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TENS Evolutionists Juni 30, 2008

Posted by emerod in Evolution.
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An Explanatory Model?

It is unfortunate that some supporters of evolution choose to call their narrative an „explanatory model.“

„Explanatory“ is ambiguous. At worst, any statement is explanatory: for example, astrology „explains“ human behavior. In a more rigorous sense, an explanation gives a reason for or a cause of a phenomenon. However, evolution by natural selection does not claim to give a reason why any particular organism should be more fit for an environment than other organisms.

Also, I do not think they mean to say that evolution by natural selection is a „model“ in the most precise sense. That is, I do not think they would claim that it is an artificial representation of a process that cannot be directly observed; for one of the basic premises of scientific materialism is that every true statement represents an observable process. Nor would they claim that it is itself a mechanistic simulation of actual processes, because they claim they are unable to mechanistically simulate biological processes due to their complexity. Hence, it is not a model; it is a narrative.

I would expect a rational materialist to consider the theory of evolution by natural selection (TENS) to be a description of the observed processes within an ecological system, which may be modeled mathematically. This definition is at least defensible, and is consistent with rational materialism.

Marketing Evolution

It seems to me that among scientists there is a certain tension between the idea of the general public having dangerously superficial expectations of science (due to its popularization) and the idea of the general public being too ignorant to really understand it. The most common complaint of TENS advocates is that it is perfectly logical, but most people are incapable of understanding it. That doesn’t make for a very helpful PR strategy.

Perhaps the biggest marketing challenge for evolutionary theory is that it hasn’t recently developed any catchy slogans or visceral appeals to the public, as it did in the early twentieth century. We could summarize the history of its marketing campaign as follows:

The Darwin brand experienced remarkable growth for many years after its introduction, despite heavy competition from the existing market leader.

Although it primarily targeted a niche market of educated specialists, it built up a broad base of customers at a grassroots level by tapping into prevailing folklore symbols, interethnic rivalries, economic optimism, and social insecurities.

However, adverse political events in the European market later damaged the public image of the Darwin brand in the Americas, and its spokesmen abandoned support for their non-specialist customers, concentrating instead on institutional educational initiatives.

A revised marketing strategy should concentrate on distinguishing between the inadequacies of the product, the hucksterism of the promoter, and the gullibility of the consumer, since there is currently some dissatisfaction with the end result.

This would help producers avoid pandering to the simpering fool who hopes for a scientist (or some „science writer“) to dictate the correct political opinions and sexual habits for him, while also not alienating the cowering fool who thinks scientists are colluding with journalists, movie producers, and bankers to dictate the correct political opinions and sexual habits for him.

The Modern Synthesis

Since experimental genetic studies do not actually correlate with artifactual evidence of broad morphological changes, TENS advocates are presented with the challenge of disengaging their most enthusiastic consumers from traditional linear, mechanistic descriptions of evolutionary processes. No modern rational explication of TENS is expected to present it like some kind of definite sequence of discrete events endowing progressively increasing complexity on organisms representing the most „successful“ species. Unfortunately, this understanding of evolution is already broadly accepted in popular culture.

Despite the best efforts of scientists to maintain an aura of unambiguous objectivity and empiricism for TENS, the uneducated persist in handling it like an irrational belief system. If one is not a biologist, or in any case does not understand the intricacies of TENS, the knowledge held by the uneducated regarding the theory tends to be intuitive and visual. Such people cannot be said to „know“ that evolution or natural selection are facts, if they cannot even coherently explain what those terms mean.

Most likely, an uneducated person who is sympathetic to the idea of evolution would sum it up by describing a sequence of pictures showing a modern chimpanzee, a humanoid gorilla, a cartoonish caveman, a guy with a beard, and a clean-shaven modern Caucasian. Evolutionary biologists routinely ridicule such depictions, which continue to be popular with everyone else.

