Part of the series The Problem
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-03-07.
Advancing government programming as the only option for education is dishonest.
We are generally all ignorant of what is actually happening around us. This ignorance can either be perpetuated and capitalized upon or fixed to empower the masses. It is time to enlighten home educators who have generally been kept in the dark respecting what is occurring within their community. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)
Bible Reference: Prov. 1:19
Last week I shared a bit more of my universal observation of schools. Not that I have been to every school in the universe, but what I have observed of nearly all schools I have experienced is that they are often dishonest. I observed dishonesty in the rhetoric about the deep concern for the educational welfare of the children and all the associated meaningless platitudes and promises so often displayed on the school marquees. It may not be the case for every school but I also frequently observed dishonesty with the handling of money. Most schools quickly took advantage of any potential loophole, knowing full well that the chances of getting caught were slim. I am not convinced that anything has changed, even though the electronic age makes it a little harder to do.
This week I want to talk about another form of dishonesty, so universally accepted that it is not even recognized as dishonest. The idea that government sets the expectations, the programming, delivery and accreditation for education is so rarely questioned that even home educating parents who had to escape the system very often bring the system home with them. Home education providers often see this as a marketing opportunity and not only make this government program available, but may even try to simulate it, often employing dishonesty as their primary tool. There are two ways this can be accomplished, but first let’s briefly consider that by collectively acquiescing to government claims to jurisdiction in areas reserved for parents, Christians are in danger of committing a serious offence before God. By recognizing the government’s claimed lordship over children and education, are we not actually behaving in a “treasonous” fashion respecting Jesus’ Lordship? Since God never gave government authority in the training and teaching of children and since we cannot serve two masters, should Christians be succumbing to this error?
Another consideration before discussing the two ways to mislead home educating parents, is that if the government is in “competition” for lordship with Jesus, then we can certainly assume it will not be advancing the truth. Parents make a grievous mistake when they think that it really does not matter what the children are exposed to as long as they are “educated”. Perplexingly, parents often make a bigger issue about junk food being offered to students in school while saying nothing about the junk being fed to their minds. Should we not pay more attention to the fact that junk food goes through and is eliminated while junk thoughts and ideas are not? This oversight has serious implications for world view development. But then again, could it be that this is actually the objective of government programming in the first place?
When government programming is accepted by home educators through either selective courses, blended or fully aligned programming, it there really any good way to ascertain that the rules are being followed? How could even the most astute bureaucrat be able to determine if the blended program, for instance, is using the Alberta Program of Studies and not a facsimile; that the approved resources are being used; and that it is being delivered by a certificated teacher and not a parent representative? Indeed, this kind of situation is perfect for cheating. Just offer the parents a bit more money and they will not tell the government that the school is not doing what it is supposed to be doing while the school will not report the student’s failure to meet the requirements! Even if rules are followed it is trying to fit a child into a program rather than a program to the child.
The second way that we can cloak dishonesty is to take advantage of the fact that there is no good way to assess if high school credit requirements are met. There is an assumption of honesty, but there is lots of room for “professional” interpretations. Consequently, as a certificated teacher, I can award credits to anyone for anything without really having to defend my decision. Even though credits can be awarded without accessing the associated funding, high school level funding is completely tied to the awarding of credits. Unscrupulous home education providers taking advantage of parental ignorance and fear, promising government “approval” through credits and diplomas are likely more motivated by money than service.