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November 23, 2002
Children - who is ultimately responsible?

If you are a specialist blogger, you rely heavily on the other specialist bloggers doing your specialism, until such time as you get the hang of it, and I find myself relying on Daryl Cobranchi, a lot. Yesterday, for example, Daryl linked to a column at SchoolReformers.com which is well worth a look.

Who owns children? The government or their parents? I know I know, the children own the children. But until such time as the children can look after themselves, who is ultimately responsible for looking after them in the meantime? Who makes the final decisions? Parents or government? Here are David W. Kirkpatrick's first two paragraphs:

If you ask parents to whom their children belong, or who should be responsible for them, once they get over the shock of such a question most would point to themselves. They might find it hard to believe that anyone would maintain the contrary.

But a contrary view has a long history, going back to ancient Sparta. In that Greek city-state, when boys became seven years old they were taken from their families, placed in state-run boarding schools and trained to meet the needs of this military society. That would be extreme today but the essential belief that the young belong to the state has never died.

The history lesson that follows is an American history lesson, but America is an interesting place. Yesterday, someone, somewhere in the blogosphere, or maybe somewhere in among all those pre-blogosphere emails I still get, was asking about the whole idea of the "nationalisation of children". This would be a good place to look further.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 12:20 PM
Category: HistoryPolitics

Not that I don't appreciate the traffic...

A couple of hints for edu-blogging:

1) http://www.educationnews.org -not a blog, per se but an aggregator. Each day, they have several dozen fresh stories linked. They update around 8 a.m. EST.

2) GoogleNews- http://news.google.com You'll have to come up with a list of terms that you're interested in. Mine is every variation of "homeschool" I could think of. Google parses only words so if, for example, you search for "teacher", Google wouldn't find an article that used only the plural. Change the preferences to sort by day and each morning you'll have a bunch of new articles to peruse.

Comment by: Daryl Cobranchi on November 24, 2002 01:05 PM

Not only has the essential belief that the young belong to the state never died, but...

Comment by: Mark Odell on November 25, 2002 02:45 PM

The trends in education are getting scarier and scarier all the time. I often really wonder where people think they are going with this "Self Esteem" initiatives, and other such rubbish. Nowadays, children will get medals just for playing sports at all-- despite whether they win or lose. Defeats the whole purpose, I'd say.
I wonder where they get such rot!
Now, I would suppose they assume that they will also say that all cultures are equally inferior-- that Western Man, for all his Science and Technology, is at the same level as cannibal savages, scurrying around the Savana somewhere or else. That we are no better than them. Still, I would find that seriously hard to believe.
Trends in education are pretty scary. I am glad I did not go to any one of those Big Collleges, for there, I would probably get my fill of "MultiCulturalism", "Diversity", and "Political Correctness" and other such rot. Mercifully, I have spared myself all of that. I can only hope that all this nonsense will stop!

Comment by: Twin Ruler on November 26, 2002 04:19 AM

In general parents seem only too willing to hand over responsibility for their children to the state and regard anyone who doesn't as being somehow dysfunctional.

How many times do we hear of home educators (home schoolers) being chased by the state and told they are breaking the law when they are not. In the general population these stories are accepted as the government making sure that children get the best education possible, in school, rather than being left to fail with their parents, eventhough the opposite is generally true.

The question we should be addressing is "Why do people have such little faith in each other that they think the state can look after other people's children better than their parents can?"

As long as the populace holds this belief then the government will be able to force any unfair legislation it sees fit onto any parents who 'step out of line'.

Comment by: Mike Peach on November 26, 2002 10:25 AM
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