More parents exploring homeschooling may be shutdown's silver lining
Michael Rebell, a professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, worries that if parents home-school, "There's no guarantee that kids are learning democratic values, civic knowledge."
"Were they learning that in their regular schools?" I asked.
"Well... it's in the curriculum," he responded.
So what? The Nation's Report Card, the government's biggest nationwide test, reveals that government-school students don't know much about history or civics.
One question asked fourth graders, "Which country was the leading communist nation during the Cold War?" Only 21% answered the Soviet Union. More said France or Germany. American students did worse than if they had guessed randomly.
Another question: "America fought Hitler and Germany in which war?" More picked the Civil War than World War II.
Nevertheless, said Rebell, home schooling is still worse because "there's no effective regulation to know what's going on."
"You sound like you think -- because there's regulation, that makes something happen," I said.
"I do," he replied. "Where there's no regulation, that's a worse situation."
But "no regulation" is the wrong way to think about it. There is plenty of regulation. It just comes from legislators and families instead of education bureaucrats.
If this pandemic steers more parents away from state schools, that's probably a good thing.
Philosopher John Stuart Mill warned: "State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another... which pleases the predominant power in the government (and) establishes a despotism over the mind."
A silver lining to this pandemic is that now more parents are learning about their options outside the government system.
John Stossel is author of "Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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