Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Another good reason to home school
I am incompetent to judge the legal arguments Rivkin makes, but they all seem reasonable to me. Given the laws we've got, the consequences he outlines seem straightforward enough.
However, I am competent to judge whether or not those consequences are worthwhile.
They are not, and no one who has ever been in or near a public school and has the best interests of children at heart could possibly entertain the notion that they are. It follows, therefore, that Rivkin is either ignorant or hates children.
Everything that Rivkin advocates stems from the assumption that 'mainstreaming' -- that is, putting children of the same age together in the same room to be taught by the same person, no matter what -- is the summum bonum of education practice. In short, that whatever differences might exist between individuals should be summarily erased by our schools.
For a contrary argument, see Harrison Bergeron.
Basically, Rivkin argues that, once a child has been labeled 'disabled', he is permanently immune from all disciplinary and, especially, criminal consequences of his actions. Instead, any infraction of school rules is to be answered with revisions to the student's IEP (individualized education plan), which the Federal IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Education Act) mandates that schools prepare for all disabled students.
As it happens, I have a little experience with IDEA. My eldest daughter went through the various procedures and received a diagnosis of ADD. Reading through the material, I concluded, and said to the principal of my daughter's school, "It looks like I can make you do absolutely anything I want."
He sighed and agreed.
Now, fortunately for him (and my daughter), I'm a reasonable guy and not given to litigation. However, an educational regime that depends on parental reasonableness in order to function is not going to be particularly stable.
I also have grave misgivings about the validity of ADD -- everyone I know and like has most or all of the 'symptoms', and anyone who did not have any of them would be incredibly dull company. But that's a completely different fight ....
Eventually -- and after my daughter was knocked down during a fight between two (undoubtedly 'disabled') miscreants, who were, of course, not punished in any way whatsoever -- we withdrew her from school and taught her at home. She ended up at a local community college instead of high school, getting an AA at the age her peers were getting their diplomas, got a second AA the next year from a four-year college, and is finishing her BFA this year, at the age of 20.
So it worked out well for us, but we have resources, both financial and intellectual, that the majority of families don't have.
It should be obvious, at least to all who stop to think, that the presence of even a single disruptive child in a classroom is sufficient to prevent all the rest from learning as they ought. The Rivkins of America are attempting to ensure that every American class will have at least one such student, and in this they have largely succeeded.
Perhaps you have noticed that American students are both stupider and more ignorant than their Asian and European peers? There just could be a connection ...
posted by vepxistqaosani 8:27 AM