Uncommon schooling

Home schooled children do better academically, says Time magazine. But are they better citizens?

In many ways, in fact, home schooling has become a threat to the very notion of public education. In some school districts, so many parents are pulling their children out to teach them at home that the districts are bleeding millions of dollars in per-pupil funding.

Of course, if a school district has fewer students to educate, it needs less money.

Aside from money, the drain of families is eroding something more precious: public confidence in the schools.

Surely, the loss of confidence precedes the decision to home school a child.

Thomas Jefferson and the other early American crusaders for public education believed the schools would help sustain democracy by bringing everyone together to share values and learn a common history. In the little red brick schoolhouse, we would pursue both “democracy in education and education in democracy,” as Stanford historian David Tyack gracefully puts it. Home schooling forsakes all that by defining education not as the pursuit of an entire community but as the work of one family and its chosen circle. Which can be great. Despite some drawbacks, there are signs that home-schooling parents are doing a better job than public schools at teaching their kids. But as the number of kids learning at home grows, we should pause to wonder: Better at teaching them what? Home schooling may turn out better students, but does it create better citizens?

Do semi-literates make superior citizens? I see no evidence of it.

Daryl Cobranchi links to a Boston Globe column that suggests parents have a “common duty” to send their children to inferior public schools.

About Joanne


  1. Wait a minute!

    Home school parents, like those in private schools, pay taxes but don’t (except in those rare situations where they have gotten access) use the public school facilities.

    It’s a financial win/win for school districts if the people don’t move away.

    This kind of article makes it clear what the goal of the common school always was — ideology over content.

  2. I love to see arguments like this made public, because the “liberals” are expressing the real reason they like public schools – as indoctrination centers. BThey aren’t going to like it when the general public starts looking at what doctrines are being taught…

  3. Pray tell, what insidious doctrines are your local public schools brainwashing kids with?

  4. One of the quintessential aspects of good citizenship in a free society is that we do not blindly take a government employee’s word for it when he tells us how to vote, or explains the “proper” interpretation of historical events or the proper role of government in our society, or what behavior constitutes “good citizenship”.

    Government employees are not unbiased on these matters.

    Surely our democracy would function better if a variety of learning experiences among our children led to a fuller and more diverse marketplace of ideas.

  5. speedwell says:

    “Pray tell, what insidious doctrines are your local public schools brainwashing kids with?”

    Well, for starters, Suz, they seem to have implanted the idea in you that questioning the system is automatically suspect if not actually evidence of paranoia.

    I’d guess that there was also a teacher in your past who liked to intimidate kids with sweet, superior, cutting sarcasm.

  6. I’d just like to point out that that Time cover story is from 2001. Not sure why it’s suddenly making the rounds again.

  7. “what insidious doctrines are your local public schools brainwashing kids with? ”

    1) Attempting to study is “acting white”.

    2) Doing well on tests and homework “blows the curve” for everybody else.

    3) Asking a teacher a question about the class material is “disrespectfully challenging the teacher’s authority,” according to the teacher. ANSWERING a question posed by teachers regarding the material is, according to fellow students, “sucking up.”

    4) Failure is a perfectably acceptable option — just try again later.

    Uhm, I could go on for quite awhile. How many insidious (or pernicious, damaging, and just plain WRONG) doctrines shall I cite to drive home my point?

  8. Whether this story is from 2004 or 2001, this is why I’ve stopped reading both Time and Newsweek. The leftist bias is unbelievable and pervasive.

  9. Ken Summers says:

    Perhaps Mr. Lupo should suggest that our Congresscritters who have children should send them to the Washington, D.C., public schools. I suspect most don’t.

  10. “Thomas Jefferson and the other early American crusaders for public education believed the schools would help sustain democracy by bringing everyone together to share values and learn a common history.”

    Thomas Jefferson also believed moral education was essential to a healthy republic and invited all local churches to set up a presence in his schools, and required students to choose a church and attend regularly. And although it’s been 20 years since I studied this, I don’t recall any mandatory attendance rules in Jefferson’s vision of public schools.

  11. Jim Thomason says:

    “Pray tell, what insidious doctrines are your local public schools brainwashing kids with?”

    An oldie, but still just as true:


    “Call me Mr. Gatto, please. Twenty-six years ago, having nothing better to do, I tried my hand at schoolteaching. My license certifies me as an instructor of English language and literature, but that isn’t what I do at all. What I teach is school, and I win awards doing it.

    Teaching means many different things, but six lessons are common to schoolteaching from Harlem to Hollywood. You pay for these lessons in more ways than you can imagine, so you might as well know what they are:

    The first lesson I teach is: “Stay in the class where you belong.” I don’t know who decides that my kids belong there but that’s not my business. The children are numbered so that if any get away they can be returned to the right class. Over the years the variety of ways children are numbered has increased dramatically, until it is hard to see the human being under the burden of the numbers each carries. Numbering children is a big and very profitable business, though what the business is designed to accomplish is elusive.

    The second lesson I teach kids is to turn on and off like a light switch. I demand that they become totally involved in my lessons, jumping up and down in their seats with anticipation, competing vigorously with each other for my favor. But when the bell rings I insist that they drop the work at once and proceed quickly to the next work station. Nothing important is ever finished in my class, nor in any other class I know of.

    The lesson of bells is that no work is worth finishing, so why care too deeply about anything? Bells are the secret logic of schooltime; their argument is inexorable; bells destroy past and future, converting every interval into a sameness, as an abstract map makes every living mountain and river the same even though they are not. Bells inoculate each undertaking with indifference.

  12. Steve LaBonne says:

    boo, you are misinformed about Jefferson. He was anything but an advocate of involving the churches in education. See http://members.tripod.com/~candst/tnppage/jeffschl.htm

  13. D. Cooper says:

    Speedwell … “I’d guess that there was also a teacher in your past who liked to intimidate kids with sweet, superior, cutting sarcasm.” …. sure glad there’s no parents like that.

    How’s that for some sweet cutting sarcasm?

    And pounce your take is interesting … just one here for now …Attempting to study … is ‘acting white’.

    I’ve alwys thought that that was a knock on the attitudes that some blacks had relative to putting down other blacks who do well in school. An attitude that was contrary to doing well in school. You’re suggesting that this is a doctrine of public schools? I’ve taught for 30+ years in a high school (about 17% black) and I’ve got no idea what the hell you’re talking about. Is it true that some blacks may have that attitude toward their peers, sure, but a doctrine that we in public schools promote…quite the opposite.

    And maybe one more regarding blowing the curve … As a mathematics teacher and having taught some statistics, I have to admit, the home schooled kid never blows the curve … he/she is the curve.

    I know ‘public school’ and ‘public school teacher’ here is a dirty word, but I’m sure home schooling for some is desirable. It certainly will never replace public education nor should it. It, like a charter school or private school provides an option for some parents.

    Actually, in my years in public school I’ve had many students for whom I wished their parents had chosen to homeschool. Alas that too, in those cases my well have been an equally poor choice.

  14. From the Globe article –
    “As we weigh various proposals for education reform,” it noted, “we must not forget that Americans developed public schools to unify our nation and to provide for the common good.”

    What is more important? The “common good” as defined by the K-12 teaching establishment or the best opportunity for each individual as defined by choice? Socialism or choice? Are the affluent the only ones allowed to have choice? Or, do some want to take that away from them?

  15. Steve LaBonne,
    Sorry about that.
    You’re right, I was thinking of his university:

    “…we suggest the expediency of encouraging the different religious sects to establish, each for itself, a professorship of their own tenets on the confines of the university, so near as that their students may attend the lectures there and have the free use of our library and every other accommodation we can give them…” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1822. ME 15:405

  16. Steve La says:

    boo, even that proposal is less than it appeas to be on its face- it is discussed on the page I linked to. Jefferson was reluctantly accepting this idea, which did not originate with him, to counter accusations that UVA would promote atheism (atheism being a charge which Jefferson’s enemies made against him throughout his career.)

    Remember, Jefferson is the guy who produced a bowdlerized edition of the New Tetament with all references to miracles and other supernatural events deleted, and who predicted that eventually most Americans would be Unitarians! There may be some debate over whether some other Founding Fathers were anywhere close to being orthodox Christians (certainly Madison was not any more than Jefferson), but Jefferson most definitely was nothing of the kind and was no friend of the Christian churches.

  17. jeff wright says:

    Actually, I believe strongly in the public schools and the “common good” argument. But I guarantee you that neither Jefferson nor Mann, nor any of the other early public school advocates for that matter, would have ever condoned what happens in public schools today.

    The predicate for their passionate belief in public education (and mine, too) is that this investment would result in a well-educated citizenry across-the-board. What do we have today? We have admittedly lots of good to excellent schools and students, but we also have a shocking number that go the other way. It’s pretty clear that the public schools peaked years ago and have been in a downward trend for some time.

    I’m as public-spirited as the next person, but if I had a kid attending some of the schools where I’ve taught, I would do ANYTHING to get my kid out of that school, commonweal be damned. The kids didn’t make the situation and they shouldn’t be penalized for someone’s vision.

  18. Jack Tanner says:

    On the question of brainwashing my son’s kindergarten teacher pulled my wife aside to tell her that my son disrupted the class because he kept asking what the bird houses they were building have to do with poor people. In f#@%!ing kindergarten.

  19. Many public institutions are losing out against the marketplace of ideas: mom and pop stores are disappearing, the public schools are under fire, the military draft was ended, and voting rates continue to decline. Parades are sparsely attended, the younger members of civic institutions like the Elks and Shriners appear to be in their 70s, and computer comment forums are being used to have discussions of civil issues.

    If the things replacing the old ways are better or no worse, then there’s nothing to complain about. I have a homeschool child and a public school child (formerly privately schooled), so I’ve looked into the options, weighed the pluses and minuses, and don’t really worry that much about “public duty”. My “public duty” is to help to form adults who will add something to this country rather than do whatever it is that illiterate boobs spend their life pursuing.

  20. Ah yes. The school does not exist to serve the child; the child exists to serve the school. (As an attractor of dollars, that is.)

