David Semple on home education
Feb 23, 2009
Bishop Hill in Education

This is a response to an article by David Semple on home education. David Semple is an Oxford-educated teacher and a state-worshipper: the kind of person who has got the country into the authoritarian mess it's in now. I don't normally do swear-blogging, but unfortunately I may have lapsed once or twice during this posting. Semple is basicly a fascist though and I think he deserves it.

Firstly, as a teacher, I’m not willing to be told what I can and can’t empirically examine by a political lobby. Those who provide education in schools are in a position to examine the education provided by home educators.

Bullshit. Teaching one-to-one is completely different to teaching one on thirty. Teachers know precisely nothing about home educated children, either individually or collectively. In fact, teachers know nothing about providing an education to anyone. They don't provide an education in their own schools, they provide indoctrination in left-wingnuttery and environmentalism. David Semple says himself that teachers are not properly trained and that they are delivering a deficient educaiton and yet here he is at the same time saying we should listen to what he and his ilk have to say about home education. The nerve of the man is astonishing.

It may be that the home school lobby don’t want to listen to some of the things which have to be said - but that’s a different issue.

Too right they don't want to listen to you. But you are going to try to force them to listen to you, and moreover to do what you tell them to, anyway. I can think of no better word for this than "fascist".

My concerns are as follows: a) what does the child want

This doesn't bother teachers in schools does it? The child gets the education the school is willing to give them, not the one the child wants. My son wants to learn history and geography and has been told in no uncertain terms that he lump it until high school. This is gross hypocrisy by David Semple, demanding things of home educators that he knows full well are not delivered and can never be delivered in schools.

b) is the child getting the same breadth of education as in a classroom;

Almost certainly. As we've heard in the news this week schools are delivering only English and Maths and not much else, a fact that David Semple even quotes himself! It would be astonishing if home educators could deliver anything quite as crap as Semple and his colleagues manage, and yet here he is questioning HE families.

c) is the child simply being taught to regurgitate the world-view of the parents;

Rather than being taught to regurgitate your worldview I suppose? If I had a penny for every time my children had been indoctrinated into some facet of environmentalism I would be a wealthy man. Oh, but wait a minute, you know better than me, don't you?

d) does the child have access to sufficient resources to support learning to a level equal to that which his or her peers will reach by the same age.

Give tax refunds to home educators. Problem solved. The problem is there is not a teacher in the country who would support this because for these parasites the education system is for feathering their own nests rather than providing a service. And anyway, just how much do you need by way of resources?

All of these things can be measured. I have always been particularly concerned about c) since I know that in the United States, home schooling is increasingly prevalent among extreme Christians and I have seen it suggested that this trend is the same in the UK. If home schooling can be a vehicle to prevent scientific learning, then we should regulate it.

Not only a fascist but an ignorant fascist. Home educators in the UK largely report that religion is not a reason for taking their children out of school. It's because they think that the education provided by Mr Semple and his ilk is crap. And what business is it of yours anyway if parents want to teach their children religious stuff? It doesn't affect you, you fascist prick.

The consequences for science of d) are equally important. If a child is to be kept out of primary school, this is of less importance, but post-11, large swathes of science teaching is practice-led. Titrations, dissections, circuit-building, oscillations and so forth are just some of the practicals for which the equipment is unlikely to be just lying around one’s house.

I am not so narrow minded, of course, to suggest that the lack of this equipment means that home schooling should be dispensed with.

You are pretty narrow-minded though aren't you?

It may simply mean that the LEA should have a remit extending to the provision of such equipment to community centres, where home schooling families can access it. Whether or not it gets used needs to be monitored.

Jesus, can you just for once open your slobbering fascist mouth without demanding that the state monitor somebody. Can you conceive of no human activity that shouldn't be snooped on and checked up on by the state?

I’ve never believed in measuring skirt lengths, tucking in shirts and so forth - and one-to-one teaching obviously gets rid of this sort of requirement. Additional time, with a suitably able parent, also offers the chance for a much broader range of activities - from mechanics to ornithology to wood work. However its a big step from saying, “This is possible” to ensuring that every home schooled child has these opportunities.

Ensuring these opportunities needs to be the responsibility of a body with no intellectual bias towards one form of education or the other - but since primary legislation is the responsibility of the State, it is to the State such a body must answer.

Bullshit again. This is the connection between leftwingnuttery and fascism made plain. "We demand opportunity for everyone and therefore we must have access to your home to check that you are providing it". Why don't you just go ahead and say that you want CCTV in every room to ensure that nobody is doing anything bad?

