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‘Parent Tribal Memory’ Category

  1. Socialization & political socialization

    November 29, 2016 by Tunya

    Two Kinds Of Socialization

    The question about “socialization” of home-educated children recurs frequently. What we find is that parents will usually give a two-fold answer: 1) The children do participate outside the home in social networks, community service, etc. and are socially comfortable and 2) Negative socialization such as bullying, unhealthy competition, drugs, groupthink, regimentation, etc. are purposefully avoided. These are answers most outsiders would praise.

    However, there is a second meaning to “socialization” not usually acknowledged — the political dimension. Actually, in a roundabout way, this observation has arisen as demographic reports keep mentioning the “uneducated” as a large voting block favoring the Trump campaign.

    I propose that the more specific term “unsocialized” replace the term “uneducated”. This is the demographic that, through lack of extensive “schooling” through the public schools and secondary institutions, has not had the steady barrage of progressive education thrust upon them till they become normalized to that mindset.

    I wrote about this political dimension in my 1987 article (see Home Education: Third Option, saying that parents wished to avoid the “political agenda being foisted on the schools to change society, rectify social ills, alter human nature, etc.” Today, 30 years later, I would add that home educators are dodging the competency movement that aims to diminish the hard skills (3Rs) to be replaced with soft competencies (collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking, character, etc.). And, of course, we can add these other agendas that home educators may want to downplay — environmentalism, social justice agendas, massive data collection, “neuroscientific” experimentation, etc.

    The political socialization of Western nations can trace its origins to two authors, a century ago, Edward Bellamy and John Dewey, when the ideas of social reconstruction emerged. Bellamy’s book, Looking Backward (1888), foretold a socialist society where everyone had a good life. After close observation of talents demonstrated at school, everyone was guaranteed equal-pay work according to their abilities. John Dewey, father of progressive education and admirer of Bellamy, through his writings and lab schools helped set the path for our predominantly progressive slant in public education today.

    In his book, Deschooling Society (1970, available for download on the Internet) Ivan Illich wrote: “School has become the planned process which tools man for a planned world, the principal tool to trap man in man’s trap. It is supposed to shape each man to an adequate level for playing a part in this world game.”

    Teachers trained in teacher education faculties in our Western nations are influenced to be activists for social change. No other “profession” sends its graduates out on a social mission to change the world! Our Canadian Deans of Education subscribe to an Accord where one of its 12 principles “encourages teachers to assume a social and political leadership role”. Similar agreements undoubtedly inspire other education faculties around the world.

    If Betsy DeVos does become the new Education Secretary in the Trump cabinet we know that education choice will be a huge priority. Home education will become a more pronounced option. Overall, families will have a greater choice than the near monopoly now existing that has the dual effect of both socializing children for the larger society as well as socializing the young for political agendas parents may or may not ordinarily choose.

    [  comment posted on FEE article — It's a great time to be a homeschooler, Kerry McDonald  —  ]



  2. unforgiveable – causing parents to betray their children

    September 12, 2016 by Tunya

    “Smoking Gun” Tells A Lot More Than “He says, she says” !

    [This is the case of a school in Vancouver, an “inquiry school”, which on Day 1 had Grade 7 students given a number ID, assigned to a “faction”, and arbitrarily punished or rewarded by teachers.  There was no consent nor information to parents.  They were asked to keep this “confidential” via email.  2 stories appeared in the Globe  & Mail with many comments.  Google — Vancouver school role-playing.}]

    Yes, parents can now be found to support of this Salish Sea project. A whole host of people can come forward with opinions, interpretations, apologies, etc.

    BUT, the fact remains — we have one glaring piece of hard evidence, Exhibit #1, that lays bare a whole litany of educational transgressions — the letter to parents, Sept 6, 2016

    Here are just a few of the violations to highlight:

    √ surprise — Not only were the students unaware of the project, but so were the parents. Informed parental consent is not mentioned so obviously this was not done. Parents are to be involved by “playing along”, “help them debrief” but always to keep this “confidential” from their children. (Parents will actually be betraying their children’s natural trust that they would keep them out of harm’s way!)

