Under political reasons for homeschooling parents can lump objections to either liberal or conservative opinions and practices within the school or the materials the school uses. In Diane Ravitch’s book The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn, Ms. Ravitch details how the size of two public school textbook markets, those of California and Texas, drive the selfcensorship of textbook publishers. California’s needs are liberal, those of Texas conservative. 1
There is great polarity within American society; we are not an homogenous people and do not hold uniform views. The political slant of American public schooling seems to sway with the winds of each place and, given the diversity of political opinion in the country, this can serve only to guarantee that someone, somewhere, will object to either educational content, or pedagogical practices, in schools. In addition to the parents of schoolchildren having opinions about what is taught and how the teaching is presented, the people footing the bill, ie, everyone paying taxes, want to have a say as to how their money is spent. The theory of republican representation is fine just as long as it doesn’t interfere with the democratic expression of how individuals feel when someone else is spending their money.
Questions also come up concerning the motives of the educational bureaucracy. The following was in a Saturday newspaper insert concerning a Kansas City suburban school district’s summer school program:
“The revenue would come from the state, which reimburses school districts for summer programs based on the number of students and the number of hours spent in classrooms. Newton [an affiliate of Edison schools, a company that specializes in school programs] by helping the district pay for bus transportation and by recruiting more students to enter summer school, projected that summer enrollment could increase from 1,300 in [the year] 2000 to between 2,300 and 2,800 in 2003, . . . The program also would increase the number of hours each class meets from 120 to 168 . . .” One-hundred sixty-eight hours of summer school would be roughly 3 hrs./day x (12x 5-day weeks).
Whose interest is served by attending summer school? The children’s or the bureaucracy’s?
Some people might argue that with an increased enrollment that all children benefit from an increased flow of cash into the school. This is true up to a point, but that point is one we may be far past. This rationale uses children as schoolfodder at the expense of family, the natural social unit.
1. Diane Ravitch, Hoover Institute
Copyright 2006, Valerie Bonham Moon
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