As reported at the Lew Rockwell blog, the laws concerning homeschooling in Australia are under consideration with an eye to changing them.
- LewRockwell.com, 1 March 2006, The Quiet Ambush
The most sinister aspect of the whole business is the fact that the proposed regulations say nothing of the extent of intrusion. The Minister for Education in Victoria, Ms. Lynne Kosky, insists that once all the homeschoolers have licences they will be left alone. But we have no formal, written assurance that this will be the case. Once the licences are in place, homeschoolers could quite easily be required to teach the same government-approved, functionally dead curriculum used in state schools â€“ a curriculum not only statist and strictly secular, but also practically useless. Even the Australian Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, has admitted as much:
Australian homeschoolers are not pleased with the development.
- The Age, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 6 March 2006, Home sweet school
Home schoolers argue that the Government is trying to control a viable form of education it has not sought to understand and that it is ignoring the significant body of research that heralds home education a success.The Education Department argues that the Government seeks only to ensure home-schooled children receive a quality education and that it has a responsibility to see that they reach their potential.
The part about a “quality” education is the same theme I’ve been reading about for nearly a decade concerning homeschooling.Â The implied charge is that without being required to, homeschooling parents won’t provide quality guidance or materials.Â The odd thing about that position is that I’ve been hearing about the crisis in education since Sputnik was launched.Â Â That was in 1957, and it was followed by the National Defense Education Act in 1958.Â Last month the 21st Century National Defense Education Act was introduced in Congress. How much longer is the (American) “crisis” going to continue?
But, I’m digressing, and need to getÂ back to the Australian situation.
- In reality, home-ed has been a “thorn in the side” of the Government for years, because it comes under the jurisdiction of the Community Services Act, notes Dr John Barratt-Peacock, whose PhD on 280 home-educating families – The Why and How of Australian Home Education – out of La Trobe University in 1997, remains the seminal work on the Australian situation.
“It’s an annoyance to professional teachers to be told that after all their training, education and everything else, that a mum with no education can do just as well or better,” Dr Barratt-Peacock says.
So it seemsÂ immaterial whetherÂ the “mum with no education” can do the job, what’s important is that mums doing this irritate professionals.Â Tsk.
- [Dr Alan Thomas] says none of us are formally taught the essential skills we learn from infancy: speech, basic literacy and numeracy. And while he does not wish to be seen as an advocate, he concedes, “There is no scientific basis whatsoever for the almost universal assumption that this traditional means of educating children (mainstream schooling) is essential if they are to progress after reaching school age. It is just that we are so inured to school-type learning that it is very difficult to imagine any alternative.”
The five-page article has many good points, and is well-rounded.Â If you don’t want to skip back to the top of this blog post, the full five pages are here.
Good luck to the Australian homeschoolers who areÂ educating their legislators.