Homeschooling is Not Progressive-Friendly Because it Allows An Awful Lot of Choice


Last week at Slate, Dana Goldstein offered her views on how homeschooling is in opposition to good, progressive values. The headline and sub were not subtle: "Liberals, Don't Homeschool Your Kids: Why teaching children at home violates progressive values."

Goldstein, well, she's peeved about folks like writer Astra Taylor who has a print essay in N+ about her experiences with unschooling under super-hippie parents, as well as Taylor's explorations of off-beat education options such as Albany's Free school.

But, writes Taylor's fellow-lefty, Goldstein, pointing out the rigidity and excessive rules that often come with public schooling is a "caricature." 

This overheated hostility toward public schools runs throughout the new literature on liberal homeschooling, and reveals what is so fundamentally illiberal about the trend: It is rooted in distrust of the public sphere, in class privilege, and in the dated presumption that children hail from two-parent families, in which at least one parent can afford (and wants) to take significant time away from paid work in order to manage a process—education—that most parents entrust to the community at-large….

Homeschooling is so unevenly regulated from state to state that it is impossible to know exactly how many homeschoolers there are. Estimates range from about 1 million to 2 million children, and the number is growing. It is unclear how many homeschooling families are secular, but the political scientist Rob Reich has written that there is little doubt the homeschooling population has diversified in recent years.* Yet whether liberal or conservative, "[o]ne article of faith unites all homeschoolers: that homeschooling should be unregulated," Reich writes. "Homeschoolers of all stripes believe that they alone should decide how their children are educated."

Basically, if you do have the privilege or the luck or the hard-work or whatever it is to be able to homeschool, you should feel very guilty about that. What's frustrating even from a moderate standpoint is that Goldstein is not even critiquing so-called radicals who might want to abolish the public school all-together. Goldstein disapproves of homeschooling simply as an option. In the progressive world, we all go down together.

And though Goldstein mentions that nobody wants to sacrifice their child on the altar of fixing a bad school, she basically says that's what real progressives must do. No exceptions for physical or mental disability or behavior problems or learning problems or horrible schools or, God forbid, religious or political reasons needed. Simply, if you feel yourself drawn to the left side of the aisle and drawn to homeschooling, ask yourself, as Goldstein does "Could such a go-it-alone ideology ever be truly progressive—by which I mean, does homeschooling serve the interests not just of those who are doing it, but of society as a whole?" She says no. (Goldstein, we can assume, makes serious decisions about herself and her family only after considering the effect it will have on society as whole.)

Taylor, by the way, wrote an online response to Goldstein which demonstrates that she is no education anarchist. She approves of public schools and even condemns supposed "austerity." She also, however, make this libertarian-lite argument:

This is why I think unschooling poses a fundamental challenge worth considering—even if it is utopian and uncompromising and undesirable on a mass scale. Today, conventional wisdom has it that the solution is more, never less. We need more teachers, more textbooks, more discipline, more preparation, more class time, more tests, more metrics, more accountability, more excellence and success (but again, according to what standard?). Since the 1960s the school day and academic year have both lengthened considerably. The amount of homework assigned to a first grader has more than doubled since 1981, a surge that has even caused the New York Times to sound the alarm. Too many schools have become warehouses holding hordes of young people who are monitored by security guards and police, subjected to an ever-increasing number of tests and pre-fab programs of study, and offered diminishing educational opportunities in the fine and liberal arts….

What intrigues me about the history of radical pedagogy and the unschooling tradition is that its proponents were and are not afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom, to dream of different ways of doing things, to take seriously words like "freedom," "autonomy," and "choice"—inspiring and important ideals that have been all but ceded to the political right in recent decades.  Unschooling, I'll readily admit, is not the answer to our nation's educational woes. But taking a closer look at the radical margins may help us ask better questions about what we really want from our educational system and how to go about getting it.

