Informing Russell Shaw

But as to other reasons for this blanket surrender to home school advocates- I for one, have never understood why.

Because hey are not the State\’s children for the State to educate as it sees fit, nor are they your children for you to educate as you see fit. They are the children of the parents who brought them into the world for those parents to educate as they see fit.

24 thoughts on “Informing Russell Shaw”

  1. And the moral justification for them belonging to one set of people, rather than another set of people, is what precisely?

    (note: I accept that parents are empirically better on average at raising kids than state agents, for fairly obvious incentive-related related reasons. But the implication that parents own their kids to do as they see fit is as revolting as the implication that the state owns them…)

  2. “tend to be”, Tim.

    I’m with Mr. Band (quelle surprise). When those children grow up they are going to be interacting with a whole bunch of other grown-up children.

    They are not yours to raise as you see fit, because you’re not allowed to brainwash them into being suicide bombers, etc, because society rightly frowns upon that sort of thing.

    Really, everyone who comes into contact with children has a responsibility to help raise them in the “right” way, surely? And parents have a responsibility to society to raise their children to be “good” members of that society.

  3. Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. They’re not your kids either, they are the future shock troops of the new world order, and a valuable excuse for control-freakery in the meantime. After all, the only point of freedom is for people to exercise it to make groupthink-approved choices, and if they’re not responsible enough to do that, they don’t deserve the choice, right? You can do anything you want as long as you want what the government wants too.

  4. @john b: Parents should be responsible for their children until such time as the children are sufficiently competent at life to be responsible for themselves. This is, at its best, wonderful. At its worst (which happens to everyone from time to time), it is a difficult and onerous responsibility. For the state, as representative of society, to take this responsibility away from parents and to itself is both stupid and unproductive (except in rare circumstances such as death, other permanent unavailability or substantial incompetence). This is what applies throughout the higher animals; it is normal. Because parenthood is a serious responsibility, interference by the state damages that responsibility (and the natural authority that enables it to be exercised).

    I don’t know if you are a parent, but if you are and give up on your responsibility (to the state or otherwise), partially or totally, you will not be doing your best for your children.

    @Mark Wadsworth: Unusually, I think you have gone wrong on this one; however, publish your evidence and I will perhaps relent.

    The only family that I know of recently going for home education was because their child failed the 11+ exam and no amount of appeal changed that; no school made available by the state was judged appropriate by the parents. After a year or two of home education, the child was accepted at a school judged appropriate for her by her parents; subsequently the child obtained a place at Oxbridge (top fraction of a percent), and is doing very well there, rather than being in the lower two thirds of academic ability (which was the state’s assessment). In this case, it seems clear to me that the state schooling system made a mistake and stuck too it; the parents were right. The parents took their responsibility very seriously and, at considerable extra effort to themselves, managed to do better for their child than the state intended to do. Actually, I think this mistake is too common, by too much mechanisation of the selection process, doubtless to save money, together with too many assumptions that everyone is the same and so can be managed by a one-size-fits-all policy. The point here is not selective education, but that the vast majority of parents both know better and care more about their children than it is possible for the state to do.

    Best regards

  5. I must admit that there is an element of prejudice on my part – I genuinely think that home-schoolers are weird.

    Perhaps they are not ‘weird’ in any objective sense, and perhaps there are even those who think that homeschoolers are normal and people who send their kids to schools are weird. But I think that homeschoolers – who I wish all the best, and which is perfectly legal in this country anyway – all the best.

  6. “I don’t know if you are a parent, but if you are and give up on your responsibility (to the state or otherwise), partially or totally, you will not be doing your best for your children.”

    I’m not a parent.

    If I were a parent, and I believed that I was doing the best for my child by denying it a blood transfusions to save its life (because if it received a blood transfusions then God would send it to hell), then I should not be allowed to do what I considered the best for my child.

    If you think the state should intervene to ensure my child receives its blood transfusion, then you’ve conceded the argument – the only remaining point is where to draw the “parent is dotty but state is even worse” vs “parent is dotty so state would be better” line.

    If you think the state should not intervene in this case, then I’d question your humanity and your sanity…

  7. In the past there may have been a high proportion of ‘nutters’ – of various flavours – that educated their children at home, but I’m guessing because of the many appalling state schools in both the US and the UK, and – in the UK – a curriculum that focusses on meeting PC and league table targets rather than really teaching children to learn, more and more ‘normal’ people are going to go that route if they can’t afford decent private schools, or join with other like-minded parents and start their own schools.

  8. “If you think the state should intervene to ensure my child receives its blood transfusion, then you’ve conceded the argument”

    John B, no one is having the argument you are suggesting and thus no one can concede the point. The notion that all parents at all times are the best judge for their children’s well-being is absurd. We live in a real world all too familiar with human failings. No one who lives in it would argue that the government has no role, the debate is as to what it is and when it should apply. Tim and others are just advocating that the majority of parents in the majority of circumstances have primacy over the state where their children are concerned.

