I caught this article at the Contemporary Pediatrics website, thanks to HSLDA’s Weekly Update email. The HSLDA website notes that pediatricians are advised to monitor the socialization of the homeschooled children under their care, but not that of their institutionally-schooled peers. Good point, although an unsettling thought might be that the socialization of the institutionally-schooled kids is being monitored, and that it’s ‘all good.’
Contemporary Pediatrics, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, 1 November 2006, What you need to learn about homeschooling
Effective health care for the homeschooled child requires understanding of the issues, an open line of communication to parents, and the vigilance to ensure that children not covered by the safety net of school screening get the care they need.
And would the responsibility of the pediatrician also be to ensure that even those children who are “covered by the safety net of school screening” but don’t have health insurance, also get the care they need?
National Public Radio, Washington, D.C., 30 January 2006, Bill Would Cut Medicaid Benefits for Children
It is all well and good to advocate for those perceived to be in need, but are homeschooled kids, as a particular portion of American children — and in the absence of any indications that they aren’t thriving — those who are in need of pediatric attention above and beyond that focused on their institutionally-schooled peers? Has homogenization got to the point that differences from the American cultural norm of the moment are red flags? We’ve seen what happened when differences bumped up against German cultural norms of the moment, and the norms are seen to be more important than the families and children. Shades of Camazotzish profiling, Batman!
The Contemporary Pediatrics article is fairly even-handed, but the authors still draw raised-eyebrow conclusions about homeschooling, as demonstrated by the cartoon on the site’s front page for the article. The speech balloon of the schooled kid states, “Dude. Your parents are WAY too into home schooling.” A reply might be, “Dude. Your parents are WAY too into being just a bedroom family.”
- engage families in nonjudgmental dialogue about homeschooling (as if homeschooling is a medically significant indicator?)
- The controversies–and your role (as if most aspects of homeschooling are controversial)
- Many people, including many pediatricians, are skeptical of homeschooling. (peer pressure on the reader, who is probably a pediatrician)
- As a society, Americans place a great deal of value on, and trust in, public schools, which are subject to public oversight, have established standards, and provide a secular environment. Parochial schools are also well-regarded because they have a long history of acceptance and their academic standards are subject to public regulation. (and public regulation equals quality? Results 1 – 10 of about 2,190,000 for governmental regulatory failures)
- Although no evidence-based research exists to prove the value of homeschooling, … (or to disprove it either)
- Other areas of skepticism … (You can’t win. That phrase followed, “On the 2005 American College Test (ACT), [homeschooled test-takers] had an average composite score of 22.5, compared to 20.9 for public school students. Similar results have occurred each year since 1996.”)
- Of course, if you believe that homeschooling compromises a particular child’s interests or health, you should counsel parents against homeschooling, … Try to engage the parents in a dialogue that leads to a satisfactory resolution concerning the child’s education. (satisfactory to whom?)
- [you] are willing to discuss health-care issues separately from education. (and parents regularly discuss the content of their child’s education — not the effect of the school environment on the child — with pediatricians?)
- Because teachers spend so much time with students, they can often recognize health and educational problems before parents and physicians notice them. (and sometimes parents notice the problems, only to be told that testing isn’t a good idea because then the child is labelled — a Catch 22 for the kid)
- Public schools across the country have taken the responsibility for: … (which seems to have cause the atrophy of parental responsibility and ability in these same areas — parents who used to say “Eat your vegetables” now ask, “Do you want fries with that?”)
The article continues with an overview of curriculum.
Do pediatricians regularly evaluate the curricular materials of local schools?
Do school administrators regularly poll pediatricians for their opinions about educational content? (age-approropriate sex-ed, and the effects of dodge ball, aside) If not, then why, in Table 1, is there a chart of “Homeschooling curriculum options” and a discussion of the cost of various options as well as curriculum swaps within support groups? Are pediatricians consulted before any curricular changes are made in schools, or do they advise their patients on the effects of the cost of private schools?
Looks like mission creep to me.
posted by Valerie