Atlantic's always-dependable Conor Friedersdorf offers his own refutation of Goldstein today. Friedersdorf is also less-than-radical (though he does break out a Hayek quote!) and is entirely sensible. Friedersdorf writes that with all the questions of which school system is best, "I'd bet on the diversified system, the one where there are always competitors with different models to measure public schools against." With all of the problems in the world, it's just irritating that Goldstein would bother to disapprove of homeschooling as simply one more option of many. We could debate many more radical education solutions, but how can you fight against people so completely disinterested in even a modicum of choice?

Reason on homeschoolin' and regular educatin'!

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  1. Are there really no comments on this? Well, not anymore, I guess.

    1. Public schooling vs. home schooling: If the schools in your area are decent, why not both? Doesn’t pass the Libertarian Ideological Purity? test, certainly, but my kids have done very well by this method, especially my youngest. The central premise for them is you need to learn what they say so you can use what they get right and thoroughly refute what they get wrong once you learn better.

      1. this is a strategy I’ve been thinking about possibly using in the future. no kids yet, but hopefully someday.

        just seems like it the public schools already take up so much of kids’ time they wouldn’t have much left for each of sports, music, or other hobbies, fun, and homeschooling/unschooling

      2. If the schools in your area are decent, why not both?

        Because forcing your kids to be in a school from 8:00 – 3:30, plus homework, only to spend even more time filling in the gaps and addressing the errors is a brutal waste of time and also cruel and unusual punishment.

  2. onetime I put a underwear on my head but it smelled real bad because I was wearing them instead.

    1. Had you been farting in jars?

  3. My youngest kid went from being unschooled to almost straight A’s (only a B+ in “science” whatever the fuck that is.) in her charter school it worked out for her.


  4. Dana Goldstein is a vile piece of shit.

    1. They’re not even bothering to raise the mask anymore, HM. It’s right out in front these days.

      1. Why should they? Their guy is in charge, right?

        1. Even if their guy wasn’t I don’t think they’d bother to hide it anymore.

    2. I was gonna say evil fuck, same thing I guess

  5. So all children must be herded into government schools, which will then be run by those most zealously committed to them, people like Ms. Goldstein.

    I seem to recall standing at a fence in 1986 near Fulda, Germany, looking at a country that followed a similar creed.

    1. I was going to say something similar. Is it unfair to say that there is a common thread between this thinking and the left’s slave states in the Eastern bloc? Not only will they follow the leftist creed, but you must too and you MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE. Dissent is intolerable. Non-participation is intolerable. If they have to put down barbed wire and fucking land mines, YOU CAN NOT LEAVE.

      I know your average MSNBC fan looks at that and thinks I’m some crazy wingnut, but why? What part of it isn’t true?

      1. Truth has nothing to do with it, they think you are crazy for even saying it.

  6. Goldstein’s collectivism is repulsive. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that one of the overarching hallmarks of TEAM BLUE is their hatred and fear of anyone saying “fuck you, I’ll do what I want”.

    You must be part of the collective. You must submit to the will of the collective. You cannot excel or be better than anyone else in the collective. You must contribute to the collective. You must cede your children to the collective.


    1. As a secular capitalist liberal, I personally would never hire a the homeschooled spawn of some mouthbreathing, talk radio listening, christfagging wingnecks. I mean, it’s kind of hard for me to hire anyone when I work the frialator at Carl’s Jr., but still.

      1. Shut down Hit & Run. There will never be a better comment than this one.

        1. I l’ed’ol so hard…

          1. He keeps bitchin’ at me to run the shake machine, but, dammit… he’s just not ready for that.

            1. You don’t wanna know what he did with the secret sauce…

              1. We fired him for bathing in our deep sink. You’ve seen the video.

    2. Have to build some walls to keep people on the same page here.

    3. All of what Epi said. ALL OF IT.

      Team blue are far more disciplined in their evil than team red.


  7. Do you know who else wanted one system for everybody?

    1. Dwight Schrute?

      1. Dammit! Give somebody else a chance!

    2. Dewey Decimal?

  8. “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

    They’ve been taking Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” as a how-to manual. The first tip-off is when Goldstein uses the term “the community at large” as synonomous with “the government.”

