the votes get counted in each individual state, or at least it wasn't until last year.

Sometimes I think we need to replace the sixteenth amendment with something that doesn't have as many unintended side effects as a monkey coding C.

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
Just one issue...going OT here (3.33 / 3) (#78)
by TheCaptain on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:58:05 AM EST

In the vast majority recounts using even the most conservative methods (the ones that would have been likely to benefit Gore), he won.

For an interesting thought, look at a map of all of the counties in the U.S. and which one's were for Gore and which ones were for Bush. Heck... here it is. Popular vote indeed. I won't even go into the illegal convict votes that were mostly for Gore, or the dead people who voted, or the illeged incident that homeless people were being given cigarettes to go cast a vote for Gore. SOME Liberals can be just as rabid as SOME conservatives are.

With that being said...I don't love everything Bush does either...although I think he's done a decent job all in all. I think he's proven to be pretty reasonable on alot of issues...or at least alot more reasonable than people were guessing he'd be.

[ Parent ]
Get that social education in college. (3.00 / 1) (#170)
by sopwath on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:34:26 PM EST

You'll meet more people there, there is a wider variety of people, and you can cut out some of the crap you get in K-12. Colleges are usually bigger because students come from, at the least, a wider geographical area. (instead of just thier district) Even at my little community college there are plenty of forien students.
I remember thinking that I'd actually learn some neat physics in my advanced class, instead I got a nice liberal speech (everyday for half the semester) about how women and minorities had it rough because they weren't taking enough advanced physics classes. What a waste of time! The white males in the class got screwed because we weren't learning physics. The women and minorities were getting screwed because they weren't learning physics.


I still have to put up with very left-wing teachers, but at least I have the ability to disagree with them and not get sent to the principal's office. In that particular physics class, after 2 weeks of crap I asked what it had to do with physics and I got in trouble for thinking again.

I would rather prepare my child for the book smarts part of college than the social aspects. I would rather have my child learn actual problem solving skills than have their abilities wasted on a system that just tries to find a lowest common denominator. I'd rather they learn problem solving skills than learning how to tell others how they feel. :|


good luck,
sopwath


Graduation, Sleep, Life: Pick Two
[ Parent ]
My homeschooling neighbors. (4.57 / 14) (#19)
by Apuleius on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 09:27:04 PM EST

For a few months I lived next to a family of homeschooling Mennonites. After they moved out the new neighbors were also homeschoolers, of the generic Christian variety. I observer a few things this way: 1. The kids were sheltered. But the kids knew they were sheltered, and they knew some of what they were being sheltered against. They knew for example, that the outside world is more vulgar than home. They knew what the Anglo Saxon vulgarities were. They also knew that their parents weren't trying to keep them from knowing what "shit" means, only from hearing it day in, day out. 2. The kids were reasonably educated. 3. They were polite.

But there were some memes they were indeed not picking up: They were not picking up the notion, from both school and from the surrounding culture, that they had more in common with people their age than with the rest of humanity. They were not learning how important it is to have the right clothes to be with the in crowd, and the girls among them were not learning that they had to put out or play the clique political games of school. So, arguably, homeschooling gives better socialization than public schooling.

The downside of course is the difficulty of gauging the success of home schooling come college application season. But there are ways of dealing with that. After all, a public school GPA is utterly meaningless, too. Now, as the the argument that parents have a duty to send their kids to public school for the common good, it deserves no respect at all. If I have a kid, my duty is to see that he has the best education I can arrange, and the common good bedamned. It is not my duty to send my kid to public school just to make the statistics look good. It is not my duty to send my kid to public school so he can be used to spur other students. My duty is to give my kid the best education I can. If that means public schooling, then that is what I will do.




There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
My experience is the opposite (4.50 / 2) (#129)
by big hairy mama on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:44:24 PM EST

Yes, homeschooled kids are very polite, smart, and in general probably get a better education than they could in public school (assuming of course that their parents know enough about the subject manner to teach it). Yes, they are sheltered. And no, I do not think that it is a good thing.

Through my highschool years (I'm now in college), I have met several kids who were homeschooled up until sixth to eighth grade. Let me tell you, they were *wierd*. They did not fit in. They dressed funny and acted funny. And (most detrimentally), they could not handle any kind of stressful situation, such as a big test or meeting new friends.

I have two cousins who are homeschooled - they live in Colerado in a small town at about 8500ft altitude. They are the wierdest of all. One, who is 15 now, still wets the bed, has literally zero friends, and plays with Star Wars toys all day long. Granted, he obviously has other problems (namely the fact that his parents do not pressure him into learning at all (he didn't know how to spell his name until a few years ago)).

Also, I dated a girl who was homeschooled until seventh grade, and then later dumped her because she couldn't handle the idea of socializing with people or being intimate with someone. No, that does not mean I dumped her cuz she wouldn't sleep with me - even the act of holding hands scared her.

So in summary, it seems to me that, so long as a child's parents are just as or more qualified than real teachers, they can indeed get a better education than other children. But, despite the extra morals and religion they may recieve during their life at home without significant interaction with those "bad kids" (ie., the rest of the population), they are like a fish out of water as soon as they move out from their shelter.

Maybe they grow out of the effect during their 20's, I don't know...

Furthermore, I believe bacon prevents hair loss.
[ Parent ]
Why Home Schooling? (4.50 / 6) (#21)
by WombatControl on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 09:38:00 PM EST

I attended public schools for K-12 in the US. (Although had I not moved before High School I would have gone to private school - the school I would have gone to had been left by incompetent and uncaring administrators and turned into a haven for drugs, gangs and violence.) I was fortunate that for those years I went to nice, suburban schools that didn't have to deal with many of the problems that the inner cities or some of the less well-managed suburban schools were plagued by.

Luckily, I also had parents who tought me a love for learning and logical thought. This is something that is meticulously removed from the school system. Such concepts as basic economics, basic grammar, and basic logic were completely ommitted by the public school system. Many times, the smallest, least meaningful rules were stringently enforced when far worse things were going on. Teachers were underpaid and supported little, but still a few good ones clung on for reasons I've yet to understand.

What's worse is the way dogma is routinely presented as fact by public schools. Environmentalist propaganda was rampant. (Remember "50 Things You Can Do To Save The Earth". I took out the calculator and worked out soe of the predictions it made - even a fifth-grader could see right through them. Needless to say, I was not thought well of for taking the initiative on that issue.)

The reason why home schooling is so popular now is that the the public schools are not doing their job. They're failing miserably. They have plenty of room for more administrators, but none for students. They present supposition as fact and mock those with a sense of morality or inquisitiveness. School choice might help this situation a bit, but many parents are fed up with the situation. While there are some notable exceptions, some talented and gifted teachers, the system of American education has been in decline for years. Unless these trends end, home schooling may become a more and more popular educational option.



Computers + Montessori methods (4.40 / 5) (#22)
by la princesa on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 09:43:16 PM EST

Montessori tailors learning basic things to the individual child (and isn't even expensive to implement.) Combining that with presumbly far more powerful computer-mediated instruction that can cover topics with more subtlety of advancement than a human teacher and you'd have a system that taught each individual kid a variety of subjects, adjusting lessons minutely in accordance with individual intelligence levels and aptitudes. One would still need teachers to track progress, but the natural curiosity of children could be fed a lot better than in the current worldwide educational environments available.

Social skills (3.16 / 6) (#24)
by RangerBob on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 09:50:35 PM EST

I don't see home schooling harming the educational system. My biggest problem is that all of the home school kids I've ever met have no social skills and have a lot of trouble dealing with people.

For example, a friend of mine runs a computer business. He hired a guy who was home schooled and is now going to a local votech school to become a computer technician. The guy is way too shy for his own age, has trouble looking people in the eye, can't carry on a conversation, etc etc.

The worst problem I see in kids like him is that stressful situations seem to tax them more than people who are used to being in crowds and the like. When the above tech gets into a situation like having to have something fixed by a deadline, he completely panics and just withdraws to himself. It's never that big of a deal, but he, like most of the home schoolers I've met, just seem incapable of dealing with stress since they're mainly used to a comfortable environment of home.

Are you kidding me??? (4.20 / 5) (#27)
by cruiser on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 11:15:35 PM EST

What kind of statement are you making here? To say that ALL homeschoolers are socially inept is ridiculous. That is a very bigotted view of the world.

To counter your examples I know two people who were homeschooled their entire lives. The first is a guy who has joined the Army about 1 year ago and has already moved up in rank and is a sniper pursuing a career in the Special Forces. I highly doubt that a person that has not any social skills or is shy can do so well in such a social environment.

The second example is a girl who scored 1230 on her SAT -- the first and only time taking them. She scored a perfect on the English by the way, missing major points on the Math section due to getting sick during the exam. She did not retake it because 1230 got her accepted to the university to which she applied. At this university, she graduated with honors -- a GPA of 4.0, majoring in English Literature. She is now a junior high school teacher. I doubt a teacher can be successful if she/he is shy and is lacking in social skills.

On the other hand, I went to a regular school setting with other kids. During that time, there were kids that I had gone to school with my whole life that at the time of graduation were still very shy and lacking in many of the social skills that you are claiming a school environment inherently teaches.

You just can't people in boxes like that. We are all uniquely created. For some people (like myself) homeschool just wouldn't have cut it. For others, like the ones mentioned above, it was perfect for.

Cruiser94

[ Parent ]
Nope (3.00 / 4) (#49)
by RangerBob on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 08:38:55 AM EST

A. I said that all of the homeschoolers I met act this way, not everyone in the whole world. But thanks for not reading for content and calling me a bigot :)

B. I'm perfectly capable of admitting that it might have been just the ones that I've run into, not all of them. Again, I explicity stated that it was only the ones that I had met. But, then again, much like Slashdot, I really can't expect people to read and comprehend.

[ Parent ]
Maybe its local (4.50 / 2) (#37)
by mold on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:47:46 AM EST

I've met more people who sound like your description of your home schooled kid that went to public schools than I have home schoolers. Being homeschooled hasn't seemed to make many of the ones I know shy. For example, one kid I know switched to public school, and started as a junior (11th grade). By the end of his senior year, he was class president, he headed the debate team, he helped with dances, and the such. Another that I know is a bit shy, but he's move of a techie (and if they're shy, its more likely that stereotype than the homeschool stereotype). I've also met home school kids who got into drugs and went bad. So what? As far as I can tell, home schooling doesn't affect children that much, socially (I'm 17 going to a private school an hour away, so I've got an interesting, fairly first-hand [as in I know many of them due to odd circumstances, not having heard it second-hand] perspective. :)

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
How many? (none / 0) (#54)
by Rainy on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:10:37 AM EST

How many have you met and how many of them were too shy? How shy was the shyest and how shy was the most social?
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
My schooling experience (5.00 / 18) (#28)
by quartz on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 11:23:34 PM EST

Back when I was in school, there were no private schools in my country. Also, the first 12 years of school were mandatory. All schools had the same curriculum, designed by a central authority, and everybody learned the same exact things, taught in the same exact way. Throughout the country, everobody wore the same uniforms - blue and orange until the 4th grade, white and navy through the 12th, and each of us had a unique number, which was sewn on the sleeve of our jacket, the same number throughout the 12 years of school. All our textbooks had a picture of the President on the first page and all of them told us how great the Party was and how its President was the wisest and the most extraordinary man alive. In history classes we were taught how communism naturally follows capitalism (which was no more than a weird remnant of the feudal system), in geography we were shown slides that depicted America and the western European countries as lands of injustice, poverty and slavery, and in literature we studied poems dedicated to the Party, the proletariat and the popular democracy. And there were no books, newspapers or other sources of information that said otherwise, because everything had been either rewritten or destroyed long time ago. We had 3 channels on the radio, all of them under Government control, and one television station that broadcasted the President's speeches for 2 hours a day in black and white. And, in case you were starting to wonder, yes, we were even encouraged to snitch on our parents.

Sounds a lot like a certain Orwell novel, doesn't it? Except it's true. Rather, it was true, until 12 years ago. If you wanted to learn anything useful, you had to work against the system by dealing with those who smuggled information. The funny thing is, the literacy level was way higher then than it is now. The general level of education, too. Back then, people wanted to go to school (mainly to study science, which was, at its core, pretty much immune to propagandization). Now all they want to do is watch TV all day and make money fast, but, well, that's another issue.

Me? Somehow, I survived, like many others. I had to take a few years off after I graduated from high school so that I could reverse the brainwashing and restore some level of normality inside my head (which was a task in itself, considering that by that time, the communist regime had been overthrown and suddenly everyone had to adjust to a whole new way of life). I then went on with what was left of my life, moved to another country, got my brain into gear again and went to college (the good news for me was that most of the science stuff they taught in college I had already learned in high school - it seems that the communists had been trying to turn all of us into overachievers).

My take on home schooling? I wish I had it. :) But seriously, sitting for several hours of day crammed in a room with other people does not make you a good citizen. Neither does being harassed by bullies or being made fun of. Parents don't care about public schools anymore? So what. Someone should tell the Times editor that those parents are the public. And if the public doesn't care about public schools anymore, maybe it's time to change the schools, eh? Although, the way things seem to go lately, I bet they'd rather pass a law (or ten) to change the public instead...

--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
Thanks (none / 0) (#100)
by orichter on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:07:06 PM EST

Thanks, well said.

[ Parent ]
Hrmm. (4.00 / 12) (#31)
by Kasreyn on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:03:31 AM EST

It all depends on the quality of home schooling. I can tell you right now, if I ever have kids, I fully intend to home school them.

I believe school, as you say, does NOT need 6 to 12 years to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. First off, I was NEVER "taught" reading in school. Ever. At all. I learned it on my own and school made no attempt to teach it that I ever saw, though later it expected me to magically know it.

Arithmetic these days is more and more a case of "plug the numbers into the equations to get on with life". This teaches an attitude that it's ok to go through life nervelessly, uncaringly, without noticing the greater ramifications of things. Just plug things into the equations and get on with it, and that attitude can be carried on to other things in life. A true maths course, or science course, of course is not there to teach you formulae! We have those in books and calculators. A TRUE maths or science course is supposed to teach one how to think logically and scientifically. The formulae and data involved are just tools to teach this. I see much less of that being taught to most kids nowadays.

As for writing, don't even pretend that 1 paragraph long answer questions and book reports constitute some sort of course in composition. The best education in writing is READING, folks, let me tell you. There is no better education possible, than to just plain read a whole damn lot. Again, something which schools are not teaching. Dropping grammar from curriculum? That's actually a GOOD thing. Teaching grammar in school makes no sense, it's like trying to retrain people's accents after they're 6 or 7. Accents, language patterns, AND grammar patterns are all set by then. The child's grammar will only change then if he has a deep desire to change it. Teaching him what a "gerund" is won't help, sorry.

So if kids are not learning "the 3 r's", then what ARE they learning?

*They're learning to "respect authority".
*They're learning to conform to the whims of their peers in everything they say and do.
*They're learning to go places, act in different ways, and think in different ways, based on a rigorous schedule that has no meaning to them.
*Thus they are learning to put a meaningless (again, to them) hierarchy over their own needs.
*They are learning the History of Our Great Nation (required in all schools)
*They're watching Channel One in home room and learning all about world events (through a nice set of USA-tinted sunglasses).
*They're also learning from Channel One about the Joy of Cola. Pepsi: Generation Next.
*They are learning that you should not be judged by the content of your character but by the expensiveness of your Nikes.
*They are learning to put orderliness before thoughtfulness.
*They are learning to fear asking questions.
*They are learning that since the schools treat them like criminals, it must be ok if the government does the same.
*They are learning that the best way to get ahead is to breeze through with as little effort as possible.
*They are learning they have no right to or expectation of privacy (locker checks).

They're learning so many things. =)

I personally could do without any child of mine having these lessons drummed into them. Public schooling, and to a very slightly lesser extent private schooling, is a mass socialization system. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. It leads to remarkable conformity and regularity in society, with people with largely predictable views and reactions. Of course, school is only one part. TV is another great socializer. I intend for my children's minds to be free of both of them.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
interacting with people (4.00 / 3) (#41)
by Delirium on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:28:17 AM EST

I personally found being forced to interact with people I didn't already know, many of whom I didn't like or was much different from, the most valuable part of school. The math, science, reading, etc., I could pick up on my own from books or the internet - even home-schooling is unnecessary. But learning how to talk to people, work together with them, meet friends, etc., is a far more invaluable lesson. And, being a generally shy person, it's probably not something I would've done myself if it hadn't been a necessity of going to school. Without a public school I probably would've socialized mostly with the few people I already know and only met other people like me, avoid entirely interaction with people very different from me (of course many self-described "geeks" seem to refuse to do this even when they do attend schools, shunning "jocks," "preps" and other such different-from-myself groups of people).

[ Parent ]
Why fiction all the time? (none / 0) (#159)
by pin0cchio on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 06:56:56 PM EST

The best education in writing is READING, folks, let me tell you.

If "language arts" teachers aren't trying to train their students to be short story authors and novelists, why do they make their students read mostly short stories and novels? A good reading curriculum should include a good amount of biography and other quality nonfiction.

Teaching grammar in school makes no sense, it's like trying to retrain people's accents after they're 6 or 7.

Half right. Teaching prescriptive grammar makes very little sense. On the other hand, teaching descriptive grammar shows a student where the language has been, where it is, and where it is going.

Teaching him what a "gerund" is won't help

So in the early years, call the various parts and subparts of speech by English names such as "name" rather than French names such as "noun".


lj65
[ Parent ]
Grammar (none / 0) (#213)
by Curieus on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 09:06:32 AM EST

Teaching grammar may seem useless, as these kids are supposedly already speaking their own language.

In my experience knowing grammar also facilitates to deconstruct difficult sentences, or more important,
it facilitates the learning of other languages. It is hard to choose between "good" and "well" when both mean "goed".
It becomes much easier when you know that one is "een bijvoeglijk naamwoord" and the other "een bijwoord". The same rule applies for the use of brisk and briskly.

It is when learning a foreign language that you really start to appreciate a thorough knowledge of your maternal language grammar.


[ Parent ]

sceptical (3.25 / 4) (#32)
by mami on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:19:46 AM EST

I am very sceptical. If home schooling is done by the parents of the children.,I wouldn't support it, at least not beyond age eight to nine the most.

I think it's dangerous. If children only learn what their parents can or want to teach them, then those children are too dependent on their parent's "biases". Nor is it guaranteed that the parents have enough knowledge to teach material for which they should have a gotten an education themselves.

If home schooling would mean kids would be educated by a series of private teachers, then I wouldn't worry about anything.



It is (3.33 / 3) (#36)
by mold on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:37:06 AM EST

The parents teach the children. However, this isn't a bad thing. They can go to the local school system and purchase books and suggested syllubi.

You get the parents' biases anyway, so why does it matter? Those are (almost) a given, so why throw in other peoples' biases as well?

Personally, I think home schooling is better for the children for two reasons:

1. If the parents are home schooling, then they most likely care for the children, and want to make sure they are raised properly (not by some half-assed teacher barely making more than a teen at a fast food restaurant).

2. The children's interests can be more finely focused. Sure, in a public high school you have a choice of classes, but there are many mandatory classes. My freshman and sophmore years, I had only two electives (one per semester per year). If you know what the child is good at and/or interested in, they can be better.

Oh well, just my opinion. I have several friends who were home schooled, and several that weren't. All are fairly intelligent, and neither type seems smarter than the other.

A side benefit, is that it makes it much easier for the parents to keep their children from nasty social problems. And no, they are NOT socially defunct. But I'm not going to go on, because I'm falling asleep :)

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
because (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by Delirium on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:24:47 AM EST

You get the parents' biases anyway, so why does it matter? Those are (almost) a given, so why throw in other peoples' biases as well?

Because that makes for a more well-rounded person. If someone only gets their parents' biases, they might never hear the "other side" to many issues. Of course that might be what their parents want, but I don't think it's in the best interests of the child. Let the child hear everyone's point of view (everyone's biases) and make up his or her own mind.

[ Parent ]

because (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by iterative on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:38:27 AM EST

Because that makes for a more well-rounded person. If someone only gets their parents' biases, they might never hear the "other side" to many issues.

Frankly, I find that neither parents nor educators in this society (or any, perhaps) step far outside of the usual biases, anyway. I'm repeatedly reminded of an friend's observation that one typically doesn't leave behind the person they were programmed to be until they leave the environment they were raised in, if they ever do.



[ Parent ]
I am against it (3.66 / 3) (#55)
by mami on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:12:55 AM EST

1. The only reason why home schooling is supported by many is the fact that parents run away from a failing public school system. - It's not a solution to run away from a problem, it's a cop-out.

2. I think I have chosen the word bias unwisely. I am talking simply of the children being dependent on a curriculum chosen by their parents. I doubt VERY much that the average parent is qualified to teach. Few would know the required subject areas which should be taught thoroughly enough. There is NO guarantee that the children would even have a minimum uniform body of knowledge.

3. If teachers don't know what they are supposed to teach and don't know how to teach it, then just close your schools because of incompetence of your teachers. But to believe that parents inately are more competent to teach is not a logic conclusion. The only thing parents usually are much more competent in is to defend and protect and love their children to give them the emotional support to fend for themselves according to their age level. Teachers should teach the kids and parents should hug their kids. My impression is that often these things are turned upside down in American schools today.

4. I am all <b>for mandatory</b> classes and very much against that any kid or parent can choose what to learn. No other country has allowed children to choose their subject areas at such an early age and level as American schools. The result is that the quality of teaching and standards are constantly adjusted to "the interests" and "abilities" of the child. It's the task of the schools to do their utmost to raise children's abilities and interests to standards the school determines and not the other way around. The problem is that your school system doesn't offer enough higher level mandatory classes and if they do, just to a chosen elite group of students.

5. Your system gives much room for abuse in the sense that any child is easily here qualified as either "disabled" or "gifted". Your bumper sticker mentality where almost every parent shows off with some "my child is honor student xyz" is reflecting that to any outsider's eye quite drastically. I remember by old father visiting me here in 1995 and asking me why parents put these stickers on their cars. His spontaneous reaction was, how could parents use their children to show off (and degrade the ones who have not been so much of an honor students) so openly. I didn't know what to answer.

I watch teachers here a lot dividing their kids into "groups" at very early age (second grade). Apparently the teachers think the children don't understand that they are "secretly" profiled in the "slow", the "gifted", the "non English speakers" etc. Children know exactly if they are perceived as being "learning disabled".

And I think it's a shame that some 22 year old college grad, who has merely himself left school, is allowed to basically teach "however more or less whatever" and profile children into "whoever". That's the freedom which haunts you again. Having too much of it, opens up the misuse of it.

6. Parents can always broaden and enhance the school education with all the subject areas they feel the school can't provide. But the solution IMHO is not to replace the school teachers with parents, but to force your school system and teachers to perform at much higher and uniform standards across the nation.




[ Parent ]
Well... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by slick willie on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:42:07 AM EST

It's not a solution to run away from a problem, it's a cop-out.
No. People have taken issues to the administrators and educators, only to be rebuffed because "they know better." We've tried to get their attention -- they're not listening.
Few would know the required subject areas which should be taught thoroughly enough.
Yet you support a public school system that is pumping out functional illiterates at an alarming rate? I would argue that the schools can't teach the required subject matter, either.
Teachers should teach the kids and parents should hug their kids.
I'm holding up my end of the bargain, but as a whole, I don't think they're holding up theirs.
It's the task of the schools to do their utmost to raise children's abilities and interests to standards the school determines and not the other way around.
What's happening to the schools is that they are lowering, not raising standards. Besides, why should I let the school determine that standard? My standards are that by the time my children enters college, she will be fluent in calculus, at least one foreign language, she will know how to write and speak proper English. She will know how to hear a different point of view, but not necessarily believe it, and stand up for her own point of view.
but to force your school system and teachers to perform at much higher and uniform standards across the nation
And what better way to do that than to say, "I'm taking my kid, and my tax dollars, and I'm not going to play anymore until you get your stuff together?"

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]
Your laws don't help (none / 0) (#182)
by mami on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 09:51:07 AM EST

I'm holding up my end of the bargain, but as a whole, I don't think they're holding up theirs.

I agree, but the real problem I see is that nowhere in your federal or state constitutional laws is written that your government actually should have a moral obligation to perform civic duties and uphold their end of the bargain. I wonder if there is even such a thing like a bargain in a legal sense.

Let's assume that the public school system is matter of factly not only failing to help students to get an education, but actually do harm students in developing their abilities according to their level best. Are there laws which actually affirmatively request that your government has the obligation to help or protect your children from harm ?

The way the Constitution is written it is more concerned that a government does too much to its people, and not too little. The 14th amendment sought to protect Americans from oppression by state government, not to secure them basic governmental services. There is no language in your Bill of Rights which would come even close to establish affirmative government obligations to come to the aid of its citizens.

Affirmative governmental obligations are formulated in statutes like the American welfare state, but I am not sure in how far there are any explicit statutes formulated which explicitly say that your state or federal government is obligated to perform their educational duties in public schools according to general accepted moral or ethical standards expected from the majority of its citizens.

What is so strange to observe is that in all the comments above everyone wants the school system to perform according to their expectations, but noone expects that it is the government's role to do so. Why not ? Because historically you have developed only legal language which is supposedly there to protect you from abuse of the government and no legal language is found which would indiciate that laws should and can help to shape and educate a society and to educate to make good citizens of the individuals who compose it. People are able to create and follow ethical norms, why then should the legal language not reflect that ?

Just a simple question from some naive foreigner discovering how Americans think and about what their laws don't talk about. Any lawyers in spe out there who can point me to the laws which formulate the (moral and legal) obligation of your government to educate your children to the majority's ethical norms and protect them from harmful interferences to to achieve that goal ?

[ Parent ]

Re: I am against it (5.00 / 2) (#79)
by psicE on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:02:07 AM EST

1. The only reason why home schooling is supported by many is the fact that parents run away from a failing public school system. - It's not a solution to run away from a problem, it's a cop-out.

This depends on the circumstances. Though many people might be trying to run away from a failing public school system, or trying to give their child what they feel is an appropriate moral education (fundamentalists), there are some who honestly feel their child isn't getting as good an education as they could by themself, even though they are in one of the best districts in the state/country. I know a kid who is currently homeschooled and enrolled part-time in a college in Virginia (I forget which one); public school taught him nothing, so he went somewhere else. He may be the exception, but at least not everybody homeschools as a cop-out.

2. I think I have chosen the word bias unwisely. I am talking simply of the children being dependent on a curriculum chosen by their parents. I doubt VERY much that the average parent is qualified to teach. Few would know the required subject areas which should be taught thoroughly enough. There is NO guarantee that the children would even have a minimum uniform body of knowledge.

First, other than (as the author of the article suggested) grammar, rhetoric, and logic, how much schooling is necessary for every member of society? Granted, most (if not all) people will want to learn (want their children to learn?) at least basic facts about their country's history and political system (if for no other reason than understanding how and why to vote), but just about any other subject can be self-taught after a brief introduction period (50 hours, according to Gatto), and isn't necessary for everybody in society to learn (though everybody must be given the option). Why would a prospective lawyer need to learn about biology, for example, or a mathematician about European history? Assuming that every child was given ~50 hrs instruction in every major subject (math, natural sciences, social sciences/humanities, primary language/literature, secondary language(s), arts), they would likely figure out which fields they wished to continue studying in and which they didn't; and if they made the wrong choice, it's not that hard to go back and read some more on a different subject. After all, the kid knows how.

3. If teachers don't know what they are supposed to teach and don't know how to teach it, then just close your schools because of incompetence of your teachers. But to believe that parents inately are more competent to teach is not a logic conclusion. The only thing parents usually are much more competent in is to defend and protect and love their children to give them the emotional support to fend for themselves according to their age level. Teachers should teach the kids and parents should hug their kids. My impression is that often these things are turned upside down in American schools today.

