Ticklish Ears

Parenting, education, the Christian walk, and other ticklish subjects
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“The schools are Microsoft, and they’ve bundled the fun stuff (which isn’t their primary mission) with their lousy OS.”

Daryl Cobranchi, commenting on homeschoolers’ access to extracurricular activities. Great line, Daryl!

A market-based approach to education? What a concept!

In the comments to Daryl’s post, Hal Young (I’m presuming this is Hal Young, the President of North Carolinians for Home Education), links to a provocative article that talks about wants vs. needs in a state education system and how the terms get warped when it’s somebody else’s money at stake.

Having been the beneficiary of the whole public school band experience, this whole debate sends my mind reeling. But it’s hard to get past this:

… nearly every component of a publicly funded program, including education, is considered by its providers and constituents alike to be both basic and necessary. The “no fluff? claim reveals the difference in attitude that arises when parents do not have to weigh the value of an activity against their payment for participation. Public choice economists explain why we fund band programs in public schools, for example, and then beg taxpayers to approve bonds for basic literacy projects. The seemingly upside-down priorities are a function of the political nature of school funding. They are not evidence that every program is essential.

To get back to the main point, though, it’s hard to argue that homeschoolers shouldn’t be allowed to participate in such activities. Quite honestly, it’s hard to see why homeschoolers in the secondary grades, where individual classes in the public schools are essentially self-contained, shouldn’t be allowed to attend, say, a math class in the local school. That is, if they wanted to.

Of course, not everyone agrees. Here’s another commenter to Daryl’s post:

Why should a public school allow outsiders to take classes cafeteria style?

I don’t know — because they pay taxes?

One Response to ““The schools are Microsoft, and they’ve bundled the fun stuff (which isn’t their primary mission) with their lousy OS.””

  1. Principled Discovery Says:

    It is an interesting issue…what basis is there for discrimination against homeschoolers in the school system? If the schools serve the communities they are in, why not the whole community? They like to get their little paws on the special needs children in the homeschool community, because that is big money. But not on the occasional band member or basketball player.

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