    1. It takes a village, bitch.

      1. It is a really creepily Orwellian argument — “Progressivism demands your allegiance over all things, and over your petty personal preferences especially!” It meshes well with that recent House Education Committee testimony to the effect that “Educators know better than parents what’s best for children”.

        1. Why do you think I ran for President, Umbriel? Just for the perks of office?

          Naw, muthafuckas… I’m gonna rule your pathetic asses. I don’t care how many terms it takes, either.

  9. Off topic, how did the socialist-progs steal blue? The lefties are all about ‘team blue’ but have a very ‘red’ tradition.

    When I think Karl Marx or Che, first color comes into my head is…red. WTF?

    1. It was a USAToday trope, I’m pretty sure, used in a graphic detailing the results of a Presidential election. Making the Democrats red was just too easy, so they flipped the colors.

    2. My vague recollection is that pre-2000 the media typically used blue to signify the incumbent party and red the challengers (possibly emulating the Blue/Red Home/OpFor colors in military exercises). After the 2000 election there was, of course, much rumination on the results and how national maps looked so “Red” even though the popular vote had gone “Blue”. The geographic/cultural split between the parties seemed obvious from the maps, and the Democrats in particular latched onto to using “Red State” derisively. With the colors having acquired such strong associations, the media was disinclined to flip the colors again for a Republican incumbent, and so they’ve stuck.

  10. But here’s some good news: Hugo Chavez is almost dead!…..p-to-cuba/

    Let’s hope the Castro brothers accompany the no-neck prick down to Hell.

    1. How fucking fucked does the medical service have to be in your own country that going to Cuba is the best choice?

      And yes it will be a happy day when Hugo dies. I hope it is painful and protracted.

      1. Cuba actually does have some good medical care facilities for the Party apparatchiks and such. One of the perks of being amongst the royalty in Gulla-Gulla-Gulag.

        1. Watch the people who cry after he dies.

          Not the people in his country… I mean here in America.

      2. It’s more likely that he fears retribution from the people he has so royally fucked… so he goes to other countries for care.

    2. What happens to his “Venezuela” decals on the nose of Chinese rockets?

    3. Is that story really true though? Are you sure?

    4. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Say it isn’t so my swarthy cancerous master!

  11. It’s news that we hate choice?

    1. Team Blue is only for choice when it comes to abortion and being gay.

      1. I wonder if even that is just a tactical decision. If the progressive collective decides that there are too many humans about, I can see them declaring that the State must decide how many humans will be born. And a good progressive must go along with this decision, yes?

  12. “Low-income kids earn higher test scores when they attend school alongside middle-class kids, while the test scores of privileged children are impervious to the influence of less-privileged peers. So when college-educated parents pull their kids out of public schools, whether for private school or homeschooling, they make it harder for less-advantaged children to thrive.”

    In other words, children who are “privileged” confer positive externalities onto others. Therefore, they must be compelled to attend public schools. QED WTF.

    1. Obviously the thing to do is to mandate that college educated people have more kids and put them in public schools so the benefit is continued and increased.

      It’s only fair.

    2. Similar sentiments voiced by a public sschool teacher I know are a large part of what convinced me and my wife to home school my kids. Their view is smart kids are a public resource — they exist to help bring up the bottom, and who cares if the smart kids are held back in the process.

      Goldstein has done us a public service by laying bare what the “progressive” left really thinks. Before the dawn of blogs they let the mask slip only occasionally. But now their authoritarianism is only full display all the time. You can’t decide what is best for your kids; that is for Dana and her ilk to decide for you. And sure, they’ll fuck it up to the Nth degree (witness our current public school system), but their intentions are beyond reproach.

      1. I had to sit through a rant about this from my public schools teaching aunt and uncle ( the feedback loop in that couple is amazing). All because the private, low fee, selective school I was the architect for (my first major project) was ‘stealing’ their best students and teachers and ‘hurting the education of the kids not smart enough to be selected’…

        The school we designed was private, but still partially gov funded. No Australian school oa totally gov money free, although there is no oversite of corriculum/teaching method. Students have assignments and lectures, but no scheduled classes.

