Well, I'm back from our first home schooling field trip. We toured the capital, watched Senators debate legislation, met with our Senator, spent time with our Representative's staff, toured the library of Congress, toured the Supreme Court, visited the war memorials, saw Panda's at the National Zoo, learned geology at the Smithsonian, ate lunch at Union Station and the Reagan Commerce Building, toured the White House, and watched the sun set across the Lincoln and Washington Memorials. In three days, the students learned about architecture, civics, history, art, science, politics, biology and economy.
At home, we prepared for the trip by reading about Washington D.C., learning about the three branches of government, how America came to be, and what a Democracy is. The kids had the time of their life.
The National Education Association was busy, too. Here is their resolution on home schooling:
"B-75. Home Schooling. The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being born by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.
"The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools...."
Just to clarify the NEA position:
- Home schoolers receive less than comprehensive education.
- Home schooling parents should pay their school taxes and pay their child's education costs at home.
- Home schooling teachers, even those with more education than teachers, should be state licensed.
- Home schoolers must use state mandated curriculum.
- Home schooling children should NOT be able to enjoy any extra-curricular activities that their parent's taxes pay for.
Reform is coming to No Child Left Behind, but the question is what kind. Teachers unions, which bitterly oppose the law, are pushing to relax its rigid testing rules and penalties.Part of the reason parents choose home schooling is to creatively meet the child's needs. The NEA would like to restrict this flexibility, of course, while demanding relaxed requirements of them, so their success as teachers isn't tied to their students.
"It narrows the curriculum," said Joel Packer, a policy manager for the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union. "Particularly in reading, there is this increasingly strict curriculum being imposed that teachers feel doesn't treat them as professionals and is taking creativity out of the classroom."
Special Education has especially enjoyed this laxity. Children are given ridiculously easy requirements to meet and then the education is deemed a success when the child meets them. Everyone looks like a champ. The child falls hopelessly behind.
Not all teachers stink. In fact, many are very good. We are not talking individual teachers here. The overall educational experience is being compared. And teachers are scorning home schooling even though home schoolers have stellar outcomes when compared to public schools.
Maybe when the NEA gets it's house in order, they can share their wisdom with home schoolers.