  21. David Dahlke says:

    Sure this article is from 2001. However, everything in it pertains to today. In this case igorance is not bliss. Parents need to know that there are those that desire their children to be in public schools versus the desire that they receive a good education. The agenda of the educational establishment to get all the children in their establishment. Until the agenda of that establishment is destroyed parents have the right and should desire that their children receive a superior education. That education is in a private school or homeschooling.

  22. Jon – well put. Having been “taken to task” in the past by one here on these replies for taking my kids out of public schools, I agree with you. My first responsibility is to MY children’s education – for I am responsible for and to them in that regard. Then, as you so well stated, my “public duty” is to see FIRST that they and then, Secondly, that others become responsible productive contributors to our society and our nation. I am paying to send my kids to a non public school, and still paying my share of taxes to support public schools.

    John Gatto came and spoke at our kids non public school – several years ago. The man has some valid points.


  23. D. Cooper says:

    Tell me the sky isn’t falling. I see a lot of unhappy people here and I’m starting to wonder where this is taking place. I’m sure in many places, but I fail to see this as catastropic as some of you portray it here.

    I taught for 30+ years on LI and almost never heard of anyone home schooling … unhappy parents here and there, sure, and at times I was one of them. A lot has changed over 30 years to be sure … I love Lucy and the Honeymooners has been replaced by Extreme Dating, MTV, VH1, Gangsta Rap, and Howard Stern. Without a doubt this has had an enormous impact of our schools and the ability to educate. These changes coupled with an enormous influx in many areas of our country with non-English speaking children and the drain that that imposes on resources has only added to the equation. That some parents have to need to escape some of these effects is understandable, and if I though my children would have suffered I’d have removed them as well. I did not find that need.

    However, the vigorous attack seen here appears to be rather, well, vigorous… the child exists to serve the school …brainwashing, … and Jeff’s comment … the schools have peaked …I guess the argument for that is that society reflects what schools do, and I’d prefer to say that schools have attempted to NOT reflect what society has become. To me, that battle is one I fought as did my colleagues. I’m not so sure that we (in public education) have the answers albiet not for the lack of trying, but I know I did my best to fight back whenever and wherever I was able.

    There’s been a lot of beating up here that I think is to some extent very much undeserved. In addition, I think the ‘beatings have been demoralizing to the hundreds of thousands of teachers in our public schools who work hard to provide the best education for our children. As for indoctrination, I agree. I indoctrinated my kids with algebra, trig functions and the Pythagorean Theorem.

  24. A second thought just bubbled to the surface. When a society becomes unresponsive to the needs or interests of it’s citizens, they tend to “vote with their feet”. If Daryl Cobranchi thinks that there should be rules or laws to prevent this, he needs to review his history. The example that comes to mind: The exodus from East Germany, while initially minimally constrained, later continued in spite of walls, barbed wire fences, mine fields, guard dogs, and border patrols with orders to “shoot on sight” failed to deter people from trying to leave.

  25. I know some people who decided to home school and it’s the best thing they could have done for their children.

  26. Dave Dahlke says:

    For those who question why this article was brought up at this late date, I invite them to read Kyle Williams (a teenager) column on WorldNetDaily.com. The battle is ongoing and it is our children who are the pawns in this most important game. They deserve to know the truth and not get a muddied down education in the name of treating everyone the same and self-esteem.

  27. I just opined on this at my site. I feel very strongly about the discipline aspect of the debate. As a public school teacher, I can too-well sympathize w/those who opt to exit public schooling due to lack of proper discipline in classrooms and/or the school as a whole. Who can get a decent education if classes are running amok and/or one’s child is intimidated merely walking the halls? Where is the “common good” in that, Mr. Lupo? Most any rational attempt to instill discipline measures is met w/lawsuits (or threats of lawsuits) about students’ “rights.”

  28. D. Cooper says:

    Robert, do you know anyone who did and regrets it or thinks that it wasn’t the best thing.

    And just for my information … how does it work for subjects such as calculus, chemistry, physics, foreign language etc that a parent doesn’t have the expertise. What about sports, music, drama clubs etc.?

    Also, what happens to the overwhelming majority of students who for obvious reasons cannot be homeschooled?

  29. Dave Dahlke says:

    What happens to those students who can’t be homeschooled? I’m sorry, if you don’t have the answer you need to check into what is happening in the public school system. A parent’s job is made harder trying to correct their children from the effects of what happens in school and the association with undesirable children and their activities. Many parents and students have made the adjustment, however, many there are who have had to deal with adverse effects. For instance, a superintendent in New York thinks children should be advanced from fourth grade even though they can’t read. Is this the education you would want for your child?

  30. Mark Odell says:

    But are they better citizens?

    And, “better” by whose standards? For what cogent reasons?

    TIME wrote: In many ways, in fact, home schooling has become a threat to the very notion of public education.

    Thanks very much, Captain Obvious, for noticing and pointing out that the exercise of freedom in education has become a threat to the very notion of slavery in schooling.

    SuzieQ wrote: Pray tell, what insidious doctrines are your local public schools brainwashing kids with?

    For starters, I might suggest the slave mindset that comes about as a result of compulsory-schooling laws, and the perception of them as an unquestionable fait accompli. Since actions speak louder than words, the verbal propaganda in (attempted) justification can come afterwards.

  31. D. Cooper says:

    Dave … chill out dude, my kids are in their 30’s …. and I’m retired. I was asking a legitimate question. I taught high school mathematics and programming for over 30 years. I am well aware of public schools in my area…LI. Our schools do very well here, and my children flourished in the ‘cesspool’ as you’d have us believe. My daughter went to an excellent university, was a Phi Beta Kappa and is doing very very well. My son went to a couple of schools and has a degree in Industrial Engineering. The cream rises to the top they say. Now, if you’re through lecturing me on the evils of public schools, I really did want answers. Those were not rhetorical questions despite my demeanor.

    BTW … superintendants are not on the top of my hit parade. Ask any public school teacher. You think we don’t fight that. Now … as for my questions, any answers?

  32. D. Cooper,
    Careful, don’t threaten people’s ideaologies around here! Their anecdotes outweigh any solid evidence to support any claims.

  33. Jim Thomason says:

    D. Cooper –

    1. What happens to children who for whatever reason cannot be homeschooled?

    First, let me say that I disagree with you that this is truly an “overwhelming” majority.

    If vouchers become widespread, I believe that they could be less costly per student (not to mention provide on net a better education). The average voucher today is, I believe, less than 6000, while per student spending in public schools averages several thousand dollars higher (when everything is included, not just the subset of expenses that are commonly used by public school advocates).

    Obviously, the more people who completely opt out of the system, the more money there is available for the rest of the students. Again, public school advocates’ talking points notwithstanding.

    Let’s try a thought experiment: You start with 1000 students in a school district, each being funded to the tune of 10,000. This means it is funded $10,000,000. 20% drop out to homeschool. 30% take vouchers of, let’s be generous and say 7,000.

    The school district now has 5 million to teach 500 students for the year. The private schools have 2.1 million to instruct the 300 who have enrolled with them. The state now has 2.9 million dollars in savings it can use to either increase spending on the remaining 500, lower taxes, and/or provide other services. Win, win, win.

  34. Jim Thomason says:

    “just for my information … how does it work for subjects such as calculus, chemistry, physics, foreign language etc that a parent doesn’t have the expertise. What about sports, music, drama clubs etc.?”

    My kids are still below “school” age, but my son is already playing sports at the local YMCA. We’re about to enroll him in an art class, and we are looking into a Suzuki music program.

    We are teaching him to read, and he is progessing quite well. I believe he will be reading on a 2nd or 3rd grade level by the time of his 5th birthday this August.

    Math isn’t prgressing so well, but we really don’t pressure him about it, and he IS only 4. He can count to 10 pretty reliably, and is beginning to get a grasp on addition.

    If he (or his sister when she’s a bit older) seems intested in acting or performing, there are numerous places that teach dance, and there is a childrens theater around here as well.

    Foreign languages? After having eight years of Spanish in public schools, I have only a smattering of the language. We bought a Spanish language CD a while back that we are planning to use to try to learn as a family, so we can practice with each other. It has a sort of voice recognition system that supposedly helps to correct your (mis)pronunciations, though I’m not sure how well that will work. If it does, then there are many other languages available from the same software company.

    Calculus, chemistry, and physics are a bit more problematical. However, I am re-teaching myself calculus (I had two semesters of it in the 80’s), and it really isn’t as difficult as I remember it. Maybe if I had studied a bit more…

    They still sell chemistry sets, and electronic sets, and many other really fascinating items of a scientific bent. And there are always community colleges, which I know are quite commonly used by teenaged homeschoolers for these kinds of subjects.

    Really, if you are bright, know how to read, and are willing to work hard, I don’t believe that there are many subjects that you won’t be able to more or less teach yourself. Though of course having someone knowledgable available to answer your questions can save a lot of trouble and headache.

    PS Like every human endevour, I am certain that there is a not insignificant percentage of people who attempted to homeschool and did not find it to work out for them.

  35. Dave Dahlke says:

    Okay, answers. My daughter is homeschooling a 1st grader and a 3rd grader. She is seriously considering teaching the children Latin. She has never had a course in this, so how does she plan on doing it? There are homeschool cirriculums out there that assist in these endeavors. I am sure that there are the same available in chemistry, math and whatever else a homeschool dedicated parent would like to teach. If not, there are also tutors available. It is not a deadend street, otherwise you would not see homeschool children excelling in college and in society. As for sports, music and drama, once again, these are all available in the community. A student does not have to attend a public school to get involved in them.
    Also, I am sure there are many individuals who have excelled in the public school system. I am not debating that. What I am debating is the fact that a parent sacrifices to ensure that the education their children get is the one that they, not the public school system, dictates.

  36. D. Cooper says:

    Jim …And now you’re into vouchers and private schools. I just wanted some answers, not the party line.

    Nina …did you say don’t threaten or don’t question. Looks like neither is appreciated here.

    Anywho … I still haven’t gotten an answer to either of my questions, what about the overwhelming majority (despite the incantations here) and what about the more rigorous high school courses.