    3. This is the absolute scariest part of her argument. She asserts that it’s somehow morally wrong for “privileged” kids to excel academically because they do so at the expense of those with less privilege.

      She’d rather a system which purposefully holds advanced kids back so that they might offer some kind of support for those who aren’t advanced. Excelling violates society because it isn’t fair to those who can’t excel (for whatever reason).

      She purposefully wants a society of idiots.

      Fuck that cunt with a broadhead.

      1. “She asserts that it’s somehow morally wrong for “privileged” kids to excel academically because they do so at the expense of those with less privilege.”

        But that’s how we make money!

      2. they would way rather have a society of idiots as long as the idiocy is DIVERSIFIED so that one demographic doesn’t outperform another

        whether they have to bring SOME down or bring SOME up or both, progs don’t want success if it comes at the expense of egalitarianism.

      3. This same mindset infects companies too.

        As a new guy in different IT positions, I picked up certain things and sometimes shot past people who’d been working their for years. I wasn’t a dick about anything (that I can remember).

        I showed others how I did it, explained why I did it, etc.

        Problems was that when they didn’t get it or didn’t bother listening, they didn’t just go back and do it their way, they dumped it on me because “you know how to do it better”.

        I usually ended up stalling in my progress because the small amounts of free time that I used to learn new things or optimizing existing things was now being used to do other people’s jobs. The insult to inujry was that they they got to ‘chill’ while I did what they used to do.

        Solution? Carefully control how much I let out about learned something new.

  13. It’s interesting too that, as Steigerwald pointed out back in November here……..970s-child

    …homeschooling used to be a leftist kinda thing. People who homeschooled their kids were often hippie types who didn’t want their children indoctrinated by the state. …to support wars, study dead white males, conform to socialization for corporate life, etc.

    It’d be interesting to figure out why that changed so much; why the left became so hostile to homeschooling. I think it was because the left has changed to some extent, but I suspect it’s more of the left’s reaction to a stereotype in their heads…

    I think the picture in a lot of people’s heads of homeschoolers are of super religious fundamentalists, who are pulling their kids out of school so they won’t be taught anything about sex-ed or evolution. …and I think the left has come to see shoving that stuff down fundamentalist throats as half the reason for their existence.

    Whether homeschooling parents really fit the picture in their progressive heads probably never enters their minds.

    1. Isn’t part of the answer — maybe most of it — simple politics? Home schooling was A OK if done to further radicalize the children of leftist parents, but when religious families got involved, it became a bad thing. We’re witnesses toi a massive effort to breed dependency on government, and home schooling is fundamentally inconsistent with that, unless of course you’re a hippe parent teaching your kids that government = god. The current crop of home schoolers are heretics who reject the gospel of Dana’s “progressive values.”

      1. Progressives do seem to be easily manipulated so that they’ll condone stickin’ it to people–so long as the victims are presented as someone they don’t like.

        Standing up for people’s rights, regardless of whether we like the people themselves, is probably a big part of what separates libertarians from progressives.

        The idea that the rights of people they don’t like should be respected is absurd to them. It’s like listening to the OWS people, where most of what they say seems to be about how much they hate Wall Street–as if hating the healthy was somehow the solution to something.

        I’m sure hating on religious people is supposed to solve a lot of other problems too.

      2. Freddie doesn’t mind the bars on the windows once he’s already in the house.

        1. he’s got a daytime job he’s doing alright

      3. I think Dana’s less motivated by progressive politics than by a desire to have control — any control — over large swaths of youngsters, regardless of the values of the regime in power.

        For statists, the particular set of values the state espouses really doesn’t matter all that much. They key for them is being able to have total control over people’s lives to enforce those values at the point of a gun. Theocrats and technocrats really are just two sides of the same coin. If Goldstein really cared about so-called “liberal” values, she’d value the homeschool option as a hedge against the shifting political tides of public school administration.

        1. I think also, they have a sense that they are, if not outnumbered, not a great majority in this country and that the only way to truly continue their reign is to reproduce their values in other people’s children.