It's true of American society in general that parents tend to let other things (teachers, TV, computers) act as surrogate parents. This is nothing special about teachers, besides that kids are forced to spend ~900-990 hours in front of a teacher every day whereas depending on the family, certain kids might never see a TV or computer until they enter college (and maybe not even then if they go to a commuter Christian college). Still, you seem to be suggesting that parents will be the sole party responsible for teaching kids new material. What the author (and I) seem to be advocating is that the parents only introduce their children to the major subjects, and beyond that provide them with resources to continue reading/studying and a means to ask questions (and if the parents can't answer them, providing someone who can). By the time the child is 11-12, the parents should enroll them part-time in classes at a "university-like" setting (except populated with similar-age peers), the university-like signifying that instead of sitting in an enclosed space for 6.5 hours each day only divided by lunch and listening to a teacher drone about a topic in a way that makes that topic hold no meaning for them, they go to a class where everybody wants to be there and where the class works by assigning out-of-class reading and discussing it in class, so that class actually holds some value for the child. Taking kids out of public school doesn't automatically mean the kid learns nothing but the parent's specialties; there are lots of ways for a kid to be in an academically-nurturing environment without being in public school or taught by parents.

4. I am all for mandatory classes and very much against that any kid or parent can choose what to learn. No other country has allowed children to choose their subject areas at such an early age and level as American schools. The result is that the quality of teaching and standards are constantly adjusted to "the interests" and "abilities" of the child. It's the task of the schools to do their utmost to raise children's abilities and interests to standards the school determines and not the other way around. The problem is that your school system doesn't offer enough higher level mandatory classes and if they do, just to a chosen elite group of students.

You're falling straight into the trap Plato made, about eventually having all lives controlled by the state. Why do we need all people to conform to the same norm about what to learn? Just because all people need to have at least basic instruction in grammar, rhetoric, and logic as a means of learning all the other topics they wish to study, doesn't mean that everybody needs to study the same topics. That would just produce a bland and boring society in which (almost) everybody aspired towards being in the same career, because that was what they were trained in. As per America's so-called "choice" of courses, what you say may be true in relation to Asian-Pacific and Latin American countries, but Western Europe has traditionally allowed specialization much earlier on, having students pick whether to pursue a humanities or sciences education when they enter high school or equivalent. Because of this, European universities like Cambridge and Oxford often recommend that American students spend a year or two, possibly even earn a degree at an American school, before heading to one of them for a second BA or a master's, because British students have specialized in their chosen fields since age 16. As per your allegation that some high schools may not offer enough high-level "mandatory" classes, why does making classes higher-level automatically make them better? While in some (many?) districts honors-level classes may have much less busywork and give a much better education to the people enrolled in them, a student who loves English, aspires to being a poet, and hates math will do so whether they take a regular or an honors math course. Chances are that person will never use any math they learned beyond arithmetic; chances are even better that person will never use any math they learned beyond basic algebra. While that person took their mandatory math courses, they could have instead been taking extra English courses, and be able to get much more out of Harvard's English department once they got in.

5. Your system gives much room for abuse in the sense that any child is easily here qualified as either "disabled" or "gifted". Your bumper sticker mentality where almost every parent shows off with some "my child is honor student xyz" is reflecting that to any outsider's eye quite drastically. I remember by old father visiting me here in 1995 and asking me why parents put these stickers on their cars. His spontaneous reaction was, how could parents use their children to show off (and degrade the ones who have not been so much of an honor students) so openly. I didn't know what to answer. I watch teachers here a lot dividing their kids into "groups" at very early age (second grade). Apparently the teachers think the children don't understand that they are "secretly" profiled in the "slow", the "gifted", the "non English speakers" etc. Children know exactly if they are perceived as being "learning disabled". And I think it's a shame that some 22 year old college grad, who has merely himself left school, is allowed to basically teach "however more or less whatever" and profile children into "whoever". That's the freedom which haunts you again. Having too much of it, opens up the misuse of it.

I thought you were arguing for public schools; this is one of the best arguments I've seen yet against them. I agree completely, public schools lead to students being profiled, especially when all students are required to learn the same material at the same pace; students who are naturally late readers get ridiculed, students who are naturally smart and anti-social get ridiculed too, even students who are naturally jocks get ridiculed, though never to their face.

6. Parents can always broaden and enhance the school education with all the subject areas they feel the school can't provide. But the solution IMHO is not to replace the school teachers with parents, but to force your school system and teachers to perform at much higher and uniform standards across the nation.

The only thing worse than standards is uniform standards. When schools require you to take a timed multiple-choice test to graduate, arguably the most unfair test towards minorities and people with learning disabilities (both who know the material fine), at least you can move to another city or choice to another school. When states require you to take a timed multiple-choice test to graduate, at least you can move to another state. But when the whole country requires these standards, you start to have problems; if you disagree with the standards (as most citizens seem to), your only choices are immigration (emigration?) to another country, or paying for private schools that often have both worse educations than their public counterparts and horrible social experiences including sexual abuse (read the continuing accounts of what really happens at these elite boys' schools, including today's story about Groton School in the Boston Globe). Or you could homeschool your kids, which is exactly what I've been advocating.

[ Parent ]

what's the problem? (4.50 / 2) (#80)
by garlic on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:02:42 AM EST

1. The only reason why home schooling is supported by many is the fact that parents run away from a failing public school system. - It's not a solution to run away from a problem, it's a cop-out.

Problem: The current public school system is not educating my child well.

Solution 1: Change the public school system. Time to solution: years.
Solution 2: Have someone else teach my child, through private school or home school. Time to solution: immediately.

It depends on what problem you are trying to solve. If the primary problem you want to fix is the public school system, you probably should leave your child in the system. If the primary problem you want to solve is the education of your child, screw fixing public school, which will take time, and hurt the education of your child.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

Flawed to the core (2.50 / 2) (#97)
by Loundry on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:48:25 PM EST

There are so many questions to raise to your non-argument that one hardly knows where to start!

It's not a solution to run away from a problem, it's a cop-out.

Why is government school "the answer"?

I doubt VERY much that the average parent is qualified to teach.

"Qualified" by whom?

Few would know the required subject areas which should be taught thoroughly enough.

Who decides what subject areas are required, and who decides how thoroughlly they should be taught?

There is NO guarantee that the children would even have a minimum uniform body of knowledge.

Who decides what the "minimum uniform body of knowledge" is?

Once who have identified "who," then please explain in detail what qualifies those people to make those decisions.
-- Dare not to be in agony, but in truffles!
[ Parent ]

Bias (3.00 / 3) (#82)
by dennis on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:10:34 AM EST

those children are too dependent on their parent's "biases".

Of course you're right. It's so much better if everyone gets the officially-approved biases in curricula approved by the federal government.

[ Parent ]

bullshit from the left; bullshit from the right (4.20 / 5) (#34)
by Weezul on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:22:07 AM EST

This seems like a pretty clear cut case of bullshit from both sides.

"Home schooling is a social threat to public education," says Chris Lubienski, who teaches at Iowa State University's college of education. "It is taking some of the most affluent and articulate parents out of the system. These are the parents who know how to get things done with administrators."

I'd say our lefty has put his finger on a pretty big part of why inner-city school kids do poorly. If the parents are expected to "know how to get things done" then you are pretty much expecting the parent to have increased their social class too. I suggest getting better administrators who can maintain positive interactions with unhelpful parents instead of depending of parents to maintain interactions with unhelpful administrators, but don't start telling the parrents that they can not home school their kids.

Conversly, a "free-market school system" is not a very clever idea if your goal is to help all children. A free-market system would just transfer the major resources to a few and waist the rest of religious crap. You see how much you like it when the only descent school available near you is the mormon school.

Anyway, we should not look to the Vorlons or the Shadows for a solution here. We do not want to put all our eggs into one basket (lefty solution) and we do not want to leave 90% of the population in ignorance (righty/libertarian solution). We want many diffrent programs which allow the participation of people of all social classes and views (i.e. More then one government run eduactional program paid for by taxers and without funding of specific religious views).

I say this should include "partial home schooling" where the kids take classes their parents feal unqualified to teach at public school. (Solving the traditional home schooling problem of poor pear interaction, but hopefully maintaining the improved interactions with non-pears that home schoolers benifit from)
"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
Brilliant! (none / 0) (#108)
by beergut on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:58:29 PM EST

We want many diffrent programs which allow the participation of people of all social classes and views (i.e. More then one government run eduactional program paid for by taxers and without funding of specific religious views).

Yeah! MULTIPLE expensive, ineffective bureaucracies! THAT could probably pass into law!

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

rebuttal (none / 0) (#143)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 04:41:02 PM EST

"...when the only decent school near you is the Mormon school." Right now, the ONLY school (decent or otherwise) near many people is the public school. This is an improvement? From what I hear, the Mormons place a fairly high value on a solid education. Besides, in most rural areas and many urban ones, if htere is a choice at all, it is a choice of public school or Catholic school. I fail to understand why this would be better.

A free market system would require parents to take resposibility for the education of their children. In this way, just perhaps, instead of putting their child in the inner city school that they think their child is getting a good education in because they're getting good grades, the parent would maybe check into what's really happening, as he has something at stake. The children would not be more ignorant. Assuming that, in a free market sysytem, poor inner city type children would actually be more ignorant than they are now assumes that they are getting an education now. This is simply not true. What they are getting now is free babysitting and a course in sheepleness.

[ Parent ]

Student != Robot (3.80 / 5) (#35)
by fireboy1919 on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:27:40 AM EST

One of the most interesting features of humanity is free will. It appears that all of us have it. It means we can all think for ourselves. Despite desparate attempts at control throughout all of time, and endless brainwashing attempts at every turn, we can still choose not to succumb.

If someone appears to be the product of their environment, it is because they have chosen that path. For me, I am not at all a product of the things I have been taught; in fact, almost all of what I have learned, I have learned on my own. Despite the profanity I have constantly been bombarded with, I never curse, because I have chosen not to (and you'll have to trust me when I say I'm in a high-profanity zone). Similarly, I don't drink, which is a severe contrast to my environment as a college student.

So what it really comes down to is opportunity: what do you have the opportunity to do and learn where you are, not how you will be indoctrinated. In public school, I was constantly slowed by the learning rate of my peers (and looking back, the teachers who were too stupid to know the answers to my questions) - I think I was ready for High School math by somewhere around 3rd grade, but I had to wait. And I certainly didn't get much literature from school - I had to pick up the classics from the library - an opportunity which I took. However, I did choose to learn from school how to make friends - a skill itself. I learned more later -not from school in that subject when a better opportunity arose. I did have some surprises at school, however - I learned how to play chess, the basics of electricity and the value of reading the newspaper.

When I have children, if I have children, I will give them the opportunity to learn from my knowledge set and my resources - which today surpass most elementary schools, but I will probably still want to send them to elementary school. After all, who knows what surprising places they may learn at school.



A different opinion (3.28 / 7) (#42)
by JohnHopfrog on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:16:31 AM EST

I find it terribly ironic, that the very people who claim that public schooling makes people conformist, are being so conformist themselves. They (you) all want your children to be polite, well brought up, well educated people. Imagine that everybody in the world was that way; imagine the conformity.
The school I attended was more comparable to a military camp than an education centre - it was in a country with military dictatorship and civil strife - in this school (a boarding school), it was common that the students didn't have a meal or two, because something went wrong in the food delivery system. Corporal punishment was the norm, with a lot of it bordering on torture (I'm not exaggerating here).
But till this day, I appreciate that I learnt a lot more than just logic and grammer at this school. I learnt how to deal with stress situations. I learnt how to have a different opinion from the crowd, and be able to say it boldly. Importantly, I learnt how the social system works. There are people who are "higher up" in the scale, and I learnt to deal properly with this people, and still get my will through.

School is a lot more than just learning the sciences. It's a social testing ground, it makes the person and makes for different people.

If you wish, home school your child, but you know all you want to do is mould him in your own image.

-Johnny.

Independent thought be damned! (4.00 / 4) (#107)
by beergut on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:53:49 PM EST

I find it terribly ironic, that the very people who claim that public schooling makes people conformist, are being so conformist themselves.

In that we all see that there is not a lot of value left in public schools? Well, a "uniform of disuniformity" may describe those who dissent from the real conformists, who blindly and willingly send their children to prison^Wpublic school during the day, but I don't think so.

They (you) all want your children to be polite, well brought up, well educated people.

Most do, yes. But they want that because they know that that will assist their children in realizing their goals and dreams. Being churlish, uneducated, and illiterate will avail them very little. Parents, on the whole, want their kids to be happy and successful. They know that education (along with a good dose of manners) helps. Those parents who home-school have realized that neither is available in public schools.

Imagine that everybody in the world was that way; imagine the conformity.

Imagine the civility, and liberty.

The school I attended was more comparable to a military camp than an education centre - it was in a country with military dictatorship and civil strife - in this school (a boarding school), it was common that the students didn't have a meal or two, because something went wrong in the food delivery system. Corporal punishment was the norm, with a lot of it bordering on torture (I'm not exaggerating here).

Sounds like your school sucked ass. Sorry. Maybe your parents should have home-schooled you.

But till this day, I appreciate that I learnt a lot more than just logic and grammer at this school.

Judging from your next comments, you learned exactly what the school administration wanted you to learn. But, will any of these lessons help you to achieve your goals, follow your dreams, or be more successful? Are you happier because you learned these lessons?

I learnt how to deal with stress situations.

Good. Now, drop and give me twenty ... thousand.

Home-schoolers have realized that, after childhood, their children will be socializing and interacting with ... adults of various ages. They must learn to cope with, understand, and interact with these people sometime, and it's better for them to learn young. It's not that there's no time for play, nor even that there's no interaction with other kids their own age - most home-schoolers have these things. The difference is that schools do not teach kids to interact with adults - unless, of course, interaction means "proper condom usage."

I learnt how to have a different opinion from the crowd, and be able to say it boldly.

A nice trick, under a military dictatorship regime.

Importantly, I learnt how the social system works. There are people who are "higher up" in the scale, and I learnt to deal properly with this people, and still get my will through.

So, you learned to work the system and become a cunning, manipulative rank-climber. Well, if that's your measure of success, then I guess you learned what you wanted to learn. But, what did you really learn? That "authority" figures hold absolute sway over your life, and that the only way you can succeed is to manipulate them?

School is a lot more than just learning the sciences. It's a social testing ground, it makes the person and makes for different people.

No. It makes for homogeneous people. At least, in this country. People who are incapable of real, independent thought, who will buy things they are conditioned to buy, whether or not they need them, and who will not question an "authority" figure when said figure wishes to abrogate their rights.

If you wish, home school your child, but you know all you want to do is mould him in your own image.

It is precisely because of the experience that I had in public school, and because I did not learn to think until college (and that was certainly not taught by my instructors, but rather by challenges from my peers,) that I will home-school my children. I want them to know how to think before they enter the world, so they don't have to catch up to others who have already realized that independent thought is the way to achieve your goals. Your goals, and not those of some government agency.

My kids will learn to think. They will be the true wolves among the sheep.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Problems about home schooling (3.50 / 4) (#46)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 06:07:28 AM EST

Most proponents of home schooling overlook a series of real issues that make home schooling just as prone to failure as any other school system:

-Experience:

A teacher is a person that has spent a great deal of time and effort in understanding the best ways to teach a child. Even with all that experience they do fail in many instances. Nevertheless we are suppossed to accept at face value that unprepared parents can be successful where a full system of experts is failing.

I am sorry but it does not cut it with me.

How is a parent with very basic and patchy knowledge of arithmetic suppossed ot teach algebra to a child? How is a parent, whose only knowledge about biology is what it has seen in Discovery channel, suppossed to teach evolution theory (and most importantly, will the parent teach evolution theory)? How is a parent, that reads at most the Sunday newspaper and that read its last serious book 15 years ago, going to teach literacy?


-Isolationism:

All the pro-home school swear that the children schooled at home are socialy adept individuals. Are they? In today's societies where one has to deal with people completely different to oneself I miss completely how somebody sitting at home can be given the oportunity to learn to interact with other people. I would like to see how many normal, middle class or working class parents, can afford to take their children to "extra curricular activities" (that after all are not more than other forms of normal schooling) be at home for home schooling and earn a living.

-Bigotism and zealotry:

Will a parent with a creationist point of view regarding the biological sciences teach evolution theory or viceversa?


-Inequality and yet again women dependency:

To allow enough time for proper schooling there must be a parent around at home. Today, where more families need both parents to make ends meet, home shooling is left as an option to the relatively wealthy. When a couple has the means to provide for one parent staying at home, who wants to bet against me that it will be mainly women who will stay at home shooling the children (while in the process going back to the dependency from the male bread winner that so much harmed many women's dignity and potential during history).


Let everyone decide, but home schooling is a as prone as the normal system to failures and mistakes because the simple fact is that education is a difficult, error prone process. The people that defend home schooling as the ultimate paedagogic panacea are being quite naive about what it means to educate properly a child. Home-schooling proponents should be the first ones to point out the possible problems with the system to make it a more credible way of educating children.








------------------------------------
"They only think of me as a Mexican,
an Indian or a Mafia don"
Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn on
Hol
blah, nonsense (4.33 / 3) (#52)
by Ender Ryan on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 08:46:38 AM EST

"-Experience: A teacher is a person that has spent a great... SNIP ...I am sorry but it does not cut it with me. SNIP ...15 years ago, going to teach literacy?"

This is completely inaccurate. Teachers themselves are taught by the same methods described in the article. They don't become teachers, they become slaves that teach others to be slaves (yes, this is being seriously overdramatic).

I believe that one of the greatest things about home schooling in the INEXPERIENCE of the teacher. I think that the longer that person has been away from public schooling the better, as they will have a much better chance of being able to teach instead of... indoctrinate.

"-Isolationism: " SNIP

In my experience dealing with people who have been homeschooled, this isolationism has been good for them. Coming from public schools, most people seem to lose a great deal of their own personality and have it replaced with a cookie-cutter personality that has been forced into them by years of abuse and ridicule from their peers who are too young to understand the important things in life and are in truth only behaving the way they are due to insecurity, which in the end creates people who behave in an irrational manner because their abnormal behavior from their insecurity has become their real personality.

"-Bigotism and zealotry:"

What makes you think the exact same thing isn't caused by teachers. Teachers can have a huge influence on peoples' lives, sometimes more than parents. I don't see how it makes any difference either way.

"-Inequality and yet again women dependency:

To allow enough time for proper schooling there must be a parent around at home. Today, where more families need both parents to make ends meet, home shooling is left as an option to the relatively wealthy. When a couple has the means to provide for one parent staying at home, who wants to bet against me that it will be mainly women who will stay at home shooling the children (while in the process going back to the dependency from the male bread winner that so much harmed many women's dignity and potential during history)."

I know some pretty non-wealthy people who are homeschooling, and the women who are doing the schooling are well respected... This is utter nonsense. There is nothing wrong with a woman staying at home and being a housewife or a teacher etc. There's also nothing wrong with a woman working or doing anything else she chooses to do with her life. The same goes for a man. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think people should choose what they want in their life. FYI, every woman I know who has homeschooled their children was the one in the marriage who decided it was a good idea.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

no, not nonsense (3.50 / 2) (#65)
by mami on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:55:35 AM EST

your counter arguments just show that the problems of your public school system are in the second or third generation already.

If the teachers can't be educated to be good teachers, because their teachers are already victims of their own deficient educational system, then you just admit that it has been going on for too long.

It doesn't though make home schooling a solution. Your argument that most women would be good teachers is a fallacy. Most women are good mothers and you can teach your kids reading, average spelling and very basic math, usually, and you can do this only in your own language well enough. (Do you suggest all your Latin American immigrants to be homeschooled ?) But that's it, and that's in no way enough to qualify as a solution for replacing a public school curriculum with a mother's ability to teach reading.

Most people don't even know how the learned to read, because it's achieved so much subconsciously at an early age that rarely people are aware of how they learned it, set aside know how it should be taught properly.

[ Parent ]
wtf are you reading? (3.50 / 2) (#77)
by Ender Ryan on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:57:06 AM EST

"your counter arguments just show that the problems of your public school system are in the second or third generation already.

If the teachers can't be educated to be good teachers, because their teachers are already victims of their own deficient educational system, then you just admit that it has been going on for too long.

It doesn't though make home schooling a solution. "

What does that have to do with anything. My point was that parents who were not taught to be teachers and don't know how to do it will come up with their own way of teaching which will have a better chance of successfully providing a student with information instead of indoctrinating them into the slavery that seems to be the case with public schools. Also, I did not say or even imply that public schools can't be fixed, I simply pointed out that home schooling is much less likely to be flawed in that manner.

"Your argument that most women would be good teachers is a fallacy."

I never made that argument. I stated that homeschooling (whether by a man or woman) is unlikely to have certain flaws that public education has today, flaws which in fact may be intentional according to some. This does not make them good teachers, or even adequate teachers, but it does arguably make them better teachers than most public school teachers depending on your value system and priorities.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

Isolation??? (none / 0) (#208)
by triticale on Thu Sep 06, 2001 at 11:30:48 PM EST

I miss completely how somebody sitting at home can be given the oportunity to learn to interact with other people.

Presuming, again, that home schooled children do nothing but sit at home. True perhaps of some, but certainly not typical. There is a roller rink in Chicago which held a home-scool day one Wednesday a month, attended by conservative Christians and Wiccans, and people who rejected the government schools for both Leftie and Rightie reasons. My son's wife and best man were both home schooled.

Home schoolers are typically active in youth groups. Ten years ago, they were a significant portion of the membership of 4H in Chicago. We knew several who were involved in scouting, and one who was a serious competitor in Little League.

Most importantly, home schoolers have more opportunity to witness adult interaction. Conventional schooling completely eliminates that, putting children in an abnormal environment environment containing others born in the same year and a solitary adult controlled by visible but remote authorities. One 4H leader who had always been negative about homeschooling commented after a while that she could always tell a homeschooler because they knew how to talk to adults.

[ Parent ]

Asking why means... (4.25 / 4) (#48)
by MicroBerto on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 08:30:01 AM EST

I went to a really great public school on the east side of Cleveland, OH -- Mayfield High School. There's great teachers, administration, sports, and students, and I did enjoy my time there and learned plenty!

However, if you're asking "Why Home Schooling??", you must not have ever been in a bad school district! You've seen all of the stories here about crap administration, violence, drugs, etc.. some schools are awful places for a serious student to actually learn at!

To answer your original question:

What happened?
Federal and state governments took over, that's what happened. Now schools have to meet ridiculous testing standards, and they no longer get to create a curriculum that makes sense.

Why don't you ask an elementary school teacher in Ohio (or probably any state!) how they feel about proficiency tests? Every five years, right when they get in the groove of a good curriculum, the damned legislation changes, and they decide to have a 4th grade proficiency test that is mandatory to pass, rather than a 5th grade test (This is just an example, but it really does throw everything off). Now you have a bunch of teachers, who are underpaid, mind you, scrambling to recreate an honest program that won't make them look like fools when the statistics come out on these "aptitude"/"proficiency" tests regarding how well/poorly their school did!

Most schools do NOT need this type of garbage to be run to a fair standard, and it's the trashy administration like this at all levels that's turning education into politics, yet not necessarily teaching any!

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip

Mayfield and Belleair (none / 0) (#200)
by anonymous cowerd on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 04:32:34 PM EST

I went to a really great public school on the east side of Cleveland, OH -- Mayfield High School, There's great teachers, administration, sports, and students, and I did enjoy my time there and learned plenty!

Cool! I went to Mayfield Village Elementary School from grade one to the beginning of grade three. I had no basis of comparison at the time, so I didn't realize how excellent Mayfield Village Elementary was. But when I was eight years old, about a quarter of the way through third grade, my parents up and moved to this dismal pocket of poverty, Florida. Well, the laughably lousy public schools down here caught up with the Mayfield Village third grade curriculum somewhere around the seventh or eighth grade.

Our current state administration is headed by Governor Jeb! Bush (yep, the same sleazy bastard who stole the Presidential election for his illiterate brother), and he is in the process of making the Florida school system even lousier than it was before (e.g. we currently rank 49th out of the fifty states in per-capita spending on public education, and the plan is to ruthlessly slash expenses even more everywhere). Jeb! recently appointed a Republican political fundraiser, one Phil Handy, as chairman of the State Board of Education. Mr. Handy has exactly zero prior experience in the field of education; the sole apparent qualification for his appointment is his experience campaigning against the teacher's union.

While reminiscing about those good old days in the pre-air-conditioning Florida school system, I'm reminded of a somewhat off-topic memory of my first year down South. You know, when I was enjoying the first-rate public schools in Cleveland back in the early sixties, they were entirely segregated. I literally never saw any black people in my ordinary environment when I was growing up there. So it isn't as though Clevelanders were liberals in favor of desegregation, but the whole "Negro problem" was right off the scopes, as it were.

Once I descended below the Mason-Dixon line, things were quite different! For all the previous decade, all the South had been in a frenzy, practically on the verge of seceding again, all over the Negro threat. It was the subject on the tip of everyone's tongue; you couldn't go a single day without hearing adults idly chatting here and there about the racial issue, and ninety-five percent of the comments could be boiled down to: "Damn boy, we sure do hate them niggers!"

Maybe all this perverse racial obsession didn't seem so strange to the natives, as they had been steeped in it since they were in diapers, so it didn't seem any odder than the wetness of the sea seems to a fish. But for me, a Yankee boy to whom this horrid mania was all-new, it was pretty weird, I'll tell you, and I swiftly learned not to make even the most slightly liberal-sounding comment, to avoid the beatings and catcalls of "nigger-lover" that inevitably ensued.

Well, one day I was in my segregated classroom at Belleair Elementary School in Clearwater, Florida, and a call came over the intercom, that all students were to drop what they were doing and report to the lunchroom. That's where the school's one and only television set was located. When we got there, the set was tuned to a news channel, and the announcer was telling us that President Kennedy had been shot at in Dallas, Texas. We sat around and listened to the confused commentary, then authoritative news came from the hospital that John Kennedy was dead. The school administration decided that we should go home early, and sent us all out to the curbside canopy, while they rounded up all the school buses.

As the buses began to show up, one of the kids - keep in mind, these were elementary school kids, grades one through six - came up with a sing-song, and other kids joined in, until there were dozens of pre-teens gleefully singing:

The nigger-lover's dead
The nigger-lover's dead
They shot him in the head
The nigger-lover's dead!

Every time there's a major anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, you pick up the newspaper - you know, the same institution that prints editorials praising Jesse Helms for his career-long moderation regarding racial tensions - and read one after another treacly reminiscence of "what they were doing when Kennedy was killed." Get ready for another such gusher of hogwash come November 2003. All the "ordinary person-in-the-street" types who, when prompted by the reporter, offers this crap about how they were all "horrified and heartbroken by the tragedy." I've been reading this disgusting rubbish for decades. Gee, where today are those adults who remember as grade-school children singing that cute little ditty I quoted above?

Ah, the U.S.A. where we drop uncomfortable history right down the oubliette!

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

The one thing that really disturbs me about America is that people don't like to read. - Keith Richards
[ Parent ]

A troubling secondhand anecdote. (3.60 / 5) (#53)
by marlowe on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:08:43 AM EST

I have a relative who knows a kid who's been home schooled. He reads way beyond his grade level and all that, but he has zero interpersonal or job skills, and has no intention of going to college or getting a job.

The parents are really out-there fundamentalists, the kind who think the King James Bible is the only God-approved translation, and that they realy talked in King James English back in Old Testament times. In short, idiots. The kind of parents that screw up religion so badly that their kids inevitably rebel and go atheist.

But the father's a public school teacher. He doesn't want to serve his kid that brand of dog food, so they went for home schooling.

The parents aren't completely in denial. They arranged for the kid to have a summer job so he could have some taste of the real world. He's smart-mouthed and a screwup too. He's suspected of stealing. He likes bragging about how he's a genius, even while he's getting himself injured on the job by not following directions and doing something stupid. He's going to be one of that kind of atheist. Well, at least the kid can read.

The public school system in the US sucks something awful. It's sucked a long time and nobody's willing to do what it would take to fix it (radical reform.) Having suffered through that hell on earth, I'm inclined to give any alternative the benefit of the doubt. But this information troubles me.

There's no idea so good that an incompetent implementor can't screw it up. What home schooling lacks is safeguards against screwup parents.


-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
Preach the big government line (3.83 / 6) (#93)
by Loundry on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:36:34 PM EST

What home schooling lacks is safeguards against screwup parents.

