Monday, March 13, 2006

Homeschoolers and Reform

I'm working on a talk on Education Reform for next Saturday. While doing some research I came upon this excellent article by Lynn Stuter Homeschools, Private Schools, and System Education. This is a must read for every homeschooler. It outlines in a very readable way the over all goal of our current education reforms and why homeschoolers need to be on guard.

Remember that under systems education, all really does mean all. The system must include everyone. To that end, homeschoolers must be drawn back into the system.
This is to be accomplished in one of two ways: 1) offer the homeschoolers incentives (carrots) sufficient enough to encourage them back into the system whether they know they are back in the system or not; 2) force the homeschoolers back into the system.
The first way is obvious, offer free virtual academies that appear to be free from government intrustion, (ie. K12 Virtual Academy) and/or tie testing to scholarship money. The second way is to link something desirable (like a drivers license) with state mandated testing. That is suggested nearly every year by someone in our state.

I am frequently asked, "What's wrong with taking the test?" Plenty. Testing drives what is taught. What is taught determines what is thought. And if your not convinced here's how one elementary teacher in Washington stated it,

Stacy Harbour-Van Hoy, a teacher at Dimmitt Middle School in the Renton School District, says the pressure of the test narrows her instruction, at least until after the tests are over.

If it's not aligned with the standards and getting them ready to take that test, it gets tossed," Harbour-Van Hoy said. "I pull out the stuff I really want to do after the test."

Teaching to the test is a tempation no matter where the learning happens. Government mandated tests, test what the government wants taught. Their goals are not my goals.

Homeschoolers need to keep on top of what's going on nationally in education reform. Of course, you can always come to Detroit and hear my talk. But if that's not possible, this article will help get you up to speed without the expense.

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