Appeals to Authority

The most commonly accepted approach among TENS advocates nowadays is an appeal to consensus authority. However, this relies on the average consumer maintaining an immature confidence in men who wear white lab coats or tweedy sportcoats and stand in front of chalkboards using big words; studies show that even after extensive educational initiatives at the secondary and postsecondary levels, the majority of consumers have not adequately internalized the more subtle aspects of TENS.

In other professions, competency can be publicly evaluated in order to determine their relative contribution to society. So, for example, we trust that an engineer knows how to build bridges, but that if it fails, we can sue the engineering company. Laypeople don’t usually get into big arguments about different engineering theories, even though failures can cost many lives.

Engineers produce a tangible product and they are held accountable for its failure. Geneticists and medical genetics researchers are held accountable. Eugenicists were held accountable, which is why they are very quiet now.

However, evolutionary psychologists, sociobiologists, and computational evolutionary biologists are not held accountable to the public for the practical value of their work. Nevertheless, TENS advocates, especially luminaries such as P.Z. Myers and Richard Dawkins, insist that it is absolutely essential for every member of society to parrot what they say and publicly assent to the truth of the underlying theory, whether it is understood or not.

Despite the fact that a TENS advocate may claim to be uninterested in the „truth business,“ they tend to be rather touchy if the provisional nature of their knowledge is pointed out:

You know what I think? I think you resent the fact that the scientific community has the preponderance of the evidence in support of the reigning model. You know what you want to believe already, and, you know, it’s those pesky facts getting in the way, they’ve got to be stopped. And, since your argument is almost certainly inspired by your faith, you desperately want to recast a legitimate science as something like a faith. That way, it’s all just ‚he said-she said‘ from competing belief systems. [Scott Hatfield]

Although it is often uneducated evolution supporters who regularly repeat the „myths“ and „misconceptions“ of traditional evolutionary theory, the educated TENS advocates seem to believe that only biased, anti-science political activists believe the misconceptions that they work to contradict, as if there are no ignorant people out there who gravitate to the evolutionary cause for political or pathological reasons.

It is a steady drumbeat among people who are anxious to prove themselves modern and materialistic: If you don’t agree with the general principle of evolution, you are considered functionally incapable of rational thought, and treated like a mentally retarded person, even if the evolution supporter has an IQ of 80 and has no idea what a phylum is.

Conclusion

I don’t really see a problem with any model that the scientific community wants to use for their research, since I am not in charge of funding. From an engineering perspective, TENS is only a „model“ in the sense that it represents phenomena that cannot be directly observed. So, perhaps you can use it to reverse-engineer the phenomena in question, but you cannot claim to have direct knowledge of it. From a philosophical point of view, that may be naturalistic, but it is not empirically positive knowledge. A lot of engineering works that way, but so does a lot of social science and astrology. It is simply not defensible as positive knowledge.

I have no problem with facts, just inferences that someone wants to push on me as positive facts. My faith is in a liberal democratic society where no one in authority tells me I „must“ believe something because of some scientist who has never observed what they promote as a „fact“ and who has never produced anything useful. (I do make a distinction between useful work like genetic science and useless crap such as evolutionary psychology.)

Yes, I do believe that „it’s all just ‚he said-she said‘ from competing belief systems.“ That includes religion and education, by the way. Science is just another product of society saying something I should listen to, but not something I am required to give priority of place to.

Rhetorical Problems Juni 30, 2008

Posted by emerod in Homeschooling.
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The comments on this article revealed many things about Coures‘ motivations, such as local politics, loss of tax money, and stereotyping, not to mention concern for every child not under direct government supervision. That is actually quite unusual, since most writers would not allow themselves to be sucked into such a conversation. It inevitably results in complete exposure of the writer’s logical fallacies and personality disorders.

The bad publicity was mostly imaginary, since it was just a biased opinion article using recycled news stories, running in a relatively small media market.

The threat of increased regulation was very distant, since the non-proposals would not have been enacted under any scenario. The only legislative action in question was a resolution to create a study committee, which failed in the prior session. Any possible regulation will not even be considered until the next session after the upcoming short session.

