Patterico's Pontifications

11/25/2009

The Point of Public Education

Filed under: Education,Political Correctness — DRJ @ 9:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

What is the point of public education? Is it to learn basic skills like the old-fashioned “3 R’s” — reading, writing, arithmetic — or is it to learn how to get along with people, to be tolerant of different backgrounds and cultures, and open to other beliefs?

That seems to be the issue in a New Hampshire case involving Amanda, a 10-year-old girl who is being home-schooled by her mother and is described as “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising and intellectually at or superior to grade level.”

However, Amanda’s divorced father and a local judge think she needs a public education — and the judge seems to think Amanda is being brainwashed by religion:

“In a court order issued in the case, the local court reasoned that the girl’s “vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to [her] counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view.”

Got that? It sounds like the more articulate and vigorous Amanda is in expressing her opinions, the more the judge believes she needs public education. However, the father’s attorney says the case is about Amanda getting along with other people and not about her religion:

“Kurowski’s attorney, Elizabeth Donovan, said the ruling was based on the girl’s isolated learning environment, not on her mother’s religion. She said the girl’s home schooling consists of “sitting in the corner of her mother’s bedroom,” where she receives her lessons on a computer screen.

Kurowski “is concerned because of the isolation that is borne of that and the lack of exposure to the broader culture at large,” Donovan said. “People of different heritage, people of different culture, tolerance, group problem-solving, making friends, losing friends — all of the things that come with a public school education.”

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has agreed to hear Amanda’s case but it’s hard to view it as an anomaly given a recent story about the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities College of Education and Human Development. Through its “Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group,” the College plans to enforce what F.I.R.E. calls a “political litmus test for future teachers” and students based on their predispositions, beliefs, and “cultural competence.” The educators at U-Minn believe “both academic preparation and particular dispositions or professional commitments are needed for effective teaching.”

That sounds a lot like what the New Hampshire judge thinks Amanda should be learning in school.

– DRJ

19 Comments

  1. As if the pubic education system wasn’t libturd enough, UMinn wants to make it even more libturd. Go figure.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 11/25/2009 @ 10:14 pm

  2. They won’t be happy until public education in America matches the sterling system found in Romania before the Wall fell, where virtually all children were wards of the state, and parental control, and even involvement, in their upbringing was forbidden.

    O/T…While channel surfing tonight came upon a broadcast of the movie “Lil Abner”, just as they were performing a production number “We’re in the best of hands” – sure seems relevant.

    Comment by AD - RtR/OS! (0bc7d9) — 11/25/2009 @ 10:15 pm

  3. My 5 children started in public schools. The local public schools changed from top performers to bottom of the heap due to the flood of illegal alien enrollments. One of my sons was stuck in a class in which he was one of only 5 students who understood English. The situation was not much better in the other grades. So we moved them all to Catholic private school and the education got better. When that got too expensive after I lost my job in 1992 we started homeschooling them. We joined a home school group that brought all of the children together twice a week for group classes and they made lots of friends. They attended dances all over Southern California. They learned biology from a retired RN and astronomy from a Phd at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. They attend Mass together with the other kids and hike the hills in the springtime with their classmates. They have all graduated and are doing just fine. This and stories like it drive some people absolutely crazy. I haven’t been able to figure out why.

    As far as this case is concerned, a child does not need to be spoon fed the states point of view unless the parents desire it. It seems to me that her biggest problem is her parents divorce.

    Comment by tyree (124934) — 11/25/2009 @ 10:16 pm

  4. I homeschooled my daughter 4 grades (5 in math) in 3 years before putting her in public school in 5th grade. The amazing thing (not really) about homeschooled kids is that they’re much more socially attuned to those outside their age range than regular-schooled kids. They aren’t stuck in a system that says they need to make friends and social circles with people within 11 months of their own births; they can make social circles that involve people 4 or 5 years outside their age group as “primary school” students, and even carry intelligent conversations with random adults.

    The biggest fear my mother had as my daughter was in her pre-nine stage was an extrapolation on the fact my daughter was comfortable conversing with anyone.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 11/25/2009 @ 10:28 pm

  5. Oh my, what a foolish decision. I know there’s a real fear that parents will raise their kids in unapproved ways, but really now, we used to be a country that let people do what they wanted.

    Comment by steve miller (81db43) — 11/25/2009 @ 11:28 pm

  6. How can any child learn to worship at the church of Obama by being schooled at home?

    How many parents that home school their children teach them the joys of liberalism?

    People, we have to think of the children.

    Comment by MU789 (4e85ea) — 11/25/2009 @ 11:56 pm

  7. Was there a case in CA similar to this?

    Or was that a state commission that had a problem with home schooling?

    Comment by MU789 (4e85ea) — 11/25/2009 @ 11:58 pm

  8. MU789, I do believe every state has had issue with homeschooling and the state supreme courts have made rulings in favor of homeschooling (provided that these rules be followed … ). There are lots of hoops homeschool parents have to jump thru to continue homeschooling. I know, I jumped through them myself.

    Various states: But, these parents don’t even have a college degree! (Courts said “so what?”)

