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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I ain't finished yet...

Education ~ One of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought. ~ Bertrand Russell.

Jeanne over at A Peaceful Day linked to this article on FB this morning.  I left rather a rant on her page ~ & I haven't finished yet because there is one thing in particular I really think needs to be recognized.

In order I believe:

1. It is a parents right to raise their children as they see fit.  Atheists get to raise atheists, Fundamentalists get to raise fundamentalists & no~one has the right to interfere in that process.  We are all accountable to God for our choices but they should be our choices.

2. Education is a privilege, not a right.  Most of the world is bereft of what we would call education.  They manage.  People do.

3. When the schools are churning out students with 100% numeracy & literacy they might then have earnt the right to tell the rest of us how to go about doing this.  Till then they should stop using homeschoolers to get attention off their inadequacies!

Here is my point:  I worked the numeracy & literacy programme for 10 years.  I taught remedial reading, writing & arithmetic to upper primary grades. I also tutored outside of school hours.  The majority of children were entering high school inadequately prepared for it's rigours!  The majority.  Very few could read well enough to manage a Shakespeare text.  This view has been upheld over the years by enduring the sad mangalation of Shakespearean texts by drama students.  No phrasing.  No decoding.  No idea how to read for meaning ~ so they utter meaningless gibberish in a fast mumble hoping no~one will ask them what it all means!

Now here is the crunch.  I was employed, as were 2 other ladies, in a part~time temporaryy capacity to address the problems.  Wait for it.  Each child was allocated just 10 minutes of my time!!!! Then returned to the classroom.  Each child got 10 minutes maybe 3 times a week for 5 weeks.  When the funding ran out the programme ended! Yep.

It makes me so angry.  I do not blame the teachers.  They are caught in the system & forced to concede to it's constraints but how dare our government bleat about falling numeracy & literacy rates when they don't fund working programmes adequately!  Argh!  How dare anyone, anyone at all, dump on a parent who has struggled, failed, quit when our schools are doing such a miserable job.  I got told point blank one time that there will always be children who drop through the cracks; they can't focus on them.  What?  These are our children. How would you feel if that was your child?

The problem with the article is that it assumes something that just isn't true.  It assumes schools do a good job.  Some do an adequate job; they are probably a private school.  There's a reason parents scrimp & save to send their kids to these places!  Let's face facts: the stats for our falling numeracy & literacy rates are not coming from the homeschooling fraternity [our stats show our kids are excelling & outperforming state schooled children!].  Nope, the stats are coming from the schools, State and private!  Um, maybe someone should do something about that.  Seeing as most of our kids go to school 'n all.


Ruby said...

hahaha! I was also going to link to that article as well. You have vocalised a lot of what I was thinking re results and outcomes. The other bias was again Fundamentalist Christians with some extreme views on areas of education and roles etc.
I know how I struggle with some days, many days here. But at least we are striving and persevering ~ 10 mins! My guys would scarsely have a book open in that time!
Reviews with comments such as that article do us no favours, but what I have found after so many years in the homeschool circle is that the outcomes, the children's behaviour and maturity, are often the thing which impresses others.

Ganeida said...

Ruby: I did not address the behavioural aspects as the article concentrated only on the academic aspect but you are quite right.

I will never forget the first time I went into BSDE for an art programme with Star. I was working with State schoolers who pushed & shoved & wouldn't listen, wouldn't follow instructions, were right royal little pains. The HS kids were none of those things!!!! They were so polite & well behaved for an activity I thought was over ambitious for the age group but they handled it beautifully.

Education is more than academics. More than certificates. I have found HSers make better eye contact & are far more willing to engage with adults ~ which makes them more employable. *sigh* I know there are abuses. every system has them. No excuse to crack down because some don't get it together. Heck, the schools are still operating!!!

Jeanne said...

Hmmmm, I think that in Australia education is a right, not a privilege of a select view. I think that if a parent chooses to home educate, they should do that - educate. If they fail to do that then they are failing in their role as teacher to their child. Not in their role as parent, perhaps, but certainly in their chosen role to impart what is in this country a right.

That doesn't say we can't have a bad year. It means we must continually strive to provide the best education for our children that we can...whatever that means for each individual student. Star might never be a mathematician; Jemimah might never win a spelling bee, but in spite of that we persevere much more than a public school teacher ever does. It is the parents who keep their kids at home and then do nothing, as described in this article, that give homeschoolers a terrible name.

Maybe I need a blog post too...

Ganeida said...

Jeanne: Really? Are you aware of the literacy & drop out rates in the Aboriginal communities? Privileged white Australians might have education as a *right* but that's not really true across the board. Or do you think otherwise? I can't put my hands on the figures off~hand. I read them some time ago but that is a whole 'nother can of worms.

We are monitered in QLD ~ which I think is a pain but anyone wants to quibble I do have proof my child is being educated.

I took the time to read most of the comments on the site & was apalled by the bigotry, bias, & misunderstanding of what homeschooling is & how it is done ~ but not a playing field for me as no~one was playing nice. Surely adults should be able to express their point of view without name~calling & slander?

Any adult worth their salt who wants more than their parents provided will apply themselves to achieve their dreams rather than blaming others as some on that site were doing.

I've done it both ways ~ worked within the system & otside it, had kids in school & pulled them out. It is not my homeschooled ones who struggle with literacy & socialisation!

Ganeida said...

Um, Jeanne, I hope I don't sound too blunt. I appreciate your thoughts ~ just mulling *out loud*, not blasting off at you. Just so's you know...☺

Jeanne said...

Hee hee. You asked me to tell you what I think. Maybe now you will know why I don't!

Ganeida said...

