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View Diary: Growing concern about safety of homeschooled kids in North Carolina (121 comments)

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  •  I do not think progressives (2+ / 0-)
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    OrganicChemist, blackhand

    should support the growth of the testing mandate mantra into more avenues of education.  Mandatory testing as a quality control measure is one of the things wrong with public education at the moment and it won't work any better to improve homeschooling than it has improved public schooling.

    Homeschooling must remain free from government coercion over the curriculum.  One of the most fundamental freedoms we must protect is the freedom of pursuit of learning.  Educational fads come and go and we must always allow the iconoclasts to march to the beat of a different drummer if they so choose.  Mandatory testing stifles and denies this freedom.  

    The cost is that by allowing this freedom we allow the freedom of bad ideas to be promulgated.  But think about if the shoe is on the other foot and the local public schools are mandating creationism and abstinence education.  Should parents not have the freedom to choose alternative education that counters this?  

    In the end, I worry less about poorly homeschooled children than I do the loss of freedom for homeschooling families to pursue their dreams.  Yes, there will be poorly educated children in homeschools.  But their numbers are still enormously lower than the number of poorly educated children in regular schools.  So I think we just have to accept a certain level of reality that not all children will be optimally educated--most parents just do the best they can whether sending their kids to traditional schools or homeschooling--and in the end trust the spirit, drive, and resilience of the human spirit that the "kids are going to be okay."  Most of the time they will be.  Sometimes they won't be--but you can't have utopia without giving up fundamental freedoms such as the right to control the contents of your own mind. Maybe my kid wants to study horse biology when they are 15 instead of learning about plants.  What business is that of the local school?

    In the situations of outright abuse, I think the abuse has to happen before it can be addressed, just as in any child abuse situation whether the child is in school or is homeschooled.  I don't think we need more oversight of the 99% who are not abusing their children to deal with the small percentage of the small percentage of kids who homeschool that are abusing their children.

    As for requiring the same amount of progress as schools--are you kidding?  Sorry, but millions of kids in traditional schools don't make adequate "progress" by the school standards and no one suggests they be removed and put in private or homeschooling to address that problem.    

    In addition, homeschoolers may often be following a very different curriculum than the local schools and the "progress" benchmarks of the school may not apply at all to the individual homeschooling family's situation due to their use of alternative educational paths.

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