Archives for posts with tag: repeal truancy laws

Isn’t this an embarrassment?

Section XIII-4: Compulsory school attendance.
The Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all the children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen years, for at least three months in each year.

Compulsion is evil. Yet, here we require it in our state constitution. We institute evil in our governance at its inception.

Coercion is evil. Compulsion is evil. It can only be justified in the prevention of worse evil.

Can we argue that granting someone the freedom, the right, of self-determination is a worse evil than forcing attendance at education?

We all know better. We know it is right and good to allow each self-determination. It is unalienable. Liberty, freedom of association, these are rights with which we are each individually created. Certainly parents and responsible adults owe protection to our young, our childish ones, until they gain modest maturity, but the longer I live, the less mature I realize we all are. Responsibility must accompany privilege, but self-determination is not a privilege, it is innate right. Self-determination is a property of a person. It is part of the very definition of what each of us is.

No one can argue that coercion, compulsion is other than evil. We aver religious freedom. We generally allow so many freedoms, even some freedoms most of us judge as immoral. Yet, we want to deny the right of self-determination and free association to all our citizens less than 16, even 18, years of age.

We all instinctively, rightly, understand that being forced to do anything deprives us, degrades us. Most will comply, but the degradation remains. No matter the end results, the end never justifies evil means.

The end never justifies evil means.

Coercion, compulsion is evil.

The end never justifies coercive means.

Education is a good that has been sought hard through all history. Knowledge is power. We instinctively know that. We understand that information and understanding, with wisdom and sound judgment empower us to fulfill our dreams and to live our lives well. No one has to force us to do good things for ourselves. Indeed, no one can.

Yes, we are always tempted to sloth, but we know the ant. We know the fiddle-playing grasshopper.

It is not possible to justify righteously the compulsion of the grasshopper for his own good. It does him no good, and it diminishes the rest of us, at best decreasing our own productivity and efficiency, and often going much farther bringing forth in us the worst of human nature, especially arrogance, self-righteousness, condescension, and even worse.

There is no need for compulsion in education. Mothers understand its value for their children. Children understand its value when simply allowed to enjoy the process. Joy cannot flourish under compulsion. Children do not enjoy being told they must. No one enjoys being told what to do. Children must learn self-discipline, but that is an entirely different thing than education. Children learn when they play. They learn when they interact. They learn when they are shown how to do something new. They learn when they are shown the usefulness of reading, writing, and mathematics. The same applies to skills in all areas of interest, including sports and trade or industry.

The state must ensure access. The state must protect those seeking education. I will even support state provision of schools and educational resource, but no good can come of forcing our young citizens and their parents to participate and attend.

It is my right to be ignorant if I so choose.

It is mama’s right to insist her child participate in education. Mama can insist her child attend. The state cannot. The state has no right to coerce with regard to self-determination and freedom of association. Mama will choose what is best for her child. We need only ensure her right is unhindered. It is mama’s right to raise her child anyway she sees fit. There are limits. We acknowledge abuse occurs, and sometimes the state must intervene, but in nearly all cases, mother really does know best. Empower her, and protect her from hindrance, and ensure she has at least one adequate option, such as a public school, and let her prove it. Mothers the world over have been proving it over and over since time immemorial.

I will always stand for mothers and fathers, for families. It is what works. For the exceptions, coercion cannot help.

Societally, we must work together and try to make up for shortfalls. We must also stand with those who see things nontraditionally, even when we have sound studies and reproducible data that show the traditional works best. But, we cannot do so by trying to force behavior.

Focus on what is most important. Freedom, self-determination, acceptance of responsibility, owning what we earn, be it for better or for worse. These are the things that are important for human dignity. These are the essentials of society. Understanding these is much more important than acquisition of some arbitrary standard of education as guessed at by some standardized test.

Children are, first, citizens. Children are not resources of the state. Children are not resources of the economy. Children are not property. We adults, specifically, we parents, are responsible for helping our children grow, and we must provide them with the tools they need for success in life. We must prepare them to stand on their own and take our places. We cannot arbitrarily set the standard. We cannot pretend to know the STEM needs of the future. Heaven forbid that for anyone we ever try to determine for him or her. Each child has the right to pursue happiness. Each child must be allowed self-determination in it.

