"Now youse can't leave!"*

Ever wondered why so many teachers and bureaucrats oppose home schooling despite the fact that home-schooled children score far better in standardized tests?

Education may have a lot less to do with it than you think.

In his analysis of the recent California decision to outlaw homeschooling, Vin Suprynowicz may have identified the chief reason for opposition to home schooling. The court stated that schools are mandatory in nature order to "train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state":

"California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children," Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling, which makes it clear those parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply.

And did Judge Croskey and his black-robed ruling-class pals say this was because the home-schoolers weren't doing as well at teaching reading, writing and 'rithmetic?

Of course not. They couldn't say that, because tests consistently shows home-school kids, taught by parents without state "certificates" or licenses, score 30 to 37 percentile points higher than their public school peers across all subjects.

So why ban home-schooling, if the academic results are far better?

Judge Croskey obligingly explained: "A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare."

Imagine that. "Loyalty to the state." Almost as if what they're running are, I don't know ... mandatory government youth propaganda camps, or something.

OK, so never mind education. The purpose is indoctrinating children with these patriotic, um, values.

Well, even assuming that is their purpose, are the schools doing a good job of training school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state?

I'm thinking that many parents home-school their kids because the government schools are doing such a bad job. Around here, police live in fear of 3:00 p.m. -- the time of day when all those good, loyal, and patriotic little citizens are allowed out of what resemble daytime jails:

"At 3 o'clock, all hell breaks loose," said Capt. Winton Singletary, commander of the 14th Police District in Northwest Philadelphia. "Some days, we just race from school to school."

Every afternoon of the school year, 260,000 students are dismissed from Philadelphia's public and private schools. For officers from the city, SEPTA and the school district, dismissals pose a huge challenge - how to manage a tempestuous multitude equal to the combined populations of Allentown, Trenton and Wilmington.

The task is particularly difficult in neighborhoods with multiple schools, or at transit hubs, where crosscurrents of students from rival schools can collide and roil, and where gangs prey like piranha on the vulnerable.

Despite the heightened police presence - in the 14th District, it's all hands on deck during dismissal hour - altercations happen.

On Feb. 25, two Masterman High School students were attacked after school, sending one to the hospital. In January, about a dozen girls slashed two female classmates after dismissal at West Philadelphia High School.

Gangs of youths last month attacked students in the Broad Street subway in North Philadelphia, prompting Philadelphia police to dispatch a team underground to beef up SEPTA's patrols.

As alarming as this year's reports may seem, the number of after-school incidents is not remarkably different than last year's, when 815 crimes were reported to the district, said James B. Golden Jr., the Philadelphia School District's chief safety executive. Most incidents reported during the "extended school day" are assaults on students and robberies, he said.

Philadelphia is not alone.

In Camden, a unit of 17 officers is assigned to school patrol, and it concentrates on separating middle school pupils from more aggressive high schoolers, said Lt. Anthony Carmichael.

In Upper Darby, Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood Sr. says he focuses on 5,000 high schoolers who attend three neighboring Lansdowne Avenue high schools: Upper Darby, Archbishop Predergast, and Monsignor Bonner.

"A tremendous amount of police resources are deployed to make sure these kids get home safely," said Chitwood, who pays six officers overtime to come in early on school days to supplement his regular force.

In Reading, school officials two weeks ago neglected to inform police of the Dominican Republic independence day planned on Feb. 27. When Reading High School let out, a celebration turned into a riot as a thousand students overwhelmed the officers stationed near the school, disrupting traffic and vandalizing vehicles.

"There's no foolproof way to stop all of it," said Ron Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center, Westlake Village, Calif. "It's an ongoing challenge for schools everywhere."

In Philadelphia, school and police officials say they welcome efforts by parent groups to stand watch to provide safe corridors for homeward bound students.

The strength of a school's leadership is also critical. Community leaders cited a turnaround at Roxborough High as an example.

A year ago, marauding students so disrupted the Ridge Avenue business district that many merchants locked their doors at 3 p.m. and threatened to sue the school district, said Jack Wheeler, president of the Roxborough Business Association. He said youth behavior improved this year after a new principal, Richard J. Jenkins, took over.

Interesting that the merchants would be threatening to sue the school district. In light of the fact that Roxborough High's reading and math proficiency scores are less than half the statewide average, I think the parents should be threatening to sue.

It's bad to read news that parents who want to opt out can't.

The noose is tightening.

MORE: Joanne Jacobs has a great Pajamas Media piece about the California decision, which should be read in its entirety. Excerpt:

"A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare," Croskey wrote.

Gosh, why not abolish private schools? Some teach only academic subjects instead of "loyalty to the state and the nation." And they hire uncredentialed teachers!

For that matter, how many public schools could stand court scrutiny on patriotism instruction?

Judging from the way they look around here, not very many.

posted by Eric on 03.20.08 at 02:32 PM










Comments

Judge Croskey obligingly explained: "A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare."

At least they're finally getting honest. Or was that careless honesty?

tim maguire   ·  March 20, 2008 5:39 PM

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