Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Must we tolerate homeschoolers?

Michael Farris has an excellent article, "Tolerance and Liberty: Answering the Academic Left's Challenge to Homeschooling Freedom," in a recent issue of the Peabody Journal of Education. Here's the abstract:
Millions of children in the United States are educated in the home. Millions more receive their education from private institutions. For parents, a common reason for seeking alternatives to public education is the desire to ensure that they receive instruction in accord with their religious beliefs. In many cases, these beliefs include exclusive claims about the nature of God, salvation, or morality. Recently, several scholars have argued that, to achieve a diverse and tolerant society, homeschooling and private education should be abolished or severely limited. They have contended that “a liberal multicultural education,” which will expose children to different ideas and perspectives, is necessary for the preservation of democratic values. Homeschooling, they claim, leads to close-mindedness and intolerance because children are taught to affirm certain beliefs which imply that not all other traditions are equally valid. The argument that homeschooling should be banned or severely restricted, however, relies on illiberal and intolerant premises that have already been discredited as inconsistent with our constitutional liberties. Although tolerance may be a valuable objective, it cannot be forcibly imposed by using the state's power to create philosophical homogeneity. True tolerance and diversity require a constitutional commitment to liberty for all, not a “constitutional norm” of silencing the “intolerant.”

Monday, December 23, 2013

Oklahoma governor proclaims 'School Choice Week'

For the third year in a row, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has recognized National School Choice Week in Oklahoma. Here's the text of her proclamation:
Whereas, ensuring that Oklahoma has a well-educated public is of great importance to our state’s leaders; and

Whereas, all children should have access to an education which prepares them to be successful in private life and equips them for civic responsibility; and

Whereas, Oklahoma has a multitude of high-quality traditional public schools, charter schools, virtual schools, CareerTech schools, private and religious schools, home schools, and more; and

Whereas, these schools have many excellent teachers who are committed to educating children; and

Whereas, the vital cause of parental choice and empowerment is one that transcends ideology and political party affiliation; and

Whereas, research demonstrates conclusively that providing children with multiple schooling options improves academic performance;

Now, therefore, I, Mary Fallin, Governor of the State of Oklahoma, do hereby proclaim the week of January 26 through February 1, 2014 as

“Oklahoma School Choice Week”

In the State of Oklahoma.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Is it real or is it The Onion?

"An Oklahoma company says it has at least a partial solution to the epidemic of deadly school violence," News9.com reports.
OnAlert Guardian Systems says it's perfected a system that relies on sensors that operate by plugging each of them into a regular classroom wall socket.

Company Spokesman Michael Tennyson says if a gunshot is fired in a school, those sensors will automatically know if, and even the caliber of gun used. The system alerts 911 operators and law enforcement authorities immediately.

Tennyson says the first units will be installed in Yukon High School, Middle School, and an elementary school within the year.

 Horace Mann, call your office.

'Skiatook schools investigating inappropriate language in coach's text messages to students'

The Tulsa World has the story.

Friday, December 6, 2013

'Schools improve when leaders stop rationalizing mediocrity'

"If the superintendents of failing school districts were as adept at fixing schools as they are at making excuses for their poor performance, America would have the best education system in the world," Eric Hanushek and Paul Peterson write today.

Hanushek is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. Peterson is professor of government at Harvard. They say that if U.S. students could reach the performance level of students in Canada, that feat alone "would increase our workers' incomes by an average of 20 percent. That growth would be a tremendous aid in balancing the federal budget without raising taxes or cutting spending."

Monday, December 2, 2013

'A new way to fund education'

In The Oklahoman, Heritage Foundation researchers Lindsey Burke and Brittany Corona discuss Education Savings Accounts.