Saturday, March 14, 2009

Obama, South Korea, and HSLDA

Obama's education speech praised the success of the South Korean schools and their longer school days and year. Over at the Huffington Post, Gerald Bracey noted that Obama failed to mention a few things that are less praiseworthy about South Korea.
"He raved about South Korean schools but neglected to say that thousands of South Korean families sell their children--yes, sell--to American families so their kids can a) learn English and b) avoid the horrible rigidity of Korean schools. And while the US trails Korea on average test scores, it has a higher proportion of students scoring at the highest level on the Program of International Student Achievement (PISA). Moreover, it has the highest number of high scorers (67,000) of any country. No one else even comes close....I voted for Obama. I canvassed for him. I registered voters for him. But on education, he has yet to hit the basket."
I googled for more info on the selling of Korean children and found that parents relinquish their rights not only for the education but to avoid compulsory military service. Hmmm. So where will these parents turn when the US educational system morphs into South Korea?

Homeschooling, perhaps?

According to HSLDA
"Currently, homeschooling is not technically permitted by law in South Korea - but neither is it prohibited!

Homeschoolers have been able to peacefully remove their children from public school without any government intervention. The South Korean government's new 2008 administration has announced plans to legalize homeschooling by 2010. Despite this good news, it is not yet clear what restrictions and requirements might be attached to this legalization. Chris Klicka of HSLDA plans to provide model legislation and assist in the process."
While I'm sure that Chris Klicka has noble intentions, I'm not sure if the idea of HSLDA "assisting in the process" is a smart precedent to set. Since Obama appears so enamored with the South Korean education system, he may adopt Klicka's "model legislation" and impose similar federal regulation upon homeschoolers here in the US. Or even worse for Klicka, Obama may ask him to assist in the process! How could Klicka or anyone at HSLDA possibly object given that they helped craft the same legislation in South Korea?

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