Thursday, September 5, 2013

NSW Board of Studies destroys educational freedom

  I’ve just finished reading the new ‘Home education info pack’ from the NSW BoS. Those of you in the home ed community will know the furore this has created-I admit, it was a rather entertaining read. They’ve been unequivocal about their intent to force homeschoolers to comply with their will. Let’s look at some salient parts, shall we?

Home schooling, also referred to as home education, requires a parent to deliver the NSW Board of Studies curriculum.

  There it is, right in the introduction. If that isn’t throwing down the gauntlet, I don’t know what is.

As with other forms of education, there is no single approach to home schooling. Regardless of the approach to teaching, the educational philosophy that might be adopted and/or the learning context for each child, the requirements for registration must be met at all times during any period of registration.

  In other words, screw your approach. Bend to ours. There is no room whatsoever for any approach other than school at home in this document.

The visit provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate that the educational program you plan to deliver will comply with the requirements for home
schooling registration.

  It is amusing how often they state this. There is virtually nothing about showing that your child is actually getting educated-I think they believe that is synonymous with their beloved requirements. I’m not sure how forcing parents to take at least ten hours a week to fill out paperwork and records related to their child’s learning will be better than them spending that ten hours choosing and doing activities with them.

Whether the time allocated is comparable to that allocated in schools

  Any home educator knows that you can cover the same material in less that a quarter of the time-one to one teaching, at the child’s speed, compared to classroom teaching. Bah. But you still have to come up with records for 30 hours a week, per child.

    • there is an adequate system of planning, supervising and recording teaching and learning
    • there is an adequate system for recording the child’s progress and achievement

  Those two bullet points spell out hours of pointless paperwork every week for the parent. I mean, who are these arrogant parents who believe that they can see progress in real terms, because they spend hours every day with their children? Now, you have to prove it, in every area.

It may also be an important document if enrolment is sought in a school, TAFE college or other educational institution at some future time.

  Veiled threats, anyone? Who’s guessing that your registration form will soon become mandatory to enrol in the above-sorry, but you can’t enrol in this TAFE course which has no prerequisites. Your naughty parents ignored the registration requirements, therefore ruining your life! Bad parents.

You must notify the Home Schooling Unit…….if you intend to deliver an educational program for Years of schooling other than those specified on the
certificate of registration

  Above or below age level in any areas of any subjects? Sorry, but you’ll need permission to deviate from the average. We’re aiming for average children here-and parents, how could you think you’re qualified to assess their abilities? Please don’t touch the next level textbook until you have permission-meanwhile, do what bored schoolkids do, stare at the wall and count the minutes! It’s education.

The registration process may take up to three months from the time an application is made to receipt of a certificate of home schooling registration.

  They repeat this a lot, too, and stress that you cannot remove your child from school until it’s done. Severe bullying? Too bad, suck it up while the application sits on someone’s desk gathering dust. Maybe they’re modelling it on the paperwork system in the refugee detention centres?

If your child’s home address changes from the home address specified on the child’s certificate of registration, you must advise in writing the Home Schooling Unit providing details of the new home address. On receipt of notice that the home address of a registered child has changed, an Authorised Person will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time to assess the new home for its suitability for home schooling registration. If suitable for home schooling, a certificate of registration specifying the new home address will be issued.

  Ah, their precious learning environment. I’m guessing that doing bookwork on the dining table, reading up a tree, or science in the kitchen won’t be counted as a suitable learning environments. I imagine this one will be used to exclude any number of applications by default-if you don’t have the space or money for a dedicated classroom with all of the accessories, too bad. Because you can’t learn outside a classroom, can you? Or maybe your equipment won’t pass the test, if you don’t have Bunsen burners and lab equipment, full sports supplies, or a cupboard full of art supplies? Even though we all know that the average school child gets very few opportunities, if any, to take full advantage of the school equipment provided-it’s just there to look good and wave around to visitors.

(f) courses of study in a key learning area are to be based on, and taught in accordance with, a syllabus developed or endorsed by the Board and approved by the Minister.

  Individualised curriculums, based on your own family’s conviction of what it is important to learn? Your opinion counts for nothing. You are to follow their syllabus to the letter-if you think anything else is important, jam it in outside your equivalent allocated school hours. Our current chronological world history study would be replaced with ‘personal and local history’ (like you can’t cover a six year old’s personal history in an hour), Auslan doesn’t fit in anywhere (LOTE isn’t mentioned until high school), and can you imagine the conniptions the “Authorised Person” would have on finding that the children don’t use the computer? Because it’s in the requirements in the syllabus for every subject from a young age. No room for a philosophical objection there.

  Well, here’s my gauntlet, BoS-if this goes through (and I have no doubt that it will, with no significant changes), i’m moving interstate. I’m not wasting my time filling out reams of paperwork when I could be doing meaningful activities with my children, and I refuse to be welded to a curriculum and system that churns out thousands of failures (through no fault of their own) every year.

  That is the most offensive part-your system is filled with problems, and you insist on forcing it upon people who are doing a whole lot better, all by themselves. With no educational degrees, not following your system, and not using your resources. Ordinary, unqualified people are producing children that are happier, better educated and more well-rounded than the average school child. I’m not biased either-it’s been measured in a number of studies. But you can’t be having that, can you? Spending billions on education and still not achieving the educational average of parents around their dining table looks terrible-so instead of improving the system, you’ve decided to drag us down with you.

  As always, we’ll take the contrary option. We’ll jump ship. Again and again and again if it means preserving our educational freedom. We will not submit to arbitrary control when the source of that control can’t even demonstrate success. And I don’t imagine we’ll be the only ones-us home educators aren’t generally ones to toe the line. They’re already getting a good demonstration of that.

1 comment:

Quasmoexports said...

Great post! The fact that you means someone is reading and liking it! Congrats!That’s great advice.

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