    2. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone in society, but like gold is a hedge against inflation in a good stock portfolio, homeschooled individuals is a good hedge against totalitarianism and groupthink in a society. Sure the results may not always be great and may vary greatly (like the price of a commodity like gold in a stock portfolio), but if the government breaks down or becomes autocratic, those people become very valuable assets!

  14. Not sure I see how arguing that society benefits from collective, universal education is any different from arguing that society benefits from collective, universal religion.

    Once we’re arguing that everybody needs to be homogenized, with the high places laid low, almost anything coercive could be justified as furthering social cohesion. Except that Christianity only really demands your Sunday morning, whereas teachers take five whole days of prime daylight hours. Also, Anglicanism (for example) doesn’t come with a lot of homework.

  15. I haven’t thought a lot about homeschooling (being childless) but I’ve definitely noticed a baffling bias against it– “home schooled” is often used by snarky liberals as if it’s the punchline to a joke.

    Now that I give it thirty seconds thought, the hatred makes perfect sense, of course– homeschooling’s a threat to both liberal indoctrination AND the despicable teacher’s union! Long overdue epiphany, for me.

    Viva home-schooling!

    1. i love the way homeschoolers totally kick ass in any objective measure – spelling bees, geography bees, etc.

      because it drives progs into fits of cognitive dissonance explain-aways to get around the pretty undeniable fact that on the whole, homeschoolers do a great job.

      because how COULD they do a great job?

      they aren’t licensed by the state? they don’t credentials, union backing, or a curriculum designed by eggheaded academics?

      it’s UNPossible that these kids could turn out well adjusted, intelligent, INTERESTED in learning, and that they could outperform the public school drones

      what’s also ironic is the same progs who were cheering “the wall” for its message when they were teens are i am certain many of the ones who know have ultimate fealty to teachers unions, teachers and the almighty state teaching machine ™.

      go to DU and the fawning over teachers and the ridicule of homeschoolers is pretty sickening

      1. “i love the way homeschoolers totally kick ass in any objective measure – spelling bees, geography bees, etc.”

        I’ll take your word for that; the handful of home-schooled kids I’ve personally met have impressed me for their remarkable maturity. You pose an idle question, and they actually respond in a straightforward way, like an adult! You don’t see that nervous hesitation that most school kids display– unsure if their answer will be considered “wrong”, cause for ridicule, whatever. Their personalities haven’t been suppressed by the mob (yet).

  16. I’m wary of homeschooling children, if only for one thing.

    You need to deal with assholes, and schools provide them in spades, public, private, etc. You might scoff, but where you be if you didn’t have to deal with the general public of your peers?

    1. You could always let them spend an hour every day here.

      1. +1

    2. I’m not sure that studying the wrong way to do things is necessary. I suspect that may just teach children to be happy as a cog in a bureaucratic wheel.

      I’m still thinkin’ about that, but…

      If dealing with jackhole government bureaucrats and employees does good things for children, then children who grew up under the worst days of the Soviet Union must have been some of the best prepared children in the world.

      1. +101

    3. You could hire the services of a 24/7 stream of assholes for less than 1% of the per pupil expenditure for a typical public school.

    4. Would you suggest that home schooling = locking children inside with no contact with the outside world? No sports? No going to the park? No standing in the grocery line and dealing with the asshole in front of you?

      Whether you are or not isn’t the point, because whatever you’re arguing is ridiculous. Social interaction happens everywhere, and whatever advantage one might have in dealing with the assholes in school, are eviscerated by having to deal in a system where compliance to authority is the only way to exist without having problems from said authority.

      I don’t home school my kids, but they are privately educated. Being that private education is really fucking expensive, there may be a point at which I simply can’t afford to send them to private school, and I will say, without hesitation, they will be home schooled if that time ever comes.

    5. Is there any reason to assume that homeschoolers arent being taught be assholes?

    6. There’s a kernel of truth to that– exposure to peers can build character, I suppose. But, for every confident kid who learns to “deal” with assholes, aren’t there two (or three, or four) who become bigger assholes merely through exposure to the general assholery of the group?

  17. NEA. When your goal is communism and your vehicle for that is Unions, you say whatever BS lies you need to say to protect them.