We must amend our state constitution. We must remove the words of Section XIII-4 and replace with words prohibiting coercion, prohibiting compulsory attendance. We must free our citizens, especially the teachers in our publicly funded schools.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

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Mr. Miller has comments about teacher evaluation.

http://www.viewfromtheedge.net/?p=7405

Snippets with my comments:

“So, we are right back where we were prior to SB2033. Oklahoma can do anything we choose without the threat of federal interference. We can change this law during this legislative session, and we should.”

“That’s right. I vote to abolish TLE completely. Every part of it–The Tulsa Model, Marzano, McRel, roster verification, value-added models, teacher portfolios, student and parent surveys, benchmark testing, qualitative scores, quantitative scores…EVERY. Damn. Part.”

Absolutely. Get rid of all teacher evaluation requirements. We must trust our teachers and principals. If parents will stay involved, that will work just fine. It is, in fact, the only thing that will work.

Accountability means nothing unless the parents are involved. The state need not be involved if the parents are, and the state will only cause harm regardless.

“Adding layers of bureaucracy and mandates at the state level has done little to improve the quality of teachers in our state. This has always been–and will always be–a function of school leadership.”

Yes, absolutely. Local leadership and parental involvement. With no parents, there is no hope anyway.

“Therefore, the best method of teacher evaluation will always be to hire a great principal and let them do their job.

“Likewise, the best approach for our best teachers is to let them teach. We should provide the resources, training and supports they need and then get out of their way.

“The reality is that great teachers will be great teachers with or without TLE. They are intrinsically motivated and likely harder on themselves than any administrator could ever be. This does not mean they won’t appreciate meaningful feedback and suggestions from their administrators. But it’s just gravy for many of them.”

Actually, with TLE, the great teachers succumb. They find it too hard to love the children and teach them, piled on with the requirements to keep up with all the paperwork and restrictions. TLE doesn’t do much for the good teachers, but it does drive them away.

Mr. Miller speaks of improving incentives, but I don’t think incentives are the problem, restrictions and disincentives are the problem. First, we hold a gun to everyone’s head and force them to school. Then we tie the hands of the teachers with one-size-fits-all requirements. We restrict their options, and we force them to deal with those kids who refuse to cooperate, gun to their head or not.

Children love to learn. We do not have to instill a love of learning in them. It is there. We have to be careful not to squash it. Our system is very much geared for squashing love of learning. It also squashes love of teaching.

Likewise for critical thinking. Kids will, if we don’t throttle them every time they do so. We tend to, since there just isn’t time in the classroom to let the child’s thinking run its course. When Sally makes an astute observation followed by an off-the-wall conclusion, the ideal is to work with her and her peers to sort out the error and find better conclusions. She can and will if we can take the time, but we don’t. The typical response is to tell her that she was sharp to notice, but then the teacher must simply interject the correct conclusion because there simply isn’t time for the distraction. The distractions are important. In the distractions, our children learn to think for themselves. Distractions and focus on them develop the love of learning into lifelong habit. Figuring out and working through the errors and misjudgments develops the critical thinking that simply cannot be taught. Tests and lessons cannot teach critical thinking. Telling students what the critical points are teaches them nothing. They know a fact for a while; then it fades from mind. Doing the process of critical thinking instills it. Teaching it, accomplishes nothing.

Writing for Newsweek, , discusses the low morale of teachers in public education.

http://www.newsweek.com/why-has-teacher-morale-plummeted-321447

Like, no duh, huh?

He points out that the current problem started in the 1980s. It started even before the Civil War, but the problems today are largely the doings of Jimmy Carter and the Democrats of the early 1980s. Reagan tried to stop it. He said he would, but he failed. Tip O’Neill mattered in that. Most of our education problems today are mostly, originally, Tip O’Neill’s fault. (Bushes and Clintons share a lot of blame and responsibility in our education problems, too.)

Mr. Ward points out that 40-50% of our new teachers leave the profession within five years. Wow. There are no reforms we can do to the education system and hope to fix it while none of our teachers have significant experience in teaching. Nothing!