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 11/26/2009 @ 12:08 am

  9. You have to cover all these subjects.
    You have to give the public school system your next-year lesson plan, complete with text books to be used.
    You have to provide proof of 900 in-school hours spent.
    Your child must either: (1) pass a standardized test for that grade, or (2) be examined by a certified teacher.
    And there are more hoops in Ohio. Loads of red tape to be dealt with just for the right to homeschool.

    I also know of a case where a TX family sued the school because their HS grad son could not read. TX Supreme Court: The responsibility for a child’s education rests on the parents and not the school.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 11/26/2009 @ 12:14 am

  10. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    Hmm . . . seems that religion may have already covered “how to get along with people, to be tolerant of different backgrounds,” etc.

    Maybe the judge is just concerned that she receive the “secular version”.

    Comment by Icy Texan (917558) — 11/26/2009 @ 12:22 am

  11. Hey she is being deprived of learning how to dress like a slut or how to become immersed in the trash culture of teenagers so she can learn how to treat people like crap or screw her boyfriend. Can’t have that. Planned parenthood needs the business.

    Comment by SGT Ted (c47cc2) — 11/26/2009 @ 5:16 am

  12. Actually, if you read Dewey from circa 1900, socialization to fit into society was given as a primary goal of public education. Most of the early institutions of higher learning in the US (Harvard, Princeton, etc*) were focused on seminary studies. It was felt that ministers needed to be educated so they could think for themselves, could read the Bible and use their own faculties, rather than being dependent on a church hierarchy for what to teach. Since the US culture is less adherent to typical Judeo-Christian values, the goal of socialization in public schools has become more problematic. (For example, the norm of marriage before sex was held as the standard. Even if children were born 7 months into the marriage, everyone knew what the standard was).

    As said above. Laws regarding home schooling vary from state to state, there were (are?) a few states that required you to be a certified teacher.
    Also, as above, it has been documented that overall home schooled children do interact better the adults and people of all age groups than “traditionally” schooled kids.

    As SGT Ted says, when asked about, “Aren’t you worried about socialization?” a ready answer is, “In public school they are socialized by the peer group, how to bully, what is the cutting edge of the pornification of society, George Bush is evil, and ‘Barach Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm’.”

    Hopefully they have good lawyers.

    *Even Penn, who prides itself on being the first “secular” school, was led in the beginning by revivalist George Whitfield at Franklin’s request.

    Comment by MD in Philly (227f9c) — 11/26/2009 @ 6:30 am

  13. BTW, JH, we’re currently camped out in NW Ohio (waayyy NW) to help my folks through some medical issues, are you somewhat close?

    Comment by MD in Philly (227f9c) — 11/26/2009 @ 6:36 am

  14. My daughter goes to a very good public school, in a park, in a very affluent village, twenty children per classrooms, highly-involved PTA, all the trimmings. Still ….

    Her teachers are perfectly satisfied if she is performing at 50% percentile nationally. They think this is good. ????? If we want her to do bettter, we have to tutor her. And we don’t mind doing that but she is just a little girl and she is already in school for seven hours so how much more “home schooling” can we impose on her on top of piano and swimming and ice skating and gymnastics ….

    Comment by nk (df76d4) — 11/26/2009 @ 6:49 am

  15. Most educators are C students who wanted to go to college and did ntt want to work very hard after-wards.

    This “happpiness” with being at the median “means” (**math joke for those inclined) the median moves further left over time.

    When unhappy over being at the median “means” the median go right over time.

    Human Progress is an ugly endeavor marked by always wanting more than the next guy.

    Comment by HeavenSent (01a566) — 11/26/2009 @ 8:07 am

  16. Most educators are C students who wanted to go to college and did ntt want to work very hard after-wards.

    This “happiness” with being at the median “means” (**math joke for those inclined) the median moves further left over time.

    When unhappy over being at the median “means” the median go right over time.

    Human Progress is an ugly endeavor marked by always wanting more than the next guy.

    Comment by HeavenSent (01a566) — 11/26/2009 @ 8:07 am

  17. What the *&^@? is a counselor doing considering the religious beliefs of a student, anyway?

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407) — 11/26/2009 @ 8:27 am

  18. OK, I’ll be the only one here brave enough to stand up for the judge’s point of view. It can be a real problem when a little girl in the courtroom is highly articulate and capable of defending her philosophical and spiritual point of view. In fact, it can be dangerous. It might cause the judge, who is a highly respected public official, to look like a fool by comparison with this child (who probably has a better knowledge of American history and jurisprudence than he does).

    Sorry. Can’t let that continue.

    My father always called it “dumbness school.” The longer you go, the dumber you get. And some people might think it’s better for the polloi to get dumber and more dependant.

    Comment by Gesundheit (cfa313) — 11/26/2009 @ 9:02 am

  19. This is a fight between the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent over the upbringing of their child. Even when one parent is granted sole custody, the non-custodial parent retains residual rights which include the child’s religious upbringing. He has a right to try to teach his daughter a different religion than his wife’s.

    My guess is that both the judge, and the school counselor who was almost certainly subpoeaned as a witness, are sorry they ever heard about these people.

    Comment by nk (df76d4) — 11/26/2009 @ 10:34 am

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