Monday, February 26, 2007

Daniel Monk

I've just finished reading Daniel Monk's research paper Problematising home education: challenging ‘parental rights’ and 'socialisation'(2004). Here's some bits that caught my attention:

"...to label home education as harmful would be an oversimplification and in particular would in effect be to claim and to impose a universal knowledge of childhood and of what is 'in the best interests of the child' and such a claim would overlook ... the state’s interest in education"

"Constructing education as a form of ‘welfare’ enables state involvement to be distinguished from totalitarian control. Consequently, in the context of home education there is a potential tension ... between the ‘liberty’ rights of parents to educate their children as they wish and the ‘claim’ rights of children for the state to protect their right to education and to monitor how parents exercise their duty to provide education."

"Despite the common sense perception that attending school is necessary for child development there appears to be remarkably little evidence or research to support this claim, rather school attendance simply appears to be ‘the normal thing to do’."

"...attempts to raise awareness of the potential harms and dangers to children within ... schools causes unease and has been strongly resisted as (it poses) a threat to the social and political investment and construction of them as child friendly and child appropriate spaces...it is only in the last couple of years that bullying has been identified as a problem that needs to be addressed and that school refusal has been acknowledged to be a rational reaction to school."

"Acknowledging the public interest in education is not fatal to the case for compulsory schooling – socialisation is clearly not the only purpose of education. But there is a risk that the socialisation argument – as a neutral best interests argument – could be used to mask traditional or collectivist and community based public interest concerns, as these concerns might not cohere with all parents or children’s aspirations and expectations of education. (...) public interest based concerns about home education (...) are inherently political and so distinct from the socialization argument."

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