Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Homeschooling Alone: Why Corporate Reformers are Ignoring the Revolution in Education

This article, Homeschooling Alone: Why Corporate Reformers are Ignoring the Revolution in Education, looks at the corporate world's influence on education reform. A key point is that the private sector has always been involved in the affairs of public schools. And now they disingenuously decry a system that they helped create. -Angela

"Today’s private-sector benefactors forge an entirely different path, dumping only hundreds of millions each year into the public school system. They promote charter schools (which boast a nationwide enrollment of around 500,000). They champion school vouchers (which are currently used by fewer than 20,000 students nationwide)."

"If today’s corporate reformers don’t know much about history, they do display a well-developed sense of irony. In one breath, they argue for more “school choice.” In the next, they advocate the development of “best practices” that can be franchised from classroom to classroom and lobby for legislation like the No Child Left Behind Act, which essentially coerces all schools everywhere to teach the same subjects using the same methods and materials."

Here's another comment about why corporate philanthropists don't invest heavily in homeschooling:

What makes such lack of interest especially baffling is that, theoretically at least, homeschooling seems tailor-made to the values and needs of business. It’s a private, union-free institution in which the government plays only a minor role. It’s an endlessly customizable approach to education that offers an alternative to the one-size-fits-all limitations of public school. It produces self-directed individuals who have learned how to acquire new skills without constant supervision or coercion.

The downside? It may be a little harder to mass-market Doritos, Nikes, and other articles of trade in a Southern Baptist’s living room than it is in a public school. But in an era when the phrase school choice has become the mantra of so many education reformers and philanthropists, homeschooling, a choice that millions of parents and children have already enthusiastically embraced, remains the most unleveraged asset in the education universe. 

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