And what kinds of safeguards are in place to protect children from screwup teachers in government schools? By your own admission, "The public school system in the US sucks something awful. It's sucked a long time and nobody's willing to do what it would take to fix it (radical reform.)"

And what kind of radical reform will add accountability to that which has no one to be accountable to? This is why government schools will suck and will always suck: They are government programs and are, by definition, not accountable to anyone. If a private school doesn't educate a child well, then the school will suffer, lose money, and go out of business. It is therefore in their best interest to keep their service level (education, that is) high. Government services don't have this problem, and that's why the service level at government services unilaterally sucks. Home-schooling is competition to public schools, and that's why teachers' unions and big-government educrats hate it.
-- Dare not to be in agony, but in truffles!
[ Parent ]

Huh? (4.00 / 3) (#122)
by DesiredUsername on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:18:41 PM EST

"And what kinds of safeguards are in place to protect children from screwup teachers in government schools?"

Variety. No matter how bad a teacher or how he tries to brainwash the child he still only has about 1 hour/day for nine months. The same is not true of parents.

"They are government programs and are, by definition, not accountable to anyone."

Government programs are accountable to citizens. The bigger the program the harder this control is to wield, but nonetheless your "by definition" rant is factually false.

I have nothing against home-schooling but I can't stand fanatacism.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
not necessarily (4.00 / 2) (#138)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 04:17:03 PM EST

"Variety" A primary school teacher has a child for the lion's share of the school day. Studies have shown that these are the most important years of a child's education. If they're stuck with a bad classroom teacher for a year, it can make a big difference.

"Government programs..." Not necessarily. Nowadays the majority of educational regulations, etc. come from state or federal departments of educations, which are NOT made up of elected officials, but do have the authority to make rules. The only possible accountability there is to Congress or state Legislature at funding time, not to the citizens. If schools were really still run by local school boards, I'd agree with you. When they were so run, they did a much better job at providing a sound education.

[ Parent ]

more pro-government stuff (none / 0) (#190)
by Loundry on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 01:29:37 PM EST

Variety. No matter how bad a teacher or how he tries to brainwash the child he still only has about 1 hour/day for nine months. The same is not true of parents.

Parents should have the right to teach their children whatever they want to teach them. They are their child's parents. This is not to say that I approve of everything that parents teach their children. The idea of fundamentalist Christians being parents disgusts me. But that's still better than politicians making decisions about what children should be taught. What qualifies a politician to make better decisions for a child than her or his own parents? This is not a rhetorical question; surrender of liberty demands an explanation with solid reasoning and evidence.

Government programs are accountable to citizens. The bigger the program the harder this control is to wield, but nonetheless your "by definition" rant is factually false.

You can't just label it as "false" without saying why. Here, I'll show you: Your statement that "[g]overnment programs are accountable to citizens" is false. To illustrate, when was the last time citizens were allowed to vote a government school principal out of office? When was the last time failing schools had their administration changed by angry citizens? When was the last time citizens were allowed to audit the NSA and the CIA? It doesn't happen, and that's why your statement is false.

I have nothing against home-schooling but I can't stand fanatacism.

You and I are in total agreement! Did I sound like a fanatic to you? Tell me how, and I'll be happy to modify my behavior. I want to challenge you with reason and evidence, not with any real or perceived fanatacism, and often times I don't do a good job of it.
-- Dare not to be in agony, but in truffles!
[ Parent ]

point of view from someone who's been there... (4.83 / 6) (#56)
by Mad Goose on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:15:39 AM EST

I've been home schooled for 11 years. I will now try to get across what it's like.

First of all, "parents can't teach, they don't know what they're talking about." = *BS* Here's why: We didn't 'play' school. I got up, ate breakfast, and worked *by myself* on school work. When I had a question, I'd ask. If they didn't know, they'd find someone who did. None of this, "sit at your desk and I'll lecture." I sat in a comfortable recliner most of the time.

Isolation: Actually, being socially inept depends on the child. I know several home schoolers (former, they're at college now) who are the most vocal express their concerns and feelings, IN A INTELLIGENT WAY! I'm a horrid extrovert. You read that right, I'm a big, *flaming* extrovert. And you know what? If I had gone to the private school I had the option of going to, I probably wouldn't have been better off. Now, I have a normal abiltiy to dismiss dumbass comments, but if I had been subjected to them for 11 years, well, I wonder how students can take the stress.

Religion: *Attention* Not all Home Schoolers are religious zealots! I'm a agnostic, most of my family is. I learned about evolution, until I was 11 I didn't know what Creationism was. (but that was from my un-interest) I did Biology, I did Vocabulary, and what's unique; *I also read things on my own.* It was rare I wasn't to the library at least 3-4 times a week. I asked for a book one Christmas and my friend said, "Why do you want a book?" This I attribute to not being in a "normal" school, where they crush your love of learning, of being curious. (Yes I know that there are good teachers, and I've experienced several, but the dead weight out numbers them.)

Diversity: Don't make me laugh. All these schools you were talking about sounded like a Suburban Drone meeting place. (example) Where is the diversity in a predominantly white, middle-class sub-division's school? But I digress.

And here's what Home Schooling did: It didn't produce another "Consume product, must buy Britney Spears CD" drone. It made a well-rounded individual, a intelligent, tolerant, and friendly person. Me.

When you look at things from the individual experience, it's different than the "big picture," of statistics and surveys. Any questions?


-------------------------------------------
How do you know this post isn't the result of a drunken bet?

Discworld "Map":
"There are no maps. You can't map a sense of humor."
-Terry Pratchett
Oh, really? (2.20 / 5) (#71)
by Salamander on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:37:19 AM EST

And here's what Home Schooling did: It didn't produce another "Consume product, must buy Britney Spears CD" drone. It made a well-rounded individual, a intelligent, tolerant, and friendly person. Me.

And what evidence do we have that you, an opinionated and slightly condescending poster on kuro5hin, are well-rounded, tolerant, or friendly? Are we supposed to take that on faith, or should we exercise a little critical thought regarding such a claim? Perhaps we should learn from experience, which in my case teaches me that claims of well-roundedness or tolerance are most often made by people in whom such characterisitics are singularly absent.

I find it interesting that just about all of the home-schooling "success stories" are self-evaluations. I rarely see such laudatory accounts that start with "I knew this guy who was home-schooled..." Maybe what home-schooling teaches most - and it's not very surprising given the demographics of parents who make that choice - is arrogance and elitism.



[ Parent ]
OK, well then... (4.33 / 3) (#87)
by Mad Goose on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:06:34 PM EST

How do I display the benefits I've experienced with home schooling without relating my personal experience and outcomes? Do you want me to find the various people who've complimented me and have them tell you? The fact is, I try hard *not* to be a arrogant bastard because of the fact they irritate me. I tried not to come across arrogant, and I've failed in that. But, how am I supposed to tell people about me, when if I say anything good about myself, I get yelled at?


-------------------------------------------
How do you know this post isn't the result of a drunken bet?

Discworld "Map":
"There are no maps. You can't map a sense of humor."
-Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]
Speaking of arrogance (4.00 / 6) (#91)
by Loundry on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:29:41 PM EST

And what evidence do we have that you, an opinionated and slightly condescending poster on kuro5hin, are well-rounded, tolerant, or friendly? Are we supposed to take that on faith, or should we exercise a little critical thought regarding such a claim? Perhaps we should learn from experience, which in my case teaches me that claims of well-roundedness or tolerance are most often made by people in whom such characterisitics are singularly absent.

I thought that his post was very nice and informative, personally. He seems like a friendly and well-rounded person to me. You, on the other hand, sound like an asshole. It was not very wise of you to accuse him of not being friendly in a most unfreindly manner. Furthermore, are you suggesting that no person who is truly well-rounded or tolerant can self-identify those characteristics?

I find it interesting that just about all of the home-schooling "success stories" are self-evaluations. I rarely see such laudatory accounts that start with "I knew this guy who was home-schooled..."

What kinds of evaluations would you prefer, government-funded evaluations? And allow me to share with you that I knew this guy who was home-schooled. He seemed just as bright, educated, and socialized as his compatriots, and he seemed to be much more capable of independent thought as well.

Maybe what home-schooling teaches most - and it's not very surprising given the demographics of parents who make that choice - is arrogance and elitism.

You and I both know that there is a strong faction of government educators and teachers' unions (who donate almost all of their political donations to the huge-government DNC) who intend to show home-schoolers as subversives who are deliberately harming their children. It is up to home-schoolers to show that they are wrong, and I find the testimonies of children who were home-schooled to be of great value. If these kids are bright and articulate (as the owner of the previous comment was), then that goes well to dispel the myths of the NEA and the government educrats.

So let me see if I understand your mentality: home-schooled kids are harmed by their subversive parents, and if they try to show otherwise, then they should be immediately labeled as arrogant and elitist. Am I correct in my assessment? If not, could you provide a more accurate depiction of your mentality? I'm only calling it as I see it.
-- Dare not to be in agony, but in truffles!
[ Parent ]

Misconceptions (3.80 / 5) (#103)
by Salamander on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:36:05 PM EST

You, on the other hand, sound like an asshole. It was not very wise of you to accuse him of not being friendly in a most unfreindly manner.

Then again, I'm not the one claiming to be friendly and sociable, am I? I don't know the guy, I can't claim whether he is or is not friendly, well-rounded, etc. My point was more that his claim, however true or untrue it might be in actual fact, was unverifiable, anecdotal, and generally representative of a class of claims that are common on the net but of little value in a debate.

are you suggesting that no person who is truly well-rounded or tolerant can self-identify those characteristics?

No, I'm not, but thanks for trying to say it for me. What I'm saying is that there are so many bogus claims of this type on the net that he should not expect us to believe in or be persuaded by his. It's scientific data we lack, not anecdotes and self-congratulation.

What kinds of evaluations would you prefer, government-funded evaluations?

Again no, and this time thanks for the excluded middle. I don't particularly care about the funding (except of course where it creates blatant conflicts of interest); what I care about is the science. A scientific study of the psychological effects of home-schooling vs. alternatives, devising and applying some measure of educational attainment and/or social adaptation across a broad sample with controls etc. would be very useful in this debate. Just about anything else is merely fuel for flame wars, increasing heat but not light.

You and I both know that there is a strong faction of government educators and teachers' unions (who donate almost all of their political donations to the huge-government DNC) who intend to show home-schoolers as subversives who are deliberately harming their children. It is up to home-schoolers to show that they are wrong

There's a difference between refuting one claim and making a counterclaim that's just as invalid. I would gladly accept scientific third-party evidence comparing home-schoolers vs. others, but unscientific first-person claims of outright superiority do very little to persuade me of anything.

I find the testimonies of children who were home-schooled to be of great value

...whereas I, being a stickler for the scientific method, find them to be of little value. Unaggregated, as a guide to policy, such "testimony" is useless. I have relatives who have been schooled at home, and some of them seem pretty maladapted socially, but I don't expect such a "testimonial" to persuade anyone of anything.

So let me see if I understand your mentality: home-schooled kids are harmed by their subversive parents, and if they try to show otherwise, then they should be immediately labeled as arrogant and elitist.

Wrong again, and again thanks for putting words in my mouth. What I'm saying is that, in my experience, home-schooled students' opinions of themselves seem uniformly high while their actual accomplishment seems more mixed. Yes, that's anecdotal and unscientific, but no more so than what I was answering, and yet you jump in to attack one while defending the other. Why?

I'm only calling it as I see it.

...as I did. In that same vein, it seems to me that you need practice at seeing past emotion and preconception to what is actually being said, instead of resorting to all manner of logical fallacies. To that end, I refer you to this list; please read it so you know what mistakes to avoid in your next reply.



[ Parent ]
Outright hypocrisy (4.50 / 2) (#116)
by Loundry on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:52:04 PM EST

Then again, I'm not the one claiming to be friendly and sociable, am I?

Well put!

No, I'm not, but thanks for trying to say it for me. What I'm saying is that there are so many bogus claims of this type on the net that he should not expect us to believe in or be persuaded by his. It's scientific data we lack, not anecdotes and self-congratulation.

How did you judge them to be bogus?

Again no, and this time thanks for the excluded middle. I don't particularly care about the funding (except of course where it creates blatant conflicts of interest); what I care about is the science. A scientific study of the psychological effects of home-schooling vs. alternatives, devising and applying some measure of educational attainment and/or social adaptation across a broad sample with controls etc. would be very useful in this debate.

I agree, and I also agree with you that my retort was bifurcation. What I do notice is that you demand scientific studies about the effectiveness of home-schooling while making no such demand about the effectiveness of government schooling. Why?

There's a difference between refuting one claim and making a counterclaim that's just as invalid. I would gladly accept scientific third-party evidence comparing home-schoolers vs. others, but unscientific first-person claims of outright superiority do very little to persuade me of anything.

You failed to show what was invalid about my counterclaim. Merely stating that it's invalid is not convincing. Furthermore, your accusation that the original posters comments are "claims of outright superiority" is merely your subjective interpretation. Did you expect me to be convined by that?

...whereas I, being a stickler for the scientific method, find them to be of little value.

This is a good point. I, too, am a stickler for evidence. If home-schooled people write well-written defenses of their schooling using good grammar, sound logic, and a decent vocabulary, then would that be evidence to you that home schooling can provide good grammer, sound logic, and decent vocabulary? Sure it's not statistical, but I think is evidence nonetheless, particularly since the claims from the left state that home-schooling is detrimental, period. It is for this reason that I think "testimony" is not useless. The evidence lies not in that we belive what the person testifying claims, but in how he or she conducts him- or herself.

Wrong again, and again thanks for putting words in my mouth. What I'm saying is that, in my experience, home-schooled students' opinions of themselves seem uniformly high while their actual accomplishment seems more mixed. Yes, that's anecdotal and unscientific, but no more so than what I was answering, and yet you jump in to attack one while defending the other. Why?

How hypocritical of you! You claim to be a "stickler" for the scientific method, then put forth a conclusion backed by no evidence whatsoever! Furthermore, I infer from what you write that you think your hypocritcal action is justified becase your opponent had done the same thing. So much for being a "stickler" for the scientific method. It should be clear by now that what I am defending is not that I believe the poster's words, but that I see the evidence in *how* he wrote. So tell me, Mister Stickler, where is your evidence that the accomplishments of home-schooled students are "mixed"? Futhermore, I think that most everyone's opinion of her/himself is "uniformly high."

...as I did. In that same vein, it seems to me that you need practice at seeing past emotion and preconception to what is actually being said, instead of resorting to all manner of logical fallacies. To that end, I refer you to this list; please read it so you know what mistakes to avoid in your next reply.

And now you, who accused one of elitism, treat me with a terribly condescending attitude! Your implication about me could not have been more clearly made: I don't know how to debate and can't conduct myself without making "mistakes" -- this is called "argumentum ad hominem." Perhaps you need to take a bit of your own medicine, since you can't seem to conduct an argument without your own preconceptions (government schools need no scientific studies to prove their worth) and emotions (snide and condescending attitude).

My questions for you are as follows: What is the scientific evidence that shows the ineffectiveness of home-schooling that you claim exists? And why do government schools need no scientific studies to show their effectiveness?
-- Dare not to be in agony, but in truffles!
[ Parent ]

How amusing (4.50 / 4) (#126)
by Salamander on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:30:10 PM EST

You've managed two self-descriptive subject lines in a row. Nice going.

How hypocritical of you! You claim to be a "stickler" for the scientific method, then put forth a conclusion backed by no evidence whatsoever!

The part you oh-so-conveniently left out is where I explicitly said that I didn't expect anyone to be persuaded by my anecdotes. It was intended to be illustrative, perhaps edging toward ironic/satirical, not persuasive. I have been consistent in my characterization of anecdotes as being of little value, while you have swung between attacking mine and defending others' based only on whether those anecdotes support your preexisting beliefs. Who's the hypocrite now?

Your implication about me could not have been more clearly made: I don't know how to debate and can't conduct myself without making "mistakes"

If you don't want to have fallacies pointed out, don't rely on them for the bulk of your argument. That you did so is evident from your own post, and mine merely attempted to suggest a remedy. Outrage at spurious claims of error would be appropriate, but the errors I pointed out were real and your own.

this is called "argumentum ad hominem."

As popular as that term is, your use of it in this context is inappropriate. The full term is argumentum ad hominem, and refers to an argument based on an attack against an opponent's credibility. I was making no such argument. I was not trying to make or refute any relevant point by pointing out your errors. It was a mere side comment, perhaps gratuitous and perhaps rude but not argumentum ad hominem.

your own preconceptions (government schools need no scientific studies to prove their worth)

I have no such preconception, and yet again I thank you for putting words in my mouth. I would like to see such scientific evidence for either side.

If I have not been as harsh toward those you oppose as I have been toward those you support, chalk it up to mere chance. I haven't gotten deeply involved in this debate. I haven't made a dozen posts and moderated fifty more according to the views they express...like you have. Oh yes, I did notice, and you can see in my diary entry for today how I feel about such abuse of moderation. I saw one post that, for whatever reason, struck me as being a particularly bad example of a non-persuasive argument, and it happened to be from someone who supports home schooling, but that doesn't mean I have some secret pro-government agenda. In fact I am not opposed to home schooling, consider a legitimate alternative to traditional schools, and wish that there were more support for parents who make that choice (e.g. easier access to materials and training, no barriers to non-curriculum services provided by the school district). If you want to further the cause of home schooling, you could do a lot better than to attack and alienate me and other would-be allies who might see this.



[ Parent ]
Salamander, if you're a public school graduate ... (3.00 / 1) (#149)
by pyramid termite on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:30:22 PM EST

... you're not doing the "public school helps kids socialize" argument much good here. It would be commendable for you to reply to a person who made an extraordinary claim such as "I am a psychic" or "I took a ride on a UFO" with a demand that the evidence be more than anecdotal. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof; mundane ones, such as "I was home schooled and I'm well-rounded", do not. In polite society, they do not require any proof at all, unless the person is known to be a liar. I can't help but notice that Mad Goose seems mature enough not to get into a emotional flamefest over it, unlike you.

By the way, I was a public school graduate and I'm a cynical, anti-social, twisted bastard. I await your refutation of this as token of your objectivity.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
The ongoing flame-fest (5.00 / 1) (#156)
by Salamander on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 06:17:30 PM EST

[if you're a public school graduate] you're not doing the "public school helps kids socialize" argument much good here

Actually my schooling was a combination of public and private schools, with even one short stint of correspondence-based education thrown in, so I'm not sure what it proves with respect to the current discussion, except how quickly some people jump to conclusions.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof; mundane ones, such as "I was home schooled and I'm well-rounded", do not.

You might be surprised to hear that I think you're absolutely correct. If I had set out to make a major issue over that particular claim, that would be uncalled-for and obnoxious...but I didn't. If I wanted to make a compelling argument against home schooling (which I don't) I would have taken an entirely different approach; what I intended was a single fairly lightweight response to a fairly lightweight post - a skirmish on the edge of the main battle, if you will. It's only because of Loundry's unfounded accusations and general ill nature that this discussion has persisted, and BTW you're not helping the situation any. I admit that one of my faults is difficulty resisting flamebait.

I can't help but notice that Mad Goose seems mature enough not to get into a emotional flamefest over it

Was it maturity, or was it recognition that there just wasn't that much more to say about it? It really wasn't that meaty a sub-topic, certainly nothing to justify coming in with all guns blazing, spouting wild accusations and random vitriol as Loundry did...which brings me to my next point. If anyone has been overly emotional here, it's him, and yet you come in here and presume to take me instead of him to task for the tone of the conversation. If there's one thing that's guaranteed to piss me off, it's people who pretend to be referees but only "call fouls" on one side - especially when it's not the side that's playing the dirtiest. Since you're demanding tokens of objectivity, I suggest that you exhibit some yourself by either giving him his due or taking off that ill-earned striped jersey.



[ Parent ]
Analysis (none / 0) (#184)
by Loundry on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:04:02 PM EST

You've managed two self-descriptive subject lines in a row. Nice going.

Your belittling attitude is noted.

As popular as that term is, your use of it in this context is inappropriate. The full term is argumentum ad hominem, and refers to an argument based on an attack against an opponent's credibility. I was making no such argument. I was not trying to make or refute any relevant point by pointing out your errors. It was a mere side comment, perhaps gratuitous and perhaps rude but not argumentum ad hominem.

You know as well as I that the end result is the same. Instead of attacking the argument, you've attacked me, and here you are admitting to it. I think you're right that I'm using the term incorrectly, and my error is overshadowed by your slander.

If I have not been as harsh toward those you oppose as I have been toward those you support, chalk it up to mere chance.

Your claim is supported by neither your actions nor your words.

I haven't gotten deeply involved in this debate. I haven't made a dozen posts and moderated fifty more according to the views they express...like you have. Oh yes, I did notice, and you can see in my diary entry for today how I feel about such abuse of moderation.

Instead of attacking my argument, you've decided to look at my posts and my moderation history, judge it to be "abuse," and then post a slanderous diary entry about me. You're claim that you "haven't gotten deeply involved" does not look true in the slightest, considering that you've taken your precious time to post a personal attack on me in your diary for all to see.

But what you wrote is not nearly as important as what you didn't write. Consider the fact that I've made several arguments and asked several questions that you have simply ignored.

  • "What I do notice is that you demand scientific studies about the effectiveness of home-schooling while making no such demand about the effectiveness of government schooling. Why?"
  • "Furthermore, your accusation that the original posters comments are 'claims of outright superiority' is merely your subjective interpretation. Did you expect me to be convined by that?"
  • "If home-schooled people write well-written defenses of their schooling using good grammar, sound logic, and a decent vocabulary, then would that be evidence to you that home schooling can provide good grammer, sound logic, and decent vocabulary?"
  • "What is the scientific evidence that shows the ineffectiveness of home-schooling that you claim exists?"
  • "And why do government schools need no scientific studies to show their effectiveness?"

Instead of answering my questions and responding to my arguments, you have done the following:

  • You tacetly agreed that you were being an asshole when I stated that's how you appeared.
  • You admitted to being rude to me.
  • You dug through my history as a means of discrediting me.
  • You posted a slanderous diary entry about me.
  • You have been deliberately belittling toward me.
  • You have been condescending toward me, and did not dispute it when I called you on it.

This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black you when you accuse me of attacking and alienating. I'm willing to retract anything I've said if it's attacking or alienating (as I know I'm not going to convince anyone with that attitude), and I'm willing to concede points when they are fair. Your treatment of me has not been in any way fair. Instead of sticking with the matter at hand, responding to my arguments, and answering my questions, you've chosen to make this increasingly more personal.

For these reasons, it seems that you're not interested in debate, or exange of ideas, or learning, or educating. It seems more that you're much more interested in scoring points and getting others' goats. I have no desire to attempt to debate with one who prefers to attack me personally than respond to my questions and arguments. If your next post is more of the same, then I will ignore you forever. If your next post starts with an apology (and keep in mind that I'm willing to apologize, too), then I am willing to continue the discussion provided it stays civil.
-- Dare not to be in agony, but in truffles!
[ Parent ]

Hmm ... (4.33 / 3) (#57)
by Herring on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:23:10 AM EST

Being the kind of person who can see both sides of an argument, I can see ... well ...

Point 1: I have an 8 year old stepdaughter who has Aspergers (and an 18 month old son who, so far, seems normal). I'm not really sure that Aspergers is really a "medical condition" since many people (paerticularly geeks like myself) tend to match the symptoms quite closely. One thing I am sure about though is that isolation from other children her age will not help. Children need to learn social skills (more so with Aspergers) by interacting with children their age.

Point 2: People want things handed to them on a plate. The current point of view is that public/state school system should do the whole upbringing job for the parents - table manners, not telling strangers to fuck off etc. I suspect that this is why parents get so uptight about TV. The TV is an unpaid nanny who shouldn't be telling the children bad things (BTW will someone please explain to me the substantial difference between Pokemon battles and dog fighting - both involve setting pets against one another).

In summary, "education" of children is a huge subject. More than just being instructed on spelling and grammar. The state system was not designed to do it all - parents have to bear some responsibility.



Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
Aspergers? (none / 0) (#134)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:53:06 PM EST

I have never heard of Aspergers. Elucidate, please?

[ Parent ]
Aspergers Syndrome (none / 0) (#176)
by Herring on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 03:45:21 AM EST

It's normally described as "high functioning autism". There was a thread on the subject of autism a few days ago, but I'm too hungover to look it out. Basically, it's almost total lack of social skills - complete inability to read faces, body language etc. Social skills are not innate and need to be learned. See this page for more information.



Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
Unschooling, New Zealand (4.85 / 7) (#58)
by dennis on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:33:19 AM EST

Sudbury Valley schools practice "unschooling" - kids study whatever they want. Teachers are there to help out when requested. The basic idea: kids instinctively want to learn as much as possible, so let them, don't drum it out of them by making the experience miserable. It seems to work - they've been doing it for a while, and most graduates are working in their first-choice career.

One teacher describes a bunch of kids coming to him and saying "we want to learn arithmetic." He says "nah, it's hard, wouldn't you rather play?" They insist, he lays down some ground rules, and they learn arithmetic in six weeks. That's entirely normal at these schools (though it does work best if you start the kids there early, before regular schools ruin them).

Another aspect of the method is that everybody gets a vote on school policy, including parents, teachers, and kids down to the age of six. They say the little kids vote with surprising maturity. Sudbury advocates point out that we live in a democracy - why do we raise kids in a totalitarian environment? We need to build independent thinkers or democracy fails.

Finally I'd like to mention the New Zealand solution. They had an education problem like the U.S. has, and solved it by 1) allowing parents to send kids to any public school they want, 2) giving each school a fixed amount per student who registers, and 3) giving total control over school and curricula to the parents whose kids attend. It took about ten years to shake out, but now their schools are great. It's still a public school system, just without government control.

School and the Average Child (4.33 / 9) (#60)
by catseye on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:38:59 AM EST

I notice that there are many replies here that include one of the following phrases (or something very similar):
  1. I learned it on my own
  2. The math and history I could learn on my own from books.
  3. I learned to read before entering school.
Yes, of course you did. Most of the readership of k5 probably didn't need school for anything but social skills because, honestly, we're geeks. ;) Overall, we're highly intelligent -- the upper 2-3%. The general population is not. While we may be able to just pick up a book and learn algebra on our own, have all our homework done in class, learn by osmosis, or be 3 chapters ahead of the teacher in history, the general population cannot. The general population needs to be taught by competent teachers, be it at home or in the school system.

The biggest problems I have with the American school system, both public and private, are that too much emphasis is placed on performance testing and every child is educated as if he or she will be going to college and having a professional career when it's obvious that this just isn't the case. The standardized tests waste too much teacher and student time, and serve no real purpose. Just because a child can pass a basic skills test doesn't mean he or she will do well in school or even graduate.

I think America would serve its children better if apprenticeship and learning a trade were still an option. When a child enters high school, he or she should have the option of continuing a formal education, entering a trade school, or becoming an apprentice (although he/she could not actually do real work until old enough). The first 8 years of school (if you took away all the ridiculous standardized tests) should be enough to teach children reading, writing, math, high points in history, civics, and the basics of sciences such as physics, biology, chemistry. At the end of 8th grade, give them an ASVAB test and see what they'd be good at, then have the children, parents and a guidance counselor talk about what the next course of action should be. A child should never be forced by the school administration into a particular trade, program, school or apprenticeship, but the counselor could discourage a child from becoming an auto mechanic if he/she has no mechanical aptitude or encourage a child to become a veterinarian if he/she has an aptitude for biology and is good with animals. Perhaps if this kind of testing were done, parents would not push children into college who don't have the proper skill set or aptitude for it. Too much value is placed on a college education, and skilled craftsmen, tradespeople, artisans, and others are not respected enough.

I've known quite a number of intelligent people who graduated from good colleges with a bachelor's degree in something totally useless -- in fields where there are no non-teaching jobs. Some of them work in fast food restaurants. Some of them have gone back to technical school to learn some actual job skills. Some have gone on to get MBAs and are now in marketing, which in my opinion is worse than working in fast food.

