Robertson, Heather-Jane. (2007). Going with the flow. Our Schools/Our Selves, 16(4), 149-154. (Published by Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives www.policyalternatives.ca.) (Criticizes the Fraser Institute’s, located in British Columbia, Canada, report on homeschooling. Very pro-statism/state/public schools. Implicitly negative, if not explicitly, toward homeschooling. Equates supporting homeschooling with being anti-public schooling. “As a result, this corporate-funded think tank [Fraser Institute] has assumed predictable positions on tougher standards (good), charter schools (very good), public funding of private schools (very, very good), and so forth” (p. 149). “Three jurisdictions provide [p. 149 ends] some funding to parents, including Alberta, where school boards are required to rebate to parents a share of the per-pupil grant —usually $400—for each student registered as home schooled. In exchange, subsidized Alberta home-schooled students must take that province’s applicable standardized achievement tests. It’s an unacceptable tradeoff for some Albertans, who gladly forgo the cash to keep their unregistered children safe from the clutches of government interference” (p. 150). “So for the Fraser Institute, it is political rather than practical mainstreaming that is the real goal. Using public resources to fund home schooling would set a useful precedent for using public resources to fund private schools. Such policies would provide a windfall to the wealthy families that would benefit from tuition tax credits and still be able to afford the tuition charged by “elite” private schools. Not that public schools would cease to exist, at least in the short term, but their costs and the tax burden to support them could be reduced. After all, legitimizing home schooling means de-legitimizing teachers’ skills and knowledge: if nonteachers can be viewed as more effective than professionals, then the cost of teachers’ training and labor can be forced down, their certification can be made meaningless, and public education will be further compromised. In other words, the price of mainstreaming home schooling is selling public education down the river” (p. 153).) (Keywords: homeschooling, educational change; elementary secondary education; foreign countries; home schooling; public education; public opinion; public policy, statism)
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