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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Compulsory Schooling

National has come out with their Plan For Education. Interesting that it's called a plan for education, it really ought be called a Continuing Plan for the Forced Schooling, Socialising and Indoctrination of Our Children. In New Zealand every child must attend a registered school from the age of six to sixteen. Every child must attend five days a week. If a child doesn't attend, truancy officers may come to investigate. Maybe even charge you, the parent, for failing to educate your child. United Future even want to set up a database to help track every school aged child to ensure that every child attends. Everyone agrees there is something wrong with the education our children in New Zealand are getting. What's going wrong?

From The Underground History Of American Education by John Taylor Gatto

You aren’t compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child to strangers who process children for a livelihood... Your great-great-grandmother didn’t have to surrender her children. What happened?

If I demanded you give up your television to an anonymous, itinerant repairman who needed work you’d think I was crazy; if I came with a policeman who forced you to pay that repairman even after he broke your set, you would be outraged. Why are you so docile when you give up your child to a government agent called a schoolteacher?

I want to open up concealed aspects of modern schooling such as the deterioration it forces in the morality of parenting. You have no say at all in choosing your teachers. You know nothing about their backgrounds or families. And the state knows little more than you do. This is as radical a piece of social engineering as the human imagination can conceive. What does it mean?

One thing you do know is how unlikely it will be for any teacher to understand the personality of your particular child or anything significant about your family, culture, religion, plans, hopes, dreams. In the confusion of school affairs even teachers so disposed don’t have opportunity to know those things. How did this happen?

Before you hire a company to build a house, you would, I expect, insist on detailed plans showing what the finished structure was going to look like. Building a child’s mind and character is what public schools do, their justification for prematurely breaking family and neighborhood learning. Where is documentary evidence to prove this assumption that trained and certified professionals do it better than people who know and love them can? There isn’t any.

Law courts and legislatures have totally absolved school people from liability. You can sue a doctor for malpractice, not a schoolteacher. Every homebuilder is accountable to customers years after the home is built; not schoolteachers, though. You can’t sue a priest, minister, or rabbi either; that should be a clue.

In case you haven't figured it out already, the only way to fix schooling in New Zealand is to take away the compulsory nature of it. Only then can we even start to rebuild Schooling into Education. Anything else is just window dressing.

UPDATE: 8:40pm BrianS has reminded me that there is an exemption. If you want to homeschool your child, you can apply for this exemption, but you are legally required to keep your child in a registered school until you get the exemption (from memory).

Posted by Lucia Maria | 4/14/2005 05:15:00 pm


Blogger Brian S said...

Actually, in NZ, children do not have to attend a registered school. Homeschooling is an option. According to www.homeschooling.org.nz, 7500 children are being homeschooled in NZ. This is massively up from just 80 in 1983. For all the reasons you mention in your post - and for many other reasons not mentioned - homeschooling will be an option for my daughter for as long as she likes.

4/14/2005 08:26:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

You're right, Brian. But to homeschool, you need to get an exemption. To get the exemption, you have to fill in quite a detailed form, which I'm sure you've done. And then don't you get the inspectors visiting your home to check up on you? It's not like you can just opt out, you do need to go through a few hoops.

4/14/2005 08:35:00 pm  
Blogger Brian S said...

Actually, I haven't had to fill out any forms yet. Reason is, my daughter is under 6 years old! Funnily enough, my daughter has so far managed to develop some of the most important life skills without setting foot in any public education institution. But having to ask the State permission for her to continue directing her own learning (i.e. homeschooling) when she is six really gets my goat. And I'm not too thrilled about State monitoring either.

4/14/2005 09:15:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Ahhh, those forms are truly horrible. Very ambiguous. My now 8yo was homeschooled until just before he turned 7, and now we are doing Steiner. I have noticed a regression in social skills in him. I'll most likely pull him out in the next year or so and homeschool again.

4/14/2005 09:19:00 pm  
Blogger Brian S said...

Now you're scaring me! No doubt I'm going to have to get lots of advice from other homeschoolers.

4/14/2005 09:37:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Yup, advice is a good thing. Might be a good idea to get the forms soon, so that you know what you're going to have to do. Depending on how under 6 your daughter is.

Don't get too scared. My son, while he has regressed socially (could talk to any adult at any time before starting school), has improved in discipline. He can sit down and work on something and finish it, whereas before, probably because he had noone to compete against, he wouldn't have had the motivation.

4/14/2005 10:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Mike Readman said...

Don't you realise most people think a select few other people know their kids better than they (most people) do?

4/15/2005 12:39:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Unfortunately trainee primary school teachers spend many an hour learning to manage their classes and deal with paperwork, rather than learning useful things about the world.

4/15/2005 12:57:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Great commentary Lucyna. Right on the money! :-)

4/15/2005 08:40:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats why my parents sent me to an independent school and I sent my children to an independent school.In both cases the schools were reference checked to past pupils and parents the principals interviewed teachers also.But Nanny state says no we will decide the school you attend because you dont know what you want

4/15/2005 11:59:00 am  

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