Coures wasted his time provoking people and defending his motivations, but the article is what it is. He should have stayed out of the comments, and instead paid more attention to documenting sources and clearly stating his personal agenda.

He later said he wanted to (1) raise awareness of Skinner’s proposal, (2) raise the issue of lost property taxes, and (3) raise awareness of the complaints of families who have pulled out of the school system. But, mysteriously, he seems to have decided to save those until strategic points in the „open“ discussion. That was his agenda, but instead of stating it upfront, he wanted to ambush people with it. That’s dishonest. He wasted the time of all the people who thought he wanted a purely open-ended discussion.

He said that he wants to do the same at the school board candidate’s debate and the mayor’s roundtable. He might actually be more successful now that his agenda items are out in the open!

Coures wasted his opportunity to bring up some substantive, actionable issues in public. He kept whining about how the board only talks about buildings and such; so why didn’t he write an article about the threat of rape in school? Why didn’t he write an article about how the community could come together to help out Caze students?

Why not write an article about all the reasons why loyal public school parents pull out of the system? Why write about something that the readers cannot actually act on, that would not have effect for at least a year, when there are surely pressing problems in this area that could be solved now? He wasted the newspaper’s space and credibility.

He used a lot of tactics in the article that were either obvious at first glance or became obvious in his comments. However, he seemed to be most proud that all his examples were „true“ and that he was not asking anyone to change any laws, just discuss issues.

It didn’t matter whether the examples actually pertained to the proposed discussion topics; that is irrelevant to him, because they are „true.“ He is not claiming that they mean anything at all; he just thought you should know about them. Draw your own conclusions. However, you are a self-righteous bully if you attack his use of them, since that simply entails you denying that they are „true.“ And after giving the specific, lurid examples, he admits that maybe they are exceptions. Maybe they don’t mean anything at all. He never said they meant anything.

He’s not against homeschooling; he just wants you to realize that all homeschoolers are not perfect. Not as if that means anything. Draw your own conclusions. He just wants everyone to discuss some questions, but they aren’t his questions. Sure, they have to do with regulation, but that doesn’t mean he wants that regulation. He just wanted to bring it up, in case you didn’t know about it. Just discuss it. He isn’t saying that these regulations would have helped the people in the specific examples. He’s just giving you facts, and asking you to discuss something, that’s all. You’re a self-righteous bully if you claim that he supports regulation, or that he believes any regulation would have helped anyone, ever. He didn’t say that.

Sure, the article is written in the context of the Harbison case, but he doesn’t mention it, because he knew it would upset people. He never said they were related. He never said that any homeschooling regulations, which he isn’t proposing and which aren’t his ideas anyway, would have helped Harbison. Draw your own conclusions.

It’s just one weasel move after another. The reason he thinks I’m some kind of professional debater is simply because he has so many inconsistencies and contradictions that are easy to point out, and he can’t really explain them, so it makes him squirm. He would be a much more effective communicator if he would combine his passion with clear explication of his claims, clear support for his claims, and logical relations between points.

The weasel moves are just tricks to confuse opponents who are also weaselly, and he frankly says that he only expected that type of person to argue with him. Therefore, if you argue with him, you must be weaselly. That attitude is corrosive to the idealism he espouses; and sincere, clear-thinking people, including people who might otherwise agree with him, will be put off. It’s a pity if his defects end up causing more problems for the community he cares about.

Socialization Should be Board Election Topic Juni 30, 2008

Posted by emerod in Homeschooling.
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Schoolteachers across the state would express appreciation if we could pass a new law I am proposing, the No Child Left Alone Act. The law would mandate that every child from first through twelfth grade be provided 6 hours per day of high-quality, unsupervised social interaction with peers, allowing breaks every hour for 5 minutes of graphical interface wax media coloration, two-digit counting, or sequential alphabetic character recitation. The so-called “academic minutes” might be bitterly contested by the teacher’s unions, but would be necessary to retain accreditation.

