November 28, 2002
Schools versus learning

Joanne Jacobs says she's not sure about it, but reckons it's "worth a read". I'm sure Joanne won't be amazed to learn that I think that this Colby Cosh piece is a lot better than that. Sample quote:

See, this is the comical thing: tutors, as opposed to teachers, are doing more and more of the heavy lifting of a failing educational system. We've got these Kumon outfits, these Sylvan Learning Centres and the like, that are teaching math and reading to whole generations of children who are apparently coming out of public schools with no clue how to multiply five and seven. I notice, too, an increasingly lucrative trade in private tutoring for high-school students. I went to high school in the late '80s, and no one I knew was seeing a tutor or was employed as one. By 1995 I had friends who were basically earning a living on these kids. It's just standard now, it seems, for parents to send their kids to high school during the day and then pay someone to actually teach them, on the side.

What are "Sylvan Learning Centres" like? Anyone?

Cosh's further thoughts yesterday will to many be even more interesting, being his personal impressions of one home-schooled kid that ring very true to me, and confirm my impressions of such children whom I've met.

David Deutsch, pursuing his vision of what education should be in his logical, Oxfordish way, brings us to a similar conclusion:

So if we pursue the vision in a logical way, we come to the conclusion that the existing institution that comes closest to a non-coercive school is the entire town (or city, or society, or internet) that the children have access to, including their homes, and their friends' homes, and excluding only the existing schools.

This was the piece recommended by lars in his comment on this.

If I know Deutsch (which I only do from a few of his writings and by hearsay from various TCS people), he would forbid tutors that children themselves did not freely consent to. "Earning a living on these kids" wouldn't sound good to him.

Me, I'm just passing on what I read and like, even if a lot of it contradicts amongst itself quite a lot. When I try to teach these are the kind of prejudices I bring to it, if I can. If I ever have children, ditto.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 03:21 PM
Category: Home education