As background for the post title, I was reading an e-list discussion about the amount of homework children in public schools are expected to do each day. I went off to ‘do my homework’ on homework, and found a link to an article that reviews one of Gerald Bracey’s publications. I was reading the article, with what I hope is an open mind so that I can learn rather than just confirm my prejudices, but the following comment distracted me.
American Association of School Administrators, Arlington, Virginia, November 2003, What You Should Know About the War Against Americas Public Schools [emphasis added]
The War Against Americas Public Schools is a valuable resource in the fight to save public education. Braceys knowledge and grasp of statistics overwhelm some of the simplistic generalizations used by critics of public schools. Unfortunately its value may be limited because it preaches to the choir. It is doubtful many homeschoolers, private schoolers or charter advocates will seek out this title with the intent of hearing the other side of the story.
Well, that’s certainly going to convince us to come up and look at your etchings.
Even though homeschooling parents don’t use public services (caveat for Florida), why would our non-use of the main method of educating the citizens with whom our children will be spending their adults lives mean that we don’t care about that system? That system surrounds us, from out children’s playmates to the taxes that come out of our paychecks. That we choose to go beyond our efforts to help our children while they’re in school because we see that our child’s one-and-only, never-to-be-repeated childhood is going awry despite our efforts, shouldn’t leave us open to the generalized insult of being willfully deaf to facts.
The homeschoolers whose opinions I’ve read online usually exhibit a great deal of empathy for children, and many of us wish that all children could have a grand educational adventure of a childhood. The discussion that triggered my search was focusing on the sadness the writers felt over the loss of childhood to long hours in schoolrooms followed by long hours of homework. I thought I was on to something when I found a citation of Mr. Bracey’s book, On the Death of Childhood and the Destruction of Public Schools. Instead, while following breadcrumbs, I find myself labeled a close-minded non-member of the reviewer’s choir.
I would say, “but, enough of that” and let it be, but then I went looking for an online bio of Mr. Bracey, so as to provide readers with a snapshot of his work, and now I’m feeling like a walking example of “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”
America Tomorrow, Education Disinformation Detection and Reporting Agency
An example of what I expect to accomplish here: On March 24, 1999 reports appeared calling the outcomes of home schooling “amazing” and “fantastic.” Had the site been available, I would have been able within a couple of hours to show that the report was largely a publicity stunt by the Home School Legal Defense Association. The study was legit, but, given the demographics of those involved, it could be argued that home schoolers are underachievers. …
posted by Valerie