American Education February, 2014 — Post by Michael J. Findley

boy girl homeschool

This is a never ending topic. It has basically two parts; the problem and the solution.

The Problem

I posted a new study with similar result to studies for the last forty years. This latest study said that only 74% of 2200 Americans surveyed know the earth revolves around the sun.

http://phys.org/news/2014-02-americans-unaware-earth-circles-sun.html

While the Detroit metropolitan area is the worst in the country, it is reported that they have produced 500,000 functionally illiterate high school graduates. Exact numbers are difficult to verify, because no one wants to know exactly how bad the problem is. But there is universal agreement that nationally there are millions of High School graduates who are functionally illiterate.

The issue is discipline. One hundred years ago a student was required to demonstrate an adequate grasp of the academic material in order to graduate from high school and receive a high school diploma. Yes, there was no molecular biology, computer science, nuclear physics, or many other academic areas of knowledge. But college entrance exams required essays in three languages, one modern (Italian, Spanish, French or German), one ancient (Latin or Greek) and your native language (usually English). Mastery of Trigonometry was required to enter high school.

The important point is that when students were given an assignment, they were graded on their mastery of that material. If they did not demonstrate an adequate grasp of the material, they did not pass the course. Beginning in the 1950s students were promoted who failed to grasp the material. The result today is college students taking remedial English who can neither read nor write their own language.

The entire problem is the inability to enforce discipline. Students who consistently disrupt a class must be removed from the class. Students who refuse to do the work should not be given passing grades.

The Solution

Liberals constantly says that there are a number of problems and every one of them requires more money, time, and government intervention. Some examples of liberal solutions are increased teacher pay to attract better qualified teachers, build better buildings, or to maintain smaller class size.

Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Education, Dr. William Bennett, did a cost/benefit analysis of Illinois schools when he was in charge of the Illinois school system. While there are many factors involved, he found, as a general rule, the schools which spent the least per student had the highest standardized test scores and the schools which spent the most per student had the worst standardized test scores. Before continuing, Dr. Bennett points out two important factors.

First, there is more to an education than just test scores. Some of the poorest rural schools had little or no extracurricular activities such as music, field trips, sports or outside speakers. So they were losing out in areas that do not show up in test scores.

Second, there is a massive gap in property values between the poorest rural school districts and the wealthiest in the state of Illinois. A school in the wealthiest areas of Chicago might need to spend three times as much money per student as a poor rural district to get the same quality education.

But this means little or nothing to an average parent. Parents in the United States have only three realistic options; the public schools, private schools, and homeschooling. While none of these are easy choices and there are always exceptions to every rule, the rule is the public schools are a poor choice. Private schools are expensive and often offer little improvement over public schools because effective discipline is illegal. Once again, there are some outstanding exceptions, but private schools are not a viable alternative for the average family.

This leaves homeschooling. Homeschooling is very difficult. But the results are outstanding. While homeschoolers can fail just like anyone else, the average homeschooled student will score near the 90th percentile in every area of standardized tests.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/30/home-schooling-outstanding-results-national-tests/

Objecting to homeschooling on the basis that students are not socialized is simply based on ignorance. Socialization might not be all that desirable anyway. “Based on their findings, Bonnie Fisher and her colleagues estimate that the women at a college that has 10,000 female students could experience more than 350 rapes a year.”

National Institute of Justice. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/182369.pdf

These are only reported rapes. Rape is a widely underreported crime. And this does not include other types of assaults or crimes such as robberies.

Once again, there are notable exceptions, but for the average family, homeschooling is the most crime-free option available. Homeschoolers produce plays, form bands, participate in sports (usually individual sports such as swimming, gymnastics or martial arts). They are often introduced early to a work environment. They often contribute to family planning and budgeting.

Homeschooling is neither ideal nor an answer to all problems. But it is a vastly superior option to the government schools.

5 Comments

Filed under Current Issues, Politics, Education, History

5 responses to “American Education February, 2014 — Post by Michael J. Findley

  1. I was homeschooled from K to 12 and I would love to teach my (future) kids at home.
    You say that the issue at hand is discipline, and I agree. But that isn’t only a school thing but a cultural thing. Most parents do not seem to discipline their kids as much as, even, the children of my generation.

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