The Paranoid Right is up in arms about the bill before the state legislature to more closely regulate home-schooling in Arkansas. Basically, the bill would require all home-school parents to prove by August 15 of each year that their children took the most recent state-mandated home-school test. This bill also enables public school educators to school prohibit students from transferring to a home-school once the school semester is underway.
If they don’t provide such proof, the kids must attend public school.
The Rigid Right is aghast at this possibility, with the Family Council sending out hysterical emails, and Mike Masterson wrote a defense of home-schoolers in the Democrat-Gazette this week, which comes as no surprise to anyone who has been reading his stuff the past few years, I suppose.
Proponents of home-schooling like to point to fairly high ACT scores among many home-schoolers, but they attempt to use these sleight-of-hand arguments to take our eyes off the ball and not pay attention to some of the more spectacular failures that the home-schooling “system” has produced.
The grim truth is that a lot of kids fall through the cracks when it comes to testing, and the home-schoolers are more than aware of this. Do they care?
Case in point:
Some years ago a friend in Springdale asked if my wife and I could take care of her 16 year old daughter while she was having some marital difficulties, and to continue her home-schooling.
Sure, we replied.
We should have looked before we leaped.
Even though she was 16, her parents had effectively stopped her home-schooling when she was at the sixth-grade level, either because she was too difficult to teach or because they were having so many personal problems of their own.
To placate her over the years, they bought her things - a TV, video games, a DVD player, electronic toys.
By the time she was staying with us, she thought that working on her education for over two hours a day was cruel and unusual punishment. After a few months she returned to her mother, and I seriously doubt that her education progressed.
The idea of requiring proof of testing is good not only for the child, but good for society as a whole. These home-schooling parents should stop whining and get with the program.
Well, isn’t that just special?
A few years later, I happened to glance threough another’s child’s home-schooling text, and was reading in the “science” section about Charles Darwin, and how “Satan” had put the idea of evolution into his head.
Maybe somebody needs to be taking a closer look at some of these textbooks?
Quote of the Day
"What does ultima ratio regum mean?"
"The Last Argument of Kings,” the Librarian says. "King Louis XIV had it stamped onto the barrels of all of the cannons that were forged during his reign." - Neal Stephenson, "Snow Crash"
Take that, book lovers!
A couple of good letters in the Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette in the past week from Donald Harington and Maylon T. Rice concerning the silly decision of the paper’s part to eliminate its book review section. This is a growing trend among papers who are trying to save money. I think it is very short-sighted, however. Maybe cut its frequency, but to cut it out altogether?
Soon, I suspect, only alternative papers will have active book review sections. Personally, I think every publication out there should have a book section, no matter how small.
On a sadder note, I suspect that the paper will continue to get more letters carping about the size of the new TV listings, dwarfing any letters they get about the missing book review section.
Speaking of alternative papers . . .
Emerald City, the Little Rock based alternative paper, will drastically cut back on the number of papers it sends to Fayetteville.
Coralie Koonce: Swimming in a Sea of Ideology
A new book from Fayetteville writer Coralie Koonce is upon us, Swimming in a Sea of Ideology, which examines some of the ideologies that distort public discussion with their rigid, oversimplified, and self-serving ways of thinking.
The book describes such ideologies as superpatriotism, religious fundamentalism, neo-conservatism, Manifest Destiny, Social Darwinism, and other persistent idea-systems that blinker us and hinder the urgent work of dealing with species threats such as climate change and other ecosystem failures, nuclear proliferation, and dwindling resources.
According to the author, they obstruct our efforts to create a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.
The book is available from bookstores, online, or an e-book version can be obtained at Koonce’s website:
Now, get thee to a book store . . .