  37. Jim Thomason says:

    “I just wanted some answers, not the party line. ”

    You asked what about the kids that didn’t homeschool. I responded, though with perhaps a little more detail than needed. What’s the problem?

    I was also, obviously, replying to your other questions at greater length in a seperate post.

  38. D. Cooper says:

    Jim … it’s not a problem if you’d help me out here … let’s forget the first scenario about the kids left in public schools and what happens to them. You seem not concerned about that possibility or think it won’t be a problem. That’s fine, no biggie.

    Now my other question … how on earth do the high level courses … AP Calculus, AP Bio, foreign languages, chemistry, physics, computer programming, etc. How do these get taught.? No sides, no preaching,no judging, no finger pointing, etc…. just tell me how it’s done.

  39. Jim Thomason says:

    “Now my other question … how on earth do the high level courses … AP Calculus, AP Bio, foreign languages, chemistry, physics, computer programming, etc. How do these get taught.? ”

    I thought I did answer that question. They are taught in community colleges. Or self-taught. They could also be learned with the help of computer software. As Dave Dahlke pointed out, tutors are also an option.

    I don’t understand why you seem to believe that these subjects are almost impossible to learn outside of a school setting. Programming especially – the self-taught teenage computer whiz/hacker has already been a cliche for years and years.

  40. Steve LaBonne says:

    Well, frankly I wonder that myself about some of the people who homeschool. I have met some who, wisely, homeschooled during critical portions of the elementary and/or middle school ages and then enrolled the child in a public or private high school- that strikes me as a good compromise. But some who choose to homeschool (I would do so myself if it were economically possible; my wife is not suited to it for reasons I won’t go into) are at least as qualified (often much moreso) as any high school teacher, in a variety of subjects. As a Ph.D molecular biologist and former college professor, with degrees from Harvard and Northwestern, I am quite well-qualified teach all of the subjects you listed (the language being French) at high school level, except computer programming, which is not a core academic subject anyway (and for which classes are available eg. at the local community college). I am also quite well read and am an avid classical violist, so literature and music would not suffer either. The fact is, I spend a good deal of time with my daughter compensating for the deficiencies of public school teachers in all these areas.

  41. jeff wright says:


    “I guess the argument for that is that society reflects what schools do, and I’d prefer to say that schools have attempted to NOT reflect what society has become.”

    I could not disagree more. On the contrary, I think one of the root causes of the schools’ malaise is a perceived need to emulate the greater American society, which grows squishier and softer with each passing year.

    Where do we start? Emphasis on the self above all else? The welfare people started all of that, but the schools sure like it. Lowering standards to accommodate a minority that just won’t get with the program? The welfare guys, too, with the schools eagerly falling in line. Refusal to hold people accountable for their actions? The general society has shifted in this direction, with the schools in lock-step. “I feel your pain” and must therefore do whatever it takes to “understand” you, no matter how heinous your offense? The schools have gone right along. Poor work habits in the workplace? Societal problem, with the schools falling right in line.

    D. Cooper’s daughter’s experience with the public schools sounds much like my daughter’s. No problems, good schools, college graduation on time, good career. So there are pockets of excellence out there. Just not enough of them.

    I think people should come out here to California and take a look at our schools. Might be an eye-opener for those of you in the rest of the country and you might understand why people here tend to be more pessimistic about the public schools. Just about half of our gargantuan state budget goes to the schools, but they’re still chronically broke. Teachers and administrators make very good money. Superintendents of failing school districts—literally being taken over by the state because of fiscal malfeasance—make $250K a year. All of this while more than half of entering freshmen in the California State University system have to take remedial English or math, or both.

    Sorry, D. Cooper, our schools have moved right along with the rest of society, but usually on the downside. On the upside, well, we wouldn’t be having these discussions if the schools had increased productivity the way American business has, would we?

  42. D. Cooper says:

    Jim… where did I say anything about those subjects being impossible to learn outside of a school setting? Don’t put words in my mouth. I was just wondering how it was accomplished. Yipes you’re touchy.

    Steve … I applaud your credentials … but not for nothing I don’t think people of your educational background are exactly a dime a dozen. Most parents are lost when their kids get to 8th grade math … how many could handle trig, calculus, computer programming etc. You also describe your credentials with a bit of bravado it seems. I’m impressed, but tell me honestly, how many other Ph.D. molecular biologists do you know like your self. And, for that matter that wish to home school as well. Your example well extraordinary, is probably a tad out (way out) of the ordinary.

    Jeff … first emulating the society … let me first state that I will only defend teachers and their actions…not administration, state ed. policies, or local school board policies. Reason… because the many things you complain about so do many a teacher. We fight it day in and day out. As for schools increasing productivity, I’d love to see that defined. I’ve made an analogy on this blog before …. when a company using plastic molds starts finding their end product is not what it used to be, the first thing they do is check the mold. If finding nothing wrong, they eventually check the plastic going into the mold. Well lookie here … it’s not the same plastic like we used to get. 30 years ago, it was ‘I Love Lucy’ and The Honeymooners’, now its Extreme Dating, Elimidate, MTV, VH1, Gangsta Rap, and Howard Stern. And, throw in Courtney Love for good measure. More broken homes, more single parent families, more (in Ca. in particular) non-English speaking chilren ad infinitum. Don’t tell me we’re getting the same ‘plastic’ we were getting 30 years ago.

  43. jeff wright says:

    “Don’t tell me we’re getting the same ‘plastic’ we were getting 30 years ago.”

    Point taken. No disagreement here. However, human beings aren’t really plastic. Humans still have the same basic equipment they had 30 years ago; their minds haven’t atrophied. So why does it seem like they have? I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a teacher say, “I’m doing fine, it’s those damned administrators, etc., that are screwing things up.” Just what have teachers done about this through their labor organizations? I hear a lot about pay raises, but little about the other issues. What’s the old saw about if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem?

    How about a strike addressing disciplinary problems? Stupid zero-tolerance policies? Crappy curricula? You know how much public support teachers would get? Teachers could be the heros. But they seemingly eschew this in favor of being ever more highly paid Mr. Chipses in a decidedly non-Mr. Chips world.

    Also consider this: How many times have we heard a rags-to-riches success story that includes mention of a few influential teachers? Lots of times, throughout American history. Don’t tell me teachers can’t do things.

  44. I think that some of the commenters here are overestimating the difficulty of learning high-level high school courses. I’m currently in AP Calculus, AP Physics, two AP Englishes, and Computer Programming. I am convinced that I could have learned everything this year that I did in school with only my textbooks, and occasional help from my parents, but even that wouldn’t need to be too extensive. And for math questions, there’s always Dr. Math, which I can’t recommend enough. The only difficulty would be with labs for sciences, but really, that can be solved by taking them at community college. Anyway, labs aren’t even necessary.

  45. Jim Thomason says:

    “where did I say anything about those subjects being impossible to learn outside of a school setting? Don’t put words in my mouth. I was just wondering how it was accomplished. Yipes you’re touchy.”

    Sorry about the miscommunication. On comment pages like this, people tend to not spend as much time making sure that what they write is as clear as maybe they would in a different venue. (That sentence perhaps being a case in point.) Also, people may not tend to read as closely either.

    You wrote “How on Earth can…”, which to me indicates that the rest of the question will refer to something extremely difficult. I did temper my comment by saying that “you seem to believe”, in recognition of the fact that I may not have read you right.

    I didn’t think I was being touchy, and didn’t intend to give that impression.

    Caddie – Thank you.

  46. Speedwell, if you believe questioning the vague rhetoric of posters on websites is an example of public school implanted paranoia, then you’ve arced far beyond any logical leap I can name.

    As for me, I don’t easily buy phrases like “insidious doctrines.” I need proof, not fluff or anecdotes. But you can believe what you want.

  47. D. Cooper says:

    Jeff …no, students are not plastic nor is education like an automotive plant where increased production can be measured. The teacher’s union(NYSUT) in NYS has been very active in the improvement of the concerns that you have. Teachers battle these issues all the time, but alas the tail does not wag the dog. Strikes are rarely used for any purpose throughout NYS (never in my 35 years). And, I might add they are illegal. The problem is that here it seems you’re ‘beating up’ on the very people who share your concerns and have themselves to the best of their ability been fighting them day in and day out. Sometimes you’ve alienated the choir.

    Caddie, I applaud your accomplishments, but I’m afraid that you like the Ph.D. with more credentials than God, are in a very small minority. You’ve done well for yourself… good luck.

  48. John Taylor Gatto was a public school teacher for over 26 years. He’s reaped the benefits of a lengthy, deliberately maintained career that now, with a conveniently solid state retirement, teaching awards, and publishing contracts, he can piss on.

    If he disagreed with the implicit “lessons” he purports to expose (lessons which he tacitly supported and participated in) he would have left teaching much sooner. I think he has interesting ideas, but his credibility as a teacher – as a beneficiary of the system he would dismantle – is pure hypocrisy.

  49. Steve LaBonne says:

    Actually, D. Cooper, the point is not that I’m bragging about my credentials, but that your attitude is reminiscent of the days, long ago, when schoolteachers were among the best-educated people in their communities. Nowadays, in middle and upper-income areas at least, there are actually quite a few parents who are much better educated than anyone employed by the local public schools. Yet they still often get the mushroom treatment from those people, who make laughable attempts to condescend to them. For example, with a little Googling (actually I’ll make it even easier for you- start at mathematicallycorrect.com) you can inform yourself about the struggles of parents in many states, many of them highly qualified mathematicians, engineers and scientists, against useless new-new-math curricula- and the appalling treatment they have often gotten from education “professionals” for their pains. I have news for you- many educated people find it necessary to do quite a bit of home instruction to make up for the inadequacy of the public schools in teaching the academic skills that they’re supposedly funded to teach. I won’t bore you with the crap I’ve had to deal with.

