Now that the dust has started to settle on the initial indignant ranting of the home educators it may be safe to pop above the parapet and float a few random thoughts….
The response to the Badman report should be on two discrete fronts, the civil liberties issues and the education issues, with each branch being argued separately.
One needs to acknowledge the limited world view of the professional educators. They went to school. They went to university. They went back to school. Any ideas that are outside this scenario can be difficult for them to grasp. Showing workings and adding labels to an illustrative diagram often helps.
The Badman report is a huge leap backwards to where we were decades ago so perhaps we should retrace our steps a few decades and find some other educational path to follow; one that does not lead to the odious home education model that is so common today.
Perhaps a starting point might be the description of various forms of education defined by Combs with Prosser and Ahmed in 1973 which included:
Informal education: the truly lifelong process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment – from family and neighbours, from work and play, from the market place, the library and the mass media.
Which itself followed on from a 1972 [W:UNESCO] report called “Learning To Be” which raised the notion that…
education should enable each person to be able to solve his own problems, make his own decisions and shoulder his own responsibilities.
Learning To Be was adopted as one of The Four Pillars in Education for the 21st century (1996 – hence the ugly web site ;-). Etc. Etc. It would be far easier to defend from such extant heights than from the piddling [W:molehill] that is home education.
Someone should thank [W:Gordon Brown] for his vociferous support in a speech about education on the 5th May 2009 (my emphasis):
An alternative approach would be a significantly increased top-down role for government in the education system, local authorities running every school to meet centrally-set targets and regulations. I reject this approach. It would stifle innovation, deny teachers and school leaders the freedom they need to drive change. It would cut parents out of any role in improving education standards.
Bear in mind that the government’s response to the petition regarding the review said:
One of the key principles underpinning The Children’s Plan published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families is that the government does not bring up children – parents do.
On the other hand laughing at the home educators, and their posturing that has so successfully landed them in this pickle, is quite acceptable.