Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fredrik deBoer gets it wrong

deBoer seems to have an overly inflated sense of himself; parents aren't suppose to homeschool because it offends his sensibilities. The first mistake deBoer makes is in assuming that all Public Schools are like the public school he attended.
deBoer says: I grew up in a racially and socioeconomically diverse hometown with a similarly diverse public high school, and I couldn’t be prouder or happier to have gone to school there.
Well good for you deBoer I am really happy that you enjoyed your Public School experience that doesn't make it right for everyone. (Sigh) Just because I know you will ask this is the racially and socioeconomically diverse makeup of the school district I live in.

Female                  307           47% 
Male                     346           53% 
Asian                      63           10%
Black                       94           14% 
Hispanic                  16             2% 
Native American        4             1%  
White                     476           73% 
Multi Racial                0              0%

Poverty Percentage 356             56%  

deBoer also makes the assumption that diversity isn't found inside the homeschooling community. Nothing could be further from the truth there are White, African-American, Hispanic and Native American Homeschoolers (click here to see more info). There are rich, middle-class, poor, single parent and two income households that homeschool. There are straight and gay families that homeschool. Secular, Atheist, Protestant, Catholics and many other religions including Pagans are all represented in the homeschooling community. Pamela J. Stubbart's article The Moral Status of Homeschooling and Public Schooling Motivations was actually reasonable.
why examine the motivations of homeschooling parents any more rigorously than those of parents who choose the prima facie more progressive, egalitarian, and diversity-minded option of public schooling? I grew up attending the public schools in Cobb County, an affluent suburb of Atlanta, Georgia
My parents and those many of my peers chose this district and its schools at least in part to avoid the exposure of their children to socioeconomic diversity, not to pursue it! And due to the religious makeup of the area (i.e., Bible Belt), students attending Cobb County schools were not typically exposed there to any religious diversity, or secular challenge of religion (indeed, this is the district that placed stickers in biology textbooks claiming that "Evolution is a theory, not a fact"). It's easy to assume that those who share our educational philosophies are motivated by sound considerations, and that those who oppose them are motivated by illegitimate ones. But let's not fail to take seriously the multiple motivations upon which parties to all sides of the issue may be acting.

And before we debate the pro's and cons of homeschooling less be clear on what homeschooling is. Homeschooling is;
1. Not a public school choice.
2. Homeschooling is not a government program. It is an education option as separate as non-government funded, private education.
3. Options such as charter schools and public virtual schools are choices which are not independent of public schooling.
4. Homeschooled students are not under federal NCLB requirements, nor are they required to keep state learning standards.

For further reading
 Racism and Homeschooling
 Why Homeschooling Is a Boon to a Liberal Society

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