I guess, in short, what I'm trying to say is that most children can have the basics taught to them by 8th grade and then they should be able to start learning what they're going to be doing for a living, be it medicine or carpentry, and a good carpenter should get just as much respect as a good doctor.



This already exists.... (none / 0) (#69)
by nads on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:27:35 AM EST

... It's callled Vocational Highschools. Many counties in states provide schools like it. They are basically alternatives to highschools to teach students a trade or prepare them for a tradeschool. Students can opt to go to votech instead of a normal highschool.

[ Parent ]
Yes, but... (none / 0) (#81)
by catseye on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:08:35 AM EST

... they're not widespread enough. Every child that has access to a "normal" public school should have equal access to one of those schools. It's definitely a good start, though.

[ Parent ]
Standardized testing not evil (4.00 / 3) (#95)
by topham on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:44:52 PM EST

Standardized testing sets MINIMUM standards.

The problem with not having them is some schools/teachers neglect subjects which should be included in the ciriculum. They concentrate on what they enjoy teaching. This isn't a real problem if they cover the basics properly as well. But many teachers/schools are graduating students that cannot pass a standardized test because it is expedient to pass them.

Very few people have enough difficulties with tests to make an entire system devoid of them. This is as bad as having a 'No grades' system where the teacher gives 'evaluations' only.

Evaluations are usefull and should be required, but knowing your child meets a specific expectation is also valuable.



[ Parent ]

Who is being helped by standardized tests? (4.00 / 2) (#106)
by speek on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:45:16 PM EST

The problem with not having them is some schools/teachers neglect subjects which should be included in the ciriculum.

I have to take issue with this. The idea that the curriculum should be decided by some board hundreds or thousands of miles away, with no input from either the child, the child's parents, or the child's teacher, is very strange. Why can't curriculum be left to those three parties to decide?

If your answer is that some people are incapable of making good decisions, then I have to counter and say that other people are very capable of making very good decisions, and you are choosing to harm those people for the sake of people who don't care/are stupid, and to top it off - you're not actually succeeding in helping that apathetic/stupid population, are you? If we go check out their standardized test scores, they aren't actually doing too well, are they?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

standardized testing (5.00 / 1) (#183)
by topham on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 11:09:44 AM EST

Standarized testing is one of the few unbiased methods to get feedback into the school system.

Again though, I repeat, it should be based on minimums. Although they should be productive minimums. They are not, never have been, and never will be and end-all be all yardstick. Anyone who thinks they are is an idiot. (ANd I don't care how many letters come after their name).

I live in an area where the school system is rather diverse. If you push hard enough you can pick which school you go to. The schools waste a lot of tax payers money every year running ads for how great thier specialty classes are.

Unfortunatly what they don't say in those ads is how bad they are at teaching the basics. Why? Because they don't have to, because they refuse to use base-line tests for such things as reading and math.

On the other hand they are happy to extole the virtues of their computer courses, or their arts program, etc.

It has been recently mandated they have exams in subjects like math and english at the end of grade 11 and 12. Many of the students did very poorly. The reaction of the schools was simply to blame the tests. The local papers included a number of questions from the test as examples of how bad the tests were. There was nothing unusual or difficult about the questions.

Their solution to the problem is to ignore the test results and carry on as usual, not improve the classroom situations and improve the learning environment.

Someone here mentioned the inability of people to work our a Tip at a resturaunt. Without getting into a discussion on how much/little one should tip the standard is (in many places anyway) 15%. Or, calculated another way, %10 + 1/2 10%. Shuffle a decimal place to the right, add half again and thats the 'standard tip'.

Do you know how many students don't even understand what 10% is? The only way to know is to test them. And if they don't you feed that back into the school system to be sure they do.

Standardized testing should not be used as a club on the student, but rather to highlight defficiencies in the school system.



[ Parent ]

didn't respond to me (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by speek on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 01:23:40 PM EST

Your post didn't respond to the point I made. In the situation you describe, the parents, the child, and the teachers chose a particular path to follow. The "unbiased" standardized tests didn't recognize their path, and scored them low. They had no opportunity to demonstrate what they had learned, however.

These tests are not unbiased, as I think I have just shown - they are biased toward a particular curriculum decided by others who have no interest in the welfare of any particular child. Although you may feel it absolutely necessary that everyone be able to calculate a tip in their head, I see no reason for such a requirement.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

well... (none / 0) (#131)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:46:51 PM EST

"competent teachers" Unfortunately, this is a rare animal. I went to college to get a teaching degree. Not to be a teacher. This is a talent like the ability to draw or sing, it can perhaps be improved by education, but education cannot create it where the seed doesn't already exist. Most of what I was taught in my so-called "education" classes fell into one of four categories: Rehash of stuff I should have learned before eigth grade, Stuff that should be common sense, Stuff that anyone with any sense knows doesn't work, Liberal educrat doctrine. About the same time I started really getting into education classes, I also ran across the alternative education/homeschooling section of the public library. Needless to say, the clash of what I was learning in school with what I was reading on my own caused me to do some serious thinking, which, combined with a shortage of cash, caused me not to finish and ed degree and to decide that, when I have kids, they will be homeschooled.

As to the rest of your post, I vehemently agree, with the single reservation of using something like the ASVAB to make the determination. I think it's good to use such things to let kids know where their aptitudes lie, but their own interests should lead them to determine what they do.

[ Parent ]

Agreed. Some links: (4.80 / 5) (#61)
by Rainy on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:44:53 AM EST

Summerhill - freedom school - this is a school where students are free to do what they want to do. Teachers just stand by and help when their help is requested, from what I unserstand.

Here's my story: Education: 3 R's mentality vs. Problem Solving - Essentially, I argue that instead of teaching knowledge, we should teach problem solving, i.e. don't learn the formula, learn how to *find* the right formula and how to apply it. The fact that textbooks etc aren't allowed on exams is absolutely insane. It's like asking atheletes to run a marathon on their hands, and making the distance only 10m to compensate.

I think the solution is schools like Summerhill, instead of homeschooling. Homeschooling is good too, on the side, but ideally I think some parents who have time and energy, should drop in the small, community-type schools like Summerhill and teach a class or two.

I also recommend anyone to read the Gotti's article (link in the story), it states the problem much more eloquently than the article itself, no offence. DO READ IT.

In addition: IMHO, everything I ever learned I learned *despite* school. I saw schools instilling revulsion for any learning or knowledge in students.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

No, you need to memorize... (3.50 / 2) (#68)
by nads on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:25:06 AM EST

... You need to know how to add and multiply w/o looking at a nubmer facts table. You need to know how to divide without looking at the algorithm. The stuff you learn in K-12 is very basic stuff. You need to memorize most of it. You can not resort to a textbook for every signle thing. If I needed to reference a textbook everytime I needed to use the quadratic formula or find the integral of e^x, I would never get anything done inc ollege. The situation in college may be different, but my feeling is that in K-12 you really need to memorize most of the stuff.

[ Parent ]
Your mind takes care of that. (4.00 / 2) (#76)
by Rainy on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:55:57 AM EST

I'm studying a programming language called python. I could do it in 2 ways: 1. I could go and read library reference and memorize all of it, then start writing programs. or 2. I could start writing programs, consulting library reference as I go.

To me, it's absolutely certain that method #2 is ENORMOUSLY more efficient. The reason is that our mind does not like to memorize useless information - look at a string of 25 numbers and try to memorize it. I told you to do that just now but you won't, because it's pointless and boring, and you don't care about some guy on k5 telling you to do boring memorization. And you are perfectly right. If, however, you are *using* some formula or some constants, you don't have to memorize them explicitly - your mind will do it on its own. Python has a function called os.path.walk() which 'walks' through directories recursively. I don't remember the correct way of writing it because I only used it once or twice. If I ever need to use it again, It's a simple matter of looking it up, it'll take 4 seconds. There's another function called f.readlines(), and I remember perfectly how it works without the need to consult docs - because I use it often. I never had to memorize it, I just used it 5 times and I suddenly found myself writing it out, no need for libref! The lesson here is that your mind is smarter than you are - it'll remember things when it needs to, and it will forget things when it needs to. Don't push it and it'll reward you with a lifetime of easy learning and high productivity and joyful studying.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Combination of both (5.00 / 2) (#98)
by orichter on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:50:36 PM EST

We need to balance education. Yes problem solving is good to know, but there are some basic precepts for any subject that require memorization so that basic problem solving can be achieved. You cannot solve an algebra problem if you do not know how to multiply or subtract first and the concept of what is a number of variable. Just as you cannot research if you do not know how to read. You cannot give your ideas to others if you cannot write coherently. So some basics are rote memory, learning of rules, learning of methods, learning of basics. These cannot be learned by problem solving unless you have several thousand years to stumble across all the rules, etc.

[ Parent ]
Disagreement on terms (5.00 / 1) (#185)
by Rainy on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:22:04 PM EST

I agree with your point, but I don't call this "memorization". The first example you give is division and multiplication - that's not something you memorize, I'd say, it's a matter of asking a kid to divide 8 apples between him and 2 friends, so that they have equal amount, and some of them left in a basket. I.e. it's a matter of solving a problem, as opposed to say memorizing formula for distance between two points on a graph (sq root of x1-x2 + y1-y2 or something). In other words, of course there is some memorization involved in learning - even if you're consulting a book, you still have to remember that formula for a few seconds when you're using it to get the answer - I just think that memorization should not be split apart from solving the problem, it should be something that is done naturally as part of solving the problem. But I guess it's possible that it's just how my mind works - I get insanely bored if I'm asked to memorize something that doesn't do anything.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Not quite (5.00 / 2) (#89)
by JetJaguar on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:17:26 PM EST

As someone with a degree in physics and has worked with others in education research, cognitive science, and all the good stuff, I think I can say a couple of things about memorizing data vs understanding "higher order" concepts.

The quick answer is that you need both. Most of my scientific colleagues will complain that our current education system takes a mile-wide/inch deep approach, and over emphasizes memorization without ever providing the opportunity for students to development an understanding of the concepts behind the intrepretation of the facts... which is just as important as the facts themselves. Throwing masses of information at students with little to no context or background is just as bad as not giving them any of the facts at all and just throwing theory after theory at them. Taken to the extreme, you wind up with someone who either has a limited encyclopedic knowledge of what they were presented with in school (assuming they can remember it all), but can't interpret any of it or work beyond the bounds of what they were taught, or on the flipside you have someone that can try and theorize about all kinds of crap, but has no idea how to tie any of it to the world we live in. Either way, you're screwed. Strict memorization, doesn't get you much with out some kind of contextual framework that you can work in.

[ Parent ]

Community Home School (4.50 / 4) (#62)
by erasei on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:47:21 AM EST

The idea that all home schoolers are stuck in a house by themselves and their parents is not always the case. I went to public school through the 3rd grade, a private school through the 7th, and home schooled through the 12th. Some days it would be just my family (my two sisters were also home schooled), but a lot of the time our neighbors would come over, and we would all learn together on general subject. My father taught public school for six years. He would teach us biology, zoology, and other natural sciences. My mother is a math wiz, and would teach us various levels of math skills based on our current level. Each of the other parents would also specialize in a subject, and teach that. I personally think this is the best of both worlds.

I was able to learn much faster. I graduated a year early, and another of the kids graduate two years early (he was 16). All of us are now in college, or graduated already.

As far as not being social, people these days often mistake being self-sustained as being anti-social. Just because I don't have to be constantly surrounded by hundreds of people of like age and interest doesn't mean that I am not fully capable of "smoozing" with the best of them.

[Switches subject]

To follow up on one point made in the article about harming the public education system: Most of home-schoolers back a few years ago were pulled from public schools due to religious reasons, many today are being home schooled simply because their parents want to give them a better education. Take one of the more talked about subjects, Evolution vs Creationism. A article in World magazine (sorry, don't have a link) stated a teacher was fired for pointing out holes in evolutionism, not for "preaching creationism" but just showing scientific problems in certain areas of the theory. Is this not what science is all about? Finding holes and getting more information about a subject?

Ok, I guess that is how I feel about it all. To sum up my whole message: If public schools were worth attending by those that want to learn, they wouldn't be home schooled.


Ptr to teacher fired for critiquing evolution (none / 0) (#212)
by tbc on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 03:02:05 PM EST

...a teacher was fired for pointing out holes in evolutionism...

That would be
http://worldmag.com/world/issue/08-18-01/cover_1.asp

Hey -- are there any other K5'ers who read WORLD?

[ Parent ]

Social Skills? (4.60 / 10) (#64)
by veselosky on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:54:43 AM EST

I am living evidence that attending public school does not necessarily help one develop good social skills. I have been socially retarded for most of my life, and now after 30+ years on this Earth I am undertaking lessons to learn better social skills. As suggested in a recent article in Psychology Today, the strongest influence on adult social skills is a child's relationship with his parents. So that argument, while it may bear some weight, should not be a deciding factor.

I also find it rather disconcerting that most of the posters here see no social outlets for children other than school. The fact is that the majority of people in the US attend church regularly, and in my personal experience, for many people it is far more a social than a religious experience. They go to church to meet people, to socialize and converse. This is a far more productive ground in which children can learn to relate to people and society, since they are exposed to a larger number of adults. Attempting to learn social skills from age-peers who are also attempting to learn them seems misguided to me. If you want children to learn to interact with people properly, they need to learn it from people who already know how to do it: adults. For those of you averse to religion, there are still many family-oriented activities you can share with others. Check your local public library.

Ultimately, education of children is the responsibility of parents, and any perceived lack of quality in the education system is really a direct measure of parent's abdication of their responsibility to their children. The only real solution is for parents to become more involved in their children's lives. With proper parental participation, public school would be less damaging and more productive, and would not be the sole source of education for our children. If parents decide that their children would be better educated at home than in their government-assigned public schools, I say bully for them for taking the time to care about their children's education. If every parent cared so much, the low quality of public education would not even be an issue.

I agree and disagree (3.66 / 3) (#83)
by Luyseyal on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:16:25 AM EST

As a parent, I know how very important it is to be directly involved. However, there are some things that non-parents tend to forget when accusing parents of public-school-attending children of being lax in their responsibilities:

  • The 40 hour work week makes it seriously difficult to participate in your children's lives. If you're working your ass off and then you come home tired as hell, it's hard to integrate a life of learning, responsibility, morality, and other things together. It is not impossible, but it is hard.
  • My son goes to school 35 hours a week. It's less than the work week, but not by much. He's tired too when he gets home and he wants to relax after a grueling day of learning, repetition, boredom, fun, and socialization. Is it so surprising he wants to vege in front of the tube for a couple hours watching TV or playing video games?
  • The high incidence of divorce makes it difficult for families with differing cultural backgrounds to have both an educational and a religious/cultural influence on their children. I attempt to integrate those influences in my life so my son can observe, but that's only 15 hours a week or so.

Let us observe: 35 hours a week at school, 15 awake at home. Which has more opportunity for influence? Of course, there's modification for the one-on-one time my son gets at home, but then, one-on-one versus one-among-many is one of the important aspects of the public school experience.

Let's be clear, I'm not whining. I'm just pointing out some difficulties I experience in my life that I know others have as well. I can only imagine how much harder it would be for me if I didn't have a desk job, but rather a construction or other physically intensive job that our poorest working class citizens endure. It's no wonder at all to me that many of them have such a hard time raising their children.

Optimally, I'd like to work 25 hours a week and my son go to school 25 hours a week and we could spend the rest together. But the State, who clearly knows better than me how much time my own son should be spending in their philosophy every day, mandates a different schedule. The State also mandates that 32 hours is the minimum to be considered a full-time employee worthy of employer-provided benefits... which effectively ensures much higher rates for contractors and part-time folks who have to pay out of their pocket. I'm a junior programmer so there's no way I could make enough contracting to pay for benefits, rent, etc. Did I mention I go to school part-time to finish my degree for my own personal improvement outside of work?

I'd love to homeschool, but unless you know any smart, rich, women who want to support me and my son, I feel I have a right to complain about any problems I find in the State's system.

Good parenting is definitely 50% of the equation. But with the ratio of hours of life spent in work and school the way it is, quality schooling is de facto the other 50%.

-l

p.s.- I've got to go to school now. Sorry if the editing or flow is off!

[ Parent ]

excuses... (none / 0) (#121)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:16:17 PM EST

Granted you have a busy life, particularly if you are both working and going to school yourself. I am, however, only mildly impressed. Families who are involved in their children's education or even homeschool come in ALL flavors, including poor people, single parents, people who work lots of hours, whatever. Yes, the most common scenario is Dad works while Mom homeschools, but that is by far not the only scenario. In 29 years of life, it has been my experience that people generally find the time and the money for that which is the most important to them. For an example, enough money is coming in to our household to pay for cable TV but we don't have it. We don't turn TV on that often, so only occasionally do we even miss it. Before you tell people why you can't do something, perhaps you should sit down, do some hard thinking, and figure out where your priorities are. Be honest with yourself.

[ Parent ]
priorities speech (none / 0) (#202)
by Luyseyal on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 03:05:20 PM EST

I figured I'd get at least one post about "priorities". I think I have those pretty straight, actually. Homeschooling for me, right now, is in fact not an ethically viable option, ceteris paribus. It is the c.p. that makes all the difference. In striking a balance between, morality, independence, goal-setting, example-setting, individualism, self-reliance, community orientation, bi-parental involvement, grandparental involvement, environmental concerns, location concerns, social interactivity, reasonable expectation of earnings, and on and on and on, you would see precisely why we have made the decision that we have made.

My son is my main, but far from my only, priority. It's not an Either/Or proposition. They all entangle together and I would be sacrificing many of those other priorities (which include outright responsibilities and duties to myself and others) to homeschool him. Right now, time (PTA, complaining, working with teacher, etc.) and money (PTA, school stuff, etc.) are better spent in ensuring he gets the best public education possible. That may not be true in the future, but I call it like I see it.

Cheers,
-l

[ Parent ]

church, converse (none / 0) (#151)
by drivers on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:35:56 PM EST

They go to church to meet people, to socialize and converse. You obviously don't go to a Catholic church. :-)

[ Parent ]
How it works (5.00 / 6) (#67)
by Laston on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:23:54 AM EST

I have a one year old child at home and plan to homeschool. I feel I am pretty qualified, as is my wife. For several years I taught math and science as a substitute teacher across several school districts in Idaho and Washington.I grew very dissatisfied with the way the system worked, precisely for the same reasons as outlined in this article. I also volunteered time in after hours enrichment programs such as science fairs, and FIRST. while doing this I encountered a homeschool club sponsored by a tiny catholic comunity who "share" their knowledge. I was asked to teach science projects to small groups (biggest was 8)of homeshooling parents. I got to pick the project, and some of the parents were always present. This was the most rewarding teaching I had ever done. The kids were bright, extremely inquisitive, worked very well together, and always went way beyond the lessons I had initially prepared... Often to the point where I was learning along with them. When my child is old enough, I plan to organize my own home school club, so that they have the experience of learning from multiple people... can interact socially with other highly motivated, bright children, and do not suffer the crap that kids in a 'bells and textbooks' environment have to tolerate.

home school club == private school (none / 0) (#164)
by LordNimon on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 08:46:16 PM EST

I don't see any difference between the terms "home school club" and "small, self-funded private school". This is underscored by the fact that you're using your common religion as a basis for the club.

I'm not saying that there's anything "wrong" with what you're doing. Quite the contrary, in fact.

--
Lord Nimon
Yes, I use OS/2 Warp.

[ Parent ]

Children Vary (5.00 / 6) (#70)
by netmouse on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:30:13 AM EST

I attended a traditional school for my first two years of grade school and then entered the alternative school program in Ann Arbor, MI. This is a "student-centered" program where some classes mix grade levels, children are allowed and encouraged to initiate their own projects and study independently, and teachers somehow cope with the fact that all children aren't interested in the same things without killing the interests of all the children, but while (hopefully) giving us the basic skills that allow us to continue to learn.

This type of schooling expects a high level of parental interest but I suppose it does not require it. It's a lot of work for the teachers. It sometimes fails to teach students basic skills at specific grade levels (I didn't learn fractions until 8th grade) but all schools do that. To many I spoke to in College, it sounded like bliss. My high school curriculum at Community High included science fiction literature, American humor, open art studio, latin, jazz band, japanese literature, and science, society and technology as well as credit for things I studied outside of school. There was no tracking and students of different ages mixed in classes and forums (like home room groups -each teacher advises 18 students) according to their interests and individual progress.

But, this type of program does not work for every student.

Some students are not self-motivated or disciplined enough to succeed in the open school program. Students have left the program seeking a more structured environment. I don't mean to put those students down; I think people should seek out institutions that suit them. I'm arguing that we shouldn't try to figure out the one perfect type of education that will suit everyone. Children vary.

The schools I'm talking about are public schools. I do believe the public school system idea is very important and should continue. But I also look to smaller, independent public schools (Community High has less than 400 students) and public school competition to add variety in our public education. These schools of choice won't create themselves, however. Parents and teachers need to be self-aware and to devote energy into creating alternatives. If you are willing to homeschool a child, perhaps you could consider volunteering time to make a small neighborhood school possible. One of the sensible things a school does is to gather shared resources like books, art, music, science, gym equipment and a safe place for kids to play for the community to all have the advantage of. The absence of these resources is one of the things that can make homeschooling in a poor household a bad idea.

Administrators and school boards can put up barriers to these ideas and projects. Possibly one of the best things we could do is change the heirarchy of our administrations and shift some existing administrators out of their positions of power. There is a bit of an old-boy network still in place there. Last I heard, though the majority of school teachers are female, the vast majority of principals and superintendents are male. While I wouldn't say their being male particularly means they'd be poor administrators, this suggests that our school administrators are not coming out of the pool of teachers. Perhaps they come out of business school or other backgrounds. But there is a lack of empathy, understanding and cooperation between school boards, administrators and teachers that is truly astounding in many areas.

I would actually posit that at the same time that schools may teach us to stick to our classes and be good consumers, they fail to teach us to be good or active citizens. Civics and law classes are more aimed at who (out there) makes the law and what happens to you if you get in trouble than at any examination of the possible injustices or good or poor principles behind the system, much less how to be part of it or change it. In social and economic studies we observe how to buy and sell and watch companies succeed or fail but we do not learn how to start our own business or organization, or even what is involved in running them. Hopefully we learn some of that by doing, through being part of clubs or school associations, but participation in these on a national level is unfortunately not high, and too few of them are involved in community projects. The exceptional programs that are different from what I have described should be emulated. Much of what is taught in school is a sense of powerlessness. That especially is what I hope we might change in the American school system.

--netmouse

the issue seems to be control (4.33 / 3) (#102)
by speek on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:30:39 PM EST

A lot of people say this or that about "fixing" education. If only we did this, if only we did that, etc. It's great to have ideas, but other people have ideas (like the home-schoolers, for instance) who aren't "in the loop" currently, and frankly never could be if control over education remains at a high level.

IMHO, what we need is a lack of control. Forget state-wide curriculums, standardized testing and all that, and let people at the scene decide what's best. Teachers become teachers because they want to teach. So let them. Will it be perfect? No, but the drive to be perfect is ruining everything around it. We, as a society, need to learn to let go. Did your school make a mistake by not teaching you fractions until eighth grade? Some would probably say yes, but I can't see that it really matters. What if, horror of horrors, it didn't even teach you math? Would that be so terrible? Where did we get this idea that we need a society where everyone knows the same stuff?

We need to lose control of the situation.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Exactly. Standards and school don't mix. (5.00 / 2) (#201)
by PurpleBob on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 08:21:33 PM EST

My elementary school had a great system - the students in 4th grade who were deemed to be able to handle it were put in a class with one of two teachers who taught an entirely free-form curriculum.

4th grade was great. The teacher didn't force us to learn; instead, he motivated us. As a class, we got the idea of making a "movie" out of a book we had read, and he let us spend a tremendous amount of class time doing just that. We used the Apple computers to publish two class newsletters (each vying to get more readers than the other). There was a problem-solving competition going throughout the year, and the prizes were books. There were times when we would go into the woods outside the school (a narrow-minded bureaucrat's worst nightmare: dozens of students outside of direct supervision!), where we would find a place away from everyone else and write in our journals.

Basically, until 5th grade when I ended up in the strict regime of middle school, it never occurred to me to dislike school.

Then New York State got involved.

They came out with a plan that involves all 4th-graders getting standardized tests out the wazzu. They spend half the year either preparing for tests or taking them.

I talked to the aforementioned teacher recently. He says that he effectively can't teach anymore, because of all the regulations and standardization, and that the students don't learn anything except how to fill in bubbles on paper. All of them hate school. Luckily, he said, he's retiring soon.

[ Parent ]
Public Schools (3.25 / 4) (#73)
by Merk00 on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:43:28 AM EST

There are a few ridiculous assumptions presented in the arguements for home schooling. First of all, public schools attempt to teach a lot more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Subjects such as algebra, foreign langugage, government, history, literature, science, and other subjects that are important to advance in life. These things cannot be taught in 50 hours. It takes 12 years to passibly due so for a vast majority of students. It may be true that everyone reading this is motivated to learn on their own but I cannot honestly believe that the majority of students in the US would be willing to. And as far as teaching basic reading, writing, and arithmetic in 50 hours, that's complete and utter garabage. I've seen seniors in high school repeatedly fail a test of basic math proficiency (we're talking as complicated as fractions here; it's the Maryland Fundemental Math Test, extremely easy stuff). I've seen papers written by high school school seniors where they had problems putting both subjects and verbs in the same sentence. It's not as simple as it appears to teach subjects such as this.

Now, as far as the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling goes, I personally prefer public schools. There's no way that my parents could ever have taught me some of the classes I took in high school (Calculus, Differential Equations, Physics, Computer Science). Could I have done it on my own? Perhaps but I don't think I would ever have had the opportunity to consider taking those classes. One of the main advantages of public schools is that they make you take classes that you don't enjoy. And that's important because in all likelyhood it's stuff you should learn but wouldn't on your own because you aren't particularly interested. But for some students, home schooling is more advantagous than public schools. I've seen examples of very bright students prospering in home school and I've seen examples of students being forced into a repressive arch-conservative society because of it. It really depends on the circumstances of everyone involved to determine what is best.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission

They HAVE failed, and you've provided proof. (4.33 / 6) (#94)
by beergut on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:36:35 PM EST

There are a few ridiculous assumptions presented in the arguements for home schooling.

Please point out the ridiculous ones.

First of all, public schools attempt to teach a lot more than reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Correct. They teach subjugation, and how not to succeed.

Think about it.

  • They break the kids' concentration every 45 minutes or so, so that deeper understanding of a subject cannot be had. In so doing, the kids are conditioned to stop thinking when a bell rings.
  • Then, they are hustled out of their classrooms, jammed into hallways where they must compete for space and access to their own belongings with the rest of the throng in the same situation. Thus, they learn that they are at the whims of others, especially if they are not blessed with size, strength, and a mean streak like I was in high school, as far as their ability to access their own resources.
  • They are taught that administrators have the perfect right to search their belongings, including their vehicles. They are taught always to trust police who roam the halls of their schools (the same police that were not in my school.) Hence, they learn to be utterly submissive to authority, and that nothing that they consider "theirs" is beyond the reach of some authority. Not only that, but they are conditioned to accept an invasion of their privacy without so much as blinking.
  • They are conditioned to think of their parents as unthinking, uncaring, uneducated, and uneducable drones. Obviously their parents are incompetent, right? If they weren't, you'd not be having the problems you are having in school. Your parents are unable to teach you the "basic skills", so how on Earth do you consider them capable of transmitting to you the proper morals and ethics? Better have a class on that, where the schools can teach you how to be a good consumer^Wcitizen.
But don't take my word for it. Just read what H.L. Mencken, the man responsible for importing the Prussian model schools into this country, and making them compulsory, has to say.
    That erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all, it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.

And none of that addresses the subjects you listed. But surely, that is what is being taught.

Subjects such as algebra, foreign langugage, government, history, literature, science, and other subjects that are important to advance in life.

Algebra and other higher mathematics never figure into the life of, say, an auto mechanic. Science does, to some degree, if the mechanic desires actual understanding of the systems he repairs, but that desire is not at all common. Foreign language is, to an average American, not terribly important. Nor is history. If you want to look at extreme cases, government is not even all that important to the average American.