Collectively, as a society, we have a responsibility to our children - who are not the property of their parents and shouldn’t be treated as such.

And they are the property of "society" are they? You clearly think so. But if you took the trouble to check it out, you would find that children are legally the responsibility of parents. This is why it is not possible to sue the state when your teenagers take to drugs. Are you advocating that this should be possible? Of course not. When you say that children are the "responsibility of society" you don't mean anything of the sort. You are simply demanding a right to indoctrinate them to your personal preferences while avoiding any actual responsibility. It's the same as every other time you deal with the state - interfering busybodies get to tell you what to do but take no responsibility for the outcome. Teachers are not responsible for delivering a shitty education, child welfare officers are not responsible when children die. As soon as the state starts ruining the lives of home educated children they will not be responsible for that either.

Without taking away the right of a child to learn what interests them, there are also certain necessary things every child should know, whether John Holt and his fellow pro-home schoolers want to admit it or not.

Bullshit again. The majority of children come out of our shitty schools without even a semblance of an education and here is this arrogant prick of a teacher claiming that he knows better. The nerve of the man is astonishing.

I’m referring to things like the scientific method, skepticism and all forms of rational argument and the examination of evidence required to support or disprove such an argument.

I wasn't taught any of these things at my shitty bog standard comp. I learned them myself afterwards.

After all, this is a democracy. However distorted our public sphere is by a bias towards Capital, the opinions of the individual still have social consequences. So, as a fellow citizen in a democracy, I want everyone to know about things like evolution and to be able to judge the merits of an argument on the basis of rational thought, not on the basis of prescribed doctrine.

More ignorant prickery. What kind of a semi-educated halfwit thinks that democracy justifies anything? Vote to send people to the gas chambers and that's OK is it? This is why people don't want to let their children near people like you. What happens if someone doesn't want their children to know about recycling or whatever half-baked trendy idea some fart of a teacher has picked up in the pages of Socialist Worker? You couldn't have rational discussion of environmentalism in schools anyway because it's the new state religion and cannot be questioned. Why should your ideas take precedence anyway? What happens if the child isn't interested in evolution on the day you decide to teach it?

My only problem is that, even in schools, teaching to this standard is far from secure!

Genius! Let's try to stop the only alternative in town anyway!

In conclusion, I haven’t met a teacher yet who will deny the important role that family can play in a child’s learning. Also I don’t doubt, looking at the Swedish model as example, that there are better ways to organise education than what we currently have. Home schooling certainly has the potential to be one of these better ways - but how we talk about it is key.

"We" can talk about it all "we" like. Others just wish you'd shut up and let the rest of us get on with our own lives. But of course the Semples of this world will harass us without end because they're doing it for our own good.

Currently the State may be biased against home schooling - but there is no excuse for the near-hysterical reaction of home schoolers to a desire to regulate what they do. We need to find ways to open opportunities for child learning - at home or in school - and we need to do so knowing that this may be against the express wishes of the parents.

Understand this people. For those on the left they are not your children any more, they belong to the state. This is fascism, pure and simple. The man at the LEA knows better than you what is good for your children. David Semple is on a mission from Gordon and you are just going to have to learn your place.

This is at the core of my problem with home schooling; parents have replaced the absolute authority of the State with the absolute authority of themselves - and both need to be a lot more open to democratic regulation. This is reflected, to some extent, in the US figures below; of particular interest should be the 38% who are home schooled on religious grounds, and the 12% who object to what the school teaches.

Ignorant fascist again. Why quote the US figures? The UK ones are available and only 14% of UK home ed parents give religion as a reason. And regardless of that, what right do you have to demand that your views take preference? Choose liberalism and let people make their own minds up, or choose fascism and tell them what they must do.

Parents do have absolute authority because they are legally absolutely responsible. Get that through your cretinous teacher skull.

It highlights the hypocrisy at the heart of the home school movement and begs the question, since when are parents more qualified than teachers to choose what their children can and can’t learn?

Who gives a monkey's about the qualifications? The question is, who gets the better results and the answer is clear - home educating parents without degrees acheive better results for children than degree-educated teachers. Face it, you are working in an industry that does not do anyone any good. You are a waste of space and time. You are a parasite. Go and start doing something useful with your life and stop knackering other people's.

Whether boards of governors, LEAs or some body that will collectively represent home schoolers, this sort of regulation is the right of a democratic society - however we collectively decide to arrange it.

You can collectively naff off.



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