Home Schooling in the USA

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Home Schooling in the USA

Postby Roger Stanyard » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:21 am

Thisis an interesting article on home schooling in the USA and how it is dominated by religious fundamentalists: http://prospect.org/article/homeschool-apostates

It makes for some frightening reading. It's also clear that fundamentalist home schooling has had powerful names behind it - James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and the murderous Rousas Rushdoony.
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby cathy » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:27 am

I've just read the book that the film Philomena was based on (don't bother, it's interesting when about the Irish system and her but most of it is about him and is a bit dull) and Jerry Falwell's name comes up quite a bit in relation to Regan's republican party and it's religious right/homophobic stance.

Was he a player in the Regan administration?

I have huge suspicions about parents that home school. How do you actuall ensure they get taught things like science by science graduates, english by english graduates, history by history graduates and so on and on and on. How do you give them things like sport and drama and playing in orchestras without spending an absolute fortune in after school clubs? Plus how do they learn to make friends and get on with people they don't like?
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby Peter Henderson » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:09 am

I have huge suspicions about parents that home school


How on earth can people who aren't qualified teachers teach, especially if they don't understand the curriculum themselves ?????????

I've always wondered about that.
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby Roger Stanyard » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:13 am

cathy wrote:I've just read the book that the film Philomena was based on (don't bother, it's interesting when about the Irish system and her but most of it is about him and is a bit dull) and Jerry Falwell's name comes up quite a bit in relation to Regan's republican party and it's religious right/homophobic stance.

Was he a player in the Regan administration?

I have huge suspicions about parents that home school. How do you actuall ensure they get taught things like science by science graduates, english by english graduates, history by history graduates and so on and on and on. How do you give them things like sport and drama and playing in orchestras without spending an absolute fortune in after school clubs? Plus how do they learn to make friends and get on with people they don't like?


Falwell was of the hard Republican Right but was not part of the Reagan administration. In practice the Reagan administration (and those since) largely ignored the fundamentalists. They threw the fundamentalists a few crumbs to get the votes in, though. Indeed, the high water mark of fundamentalist influence on US federal politics was in the 1980s with the rise of the likes of the Christian Coalition and Pat Robertson standing as a presidential candidate.

The fundamentalists failed in most of their targets - banning abortion, getting religion and creationism into state schools, etc., and, indeed, creationing a "Biblical theocracy". However, they do appear to have been a principal factor in the destruction of the Republican Party as a functional political movement.
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby Roger Stanyard » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:17 am

Peter Henderson wrote:
I have huge suspicions about parents that home school


How on earth can people who aren't qualified teachers teach, especially if they don't understand the curriculum themselves ?????????

I've always wondered about that.


It does appear that in the right hands home schooling can be very effective. However the Prospect report suggests that some two thirds to three quarters of home-schoolers are children of fundamentalist parents. Fundamentalists are not known for being particularly bright (especially when it comes to science).
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby cathy » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:31 am

Indeed, the high water mark of fundamentalist influence on US federal politics was in the 1980s with the rise of the likes of the Christian Coalition and Pat Robertson standing as a presidential candidate.

The fundamentalists failed in most of their targets - banning abortion, getting religion and creationism into state schools, etc., and, indeed, creationing a "Biblical theocracy". However, they do appear to have been a principal factor in the destruction of the Republican Party as a functional political movement.


That all got mentioned as well, bar the creationism. Quite a lot of the book gave an insight into 1980s American right wing policies and how Regan refused to recognise the AIDs crisis initially to keep the religious right on board. It is an interesting book in that respect, I hadn't realised just how influential they seemed to be and at one point they refer to Regan as closet tolerant.

The start of the book gave an even more horrific insight into the role of the RC church in Ireland's state up until relatively recently. I hadn't realised that De Valera et al were terrified to do anything that the RC church didn't like (including maternity care) lest they were preached against in the pulpit. Plus the huge sums of money they made selling babies to Americans, slave labour and a host of other things. Though it doesn't surprise me the RC church has always been as much a business as anything.

Interesting that in terms of theocracies Irelands seems to have got as close as you can get outside of Islamic states. Though luckily not creationists, just bastards. Just don't think Sixsmith got the balance right, there is very little about Philomena's search and lots about his. Unlike the film.
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby cathy » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:12 pm

Some interesting stuff in Fridays TES re the latest pisa rankings of maths, english and science :evil: . Not necessarily related to creationionism per se but interesting non the less.

After doing a hatchet job on the methodology etc TES went on to compare various countries rankings in more detail,including the USA which didn't rank well considering its wealth. It compared Massachusetes and Florida and found one way above their pisa overall average and one way below. Mass was above and in maths and science was getting towards the Asian countries. Florida on the other hand - nope. Florida by the way had lots of charter schools introduced by Jeb Bush - similar to our free schools i think.

I'm guessing Florida, a good old republican state, might be more inclined towards creationism than Mass? I'm not sure and there is nothing mentioned in the article but I did wonder?
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:18 pm

Even further off topic, I thought I heard something very strange on the wireless in the night. I think it must have been "More or Less". I'll try to find it on iPlayer but the gist is that they gave three sample questions. The most difficult, level 6, involved working out an average speed from a return journey via two routes. The pupils in top countries got it right about 30% of the time, middle-ranking countries only 3%. The numbers were set to make the calculation trivial and in my day it would have been an 11+ question.
Has anyone seen any sample questions? Were they all for primary school children? Or was I actually listening to a satirical programme? I wouldn't have thought so, because they were taking issue with the statistics used to justify giving different groups of questions to different groups of children (Different countries?)

