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Government Needs More Oversight, Not Homeschoolers

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Jorea Marple, the West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools, recently gave a speech in which she said homeschoolers need more oversight, better standards, better evidence of progress; homeschoolers have too much flexibility. She either doesn’t know homeschoolers very well, or she knows them too well. I’ll explain later.

Government can no better manage the education of homeschool students than they can manage the education of public school students. It makes no sense to give them more oversight or allow them to limit the academic flexibility of the one subset of the population that is actually being educated – those who are most separated from the public education system. It is because the government is so inept at managing public education, or their budgets, or any government service, that so many parents homeschool. Those parents recognize that government bureaucrats who know nothing about the individual needs of their children can only restrict the intellectual growth of a child through burdensome standards and oversight. Those same parents realize that for their children to get the most out of their education, they need as much flexibility as possible, because no child develops in neat linear paths according to government defined subject silos.

It doesn’t seem as though Ms. Marple is completely ignorant of the reality that an individualized education that is tailored to each child’s various intelligences is the most effective education, though one may question if she is fully cognizant of it. She said that the first priority in public education in West Virginia was “to personalize the learning opportunities for our children.” She seems to grasp that uniform instruction doesn’t produce the best results, so one would think that she’d understand that there is no more personalized education than that which is received at home where a parent is not trying to manage a classroom full of children.

Further, Ms. Marple said that the West Virginia public education system has three goals: to decide what it wants children to learn, how children should behave*, and what children need to achieve by the time they graduate from high school. This statement seems to counter her desire for a more personalized education experience for children; but not necessarily if we consider what her motive is. While deciding what children should learn (instead of allowing children to have some say in their education) and what children need to achieve by the time they graduate inhibit the ability for an individualized education, it can still be personalized according to the state.

Ms. Marple makes clear (see the previously referenced articles) that she believes that a more personalized education can be had if the government just had more money to spend on art, music, dance, drama, physical activity, and technology – lots of technology. By personalized it seems she does not mean individualized to the unique intelligences and learning styles of each child, but instead it means more subjects crammed into the school day and more testing and quicker assessment on predetermined learning objectives that the government expects all students to adhere to. In order to provide such a “personalized” education system, the government will need to confiscate more tax dollars to pay for the massive technology investments, the increased number of teachers to teach the various art, music, dance, drama, and physical education classes, as well as for her stated desire to increase salaries to “elevate the respect and admiration” for teachers. With all that new spending, the government will need more money to hire more administrators to manage the new teachers and larger budget.

The real goal of government agencies is not to solve the problems they were created to deal with, but self-preservation and growth. The more money the government is able to confiscate and spend, the more powerful they become. It seems that Ms. Marple’s desire for a more “personalized” education may very well be a desire to continue the growth of the public education tumor in West Virginia. The greatest threat to that growth would be a resounding argument against her proposed, massive investments in teachers and technology. Homeschooling provides that argument – as it produces vastly superior outcomes at tremendously lower costs to the taxpayer. While her words may lead one to believe that she is ignorant on the superiority of homeschooling, it may very well be that she knows too well the benefits of homeschooling. Her desire to control homeschoolers may be a power play to roll up them up into the public education infrastructure, masking or taking credit for their successes, thereby taking away the greatest threat to the growth of the empire she now reigns over.

* I will avoid analyzing the Orwellian desire of Ms. Marple to determine how children “should behave” in this post.

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9 Responses to " Government Needs More Oversight, Not Homeschoolers "

  1. Betsy Kocsis says:

    Thanks for the link to your blog, but — oh dear. This is something HSLDA posted? Oh my! I need to point out that this link http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/wv/201105170.asp includes words you attribute to Dr. Marple are not a direct quote. These are from my characterization of a what my delegate described. Please revise the your post by removing the quotes above; Dr. Marple did not use that language or those words — I did. Also, just to clarify. I WAS a homeschool parent; my kids no longer homeschool. I serve as an advisor to WVHEA. I need to find out how to get this corrected at the HSLDA site.

  2. Antonio Buehler says:

    Thank you for the clarification. I’ve taken away the quotes.

  3. “– If you were to give a grade to the state’s public education system, what would your grade be?

    I’m not a big person into grades and I think it varies … What I’m looking toward is improvement. I think we do a good job in trying to educate all children. I don’t think all of our stakeholders have the level of commitment they need …

    – Who doesn’t have that level of commitment?

    I think in terms of … if we need technology, and we all agree we do, then all of us have to figure out how we get it.

    – So you need the money.

    We need the money to do that. I’m not sure placing a grade on public education is of any use, versus placing a grade — should we place a grade on legislators and how they performed in this session? Should we place a grade on our health care industry, or should we place a grade on our business industry? All these impact how we do in public education.”

    So, homeschoolers aren’t affected by those things, receive no money whatsoever and they are the ones that need to be graded? Just using her “logic”, since she is only looking for continual improvement, what should the baseline performance for homeschools that receive zero money be?

  4. By the way, in a free market, people “place a grade” on services by voting with their feet and/or wallets. The public school monopoly of forced taxation doesn’t allow this.

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  6. Craig says:

    Ben Bernanke can’t account for half a trillion dollars and yet the Fed still has no oversight. Honest American citizens don’t want their kids brainwashed and indoctrinated… and yet they need MORE oversight. Is that what we’re saying here?

    • Craig says:

      As a follow-up to that last comment, Storm Clouds Gathering has noted that all states depend on 3 monopolies: the monopoly on printing money, the monopoly on violence and the monopoly on the narrative. Homeschooling is a very serious threat to the third monopoly, the monopoly on the narrative. I saw a history professor recently who noted that math and science books will have generic names like Algebra II or Introductory Chemistry, whereas history books will have names like The American Triumph, illustrating the well known phenomenon that “history is the polemics of the victors.” History is the vehicle for instilling nationalism and it is intolerable to the state that parents should actually tell the truth to their children, thus compromising the endless supply of cannon fodder the state depends on.

      Worse yet, when one considers the vast majority of wars (some, like Smedley Butler and John Perkins might say all wars) are bankers’ wars, this misplaced nationalism becomes all the more threatening to the survival of humanity and even our planet itself. This is the real reason why it’s OK for Ben Bernanke to misplace half a trillion dollars while homeschoolers must be strictly monitored, and preferably outlawed.

      • Craig says:

        BTW, one classic example of how the state controls the narrative through public schools in general (and in American history courses in particular) is in the teaching about slavery. I used to think slavery was whitewashed due to a belief that young minds might become traumatized if exposed to the real truth of that institution. But no, slavery is whitewashed for the simple purpose of promoting patriotism/nationalism because after all, who can be patriotic to a country whose history is rife with human rights abuses which required a war to end? If the state thought it could deny slavery altogether, it would do that, but since it knows no one would stand for that, it opts instead to sugarcoat it. Again this is merely one example of how the state controls the narrative about itself (i.e., lies about itself), for the purpose of perpetuating its oligarchic power structure. Others might include the extermination of the indigenous peoples, the establishment of the Federal Reserve, the IRS, the prison industrial complex and the rise of modern-day slavery… I could go on and on. The state allows the truth to be told at the university level, as the cannon fodder will by that time have already been off to war and as a result, will know the truth by then anyway.

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