None of the things you listed as being important have any bearing whatever on the average, workaday American citizen. Mechanics, concrete finishers, and the like don't need that sort of knowledge. If people have some idea what they want to be when they're young, don't assume that they don't know what classes will and will not be useful to them as they're being educated. Ever wonder why kids who do exceptionally well in shop class, and who later went on to be cabinet-makers, never cared to learn Spanish?

These things cannot be taught in 50 hours. It takes 12 years to passibly due so for a vast majority of students.

The subjects you listed cannot be properly transmitted in 50 hours. But, the basic framework for learning those subjects can be taught in 50 hours or so. The problem is, the public schools are seemingly incapable of that.

In order to learn history, and remember it, one really does need an interest in doing so. Without that, facts and dates about people and places and events won't stick, sometimes not even long enough to pass a test on that unit of study. An interest in history can be developed at any time in someone's life, though, and if that person can read, he can learn history. Sometimes, it takes an event in someone's life to create that interest, to find out why things are the way they are.

It may be true that everyone reading this is motivated to learn on their own but I cannot honestly believe that the majority of students in the US would be willing to.

And why, precisely, should Joe Schmoe, the plumber, be forced to learn about Geoffrey Chaucer? As it happens, I hated Chaucer in high school - because we were forced to read his "Canterbury Tales." When I picked it up again in college, I couldn't get enough of it. It was charming. Had I not voluntarily chosen to go to college, instead opting for a job turning a wrench, my only exposure to that literature would have been enough to keep me from reading nearly anything of that genre again.

And as far as teaching basic reading, writing, and arithmetic in 50 hours, that's complete and utter garabage.

Is it? Really? How long did it take you to learn to read? It took me almost no time, after I had learned the alphabet and the sounds some letters make when they appeared together (diphthongs, though I didn't know that word at that age.) I was reading a children's encyclopedia - well - at age four. Total time invested by my parents? Probably less than twenty hours. My mom played math games with me in the car, and I could add, subtract, multiply, and (to a lesser degree) divide numbers at about the same age. Total time invested? Maybe 20 hours to teach me in their spare time, and Lord-knows how many drilling me by playing games. Math has always been my weak area, though. Brighter folks may learn it more quickly.

I've seen seniors in high school repeatedly fail a test of basic math proficiency (we're talking as complicated as fractions here; it's the Maryland Fundemental Math Test, extremely easy stuff). I've seen papers written by high school school seniors where they had problems putting both subjects and verbs in the same sentence. It's not as simple as it appears to teach subjects such as this.

A better indictment of the public schools could not have been penned. If they were subliterate, and unable to do basic math, then why in the HELL were they Seniors, for God's sake? This is the sort of stuff that home-schooling parents cite when asked why they home-school. They want their kids to have an education, rather than be passed along because of some stupid social theory.

Now, as far as the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling goes, I personally prefer public schools.

To each his own. But, should the government force those who prefer a different environment to:

  • Attend schools they do not wish to attend.
  • Learn subjects they have no interest in learning.
  • Learn morals, ethics, and values that contradict those held in the home.
  • Become conditioned to uphold those foreign, senseless morals, ethics, and values reflexively.
  • Be suspicious of those who want to do things differently, because it doesn't fit in with the "social good" as deemed by the government and the NEA.
  • Pay taxes to support said institutions, teachers, lessons, unions, and bureaucrats
To me, these ideas are simply morally reprehensible. Hence, I will not send my own children to a public school - ever.

There's no way that my parents could ever have taught me some of the classes I took in high school (Calculus, Differential Equations, Physics, Computer Science).

Funny - my school didn't even have these classes to offer me. Instead, I learned what I know of them in college. Had I been home-schooled, though, it's possible that I might have had the opportunity to learn these subjects from professors at the local college who home-schooled their own children, and who were part of a local home-schooling support group.

Could I have done it on my own? Perhaps but I don't think I would ever have had the opportunity to consider taking those classes.

In the end, was it not you who learned the material? Was it not you who opened the books, drilled the knowledge into your cranium, and followed it with glue so that it would stick?

One of the main advantages of public schools is that they make you take classes that you don't enjoy. And that's important because in all likelyhood it's stuff you should learn but wouldn't on your own because you aren't particularly interested.

Why is this particularly advantageous? Now, you have a child in a class he does not enjoy, and in which he is not interested. He is bored. So, the children in that class who are interested in the topics being taught are subject to his whims. He can disrupt the class at any time, and nowadays teachers don't have the authority to bust his little ass to make him shut up for the benefit of the other students.

But for some students, home schooling is more advantagous than public schools. I've seen examples of very bright students prospering in home school and I've seen examples of students being forced into a repressive arch-conservative society because of it. It really depends on the circumstances of everyone involved to determine what is best.

Now, you've grasped the real crux of the matter. The way things are set up now, though, public school administrators and educators are railing against home-schoolers because the success of home-schoolers makes them look BAD. And they should be ashamed. They use the guns of government to extract money from the pockets of local residents, and there is nothing to show for it but whining for a bigger budget next year.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Nice rant, but you miss in a couple of spots (3.00 / 1) (#147)
by JetJaguar on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:19:42 PM EST

I won't argue the issue of our schools often looking like some kind concentration camp. I more or less agree with that statement, but I'm left with the question, why? Why are they that way? This isn't a school system problem, it's a societal problem. You don't have to look very far to see the same sort of attitudes in the real world... Undue adulation of sports stars, celebrities, politicians and corporate big wigs who behave as though they are above the law, or that they "count" more because they are famous, or powerful, while everyone else is considered to be second class citizens in comparison. And in the lower "ranks" you have the very same pressure to conform, and if you don't people look at you funny, call you names, or otherwise treat you even worse. The point is, the problem is a lot bigger than our schools... And trying to change it is even more difficult. From personal experience I can say that for every parent critical of schools there are 50 more that will jump in immediately and scream to high heaven the second you try to change anything, and the argument usually goes something like this: "Well that's the way it was when I was in school, and if it was good enough for me, it's good enough for my kid. Don't you dare try and change anything." So whose fault is it really?

This one makes me laugh though:

They are conditioned to think of their parents as unthinking, uncaring, uneducated, and uneducable drones. Obviously their parents are incompetent, right? If they weren't, you'd not be having the problems you are having in school. Your parents are unable to teach you the "basic skills", so how on Earth do you consider them capable of transmitting to you the proper morals and ethics? Better have a class on that, where the schools can teach you how to be a good consumer/citizen.

This isn't taught in schools! Have you ever met a teenager that didn't think their parents were idiots at one time or another? Didn't you think so growing up? This is part of growing up, kids testing their limits and the limits of their parents. This has been going on since Og's son walked out of the cave one morning to show his dad that he could, in fact, kill the poverbial wild bear all by himself, and then came back badly maimed for his stupidity, assuming he survived at all.

Algebra and other higher mathematics never figure into the life of, say, an auto mechanic. Science does, to some degree, if the mechanic desires actual understanding of the systems he repairs, but that desire is not at all common. Foreign language is, to an average American, not terribly important. Nor is history. If you want to look at extreme cases, government is not even all that important to the average American.

Are you trying to say that we don't need to teach higher level math and science? That only the scientists need to worry about that stuff? No wonder we USians are mystified about why the Europeans think so poorly of us. A good background in higher mathematics and science (and a foreign language as well) is good for everyone, and in fact people do need that knowledge. Not because they will be asked to solve the quadratic equation on a daily basis, not because a mugger will threaten to shoot you if you can't explain the theory of relativity. That's not the point. Learning these subjects teaches you to think at a higher level, you gain stronger problem solving skills, you learn to think critically, you learn to apply things you have learned in one area to solve problems in another, which never really occurs to the average Joe (without the proper background). I have a degree in physics, and I apply what I've learned from that experience to everything I do. Whether it's spotting the obvious logical fallacies or blatant inaccuracies on the evening news, or when trying to figure out the best way to stop my neighbor from flooding my yard every time he backwashes his pool, or when deciding how I'm going to afford various big ticket items that I need. The critical thinking skills I gained from having a background in science are applicable in some form, almost everywhere. We live in a world inundated with information. If the mechanics and brick layers (and politicians and presidents) of the world can't, at least, think critically, how can we ever expect them to make good decisions based on the facts and figures and not be manipulated by con-artists, lobbyists, and other ne'er do wells that care for nothing but their own self interest, and seperating fools from their money?

[ Parent ]

Ranting and raving... (none / 0) (#162)
by beergut on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 08:17:08 PM EST

The point is, the problem is a lot bigger than our schools... And trying to change it is even more difficult.

I'd have to agree with you here. And I'd say there are a whole raft of problems that have snowballed into the mess we have to day, society's and schools'.

From personal experience I can say that for every parent critical of schools there are 50 more that will jump in immediately and scream to high heaven the second you try to change anything, and the argument usually goes something like this: "Well that's the way it was when I was in school, and if it was good enough for me, it's good enough for my kid. Don't you dare try and change anything."

To which the proper response is, "Fine. You keep your kid caged in this pathetic shithole you like to call a school, and you let him be schooled like dumb little Janey over there who won't be able to read by the time she quits school at sixteen because she's pregnant and strung out on crank. I, on the other hand, will ensure that my kid will be able to tie his own shoes, and eat your kid for breakfast, in an even more blatant way than I can eat you for breakfast. Ciao, babe."

So whose fault is it really?

All of ours, and none of ours.

The problem started way back in about the middle of the nineteenth century, and started its -(x^2) decline really about 1965. It is at that point in our nation that we really began to lose it. In all sectors of society, people began just throwing up their hands and saying, "fuckit." They abdicated their responsibility, for themselves and for their kids, and we're all doomed to pay for it.

Unless we break the cycle.

Whose fault? Indirectly, and directly, government's.

[snip diatribe about kids being taught their parents are naught but bumbling idiots]

This isn't taught in schools!

But it is. And in the media. And by other kids.

Have you ever met a teenager that didn't think their parents were idiots at one time or another?

No. But, I have met a few that didn't systematically think their parents were idiots all the time, which is what our society wants to teach kids today.

Didn't you think so growing up?

Sometimes, yes. But not all the time. The same can be said about most of my classmates. The kids going through school nowadays are learning this lesson in a much more focused way, though. If they were being taught to question authority just for the sport of it, I'd not have so much of a problem with it. But, when a twelve year old says, "you shouldn't question the government because it's a democracy, and that's what the teachers at school say" (this is a true story!) I have big problems with it.

This is part of growing up, kids testing their limits and the limits of their parents. This has been going on since Og's son walked out of the cave one morning to show his dad that he could, in fact, kill the poverbial wild bear all by himself, and then came back badly maimed for his stupidity, assuming he survived at all.

Heheh... I'll agree that kids have to test their limits, and learn from their own mistakes. But, the way things are geared now, kids are learning that their parents have nothing to offer, and that there is no value in studying your parents' mistakes.

Had I not studied my parents' mistakes, I might be a skid-row alcoholic imbecile right now.

Are you trying to say that we don't need to teach higher level math and science? That only the scientists need to worry about that stuff?

No. What I'm saying is, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." And, on a related note, "You can try to teach a pig to sing, but it won't do any good. You'll waste your own time, and annoy the pig."

In much the same way, you can put a kid in school, but you can't make him learn. He'll learn what he wants, when he wants, but only if he wants. If J. Random Student doesn't care for algebra, and has no interest at all in learning it as a stepping stone to another, more interesting subject, and doesn't care whether he passes or fails, and is only biding his time until he can exit the compulsory schooling system, then J. Random Student is probably not going to learn algebra, and at that point, his presence in the classroom is more a detriment to those students who want to learn algebra.

I'm not saying, "Don't offer it." I am saying, "Don't waste time and money trying to teach pigs to sing."

No wonder we USians are mystified about why the Europeans think so poorly of us.

You'll find that, not only am I not mystified about the opinions of Europeons, I quite frankly do not care what they think. In the same vein, I'm sure they don't give a rat's ass why I have such a poor opinion of them, as a group.

A good background in higher mathematics and science (and a foreign language as well) is good for everyone, and in fact people do need that knowledge. [...] That's not the point. Learning these subjects teaches you to think at a higher level, you gain stronger problem solving skills, you learn to think critically, you learn to apply things you have learned in one area to solve problems in another, which never really occurs to the average Joe (without the proper background).

But why? A carpenter and a machinist might have some use for algebra and geometry, but their use is generally applied knowledge. They could learn mathematics relevant to their careers in vocational schools, so long as they have the basics. Calculus is not likely to be useful to either of these two people, but learning it will surely waste their time and cost us, the taxpayers, more money. Not to mention the detrimental affect on those pupils who are interested in learning Calculus, but who must put up with bullshit from those who are in that class for some other reason than academic interest.

Will a course in literature make a student more well-rounded? Maybe. But if he's not interested in learning the subject matter, and is being forced to learn it (and pass the class) in order to graduate, then he's not the kind of person that would benefit from this better rounding. This is generally the kind of person who takes applied math throughout his academic career, because it's the easiest thing he can bullshit his way through without expending mental effort so that he can get out of school and on with life.

I have a degree in physics, and I apply what I've learned from that experience to everything I do. [...]

Bully for you. Now, answer this question: was it a personal interest on your part that drove you to take the classes you took, pursue your academic interests into and through college, and ultimately obtain your degree in physics? Answer this one for me, too, while I'm thinking of it: what did the utterly retarded stoner in your class (you know that guy, every class had at least one) do? Did he benefit from a background in science, or did he sleep/skip his science classes, thereby only serving to cost your parents money?

If the mechanics and brick layers (and politicians and presidents) of the world can't, at least, think critically, how can we ever expect them to make good decisions based on the facts and figures and not be manipulated by con-artists, lobbyists, and other ne'er do wells that care for nothing but their own self interest, and seperating fools from their money?

What's amusing is that you seem to think that they can do this now, having benefited from public schools.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Public Education (none / 0) (#180)
by Merk00 on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 09:35:25 AM EST

From personal experience I can say that for every parent critical of schools there are 50 more that will jump in immediately and scream to high heaven the second you try to change anything, and the argument usually goes something like this: "Well that's the way it was when I was in school, and if it was good enough for me, it's good enough for my kid. Don't you dare try and change anything."

To which the proper response is, "Fine. You keep your kid caged in this pathetic shithole you like to call a school, and you let him be schooled like dumb little Janey over there who won't be able to read by the time she quits school at sixteen because she's pregnant and strung out on crank. I, on the other hand, will ensure that my kid will be able to tie his own shoes, and eat your kid for breakfast, in an even more blatant way than I can eat you for breakfast. Ciao, babe."

Apparently it's now impossible to get a quality education in a public school. Frankly, that is plainly and completely ridiculous. Were there problems at the school I went to? Yes. Does that mean that everyone who didn't go to my school will be smarter than me? Not a chance on your life. Now, excuse the part of me being arrogant but I think I did just fine with my public school education. And I highly doubt than anyone who was home schooled is going to "eat [me] for breakfast." The real problems with public schools take a lot more than a quick fix. They're deep reaching and more than anything require the participation of the parents. That's the number one problem with todays schools: parents aren't involved. A student does better when the parent is involved, whether in home schooling or in public schooling. That is the number one factor.
So whose fault is it really?

All of ours, and none of ours.

The problem started way back in about the middle of the nineteenth century, and started its -(x^2) decline really about 1965. It is at that point in our nation that we really began to lose it. In all sectors of society, people began just throwing up their hands and saying, "fuckit." They abdicated their responsibility, for themselves and for their kids, and we're all doomed to pay for it.

Unless we break the cycle.

Whose fault? Indirectly, and directly, government's.

So everyone in the entire US has given up responsiblity for everything? That's why the US economy is still the strongest in the world (even with the current slide towards recession). Obviously irresponsible countries have strong economies. Don't forget the part about being the world's largest military power either. Or winning the cold war. All because of responsiblity.

Now, seriously, while some parts of American society has become irresponsible, not all of it has. It's only the part that's seen on TV most of the time. If everyone was truly irresponsible, no one would care how the public schools are doing which obviously isn't true. Blaming it on irresponsibility is any easy way of getting out of the responsiblity yourself. "It's not my fault; it's everyone else's who doesn't care." Public schools need a lot of work and placing blame isn't going to help too much.

[snip diatribe about kids being taught their parents are naught but bumbling idiots]

This isn't taught in schools!

But it is. And in the media. And by other kids.

Have you ever met a teenager that didn't think their parents were idiots at one time or another?

No. But, I have met a few that didn't systematically think their parents were idiots all the time, which is what our society wants to teach kids today.

Really now? They want us to believe our parents are idiots? Where are you getting this from? I didn't know society wanted us to think our parents were idiots. No one informed me of this. In fact, I would say that society wants us to believe that parents should be looked up to. Doesn't always happen that way but I find it more likely that society would want us to believe that rather than parents are stupid and idiotic.
Didn't you think so growing up?

Sometimes, yes. But not all the time. The same can be said about most of my classmates. The kids going through school nowadays are learning this lesson in a much more focused way, though. If they were being taught to question authority just for the sport of it, I'd not have so much of a problem with it. But, when a twelve year old says, "you shouldn't question the government because it's a democracy, and that's what the teachers at school say" (this is a true story!) I have big problems with it.

I particularly appreciate how it is always brought up that students are taught to be good little automotons responding to commands at the same time that they also don't listen to what a teacher says. Huh? How does that work? Either they follow directions or they don't. Guess what? Some students obey authority and others don't. No one's being conditioned to accept an authoritarian government. And some 12 year olds are just idiots; just like a significant portion of the American public. This isn't a fault of the public school system; that's a fault of genetics.
This is part of growing up, kids testing their limits and the limits of their parents. This has been going on since Og's son walked out of the cave one morning to show his dad that he could, in fact, kill the poverbial wild bear all by himself, and then came back badly maimed for his stupidity, assuming he survived at all.

Heheh... I'll agree that kids have to test their limits, and learn from their own mistakes. But, the way things are geared now, kids are learning that their parents have nothing to offer, and that there is no value in studying your parents' mistakes.

Had I not studied my parents' mistakes, I might be a skid-row alcoholic imbecile right now.

Where are they learning this from? I think you're mistaking bad parenting for the effects of society. A lot of kids thinking parents are idiots comes from bad parenting and not the effects of society.
Are you trying to say that we don't need to teach higher level math and science? That only the scientists need to worry about that stuff?

No. What I'm saying is, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." And, on a related note, "You can try to teach a pig to sing, but it won't do any good. You'll waste your own time, and annoy the pig."

In much the same way, you can put a kid in school, but you can't make him learn. He'll learn what he wants, when he wants, but only if he wants. If J. Random Student doesn't care for algebra, and has no interest at all in learning it as a stepping stone to another, more interesting subject, and doesn't care whether he passes or fails, and is only biding his time until he can exit the compulsory schooling system, then J. Random Student is probably not going to learn algebra, and at that point, his presence in the classroom is more a detriment to those students who want to learn algebra.

I'm not saying, "Don't offer it." I am saying, "Don't waste time and money trying to teach pigs to sing."

The analogy to teaching a pig to sing isn't valid given that the students can learn the subjects if they are willing to; a pig can never be taught to sing. Despite that, you seem to advocate the abolishment of requirements. You fail to understand that a high school diploma represents that a person has a basic skill set. If we remove requirements, there is no guarantee that that skill set has been met. There also is the point that they are required because the school system feels that all people should have a familiarity with the subject whether or not they want to. Yes, it's coercive but it's being applied to a minor who in reality probably can't decide what's best for themselves. Most students given a choice would never go to school. Given that most would choose instant gratification, they'd stay home but 10 years down the line when they're still working in McDonald's they'd wished they'd have stayed in school. The idea is that we force them to take these classes on the idea that some day they will realize that they want to do something more with their lives than they already have. And yes, I would consider being an engineer as doing more with your life than being a bricklayer.
No wonder we USians are mystified about why the Europeans think so poorly of us.

You'll find that, not only am I not mystified about the opinions of Europeons, I quite frankly do not care what they think. In the same vein, I'm sure they don't give a rat's ass why I have such a poor opinion of them, as a group.

A good background in higher mathematics and science (and a foreign language as well) is good for everyone, and in fact people do need that knowledge. [...] That's not the point. Learning these subjects teaches you to think at a higher level, you gain stronger problem solving skills, you learn to think critically, you learn to apply things you have learned in one area to solve problems in another, which never really occurs to the average Joe (without the proper background).

But why? A carpenter and a machinist might have some use for algebra and geometry, but their use is generally applied knowledge. They could learn mathematics relevant to their careers in vocational schools, so long as they have the basics. Calculus is not likely to be useful to either of these two people, but learning it will surely waste their time and cost us, the taxpayers, more money. Not to mention the detrimental affect on those pupils who are interested in learning Calculus, but who must put up with bullshit from those who are in that class for some other reason than academic interest.

Will a course in literature make a student more well-rounded? Maybe. But if he's not interested in learning the subject matter, and is being forced to learn it (and pass the class) in order to graduate, then he's not the kind of person that would benefit from this better rounding. This is generally the kind of person who takes applied math throughout his academic career, because it's the easiest thing he can bullshit his way through without expending mental effort so that he can get out of school and on with life.

That's right, let's keep down the bluecollar workers. Wouldn't want them to be intelligent or anything. Public schools seek to create informed citizens. Given that we live in a republic, it is paramount that we have a citizenry that is able to understand the political situation. Otherwise, we will be given an ineffective and corrupt government. That is why it is important to have public schooling so that we will have a citizenry that is able to have a basic comprehension of what global warming is, of how the economy works, of past events in American history so that we avoid them in the future, and things of that nature. To do otherwise is to destroy this country in the future.
I have a degree in physics, and I apply what I've learned from that experience to everything I do. [...]

Bully for you. Now, answer this question: was it a personal interest on your part that drove you to take the classes you took, pursue your academic interests into and through college, and ultimately obtain your degree in physics? Answer this one for me, too, while I'm thinking of it: what did the utterly retarded stoner in your class (you know that guy, every class had at least one) do? Did he benefit from a background in science, or did he sleep/skip his science classes, thereby only serving to cost your parents money?

If the mechanics and brick layers (and politicians and presidents) of the world can't, at least, think critically, how can we ever expect them to make good decisions based on the facts and figures and not be manipulated by con-artists, lobbyists, and other ne'er do wells that care for nothing but their own self interest, and seperating fools from their money?

What's amusing is that you seem to think that they can do this now, having benefited from public schools.

They have a better shot at it than without public schooling. An uneducated citizenry is one of the greatest threats to a republic. And frankly I think they've done a fairly good job at running the government up to this point. We live in a fairly free country (and if you bring up issues such as the DMCA, stuff it, because if that's the biggest of our concerns than we're doing pretty damn well) that has a long country of doing such and will most likely continue doing so in the future. The country is safe and the economy is doing well. So what exactly is wrong with the education level of the citenzenry?

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Cherrypicking... (5.00 / 1) (#186)
by beergut on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:39:09 PM EST

Apparently it's now impossible to get a quality education in a public school. Frankly, that is plainly and completely ridiculous.

Yes, it is a ridiculous notion that a quality education cannot be had in a public school. But, it's a question of what you consider a quality education. My kids will start with a classical education. Public schools don't offer that. They will learn higher math (including Calculus - as high as I can teach - or whatever is higher, if someone in a home-school support group is a math whiz.) Unless, of course, my kid wants to be a bricklayer. I'll try to disuade him from this path, teaching him that he can lay bricks and do other things.

It's the rest of the curriculum that bothers me. I don't care much for racial pandering, and don't do it. Neither will my kids - they'll learn to treat people equally, but not to treat any group of people specially. I don't think women are all that damned mistreated, and those who are usually stay in that situation for their own reasons (lots of times, that reason is pure stupidity.) I will teach them that women can do anything a man can do, but I will also teach them that there are physical differences between the sexes which may make one sex more suitable for a given job than another (i.e., most of the time, men are physically bigger and have greater upper body strength.) All this, of course, with the understanding that a big, strong woman is just as capable of busting concrete with a sledgehammer as a big, strong man.

I will also teach my kids about guns at an early age, and teach them to respect, but not fear them. I will teach them how to handle, clean, and shoot a gun, because these skills are valuable. I'll probably even teach the kids to hunt. And work on cars. And program computers. And raise stuff in the garden. And care for animals. And teach them about the founding of this nation by having them read the writings of the men who did it. And encourage them to riddle me with questions until I can't answer one, and then we'll research and find the answer together.

Yes, all this stuff can work alongside a public education. But, why fill their heads with crap in a public school, and then have to scoop it all out later and teach them properly? Teach them right the first time, and the lesson becomes more valuable and less confusing.

And I highly doubt than anyone who was home schooled is going to "eat [me] for breakfast."

Good luck, then.

The real problems with public schools take a lot more than a quick fix. They're deep reaching and more than anything require the participation of the parents.

That's one school of thought. Another school might say, "insanity: (defn) doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different reesult." These are the people who don't care for public schools, but would rather their kids get a good education.

I, personally, want my kids to have as good an education as they can get. I am skeptical, however, that a public school can teach them the things that I want them taught, or that it can teach them well enough, or that it can refrain from teaching them things I don't want them taught. So, chances are I will undertake their education myself.

While I will agree with you that the public schools, if they are to return to a state of excellence, will need the involvement of parents, I disagree that that is possible with the current system of schooling. Maybe it would be better to abolish government-funded, government-controlled, union-run public education and return schools to their local communities. That way, a parent's suggestions and concerns can be met with due diligence, rather than deferring to some nebulous national curriculum, program, or government entity to remove blame for lousy performance from local administrators. And, maybe free market schools are a way forward, where competition can weed out the weak schools or force them to get better.

So everyone in the entire US has given up responsiblity for everything?

No. But, it's a lot easier for people to give up responsibility for their families, and that's what's hurting our kids' educations and futures.

Don't forget the part about being the world's largest military power either. Or winning the cold war. All because of responsiblity.

Being the world's largest military power has very little to do with "responsibility," but a lot to do with politicians' and industrialists' irresponsibility. And, we won the cold war because the Soviet Union was even more irresponsible than us. Their irresponsibility was rooted more in their entire system, from top to bottom, than ours. As it was more pervasive, it was more crippling. But, that doesn't excuse us for have a 5+ trillion dollar national debt.

Now, seriously, while some parts of American society has become irresponsible, not all of it has. It's only the part that's seen on TV most of the time.

Not all of it has, but the problems are far more pervasive than you see on TV. Hell, I don't even watch TV but about once every two weeks or so. If I want to see personal irresponsibility that leads to the destruction of a society and the ruination of some really bright kids, I need only look out my front door. Trust me, it ain't pretty.

"It's not my fault; it's everyone else's who doesn't care." Public schools need a lot of work and placing blame isn't going to help too much.

But that's really where the matter hinges, don't you think?

We have to start being responsible again, we can't get around that. The most direct path to responsibility, and the most meaningful, is being responsible for yourself and for your family. After that, if you want to be responsible for helping others, your neighborhood, your city, county, state, nation, continent, world, or whatever your scope of interest, that's just fine. But, responsibility, like charity, begins at home.

I can show that I care by educating my kids. But, I don't think public schools can give them the education I want for them. So, I will find an alternative method.

From top to bottom, all we hear from public school advocates is that the system needs more money, more teachers, more resources, more this, more that, more everything else. But, when you look back to a time when education in this country wasn't bad, you'll see that these demands clearly do not hold water.

In constant dollars, we spend tons more money per student now than we did, say, in 1950. And yet, education consistently gets worse in public schools.

Our student:teacher ratio has dropped incredibly since then, too. And yet, education consistently gets worse in public schools.

We've even set up a cabinet-level department to oversee education at the national level, and this department is essentially beholden to the NEA (who purport to be looking out for the best interests of the students, but if that were so, they'd be a student union, right?). We spend lots of money, time, and resources on education. And since the institution of this department, education in this country has degraded at an ever-increasing rate.

And now, parents have to work more to pay for all of it. And don't have that time to spend with their kids, and involved in their schools. Not that public schools want parental involvement, anyway. Just ask some parents here on K5 what experiences they've had with public schools when they've wanted to get involved with their kids' education.

I particularly appreciate how it is always brought up that students are taught to be good little automotons responding to commands at the same time that they also don't listen to what a teacher says.