Lol Oh, I don't mind your thoughts. It was mine that were worrying me. ☺

seekingmyLord said...

I highly value education but I disagree that education is a right. Things like life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of religion, freedom of education, and such are rights. Learning is an integral, natural quality of life. Being given the opportunity to learn academics is a privilege.

Ganeida said...

lol Trust you, Seeking! Food, shelter, love are rights ~& not everyone gets those either. Everything else is an extra! Anyone who lives in a democratic country with freedom of religion & education is priveleged. They are in the minority. A good deal of the west's problem is that we cannot see exactly how blessed & priveleged we have been. I am in the lower socio~economic end of my country's social strata & still my standard of living is higher than 2/3 of the world! I am privileged! Very much so.

Jeanne said...

And your children are still educated...despite your socioeconomic condition!

Susan (HomeGrownKids) said...

I wasn't going to utter a word on this as it is a topic I've done before... but Jeanne lulled me into on her fb page, LOL.

I can copy/paste my thoughts if you want... or not ;)

Ganeida said...

Susan: want ~ yes! ☺

Jeanne: Ya, think? lol

Anonymous said...

Ok defenders of our schools, please tell me how many children who were home schooled have died in Australia in the last 2 years? Any one know how many have died in Australian schools in the last two years? Todays schools are no longer about edducation but survival. If you come out alive your doing well. That's just my experience and i am nearly 40. On a side note say hi to everybody over there for me and i hope your family is doing well. Have not had an email from overseas for a while, hope all is well.

Susan (HomeGrownKids) said...

I'm not sure that we're asking the right questions.

I believe that we would need to define 'education' in order to truly get to part of this question. But let's suggest, for the point of the exercise, that we are meaning in particular, the 3 Rs - Reading , Writing and Arithmetic. (As Jeanne answered this when I asked her to clarify)

I'll be upfront and say that I don't believe in 'rights' per se. So to answer the question I'd have to ask a few more…

Who or what gives this right? For what purpose do we have this right? Thereby to whom are we accountable for this right?

I can't separate my theology from the rest of life, which is not to say that I think contrary opinions are doing so. Rather that as a believer, I have given up my rights... I have been bought by God and I am, in effect, His slave. A slave who doesn't have rights. However, He has given me certain responsibilities and has put me in a position whereby I am enabled to do them (I live in a country whereby education is achievable and expected, not just idealistic). Any human right and/or personal liberties that I perceive to have are only for His glory, to proclaim His gospel or for the liberty/assistance of others. (which is why I asked who gives this right- therefore to whom are we accountable?)

There is a part in this discussion that has me questioning the roots of 'education as a right'. Where did this train of thought come from? Before the advent of schooling/education were those peoples considered primitives? Where does the concept of a 'right' start?

Then, there is the ideology of these 'rights' and there is the reality. If I really believe that these things are a basic human right yet many are not receiving them, then what is my responsibility there?

Maybe I'm too Fundy in this respect (which would be a first, LOL) but I just don't consider that I have any rights. I have responsibilities, duties, obligations… but rights?

This is largely why I don't blog much anymore because I just can't help but dig into a thought process and follow it through... and this doesn't make for articulate blog posts. :/

In a nutshell, I'd have to answer the question of "Is education a right or a privilege?" with,

Neither. And both.

Ganeida said...

Susan: Yes. I cannot see it as a right when it is one of the first things to *go* when a country's in trouble: viz Afghanistan or parts of Africa. At the same time there are certain things a parent should impart to a child even if state education is out. I do feel education, as we understand it in the west with it's ideas of being broad & exercising some exposure to the arts is very much a privelege ~ just as the freedom to persue the arts is the privilege of a society stable enough & unhindered enough to devote time & money to them. Many, many people do not get such choices. While nice education is not a basic necessity, Gosh, I sound rather anti~education when I'm really not at all. However if you have to choose between surviving or educating I expect most would choose surviving iykwim.

Wayne: *waving* She's been down south climbing volcanoes & white water rafting inbetween outreach. Back now so....

Brandy Vencel said...

I hopped over here from Jeanne's blog...I like your thinking here!

One of the things I tried to say over at Jeanne's was that education lies in the sphere of familial sovereignty. Because of this, I would say that a parent has the responsibility to educate their children. But I do not think it logically follows that the government has the right to therefore define education or monitor what parents are doing. Now I mean here an ethical or moral right. Many governments will no doubt try to put their hands in the pot and give it a stir. Right before I was born, for instance, the United States federal government created something called the Department of Education. Before that, the federal government had no real history of meddling in education at all. But the result of this has been people crying out for more and more educational laws (while the citizens get stupider by the generation...sigh).

I am not very familiar with Australia's history (and I should probably remedy that by taking some of Jeanne's AO courses!), but the United States has a history of independent citizens. But every year the government encroaches, and the Salon article gives every indication that people would like to see more of this. There was a time when the idea of "oversight" and saying that one's neighbors "needed" it was, at least here, looked down upon as being meddlesome, not minding one's own business.

Ganeida said...

Brandy @ Afterthoughts: Hi. I don't think a knowledge of our history helps in this regard. As a bunch of ex~cons we have a strong anti~authoritian element ~ which is not helpful when it comes to things like oversight & accountability. People won't comply just because *authority* has asked them to. That is unbiblical. OUr governments are given to us by God for our good. What is more troubling is we get the governments we deserve! *sigh* When it comes to homeschooling that is very troubling indeed.

Jeanne said...

Fabulous comment thread, Ganeida.

Ganeida said...

Jeanne: Pity we can't amalgamate yours & mine. Together they cover some very interesting ground with excellent thoughts. We do know some interesting people in this blog space, don't we? :D