    √ playing with the minds of children (ages 12/13) — These are some of the emotions that the children might display — “overwhelming”, “off putting”, “discomfort”, “we expect and want students to experience a range of emotions”.

    √ depersonalization — Students are given a number ID, called “followers” and are assigned to a “faction” where “The Establishment . . . arbitrarily demotes/promotes”.

    All this is in the letter that closes with this pacifying and cajoling point: “Always focused on the core competencies and BC Ed Curriculum, students will engage in a variety of activities that will help them build the capacity and skills needed for deep inquiry. "

    Is this role-playing being done in the name of the Ministry of Education?

    What is my background to be so disturbed by all this? In the 70s my young children were in a VSB experimental school program from which we soon withdrew after a research report showed students behind in reading and math. I was a member of a parent group (non-PTA) active in improving parent involvement (a new superintendent from Que was hired) and our group received a grant from the Federal Secretary of State to found a service to help parents be involved. One of the first things we did was to codify parent rights in education from sources from around the world (NZ, AU, USA, UK, etc.).
    Amongst the rights was this one about Safeguards:

    “To expect strict supervision over new programs, innovations and experiments, and that parents have special rights in these instances:
    • to receive a written description of the program, rationale, goals and supporting references
    • to grant or refuse permission for their child’s attendance
    • to receive satisfaction that the program is run by qualified, well-prepared personnel
    • to be involved in the ongoing evaluation.”

    In view of technological and cultural changes I think it’s high time that Family Rights in Education be updated and brought forward to address 21st C Learning concerns.

  3. Whole-Language Fall-out

    September 18, 2015 by Tunya

    Whole-Language Baggage Continues To Clutter Education Agendas 

    It’s true — I’m finding out as I research the whole-language movement — it was never just about teaching reading. Whole-language has religious, ideological overtones. It sets out to shape the holistic, humanistic child. It attracts discontented teachers.

    Reading — the physical act of reading — is a straightforward skill taught engaging the language hemisphere of the brain. English is a phonetic language. Decoding takes patience, but once learned (and taught), also becomes a transferable aptitude applicable to other challenges beyond reading.

    Whole-language approach is a huge package of social and emotional learning, emphasizing “guessing” of sight words, and encompasses school experiences far beyond primary years when basic reading should have been mastered and “reading to learn” replacing “learning to read”.

    It’s a long, unpleasant story — the Reading Wars. Started in 1898 by John Dewey who called phonics a “drill” and perversion he helped set in motion the collectivist/progressive movement in education, “learning by doing”, and we still reap the dubious and damaging “rewards” in 21st C Learning initiatives in our Western English-speaking world.

    The late Samuel Blumenfeld (The New Illiterates, Crimes of the Educators) quotes in his book on Homeschooling the words of Dr. Seuss on the matter:

    “That damned ‘Cat in the Hat’ . . . I did it for a textbook house and they sent me a word list. That was due to the Dewey revolt in the Twenties, in which they threw out phonic reading and went to word recognition . . . I think killing phonics was one of the greatest causes of illiteracy in the country . . . there were two hundred and twenty-three words to use in this book . . . I read the list three times and I almost went out of my head. I said, I’ll read it once more and if I can find two words that rhyme that’ll be the title of my book . . . I found ‘cat’ and ‘hat’ and I said, ‘The title will be ‘The Cat in the Hat.’”

    See more on this viewpoint – see comment :

  4. Flabby Families & Absence of choice

    September 9, 2015 by Tunya

    Choicelessness Leads To Flabby Families

    Certainly, the model of Education Savings Accounts as a way of ensuring education as a public good is overdue. Thankfully, both persuasion and budgetary realities are convincing legislators to release their tight controls over prescriptive education spending and to trust parents to make wise decisions using ESAs. The more jurisdictions (5 US states so far) that do this the better the chances of an educated public — people able to lead self-sufficient lives and participate in free democratic citizenship. Such is the yet-unproven promise of these new models. (We can be sure there are still considerable resistance and overt and covert opposition to ESAs. Good luck with the continuing effort!)

