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← If you want to know why our public schools are screwed up, here's one reason

If you want to know why our public schools are screwed up, here's one reason - Comments

Ian Jackson's Avatar Comment 1 by Ian Jackson

Viewing this from Britain, at the moment it beggars belief. But reading some of the messages coming out of our own 'education' authorities, we're certainly heading down the same road. This horrific and dangerous stupidity must be stamped on and stamped out. Hard.

I have to ask, who in their right mind would elect to a school board someone who's own children have been 'educated' at home? In Britain we have a word for educating one's children exclusively at home: truancy.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 15:31:00 UTC | #284357

Caudimordax's Avatar Comment 2 by Caudimordax

Britain we have a word for educating one's children exclusively at home: truancy.

Yep, here in the good ol' US of A you are entitled to home school your children as long as you are their legal guardian. Other than that, there is no qualification requirement whatsover. I'm not sure who's doing more harm - the religious home schoolers or the new age non-schoolers. That's right, you're under no (legal) obligation to provide your children with any formal education at all!

Unlike home schooling, non-schooled children, in addition to being at home, “do not have structured lessons or formal school lessons”. They are basically “students of life”. Parents believe that life teaches their children more than the class room ever could.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 15:44:00 UTC | #284360

Dokudango's Avatar Comment 3 by Dokudango

As an individual who grew up and went to school and still lives in Southeast Texas I can say that the education system here is truly appalling. I don't know if anyone here knows, but in Texas you don't have to have a college degree to teach, you just need to pass a simple academic test. If you do have a degree in science, more than likely you will be teaching something else.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 15:50:00 UTC | #284363

Katana's Avatar Comment 4 by Katana

Ian Jackson
You are sort of right, you have to prove to the local education authority that you are unable to attend a regular school before they will let you have home schooling.
I was home schooled by the state because i wasn't well enough to attend school between the ages of 10-16, my parents had to go through loads of red tape and hearings to get that for me and even prove that i was ill and wasn't just playing truant. This leads me to believe that in england education between the ages of 4-16 is required to some extent, in other words, so long as you are going to a school of some kind the LEA don't care.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 15:54:00 UTC | #284366

WilliamP's Avatar Comment 5 by WilliamP

The US is often criticized for being anti-intellectual. I guess we've crossed the line into anti-educationalism as well.

What a stupid point of view this woman has. Public education has such a positive impact on society that it is cldearly something that should be provided and required by the government.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 15:59:00 UTC | #284367

Osmano's Avatar Comment 6 by Osmano

Isn't education a vital part of the American dream? Through hard work and education you can rise to the top?

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 16:04:00 UTC | #284369

Amnis73's Avatar Comment 7 by Amnis73

Osmano -

I think the American 'dream' has changed quite a bit. Now it seems the dream is to be spoiled, obnoxious and stupid, but lucky enough to have been born to someone else who has worked hard, i.e. Paris Hilton and those other ones whose names I can't remember.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 16:11:00 UTC | #284370

Hellene's Avatar Comment 8 by Hellene

Steve Zara

This is what I was talking about.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 16:22:00 UTC | #284371

Evilcor's Avatar Comment 9 by Evilcor

I'm not sure what everybody's talking about with reference to public schooling being such a boon to society.

Here in America, public schooling largely performs the role of stamping out reliable little automaton consumer droids with predictable (and controllable!) politics.

I'm a big supporter of home-schooling; the only downside is total dipshits like this woman teaching kids that there's no such thing as the electroweak force, but rather it's Jesus who holds all things together.

I should like to point out that this is typical Republican operating procedure. Run for an office you don't believe in and kill the agency from inside. It's called "starving the beast," and it's how the former governor of New Jersey wound up running the EPA, the former president of the Arabian Horse Breeders' Assoc. wound up in charge of FEMA, and Harriet Myers was nominated to the Supreme Court.

The crying pain of our dying republic is that it's run by people who fundamentally don't believe in the republic. They are ironically called Republicans.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 16:39:00 UTC | #284373

Sarmatae1's Avatar Comment 10 by Sarmatae1

9. Comment #298426 by Evilcor on December 7, 2008 at 4:39 pm

I know that George Carlin agreed with you.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 16:58:00 UTC | #284375

William1w1's Avatar Comment 11 by William1w1

I laughed quite hard upon reading that she has a position in the education system. What a ridiculous notion.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 17:02:00 UTC | #284377

Librarian's Avatar Comment 12 by Librarian

As a public school teacher in Colorado I find articles like this very frightening. When people complain to me about how awful the public school system is I respond by saying we could not have the standard of living we do with an illiterate population. I believe in public education because no two parents or home school group can match the amount of education, experience and skill in one school building. I will be paying several more years on student loans for the honor of being a Teacher Librarian.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 17:08:00 UTC | #284380

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 13 by Frankus1122

12. Comment #298434 by Librarian

I believe in public education because no two parents or home school group can match the amount of education, experience and skill in one school building. I will be paying several more years on student loans for the honor of being a Teacher Librarian.