  9. D, so did I. I soon realised that my parents were bullying illogical socialist bastard cunts, and as long as I am doing pretty much the opposite of what they did, I am probably on the right tracl

  10. Hey chaps, every child does (or should) get education at home; it’s called ‘homework’. As for all home schooling parents being ‘nutters’, if you send your gift to the future to a local secondary modern state indoctrination centre (sorry, I meant school), shouldn’t you be looking in the mirror when uttering such ill advised views?

  11. If parents want their children to grow up with a good command of English, and a sound understanding of the principles of mathematics, state education is currently not capable of providing that. In fact, the state needs to get out of education altogether, before it trashes the life-chances of another generation of youngsters.
    Pupils in our comprehensive classrooms commonly think they are wasting their time at school. I have observed their lessons, and they are right.

  12. The simple reality is that the overwhelming majority of parents love their children dearly and want to give them the best possible start in life. We sincerely believe that all children should have equality of opportunity (as distinct from equality of outcome), but in a world where this is not the case, we were prepared to do everything we could to give our children an advantage in life. This has included, inter alia, choosing to live in a part of the UK with excellant states schools because we could, and since moving to Australia, educating our children privately because we could.

    It is only parental love and determination that are available to protect children from state imposed mediocrity. This is evidenced by the poor educational outcomes that the state delivers to those unfortunate enough to spend most of their young lives in the care of the state.

    Having said all that, we should only ever have considered home schooling in an extreme situation as we also believe that a good education involves things such as social interaction and participation in sport.

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    School completely wasted my time. As long as they left me alone to do what I liked, I learnt. I probably could have covered all five years of High School in six months of hard work. That is not a reflection of how smart I am claiming to be either. But they did insist that I “participate” in class and then got angry when I was bored. If they had left me in the library all day I would have been much better off.

    So coming from that perspective, I say the State has not shown that it can do a better job than parents. There is nothing illegal whatsoever in educating your children to be suicide bombers. It is going out and doing it that is the problem. I also note in passing that said suicide bombers are rarely the parents of people who advocate suicide bombing.

    There is nothing much wrong with educating your children to refuse blood transfusions. In theory it may be a break down in the system, but as with so many other market “failures”, the State’s failures are worse. Let’s compare how many people died and still die from State-run blood transfusions that give them AIDS and worse with how many die from a refusal by a parent of medical services.

    Milton Friedman would probably point out that spending our own money on our own children is likely to be more effective than some bored bureaucrat spending someone else’s money on someone else’s children.

  14. A N Other, our local state schools are shit so my kids go private at huge expense. And I didn’t say “all” I said “tend to be”. And those parents who send their kids to state schools are not nutters, they just haven’t faced up to the fact how badly things are going – or can’t afford to do anything about it.

    Anyway, fuck it, vouchers for schools is the way forward, home schooling is a red herring.

  15. “Anyway, fuck it, vouchers for schools is the way forward, home schooling is a red herring.”

    Wrong. School vouchers will presumably have to be paid out following some rule, such as that a voucher can only be spent at a school meeting certain minimum requirements. Who is going to set those standards? Yes, you guessed: the government. The problem with vouchers is that they could, by a savage irony, provide the state with a mechanism to interfere even more than they do with fee-paying schools. Far better to give folk back the money in taxes and let them spend their cash on whatever schooling arises to meet this surge in demand. Sure, top-up grants for poor parents are sensible.

    But home schooling has its place. You may have found some homeschooled kids to be “weird”, but then I find plenty of weirdoes that have gone to public and private sector schools as well. The important thing in the main is to have options, rather than try to hit on a perfect system that suits everyone. It does not exist.

  16. “a voucher can only be spent at a school meeting certain minimum requirements”

    Indeed. The minimum requirement being that parents are willing to send their children to that school. Or one parent is prepared to send one child to that school. And if that school is happy to operate with an income of the face value of one voucher (say) £4,000 plus whatever that one parent is prepared to pay, then good luck to them!

  17. “top-up grants for poor parents are sensible”

    No, that is the beginning of the end. If you say “top up grants for children of households who earn less than £30,000” then parents who earn less than that can have a super-primo education for all five of their children, but a hard-working sensible household who earns more than that will get either a shit education for their one or two children, or will have to pay through the nose to ‘go private’.

    Whatever definition of ‘poor’ you choose, this will be a massive incentive for people to stay under that income level, and for those under that income level to have as many children as they like, and a huge disincentive for people who earn more than that to have children.

    Sounds like shit to me.

  18. “The problem with vouchers is that they could, by a savage irony, provide the state with a mechanism to interfere even more than they do with fee-paying schools”

    Nope. Really posh schools could quite simply say “we want cold hard cash and refuse to accept these tacky aspiring middle class vouchers”.

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