    Yes, the freeing up of the education dollar has had a long discussion over the decades. Coons and Sugarman did propose something along the lines of ESAs or vouchers way back in ’78. Now, I would like to bring forward more of Coons’ views as they relate to family policy as counter to persistent centralizing efforts.

    See this interview — School Choice as Family Policy: John E. Coons —

    Some short excerpts:

    “ [Choice as family policy] . . . is one of the most important things we could possibly do as therapy for the institution of the family, for which we have no substitute. The relationship between the parent and child is very damaged if the parent loses all authority over the child for six hours a day, five days a week, and over the content that is put into the child's mind."

    "What must it be like for people who have raised their children until they're five years old, and suddenly, in this most important decision about their education, they have no say at all? They're stripped of their sovereignty over their child."

    “And what must it be like for the child who finds that his parents don't have any power to help him out if he doesn't like the school?”

    "It's a shame that there are no social science studies on the effect of choicelessness on the family. If you are stripped of power—kept out of the decision-making loop—you are likely to experience degeneration of your own capacity to be effective, because you have nothing to do. If you don't have any responsibilities, you get flabby. And what we have are flabby families at the bottom end of the income scale."

    We won’t expect any sympathy or studies on lack of choice from the new Think Tank, Learning Policy Institute (Linda Darling-Hammond, Pres and CEO), will we? Yet one more “non-partisan” central command effort to keep families at arms-length from their children’s education.

  5. Illiteracy Issue — again

    August 28, 2015 by Tunya

    Time To Re-open The Entire Illiteracy Issue — AGAIN

    For those of us who LOVE reading — for pleasure and for knowledge — these are trying times.

    Already, there is an URGENT call from homeschool families who have lost homes due to wildfires.  The call is for donations to help them reestablish their libraries, amongst other help needed.  These are people who depend VERY MUCH on reading for education of their children.

    Sorry, for going off tangent.  I mean to very briefly talk about the significance of Sam Blumenfeld’s long life, and contribution to the field of literacy, and the sadness about his passing.

    Being involved as a “consumer” (parent, citizen, taxpayer) of education for over 45 years, and wondering why “the system” DID NOT WANT the consumer closely involved, my awakening to this frustrating circumstance came from reading Sam’s writings.  He opened my eyes, mind and heart to the underground, the underbelly, of the public education system.  Some revelations:

    1. The public education systems (internationally) are political, with both power and ideology agendas
    2. Economics and the exploitation of the field by vested interests, publishers, professors, etc. is rampant.
    3. Literacy, or the ability to read is not about being functionally literate to make logical sense of the world — NO, literacy has become a tool for people to become CONDITIONALLY literate to be able to change the world to one of social justice and equity.
    4. Etc.

    Of all the reading I have done to try and find the one best source to help break “the code” of this imposed exploitation of the public  — the who, why, how — Blumenfeld’s books are the snappiest, most insightful.  If you can find “New Illiterates and how to keep your child from becoming one” — read it.  In 1973 he had broken “the code” of how “whole-word” got started as a new reading “movement”.  It was always meant to be for DEAF children who could not hear sounds.  But, politically it was adopted as a method for all children, and still plagues us to this day.

    PERHAPS the best starting point is to get his latest book, issued just a few months before his death — Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America's Children. 

    Read the 30 plus reviews first and let’s read this together. 

    Maybe we can wrangle this beast down.  Why do we still talk about one in seven, or one in four, or whatever, of our children being “functionally illiterate”.

    That is unacceptable.  Maybe EXIT from “the system” is really the ONLY way to avoid this issue.  Hence, homeschoolers or Education Savings Accounts so parents can choose the schools they need..  Let’s talk!