As a Teacher-Librarian you can reach the whole school, developing Critical Thinking by teaching Information Skills requiring assessment of information during research.
Good on you.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 17:20:00 UTC | #284382

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 14 by Border Collie

Where on God's green Earth did you guys get the idea that the powers-that-be want people to be educated, esp. in Texas? They want robots who will do what they're told, nothing more. Well, maybe enough education to read the Bible like on a fourth grade level. And, of course, they do want them to have enough education to function so that they can pay their taxes and buy Chinese-made junk products, well, and, of course, gas-guzzling SUV's and pickups. I mean, this is TEXAS, where you can die as dumb as you were born no matter how many years of school you have, where you can brag about not having read a book since you were in high school, where wearing a baseball cap backwards is a symbol of your IQ, masculine prowess and uniqueness (just like everyone else), where you can go to work on Monday morning and brag about how drunk you were Saturday night but how you still made it to church on Sunday morning with a wrecked pickup, where you can have a PhD, but still have to talk like Larry the Cable Guy to just fit in a little. Education ... bah, humbug!

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 17:27:00 UTC | #284384

j.mills's Avatar Comment 15 by j.mills

she believes public schools are unconstitutional because they undermine the scriptural authority of families to direct their children's education. Her own children have been privately educated and home-schooled.
Eh? Surely if she's free to home-school her kids (god 'elp 'em) then public schools aren't in any way interfering with the "scriptural authority" she lays claim to?! And I've no idea on what grounds the word "unconstitutional" is invoked...

Here in England I have friends who lived on a barge for a while, moving around the country. Their daughter's primary school happily supplied materials to aid them in teaching her themselves. I expect the student remains on the school's roll and therefore the school gets the relevant state funding, in which case you can see why they'd be pleased to help out... They tell me you can choose to home-school your child at will, so long as you can show that you're making appropriate efforts, but most people don't realise this and few would want to jump through the hoops. (They're pagans, btw, but are at pains not to impose their beliefs on their daughter; which is refreshing!)

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 18:21:00 UTC | #284387

Caudimordax's Avatar Comment 16 by Caudimordax

Here in America, public schooling largely performs the role of stamping out reliable little automaton consumer droids with predictable (and controllable!) politics.

This is very true - in a way. It depends on the community you live in. Here in Connecticut, the public schools in the super rich towns are more like prep schools, and the schools in poorer cities suspend kids for "throwing snow," - they are far more concerned with "behavior problems" than they are with learning.

And as much as I sneer at home-schooling (because I know the motives of the majority of home-schoolers), if I had kids, I would probably end up home schooling myself, because my standards are much higher than those of the current public school system.

I imagine it would have happened when one of my little darlings came home from school bragging about what he or she had learned, and me screaming, "They taught you WHAT????"

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 18:25:00 UTC | #284388

militant_agnostic's Avatar Comment 17 by militant_agnostic

If you send your children to school to be educated, do you keep them home to be ignorated?

This is clearly bonkers and so far removed from Daniel Dennetts vision of teaching comparative religious history in all schools it's depressing.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 19:01:00 UTC | #284391

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 18 by rod-the-farmer

I hate to be the sole voice defending this woman, BUT, if repeat if she ran for office and was elected, then Texas people got what they deserved. A fruitcake. That is democracy in action. Stuff like this happens.

Now back to your regular curmudgeon here.....I seem to recall the State Board of Education in Texas was appointed. If true, then she did NOT run for office & get elected. But that only bucks the problem up one level, to Governor Perry, as it is likely he who appointed her. And he was elected. The risk when voting people into high office is that any nutcase ideas can spread into lower levels due to their influence.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 19:09:00 UTC | #284393

Butler's Avatar Comment 19 by Butler

The state of Texas is a prime example of a "living fossil". Backwards, bible thumping and anti-intellectual to a level that shocks even the other 49 states. All it needs to complete the picture are a duck-bill and some lobed fins.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 19:20:00 UTC | #284395

DarwinsPitbull's Avatar Comment 20 by DarwinsPitbull


The crying pain of our dying republic is that it's run by people who fundamentally don't believe in the republic. They are ironically called Republicans.

You sure it has nothing to do with democrats who want government to be everyones parent? You sure its not them who is ruining this country by caring more about the collective than the individual?

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 19:40:00 UTC | #284396

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 21 by InYourFaceNewYorker

I want to comment that while I think homeschooling can be abused-- and it has been-- there are good non-religious reasons for it. I have Asperger's Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism. As a kid, I had so much trouble in school figuring out how to navigate the most basic social interactions... I found the school social world overwhelming. My mom (who is a teacher BTW) said if she had it to do over again, she would have home schooled me. I regret that I did not have that opportunity.

