Re: Note to Homeschoolers: Don't Be Psychotic!

It might be interesting to apply Stephen's criteria to community schooling. Just some preliminary and skimpy thoughts.

Qualifications: Teachers need "capacity for reason or any ground in pedagogy or communication theory ... the skill to pass on the knowledge." There is no reason to expect that subject matter experts, such as foresters or carpenters will have any background in pedagogy or communication. Just think of the university professors, some who are brilliant, but can't pass on their knowledge. And there's no reason to expect that mechanics or carpenters will have more than a high school education.

Motivations and content:
The big rules are established in the home (or not). Just look at the rampant cheating that goes on in high school and universities (Check out Donald McCabe's extensive research in this area). Just look at the constant corruption in government and graft and fraud in commerce. So, regardless of the system--public vs. private vs. home vs. community--the big rules will not have much success if they are not practiced at home and in the entire community.

Community schooling potentially has e a better chance on helping students to critically examine values. But what effect does examining values neutrally have? None. Just look at the research on values-free curricula that incorporated either a values-clarification or a "moral reasoning" approach to developing character. It has been shown that they do not work.

Certainly, having resources and curriculum guides in place are important for a good education. It will take more than a little bit of time to prepare curriculum guides for all the community "experts" who will teach our children. As far as being publicly reviewed or accredited, there could be requirements on home scooling, too. On a sidenote, California is in the process of replacing all of its textbooks with its Open SourceTextbook Project. That could work as well for home schooling as for community schooling.

This seems to be a red herring to me. There is no question that at a minimum we want a good education for all children. But if we also want a free society, we have to let people make choices. Otherwise, we have a dictatorship of the state. Well, actually, in many ways, we already have that.

So, I would not oppose community schooling to home schooling but give sufficient support to community schooling to provide a good education to all while still allowing freedom to others. That does not mean that there should not be a system of review and assessment.
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