The first requirement to any fix in education is get rid of compulsory education. Repeal all truancy laws. All of them. Our education system will continue to worsen until we get rid of compulsory education laws. Compulsion, coercion, is always immoral. The only justification for any coercion is the clear and imminent threat of harm. There is no clear threat associated with lack of education for children. There certainly is no imminent threat.

Compulsory laws for education are evil. The history of it is sad. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_education

Second requirement: Let the teachers teach!

Get out of their way. Get back to the principal and district superintendent running the school, trusting the teachers, proving them out one-on-one with the students and parents, and get out of the way.

Get the Fed out entirely. We need to amend the Constitution. Add the words “or education” to the First Amendment, like this, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or education, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;…” Our Federal government should treat education the exact same way it treats religion, totally hands off.

Our states need to back it down to the counties. We need to acknowledge that there is no overriding interest of the state in our children. We, including our children, are citizens. We all need equal protection. We all need equal standing. Sure, minors must be specially defined until the age of majority, but 18 is really probably older than we need for most things.

Well, enough today. I found Ward’s article worthwhile, and it slapped me hard that it is impossible to fix the public education system when most of our teachers have less than five years experience. It is impossible. We have to figure out how to fix that first. We cannot fix it by meddling.

Writing for the Witherspoon Institute Public Discourse,  writes an insightful article. 

The Fundamental Case for Parental Rights.

I invite you to read her article. I recommend it.

I agree with her without reservation until she gets to “The Role of the State in Educating Children.”

At that point, she simply doesn’t go far enough. She states that coercion by the state should be as limited as possible, but I assert that it is possible to entirely proscribe state interference and coercion. 100%, no coercion. All coercion is immoral. The state, all governments at all levels, must add to their charters, their constitutions, that they shall make no laws regarding establishment of education, and they shall not restrict the free exercise thereof. There should be an even wider separation between education and the state than there is between religion and the state.

Fundamentally, there are no public goods, no needs of society, no compelling state interests that override the sovereignty of the individual over himself. This goes for children just the same, and the parent has the fundamental right and full responsibility to raise the child personally, as partners in the family, free of compulsion and interference of the state.

The state’s obligation, the state’s compelling interest is in protecting the rights of the parent and the child, of the family, to act sovereign within their family to grow and become good people, productive members of society, competent citizens free from any outside coercion. The only true function of the state is to protect us from the outside, too protect us from infringement of our rights overtly. It is just a much the state’s obligation to protect our freedom to mess up.

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” and “Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right.” Ghandi

The Freeman published an interesting story. The Freeman is published by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

Keep Them Down, Keep Them Dependent

How to prevent the young and poor from succeeding

JULY 30, 2014 by ISAAC M. MOREHOUSE

He makes a compelling case.

http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/keep-them-down-keep-them-dependent

If the objective is to hamstring our youth, then what we are doing should work quite well.

This is further evidence that we must rid ourselves of the notions of institutionalized compulsion. We must repeal all truancy laws and empower mothers (and fathers) to educate their children any way they see fit. We must allow children the freedom, with parental guidance, to choose for themselves. (Developmentally appropriate freedom.)

Obviously forcing them to go to school (and punishing their parents if they don’t) doesn’t work. That is, the outcome is semieducated drones that just cannot function as independent, self-sufficient adults.

Since we spend a dozen or two years teaching them to be dependent, what else should we expect?

End truancy.

What Are We Doing Wrong for Our Schools?

I’ve written about the first problem before, and will again; our first and most fundamental problem is compulsion. We must repeal all truancy laws, or we can expect no reform to succeed.

Perhaps, though, our biggest problem is being overly emotional and protective of “the children.”

It seems so natural to want to protect and hold up the children, but while they are certainly our children, they are more. They are not ours in any sense of ownership. They are only ours because we are responsible to provide that which parents must provide. We do, in fact, take that too far if we start with emotion and the ideal of doing all “for our children.”

Any sacrifice seems warranted when we know it is for the good of the children, when it increases their chances for success. Of course, taking that a little too far and adding a bit of sentimentality leads inevitably to claims and demands that help only the few in control, in power. Sometimes, the motives of those in power are supposed to be pure, and sometimes they are not intentionally malicious and greedy. But sometimes their motives are even worse, yet they proclaim, “Don’t you want to support the children?” Guilting us with the skill of the most manipulative mother.