No. They're being taught that there is very little value in knowledge, and no value in taking control of, and responsibility for, your own actions. They're taught that it's better to live as a member of some nebulous "society", in which the best thing to do is to just get by and take the easy way out at every turn, than to do what's right. They're taught, not to be automatons, but to be mindless. Automatonism follows as a natural side-effect.

Guess what? Some students obey authority and others don't. No one's being conditioned to accept an authoritarian government.

My kids will be taught to evaluate authority, and question it, and obey it when they think it's right. But then, it's not really obedience, is it? My kids will be taught to resist an authoritarian government with every fiber of their beings. They will be taught to be skeptics, and to take everything that comes from an "authority figure's" mouth with great, huge grains of salt, and to verify that information for themselves. Hardly anyone in the public school system is taught these things. I wasn't, for sure. I learned to do this after I finally woke up. I'll see to it that my kids have their eyes open, too.

And some 12 year olds are just idiots; just like a significant portion of the American public. This isn't a fault of the public school system; that's a fault of genetics.

Neatly skirted. But not so fast. You obviously did not read "and that's what the teachers at school say." I'll agree that some twelve year olds, just like a significant portion of our population, are utterly idiotic. Some of this is nature, and some of it is nurture. I'd be willing to wager, though, that this kid wasn't lying when she said what she said. I can remember teachers asking me what right I had to question some government policies I didn't agree with. At that time, I didn't have any real sort of knowledge or grounding from which to answer - just a gut feeling that something wasn't right. My kids will be able to answer.

The analogy to teaching a pig to sing isn't valid given that the students can learn the subjects if they are willing to;

Which is why I threw in that bit about the horse and the water. But, that's the point upon which the whole schmear rides. If the kid isn't willing to learn a subject, he shouldn't be there to annoy the rest of the kids who do want to learn it.

You fail to understand that a high school diploma represents that a person has a basic skill set. If we remove requirements, there is no guarantee that that skill set has been met.

Wasn't it you who remarked about seing Seniors in High School barely able to read and perform basic mathematical operations?

Given that, it would seem that a diploma is representative of exactly nothing, and is a guarantee of exactly the same thing.

There also is the point that they are required because the school system feels that all people should have a familiarity with the subject whether or not they want to. Yes, it's coercive but it's being applied to a minor who in reality probably can't decide what's best for themselves.

But, do the needs of the many really outweigh the needs of the few, at the whim of a school system? Or vice versa? Is it right to insert a disruptive element into a classroom full of kids who would otherwise be willing and able to learn the subject matter? Does it not work to the detriment of kids who want to learn to put a dummy who doesn't care whether or not he learns into that class?

Most students given a choice would never go to school.

I disagree. Wholeheartedly. Some would, but they would certainly learn the folly of their errors, and find that they are responsible for remedying that situation, should they so desire. Most, however, would choose to go to school. And because they'd not be forced to be there, it might motivate them to learn for the love of it rather than because of compulsion.

Removing compulsory schooling could return schools to a place of scholarship, rather than making them a giant, state-run babysitter. If we want a state babysitting service, why don't we just create one and be done with it?

The idea is that we force them to take these classes on the idea that some day they will realize that they want to do something more with their lives than they already have.

So, I'll force your sister to have sex with me, with the idea that some day she'll realize that she really did want to have my kids.

And yes, I would consider being an engineer as doing more with your life than being a bricklayer.

By whose measure? An accomplished mason may disagree with you. And, having been acquainted with a few engineers, I can tell you that lots of the masons I've talked with have more sense. And you dare accuse me of elitism? Piffle.

It may be true that I am an unabashed elitist. But that just means that I am an unabashed realist. And that doesn't mean I can lay bricks as well as a mason, whose training and experience makes him much better than I at that.

It's my opinion, backed by my years of observation, that people have their own innate genius. You may be a hell of a computer programmer, but can you finish concrete well? Similarly, a cement finisher may be hell on wheels in his field, highly acclaimed, and whose expertise and raw talent make him highly sought after, but he may not be able to program his VCR.

You laugh at him because he can't fathom any use for a binary tree, or even what one is. He laughs at you because you have no concept of what a bull float is, or how to screed a slab that's thirty feet wide. Best if you stop laughing at each other and have a beer.

Maybe that's my impression because I am from a blue-collar family. YMMV.

That's right, let's keep down the bluecollar workers. Wouldn't want them to be intelligent or anything.

You are ridiculous.

Public schools seek to create informed citizens. Given that we live in a republic, it is paramount that we have a citizenry that is able to understand the political situation.

Before the advent of public schooling, we had just that sort of citizenry. I have posted elsewhere in this article a quote by H.L. Mencken, who is the "father" of U.S. public schools. Ah, hell. Once more, just for grins:

    That erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all, it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.

Otherwise, we will be given an ineffective and corrupt government.

Yes. I see. And we can see how well public schools have done for us. Now, look back about 150 years and see how we compare, as citizens, to those people.

That is why it is important to have public schooling so that we will have a citizenry that is able to have a basic comprehension of what global warming is, of how the economy works, of past events in American history so that we avoid them in the future, and things of that nature. To do otherwise is to destroy this country in the future.

The problem is one of balance.

While public schools may teach what global warming is, they do not teach what it is not, and that which it is not is a proven theory grounded in solid science and borne out by good, realistic, predictive models that the upswing in global climatic temperature, as evidenced by many years of good, solid data collected in a rigorous way, following stringent guidelines, is anthropomorphic in nature. I think it's important that kids know the whole issue, rather than just hearing only one side of it.

With regards to the economy, I can assure you that what I was taught in school bears very little resemblence to that which I observe on a daily basis. I was taught that rich people should pay more taxes, and that their existence was a drag upon the rest of us. I was taught that welfare is good, and that the government does not control enough of the economy. I was taught that the Soviets' five year economic plans were a good idea, but that they implemented them poorly, and that our own government could do much better. Well, that, delta a little bit of rhetoric.

And the notion that kids in public schools receive anything like a balanced, whole-picture view of events in our past is so laughable that I won't even bother to remark further upon it.

They have a better shot at it than without public schooling. An uneducated citizenry is one of the greatest threats to a republic.

The problem is, kids today are not taught to analyze and critically think about rhetoric spewed at them by politicians and media figures. They accept the (Democrat) party line, knots and all, without thinking. Only after they leave school, get a job, and are somewhat responsible for themselves, do they really wake up. Even then, some cannot see that everything the government does to "help" us is bullshit, and that they're only interested in stealing your money to buy themselves more power.

And frankly I think they've done a fairly good job at running the government up to this point.

I think you misspelled "ruining."

We live in a fairly free country (and if you bring up issues such as the DMCA, stuff it, because if that's the biggest of our concerns than we're doing pretty damn well) that has a long country of doing such and will most likely continue doing so in the future.

The DMCA nonsense will sort itself out, in time. The ones that bug me are no-knock searches, warrantless searches, secret evidence, electronic surveillance of, and reconnaisance against our citizens, FBI, DEA, and local SWAT agents shooting unarmed, innocent civilians because they had the wrong address, gun confiscation, hate crimes legislation, and excessive taxation. To name a but a few.

The country is safe and the economy is doing well. So what exactly is wrong with the education level of the citenzenry?

Point. Set. Match.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Education (none / 0) (#188)
by Merk00 on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 01:09:03 PM EST

I think the number one assumption you're making that I'm not is that public schools have gotten a whole lot worse. I honestly don't think they have. I think it's just been more publicized. It's not that the schools are any better or worse, just that there are more metrics (mostly tests) that seek to tell us how well our schools are doing. I'm rather tired of the idea that American public schools are failing students, because, frankly they aren't. If they truly were, we'd be in economic ruin and we're not. Does that mean that public education will greatly benefit everyone? No, but overall it provides benefits.

As far as what schools teach, given the fact that curriculums are mandated on an area wide basis, they tend to show the bias of the area. If you live in a primarily liberal area, you're going to end up with a more liberal curriculum than if you live in a more conservative area. However, a lot of what is taught isn't particularly political at all. While some issues such as promotion of certain ethnic groups' history or literature does happen, it isn't as prevelant as some would have it made out to be. Now it is true that teacher tend to be liberal, and interestingly enough this is seen as an effect of education (the higher the level of formal education of someone, the more liberal they tend to be). Students are not taught to be bleeding liberals by teachers. There simply isn't time for that nor would most students go along with it. Politically, the number one influence on a child's politics is their parents' beliefs. Not their teachers, their parents.

Now, as far as the disruption of classes goes, there is a reason that classes are segregated on ability level. An interestingly enough, it's all by choice of the students. No one is forced anywhere but suggestions are made by teachers. Is this elitist and classist? Sure, but it works out for the benefit of everyone.

You expressed worry about the quality of your childern's education. Then by all means, home school them. No one's trying to force you to do any different. However, that doesn't make it a good idea.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Purpose of compulsory education (5.00 / 1) (#187)
by simon farnz on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 01:00:06 PM EST

Yes, it's coercive but it's being applied to a minor who in reality probably can't decide what's best for themselves. Most students given a choice would never go to school.
Note of course that when compulsory education was first set up, the point was not to coerce children (many of whom wanted to go to school, but couldn't), but to coerce parents into educating children rather than using them as cheap labour.

History in action...
--
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns
[ Parent ]

It is easier to homeschool than you may think (4.00 / 1) (#120)
by orichter on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:12:44 PM EST

The home schooling curricula is designed for this situation. When the parent does not know the subject it is covered in additional workbooks and other materials. In addition, there are support groups that get together and do various things that one person is better at teaching than another. So, the many subjects found in a regular high school curricula are covered in home schooling, not just the so-called basics.

You could not have taken those classes in high school except for the fact that your elementary education had properly prepared you for them. Remember how people got chosen for the classes, especially the advanced classes? In my case that did not happen. I had to play catch up when in college. It made college a lot harder for me.

I for one, want a higher level of guarantee that the school I am sending my child to is doing the right job. So I will go private. I cannot force my children to go to college. But I CAN assure them that if they want to, the choice will be available and open to them when the time comes. With the current differences in standards from one school to the next, and one grade to the next, in even the same public school district, I have chosen to have my kids in a private school of known results.

[ Parent ]
Home Schooling is only one alternative (4.83 / 6) (#75)
by orichter on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:49:09 AM EST

Home schooling is not inherently bad, since most people who do it, do it to a degree that is higher than the scholastic standards required for graduation from a public school.

The average for public schools has gotten so low that the average person who wants their kids to go to college and become a middle class member of society is faced with only two alternatives to the public school system.

The first is home schooling. The standards are much higher since the homeschooler must prove that they have met the standards for each grade and the standards tests in their area. Most school districts are now ecstatic that they could raise their numbers of passing scores for the local standards tests from 20% to 22%. Most home schoolers are in the 90% range. They will do well on the GED, on the SATs, and advanced placement tests for colleges.

Could 800,000 homeschooling families be wrong to strive for this rather than the 22% passing scores?

The second alternative private schooling, is now overcrowded, since in most school districts up to 50% of ALL students are enrolled in them.

This number is staggering!

It means that the average citizen has lost confidence in the public school system being able to ever educate their kids!

The standards in the private schools do two things emphasize learning - academics - study skills - completion of basic learning, remove threats - fear of robbery - reprisals and bullying from other students - disruption in the classroom. Funny how they can turn out students (80% or higher) prepared to go to college but the public school system still returns 22% students capable of passing the standardized tests? The standardized tests are dumbed down as well.

So the situation is actually worse than imagined. Tenth graders are being tested today for what was in the 1950's 4th grade level math and writing skills expected of all students. Students are not graded in these tests on correct answers - the test is first given to the students then all the results are tallied to pick the best answers (the one most students put down - correct or not) then the students are graded on this. The students that actually got the correct answers are downgraded by such a system.

Also note that the curricula used in private schools is often the same as that used by home schoolers. Why does this work and that in publc schools does not? Because the curricula teaches the basics - reading, writing, math, science, and often includes ethics and morality (disguised as religious education). In both of these environments the student is expected to behave, do the work, complete the lessons, etc. They are not interrupted or distrubed by other students who are allowed to do as they wish to the detriment of all others. Most homeschoolers and private schools do not allow such disruptive environments as are allowed in public schools because administrators MUST make provision for disruptive students, ADHD students, and aggressive behavior (no discipline allowed unless criminal action is proven). So the public classroom is chaotic at best.

Now in the public school system the basics are stunted at best - here is what the leader of curricula development, the PhD in charge for the Fairfax County, VA, public schools said at a meeting for incoming kindergartner parents 10 years ago: "If a student does not read until after the 3rd grade that is OK. If a student does not spell words correctly by the 3rd grade that is all right. If a student does not know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide correctly but sort of knows the concepts by the 3rd grade that is OK. If a student does not know how to write a small paragraph and use longhand instead of all capitals by 3rd grade that is OK. We do not want them to feel pushed, they need self confidence."

Now as far as I know ALL students in my school could do most of these things correctly in 1st grade, no later than 2nd grade. But that was 35 years ago. If they had not learned these skills by the 3rd grade the teachers would have been fired, not the students declared ADHD and incapable of learning because of multiple learning disabilities.

Students who have not learned how to read, write, and do math are crippled and then have no self-esteem and no ability to correct the situation by themselves. If they could read they can learn just about anything, if they could write they can put together a resume for a job. Without these skills they are unable to get above the poverty line. In a country that is 75% middle-class we are producing a new underclass, poverty class, by training them to be able to do nothing for 12 years. We are destroying the middle-class that we have.

Do you wonder why homeschooling and private schools are so prevalent now?

Those who can afford to use them, do. Those who cannot are being pushed backwards to a time that was prevalent 150 years ago when most people were lower class and uneducated. Our literacy level is one of the lowest, if not THE lowest, for developed countries. We have gone from one of the most well educated countries to nearly the level of a second or third world country.

If we do not import the talent we will be torn apart just as the Roman empire was 1,700 years ago. If no one is capable of reading the history books to learn from them we will be doomed to repeat all of the mistakes made in the past.

Public schools have failed...

Yes, no, maybe so. (3.00 / 2) (#85)
by BloodmoonACK on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:31:05 AM EST

This was a very well written post, but I have a few quibbles with it.

The average for public schools has gotten so low that the average person who wants their kids to go to college and become a middle class member of society is faced with only two alternatives to the public school system.

There's a reason for this, you know. The problem is that wealthy kids generally do better. Not because they're smarter, but because of the kind of environment they grow up in. Then, using your other figure of 50% of children in private schools (it's much lower than that here, but that's because a ~5 ago we were one of the best school systems in the country...not anymore) you must ask yourself: Who would be going to these schools? Certainly not the poor innercity kid. It's generally the wealthier, at least middle-class child who would be going to the school. This leaves comparatively more lower-class kids in schools who bring down the average (though again, I stress that the reason for this is not intelligence).

Now as far as I know ALL students in my school could do most of these things correctly in 1st grade, no later than 2nd grade. But that was 35 years ago. If they had not learned these skills by the 3rd grade the teachers would have been fired, not the students declared ADHD and incapable of learning because of multiple learning disabilities.

This kind of pisses me off, but then this is a big deal to me. I did not learn to read until 2nd grade and never really did well at reading (I'll admit it, I was a crappy reader in 2nd grade!) until middle of 3rd grade. Now ask anybody and they'll tell you that I'm a voracious reader with a large vocabulary (heh, I know that sounds arrogant, but I'm trying to make a point here ;). I just was a "late bloomer". Does that make me any worse a reader? Possibly. Does that mean I'm worse off? No. You teach a child to read and they're not going to go off and start reading Dickens. They're going to read the occasional book in School, maybe a few at home, but beyond that nada. Just learning to read early does almost nothing beyond make teachers feel good. If someone is going to be a good reader, it's not because they learned in first grade, it's going to be because they were taught to love reading later on.

Students who have not learned how to read, write, and do math are crippled and then have no self-esteem and no ability to correct the situation by themselves. If they could read they can learn just about anything, if they could write they can put together a resume for a job. Without these skills they are unable to get above the poverty line. In a country that is 75% middle-class we are producing a new underclass, poverty class, by training them to be able to do nothing for 12 years. We are destroying the middle-class that we have.

Well, I don't know anybody who has not learned to read, write, and do math. I have HEARD of such cases in the popular media, but never come face to face with such a person. These people truly are crippled for the rest of their lives - but not everyone who comes out of a public education (look it me!) is like this. In fact, this is only the slimmest percentage of students that this happens to, not the huge problem that the popular media like to hype about. Something should be done about this, but again - it's usually lower-class kids who have been unlucky enough to grow up where they did.

I don't know what else to say, but it seems as if the people in the lower class are getting the bad end of the deal. They can't go to private school/homeschooling where they'd be best off, so they stay in public school where they don't do well leading everyone to believe the public schools are a mess. The only people that generally can go to private/homeschools are the middle/upper class who don't particularly need it anyway! In a sense, this is an argument for vouchers (heaven forbid). But that's another issue.

"It's like declaring a 'war on crime' and then claiming every (accused) thief is an 'enemy combatant'." - Hizonner
[ Parent ]

Private and Parochial (4.50 / 2) (#90)
by MrAcheson on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:21:12 PM EST

I'm from the philadelphia area and I grew up with a lot of kids who went to various private religous schools. From what they told me a significant number of the kids going to these schools are poorer kids coming from the inner city. The reason? The public schools they would be going to make it worth the added expense to send them somewhere else. Most religous private schools are expensive, but not so expensive that they are unreachable to poorer families.

As for me, I chose to stay in public school K-12 for two reasons. My friends were in public schools and I'm a very good student. If I had chosen to go to the local Christian High School near me I would not have been able to take the caliber of classes I would have in my High School. They just weren't big enough to offer separate AP courses. So I stayed in public school and went to college with 23 AP credits.


These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


[ Parent ]
I have seen them all. (4.50 / 2) (#112)
by orichter on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:29:30 PM EST

I have met many people who have been failed by our so called "educational system". They are the ones you would call drop outs, losers, stoners, etc. They are forced to work as for example, carpenters assistants (can't pass the journeyman written test - tried twice - has a GED). They can read some things (simple newspaper articles and headlines). They are the ones who are dependant on the cash register calculating the change for them at the Seven11 counter. Our society is 75% middle class but these people cannot break into the average crowd.

I have also seen many cases of teachers passing students that did not have the faintest idea of what was being taught. How could any self-respecting teacher pass such a kid? They know the kid is failing. The kid will know he is failing at some point. Is it because it makes the teacher look bad if he flunks a kid that was not taught by his lower grade teachers? Or is there an administrative reason he is not allowed to flunk the kid?

I have a daughter that was in a kindrgarten class in which she and all 31 others learned how to read, write longhand, add, subtract, multiply and divide using a curricula called: A Beka. There were a lot of other topics as well. This was in a private school. The A Beka curricula is one of the more popular home teaching and private school curricula. It appears particularly well suited to the K through 6th grade.

Others better at teaching than I have told me that any, repeat ANY, except for the most debilitated, 5 year old can be taught to read. That is without regard for any ethnic or social standing, as well.

Reading programs (free to disadvantaged kids - inner city kids) are available for those without high social standing as well. They are just rarely taken advantage of by those they are meant for. Whether it is lack of attention by the parent, if any is available, or there is no interest in education by the parent is unknown to me. Oh yes, the local parochial schools do subsidize poor parishioners of their specific church. It is just that most do not even apply at the private parochial schools.

Most parents want their kids to do as well or better than themselves. So they look at schools as a way to do this. Logically, they think, "if the public schools are so rotten then I cannot trust that my kid will get any sort of education."
I know this since when I was a high school student in California, my father even went so far as to get himself on the local school board, but he found that the school district inertia was so strong that he could not convince them to raise their standards (this was a suburban community in a technologically astute area). It was too late for me since I was already a B and C student. My public high school was desparate to keep me since I was "gifted" and meant many more federal dollars to them than most other students. I could no longer envision going to med school or law school. So I had to settle for computers and business (to my later good fortune in college and work.) But those doors were closed to me by my sub-standard education. Had I gone to a different public high school (made impossible by the boundaries of the school districts - another administrative innovation) I would have had a better high school education and more options would have been open to me in both the colleges available to me and the college curricula I could participate in. Yes, I had to self teach myself to get caught up in college. I could not have wihtout knowing how to read.

A secondary problem in my current school district is that the elementary school I am districted into is an English-as-a-second-language school. All elementary students will be in some classes with Vietamese as the primary language. Not English! If that does not confuse both the Vietnamese kids and the English speaking, Spanish speaking, Korean speaking, etc,. kids in this diverse suburb of D.C. I do not know what will.

Oh, by the way, the one magnet high school is over 20 miles away (one hour by bus during rush hour) in another community and 3,000 students were trying to get 400 open spots this year. Many students were coming from private schools to try out for the magnet school.

Funny thing, it has a comprehensive entrance exam - a public high school with an entrance exam!

The magnet school bills itself as a college prep school - sounds like the private schools, doesn't it? Where does this help the inner city kids when only one high school out of 12 is a magnet school? Remember that the magnet school gets extra federal cash for all the "gifted" and above students. So it gets the lions-share of the federal money allocated to the school district for "gifted" programs.

Many people have tried to go to their school boards to correct the situation and beg for better academic standards. The school boards and school administrations have gotten so bureaucratic that they cannot or will not change their downward trend. So the parents take into their own hands the education of their children by homeschooling or private school. The numbers prove this.

People are voting with their feet.

[ Parent ]
late bloomers (3.00 / 1) (#117)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:53:13 PM EST

"Who would be going to these schools? Certainly not the poor innercity kid." Certainly not in St. Louis, anyway. The statistics here say that 42% of all the students who will start kindergarten in the St. Louis city public schools tomorrow will eventually get a high school diploma. Of that 42%, less than half will have achieved a FOURTH GRADE reading level. Needless to say, what private schools are available are packed-even in poor neighborhoods, and charter schools and vouchers are being very bitterly fought by the establishment, who is busy spending big bucks to have teacher's training sessions in fancy hotels when they have school buildings that are suitable. Oh, and the superintendent has a brand-new million dollar house that he certainly could not have built on the money he actually earns, while a lot of the elementary schools are not even air conditioned.

..."I was just a late bloomer." I can see your point. In the homeschooling field, there is a lot of discussion centered around not actively even teaching reading till the child is interested in learning it, with the frequent result that the kids learn to read about when you did & catch up quite quickly with their earlier-reading peers. The first two homeschooled kids to go to Harvard fell into this category. However, in today's public schools such a thing would most likely cause you to be filed away in "learning disabled" classes to be "helped" (which generally means being given work so easy that you can't help but to get it right). In "learning disabled" classes, the real aim is to make sure the kid passes from grade to grade. Nothing is really expected of them. As a teacher's aide in a 7th grade learning disabled math class, I had a kid tell me, "This is an LD class. I don't have to do anything." The really sad thing is that he was right. If work wasn't turned in, zeroes were not given out. The kid's avaerage at the end of the quarter would just be figured on the work turned in. It was not expected to be done on time, nor were the kids expected to be able to do basic arithmetic without a calculator or multiplication table, so the assignments often just showed how well the kid could use a calculator. Keep in mind, I am not talking about mentally handicapped kids. LD supposedly means "learning disabled". In my experience, it does sometimes mean that. It also frequently stands for "Lazy Dude".

[ Parent ]

Failed by the Public Schools (4.00 / 1) (#137)
by Karmakaze on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 04:12:52 PM EST

Well, I don't know anybody who has not learned to read, write, and do math. I have HEARD of such cases in the popular media, but never come face to face with such a person.
I have.

I used to TA basic reading skills in college. I had a class of eight kids who could read words off a page, but not tell you what the sentences actually said. I had kids who couldn't compose complex sentences. Every student I had was a high school graduate. Admittedly, I was working in what we called a "challenge program", but I could not believe the lack of ability I faced.

It is possible to graduate from a high school in the U.S. barely literate.


--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

Hold on here.... (4.66 / 3) (#86)
by JetJaguar on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:53:16 AM EST

Now I will freely admit that public schools have some problems. Have they failed? I'm not so sure of that, however, the following statement must be backed up with some kind of evidence:

Tenth graders are being tested today for what was in the 1950's 4th grade level math and writing skills expected of all students. Students are not graded in these tests on correct answers - the test is first given to the students then all the results are tallied to pick the best answers (the one most students put down - correct or not) then the students are graded on this. The students that actually got the correct answers are downgraded by such a system.

Sorry, but I just don't buy this for a second. You are saying that 1950's 4th grade math has become the standard that high school sophomores must pass. And you top it off with some crap about "correct" test answers being selected based on how students answer. Where on earth did you get this information from?

I suggest you look up some of the writings of David Berliner. Yes, there are problems in the public school system, but things are not as you have portrayed them. There are some very complex issues involved, and they have nothing to do with faulty exam analysis or grade inflation.

If you take a closer look at the statistics you will see that on a geographic level there are many areas in the US where public schools are doing quite well, scoring at the very top against any other country, and on the flip side, there are places that do extremely poorly. And these scores are not adjusted in any fashion, and in fact, in some cases, the adjusted score is extremely misleading (making us look far worse than we really are against other countries...meaning that the spread in the raw point score is much less than it appears to be when they are converted to percentages).

Sorry I don't have any links handy, but you should be able to find some of this info by looking up "The Manufactured Crisis" by David Berliner, and you can find out about international math and science education comparisons by looking up TIMSS.

[ Parent ]

Example. (3.50 / 2) (#96)
by beergut on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:47:07 PM EST

This test is an eighth-grade test given in Saline County, Kansas, in 1895.

I sincerely doubt any average Senior in a modern high school could pass this test. Maybe a very few select Seniors could do it, but even that is a shaky proposition. I couldn't have done so as a Senior in high school, and now that the pertinent knowledge is not fresh in my mind, I would be hard pressed as an adult to score above 50%.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

You're not serious?! (3.50 / 2) (#99)
by BloodmoonACK on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:59:40 PM EST

Are you being serious with this test? It's hard to compare 8th grade then with 8th grade now. There are many things that are taught now that were not taught back then. We hae more information!

1. Where are the saliva, gastric juice, and bile secreted? What is the use of each in digestion?

I see they have some biology - now we're taught biology/life sciences in ecosystems, basic physics, and earth science by 8th grade (at least I was in public school). Are you saying the time would be better spent learning where saliva is secreted?

It seems to me that the questions in this test are for a different kind of knowledge than is tested now. That is practical knowledge, i.e., how to write a check, how to buy wheat, etc. Now we are testing on other things; again, Earth/Space science, physics, etc. This is what they'd been studying for a year. Can you everyone out there answer all the questions on tests that they had in 8th grade? This is a final, no less. I had a final that included knowing the capitals of every state in 8th grade. Can everyone out there do that? This is comparing apples and oranges. Find something from the 50's or later and it will be useful.

"It's like declaring a 'war on crime' and then claiming every (accused) thief is an 'enemy combatant'." - Hizonner
[ Parent ]

A 100 year old test doesn't prove your point (3.00 / 1) (#119)
by JetJaguar on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:01:16 PM EST

I think that a high school senior might do better than you suggest, but you miss the obvious question.

Would an 1895 eigth grader be able to pass an exam today?

I note that this exam has no algebra, no geometry. The science portion is...well...1895 science (and I would say it gives pretty short shrift to what we knew then scientifically).

The grammar and "orthography" sections are interesting, not because students today couldn't pass them, but because of the interesting change in emphasis in comparison to today. And there's nothing particularly jaw dropping about the history or physiology sections, either. In fact, they are just about what I would expect them to be.

[ Parent ]

Re: 1895 Kansas Test (none / 0) (#191)
by Mzilikazi on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 01:36:53 PM EST

Er, this has been debunked over at snopes.com:

http://www.snopes2.com/language/document/1895exam.htm

This point was brought up in a recent article on the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal site:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=95001003

Among the points made in the article are that there are no legitimate copies of this test from the era, though it does resemble tests for teachers from that time period.

Though I agree with your points in this ongoing debate, Beergut, I did want to make this clear. Keep up the good discussion!



