Saturday, March 08, 2008

Criminalizing Home Schoolers - TIME,8599,1720697,00.html

This is one circumstance where I agree with ideas like No Child Left
Behind. It's in the nation's best interest to have educated children,
and I think the right of the child to have an education trumps the
rights of parents to make decisions for their children. We all know
that a teaching degree doesn't guarantee someone will be good teachers.
So legislate results- if your kid passes the yearly competency test, god
bless. If he doesn't, it's back to an accredited school for them. In
the grade they failed.

This assumes they can put together a decent test that actually measures
education. Which I believe can be done. The outcry of the education
cabal that having achievement tests forces teachers to "teach to the
test" is silly- if it's a good test, then that will be effective.

Maybe a system can be set up sort of like the way the lawyer bar exam
works. Lets say the school year is 10 months. So we spend 9 months on
raw education, followed by a month of standardized review and
refreshers, culminating with the test. Home school kids would be
mandated to attend this month.

Further, and this is really a pipe dream, would be to analyze the tests
for teaching effectiveness. Each class would be flagged with a unique
identifier. Then the students' answers would be checked for deviations
from the normal on subject matter points- if nearly every kid in the
class fails question #9, that bit of subject matter would be added to
the curriculum for next year for that class of students. This would
account for and correct for a teacher who missed a spot, or who was
simply bad or incompetent. And if teachers are statistically bad year
to year, they get flagged for more training. I think this would
maximize the freedom of everyone, as well as maximize the effectiveness
of the teachers.

I predict this story will be spun by the nutjobs as limiting the rights
of parents to teach their children- I don't read it that way. It
doesn't stop the parents from educating their kids on top of mandated
education. It just sets a bar.


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