Later: I've found this very similar question, with the question slightly more obscured, from the 2012 qurstions:
The Gotemba walking trail up Mount Fuji is about 9 kilometres (km) long.
Walkers need to return from the 18 km walk by 8 pm.
Toshi estimates that he can walk up the mountain at 1.5 kilometres per hour on average, and down at twice that speed. These speeds take into account meal breaks and rest times.
Using Toshi’s estimated speeds, what is the latest time he can begin his walk so that he can return by 8 pm?
It doesn't say where that's supposed to fit on the scale of difficulty, and of course nothing about the pass rates. Two other Fuji questions are no more difficult.
http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisa2012-2006-rel-items-maths-ENG.pdf
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:05 pm

Brian Jordan wrote:Even further off topic, I thought I heard something very strange on the wireless in the night. I think it must have been "More or Less". I'll try to find it on iPlayer but the gist is that they gave three sample questions. The most difficult, level 6, involved working out an average speed from a return journey via two routes. The pupils in top countries got it right about 30% of the time, middle-ranking countries only 3%. The numbers were set to make the calculation trivial and in my day it would have been an 11+ question.
Has anyone seen any sample questions? Were they all for primary school children? Or was I actually listening to a satirical programme? I wouldn't have thought so, because they were taking issue with the statistics used to justify giving different groups of questions to different groups of children (Different countries?)

Later: I've found this very similar question, with the question slightly more obscured, from the 2012 qurstions:
The Gotemba walking trail up Mount Fuji is about 9 kilometres (km) long.
Walkers need to return from the 18 km walk by 8 pm.
Toshi estimates that he can walk up the mountain at 1.5 kilometres per hour on average, and down at twice that speed. These speeds take into account meal breaks and rest times.
Using Toshi’s estimated speeds, what is the latest time he can begin his walk so that he can return by 8 pm?
It doesn't say where that's supposed to fit on the scale of difficulty, and of course nothing about the pass rates. Two other Fuji questions are no more difficult.
http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisa2012-2006-rel-items-maths-ENG.pdf
Edit to add:
I see why More or Less was wondering about their statistics. A report from the OECD includes:
Scores for science were 516 in England, 513 in Scotland and 507 in Northern Ireland. This
showed little change from PISA 2009, where the scores were 515, 514 and 511 respectively.
Little change? How about "not significantly different"? They either have a politician's view of numbers or a remarkable degree of overconfidence in the reproducibility of their testing!
http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/PISA-2012-results-UK.pdf
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby cathy » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:46 pm

The most difficult, level 6, involved working out an average speed from a return journey via two routes. The pupils in top countries got it right about 30% of the time, middle-ranking countries only 3%. The numbers were set to make the calculation trivial and in my day it would have been an 11+ question.

Still is, as to my shame my kids took the discredited 11+ :oops: But pisa was for fifteen year olds. But across the board measure makes a difference. Second child went to a comprehensive, they educated a whole range - from the top > 11 A* students thru to ones who could barely read when they went in in year7. In fact on her leaving day the DT teacher was showing us some of the textiles work and pointed to one that a girl who couldn't read or write at 11 had done. Pointed out that like some of the others she would never be academic but had least had gained something. We all agreed than about how narrow our measures of intelligence were. Teh same girl got to do a very simple reading at the leavers do. Meant so much to her.

I wouldn't have thought so, because they were taking issue with the statistics used to justify giving different groups of questions to different groups of children (Different countries?)


I'll send you a copy of the TES report, basically slamming it - part of it is here
www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storyCode=6379193
. The top countries were all Asian

I really do not buy the crap about dumbing down in education tho because my kids learnt far more than I ever did and are far brighter. In fact I learnt grammar from helping with their primary school homeworks (verbs, adverbs etc, never learnt any of that in my day). Plus the old O levels may have had slightly more depth BUT only about 25% of the population took them AND you took about six. Everyone gets a shot at gcses and my first and second child took about 13 each. So far more rounded than I ever was :evil: Gove is far to narrow, there is far more to schooling than an exam factory, tho that is important. I'm not sure how useful cramming for 3 or 4 hours after school is for a child.
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby cathy » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:51 pm

Did like this bit in a TES blog about pisa tho
Sweden, the inspiration for England’s free schools programme, also saw its scores dip in all three areas and slipped from 26th to 38th in maths, 29th to 38th in science and 19th to 36th in reading. John Bangs, chair of the OECD trade union advisory committee’s education working group, said: “My belief is that Finland and Sweden are suffering from the strains of declining economies and the social pressures this causes.

In Sweden’s case, this is compounded by a disastrous experiment with the private sector and free schools. Michael Gove [England’s education secretary] can no longer turn a blind eye to that.”

heh heh
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Re: Home Schooling in the USA

Postby jon_12091 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:37 pm

Basically illustrates that the much vaunted fundamentalist venture to create 'culture warriors' has blown up in its collective face - basically those smart enough to enter public or political service as envisaged by the strategy are walking away from or turning on the movement and those remain within it won't cut it because they can't think outside their rigid conventions. Patrick Henry and similar institutions simply don't get the raw human material and when they do I suspect they lack the ability and resources to extract the best from it.

Its also clear that homeschooling is a significant revenue stream for the apologetics industry - hence Ham getting all Alpha-male territorial at homeschooling conferences when challenged. Though I bet he wishes he had the HSLDA's income stream. I suspect that one of the best defences against creationism that the UK has is that there is just such a small market for what they're selling - it also helps that I think for the most part Christianity in the UK is considerably less in thrall to the to idea that you can buy a Christian lifestyle. Though on the downside certain ideas and attitudes born of the 'culture wars' are taking root here.

As for animal rights being communists lol - a vegan and pro-animal colleague at work reads the Daily Mail!
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