[ Parent ]

Parents fail. (5.00 / 2) (#88)
by Rift on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:08:40 PM EST

I've never seen a better example of this: I went to a high school open house with my wife for her little sister & parents (our child will be in that school, and we wanted to go to just 'see). She was enrolled in honors english, honors history, and basic (open to the grade below her) math. The parents sat in thier child's seat, and followed thier kids' schedules (at 10 min per class)

Can you guess what happened? in the honors classes, the seats and standing areas were full. To the brim. we couldn't even get into the honors english classroom, we had to peek in through the door. But there were 2 kids represented by parents in the basic math class, out of 25. The teacher said that his remedial math had NO parents in it..

The kids that do well had parental support and interest. The kids that don't do well did not. (I admit, this wasn't a scientific study) There were no clear economic lines or ethnic trends, just parents either caring or not, and kids either failing or not.

Yes, the public education system has many many problems. Yes, it needs overhauled - but in my little suburban world, the problem doesn't seem to be the school - it seems to be the parents.

--Rift
A pen is to a car what a meteor is to a _____
[ Parent ]
Slightly different experience (none / 0) (#161)
by shadarr on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 07:22:15 PM EST

My mom was an ex-teacher. She took an interest, and coincidentally I was a good student. She would always go to P-T conferences when they were offered. At one, I believe in grade 10, the teacher said to her "Why are you here? Your son is getting an A." She went on to say that the only parents who came to see her were there because there was a problem.

[ Parent ]
Reference please (5.00 / 1) (#167)
by FuzzyOne on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:14:41 PM EST

So the situation is actually worse than imagined. Tenth graders are being tested today for what was in the 1950's 4th grade level math and writing skills expected of all students. Students are not graded in these tests on correct answers - the test is first given to the students then all the results are tallied to pick the best answers (the one most students put down - correct or not) then the students are graded on this. The students that actually got the correct answers are downgraded by such a system.

Can you substantiate the claim that tests are graded by consensus and that students are downgraded for getting the right answer? One reference would do.

[ Parent ]

The benefits of public high school (2.71 / 7) (#92)
by Saxifrage on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:30:03 PM EST

Everyone else, it seems, has already pointed out that most people lack for parents who can teach advanced-level subjects. Many of them struggled, just as I have, through those subjects themselves. If I were home schooled, I could never learn physics unless I took it at a college (and then, given the colleges here, I would have to take calculus first; I take algebra physics at school).

There's something else, too, to the point. If I had been home schooled, I would never have learned how to mesh in properly with a society. Granted, I'm a nerd, I don't do it that well, but certainly if I were removed from the social interactions of a large group entirely, I would be utterly incapable of dealing with other people properly.

I don't agree with the size of high schools, but a classroom of one, or five, or eight is no better than a classroom of forty, for personal development. The ideal number seems to be 20-25, according to educators and legislators in Washington at any rate. Any smaller, and I think you miss out on the interactions of a group; any larger, and you get no individual attention.

Home schooling, in short, creates individuals who are intelligent and well-schooled but lacking in development of the very-necessary interface between an individual and his society.
"I may disagree vehemently with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." - Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire
the myths of "socialization" (4.80 / 5) (#111)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:28:52 PM EST

Most of your arguments against homeschooling seem to be based on the issue of socialization, as deemed by "educators and legislators in Washington". I am the myth-buster and will now proceed to bust these one by one.

1. "If I were homeschooled, I could never learn physics..." Not so. Homeschooling families handle such advanced in any of a number of different ways. Most homeschooling families belong to some sort of homeschooling group. In the context of the group, many small-group specialized classes are held, taught by a knowledgable parent or a hired teacher. This is one way. Online classes, which are becoming plentiful, are another. Enrolling in a school that is agreeable or in a community college just for those special classes you don't feel able to do at home is also quite common. Personally, I don't see why high-school physics could not be taught at home. The physics class I took in high school did not include any labs that couldn't easily be done with common household things, nor did it include any math that I didn't learn in Algebra 2. There are both textbooks and correspondence courses especially designed to be used in homeschooling, including a math series (Saxon Math) that I have had experience using in a school setting, where I had kids working at different grade levels. I found it to be excellent.

2."If I had been homeschooled, I would never have learned to mesh in properly with a society."This is the educrat's favorite lie. Every study that has been done has found that homeschooled kids are socialized AT LEAST as well as their public-schooled peers. The only socialization taught by public school is how to mesh in with a large group of people your own age in the specific setting of school. You are going to do this again in your life when? Homeschooled kids, for the most part, experience a far more realistic type of socialization through being able to interact both with kids their own age (through Scouts, community-based sports, etc.) and people of other ages in many situations throughout the community (through apprenticeships, volunteer work, community education classes, small businesses, etc.).

3."I would be utterly incapable of dealing with other people properly." Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps you would be far more capable of dealing with other people properly through having been able to acquire your people skills in situations in which you felt more comfortable and secure, instead of being thrown in with a mess of other kids, a large protion of whom are far more savage than any adult is ever expected to put up with. I have had to tell day care kids, "We are all friends here." What utter horse manure! There is no possible that any random group of 30 adults are all going to be friends, nor would any one expect them to. As adults, we deal with people more or less on our own terms, by our own choice. If we really can't deal with people at a certain job, we get a different one. We sometimes even choose not to associate with family members. Is it right for us to force our kids to "be friends" with whoever happens to cross their path?

4."The ideal number seems to be 20-25" This has more to do with funding of education and teachers' union issues than reality of any sort. Studies have shown that the number of kids in a class has nothing to do with the quality of the education they get. A century ago, sixteen-year-old girls with nothing more than an eighth-grade education and the ability to pass the school board's teacher's exam were often teaching 40 or 50 kids in grades 1-8. Guess what? The kids learned-and the material was a good deal harder than what eigth graders see today. Take a look through a McGuffey's Fifth Reader if you ever get a chance.

5."a classroom of one, five, or eight is no better for personal development." Excuse me? How can a person develop in a large group, except for possibly his development as a group member? Would you really call being a better cog in the wheel "personal development"? Most colleges are falling all over themselves to recruit homeschooled students these days because they find them to be more self-confident, self-directed, learned, and capable of original thought than their public-schooled peers.

6."Homeschooling, in short, creates individuals who are intelligent and well-schooled but lacking in development of the very-necessary interface between an individual and his society." Simply not so. If you were to look into the facts of the matter, I think you would learn some very interesting things. I have a collection of links to useful articles on these things, which I will post here after I organize them somewhat. I would also recommend reading John Taylor Gatto's book "Dumbing Us Down", anything by John Holt, and "The NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education" (I don't remember the author). These books question some of the most basic assumptions in American education.

[ Parent ]

One question (none / 0) (#139)
by Salamander on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 04:24:38 PM EST

Excellent post! It got a 5 from me, and I'm usually pretty stingy with those. I do, however, have one question regarding the following:

Every study that has been done has found that homeschooled kids are socialized AT LEAST as well as their public-schooled peers.

Do you happen to have any citations handy, preferably in the form of URLs? That would do a lot to strengthen your claim.



[ Parent ]
Study (none / 0) (#150)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:33:55 PM EST

I am working on organizing a list of URLs relating to the various thing I've posted here. As soon as I get them done, I'll post them as a comment.

[ Parent ]
Standard reference (none / 0) (#210)
by triticale on Thu Sep 06, 2001 at 11:47:23 PM EST

Do you happen to have any citations handy...

You might try reading the canonical work on the subject of peer group socialization among school children; Lord of the Flies.

[ Parent ]

i was a reject (none / 0) (#215)
by babbling on Thu Oct 31, 2002 at 02:45:47 PM EST

i always felt that being trapped in this vicious situation, where the most inexperienced are thrown together to claw at each other for years, creating a horrible "system" of wounded and woundees, was wrong - i have a horror of schools - torturing chidren is wrong - plus i freaking hated waiting for the other kids to catch up to the lecture, even though i was in a catholic school, they need to yank kids that show promise the hell out of the system and put them at a level they can enjoy - lord of the flies is absolutely the reality of our schools, and it has made me a distrusting person - my mom says i was open and happy, walking up to people with a sweet smile, before my first social-nightmare "blooding" at the age of eight, after which my heart was broken i hate schools and the cruel bastiches that are allowed to crush others within them
If I were at full slayer strength, I'd be punning right about now.
[ Parent ]
BS! (4.00 / 1) (#113)
by Anymoose on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:38:59 PM EST

Sorry, but there are far more "social" environments to learn and experience this social interaction you speak of. For example: Little League Baseball/Softball, Soccer, Basketball, Football, etc; Dance, Gymnastics; Martial Arts; etc.

All of these things are or should be available to children - all of these things involve social interaction with large and diverse numbers of others. School is the worst place to learn and practice social interaction, since there is no fundamental unity or guidance governing it. The bullying and rejection associated with various clic's and the like that take place in school teach nothing of the "real world" as you'll be hard pressed to find such savage, abusive, and descriminatory practices in adult life - and those you do would be litigated via courts, something not available to the 7yr old who's picked on for the new glasses s/he wears.


I AM, Therefore I THINK
[ Parent ]

You are definately... (5.00 / 1) (#128)
by acronos on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:40:58 PM EST

the product of the public school system. You have swallowed their line - hook, line, and sinker.

I can teach my foster children, many of whom could not even read when they arrived at my house, more in a single night one-on-one than the public school system teaches them in a year. It usually takes one summer spending only a few hours each night to completely catch up a child whom the school system says is 4 years behind. My family has done this personally with several different foster children. The ideal class size is NOT 24 students.

As to the social issues, a student learns adult social skills significantly better from an adult parent than he or she will from a class of 24 students in the chaotic public school system. Every home-schooled child I have met had significantly more advanced social skills than the high school kids I usually deal with. I have significant interaction with kids because I work with several support groups in the community for them. Not only do the home-schooled children interact better with adults, they also interact much better with other children. In addition to my own personal experience, this truth is backed up by numerous scientific studies on the issue.

I urge you to carefully reexamine the issues, and stop regurgitating what the public school system is propagating for its own benefit.


[ Parent ]
Homeschooled my kids (4.75 / 12) (#101)
by mjs on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:16:20 PM EST

"It is taking some of the most affluent and articulate parents out of the system. These are the parents who know how to get things done with administrators."

Fsck. I tried working with my oldest daughter's public middle school administrator and he kicked me out of his office -- literally -- -with the words, "It's my school and I'll run it the way I want to." I'm pretty much regarded as a nice guy and I never insulted him or anything else -- he just didn't give a sh!t what the parents of students thought. So on the way out of his office I gathered up my daughter, had her return her books to the office, and that was the last day she sat foot in a public school building. I home schooled her for the next two years and when we hit the limits of what I thought I could teach in math and English and such, she went to a private high school, then on to private college. She now has two degrees, in Art and English Literature. After a 30 minute interview, the private high school she attended had no reservations about admitting her, noting that she seemed more advanced in most subjects than her public school contemporaries and they thought she was about even with her private schooled classmates.

Home schooling was hard -- we could do it because I was contracting at the time and could arrange my schedule around her needs. And there were many nights when I was up late re-learning trig and calculus before teaching her lesson the next day. But it was very rewarding for both of us and I believe that one reason we're as close as we are is because of those two years we spent together. She had as much social interaction as any other teenager had, by the way, and aside from being self-assured and confident of herself doesn't seem any different than any other 20-something I know.

Does homeschooling threaten the public school system? We can only hope so. There's no one more strongly supportive of a strong mandatory educational system open to everyone than I am, but what are called 'public schools' today are little more than glorified day-care run by frightened, cynical, underpaid and undereducated "teachers" who are forced to teach useless subjects in ways guaranteed to be incomprehensible to the student by an administrative system which would have been more familiar to Hitler's Nazi Germany or Stalin's Soviet Union than to a free people. Frankly, I can think of few solutions: if you can't reason with the bastards, can't fire them, and can't vote them out then the only remaining solution is to shoot them, but society looks on this kind of thing somewhat unfavorably. Looks to me like homeschooling or a good (and expensive) provate school is the only feasable alternative we have.

Not only better students, better parents. (4.50 / 4) (#104)
by bdowne01 on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:42:14 PM EST

Personally, I know a pair of friends that have been home-schooled. They're the best mannered and overall well-rounded friends I have. i.e. warning: I'm biased.

Look at it this way. Keeping your children at home to school them is only a natural next step from teaching them how to walk, eat, talk, etc. It's a logical progression. I personally think that if your children were kept at home and schooled, it would not only produce a better student--but a better bond between the children and the parents. I have seen this first hand: Both of my friends are closer to their parents than any other friends I have seen. Not only this, but if parents were more involved with their kid's learning I would have to think that they too would become better parents by becoming a "mentor" as well as a guardian parental figure. Let me expand my points of view...

1. The children would be given the attention that they need by parents. I was an overcrowded public-school product, and to be completely honest I didn't care about school one bit. I knew the teachers that were conducting the class had so many heads to look over that they were forced to look at all the students as numbers. They wouldn't have time to sit down personally and help them individually. I'm sure this has progressed for the worse today, being that there are more students now than there were 10 years ago. From my point of view, I knew the spiel that the teachers were broadcasting wasn't a personal one, it was directed to be the most efficient model for a large amount of students. I was a decently bright kid, and I saw this from the beginning. It deflated my will to actually learn from them, knowing that it was a tedious job for the teacher. I'm sure other students out there now feel the same. Learning must be "personal" to be effective. You can only learn so much by being an observer. 2. Parents being more involved with their child's learning would also feel more involved with their entire life. I suppose this point is arguable, but I would have to think that kids that are around their parents more would also be more likely to be the first person that a child would run to when a problem arises. Face it, teenagers will be rebellious, but wouldn't you think that a parent that was "there" all the time would have a better bond, and possibly be a better shoulder to cry on? Of course, there's many different paths this could take, and this is an attempt to generalize many different scenarios...but it would be a start. 3. Finally, about gaining the "social experience" via public school. BULL. Just becase a child is home-schooled doesn't mean they will never leave the front porch. Besides, was your school *anything* like what the real world is like? It wasn't for me...not even close. What kids today learn in school is what they learn from other kids. Children need to learn proper social behavior from experienced adults, not other kids. It's like throwing a bunch of people who know nothing about mathematics together and asking them to figure out Pi. Manners and morals and the social game must be more teaching and less guessing. Kids learning manners and morals from other kids can not and will not work. Just look at our public schools today.

Who's teaching the other children? (5.00 / 4) (#105)
by akp on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 01:44:34 PM EST

So, back to my original questions: does home schooling create better citizens? Is home schooling a social threat to public education?

As I read the article, the answers I get to these questions are 1) home schooled children are better students, if perhaps not better citizens, and 2) yes, but public education in America is so corrupt that threatening it is a good thing.

Now, for question 1), let's start by mentioning a point that many have made, that _competently_ home schooled children are better students. I would argue with anyone who would suggest that _all_ children of _all_ parents would be better off if they were home schooled. Some parents simply don't have the knowledge, teaching ability, or time to teach their children properly.

For the 'better citizens' part... You have a very interesting definition of 'citizen' here. I always thought of a good citizen as someone who is well educated, can think for himself or herself, and can contribute constructively to political dialogues. The virtues that you accuse the public schools of really teaching (consumerism, conformity, accepting the status quo) may produce better corporate consumers, easier-trained workers, or a more pliable underclass, but I'd hardly say that they produce better citizens. So I'd actually disagree with the statement that a well home schooled child will be a horrible citizen, for my definition of citizen.

However, I would like to take issue with the idea that, in general, home schooling creates better thinkers and, for my definition, better citizens. In this case, the children that I'm talking about are not the well home schooled ones. Rather, it's the ones whose parents are unable or unwilling to home school them properly. They must send their children to schools, be them public, private, or what have you. These schools will not have the talented and bright children who are being home schooled, so the children who go to the schools will not benefit from the home schooled children's insights. The school teachers and administration will probably not have the input of the parents who are home schooling, and so will not benefit from their insights. As a result, the children who do attend the public schools will end up being worse students and citizens because of the home schooling of other children.

Which brings us to question 2), of the effect of home schooling on public education. From my point of view, if you look at the current state of public education and find it lacking, and, instead of trying to change the system, respond by home schooling your child, then you are passively contributing to the problems in the public schools. So, yes, the public schools are terrible. But withdrawing from them will not help the schools get any better. And while it might result in your child getting a better education, it won't do anything for the rest of the electorate with whom your child someday will have to interact. And when you go on to complain about how poorly educated most of the young people of tomorrow will be, you'll have to shoulder some of the blame for allowing them to become that way.

If you can't stand the thought of your child going to the local public schools, and think that you can do better, and are willing to put in the effort to do so, then you're doing a good job as a parent. Now take it a step further: instead of home schooling your child, found a charter school. Find other parents who agree with you to help out, and, if necessary, lobby your legislators to give you the leeway that you need. Then open up that school and let the other children in your community benefit from the same education that you would give to your own child. After all, your child deserves to get a quality education--don't you think that your neighbors' children deserve that same quality education, too?

-allen



This is a great idea, but... (4.00 / 2) (#136)
by slick willie on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:57:55 PM EST

lobby your legislators to give you the leeway that you need
here is where it falls down. Everything with the government is a quid pro quo. If they "give" you something, they will expect something in return, usually in the form of mandates, which takes you out of the frying pan, and deposits you squarely back in the fire.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]
A teacher (not my child) (4.00 / 1) (#157)
by Hobbes2100 on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 06:40:55 PM EST

Come on allen,

This is rediculous. "Passively contributing to the problems in the public schools" by not sending my child off to a public school!? My god, I am passively contributing to everything I am not actively contributing to. I'm busier then I thought. Please don't tell me what I'm doing by NOT doing something.

That aside, I do understand your point ... if smart students are removed from the schools, then a number of effects will result in lower education for those that remain. That's fine, I can agree with such a statement.

However, I believe in the MAXIMIZATION of the indiviudal, not the MAXIMIZATION of the MEAN of the group. To put it bluntly, the majority of individuals will not be productive citizens (by your "good" definition that is less cynical than Dlugar's) and, in fact, don't care (couldn't care less) about being good citizens. These people are the "commoners" ... blue collars that sit on the couch and watch TV when they aren't working in a menial (my view and thiers: they go to work everyday saying "this sucks" and I sure wouldn't do their job).

I would like to hope that my children (and yours too), would have a better chance by being "all they can be". The teachers in the public schools make a great effort but let's not kid ourselves. I have approx. 5 friends that went in to public schools teaching. Of those, there is only 1 that I would label "smart" (and she's wicked smart). The others are the kind that say "why would you want a four dimensional array? There are only three dimensions" and "sqrt(-1)? That doesn't make any sense".

Yes, my child deserves a quality education. Yes, my neighbor's child deserves a quality education. It is not MY duty to education my child's neighbor (unless I'm that child's teacher). It is certainly not my child's duty to do anything but become an adult (sidenote: we often confuse children and adults these days .. don't make that mistake .. children ARE NOT adults ... this isn't to you, allen, it's to everyone).

Regards,
Mark
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? --Iuvenalis
But who will guard the guardians themselves? -- Juvenal
[ Parent ]
read the post! (none / 0) (#214)
by babbling on Thu Oct 31, 2002 at 02:23:22 PM EST

you are about the tenth person who has posted a comment here when they obviously didn't read the poor bastich's article to begin with! the writer were JOKING when she said "good citizens," by "citizens" she meant drones, and she obviously did not want anyone to turn out to be that! the paragraph about turning out good citizens was ironic and was a pro-home-school statement! aaaaaarrgg! would you people please read the original article! thankyou, i feel better now x
If I were at full slayer strength, I'd be punning right about now.
[ Parent ]
Deviation & Diversity, Teaching as Serfdom (5.00 / 4) (#109)
by mymantra on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:08:12 PM EST

One pattern I see in the discussion is that those saying *something* (social skills, spelling, etc.) gets left out when you home school are saying that a non-zero (or non-zero-approaching) standard deviation is somehow unacceptable, in other words, control (schooling) needs to be applied to reduce population deviation. This is exactly the gist of the centralized model railed against in Gatto.

But be aware that non-zero deviation is also known as *diversity*, and zero deviation in a statistical population is zero diversity. Diversity has a system stabilizing effect in a dynamic environment. Zero diversity is only optimal in a non-changing environment. Don't know many of those!

Change, be it environmental or economic or social qualifies as a destabilizing force. Generally I'd put up with more deviation from the mean for skills level to ensure long term national/social/species stability. Insisting that we all have perfect uniformity of skills is a non-diverse strategy and potentially unstable.

Imagine monoculture, monogenetic corn and some unknown future corn pathogen. If future change is inevitable (probability of the existence of such a pathogen in the future approachs one over a period less than the corn mutation rate - which for a GMO is controlled to zero), then diversity is essential.

So, do you want uniformity or (societal) evolutionary "drift" and diversity? I generally don't trust even the best intentioned attempts at planned economies, ecosystems and organizations. History shows man's hubris is eternal in its fallability.

That said, an interesting and frightening systemic aspect of public schools in the US is that being a teacher is not terribly different from being a serf in the middle ages. In what other profession is seniority and work experience non-transferable between employers? If you work for a particular district for 20 years and move a different district, you get put on the same pay scale as someone fresh out of college rather than someone with 20 years experience! This is certainly a great enforcer of mediocrity!

This is equivalent to working for HP as programmer for years, moving up in the ranks through experience and hard work, and then moving to Sun and having to accept entry-level pay to perform the same job as at HP or take no job at all - being locked-in at HP - very much like being a serf forbidden from leaving the village of your birth. Zero economic mobility takes away bargaining power and ensures the creation of monocultures.

Imagine what districts and unions would have to do differently if teachers were required to paid based on actual experience and merit instead of solely how many years you sat it out in your district. Certainly teacher could and would move about if pay, working conditions or other factors were unsatisfactory. People paying the bills (first the district management, and then the community itself) would suddenly have to put-up-or-shut-up on the question of the value of education. Maybe some communities would say that education should be provided primarily by non-traditional means. Maybe some people would move away to other places to have traditional schools *if it were truly important enough to them*.

BTW I come from a family of 3 public school teachers (mother, brother & sister-in-law). My sibs and I went to public elem/middle schoools and private high schools. I am seriously considering home schooling myself. It *is* important enough to me to consider the opt-out strategy with my children. I'm not going to support public schools simply to make a teacher's union or district superintendent happy or to conform to someone else's vision of the community harmony if it means "me and mine" are put at a serious disadvantage as a result.

Terminology: They are NOT "public schools&quo (3.16 / 6) (#110)
by Loundry on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:15:00 PM EST

I object to the labeling of government schools as "public schools." There is nothing public about government schools -- they are owned and controlled by the government, not by the public. Hence, we should call them by what they are, not by how some wish them to appear.

As a side (and loosely-related) note, isn't it interesting how the more oppressive the government is, the more "public" the name of the country becomes? Take, for instance, "The People's Republic of China," as if China were a Republic and "the people" were making all those oppressive policy decisions.
-- Dare not to be in agony, but in truffles!

"public schools" (3.66 / 3) (#125)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:24:08 PM EST

Amen. The term I see that is the most truthful is "grtf schools". Governemnt Run, Taxpayer Funded. www.sepschool.org is a very interesting website and where I learned this term.

[ Parent ]
Alliance for the Separation of Church and Schools (4.50 / 2) (#141)
by Salamander on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 04:37:01 PM EST

*sigh* I tried to post this before, and it looked like I succeeded, but somehow the post got swallowed. I'll try to reconstruct it as best I can, and if the original should reappear I guess I'll look a little bit silly.

That's a very interesting site, and I encourage people to check it out. In the interests of full disclosure, though, I'd like to point out a couple of things in the founder's bio.

...Prior to founding the Alliance in 1994, Marshall was president of the unaccredited Pioneer Christian Academy....He has been active in Christian Businessmen's Committee, Serra Club (not Sierra)

The Serra club is a strongly evangelical Catholic group. Clearly, Mr. Fritz is a man of strong religious faith. What's not clear is whether he really supports home schooling as such, or just non-government (especially religious) schooling.

I don't mean to imply in any way that religion is a bad thing. Au contraire; I encourage people to visit the site and evaluate the arguments made there on their own merits. However, the association of the home-schooling movement with religious extremists is a source of anxiety for many - including some home-schooling advocates. In that context, I think it is important to note the site's history and associations.



[ Parent ]
Oops (none / 0) (#144)
by Salamander on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:00:18 PM EST

It's the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, of course. Brain-burp.



[ Parent ]
splitting hairs... (none / 0) (#155)
by Sikpup on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 06:09:47 PM EST

Its the administration. A union of teachers and administrators, where the teachers are peons doing as they are told. The entire purpose of this union is to extract as much money from the government as possible. The quality and proper expenditure is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is more, more, more...

That the system is government funded, etc isnt' entirely bad, but the system has become an example of everything that could possibly go wrong in a government program has.

(Guess you can't tell what I think of school administrators, can you)


[ Parent ]
Public Schools (4.00 / 1) (#192)
by Merk00 on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 01:37:45 PM EST

They are of right to be called public schools. In the US, there is a tradition that the government is in truth the public. "Government for the people, by the people, and of the people." Hence, public. We also call land owned by the government public land. That doesn't mean I have permission to always go on it (think a military base for an example). They are also public because they are there for the whole public, and not for a small group.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

How about this for an idea? (5.00 / 3) (#115)
by Laston on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:48:03 PM EST

I've taught math and science in the past, and I developed a few favorite lessons... I've since gotten out of education and into a more technical field, but I would love to continue to teach those lessons... I wonder If I created a short synopsis of each lesson and offered to teach them to home school groups for a modest fee if that would fly.... I'm also interested in the legality of doing this. Would I need to renew my teaching certificates? or would it fall under some other category. I'd love to make hot air balloons with a group of kids again, or build bridges made from uncooked spaghetti strands. is America ready for a freelance teacher?

freelance teacher (4.00 / 1) (#123)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:21:30 PM EST

Talk to William Bennett of K-12. He's got a project of this sort going, planning eventually to issue a variety of such "lesson packs" for all grades. School a la carte.

[ Parent ]
It will work fine! (none / 0) (#179)
by farmgeek on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 09:07:09 AM EST

I actually have a friend who does this with Latin. As her sole job, she teaches latin to anyone that wants to learn it, and will teach either one on one or in small groups. She doesn't confine herself to just homeschoolers though.

I don't think you will need a certificate, although this may vary from state to state, locality to locality.

[ Parent ]
A book about this (3.50 / 2) (#118)
by beavis on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 02:57:23 PM EST

This is an optimal time to raise awareness of this book: The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America - A Chronological Paper Trail by Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt, Charlotte Iserbyt-Thomson. At amazon here.

If you are serious about wanting to know the truth, this book will change forever the way you look at education for your children.

Warning: It's long and well documented.

It also reads like a right wing conspiracy theory (3.00 / 1) (#124)
by JetJaguar on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:23:25 PM EST

A much more well rounded, and middle of the road book is Berliner's Manufactured Crisis. Berliner shows that there is room for improvement and admits that there are issues that need to be addressed in our educational system, but there is also good evidence that are public education system is not a complete and total failure.

I found Thompson Iserbyt's book to be great fun! But that's because I find conspiracy theories incredibly amusing. Did you know that there is a wonderfully "well documented" conspiracy theory about the Falkland Islands uprising several years ago? George Sr., and Margaret Thatcher planned out the whole thing over tea on a trip to GB, during the Reagan Administration. ;)

[ Parent ]

Why homeschool was better for me... (4.66 / 3) (#127)
by skeezix on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:39:13 PM EST

In a word--efficiency. I was homeschooled from first grade through seventh. At one point during that period of time I attended a public school for two weeks, and after that period I attended a private highschool. What I was most struck with while learning in a typical classroom setting was the gross inefficiency of that method of learning. One must sit in a room at a desk with 30+ other students for most of the day, learning at the pace of the class, not at your own pace. If you are lagging behind the class, you can get hopelessly behind. And if you're catching on to the material faster than the rest of the class, you're wasting your time. The amount you learn in 7 hours of traditional school can often be learned in one or two hours of directed education at the rate of the individual. With the remaining time in my day I was able to socialize with other homeschoolers (both organized--field trips, labs, and the like--and unorganized), pursue other interests, and read voraciously.

