Homeschooling Woes–or Why People Who Aren’t Qualified to Teach Shouldn’t Teach

This conversation has been coming up a lot in social media due to Rick “Crazy” Santorum saying things like this:

“In the nation’s past, most presidents home-schooled their children in the White House. Parents educated their children because it was their responsibility….Yes, the government can help, but the idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly much less that the state government should be running schools, is anachronistic.”

First, that is not the correct use of the word ‘anachronistic.’  What is anachronistic is Santorum trying to suggest that an old, outmoded way of educating someone has a place in our modern world.  But we already know he is an idiot and has no respect for education (since he wants to do away with true education in favor of indoctrination).  So frankly we should expect that he doesn’t know how to use words properly or be bothered with knowing their definitions.

Second, that the presidents generations ago self-taught their children is no surprise since at the time there were no public schools.  Also those presidents were wealthy enough to hire pedagogues (extremely well-educated individuals who specialize in private tutoring); and often those presidents were educated themselves–which is more that can be said about most of the population of this country (see stats further on).

Third, Rick Santorum really feels that the 88% of the students in public education would be better educated by their parents?  Really?  Public education produces a high level of graduation: 85.2% of people graduate high school annually.  But of those 85.2%, only 22% go on to finish a bachelors.  This has a lot of implications but most important to this discussion 1.) this means that public education is working and 2.) that means that 24.8% of high school graduates are educated well enough to even start to qualify for a job at a public school.  And of that percentage, fewer still are certified (i.e., they’ve proven their knowledge of certain subjects through testing and evaluation and training) to teach a subject.  Yet Santorum believes that the rest of the 81.3% of parents out there who don’t even have a bachelors degree should be responsible for educating their children?  And worse he wants to break down a system which is clearly doing something useful and replace it with something that is fairly untested (only 2% of the population homeschools).  That is beyond scary.

But to add to this travesty even more, there are people who believe that they should have complete control over their child’s education.  And yet while they have the right to homeschool (keep in mind this right still exists and nobody is taking it away), one must ask if they are seriously this deluded.   If someone really believes that the education they have (let’s say they have a BS in science and math) qualifies them to teach a child every subject outside of their field better than those who went to school for teaching those subjects, then they are being extremely unreasonable.  They are deluded if they think everyone that homeschools has equatable education on level with their own (especially if they agree with Santorum that the other 81.3% of the population which doesn’t hold even a bachelors should home school their children).  They are idiotic if they think the 2% of homeschoolers out there are the rules rather than the exceptions.

Sure that person might be educated enough to teach on maybe one or two subjects (say if they have that BS in science and math). but they couldn’t possibly do a good job educating their children on subjects like philosophy, music, history, physics, biology, and so on.  There is no way.  Important information would never be taught; the student wouldn’t learn.   This is why there are teachers out there who have these qualifications. This is the value of public education. And if someone thinks they are somehow more suited to the task of educating their child than teachers are, then they not only have massive egos but they are delusional.

It is because of this mentality–that “I can teach anything a professor or teacher can” mentality–that we have dilettantes running around this country spouting off Bible verses they don’t fully understand.  It is because of this mentality we have a low opinion of education in this country, of teachers, of educators in general.  At some point this mentality has to go away; we need to rid ourselves of such bullocks.  And we must do so before it is too late.  To end public education in this country would mean the destruction of liberty and democracy; of that I have no doubt.

Pressing on, however, whatever failures the public school system has are the direct results of two forces: the administrators and the parents themselves.  Often you have certain types of parents who refuse, absolutely downright refuse, to accept that their child could do something wrong.  And they definitely refuse to believe they can do wrong.  So who suffers as a result?  The teachers.  The parents press administrators up against a wall and demand the sun from them.  And when teachers suffer, education suffers.  And let’s face it, in a world where there are truly ignorant people trying to force public institutions to teach young-earth creationism, is it any wonder the children are confused?  The problem, and I must stress this, is that the parents don’t ever let the teachers do their jobs.  They want the teachers to look after their children for eight hours (or more), educate them, and discipline them; the essentially demand that the teachers act as sit-in parents to their children and with the other hand they seek to remove educators from the roles for which they desperately are needed.

And while we’re on the point of parenting, there is an even sinister plot underneath all of this rhetoric from the GOP at present.  When you destroy an institution responsible for aiding the raising of children for the first eight hours of the day, who is responsible for filling those shoes?  This whole ‘get rid of public schools’ nonsense is a slick way for Santorum and his ilk to continue their ongoing assault on women.  Because it will be left up to the women to raise the children and educate them during the work day.  And who really needs education anyway?  You don’t need an education to keep the economy going.  Leave the thinking up to your betters–those who can afford private education and college; you know, the rich people.  Actually, more specifically, those rich white people.

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One Response

  1. As an education researcher in training, let me say AMEN, brother. (And the link to Dewey et al.–wonderful.)

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