  50. D. Cooper says:

    Steve .. Having taught in both kinds of districts I’d agree with your characterization of the education level of the parents. But, as you can imagine, the difficulties are many for many a parent, even for those who are highly educated. You may have very sucessful parents who are doctors, lawyers, research scientists, business owners,etc that may have experstise in one area but not another, let alone the time available, or, even want to home school. I would imagine that the decision to home school quite often has little to do with ones ability to do so. In any event, my only complaint is that it seems to me that the teachers quite often are the brunt of this ‘effort’ and they are quite often as I’ve stated before the ‘choir’.

    BTW, I’m retired now, but spoke to the English Department Head at my former school (who just happens to be a former student) this evening to ask if he knew the number of children home schooled in the district (on LI). He of course grew up in the district and his parents still live there. He estimated that probably not more than about 10 in a district of about 4800 students. That’s about two tenths of 1%.

    So, either we’re doing a great job, or those poor saps in this middle class area just can’t do it. You pick.

  51. Steve LaBonne says:

    Probably it’s a combination of you’re doing a decent job, and who the hell can afford to live on Long Island with one income. 😉 But seriously, I _guarantee_ that many of those people are teaching their kids a lot more at home than you probably ever realized.

  52. D. Cooper says:

    Steve regarding your comment about LI, … no one. And, I don’t doubt that ‘some’ of those people are doing a good job. One more thing, if you left it up to the teachers, there might be a few more ‘little darlin’s’ being home schooled. And that might be cause for a few other people to not have to.

  53. Mad Scientist says:

    Steve, it is apparrently against Mr. Cooper’s rules to claim your credentials as proof you may actually have something wothwhile to say.

    Unless, of course, it is he who is waiving his credentials around.

  54. Steve LaBonne says:

    Mad, I don’t think that’s really fair to Mr. Cooper- I certainly didn’t interpret anything he wrote in that way.

  55. Re: D. Cooper’s questions about how home schoolers teach their children the more difficult subjects. All of the home schooling parents that I know find people like Mr. LaBonne to teach their children the things they can’t teach the kids themselves. Some parents simply relearn the bits they may have forgotten over the years. It’s a bit of a challenge but not that big of a challenge.

  56. D. Cooper says:

    Steve … remember the Wizzard of Oz … near the end … pay no attention to that man behind the curtain … Mad has issues with anger and bitterness. And I’ve made some references to his credential waving (not like yours Steve). It would pale in comparison. He’s got a thing for teacher unions (maybe you don’t care for them either) which I’ve defended. But his hatred goes deep acusing unions of ‘conspiring to screw kids over’.

    Thank you Steve for understanding the tone, but I’d not expect Mad to concur. You watch, he’ll be back.

  57. My son, who was home educated from birth thru 17, when he “dropped out” and went to GED class, has proved himself to be a good citizen. He was elected to the elite Order of the Arrow in Boy Scouts (also the best rifle shot the Scout rangemaster had ever seen), and got consistant top reviews at work and was promoted very quickly to a supervisory position.

    We attempted at one time to help a neighbor child who was doing poorly at the local government school. When we inquired of the staff regarding his curriculum we were told “dont waste your time on him, he’s trash.” He is now a successful self employed locksmith, but he came from the wrong social element so the teachers wrote him off.

    “Compulsory education” is an oxymoron.

  58. Jim Thomason says:

    SuzieQ – The Mob doesn’t like rats either.

    While you say that you think that he has “interesting” ideas, instead of addressing them you spend your time in an ad hominem attack.

  59. Andy Freeman says:

    > He estimated that probably not more than about 10 in a district of about 4800 students.

    How would he know?

    While we’ve seen lots of “public schools are necessary to teach good citizenship” claims, a claim that is both wrong[1] and irrelevant[2], we’ve yet to see any evidence supporting the relevant claim, namely “public schools do teach good citizenship”.

    Do today’s public schools teach good citizenship? What is the supporting evidence?

    Yes, I know that public schools often fail at certain goals because parents can/do thwart them. I’m asking if they do make a difference. If they don’t, regardless of the reason, ….

    [1] – Public schools aren’t “necessary” because there are other ways to teach good citizenship.
    [2] – Even if public schools were necessary, it doesn’t follow that they actually produce.

  60. D. Cooper says:

    Andy… he would know because he spoke to someone who’s the present Department Head of the English Department , who’s privy to that information as he’s in contact with the district’s central administration. The person I spoke to was a life long resident of the district and attended the same school where he now works. His parents are also life long residents of the district for over 50 years. And, in addition, up to a couple of years ago, I taught there for over 30 years in the high school, and never actually heard of any cases, although I’m sure there were some.

    As for your incantations regarding public schools, I’ll let my area LI speak for itself. In the recent 2004 Intel Science Talent Search (one of the most prestigous contests in the nation) featured on ABC awile back , of the 40 finalists, 17 were from NYS and 8 from LI…all from public schools. This is just one benchmark …maybe that’ll help explain the two tenths of 1%.

  61. Richard Aubrey says:

    Several posts back, D. Cooper said he or she wasn’t defending administrations or superintendants, just teachers.
    Standard stuff. I’m a good teacher. All my colleagues are good teachers. We’re all dedicated.
    So shut up about bad schools.
    The fact is, whether D. Cooper wants to admit it or not, even with good teachers, schooling can be a bad experience due to the folks supposedly written out of the discussion (administrators, etc.). So restricting one’s discussion to teachers isn’t useful.
    Even if every teacher ever inside a public school building was perfect, it isn’t useful.
    The fact is that some schools are lousy and homeschooling is a useful alternative.
    What happens to the kids whose parents can’t homeschool? The same thing that happens whether or not other kids are homeschooled.
    Is that a surprise?

  62. D. Cooper,

    How are parents to teach subjects they know little or nothing about?

    I wonder sometimes how teachers teach children they know little or nothing about. But I digress. Once a child achieves a certain level of maturity, self-teaching becomes possible, particularly in subjects the student WANTS to learn or knows s/he MUST learn to achieve other goals. A motivated parent can learn new things too, if s/he thinks it will help a homeschooled child.

    It’s not a tough question to answer. D. Cooper, just imagine tht you wanted to learn something—I don’t know, let’s say you wanted to speak Mandarin, or understand group theory—and for one reason or another, taking a class wasn’t possible? What would you do?

    I suspect you can come up with a few options available to you. Well, the same options are available to a homeschooled child and/or his/her parents. Educators are not a necessary ingredient in education.


  63. Steve LaBonne says:

    In fact one of the most important things college students need to grasp- and one of the hardest to get them to accept, in my experience, because of the way they’ve been conditioned by the K-12 system- is that they will have to spend the rest of their lives teaching themselves all sorts of stuff without having a teacher around to spoon-feed it to them.

  64. Admittedly this is anecdotal, so don’t judge beyond this one case. But I have a friend who lives on LI (Merrick, actually). He is a stockbroker, and his wife a fashion designer in NYC. She is currently quitting her job so she can stay home and homeschool their son full-time. But they’re going to move from LI to NJ, because they can’t afford to live there on only one salary.

    Might this not be happening in more than just this one case? That could explain why there are so few homeschoolers in LI. Or else the families are generally so wealthy that they either send them to private/boarding school or hire tutors. Homeschooling is an option for those not in the upperclass, who can afford other options that are less personally time-intensive.

    By the by, I also spend quite a bit of time supplementing and undoing the garbage that my child gets taught in public schools. Math is of course a big one. But also social studies – the garbage that passes for an ‘education’ now is ridiculous. So we do home education in things like American history, world history, geography, cultural studies, etc., that pull on resources used in schools before the current crop of liberals got hold of them and PC’d them.

    For example, we just spent time on World War II. This was sparked off by a Sunday incident where a group of Confederate Air Force (pardon me, but I don’t remember what they’re now being forced to call themselves due to political correctness) planes were practicing for an airshow. We were watching 3 waves of Japanese ‘zeros’ practice mock bombing runs over our rural county airport, then a ‘flying fortress’ bomber made a pass. My daughter’s questions on what kinds of planes were they led to descriptions of the attack on Pearl Harbor, reminders of our visit there 2 years ago, and then to a trip to the bookshelf to pull out a couple of history books and a recently published historical analysis book on WWII and the causes: political, economic, and social. My daughter’s questions kept me hopping, and we had to spend time looking up information (with a few stops to try to get a good photo of the planes flying over again). We talked about why the Japanese would pull a surprise attack, the situation already existing between Japan and China, the drive for raw materials necessary for survival on the Japanese home islands with their limited resources, and the concurrent situation in Europe. We spent several hours talking about this, and my mom (a retired teacher) started telling about things she remembered from the war (she was in high school): hearing the radio broadcast on Pearl Harbor, rationing at home, her family being ordered to move to work at government-assigned war-related work (grandad got assigned to Pantex), etc. I know for a fact that none of this kind of stuff gets covered anymore in American history classes, even in high school. How do I know? I’ve talked to one of our high school’s history teachers about this specifically, and she was totally unaware of any of this. But she DID know that America probably deserved to be attacked by the Japanese, because we were blockading them at the time – this was the only bit of information that she retained, probably because it was the only point that the PC folks considered proper for her to learn about WWII, apart from the horrors of the unjust imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during the war.

    PC run amok. And you wonder why so many parents are disillusioned with teachers and public schools….

    Again, anecdotal only. But it is human nature to make judgments based on personal experience, especially in the absence of good, solid data to the contrary.

  65. D. Cooper says:

    I’ll go backwards here… Steve ..Learning how to learn is very very important. That comment is a no brainer. Thespoonfed this is your opinion. Certainly some are and some aren’t. Some have to be some don’t. And, I might add this continues right on into colleges. Actually, as many complain … in colleges it takes the form of indoctrination… but that’s another issue.

    Erin…my first comment is, is that there are many subjects a student must learn to achieve their goals that they may not have an interest in. That would dampen their motivation I would think. And, I don’t doubt that many children can learn on their own, but my eperience in mathematics has ben the the number of student who can read a text and understand the concepts is very few. When you get all of the ‘oh, now I see’ responses you’d understand. I would seriously question the ability of most parents to be able to help their children with AP Calculus or topics in organic chemistry. Are there some, sure, but not many. And I am particularily amused by the statement … Educators are not a necessary ingrediant in education…. hmmm ..try this.. parents are not a necessay ingrediant in parenting. After that comment, I know that I’ll not necessarily need to use any logic in my arguments.