I wouldn't say I'm the best citizen, but frankly I think that if anything, homeschooling better prepared me for the "real world" then highschool ever did.

Home schooling, bah! (4.33 / 3) (#130)
by spcmanspiff on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:46:23 PM EST

... and now I have to back up a flamebait subject line like that.

I'll start off with the tired 'no social skills' line: Where does a home-schooled kid learn to argue? to cooperate? Where is the opportunity for discourse between peers that is (was, anyway, back in the day) the principal means for exploring rhetoric, logic, et cetera?

Well, I'm not stupid and I realize that public (and private) schools generally do a crap job of encouraging the above, but at least the opportunity is there.

Secondly: Many parents suck, even worse than the school system, which is why public schools often have the twin burden of providing an education _and_ trying to make up for schlock parents. Is homeschooling the answer for these kids? No. If all the competent parents pull their children from a school does it fix anything, or just contue to lower the diversity in everyone's education?

Finally: Our school system is a reflection of our society. Anyone who takes civil liberties seriously realizes that things are just as bad out in the 'real world,' just more subtle. I agree with everyone here who is ripping on our school system, but:

Do you expect that by secluding yer kid from this environment of 'propoganda, education, and mass media' you'll really have an 'independent thinker' capable of standing up to the above? Sounds like security-through-obscurity to me.

Can a homeschooled child who has never felt the harsh sting of injustice make an effective stand against it?

I have a friend whose parents did not believe in television, but now that he's on his own he spends a big part of the day in front of the box. Did sheltering him from propoganda give him the skills necessary to deny it?

etc.

Home schooling (by good parents) may produce more thoughtful, well-read, and well-rounded individuals than public school, but IMHO they never develop the same backbone that someone in a public education would have.

A spine is the most important thing in a citizen (my good definition, not the article's conformist definition) next to a brain.

Home schooling ain't the answer.

Public schooling, bah! (none / 0) (#194)
by trebuchet on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 01:51:45 PM EST

I am home schooled.

Most of your argument seems to be based around the misconception that home schoolers "get no real world experience". I used to work for Nortel. Then i was laid off. Hows that for real world experience? I now do freelance computer consulting and programming, which means that i have to interact with people.

I am a member of a Venturer Company. I am a Beaver leader. Both of these require me to be in groups of people.

So dont tell me I have no social skills.

Btw, Venturers is like scouts, only for slightly older people, beavers is the same but for 4-7 yr olds.

--
I wanna be a new original creation,
A cross between a moose, a monkey, and a fig.
I'm ready, Monsanto, let me be your guinea pig.
--Moxy Fruvous
[ Parent ]
Backbone (none / 0) (#207)
by triticale on Thu Sep 06, 2001 at 11:00:13 PM EST

Home schooling (by good parents) may produce more thoughtful, well-read, and well-rounded individuals than public school, but IMHO they never develop the same backbone that someone in a public education would have.

Based on contact with how many homeschooled adults? I've known some who are settling for getting by, but the one I know best, my son, has plenty.

He did not grow up in isolation. He played with the neighbors after they got home from school and with other homeschoolers at regularly scheduled gatherings. He was active in both Scouting (where he was elected to the elite Order of the Arrow) and in 4H. He talked his way into a job for the first time at age ten, passing out pizza flyers with his twelve year old buddies. He had never been in a classroom before he went for his GED, but passed that with ease. He then went on to trade school, where he graduated with a B even after deciding the field wasn't for him. Now, at age twenty two, he is a crew leader at work, and has been told he will be moving from a lift truck to a desk on his next promotion.

[ Parent ]

Homeschooling (none / 0) (#132)
by char on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:48:41 PM EST

See http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2001/3/12/16195/2782/68#68

It doesn't matter (3.00 / 1) (#133)
by mech9t8 on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:49:14 PM EST

Does home schooling produce better citizens (however you want to define "better")? Can it educate as well as a public system? It doesn't really matter what the answer to those questions are, as you're always going to be dealing with specific situations. But one thing, I think, is certain: Parents who choose home schooling are parents that have the time and energy to become very involved in their children's lives. Children with parents like are likely to succeed no matter what education system they're in. Will they be more successful in home school system? Maybe, maybe not. Doesn't matter. The problem with the educational system (well, the main problem) are the parents without the time, energy, and/or concern to stay involved in their child's lives. The public system is an equalizer - it gives children without the support they need at home a place to go. It tries to let every kid, no matter what his background, a bit more of an equal chance to succeed in life. You abandon the public system, and only the "aristocracy" will be educated. The other problems are largely moot - bigotted parents aren't going to say, "Hmm, I'm a bigot, I better not educate my kids." Parents concerned about social skilles will look at the anecdotal evidence of social successes, and assume they can follow those, assuming they can avoid whatever social pitfalls arise. If a parent is confident enough to think they can educate their kids, that parent will assume he's got the qualifications to do so. And even if 100% of home school kids turn out great, it doesn't matter, because (as I said) they've got the parents that care enough. So if you're considering home schooling for your own kids, and you think you're up for it or the evidence shows it works, hey, go for it. But on any sort of broader scale, in terms of improvements to society as a whole, you have to look for improvements to a system which doesn't depend on the parents giving 110%. Otherwise you're just punishing the kids born into less fortunate circumstances.

--
IMHO
Sounds like Slashdot (3.00 / 2) (#135)
by angry android on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 03:55:56 PM EST

This is poppycock ranting and raving. I have dozens of peers that do home schooling, not including myself however. Only one out of dozens went on to college. I called him Doogie Howser since he was 13 when he started college classes. His mother did not work and was very educated herself. His situation illustrates that with a *lot* of hard work on the part of the parents, home schooling can create success stories. But if any parent thinks that home schooling is a way of solving everything from emotional to social or even learning disabilities, they are disillusioned.

Home schooling is *designed* to have a tutor on hand at least some of the time. What if the kid doesn't understand something, and his parents are too busy or even too disinterested to help?

A lot of my friends thought of home schooling as an easy way out, and essentially thats what happened. But never forget the wise proverb: what you sow, this you shall also reap. Schooling is hard work. It is even harder for a student to do it on his own. It is harder still, to get anywhere without the equivalent of at least a high school education. Home schooling has been a successful investment for a few, a disaster for many.

very minor nit pick (5.00 / 1) (#140)
by norge on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 04:25:58 PM EST

> parents are too busy or even too disinterested to help?

http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=Disinterested%20

I believe uninterested is the word you were looking for. Sorry for pointing out such a trivial matter in your otherwise fine post, but it's a pet peeve of mine.

Benjamin


[ Parent ]
My kids... (4.40 / 5) (#142)
by CrackBabyPeter on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 04:37:19 PM EST

...won't be attending public school. If they can be arrested, or kicked out, for doing stuff such as: taking a kleenex from the teacher's desk without asking, taking a plastic knife to school so you can eat your lunch, or wearing a tweety bird necklace (link here) then I think they are better off in my house.

How many who posted read the article? (4.40 / 5) (#152)
by tlhf on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:49:06 PM EST

I'm not gonna post much here, cause I'm not a good poster, but I do consider myself a reader of average intelligence. Yet, so many of the people who posted on this subject are coming from the point of view that this article is anti home schooling. I surly can't be the only person who read this part of the article:
But in a word, I think home schooling has the opportunity to do a better job of leaving children with free-thinking skills and a love of learning. These obviously create horrible citizens, since the "hidden curriculum" of public schooling gives us citizens who are already well-trained in subordination and dependency, with the dangerous free-thinking and leadership skills suppressed and damaged. Not only does home schooling turn out inferior citizens and harm public schools, but--without the daily lessons of consumerism and the unsurpassed value of money--it is harmful to our economy as well.
Look at the article, dammit. Is this an anti home school article? I think not.

I came to kuro5hin.org under the presupposition that the community was slightly more thoughtful than the Slashdot one, and that most of them actually knew about what they said. I guess I was wrong.

Call me old fashioned, but I think it's great when we post on what we know, rather than just spouting off what we think.

tlhf - be his first post

Who cares about homeschoolers? (3.33 / 6) (#153)
by gbd on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:57:02 PM EST

Honestly, I've never understood what the big deal is. People homeschool for a large number of reasons. Some of them don't want their children to be exposed to information about evolution, sex education, non-White cultures, etc. Some of them are compulsive perfectionists who cannot trust the education of their children to anybody but themselves. Some are hard-line anti-labor activists who homeschool their children under the impression that it will "piss off" the teacher's unions .. and so on and so forth.

So what's the problem?

One of the biggest problems that we have in public schools today is that classes are too big. If we can cut down on class sizes by having some of the seedier elements educated at home, doesn't everybody win? Quite frankly, I don't want my children associating with the offspring of religious fundamentalists or neurotic, uptight yuppies. My children are growing up happy, popular, and well-adjusted, and I'd like to keep it that way. So let these people educate their kids at home, for Christ's sake! It will serve as a normalizing influence on the remaining school population. They get what they want, and we get what we want. Everybody's happy. Hell of a deal, if you ask me.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.

I think we need to define citizen. (none / 0) (#154)
by mindstrm on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 06:07:57 PM EST

Does home schooling create better 'citizens'? Not if a 'citizen' is one who blindly obeys authority, and is dependent on the state. Someone who follows rules and doesn't ask questions.

Does it create a better neighbor? A better comrade? Absolutely. People who can think and act for themselves.

I don't want 'citizens'. I want neighbors and friends.


My definition (none / 0) (#173)
by Pseudonym on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 01:10:05 AM EST

My definition of a citizen is someone who is prepared to compromise. That means following some rules which would otherwise make no sense (e.g. drive your car on THIS side of the road only) in order to make life that much easier for everyone else.

This isn't thought out carefully, but IMO, being a good citizen means choosing your battles carefully. Deciding for yourself which rules you will and will not follow in full knowledge that most of them are stupid. Realising that we're all in this together and we might as well try to get along.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Links of Interest (5.00 / 2) (#158)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 06:41:02 PM EST

I've posted a number of comments to this thread, at least some of which should be supported, so here are links to support them, as well as some other links germane to the discussion. http://www.sourcetext.com/grammarian/graves-of-academe/04.htm http://learninfreedom.org/socialization.htm www.educationalfreedom.com www.choiceineducation.co.uk/gatto/gatto5.html www.sepschool.org/edlib/v1n3/gatto.html www.primenet.com/~afhe/gatto4.htm www.homeschoolnewslink.com/articles/vol5iss5/inspiteofschool.html www.TnHomeEd.com/LRSocial.html www.sepschool.org/Edlib/v3n2/21ways.html www.geocities.com/homeschoolers_success_stories/part1.html www.shalomjersulam.com/politc1.htm www.townhall.com/columnists/walterwilliams/ww20010530.shtml

Now I did it right (I hope) (none / 0) (#163)
by heatherj on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 08:22:17 PM EST

I screwed up the formatting of my list of links. Here's a more usable one.

<aHREF=http://www.sourcetext.com/grammarian/graves-of-academe/04.htm</a>

<aHREF=http://www.learninfreedom.org/socialization.htm</a>

<aHREF=http://www.educationalfreedom.com</a>

<aHREF=http://www.choiceineducation.co.uk/gatto/gatto5.html</a>

<aHREF=http://www.sepschool.org/edlib/v1n3/gatto.html</a>

<aHREF=http://www.primenet.com/~afhe/gatto4.htm</a>

<aHREF=http://www.homeschoolnewslink.com/articles/vol5iss5/inspiteofschool.html</a>

<aHREF=http://www.TnHomeEd.com/LRSocial.html</a>

<aHREF=http://www.sepschool.org/Edlib/v3n2/21ways.html</a>

<aHREF=http://www.geocities.com/homeschoolers_success_stories/part1.html</a>

<aHREF=http://www.shalomjerusalem.com/politc1.htm</a>

<aHref=http://www.townhall.com/columnists/walterwilliams/ww20010530.shtml</a>

[ Parent ]

formatting links (5.00 / 1) (#181)
by netmouse on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 09:44:41 AM EST

<aHREF=http://www.TnHomeEd.com/LRSocial.html</a>

If you are trying to create an active link, You need a space between the <a and the HREF and you need to close the link address with a > and put some link text between

<a HREF=http://www.TnHomeEd.com/LRSocial.html>

and </a>

so the whole link might be
<a HREF=http://www.TnHomeEd.com/LRSocial.html>Tennessee's Homeschool Education Site</a>

Then in the drop-down below your comment you need to select HTML formatted so your html is translated into your post. Put <p> between paragraphs to make space.

--netmouse

[ Parent ]
Thanks for the links! (none / 0) (#165)
by Salamander on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 09:19:06 PM EST

Really, thank you. You have single-handedly contributed more to this conversation, IMO, than everyone else put together. Here's my own (probably doomed) attempt to fix up the links.



[ Parent ]
Not as good as I'd hoped (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by Salamander on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:25:15 PM EST

Now that I've actually read the articles you cited (mea culpa for responding before I had done so), I have to say I'm a little disappointed. Here's what I found:

  • SourceText: a rant about a what an NEA task force came up with in *1913*. It's a highly amusing, sometimes hilarious, rant, to be sure (the opening made me laugh out loud), and it does make some decent points about what might have been wrong with schools 80 years ago. Unfortunately, there's rather less about what's wrong with schools today, and nothing at all about what might be better about home schooling.
  • LearnInFreedom: this one's actually very good. The studies it cites seem rather small, but nonetheless they're scientifically legitimate. That's the first such cite I've seen here and, even though its conclusions differ from my own experience in some ways, I have to respect that.
  • EducationalFreedom: After wading through various resource lists and totally content-free interstitial pages, I finally found the essays in the commentary section. And that's just about all I have to say about those essays.
  • ChoiceInEducation: history about public schools, by Gatto - interesting as background material but not very persuasive about much of anything.
  • SepSchool (1): more Gatto (someone's a real fan). This one's pure polemic, with little informative value.
  • Primenet: Gatto yet again. This one is well written and very thought provoking.
  • HomeSchoolNewsLink: I really hope nobody tries to use this as an example of home-schoolers learning to write. It's rambling, hard to read, and never reaches a point. It's more interesting to note where it was published than to actually read it.
  • TNHomeEd: Starts well, with a list of socialization-related behaviors we tolerate in school but would roundly condemn in the real world. Then it kind of peters out before it gets anywhere near explaining how to do better either with home schooling or otherwise.
  • SepSchool (2): I'll bet this guy believes in black helicopters and the Tripartite Commission too.
  • GeoCities: Another history lesson, with approximately the same relevance and value as the other one.
  • ShalomJerusalem: Another history, this time of the NEA. It does a pretty good job of making NEA leaders look like idiots (actually they do that by themselves) but otherwise there seems to be little point.
  • TownHall: some good soundbites, but little else. The point seems to be that there's a problem with undertrained teachers, which only leads one to wonder whether home-schooling parents are any better trained.

In short, the LearnInFreedom article and one of the too-many Gatto articles were very worthwhile, and the "Graves of Academe" article was good just for the humor value. I still thank you for providing the links to them. The other articles were notably unpersuasive, though, and I have to admit I feel a little like I've wasted my time. Maybe I shouldn't complain about the links you provide until I've provided some of my own, but taken as a set these articles do rather less to support a pro-home-school POV than I had hoped they would.



[ Parent ]
Some links of my own (5.00 / 2) (#171)
by Salamander on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:37:04 PM EST

Here are some things I uncovered while looking for material on just one of the topics that has been discussed here - the effect of home schooling on social development.

That's all for now; I have to get to bed. Enjoy!



[ Parent ]
Correctly formatted links (none / 0) (#199)
by tonygreene on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 12:13:55 PM EST

The Seven deadly Principles
Socialization: A Great Reason Not to Go to School
EducationalFreedom.com
The Origins of Compulsory Education
The 9 Assumptions of Modern Schooling
The Curriculm of Necessity
How to Get An Education In Spite of School
No Thank You, We don't believe in Socialization!
Twenty-one ways "public schools" harm your children
A Brief History of American Homeschooling
http://www.shalomjersulam.com/politc1.htm (host not found)
Inept Teacher Training
--
Anthony E. Greene <agreene@pobox.com> <http://www.pobox.com/~agreene/>
PGP Key: 0x6C94239D/7B3D BD7D 7D91 1B44 BA26 C484 A42A 60DD 6C94 239D
Chat: AOL/Yahoo: TonyG05
Linux. The choice of a GNU Generation. [ Parent ]
Excellent article (4.00 / 1) (#160)
by tjh on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 07:10:40 PM EST

I agree with many things in this article, but you seem to be ignoring the fact that most people would rather be watching TV than learning[1], the readership of k5 is hardly representational of the population, and it's easy to forget that many people dislike learning and thinking. This is not a bad thing, and does not make 'us' better than 'them'. If you think about it, it make evolutionary sense to have people with diverse interests.

I do think I've spent more time working than learning in school, and find generally that the top 1-5% is not really catered for in the state system.

My main problem with home schooling, and more notably private schools is that it could encourage something like a caste system, when we should all be fighting for high standard education for all.

Regarding your last paragraph, my expereinces with school haven't been great, but I spend time teaching myself things at home (philosophy, logic, a bit of physics and programming). I'd like to see things like political philosophy and ethics taught in school, and perhaps more chance to get interested in a subject, rather than checking things off on a syllabus.

Just my $0.02




[1]I've actually learned a lot by watching TV.

learning and thinking (none / 0) (#178)
by netmouse on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 08:51:34 AM EST

it's easy to forget that many people dislike learning and thinking.

While many people may, as you say, dislike learning and thinking, I don't think that's true for most people. It may be true that many people don't like formal education, sitting in lectures, doing logic puzzles, or learning through reading, but most people are interested in at least something, and learn about it all the time with pleasure.

One of the striking aspects of many of the worst stories I've heard about the effect of school is how often they include cases where a student's self-motivated and interested learning and doing was cut brutally short by the actions of a teacher following a strict curriculum. The talented young artist who tries a different technique and gets told it's no good because it isn't the procedure being assigned that day. The smart math student who figures out decimals and fractions ahead of the class but is told firmly by his teacher than you can't divide 3 by 2. The young lad who would rather dance to a hip-hop groove than play basketball or football.

There is also, of course, the make-work that has little to do with learning for some students and should be optional for students who can prove they have already mastered the material.

My main problem with home schooling, and more notably private schools is that it could encourage something like a caste system, when we should all be fighting for high standard education for all.

Please explain why you think this is so.

thanks!

--netmouse

[ Parent ]

Logic (2.33 / 6) (#166)
by khilghard on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 10:06:12 PM EST

I am amazed at the discussion we have here. I assume most here have not had any formal teaching in Logic!? I am assuming this when I say that most people have had no formal education whatsoever in Logic. If you have had no formal education in logic then you do not know logic. Therefore, you are not logical. Please go and learn about real Logic and arguments. You would find and probably die of laughter as you read these posts and scratch your head in wonderment as many make no sense and have no meaning from a logic stand point at all. Too many have a fallacy of an appeal to majority or emotion or an ad hominem or something like that. (The worst is all three of these seen together). Or the best arguements of all, Non-sequitur arguments, which sound right and appear okay, but have nothing to do with a valid argument even though the premises may be true. Without a valid argument nothing that is said further is sound nor good. And although the premise may be true the argument is not sound. So, my two cents, to the article, is this, both sides are good, home schooling and public schooling and that some of both need to appear not just the one. I was taught both ways. I was taught in school and at home (at the same time for whatever was lacking). I learned what there was to learn in school and learned what there was to learn at home. Now in college I carry that tradition on, learning something in school and something else at home. By the way, who started Logic? Aristotle did. So there is your first lesson in Logic. Have at it!

"God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the Decembers of our lives." -James Barrie

You may have been trained in logic ... (5.00 / 1) (#168)
by Daniel Dvorkin on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 11:19:56 PM EST

... but you sure don't know much about grammar and spelling.

Or history.

Or manners.

[ Parent ]
Point made well (none / 0) (#174)
by khilghard on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 02:59:26 AM EST

Go and search about the history (that is correct). No doubt about it. Aristotle invented Logic. History is history and Aristotle is known very well for that (Logic).

Classic Ad Hominem: attacking a person (or persons character or both) because something that person said. This is also known as a fallacy and is also quite common, however incorrect. It is one of three ways to start a war. Cool huh?

I say Logic be taught in school like it may have been. Our school system would then be seen as it is by those living in it and besides, it is hard to quell an intelligent mass of people. Would be kind of hard to implement though.....

Next person who wants to be critical, be critical not emotional and say something that has relevance and substance.

"God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the Decembers of our lives." -James Barrie

[ Parent ]

You say Logic be taught in school (none / 0) (#177)
by netmouse on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 07:52:02 AM EST

You see this kind of thing all the time. A person states that something ought to be taught someplace. Are you willing to back up your opinion with work?

Part of why logic is not taught in school is that the texts on logic are aimed at a college reading level. If you know of texts that are appropriate for younger readers, please post those references here. Even when there is a text that could be used, teachers need to prepare new class materials (hand-outs, worksheets, quizes, tests) for any new material. On some subjects, people have made collections of things like discussion questions and assignments for each chapter of a text and posted them on the web. You are welcome to do so regarding logic though as someone mentioned before, your poor grasp of grammar may be a barrier to you.

Sometimes logic and rhetoric is taught, but only in a debate team or some other extra-curricular device.

It is one thing to dismiss people like your first post did and tell them that their arguments are illogical. It is quite a more admirable act to point to specific illogical statements, engage in the dialogue, and teach.

I encourage you to do more of the latter.

--netmouse

[ Parent ]

Re: You say Logic be taught in school (none / 0) (#206)
by shumacher on Thu Sep 06, 2001 at 07:51:28 AM EST

Part of why logic is not taught in school is that the texts on logic are aimed at a college reading level. If you know of texts that are appropriate for younger readers, please post those references here. Even when there is a text that could be used, teachers need to prepare new class materials (hand-outs, worksheets, quizes, tests) for any new material.
I was benefitted greatly from basic training in logic starting in the first grade. As part of a program of my local school system, I attended an unconventional accelerated class off campus twice a week. College level logic resembled what I learned as much as calculus resembled the addition and subtraction I was learning at the time, but I feel those classes represent some of the most useful of my education.

It's been a long time since then, and I can't tell you the name of the texts, but I do remember that most of the material was prepared by the teachers. At these levels, most teachers should find preparing materials trivial. Often, we would simply have logic problems. Much of the work was a group effort. The entire class would sit around a large table and discuss conditions of the problem, and how they influenced the conditions around our solution. The teachers would add in little comments as needed.

When you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you can head off your foes with a balanced attack.
[ Parent ]

Non-sequiturs can be logical (none / 0) (#198)
by crank42 on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 11:19:40 AM EST

. . .just not reasonable. That is, the conclusions can follow necessarily from the premises (entailment is satisfied), but those premises may have nothing to do with the subject at hand (relevance is not satisfied). So, they do have something to do with a valid argument. Just not a reasonable one.

I think it's important to preserve these distinctions among validity, "reasonableness" (for want of a better word) and truth, because it allows us to see why some apparently good arguments are nevertheless actually bad ones. Many arguments are valid, but lead to false conclusions.

[ Parent ]

max generalizations. (1.00 / 4) (#172)
by dnos on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 01:09:01 AM EST

btw, if a kid eats at mcdonalds instead of burger king, the kid will be smarter than a kid who eats at burger king.

re: max generalizations (none / 0) (#175)
by khilghard on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 03:29:45 AM EST

Or eat at arby's. I hear it is quite good. May make one smarter :)

"God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the Decembers of our lives." -James Barrie

[ Parent ]

Homeschool Red Herrings (5.00 / 6) (#193)
by cod on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 01:39:05 PM EST

As a homeschooling parent, I'd like to address a few of the red herrings that are present in every homeschooling discussion - both pro and con.

Socialization - Years ago, when homeschooling was illegal, this probably was a major issue. Today, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and homeschoolers are well integrated into their communities. In fact, homeschoolers participate in community events and social causes more than their public school peers, primarily because homeschoolers have the time and flexibility in their schedules to do so.

College Admission - Almost a complete non-issue today. Many schools have procedures to deal with HS'ers lack of a traditional transcript. In fact, Stanford actively recruits homeschoolers and admits them at twice the rate of the overall applicant pool. What little data exists tends to point to no significant difference in college graduation rates.

Diversity - This one always makes me laugh. The typical public school classroom is 30 kids of the same ethnic and socioeconomic background all being taught the same thing and the same time. What the f%ck is so diverse about that?

It's an upper income "white" thing - Actually its a middle income white thing. Which is a real shame, because lower income families trapped in lousy schools are the people who have the most to gain by taking control of their children's education.

One parent needs to stay home - It's certainly easier this way. However, most two income families that I know are working two jobs to support a country club house, two BMW leases, and dinner out 4 nights a week. I think many people could survive just fine one income if their priorities were different.



Thanks, you said it well. (none / 0) (#205)
by orichter on Wed Sep 05, 2001 at 12:22:58 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Me fail English? That's unpossible! (2.00 / 1) (#195)
by CaseyB on Sat Sep 01, 2001 at 03:17:20 PM EST

Grammar has all but been dropped from school curriculum. [...] I do not understand why these have been so neglected. Do we consider them to be subimportant?

Yeah, without those "subimportant" classes, people just start making up words that don't exist. Looks like you missed a few English classes yourself, Mr. Grammar King.

Actually, I enjoy it. (5.00 / 2) (#197)
by Dlugar on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 09:22:10 AM EST

When I wrote that sentence, I decided that the word "subimportant" sounded good. But it didn't sound like a real word. So I looked it up--first in my dictionary, then under Google, to see if anyone else had "made up" the word. I was actually rather pleased to see that it didn't seem to be in use. So I used it.

That's how the English language works. That's how new words are formed--people feel like using a word and so they use it. If you want to complain about it, go speak French or something.


Dlugar

p.s. no offence to French-speakers ... I just know French as an example of a language that has strict rules governing its use, as opposed to English where new words come in and out of the language all the time.



[ Parent ]
Anecdotal Hogwash (4.66 / 3) (#196)
by aminorex on Sat Sep 01, 2001 at 08:06:55 PM EST

I am appalled at the degree to which Kuro5hin commentators base their comments and judgements on purely anecdotal personal experience. Several commentators imply that because some homeschooled person of their acquaintance is socially inept, homeschooling is deleterious to social function. I could counter this claim with a much more broadly based personal experience of homeschooled youth as being at a much higher level of social function, but that would be a foolish rejoinder. Instead, I prefer to observe that the impact in an isolated case (or in the example of my own experience, in a self-selected array of cases) is not a basis for general judgements of the efficacy of homeschooling.

If you don't have statistically valid sampling techniques in play, there is simply no way to infer a global impact from local case studies.

is the ony info we have. (none / 0) (#204)
by Apuleius on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 08:41:00 PM EST

nuff said.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
So seek more. (5.00 / 1) (#209)
by triticale on Thu Sep 06, 2001 at 11:39:45 PM EST

I knew a bank gaurd who became a field inspector for the medical examiner. His sample of drug users was the ones who died from overdoses; he presumed that this was the normal fate of all drug users.

You need to evaluate your sample before you evaluate your data, and seek better data before drawing a conclusion from a limited sample. Whatsoever you are considering.

[ Parent ]

On the subject of Schools (4.00 / 1) (#211)
by titivillus on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 10:01:48 AM EST

I was a military brat, and as such, I went to 2 elementary schools and 4 high schools, in Virginia, Hawaii, Missouri, North Carolina and Arizona. They all sucked. Having gone to college at two universities for two degrees, and having known people who went for teaching degrees, I think I know why.

I was in Advanced Editng lab one afternoon during my previous life (in journalism school), and we started talking about homeschooling. Everyone was shocked that I would come out in support of it, but it is my belief that the education system in America is so messed up that it is effectively irredeemable.

I am now a Christian. I have two kids, with a third on the way. They attend my church school. But before I had my oldest, before I was saved, before I was married, before I met my wife, I knew I didn't want my children to go to public school. The school system is a modified version of the assembly line, which is good and useful for making toasters. But modern schools are not good at what they do, and I don't want my children treated like toasters.



How Home-Schooling Harms the Nation | 215 comments (211 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!