If this progressive argument against homeschooling doesn’t convince you to keep your children out of public school, your IQ is probably even lower than the average public school teacher’s:
“[m]any people, liberal and conservative alike, are deeply offended by critiques of compulsory schooling.” I suppose I am one of them. I benefited from 13 years of public education in one of the most diverse and progressive school districts in the United States. My father, stepmother, stepfather, and grandfather are or were public school educators. As an education journalist, I’ve admired many public schools that use culturally relevant, high-standards curricula to engage even the most disadvantaged students. These schools are sustained by the talents of impossibly hard-working teachers who want to partner with parents and kids, not oppress them.
Despite our conflicting perspectives, I agree with Taylor that school ought to be more engaging, more intellectually challenging, and less obsessed with testing. But government is the only institution with the power and scale to intervene in the massive undertaking of better educating American children, 90 percent of whom currently attend public schools. (And it’s worth remembering that schools provide not just education, but basic child care while parents are at work.) Lefty homeschoolers might be preaching sound social values to their children, but they aren’t practicing them. If progressives want to improve schools, we shouldn’t empty them out. We ought to flood them with our kids, and then debate vociferously what they ought to be doing.
The last sentence perfectly summarizes the progressive argument in a nutshell. The prime directive is to make sure everyone is under government control. Once that’s accomplished, then we can debate what’s to be done with them.
The fact of the matter is that the public schools are doomed thanks to the combination of declining societal wealth, an increasingly diverse population with correspondingly lower average IQ, and improving technology. And progressive attempts to shame parents back into the schools isn’t going to work because those who are most susceptible to progressive arguments, such as they are, are the least likely to have children.