Ian, is homeschooling completely outlawed in Britain?

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 19:52:00 UTC | #284397

Sarmatae1's Avatar Comment 22 by Sarmatae1

21. Comment #298451 by InYourFaceNewYorker on December 7, 2008 at 7:52 pm

I want to comment that while I think homeschooling can be abused-- and it has been--

You are telling me.


I so badly wish to see a follow up to Jesus Camp. Where are they today?

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 19:58:00 UTC | #284398

j.mills's Avatar Comment 23 by j.mills

InYourFaceNewYorker, see my comment #15.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 20:02:00 UTC | #284400

nother person's Avatar Comment 24 by nother person

Home schooling has indeed become a refuge for many anti-social religious who wish to wrap their children in ignorant bliss. Nevertheless, those of you who seem to think schooling is a solution to the problems of the day reveal your own brand of ignorance. The literature critical of schooling is vast and cogent, from John Dewey to John Holt, including thinkers and educators such as Kozol, Silbermann, Postman and Weingartner, Kohl, Freire, Neil, Illich, Giroux and many many more... I cannot possibly list them all.

Many people (including myself and my wife) have chosen home schooling not to obstruct, but to ensure that our children receive an education, something not easy to come by in many public and private schools here in the USA where the main business is not education, but simple sorting and grading, not to the advantage of the student or the advancement of a culture of intelligence, but for the convenience of employers. Many distinguished persons participated in home schooling or other forms of alternative education (Noam Chomsky comes to mind, but there are others). People (not religious) home school for a variety of reasons ranging from parental convenience to a desire to protect one's children from the mindless inanities, brutal humiliations and competitive culture of the ordinary school system.

Suggestions that we would all be better off if we all meekly submitted to the tender ministrations of the benign state schooling system are laughable.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 20:15:00 UTC | #284401

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 25 by robotaholic

Only religion can pervert someone's opinion this much...

Edit- nother person don't you think that humiliations, competition, and other experiences when young help a person be more socially flexible? (obviously not to rediculous extremes) Every home schooled friend I ever had seemed socially stunted.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 21:16:00 UTC | #284405

First Dark's Avatar Comment 26 by First Dark

"It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry,"

- Albert Einstein

"The public-school textbook is designed to avoid controversy and perpetuate ideas that are safe, comfortable, and uncomplicated. To an outsider looking at the goals of public education, it is clear that the primary goal of public schools must be to instill in students conventional and conformist habits of thought."

- Earl Lee

"We are creating a generation of children who might be able to make the right noises when they see print, but who hate reading and feel nothing but hostility for literature."

- Philip Pullman

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 21:28:00 UTC | #284408

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 27 by Dhamma


Are you sure home-schooling would be the best solution? Wouldn't it be better if the school adapted to you in some way?

I apparently "suffer" from Asperger's Syndrome too, even if it must be of the mildest form possible. I rarely feel comfortable in social situations, but it's very clear that when I isolate myself for only a few days I find it far harder to socialize again. If I had not had school with others around me, I'd definitely become a destructive child.

As I said, I have a very mild form of it, but I have a hard time believing aspies would benefit from being separated from other children. I did, for certain reasons, become very introverted and afraid as a child, which made me socialize with my parents friends instead of my own friends. That social situation would probably be somewhat similar to home-schooling, and I don't see how any child, especially aspies, could benefit from it.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 21:34:00 UTC | #284409

Evilcor's Avatar Comment 28 by Evilcor

Comment #298429 by Sarmatae1:
Thank you.

Do you really still believe in democracy? Wow.

Comment #298450 by DarwinsPitbull:
Times have changed since "Big Government" was a winning issue in Orange County - lo, those 40 years ago.
Democrats have spent the last dozen years (2 dozen if you add in the DLC) whimpering like beaten dogs, but only the Republicans have knowingly run on a platform of "let's break shit."

I don't know any Democrats who want government to be mommy or daddy. . . Just as I don't know any Republicans who want it to be competent.

Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but the basic organizing principle of the right has for my entire lifetime been that government is NOT competent and is MORALLY WRONG.

Democrats suck, they're corrupt, but their basic ideology is not intrinsically hostile to the very concept of governance.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 21:49:00 UTC | #284411

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 29 by Alternative Carpark

The more stupid kids out there, the less potential competition for my 20-month-old son, when he is at job-hunting age.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 21:52:00 UTC | #284412

Evilcor's Avatar Comment 30 by Evilcor

Hey, Alternative:
He'll have a little competition.
My son was born 2/10/2007.

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 22:12:00 UTC | #284413