Saturday, January 16, 2010
Rob shared an (appropriately critical) post recently on Martha Fineman's new paper, Taking Children's Interests Seriously. As he (rightly) points out, the hostility toward private education and homeschooling, and Fineman's view that "public education should be mandatory and universal," rest on (to put it mildly) debatable factual premises (i.e., that public education clearly serves children's interests better than private education, religious education, or homeschooling) and on (to me) deeply troubling views about the state's authority over child-rearing, education, and formation.
Now, add to the mix this, "The Harms of Homeschooling," by Prof. Robin West. As Joe Carter reports, over at First Things, it is not a stretch to say that West's claim is that "poor, overbreeding, fundamentalist Christian families are destroying the tax base?" (Even worse, apparently, they are creating future Republican voters!)
It would be one thing -- a "same ol', same ol'" kind of thing -- if these kinds of diagnoses and prescriptions were appearing in teacher-union mailings, or the blog of the latest hipster-atheist practitioner of epater le-fundamentalists. But Profs. West and Fineman are accomplished, important scholars. Engagement, and vigilance, is warranted.