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The Forum > Article Comments > Education is too important to leave to schools > Comments

Education is too important to leave to schools : Comments

By Susan Wight, published 15/2/2008

It is time for families to take back at least some of their educational role - it can’t be just left to schools.

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Even though I agree with some of the points made in this article I am very wary of the home schooling philosophy. Most home schooling parents I have come into contact with(not many I admit) seem to be homeschooling their kids to protect them from the influence of what they see as a negative wider society. Many seem to be fundamenatlist Christians. As a parent of two I view school as very much a process of socialisation as well as education. School in most cases prepares students well for living in society with all its positives and negatives. The process of adolesence is sometimes difficult but most kids will grow up resilient and properley equipped for the challenges of their lives ahead. Home schooling to me removes this very important challenge to get on with a range of people not all of them your friends and learn the ability to work in teams. Parents do need to provide opportunity for kids to learn as part of their family-it is not that hard to create these situations. It is a very big move to make the home the primary educational setting.
Posted by pdev, Friday, 15 February 2008 1:24:06 PM
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States/NT each their own such Education acts, for educating children to be compulsory.

Accepted often was that Aboriginals not included, this continues, as usual with "good intentions"...

In late 1970's some discrimination investigations produced changes requiring NOT that all children - including Aboriginal children, were required to attend school, rather watering down of requirements for all children to attend.,,

States/NT not prepared to enforce their laws, not prepared to drag families to court to ensure non attenders and their families understood their legal obligations to ensure their children attended schools, so ability to avoid attendance was widened.

States/NT took Commonwealths increasing basic education per student funding, whilst not ensuring same students attended school to receive it.

Reduced "average" attendances allowed movement of staff to other schools.

Establishing Primary schools in rural/remote areas refused by using label "Aboriginal" so ignoring clear duty of care obligations for State/NT to provide schools where enrollments sufficient in numbers.

Similar with non-attendance clauses “if a child is under regular and efficient instruction in some other manner”.

Far to many "sympathetic" supporters argued existed no need Aboriginal children learn reading, writing and arithmetic, as long as were learning "Traditional law", how to hunt and gather, along with other less academic activities was sufficent, indeed was desirable so as to protect "Aboriginal Culture".

Posted by polpak, Friday, 15 February 2008 5:28:38 PM
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I was quite excited when I saw the summary of this article, though my excitement turned to disappointment when I actually read it.

Yes, families need to take a more active role in educating children. That role, however, should be in collaboration with a school. School isn't only about producing employees with experience and skills - it's also about producing citizens with ethics and understandings that help them to get along in society. Certainly, there is a place for life experience, but surely young children doing work experience isn't the best idea - imagine a 12 year-old doing informal experience in a coal mine. Either he (or she) would be placed in a dangerous environment without the knowledge to protect himself, or he would be kept 'safe' in an office and gain no understanding of a miner's work at all.

Similarly, family holidays during school time rarely benefit students. They have 6 weeks off at Christmas - time enough for a lengthy real-world learning experience. Rather that than missing out on crucial concepts at school.

Yes, families need to get involved, but to do so they need to work with schools to form partnerships for their kids' futures.
Posted by Otokonoko, Saturday, 16 February 2008 1:28:10 AM
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My children would have benefited from a partnership type relationship with school. Instead all we got was a living hell. They could have just attended school part time - to do certain subjects and to mix with peer groups but the rest of the time they would have been better of at home as I was at home and they were kids who were motivated and ambitious and who had access to technology and information and who wanted to learn. The school system did not and does not meet their educational, social or emotional needs. They are identified highly gifted students and for the most part of it they are wasting their time and wishing their childhood away. You don't have to be gifted to be impacted in this way, any child who isn't across the board average suffers in some way with the way the system is set up today.

My children see their school experiences as a sentence and liken it to time in prison. Although they are sure that the toilet blocks in prison are in a better condition that the public school toilets and that prisoners have more rights and are treated with more respect.

I agree that schools should be more flexible and work with the parents and the students. This would not only benefit the students, it would also eaze some of the strain on the schools.

Education - Keeping them Honest
Our Children deserve better
Posted by Jolanda, Saturday, 16 February 2008 2:55:42 PM
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I agree pdev, I understand much of the movement can be traced back to the desegregation that occurred in the southern United States in the 60s. This also spawned the formation of many independent christian schools when many churches set up education centres in their basements presumably so their children wouldn't be tainted by having to mix with 'those kind of folks'.

Be that as it may I do have real sympathy for the argument that parents have to take a strong role in educating their children. That is why I was prepared to take my two out of school for three days to do the 9 hour drive to Canberra to experience the 'Sorry Day' occasion at parliament house. I felt the need to reinforce the small 'c' christian values we deem important and to strengthen an ethic that will allow them to make a difference when their generation takes responsibility for our society.

I am also under no illusion that having chosen the public system for my children we are going to have to be a lot more involved than if we had taken the private route. However a couple of months ago I met a chap who had his kids in a prestigious private school locally. Although he and his wife lived close by the children were bordered at the school. He was having to work ridiculous hours to pay for the high fees but felt he was doing the right thing.

I'm not so sure.

Stronger and better performing inclusive public schools are really what we need to be aiming for. Those parents who object to the inclusiveness I have little time for but those who feel the education on offer is of such a low standard, both in content and environment, that they need to home school, need to be listened to.
Posted by csteele, Sunday, 17 February 2008 12:22:48 PM
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"Turn the Lens Back onto Community".

Given the need to our expand human knowledge, the way technology is influencing, challenging the (survival) skills we require to live, Schools do not have a monopoly on “whole” knowledge, and nor ought they.

I am surprised that this “common sense” argument is taking so much to understand.

In juxtaposition, I see a flanking number of educational issues that compare also in the dubious arguments of ‘primary health’…. a) that we (the taxpayer) could buy better health or teachers by paying more to attract nurses/teachers (and doctors) or b) that nurses/teacher (and doctors) are the only experts present, who could help.

In both frameworks I question the environmental aspects. The mentality of those promoting such dogmatic rhetoric.

I say we will always fail without the engagement of allied experts, mentor’s, peers and “people” helping within community… That there is a break-down of GLUE, a glue that binds us. Identify the gaps in the experience of the individual.

I think the single-institutional approach in both frameworks (being education and health) fails many, making them “nameless, ageless, faceless” by default.

The problem we are dealing with here is found in the social, economic and political-historical institutional-environment. There is a “fast-lane” mentality current that steam-rolls the life-style of citizens. This reality is causing an apathetic response in civic matters, at ground level. This I say is causing, unfairly, a situation I describe as a form of “social drift”.

Parents are being asked to choose one or the other (Home-Education or School). Teachers are working under high levels of duress. Families(under-pressure) are being blamed for the increase of social ills, while the institutions fail to integrate their skills, policies and services, so as to target the needs of the individual.

An educational revolution is required throughout the administrations of government.

Public servants, in all their capacity, NEED to realise they are part of “whole” society, even when they work.

My own view is that civic issues need to become a highlight in debate, so as to level the playing field, within community-education-and-health, for ALL.
Posted by miacat, Sunday, 17 February 2008 1:51:57 PM
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