    Rich ..he’s the story … yes there are bad schools, there are also bad schools for particular children, and there are children for which any school would be bad for them and home schooling is an option. And, I might add I’ve not written the administrators out of the equation. Additionally if I had my druthers, there are many students who I think are detrimental to the education of others, that if allowed to be ‘removed’ from the main stream would perhaps make home schooling for others unnecessary.

  66. D. Cooper says:

    Claire … many parents in the wealthier districts may send their kids to private schools … many I’d suggest for the prestige as well. However, you’d find that in schols districts like Great Neck in Nassau Co. and Cold Spring Harbor in Suffolk Co. that there is just no compelling reason not to send their child to public school. I’m sure in the best of schools there are situations where home schooling is warranted. I would guess that the case you cited was as you suggested anecdotal and an exception. As I’ve mentioned, the public schools on LI are in general very highly resoected.

    Being a highschool mathematics and computer programming teacher I don’t quite follow the connection between all the garbage …and math being the big one?? I don’t ever recall anything that I’ve ever taught as being ‘garbage’…but I’m all ears. Your condemnation of what is taught in Am. History classes based on a conversation with one teacher is also a bit shallow.

    I’m starting to see however in brilliant colors the concept of generalizing from the specific.

  67. Andy Freeman says:

    > he would know because he spoke to someone who’s the present Department Head of the English Department , who’s privy to that information as he’s in contact with the district’s central administration.

    Has said head of the English Department actually asked the right person, or is he just guessing?

    And, how does the district’s central admin know?

    Are home schoolers required to register with district central? Any idea as to compliance rates?

    Note – we’re still waiting for any evidence wrt how well public schools teach citizenship.

  68. D. Cooper

    Your question of how children might learn advanced subjects is a bit of a straw man.

    First, most students who do take advanced courses have parents who emphasize education and its importance. It is fairly obvious that homeschoolers are also very concerned about their children’s education and believe that a good education is important.

    Second, for most parents learning or relearning algebra, trig, or calc is not a painful process. It simply requires study and commitment to helping your child.

    Lab sciences are a bit tricker, but not impossible. You can get home chemistry kits and in most areas there are Community Collages available. There are also simple biological experiments that can be done with off the shelf items.

    The question is not if tools are available for home schooled students to learn advance subjects, just simply if there is a will to do so (not really different then public schools on this point).

    In addition your experience in LI is one of wealthy parents most of whom were probably highly educated and wanted there children to be educated also. They valued education and as a result if the district were doing a bad job you can imagine their reaction.

  69. David Pendracki says:

    This was sent to author of the Boston Globe Article.

    I just read your article on public schools and duty to our country. I could not agree more with the historical perspective. The problem is the present. I live in one of the most affluent areas of this country where the schools are some of the best we have by a number of measures. I work with teens regularly and find that even here; these privileged products of American education are so woefully ignorant of that which Horace Mann so stridently supported that they can be considered as completely unprepared for citizenship in this country. Why?

    • We don’t expect too much from them even though we should. Our children should represent the best we can produce. With the exception of asking for high grades and test scores, we sure don’t seem to be asking our children to really learn anything.
    • Relativism in subjects that muddles the teaching of important concepts so that they don’t seem very important or relevant to their lives.
    • Escalating costs that seem to produce little tangible results.

    Fifty to One Hundred or more years ago, the children of immigrants, farmers, shopkeepers and workers were given a gift through public education that allowed them to become good citizens and contributors to this country. Their education changed this country to the core. The argument today is that public education no longer works these wonders in this country. It’s up to public education to prove this argument wrong.

    These are things that are easily visible to parents. If they believe that home schooling or private schooling remedies the shortfalls they perceive, arguing that there is some higher good that outweighs their personal interest is futile. These parents did not create the current situation. They are reacting to it. The proper question is not how to keep the current public education situation but rather how to change public education to meet its original goals.

  70. D. Cooper says:

    Andy … you’re beating a dead horse …. the numbers are accurate I assure you and I’m sorry that you’re dissapointed that they’re not greater. I personally am not aware of the policy regarding registration, but through census policies and students requesting state examinations, the school district has information to make an accurate assessment. Do they (home schoolers) need to report to some bureau that you know of so that you can verify otherwise. And, if they do, cannot the superintendant of schools access that information as well. Also a superintendant needs to know the whereabouts of the children in his district as state law requires that they be educated either within the school or on home schooling. I’m confident that the information I was given was more than accurate and the person I initally asked would have absolutely no motivation for giving me anything but an accurate answer.

    As for citizenship…I’ve made no claims for or against that and as far as I’m concerned it’s a moot point. Someone else made that claim, not I. If you were to tell me that students in private schools, charter schools, and home schooled taken as a group perform fewer acts of vandalism in their communities than do public school students, I’d say you are absolutely 100% correct. What would that mean? Public schools promote vandalism. I don’t think you’d have a very reliable cause and effect argument for it.

    Andrew… while I agree in part, some of your ‘parent’s relearning’ are a bit suspicious. Just taking AP Calculus as an example … not every educated parent took calculus in college, let alone high school. The relearning or initial learning would be an enormous task at best. I do believe that for the lower grades there is probably no problem with educated parents in pulling it off if you will. I just think that when you get to a lot of the high school subjects that the (re)learning curve gets a little steep.

    My experience on LI is not with wealthy parents. I referred to a couple of wealthy districts, but not my own. My own was a mix of students, 20% minorities(mostly black and hispanic) and middle class whites, and I very small section of the district which might be called upper middle class. Very typical of the majority of schools on LI. And much to the chagrin of Andy, the percentage of children home schooled for whatever reason he wishes to suppose, is very small. Could be we’re doing a decent job and they like us.

  71. Richard Aubrey says:

    D. Cooper. The story about WW II and the perfectly prepared–for public school–history teacher may be only the only story related in that post.
    Do you think that means we have to pretend to believe it is unique?
    That such stuff doesn’t happen frequently enough to be a concern?
    That talking to our kids about what they learned in history in high school is uniformly pleasant?
    Once you’re back on your heels, falling over backwards is just a skosh away.
    And you’re teetering.
    Time to take a new position; one which acknowledges that public schools are not as good as they should be, as they have been, and that either homeschooling or private schooling are preferable to aping Sisyphus and trying to improve a school.
    Because it doesn’t work.
    Public schools are, by dint of hard work, impervious to parental pressures to improve.

  72. D. Cooper says:

    Rich ..to answer your first question … probably neither unique nor necessarily an epidemic. If I tell you some wonderful thing as I did in the post further above about the Intel Science Talent Search is that unique?

    This site is an obvious haven for some home schoolers and they tell some pretty horrific stories. I’d question not their validity, but the extent to which these stories can be honestly utilized to justify the some of the outrageous comments degrading/criticizing public education. I also have serious questions regarding just where the finger needs to be pointed, because as you well know someone’s got to take a hit here. In many cases it is individual teachers, administrators, school boards, and parents. And let us not foget the ‘culture’ war that exists out there. In case you haven’t noticed, and I love repeating this … ‘I Love Lucy’, The Honeymooners’, and Patti Paige have been replaced by, ‘Extreme Dating’, ‘ElimiDate’, Gangsta Rap, MTV, VH1, Howard Stern, and lest we not forget, two upstanding celeb/role models, Paris Hilton, and Courtney Love.

    I’m afraid that over the last 40 or so years there has been some very significant changes in our society. I believe that these changes have certainly affected education and not for the better. In my experience, teachers have been at the forefront in fending off the effects that these changes are having on our ability to educate. Unruly students, as evidenced by another recently added thread here is just one example of what we have to contend with. Such was not the case back in the day. I’ve been very defensive of teachers, because I think that we have been unfaily judged in this regard. The things many of you have concerns about, are in most cases ours as well.

  73. Andy Freeman says:

    > I personally am not aware of the policy regarding registration, but through census policies and students requesting state examinations, the school district has information to make an accurate assessment.

    Do they, or is it merely convenient to assert so?

    > Do they (home schoolers) need to report to some bureau that you know of so that you can verify otherwise.

    I don’t know.

    That’s why I’m asking for evidence supporting Cooper’s claim.

    I’ve no doubt that there are places where home schooling is in the noise. I’m merely asking why he’s so confident in that specific assertion.

    Other than the obvious, that is. Everyone knows that teacher scuttlebutt is most authoritative.

    > As for citizenship…I’ve made no claims for or against that and as far as I’m concerned it’s a moot point. Someone else made that claim, not I.

    Interestingly enough, I never asked Cooper about that. I merely asked for evidence supporting that claim.

    FWIW I don’t care what fraction of LI kids are home schooled, even though Cooper’s position requires that I do.

    Hmm – I wonder if Cooper is a plant trying to make public school teachers look bad?

  74. D. Cooper says:

    Although you may not care what percentage of LI students are home schooled, but it seems you went at lengths to question my number and sources. I actually was reacting to the number of children home schooled as reported in the artivle, and wanted to know what the figures were for my district. I was curious because I had never heard of students being home schooled in my district (in 31 years working there). I don’t care if you think my position requires that you do or do not know the figures. It was you who have so vehemently rejected them. You seem to need bigger numbers for your benefit.

    And what kind of jibberish is your comment regarding public schools teaching citizenship … you wrote ..

    .”Note – we’re still waiting for any evidence wrt how well public schools teach citizenship.”

    And, I replied I made no such claims, so why do I need to support it. By the way… there’s a new thread here regarding just that issue. I’m not putting it out as evidence…just a note.

    That comment you made above was at the end of your reply to my post, so I assumed it was directed to me. Perhaps is wasn’t. As for me making public school teachers look bad, I’ll let them judge for themselves. Most are probably too busy to waste their time debating your negativism but hey, we’ll see.