  18. Goldstein is quite correct in noting that you can’t be a consistent progressive AND homeschool. It really does cut at the heart of “progressive values”.

    But of course, the implications of that fact may not be what Goldstein wants it to be.

    1. Indeed.

    2. As oxymoronic as it may sonund given the origins of the word, liberalism in this country is statism, and statism rests on the principle:

      Everything for the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.

    3. Funny thing is. Most self-proclaimed progressives I know don’t have kids.

      1. Maybe they’ll go extinct.

      2. It’s because of their Malthusianism.

      3. having kids is SO heteronormative don’t you know?

  19. “Progressive” and “friendly”… did anyone else catch the contradiction?

    1. Obviously, you’re a Christ-fag.

      1. Ron Pual sucks!

        I’m NEVER coming back here again!

        1. Breeders. Who needs ’em?

  20. Lucy, your parents seem to have done an admirable job home-schooling you, if your articles are any guide. That’s why we can forgive them not teaching you the difference between uninterested and disinterested.

  21. In works of international or comparative political science, the word “liberal” has managed to retain its classic meaning: pertaining to freedom. Usually leftist classmates of mine in political science courses readily accept that a “liberal drug law” should allow more freedom for drug use, yet they often seem so baffled when professors use “liberal gun laws” to mean fewer restrictions on gun ownership, “liberal tax rates” to imply lower taxes even for the very rich, or “liberal” trade laws to describe a de-regulated system. It’s sad to see how the word has changed its meaning in American politics, and how the left has co-opted a word that once meant “free” to mean “control.”

    1. The left loves to control people.

      Then again, so does the right.

      Doomed either way.

  22. More on point, I was home-schooled for all but one year growing up, and I find the assumption that homeschooling will harm “society as a whole” utterly ridiculous. The most precious benefit to homeschooling (besides developing a strong sense of independence) was the free time. If I finished my work quickly and did it well, I had the rest of the day to spend as I chose. Though liberals may think we require government force before we’ll help out someone less fortunate, I found myself spending a lot of time tutoring younger children (usually immigrants whose English was weak) during the school hours — something non-home-schoolers were not available to do. Moreover, I never felt left behind in terms of social skills, since I played competitive sports, joined a youth orchestra and an art club, and saved whatever money I got from working odd jobs so I could go to heavy metal shows on the weekends. My education didn’t suffer either. I was taking college dual-credit courses for about half my credits in my Junior and Senior years, and my older sister took college level Biology at age 13. Sure, I knew home-schooling families that didn’t do their kids justice, and their children never made it to college. Nevertheless, the whole argument that home-schooling your kids will automatically isolate them from society and create calloused, sheltered egoists — or that they’ll lack the skills and knowledge to function in the real world — is completely out of touch with reality.

    1. wow. incentives. how do those work?

      fwiw, i went to a pretty progressive (lol) private school for most of high school and we had classes like that.

      my chemistry class had a benchmark timeline. iow, you had to have completed to a certain point (minimum) in the curriculum at different times, but you were FREE to go ahead, you just had to pass the test for each module, etc.

      getting a high grade in the tests, and ahead of schedule meant you only had to even show up SOME of the time, and if you got far enough ahead, you were COMPLETELY on your own

      iow, hard work AND achievement were rewarded.

      and we ate it up. some of us busted our asses, and ended up where we could just have a double lunch period (we could also leave campus) instead of chem then lunch

      this would NEVER happen in a public school

    2. This is why teacher’s union is so terrifying of Khan Academy. Khan Academy allows parents to cut through all of the union red tape and just teach kids at their own pace. No holding back, no special attention, just teach.

  23. Last week at Slate, Dana Goldstein offered her views on how homeschooling is in opposition to good, progressive values.

    As a case in point, my parents started a Freedom School when they were young adults.

  24. “Could such a go-it-alone ideology ever be truly progressive?by which I mean, does homeschooling serve the interests not just of those who are doing it, but of society as a whole?”