Many will praise the law’s recognition of the need for students to learn from their peers. There are so many times teachers are talking about something and no one in the class is listening. Traditionally, teachers thought that students weren’t learning anything, but of course they were learning from each other. Now teachers can just listen to them socialize, and grade them on how many people they talk to in an hour.

Of course, not everyone will be happy with the new educational standards. Some older teachers may be incensed at the stringent certification requirements contained in the law, such as the requirement for teachers to receive „advanced socialization education“ outside of school hours. The “nightclub” certification might be particularly difficult to obtain, but teachers would be allowed to hire football players to tutor them.

However, the law will make some much-needed changes in U.S. educational culture. For too long we have been trying to teach kids impossible stuff, expecting them to pass tests and all that, when all along we’ve known that socialization is the most important part of education. This will just force us to face facts and let kids learn the important life skills they can only get from their same-age peers.

What are you trying to hide? (Part 2) Juni 30, 2008

Posted by emerod in Homeschooling.
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A public school advocate writes, „To me Home School children are a product of parents that are trying to shelter their children from real world woes. In reality these parents should allow students to attend public/private schools to prepare them for the work force.“

The only place in the real world that is run like a public school is a prison. Get real–Indiana has a 29% public school dropout rate. Are those kids prepared for the real world? Yeah…a real world where their parents don’t care about them and authority figures treat them like garbage.

From Michael H. Romanowski, a professor at the Center for Teacher Education at Ohio Northern University in Ada („Revisiting the Common Myths about Homeschooling,“ Clearing House; Jan/Feb2006, Vol. 79 Issue 3, p125-129):

Abstract:

The article revisits four common myths that still influence individuals regarding their perspective and understanding of the role homeschooling plays in the education of U.S. children. The first myth is that homeschooling produces social misfits. This myth stems from the thought that homeschooled students lack the social skills needed to function in the society. The second myth is that homeschooling fails to prepare good citizens. The third myth is that students who are homeschooled have difficulty entering college. Since their schooling experiences are limited to their homeschool setting, they are at a disadvantage with their postsecondary studies. The last myth is that most people homeschool only for religious reasons.

Quote:

…the assumption that traditional schooling offers socialization experiences that homeschooling cannot is flawed. Schools are not the only place that children can learn these basic life skills. There are other institutions, groups, and activities outside the home that can provide students with age-integrated opportunities to gain needed socialization skills. Nelsen argues that “home schooled children are more frequently exposed to a wider variety of people and situations than could be expected in a traditional classroom environment where their exposure is limited to twenty-five to thirty-five people of similar age and socioeconomic background” (1998, 35). This seems to be an advantage for homeschoolers. From research findings, Galloway (as cited in Medlin 2000) concludes that because homeschooled students are not peer-grouped in school, they learn to get along with a variety of people, making them socially mature and able to adjust to new situations.

Regulation

Another public school advocate writes, „After all, most laws/rules are made for EVERYONE because a few people can’t behave decently without them. Those who obey laws naturally because they have decency and sense aren’t affected.“If homeschoolers sound a little paranoid about regulations, it’s because of the history of the laws. In the past in the US (not in Indiana), it was mostly illegal to homeschool. Not „bad“ homeschooling, but any homeschooling, period. No testing, no screening; it was just plain wrong.

Even where it was legal, the presumption by the police, social workers, and courts was that by not submitting your child to the public school system, you were, by definition, guilty of something. And by golly, they would find out what it was, no matter what.

The laws are gone, but the attitude is not. The first reaction of everyone is „What are you hiding?“ There is no exception–everyone, on first hearing of the concept, before hearing personal stories, always reacts the same.

Is it because there are no problems with public schools that might make someone reject them? No. It’s because if there are problems, you’re just supposed to suck it up, stop whining to the school board, the principal and the teachers, and just get out of the system as soon as you can.

To anyone with a brain who cares about their children, this defeatist attitude is unacceptable. And as long as ignorant journalists, social workers, and police continue to sensationalize the bad examples and typecast homeschoolers, all legal restrictions are unacceptable. They would just be used as an excuse for people to act on their prejudices.

