Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Middle-class mediocrity, part II

On page A17 of today's WSJ is a group of letters responding to the article I commented on last week ("Middle-class mediocrity").

According to Richard J. in Michigan: "...[G]iven that colleges and universities are standing in line to enroll serious-minded and morally tuned-in homeschool graduates, and especially given that two of the major nationwide academic deficiencies, math and English, are hardly rocket science, then another choice, home-schooling, by concerned and committed parents everywhere ought to be sweeping the country. And it is. Though demanding and challenging, independent research shows it outperforms by far any of the "yes, but this way the federal government's nose of incompetence and control is still under the tent" faux choices of charter schools, tuition tax credits and school vouchers."

(Since I myself am a homeschool graduate, and a biology major no less, I was extremely happy to see some coverage of this.)

Robert Kesten, Executive Director of the Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness in Washington, says simply: "Schools...don't operate in a vacuum." He sees a need for local government to be more involved in the supervision and running of schools. I look at this a little differently--what about all the homeschools that are doing fine with minimal supervision?

According to Steven Andelin, Associate Professor of Business Administration at Pennsylvania State University (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.), colleges are also at fault. Because they continually try to fill seats for tuition money (that's another issue in itself!), they have needed to expand the number of remedial courses they offer. Andelin's proposal: Send the "'unprepared' applicants" back to secondary school. Some kids just need a little more time, and this could be a boon.

(I can't resist making another connection to homeschooling--time spent. When parents teach their own children, the goal is mastery rather than a specific amount of time. If a child is a little "slow," parents spend more time with him or her. If a child is faster at performing tasks and learning, parents by all means can let him or her advance as far as s/he is able.)

1 comment:

Hannah J said...

The Stiletto says (technical difficulties):

In every state using every measure of achievement, home schooled kids outperform those in public and private schools. Kudos to the parents who go the extra mile to give their kids the best education possible - by doing it themselves! The Stiletto was not home schooled, but had the equivalent of an "enrichment program" with parents who took her to Shakespeare festivals, the opera and the great museums of the world.