Friday, September 16, 2016
Homeschooling Has Come a Long Way
As children head back to school, an increasing number of their homeschooled peers will be starting their academic year as well. Homeschooling in the United States is growing at a strong pace.
Recent statistics indicate that 1.5 million children were homeschooled in the United States in 2007. This is up significantly from 1.1 million children in 2003 and 850,000 children in 1999.
The homeschooling movement first emerged in earnest during the 1980s. Back then it was largely led by evangelical Christians. But as the movement has grown, it has also changed.
In my own research, I have seen how diverse homeschoolers now are. This diversity challenges any simplistic understanding of what homeschooling is and what impact it will have on the public school system.
So how do we understand this evolution in American education?
In fact, homeschooling was common up until the late 19th century. Most children received a substantial part of their education within the home. In the late 19th century, states started passing compulsory attendance laws. These laws compelled all children to attend public schools or a private alternative. In this way, education outside the home became the norm for children.
It was in the 1970s that American educator John Holt emerged as a proponent of homeschooling. He challenged the notion that the formal school system provided the best place for children to learn. Slowly, small groups of parents began to remove their children from the public schools.
By the 1980s, homeschooling families had emerged as an organized public movement. During that decade, more than 20 states legalized homeschooling. For the most part, evangelical Christians led these battles. Organizations such as the Home School Legal Defense Association, founded in 1983, provided the necessary legal and financial backing for these families.
At the time, homeschooling was seen to be in conflict with secular school systems. Religious parents came to define the public face of the homeschooling.
Reasons for Homeschooling
Today, homeschooling is becoming part of the mainstream. It is legal in all 50 states. In addition, a growing number of states are making attempts to engage the homeschooled population for at least part of the day.
For example, 28 states do not prevent homeschooled students from participating in public school interscholastic sports. At least 15 more states are considering “Tim Tebow Laws” – named after the homeschooled athlete – that would allow homeschoolers access to school sports.
The overall homeschool movement is also much more diverse. For example, sociologists Philip Q. Yang and Nihan Kayaardi argue that the homeschool population does not significantly differ from the general U.S. population. Put another way, it is not really possible to assume anything about the religious beliefs, political affiliations or financial status of homeschooling families anymore.
Data from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) provide further corroboration. In 2008, the NCES found that only 36 percent of the homeschooling families in their survey chose “the desire for religious or moral instruction” as their primary reason for their decision to homeschool. At the same time, other reasons, such as a concern about the school environment, were just as important to many homeschool families.
Changing Face of Homeschoolers
Discussions about whether homeschooling is good for children can be emotionally charged. Some scholars are critical about the increasing number of homeschoolers, while some others view homeschooling in a different light.
They believe that homeschooling families are more responsive to a child’s individual needs and interests. They may be better at taking advantage of learning experiences that naturally arise in home and community life.
Indeed, in my own work as a teacher educator, I have come across parents who have chosen to homeschool their children for reasons that are not entirely religious. These include two public school teachers with whom I work. Reasons for parents could range from concern over food allergies, special needs, racism or just that their child might be interested in a career in athletics or the arts.
Given all these changes, it may be time for public educators and policymakers – both so desperate to increase parental participation – to reassess who and what represents the homeschooling movement of today.
'Racism' Blamed for High College Costs; Like Southerners Draining Public Swimming Pools
A liberal advocacy group is promoting the idea that the high cost of college is the result of "racism."
Writing to fellow MoveOn.org members on Sept. 3, Heather McGhee, the president of a "progressive" think tank, asks, "What if I told you that one of the main reasons that college costs are so high for everyone -- plunging students into decades of debt -- is racism?"
She notes that in the 1970s, public colleges such as UCLA were affordable -- until states started cutting spending, forcing students to make up the gap with loans.
"Why did this happen?" she asks. "Racism. Or more specifically -- racism used as a political weapon to undermine the very idea of supporting anything public that might include people of color.
"It's like when Southern towns preferred to drain their public swimming pools after courts ordered them integrated. But in this case, the public pool was the affordable college system that used to be the envy of the world -- yet another example of how when racism wins, we all lose."
McGhee says the nation "can afford to reinvest in our state college system and rebuild the pathways to the middle class for the largest, most diverse generation in American history."
She is urging her fellow liberals to "fight the racism in our politics."
Corrupt Academics and the Media
By Walter E. Williams
Some are puzzled by the dishonesty, lack of character and sheer stupidity of many people in the media. But seeing as most of them are college graduates, they don't bear the full blame. They are taught by dishonest and irresponsible academics. Let's look at it.
"A Clash of Police Policies," a column written by Dr. Thomas Sowell, presents some readily available statistics: "Homicide rates among black males went down by 18 percent in the 1940s and by 22 percent in the 1950s. It was in the 1960s, when the ideas of Chief Justice (Earl) Warren and others triumphed, that this long decline in homicide rates among black males reversed and skyrocketed by 89 percent, wiping out all the progress of the previous 20 years."
Academics and the media blame poverty and discrimination for today's crime. No one bothers to ask why crime was falling in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, when blacks faced far greater poverty and discrimination.
The 1960s riots were blamed on poverty and discrimination. Poverty and discrimination were worse in the South than in the rest of the country, but riots were not nearly so common there. Detroit's deadliest riot occurred at a time when the median income of black families in Detroit was 95 percent of their white counterparts, plus the black unemployment rate was 3.4 percent and black homeownership was higher than in other major cities.
Academics teach that the breakdown of the black family is the legacy of slavery and discrimination. They ignore the following facts. In 1950, 72 percent of black men and 81 percent of black women had been married. Also, only 17 percent of black children lived in single-parent households; today it's close to 70 percent. Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed that black labor force participation rates exceeded those of whites. During the late 1940s, the unemployment rate for black 16- and 17-year-olds was less than that for white teens.
According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children and 3 percent of white children were born to unwed mothers. Before 1960, the number of teenage pregnancies had been decreasing; both poverty and dependency were declining; and black income was rising in both absolute and relative terms to white income. As late as 1965, 75 percent of black children were born to married women. Today over 73 percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers. Again, so much for the "legacy of slavery" argument.
Academics teach that school integration is a necessary condition for black academic excellence. Blacks, their logic implies, cannot achieve academic excellence unless they go out and capture a white kid to sit next to their kids. Public charter schools such as those in the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, and Success Academy Charter Schools are having some successes without race mixing. Sowell points out that only 39 percent of students in New York state schools who were tested recently scored at the "proficient" level in math, but 100 percent of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy scored at that level in math. Blacks and Hispanics are 90 percent of the students in the Crown Heights Success Academy.
More than 43,000 families are on waiting lists to get their children into charter schools. Teachers unions are opposed to any alternative to public education and contribute to politicians who place obstacles and restrictions on the expansion of charter schools. The NAACP, at its 2016 national convention in Cincinnati, voted to support "a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools."
It's easy to understand why the NAACP is against any alternative to public schools. Many of its members work in public education. However, many of those people do want alternatives for themselves. In Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, 25 percent of public-school teachers send their children to private schools. In Philadelphia, 44 percent of teachers send their children to private schools. The percentages are similar in several other cities: Cincinnati, 41 percent, Chicago, 39 percent and Rochester, New York, 38 percent. This demonstrates the dishonesty, hypocrisy and arrogance of the elite. They effectively say, "One thing for thee and another for me."
Posted by jonjayray at 12:40 AM