Here’s a proposal for your school board:

  • All public school teachers must be highly qualified: Each year they must pass a subject area test from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, as well as the final ISTEP exam for the year, or they lose their license. No exceptions.
  • All public school teachers must undergo a mental health screening each year, including a polygraph examination regarding their sexual and violent tendencies. Their home computers must be completely reviewed twice per school year for any pornography, legal or not. These are completely reasonable requirements for anyone working every day with children. All violators face unconditional suspension without pay on first offense, termination thereafter.
  • All public school children must complete a grade-level ISTEP each year, something currently not required. Those who cannot pass after taking it twice must be transferred to a private school with higher average scores. Their allotment from the state and county (approximately $6000) must go directly to the private school.
  • All public schooling parents must volunteer to participate in a school event or serve in some capacity. In addition, they are required to meet four times per year with all their children’s teachers and ensure that a detailed IEP is followed. Failure to meet any of these requirements will result in immediate expulsion of the student.

Would you teach in public school under these conditions? Would you send your kids to these public schools?

Most conservatives who support public schools want higher standards for them. Most liberals do not. I point to the whining about the NCLB, arguably the most hated federal legislation ever applied to public schools–and all it involves is standardized testing. Every time conservatives try to improve public school standards, the „liberal militia“ swoops in to protect the bottom-feeder teachers and administrators.

Public schools are considered off limits because they have to accommodate everyone–essentially a form of welfare. If that’s what the majority of people in a school district want, so be it. But it is pure hypocrisy to claim that public schools both serve the lowest common denominator and represent a standard for excellence.

Ironically enough, the people targeted by restrictive homeschooling regulations are generally not the politically active religious conservative homeschoolers, who tend to be very involved in church and community service and tend to prefer structured curricula with advanced scope and sequence models. They also have a close affinity with and powerful political representation by HSLDA, the lawyers who would be handling most of the cases brought to light by this legislation.Rather, the homeschoolers caught up in the net would most likely be the unschoolers, who, although a very disparate group, tend to favor more liberal viewpoints. I don’t personally agree with them, but I unequivocally stand behind their parental rights to direct their children’s education.

Another item from Michael H. Romanowski:

Myth #4: Most People Homeschool Only for Religious Reasons

The stereotypical view of homeschooling families is one of a conservative Christian family who homeschools in order to pass on Christian values to their children and protect them from the world.

Reality

Ironically, the contemporary homeschooling movement began sometime around mid-century as a liberal, rather than a conservative, alternative to public education (Lines 2003). Possibly as many as ten thousand families in the late fifties and early sixties viewed school as too rigidly conservative and pursued a more liberal educational philosophy at home (Lines 2003). Because of judicial decisions considering formal school prayer (Engel v. Vitale 1962) and school-endorsed bible readings (Abington School District v. Schempp 1963) as violations of the First Amendment, conservative Christians became concerned that schools were becoming too secular and slowly families began to enroll their children in private schools while others began homeschooling. Lines points out that “in the 1980’s as the school culture drifted to the left, conservative and religious religious families were surprised to find themselves in a countercultural position” (2003, 13–14).

However, religious and conservative families are not the only ones homeschooling their children. Romanowski argues that one of the unique aspects of the homeschool community is that it appeals to “a demographic diversity that includes virtually all races, religions, socioeconomic groups and political viewpoints. There are conservatives who consider public education too liberal, liberals who consider it too conservative, and those who are driven by religious convictions” (2003, 82). Both the political left and right of homeschooling are active today.

Criticism

I will venture to say that homeschooling may not „cause“ all of the good results Romanowski cites. Many critics claim, on the contrary, that homeschooling is primarily chosen by the most capable, attentive, and financially stable parents, and that these factors more strongly determine a child’s success than the educational method or setting.

Sometimes such parents choose a particularly superior public school system over others, and real estate agents know that this is a major reason for choosing a home location. Yet, it is not unusual for the best-performing public school districts in the state of Indiana to have an unusually high proportion of homeschoolers, as is the case in Hamilton County. Frankly, some of those homeschoolers couldn’t care less about the political or religious questions and they put their kids back into public school after a few years of personalized accelerated instruction.