    That one statement from the Slate article says volumes about what is disturbing about progressivism. According to Dana Goldstein, we all must subjugate our individual desires and viewpoints to the greater good presumably as defined by “experts” like Goldstein. We all must divest ourselves of our individuality and be assimilated into the Borg of government imposed bland uniformity. I refuse to be assimilated.

    1. “Could such a go-it-alone ideology ever be truly progressive?by which I mean, does abortion serve the interests not just of those who are doing it, but of society as a whole?”

      I wonder how she’d react to someone putting forth that argument.

      1. If she’s the Sanger type, she probably thinks it does serve “society” by getting rid of the “unfit” and “impure.”

    2. The reification of “society as a whole” is the leading cause of stupidity in half-assed pundits on the left and right.

  25. All the hard core liberal progressives I know are hostile to homeschooling and believe that all the kids should be herded into public schools. Except their own kids – they go to exclusive touchy-feely private schools, paid for by the rich grandparents.

    1. e.g., the Obama girls

      1. Good example except the grandparents part.

  26. Goldstein’s assumption that everyone who homeschools or unschools their kids is middle class or above is ridiculous and shallow.

    But it’s also what the Soviets and Chinese communists did — they defined certain arbitrary characteristics of what they considered to be “bourgieous” values or behaviors, and then persecuted anyone who exhibited any of those values or did those things. What’s next, people who wear white on a Saturday must be “middle-class?” Or how about people who play video games, listen to or play music, or read books? How can they find the time to do all that? They must be “rich” or “middle class” to have all that extra time! Why stop at homeschooling? Let’s just outlaw ALL activity that isn’t mediated by the state!

    At the end of the day the bourgeois vs proletariat debate boils down to petty, stylistic differences. Like if I listen to Will Smith or Duran Duran, I’m an evil bourgeois. It’s really no different than the “cool police” in high school who judge others on their arbitrary individual preferences.

  27. There are other huge points that Goldstein misses. Her assumption that public schools are some beacon of diversity and cultural understanding is unsubstantiated bullcrap. Setting aside her obssession with diversity as the ultimate, highest good that can ever be attained, there are some huge fallacies with her assumption.

    What if you live in a neighborhood that happens to be more ethnically “diverse” than your school is? What about age diversity — homeschooled kids may end up having more meaningful contact with adults than public schooled kids, where adults are always nothing more than authority figures to be obeyed, never someone you can talk to as an equal, they’re all in the same role.

    And finally, I’ve noticed in my experience that the group dynamics of public schools are more prone to encourage prejudice and stereotyping. Maybe if kids interact in smaller groups as individuals instead of in a huge, scary setting like high school, they will be less inclined to prejudice and balkanization. Look at the war in LA public schools between latinos and blacks, I bet if latinos and blacks had more individual contact instead of being lumped together in these huge holding pens, there would be more progress and understanding between the two sides. In fact you could argue that prejudice and race hate is the worst in two very public institutions — jails and public schools.

  28. Sometimes choice is a good thing right??

  29. Yet another reason to despise the left. It reminds me of the story of how old Russian peasant villages would try to keep everyone equal by punishing those who were more successful.

  30. Goldstein is correct: Homeschooling is not national socialist.

    Um, I mean, not “progressive”.

    I remember my public school days. Progress was looked upon with disdain there.

  31. In Washington DC, the last mayoral election proved beyond a doubt that the public schools are nothing more than a jobs program. Any educational effects, if any, are secondary.

  32. Check out her response.…..-kids.html

  33. “To me, the salient question is how we get from point A) a public school system that isn’t doing a good enough job educating many kids, especially the neediest, to point B) a public school system that is more equitable and higher quality. Does the increasing prominence of homeschooling?both in terms of raw numbers of families joining the movement and homeschooling’s growing role in the political debate over education?serve this purpose? I continue to believe it does not, because it is difficult to improve an institution without broad buy-in into it.”

    If its purpose is to try to improve an inherently failure-prone government system, i.e., preserve government power, than she’s right — it does not “serve its purpose.” If the purpose is to give children knowledge, skills, logic, and curiosity, guess what? It serves its purpose very well.

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