  75. D. Cooper says:

    Andy… FYI The following web site contains an extensive set of regulations/Q&A regarding home schooling in NYS. Superintendents must keep certain records regarding those being home schooled. So, it would indeed be the case that the students being home schooled in a particular district in NYS would be known. I know you didn’t care to know, but you did challenge my sources. Again, I’ll stand by the information that I recieved. Double the number .4% … knock yourself out.

  76. D. Cooper says:
  77. I (a public school English teacher) have been hired by homeschoolers to teach composition. I don’t remember where I was one time — maybe Six Flags? — but there was a convention for homeschoolers going on, and I saw a *ton* of vendors with curriculum products there. I took a look, and I thought most of the products were sub-par, but I imagine the market will sort that out. I’ve also looked at a variety of online programs for homeschoolers. Some are OK. I think it would take some effort, but a good parent can probably sort out the best programs for their child, perhaps through some trial and error. A typically learning child can roll with the errors without much harm; a learning disabled child might have more trouble. Again, parent quality (like teacher quality) will have a lot to do with it.

  78. D. Cooper

    Thanks for the clarification on where you taught. I was assuming form your post that you worked in a higher income district. I have no doubt that some of the teacher in your area are doing a great job.

    I may be streaching the point about AP Calc, but I don’t really think so. If someone can understand the basic idea of a reate of change, the already have the basic idea. The details are a bit tricky but not impossible. In addition, introductory text such as S.P. Thompson’s Calclus Made Easy, and the Teach Yourself series will get most people through the basics and start them on the read to understanding the importance of real analysis.

    I have appriciated your posts.

  79. D. Cooper says:

    I’d only say that it can be done, but is probably not the norm. Given the few number of students taking AP Calc. the likelyhood that that student comes from a family where this is possible increases.

    Phew … that was easy…your Andrew, not Andy correct?

  80. Dave Dahlke says:

    Everyone needs to read the book, “Language Police” by Diane Ravitch. Most of the problems in the public school teaching realm is brought on by textbook publishers. Teachers can only teach from what they are given. So it is not all there fault. It is because of what is being taught from these textbooks that parents decide to homeschool along with the general public school climate.All a person needs to do is read the local papers and see the disciplinary problems in the public school.

  81. Don’t be ridiculous, Dave. Teachers can teach from a much broader base than any single (or group of) textbooks. That’s why God invented the chalk board, overhead projector, and copier. Granted, I can only teach the novels that my school board buys for me, but that’s only a fraction of what goes on in my class. For example, I typically teach a lesson on AAVE (aka Ebonics) when we study Their Eyes Were Watching God. I don’t need a textbook for that; I pull those lecture notes from a number of sources that I’ve collected on my own. Public education has many problems, but that’s just not a big one in my experience. I also fail to see how textbook selection influences school discipline, but I haven’t read Ravitch’s book (and don’t have any plans to).

  82. Andy Freeman says:

    > it seems you went at lengths to question my number and sources.

    Asking about the sources (which is what I did – I didn’t dispute the numbers) doesn’t imply anything about what I think that the accurate numbers are.

    > It was you who have so vehemently rejected them.

    Feel free to quote said vehemence. Heck – feel free to quote any “rejection”. (“How would he know” isn’t rejection – it’s asking about sources, as the following sentences make clear.)

    Once again, Cooper makes up things to support his argument.

    It turns out that there is a reporting requirement, so the numbers should be available from the district office. Note that Cooper apparently didn’t know that when he confidently asserted that they had said knowledge.

  83. Dave Dahlke says:

    Rita C.
    You are one of the teachers that I did not refer to when I said it is not all their fault. Ebonics? Come on. This is the type of teaching that causes parents to say, WHAT? Get back to phonics and quit teaching what you think feels good. Maybe, just maybe, the students will become smarter instead of enlightened.

  84. D. Cooper says:

    Andy… arguing for arguments sake is usually a waste of time. What I’ll do is simple… anyone who wants to can go back and look at your comments and judge for themselves. Nothings hidden, it’s all there and no reason for me to go back and cut and paste for your benefit.. I made up nothing, I was merely suggesting some of the possibilites as to why the person I called was assured with numbers he gave me. Turns out my confidence in my friend’s numbers was justified. And, as you stated there is a registration requirement (which you weren’t aware of before) and had you known that, it might have led you to think that just maybe the numbers were accurate. But no, gotta be a nudge.

    Now, Andy, of course Cooper didn’t know that home schoolers had to be registered. I’ve never had any reason to obtain that knowledge, but I did have a friend who I knew would probably have reason to know the numbers. He did, and the question regarding registration wasn’t an isssue at the time I spoke to him. It was you who asked about registering after I spoke to my friend. Check the posts.

    Now that we’ve beaten the dead horse here Andy, just what is your point? My numbers are wong? I’m lying about them? They’re not what you expected? What?

    Bottom line … the numbers are available from the district office … my friend as a department chair is in contact with that office regularly and I trust his answer. You may not. I’d give you the districts phone number but I’d prefer you not annoy them. You are however if it pleases you, welcome to call several districts of your choosing on LI and ask for yourself. Like I said … knock yourself out.

  85. D. Cooper says:

    Andy… arguing for arguments sake is usually a waste of time. What I’ll do is simple… anyone who wants to can go back and look at your comments and judge for themselves. Nothings hidden, it’s all there and no reason for me to go back and cut and paste for your benefit.. I made up nothing, I was merely suggesting some of the possibilites as to why the person I called was assured with numbers he gave me. Turns out my confidence in my friend’s numbers was justified. And, as you stated there is a registration requirement (which you weren’t aware of before) and had you known that, it might have led you to think that just maybe the numbers were accurate. But no, gotta be a nudge.

    Now, Andy, of course Cooper didn’t know that home schoolers had to be registered. I’ve never had any reason to obtain that knowledge, but I did have a friend who I knew would probably have reason to know the numbers. He did, and the question regarding registration wasn’t an isssue at the time I spoke to him. It was you who asked about registering after I spoke to my friend. Check the posts.

    Now that we’ve beaten the dead horse here Andy, just what is your point? My numbers are wong? I’m lying about them? They’re not what you expected? What?

    Bottom line … the numbers are available from the district office … my friend as a department chair is in contact with that office regularly and I trust his answer. You may not. I’d give you the districts phone number but I’d prefer you not annoy them. You are however if it pleases you, welcome to call several districts of your choosing on LI and ask for yourself. Like I said … knock yourself out.

  86. “what insidious doctrines are your local public schools brainwashing kids with? ”

    Brainwashing implies that the schools are effective. In Sonoma County, California, the schools were approaching chaos. We moved my son to a private school because, by his description, some of his teachers were unable to teach. They spent most of their time screaming at kids to sit down and behave.

    In the lower grades, the dominant values were profoundly hostile to our values. My daughter learned by fourth grade that there was something “wrong” with her because she listened to Amy Grant. “You’re supposed to listen to Slayer!” By seventh grade, there was a definite price to pay for not being part of the get drunk, get stoned, have casual sex majority. (I got tired of the number of girls of 15 I was seeing pushing baby carriages around town.)

    At its best, the schools there were liberal advocacy; most of the time, they weren’t doing anything useful at all.

  87. Dave, FYI, we don’t teach phonics in high school. Also, Their Eyes Were Watching God is largely written in African American dialect (Zora Neale Hurston was a linguist who specialized in studying and recording dialectical variations in Florida in the early part of the 20th century, and she incorporated her research into her fiction — I believe many of these recordings are on a web site). Ebonics/AAVE/Black English (the nomenclature depends upon who you are talking to) is a dialect of Standard English every bit as valid as whatever dialect of Standard English you (or I) speak. It is not a “feel-good” lesson plan; it is a lesson in linguistics in which we explore Standard English versus local dialects of English, the historical roots of regional differences in spoken English, and the definitions of such things as pidgins, creoles, slang, etc. We also take a look at the grammar, which is why I have to wait until the end of the year when we’ve already covered traditional grammar to a depth sufficient enough to analyze variations. The lesson adheres to Show-Me Knowledge Standards CA1, CA2, and CA7.

    My test over this material is quite tough.

    If you are interested in further information about the dialects of Standard English, or the relationship between these dialects and Standard English, I’d suggest starting with the Linguistics Society of America’s website, which has a nice explanation written for a lay audience.

  88. Tammy in Texas says:

    Long Island is part of New York, right?

    If so, I would imagine that part of the reason the number of homeschoolers is so low is because of all the requirements New York homeschoolers have to meet. If I’m remembering correctly, it’s a pretty intimidating list.

  89. Jim Thomason says:

    I don’t know anything about Long Island, and, really, does it matter? If you are interested in the extent of homeschooling, then it would seem like national data would be the only relevant figure. While by it’s very nature, homeschooling can be difficult to estimate, there have been efforts made. The Census Bureau estimated that there were roughly 790,000 homeschoolers in 1999 … and that that figure was increasing.


    I believe that the figures for total number of children in public schools is about 50 million (or just under), this would indicate that five years ago the percentage of homeschoolers was greater than 1.5. I would (conservatively) extrapolate that the figures today probably approach or surpass 2%. Homeschooling is much more common today than it was just 5 or 10 years ago.

    PS I’m pretty sure that most homeschool organisations feel that the Census figures are quite low, but I think that they are probably the best supported. However, I would consider these figures to be on the low end.

  90. Dave Dahlke says:

    Rita C.
    Wow, going to the Linguistics site was such an eyeopener, NOT! Sure, for 65 dollars a year a person that can tune into all these educated individuals who come up with all these dialects. I have nothing against learning dialects but that should be a college thing. When all your students can ace the American English test then it is time to expand their horizons. Teaching them to speak like they got a mouthful of peanut butter doesn’t help the other teachers to try to get a point across. I know, you want them to expand their horizons, globally and into the ghettoes.

  91. In Missouri, the super. is supposed to keep track of where all the kids in his jurisdiction are attending school. That said, nobody has asked me where my daughter is attending school (she attends in the district where I teach, not where we live, but my home district would have no way of knowing that — I have no idea how she is accounted for), and students regularly arrive in my classroom who have not attended school for up to a year due to parental neglect. Other students are in and out of homeschooling due to psychological difficulties. So, I would assume that homeschooling statistics are just a best guess.

