While cleaning out my email box I came upon an inquiry I had received from a new charter school board member in October. He was asking me to share his school’s marketing with some of my fellow Ohio homeschoolers. Here is part of what he wrote that caught my eye:
As a community school, it charges NO TUITION and welcomes students from any district.
Charter schools repeatedly claim that one of their benefits is that they don’t charge tuition. Certainly no tuition is charged directly to the family, but that can be said of any public school. As an Ohio taxpayer, I can attest to the fact that we are indeed paying for funding and my tax bill proves the old adage of there being no free lunch.
Second thought from the email that caught my attention:
I know from my own research that many gifted students are homeschooled due to lack of choice in public education. I was hoping to spread the word that there IS now a choice for these at-risk students.
I was reminded that if I want to understand what educators and others think of homeschoolers, I have to understand their language. Don’t misunderstand, I am not a fan of standards, or labels, but Hoagie’s Gifted site explains a bit about gifted children being identified as at risk.
Many of the labels educrats use and create, including words such as at-risk are related to funding. Susan Ryan at Corn and Oil has a great post today on school funding, One More Time….Schools $ Interest in homeschoolers.
I’ve been recently reading an old favorite, Home Style Teaching by Raymond and Dorothy Moore again and I came upon this still relevant section about education:
The Fallacy of Assembly-Line Schooling
Most of us teach as we were taught; unfortunately, many of us were not taught well. So there are quite a few teachers who act as though teaching were a mechanical infusion of knowledge—as with a nipple, a teaspoon, a funnel, or a sledge. Many teachers thoughtlessly conclude that all children in the same class or of the same age should learn the same amount of the same things at about the same times and that they will come off the assembly line in about the same shapes with about the same equipment. It never occurs to them that some youngsters are “triangular,” some are “cylindrical,” some are “rectangular,” and some are oddly shaped. But they try to drive them all through the same “square” hole.
Our children— in America, a trust “under God” –are caught in a system handed down by Greek and Roman philosophers which we randomly called the “liberal arts and sciences” or the “humanities,” and which includes along with classics some occasional academic skills. Many glorify this traditional system. To them, a reading of the Harvard Classics makes a gentleman. The recent Paideia Proposal of Encyclopedia Britannica’s Mortimer Adler largely espouses this theory of sameness and tradition. It claims to be creative, but in fact turns off free exploration and proscribes genius at even earlier ages. Tradition has its place, but it must not be allowed to dampen creativity or to limit initiative in either child or adult.
For most youngsters (and even teachers), this Greco-Roman heritage is an exercise in endurance whose only meaning for them is that they will be accepted, conventional, and will be doing what everyone else is doing, with as much rivalry as can be developed in a system which cultivates more repetition than original thought. Expedience generally reigns. Principle–the basic reason for conclusion —is ignored, because it is not known or even considered. It doesn’t occur to many teachers that children should know whys and hows. Social pressure becomes the highest laws, and it its train follow expedience, ignorance, and learning failure. This absence of thought and common sense in turn destroys creativity and brings a stupidity that breeds moral recklessness and decay.
–Moore, Raymond and Dorothy. Home Style Teaching. Waco: Word Books, 1984.
When I was in 2nd grade (back in the dinosaur age), I remember my first encounter with labels. I was in the “A” group of readers assigned to helping those in the “B” group who were having some trouble learning to read. To this day I can still feel my “B” group classmate’s embarrassment and sadness. As an adult I was thrilled to read research by the Moores proving that it is natural that everyone learn to read at different ages. I hope that all those forced into remedial groups in school have learned the same.
I do understand that many in education truly are trying to help children learn and many are trying to create new opportunities. I support their efforts. However, it seems that they should take a long hard look at labels and that the more standards that are created, the heavier the load becomes on those children to succeed to keep those funds that are attached to the labels coming in. In my opinion, it seems to places children as a part of a business model and it becomes more about the money and less about the learning.
This makes me all the more thankful for the freedom to educate our children at home and all the more vigilant to protect what we have. It also compels me to continue to reach out to all parents and help them find the rights and responsibilities that accompany any choice they make for their family.