Homeschooling is, frankly, a purely democratic symptom of social disintegration, loss of respect for institutional authority, and a consumerist attitude toward social goods such as education. It is running parallel to other, similar trends, such as the declining influence of printed newspapers and the Big Three TV networks. To compensate, people are building up new social and information systems.

It would be more honest and coherent to cite homeschooling as one of many warnings of the decay of old social institutions, and to then go on to attack the problems that still need to be solved as those institutions are reconstituted.

Should Homeschooling Be a School Board Election Topic? (Part 2) Juni 30, 2008

Posted by emerod in Homeschooling.
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Kelley Coures, amateur journalist, points up the deficiencies of the professional journalists at the Evansville-Courier Press.

The bottom line is that local school boards have trouble solving their own problems, so it is difficult to justify asking them to watch for problems that are outside their legal responsibility.

The professional journalists will tell you that unlike teachers, they are not required to have any special qualification to be a journalist, other than being able to write.

Coures is responsible for the way he presented his argument, cherry-picking some nasty examples to make the case that school boards need to do more to interfere with the lives of people whom they are legally not obligated to monitor.

Frankly, I could write a similar article about why public school teachers are not monitored and tested enough, based on a few nasty examples of abuse, neglect, and incompetence. The difference is, that would actually pertain to the work of a school board member.

Coures claims that „the state of Indiana, since it has a mandatory education policy, IS responsible for all children who live in the state,…“

The state is not responsible for the education of 98% of the children residing here, only those who are legally „wards of the state.“ All it takes is for the local school corporation to refuse to enroll a „problem“ child, and who do you think is responsible for that child’s education? Not the governor or the state superintendent of education…only that child’s legal guardians, usually the parents. Unless the parents are legally incapacitated, there is no state official or schoolteacher who can (or will) take over that responsibility.

„…and the state is the entity that needs to address all education issues.“

On this view, it is still not an issue for the local school board.

(1) Public schools cannot handle the „problem kids“ they have now from parents who love and trust the school system, not to mention the ones who don’t care at all and just want to offload their kids on someone else. There are many, many more neglectful, abusive, ignorant parents who send their kids to public school than those who don’t. The dropout rates, the illiteracy rates, and the college remedial course enrollments all testify to the failure of the public schools to make up for their deficit. Why don’t you go on a crusade to get them?

(2) I reserve absolute authority over the content of my child’s education. There’s more than one „expert“ I can consult who will tell me different versions of what needs to be taught in each subject, at each grade, but Mr. Coures wants the school board to pick one standard for me, presumably the same standard that their students fail to meet at rates of 20-40%, depending on the ISTEP grade level and school district. Sorry, but there must be something wrong with their so-called professional judgment, not to mention their teaching abilities. I won’t even go into all the quibbles I have with factual errors in the curriculum itself.

Conclusion: The school board, as well as state and local governments, are not competent to evaluate all children, much less remediate their problems.

What are you trying to hide? Juni 30, 2008

Posted by emerod in Homeschooling.
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Being subject to the constant questions and derogatory remarks of neighbors and family members makes homeschoolers very aware of each time when opportunistic journalists „discover“ this as a „hidden problem.“

Then all the non-homeschoolers are shocked by the flood of responses they get. „What are all these people upset about anyway?“ they say; „Why are they so opinionated about this? What are they trying to hide?“

I have to ask parents of public schooled children, „What are you trying to hide?“

Although in opinion polls everyone rates child education as a concern, in actuality most people are pretty apathetic about it. They just want to get on with their lives and let someone else handle it. Just get it over with, they say; and most public schooled children have the same attitude, not surprisingly.

Some parents, however, take child education seriously. They take it so seriously that they sacrifice a second income and 20-40 hours per week for it, not to mention $500-$3000 per year for curriculum, and property taxes for the public schools that they don’t personally use.

