June 16, 2006 1 Comment
I am the product of private schooling. For most of my life I’ve been aware of how much better my schooling was than the government standard. Only in the past 5 or 10 years have I become aware of just how much the private schools are teaching the government’s agenda. What this means is that private schools are better than government schools at teaching government propaganda. My family paid twice — once through taxes and once through tuition — to have me indoctrinated in statist history and statist assumptions. The people who paid those taxes and tuitions were statists themselves, so maybe they don’t mind, but I do.
I was recently telling the missus that the primary reason for homeschooling as a movement is Christian, and that the secondary reason is libertarian (or some version of anti-statist), but while I hear about the superiority of a homeschooling education, I never hear superior education as a specific goal or rationale of the movement.
While I definitely fit into the anti-statist category of homeschoolers, I’d still choose to homeschool before sending my son to an elite libertarian academy (if one existed and I had the money for it) because I can’t imagine him getting as good an education from anyone other than us — not because we have such superior educations or because we’re such superior teachers, but because no one will ever care more about our child’s education than we will, and no one will ever devote as much thought and effort to it.
There have been a couple of interesting LRC articles on homeschooling this week. Today’s contribution from Brad Edmonds spends most of its time conveying the horror story that is government schooling.
He makes this very important point:
Yes, there are honest teachers and administrators, but their efforts are wasted in a system that discourages competence and high performance, and rewards only loyalty to the teachers’ unions.
Unions exist to protect union members at the expense of every other stakeholder, and teachers’ unions are no exception.
Which leads to a point that is of growing concern to me:
Results: Other unionized employees, such as government police, join in the victimization of children. While teachers horrifically abuse students and the public trust, teachers and cops see to it that even the smallest children who misbehave can be arrested, taken to jail, and charged with a felony.
Recent experience has reminded me how little contact we want with government officials. We had a small fire on the deck last spring that I thought I’d put out with a garden hose. Twelve hours later, the fire started up again and I called the fire department. The result of that call was a letter from the city telling me I was now in violation of building codes. Why was I in violation? Because of the fire! I won’t go into all the sordid details, but that one call to 911 resulted in much more contact with a truly inept systems (e.g., the inspection to confirm that I was now up-to-code was scheduled (a) for a day the entire city government was closed for holiday, and (b) 3 weeks before the minimum amount of time required to get the necessary building permit to do the repairs needed to get up-to-code…) all because the people who put out the fire are required to serve a policing function for city government. If a private alternative were available, I doubt they’d narc out their customers to the government, especially for non-crimes.
There are other recent examples, but I won’t go into them. That one was already longer than I’d intended.
The point is: the less contact with government — even the most seemingly useful or benign branches of government — the safer we are. That will go more than double for a small kid.
But Brad Edmonds concludes his piece with a point I don’t hear discussed enough:
What of private schools? There are some so good that the first year or two of college is a review for their graduates. However, few private schools teach anything but the official government party line with regard to history and economics; and some are downright unhealthy, with most of the girls anorexic and most of the boys lecherous party animals. Private schools are often far better than government schools, but still not as effective, affordable, or healthy as home schooling.
That one very important and underdiscussed point was a single paragraph in Edmonds’s piece, but it was the theme of an entire article from Gary North earlier this week:
Most of the non-Christians I know either avoid reading Christian writers who are addressing Christian audiences, or they seek such material out only as a sort of “Know Thy Enemy” strategy.
Secular homeschoolers should learn everything we can from the vanguard of the movement. We owe a lot to them. They have the experience. They’ve put a lot of time and a lot of thought into homeschooling, and it hasn’t all been about the evils of Darwinism and the “Homosexual Agenda”.
I’m definitely attracted, for example, to the general principles of the Robinson Curriculum, mentioned in North’s article.
I think atheist anarchists have a lot to learn from paleoconservative Christians.