  92. Dave, I’m not sure how teaching them about dialectical differences in English is sending them to the ghetto. Could you explain how that works to me? Is it the same way in which teaching Latin sends students to Ancient Rome? Of course, you do understand that teaching about a language or dialect is not the same thing as teaching the language itself?

    BTW, there is no such thing as the American English Test. American English is a dialect, and therefore something that should be learned in college, isn’t that your position? Do you mean the TESOL? That’s a test of Standard English.

  93. D. Cooper says:

    Tammy, yes, LI is part of NY and as I perused the list, I’d say it was fairly extensive and intimidating.

    Jim … I was just trying I guess to make the point that not all school districts are such that parents have the need to extract their children from them for lack of that district providing a good solid education. And, I resent the attacks that would take a situation in Iowa or New Mexico that may justify such, being translated to the entire nation (Iowa & New Mexico picked at random) and teachers in general. Too many people are seeing this home schooling as the wave of the future. I don’t quite see it that way, and would suggest that it is an option for some parents and to that point I agree. And, for obvious reasons it of course not an option for many parents who’d like to take it.

    And as for Andy, it seems he was more interested in questioning my numbers instead of asking why they were so low.

  94. Dave: PS. 80% of my students are white. Furthermore, it is very difficult to take your opinions about English instruction seriously when you apparently have never figured out how to use a comma.

  95. Dave Dahlke says:

    Rita C.
    Excuse me. I am learning the comma. I just got thru the colon.

  96. Andy Freeman says:

    > just what is your point? My numbers are wong? I’m lying about them? They’re not what you expected? What?

    I asked about the basis of the numbers. Cooper attacked and made up reasons to “justify” said attacks.

    That’s not an uncommon reaction by public school folk. Ask them why they believe something, and they get abusive. Is that that’s some of that “good citizenship” we’ve heard about?

    Note that I’ve yet to express an opinion about the magnitude of the numbers Cooper reported (other than to comment that I’m certain that there are districts where such numbers are in the noise).

  97. I know that there are many excellent public school districts in the United States; however, who among you can honestly swear that he would send his child to an inner-city school without a qualm? Not a magnet school, not an exam school, not a special, experimental implementation of an intriguing educational theory, but a run-of-the-mill school with staggering drop-out rates?

    I see the rise in home schooling householders not as an indictment of the public system, but as a testimonial to past teachers. There do seem to be some parents who value education, who have high expectations for their children, and who have the spirit to say, “It doesn’t have to be this way. I shouldn’t have to move to the “right” school district to educate my child. Violence in the classroom cannot be tolerated. If some students are attacking teachers without realistic penalties, what of their fellow students?”

    Many couples now have children later in life than their parents did, and I suspect the number of alternative schooling arrangements may rise. For an established adult, the prospect of moving to the suburbs, and lengthening the commute, merely to be able to send one’s child to the “right” school, is not appealing. Indeed, some people would rather stay in the city, with its cultural offerings, than decamp to the suburbs. We are not home schoolers, but the few of whom I have heard in our parts, who do teach their children at home, are not hicks. They choose a novel approach to family life, but they are not ill-educated malcontents.

  98. D. Cooper says:

    Andy… you are pathetic … except for a few flippant comments regarding public school teachers, all you’ve done here is whine. I’ve asked some questions regarding how more difficult high school subjects are taught. Defended the quality of schools here on LI with a couple of thoughts … the results of the Intel contest and the relativily low number of those who are home schooled. I’ve tried to defend some of the criticism that I felt was too broadly applied to public schools and point out that such is not necessarily the case everywhere. I’ve also stated that for some parents the option for home schooling is the right thing for them. And, I’ve discussed some of the societal changes that have aversly affected education.

    You, Andy jumped in the middle of this post with a whimpy whine about my numbers and that’s about all you’ve contributed save for a few anti teacher dings. Quit whinning. Jim T and Tammy made some intelligent comments regarding them, while you continue to opine. So far you’ve offered nada in terms of substance. Andy, this is cruel, but go fly a kite.

  99. I’m not a teacher, but I thought our Representative Republic rejected the “social contract” theory of Jean Jacques Rousseau whereby “the citizens of a properly-contracted civil society are infallibly guided by the general will (collective desire for the welfare of a society as a whole),rather than by their conflicting individual self-interests”. I mean, isn’t that what the Declaration of Independence was all about–you know, the pursuit of happiness and all that.

    If I had children, I would never sacrifice their future, their education or their moral formation on the altar of the “general will.” Especially now that leftists appear to have such power in public schools.

  100. D. Cooper says:

    Ouch… Sue Bob …. leftists … that’s a pretty hefty tag.

    The prose you’ve offered up here is rather extreme. Altar of the general will!!! Yipes, scares me.

    I don’t suppose I could hope to sway you, so I’ll skip the attempt. Think I’ll go play with my Ann Coulter doll.

  101. Dave Dahlke says:

    Julia K.
    Ah, So nice to hear the sound of logic. However, I do believe that homeschooling is an indictment of present day teachers also. I have talked to some of them and they are not a happy lot. They are fighting the same system that the parents are but they have to abide by their administration decisions. This whole mess goes all the way to the U.S.Department of Education.

  102. jeff wright says:

    D. Cooper: Your problem is that you extrapolate from your experiences in one privileged area (despite what you posted about your demographics, etc., Long Island is privileged in the context regarding which many of us write) and apply them throughout the nation. You are an eloquent defender of the public schools, but I don’t think anybody’s ever said that there aren’t points of light out there. I think that you’re just too vociferous in your defense of what is in fact a pretty piss-poor educational system in much of the country. You’re a great advocate, but your experiential base is too limited.

    BTW, I have a hard time with your figures on home-schooling, too.

  103. D. Cooper says:

    Jeff, quite the contrary, I’ve made no claims that everything is hunky dory. It would seem that many here talk about the horrible teachers and public education as if it were everywhere. I’ve stated here that where it’s a problem, people have a right to do what is best for their kids. I’m just saying that it’s not as wide spread as many here seem to indicate,and that here on LI things are fairly good. I would also add that for most people here on this post that their experiental base is relativily limited and yet paint with a broad brush. To be sure large inner city schools have major problems. And, the other point I make is that where there are problems, many of those are societal and not necessarily the fault of the educational system.

    My defense is generally limited to teachers, not administrations, school boards, state ed. departments etc. As David just posted, we as teachers are fighting the same battles many of you are, and what is most discouraging is the lack of support.

    As far as the numbers go, I don’t know what to tell you. I’ll ask this, don’t you think that in 31 years I might have heard of one kid on home schooling? I believe I recall once a kid on my school soccer team, mentioned some kid who played with him on some outside team who was I believe was home schooled. But for all I knew it could have been someone who for medical reasons wasn’t attending school. That’s it … 31 years. The community is largely first and second generation Italian-Americans. Many a student of mine had parents who spoke little or no English. I doubt they ever even heard of home schooling let alone contemplated it.

    Another question … how much of the home schooling issue is a result of philosophical differences as opposed to poor instruction? I’m sure in many ares that this may be the case. The comment above…”Especially now that leftists appear to have such power in public schools.”… appears to be directed at something other than the quality of instruction. Not..that they’re not learning…but ….what they are learning.

  104. T. in FL says:

    Well, I am going to break down and post even though I told myself I was not going to get involved in this discussion. I home educate my children. They did attend public school for a couple of years and I found it very exhausting. My children were turned into salespeople, who were always selling something. I was tired of the busywork they were sent home with. And, as a parent with a child in the school system you have to keep very abreast of the situation at school and in the classroom and be and advocate for your child more often than not. I could give specific examples, but this post would get quite long. Honestly, it was a full time job.

    I feel that I need to answer D. Cooper’s question about teaching a child something that you have not studied for a while, if at all. I think you would be surprised at the cirriculum available to homeschoolers. For advanced instruction, there are videos, computer programs, and well written teachers manuals. Some homeschoolers hire tutors for their children for subjects such as Calculus or Physics. Some children go to the community college for these classes. Here in Florida, a student can be dual enrolled. They can be homeschooled and attend the community college. There are also several co-ops. If you belong to a co-op you are required to be involved in teaching in some way. Maybe one parent is a master at physics but can not speak any Spanish. Another parents speaks fluent Spanish but couldn’t help you find the banking necessary on a race track. They make a pretty good team, though, and that is what a co-op is all about.

    Homeschooling is all about choices. What may work well for my family, may not work at all for yours. Most homeschoolers I know do not criticize teachers. We have a couple of teachers in my homeshool group, and they are the first to say it is not an easy road, and I don’t doubt them. But, as I do not criticize the job that the teachers are doing in the classroom, I would expect the same courtesy in return. One bad teacher does not make them all bad teachers, just as one uneducated homeschooler does not make them all uneducated.

  105. repooC .D says:

    Is it possible for D. Cooper to make one post without attempting to revise a clear statement he has previously made, or engaging in ad hominim attacks? I’m going over the records, but the answer looks like no. The man is impervious to logic and reason.

  106. Mad Scientist says:

    Sue Bob:

    Your comments are right on the mark. Simply stated, “general will” is a code phrase that liberals and communists use to try to make individuals feel guilty about putting their own enlightened self-interest ahead of a collective that exists solely to extort money and ensure their continued existence.

    To the others:

    I am encouraged that you are finding out what Mr. StatusQuo (AKA Cooper) is all about. It’s OK to have an opinion, as long as it’s his.

  107. D. Cooper says:

    T in Fl,… I’ll only respond to your post, as Mad and repooc’s are not worthy of a response. For them I’ll just let them reread and rethink and I’m dismissing their diatribe without further comment.

    I appreciate your comments. Several others here have explained to me how some of the higher level courses are taught. And despite what you may have thought, I was more wanting to know how it got done than anything else. As I’ve mentioned before, I agree that home schooling is an option that will serve many a parent well, and for others a private or charter school is the solution. And, if I may, even public school. I did not, and apologize to you, if you think I was suggesting that home schoolers were uneducated. I was questioning just how high level courses got taught. I have a brother-in-law who is a psychologist (Dr., actually) and I’d consider him well educated. He’d have a time of it teaching calculus. I taught mathematics and would not be comfortable in many subject areas. Again, your explaination of resources available to home schoolers was very helpful.

