Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Desperate Struggle Against Homeschooling

by way of

I find this article terribly funny.  The author of the Slate article is attempting to convince progressive/liberal parents not to make an unprincipled exception for their children in the matter of education.  He's saying they need to make their children 'take one for the team'.  He's making the flip side of the argument I make when highly liberal parents claim to believe their cant while private schooling their kids (I've never had an argument of this form with a homeschool parent for some reason).  My argument has typically been of the form:  You don't act as if you believe X, see here is evidence of that fact, therefore you don't really believe it and you should stop mouthing the platitudes.  I've rarely had any success converting people's opinions in such discussions, but it does nearly invariably succeed in suppressing them like artillery fire and they slink away with their tails between their legs.  Now this author attempts to get them to break their hypocrisy in the opposite direction---implying excommunication from progressive status should they not do so.  This will fail, because if there's anywhere people will make unprincipled exceptions, it is for their kids.  Only the most degraded, withered examples of humanity make status points on the backs of their children.  No president since Carter, for instance, has sent their kids to a public school.

The beauty is, if this is not an isolated note, but rather a regular drumbeat, this will have the effect of radicalizing a lot of progressive/liberal homeschoolers.  It will drive them further into the arms of reactionary homeschoolers.  There's an old expression common to mothers:  Love me, love my kids.  It also works in reverse---when you love (i.e., protect the interests of) their children, they'll tend to like you better.  They might just realize that not only are they unwilling to have their children 'take one for the team', but that there is no 'team' there at all.  Teams, after all, imply reciprocal ties of obligation and support in the pursuit of a shared goal.

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