Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Party Popper

I'm trying to be a bit more creative with the blogpost titles.

Karl Popper was a philosopher and professor at the London School of Economics, and a cool dude.


The cool dude said some sayings that I think apply to our modern day local authorities and general authorities who want to change home education things in Wales and, eventually no doubt, in the rest of this Great Britain.

He said: "The open society is one in which men have learned to be to some extent critical of taboos, and to base decisions on the authority of their own intelligence."

Home educators have learned to be critical of the taboo that protects the ineffable mess that is the school system in England and Wales. The taboo is CRITICISING SCHOOL. Our solemn duty is to believe all the adoring comments by those who love school. 

Children at school can be watched and their possible abuse discovered by caring and alert teachers. Rubbish. It is just such rubbish. Thirty kids in a class going in fifty different directions at the speed of light and the decibels of five aeroplanes landing at Heathrow. I don't think so.

Home educators base decisions on the authority of their own intelligence which tells them that school teachers have enough to do grading tests and grading children to notice whether or not those children are being abused. There's also the fact (dreadful though it is) that persons in authority over children are not immune to using their positions of power to perpetrate abuse upon children themselves.

Our friend Karl also said: "No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude."

No amount of me telling you, dear local authority, that parents love their children and part of loving a child is wishing to give her the best education tailor-made for that child, and that parents love their children and don't spend their time abusing them even though those children are not in school. I can say it until I'm blue, yellow and orange in the face but my rational arguments won't influence you, local authority people, because you don't want to accept my rational comments and good sense. You want to control my child's education. You want to control my ability to see that my child has the best possible education I can give her.

You cannot see that controlling my child's education means taking responsibility for it. If you take responsibility for it and my child feels that she has been let down by the choices you make for her then she will sue the authority off you.

Sooner or later. Or sue-ner or later.

When you assume responsibility for education you are directly responsible for each and every lack  (probably as defined by the subject of that education - the ex-child or consumer of said education). You will be taken to court to face the idea of remedy. In other words, you'll have to pay and you'll have to pay hard, and you'll have millions and millions of adults who will feel that you have let them down and not provided an education suitable to their needs. It's a can of worms. No, it's a can of Lambton worms. That's why PARENTS are responsible for providing an education and who in the statescape gives a toothpick if an aggrieved adult sues his parents for providing him with a lousy education.

But you can't get it, local authority. You just can't get it.

Let's go back to Karl Popper. "I see now more clearly than ever before that even our greatest troubles spring from something that is as admirable and sound as it is dangerous — from our impatience to better the lot of our fellows."

Yep, it sure is admirable and sound to want to protect our every child who matters from abuse. So you go in to home educating domiciles and you check the child. You could ask the child, but then the child could be protecting the parent so you examine the child medically. Or you grill the child like a sausage on a barbeque. Or maybe you don't because the child might sue your ass-umed authority for torturing him.

Remember those darned inconvenient Human Rights:

"It is an absolute right – in no circumstances will it ever be justifiable to torture someone.

  • Inhuman acts will amount to torture when used to deliberately cause serious and cruel suffering.
  • Treatment will be considered inhuman when it causes intense physical or mental suffering.
  • Treatment or punishment will be degrading if it humiliates and debases a person beyond that which is usual from punishment."
Treating one person (a home educator) differently to another person (schooling child parent) will result in a whole pile of human rights attacks on local authorities. Trust me, I'm a home educator. And it's simply called discrimination. And it's not a proportionate response. It's just like cutting your head off because you have a migraine (although, as a migraine sufferer, sometimes I've felt like it) but it's hardly helpful.

"There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions."

Karl again. No, we home educators don't agree that school is just the apple pie dandy thing that most people seem to be convinced that it is. We don't agree that home education should be monitored because it's our responsibility and - let's face it - local authority bods do favour school-type education (it's what they understand). So we'all don't share the same opinions, and we must suspect each other's good faith. Or, basically, we can't agree that they should monitor us because they're bound to be looking for stuff that we aren't providing (in the case of autonomous learners that would be schooly tick boxy examy testy curriculumy stuff) and we're providing stuff we think that they won't understand because they like schooly tick boxy examy testy curriculumy stuff and they understand that. Understand?

So the local authority folk don't like us because we don't want school for our children but the local authority folk DO want school for our children. We don't share the same opinions and neither side thinks the other is right. Some bad faith there, perhaps?

Popper: "True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it."

It didn't take home educators long to 'get' the ideas behind the law. It took them a little study to see why the law is as it is. The law safeguards the whole system. It's constructed to allow the children who don't fit the one-size-fits-all (those clothes are always so wrong for me) to fit somewhere. It means the local authorities/government won't go down the pan trying to remedy the foul failings of a dreadful mishmash that the school system can wreak on a youngster. It means that parents have to carry the can and hope that they are good enough providers to have their children win through and get what they want whether or not their kids are home educators or schooled.

It's all carefully constructed. But, if you start messing with it, you introduce instability. It comes crashing down. All of it. 

I advise you: don't mess with it. You don't have a system big enough and tough enough to survive this crash.

Home educators have told the authorities over and over and over and over... but it's a case of "True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it."

Thanks, Karl. 

The torture stuff: 

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, Danae. I spent 30 minutes reading at the WikiQuote page for him. There is something thought-provoking in every sentence.

    You guys seem constantly under assualt. It must be wearing. Things are so much better in the U.S., but we must maintain vigilance to keep it that way.