Fundamentally, our children our people, persons, citizens, humans in their own right, each an individual entitled to all the rights, privileges, protections, and responsibilities of each of the rest of us.  Read the rest of this entry »

American Thinker has an article By Robert Weissberg, talking about how much money we spend on education reform”The Education Reform Racket ” http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/10/the_education_reform_racket.html

He quotes Eric Hoffer [asserted,] “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” and applies it to education. I agree. He focuses on the current penchant  to give things away to students, computers in particular. He points out the waste and difficulties and the permanence of the requirement for tech support. Thus, the schools are becoming tech services providers rather than teachers.

He mentions in passing how well the computer companies are doing in all this, particularly Apple. The ties of Apple to government schools are obviously racket, in my opinion.

He does not mention what I consider the key. Compulsion.

Mr. Weissberg explains the great lengths some of the schools are going to to increase attendance, and he points out how important attendance is to funding calculations, but attendance is a trivial factor in the problem. Compulsion is the root.

Indifference looms large as part of the problem. Well, let the indifferent stay ignorant. We cannot force them, so why try?

Truancy laws are the root problem. As long as we force everyone to school, our schools cannot get better.

I’m pretty certain that if we passed eliminated all truancy laws tomorrow, the immediate effect would be undetectable, as every mamma in the country would continue to insist her babies all continue to go to school. I suspect that within weeks, though a few would drop out, the overall attendance would increase. Kids and parents would realize they want an education simply because we stopped forcing them to get it.

Education reform is now a joke. There can be no reform in the system. Inertia is too high. Nothing can change unless the root is cut. End truancy laws, and encourage the dropouts to pursue a vocational path, and we will see improvements.

Also, get the federal government out of it entirely.

We need to add two words to the first amendment to our Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of education or religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Adding those two words, “education or”, right there in front of “religion” just might lift our schools to the level our houses of worship find themselves.

We really need our federal government to be just as hands-off with education as they are with religion.

Innocent until proven guilty, right? It is a bedrock of law in our society. However, there are a couple of notable exception. Truancy is the big one. In general, any state or school official (not just Sheriff’s deputies and police officers) can detain any child not in school. That can cause some significant problems here in the Oklahoma City metro, especially since the OKC Council beefed up the state laws and applied them locally. Our schools are not all on the same schedule.

OKC Council members acknowledged the ordinance is strong-armed. “The system is so out of control that it’s going to take this kind of measure to move it back,” Ward 4 Councilman Pete White said. You can be fined simply for forgetting to call your child in sick for a day. Strong-armed is an understatement.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why do us Americans put up with such a heinous breach of freedom as compulsory education? It is against all America stands for. Why do we pretend that children are something less than people? From the instant God gives us a child, he or she is a person, first growing in Mommy, then growing in our arms, then growing in education, then growing as a fully responsible adult for the rest of the days God gives. We are such fools when, for even a moment, we forget the child’s rights, honors, and status as human being, as a citizen, perhaps not of this country, perhaps not of that country either, but a real, actual, forever person, his (or her) own person, God’s beloved. Treat them that way from their beginnings every time, in every way, and with every freedom and honor due! Never coerce. Of course, we live in a real world that imposes unwanted events and ill purposes upon us, but when we falter, we must correct ourselves and lead our children circumspectly and honorably, never by coercion, force, or compulsion. End compulsory education. Lead in love.

Here is a worthy reference. From American Thinker By Daren Jonescu (apparently not the Canadian):

http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/03/please_do_not_adjust_your_child.html

Mr. Jonescu comments, “Childhood, contrary to the worst tendencies of democratic thought, is not an end in itself.” It is, however, the real world! We truly mess up when we tell someone, “Yeah, but wait until you get into the real world.” Yes, many of us lead sheltered lives, and many of us manage to provide sheltered lives for our children, but all shelter is fragile, especially when we are not talking about physical things. Tragedy is always a close possibility, and no decision is any less real than any other. All our decisions and choices make us and define us. It is no different when we are young than when we are old.

Read the rest of this entry »

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