  108. Andy Freeman says:

    > Andy, this is cruel, but go fly a kite.

    That’s a typical response by public school folk when someone asks them for supporting evidence.

    Cooper may not like that substance, but at least he has supported it.

  109. D. Cooper says:

    Sorry Andy .. but I got what I thought was an honest, accurate answer, researched the home schooling policies in NYS to determine that indeed home schoolers were required to register. That was to support the fact that the superintendent that my friend spoke to was indeed knowing of those numbers. If you’d like to further refute those figures because you believe I was either dishonest or inaccurate for some other reason you’re on your own.

    My response to ‘go fly a kite’ was not to your request for supporting evidence, it was for you being annoying about it. It seems to me that you were not wanting to believe me. Now… enough is enough …I’ll meet you half way… you go fly a kite, and I’ll bring the string.

  110. Mad Scientist says:

    Andy, never fear. Just asking for it is annoying to some people.

  111. D. Cooper says:

    Mad, if you look back, he asked, I gave him some information. He questioned that and I looked a little further to find that out. Go back and read. I wasn’t annoyed at all, and inbetween posts I was speaking to my friend who I inquired about the numbers. I researched the NYS ed department to further determine an issue. Andy’s constant implications that what I was telling him was suspect, I found annoying, as I do you (which I’m sure you enjoy however).

    So, go see Andy, bring string, and fly the kite together…you’re both annoying. Yikes, go watch basketball … it’s March MADness don’t you know!!!

  112. We have done all three – public, home, and private schooling. It’s pointless to get into contests about who is better and who is worst. People make their own decisions based on their own personal situations. The key is to make sure that states provide the freedom to all parents to choose homeschooling without burdensome requirements. This can be done *without* bashing public schools.

    Yes, public schools bash homeschoolers. For that matter, they bash private school students too. Every student that leaves public school for private or parochial school also causes the district to lose money.

    But ultimately it’s immaterial. It’s not politically expedient for homeschoolers to turn every homeschool discussion into an “evilgodlessatheistpublicschool” rant. Many parents now are going back and forth through a revolving door and are *not* culturally quantifiable as “extreme conservative” or “culture warriors.”

  113. Mad Scientist says:


    If public schools were doing an adequate job, the economics dictate that one should send their kids to public school.

    Since there ia an increasing number of people opting for the private, home school, and charter options, it becomes clear that the public schools are not doing an adequate job.

    As for the loss of money, it is a spurious argument. Sure the districts lose state aid. However, they still get to keep the property tax receipts regardless of how many students attend. The districts are far ahead if more students go to the other options, because there is the same pile of money spread across fewer students.

    There are some here who would read this as a “bash”. These are statements of fact arrived at through logic.

  114. D. Cooper says:

    Speaking of logic, a little clairification might be in order. School districts will not necessarily have the same size pot of money to spread around. If enrollment declines in a district, fewer teachers/administrators will be needed. Text, supplies, and a host of other expenses will be reduced as well. Some school districts in light of declining enrollments in the past have even closed schools (some I know actually sold buildings). All of this would hopefully decrease the districts operating budget and hence the property tax rate. And, I might add that in NYS, there are many expenses/services related to parochrial schools, that the public school district must provide.

    That same pile of money theory may be somewhat true if a district of say 4000 students loses 25 kids in one year. But, if they loose say 200 students then that would probably have some affect on a districts operating budget. If students are jumping off the sinking ship as fast as some would have us believe, then indeed funding will be affected and the same pile of money theory is kaput.

  115. Anne,

    For the record, I’m a public school teacher and I’ve never bashed homeschoolers. I’d consider it myself if I had kids, only because I know firsthand the limitations of teaching a class of 30+ plus students, especially students who are extremely bright or need special help.

    I appreciate the comments of homeschoolers such as T and yourself, who can see beyond the glib judgments and personal attacks to make a rational point.

    Anyway, I’m tired of the bashing on all sides. Especially here. Everyone has a point to prove, and everyone else pulls up anecdotes to prove the opposing point is wrong.

    Whatever works, go for it. Best to you with your homeschooling.

  116. Mad Scientist says:


    Bullshit. When was the last time you saw a district budget actually go down?

    And property taxes drop because of it?

    Never happens.

  117. D. Cooper says:

    Mad … never … because I’ve never seen the drop off in public school enrollments that you’ve suggested ‘might’ happen. To be sure, back awhile on LI, when there were declining enrollments (due to fewer children being enrolled because there were fewer children) school budget increases were held to a minimum or even to zero in many cases. That periond of declining enrollments was rather short lived however.

    In cases where students attend parochrial or private schools, the local district with some restrictions, must provide a variety of special services, including transportation and text books. The point is, that were a significant number of students to leave the public system, the net effect may or may not reduce a school budget from year to year, but may indeed slow down the rate of increase and in all likelyhood have no affect on the per pupil educational expenditures for that district.

    The bottom line here is that the % decline in enrollment in the majority of school districts (due to any reason) has probably never been large enough to offset any % increase in school budgets. You can argue that costs are going up too quickly, but too say that because of a large number of students leaving public schools has had the effect of increasing per pupil instructional spending is not the case.

  118. Dave Dahlke says:

    Never saw a drop in school enrollments? What has everyone been talking about? The thousands of homeschoolers who are not in the public school system are endangering funding for public schools. Go back and read the original article. I think you have been away from it too long.

  119. D. Cooper says:

    Dave … there’s a difference here is what is being discussed…. first, Mad is saying that they’ll have more money to spend on those remaining…. I say no. Secondly, it’s not a matter of the funding, fewer students supposedly fewer teachers, fewer jobs … unhappy unemployed teachers. So it’s not so much the money that public school teachers are at odds with, but fewer jobs. And, perhaps thousands of home schoolers in a small geographic area may have an effect.

    If that is the case where you live … so be it. On LI, where the public schools are doing an outstanding job, and are the highest paid teachers in the stae (NY) which is a relativily well paying state, it’s just not happening here. Enrollments are not down. Funding is not down. Students are not jumping off the sinking ship, because the ship is not sinking.

  120. D. Cooper says:

    Just a bit of info … these statistics are for Suffolk County (on LI)

    Non public school enrollment from 1991 to 2000 increased from 17,015 to 19,160 (12.6%)

    Public school enrollments in the same time period increased from 251,730 to 248,850 (15.3%)

    This does not include home schooling statistics for which I do not know if any are available. But, it would seem that down here at least no one appears to be jumping ship.

    Actually the number of students attending non-public schools has slipped from 7.9% to 7.7% in that period. I would also suggest that given the relative difficulty to home school in NYS (given all the regs) that if parents were leaving in droves, they’d most likely choose non-public schools. Apparently they are not.

  121. D. Cooper says:

    Opps … …that was 215,730, not 251,730 in the previous post …

  122. Dave Dahlke says:

    You want statistics, you get them. These stats are for New York State.

    Percentage of Non-Public Fall Enrollment 2001- 14.9%
    Fall Enrollment Public schools 1971-Approx 3.4 mil
    Fall Enrollment Public schools 2001-Approx 2.8 mil
    Classroom teachers 1971- Approx 180,00
    Classroom teachers 2000- Approx 210,00
    Expenditures per pupil 1990- $8,491
    Expenditures per pupil 2001- $12,093

    Please don’t say it isn’t about money. Jobs cost money, money creates jobs. They are synonymous.

  123. D. Cooper says:

    Dave … The purpose of my statistics were not for the intent of arguing the increased per pupil costs of education. Not a question … they’re up…. they’re costly. I was trying to make the point, that costs would shrink only if there was this mass exedus from the public schools that some here have suggested. My point was that the public schools in many areas of NY are doing very well and that the enrollment numbers are not only increasing, but that the actual percentage of those enrolled in non public schools has declined

    You also made a statement about the thousands of kids who are leaving the public schools, to be home schooled. Where are those stats? Facts are, is that it is not happening and as you’ve seen, funding for public schools is not endangered.

    And one last point regarding money. Another thread here relates to attracting teachers; ‘Average pay attracts average teachers.’ NY is one of the 2 or 3 top states in teachers salaries.Given that fact and that teachers on LI are the highest paid in NY may help explain both the increased per pupil costs as well as the stability of the number of students attending public schools. I would think that to some degree, the higher pay attracts more teachers, and hence the selectiveness with which they are hired.

  124. Andy Freeman says:

    > Andy’s constant implications that what I was telling him was suspect, I found annoying, as I do you (which I’m sure you enjoy however).

    Except that I never implied that Cooper’s numbers were suspect. I asked about the source and accepted without question Cooper claim that he’d checked and there is a reporting requirement.

    As the record above shows, I didn’t question Cooper’s assumptions that his acquaintance talked to the appropriate person at the district office and that compliance with the reporting requirement was good enough to support Cooper’s position.

    Instead, I’ve been pointing out Cooper’s abusive responses to being asked a question about his data.

  125. D. Cooper says:

    Andy … go back and read .. I gave an estimate and you responded with …how would he know … I responded with… ‘he would know because’ … and then explained. Then you came back again and questioned if the person I asked was the right person and if the superintendant knew. I was assuming he knew, but went and got further information to indicate that he indeed would have known. So, you see Andy you were relentless in your pursuit and questioned the sources and their validity. Obviously when you question the source and validty of data you are questioning the data as well.

    Following is a direct quote from your post above…this this clarify whether or not you were questioning if my acquaintance was asking the right person:

    “> he would know because he spoke to someone who’s the present Department Head of the English Department , who’s privy to that information as he’s in contact with the district’s central administration.

    Has said head of the English Department actually asked the right person, or is he just guessing?”

    And, how does the district’s central admin know?

    Are home schoolers required to register with district central? Any idea as to compliance rates?”

    Now for a little abuse … you are starting to sound like Richard Clarke … which truth would you have us believe? And you wonder why I got annoyed with you.