Even more shocking for most mothers of public schooled children: These mothers spend all day with their children! „Unbelievable! Insane!“ they say.

No wonder they make so much noise every time some ignorant person tries to get the normally apathetic public riled up about homeschooling. For some reason, they actually care about their children’s education.

Should Homeschooling Be a School Board Election Topic? Juni 30, 2008

Posted by emerod in Homeschooling.
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An opinion column in the Evansville Courier-Press tried to demonize homeschooling by highlighting the reasons why local people need to be more suspicious of local homeschoolers by focusing on out-of-county and out-of-state criminals, in order to implement out-of-state regulatory models on a statewide basis.

The author, Kelley Coures, proposed the following topics for school board candidates to consider:

– Should we amend Indiana law to require home-schooled students to take and pass objective, grade-specific exams each semester, and require proficiency in all curricula required of public school students at each grade level?

– Should a home-schooled child who does not meet the minimum required level of ability be required to re-enroll in an Indiana public school until that child can pass such objective tests?

– Should home educators be required to have minimum requirements and follow specific curricula outlines, as do the public schools, in order to adequately prepare the student for a comprehensive exam to obtain a high school diploma?

– Should home-schooled children’s physical exams be made part of the school corporation’s records, and should the children be visited by social service representatives throughout the year to evaluate their condition?

Students‘ exam scores, performance improvement, teacher qualifications, and physical health are issues that all school boards grapple with. However, I would question whether it is wise to burden public school corporations with the care of homeschooled children, considering what they are already failing to manage under current state laws.I must dispense with the question of physical health screenings immediately, since the state already provides for a disproportionate number of public schooled children’s healthcare, and the FSSA already is unable to cope with the number of public schooled children who have suffered abuse and neglect at the hands of their parents and teachers. Unless the healthcare and social welfare systems are vastly expanded, they cannot be expected to handle homeschooled children as well.

As to performance improvement, I will simply note that public schooled children who repeatedly fail to learn are not returned to normal public school classrooms…they are removed from normal public school classes and enrolled in special programs or they are tutored individually. Ironically, they virtually become…homeschooled.

As to objective testing and teacher qualifications, we can recall the recent uproar over the No Child Left Behind Act provisions.

The debate over NCLB made it clear how hypocritical some people are with regard to education. The NEA demands that homeschoolers must all be „highly qualified,“ but balks at certifying all its members. Whenever a public school superintendent is asked for an opinion about homeschoolers, their first response is a concern about whether the child is being tested and monitored, but they are outraged at anyone presuming to test and monitor their students. The same public school teachers who claim that homeschooling parents are neglecting their children constantly whine about the parents who dutifully leave all the teaching to the „professionals.“

You would think, from such responses to this issue, that public schools are little more than country clubs for all these bright, happy children and their caring babysitters. That would explain why public school advocates drone on and on about the „lack of socialization“ for homeschoolers, but then go on to moan and complain about strict requirements for public school teachers and students.

From the hopelessly inane third paragraph of the article:

Many education professionals believe that if the home educator is not well qualified or fails to include a child in group activities outside the home, it can produce young adults who have insufficient social skills and, in the extreme, borderline xenophobia. Lack of socialization and life experiences can stifle a child’s maturation and his ability to mentally process disappointments and life changes.

On the other hand, many parents believe that if a public school system is not qualified to educate their children or fails to teach them a minimum amount of academic skill, it can produce young adults who have extensive social experience and yet read at an third-grade level. In the extreme, they may develop borderline schizophrenia, as expressed by delusions about the need for the government to microscopically direct every aspect of the lives of its citizens. Lack of socialization outside of stifling institutions with lime-green concrete walls, or lack of life experiences with people who expect you to think for yourself instead of getting a gold star for parroting the guy in the suit, can stifle a child’s maturation and his ability to mentally process disappointments and life changes, like when he finds out that The Real World is not like public high school in any sense, socially, intellectually, or vocationally. In The Real World you even have to pick out your own food, and it isn’t always covered by brown sauce, white sauce, or red sauce.

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