Riegel, Sarah. (2001, Summer). The home schooling movement and the struggle for democratic education. Studies in Political Economy, No. 65, 91-116. (Studies in Political Economy appears to be published by the University of Toronto, Canada – see http://spe.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/spe/index. Author does not focus on Canada but homeschooling in general, basically North America. Argues that “universal public education” is the best way to advance “democratic education” and that homeschooling is an undesirable form of education. She wants to “… go about building the progressive, democratic side of public schooling while reducing the capitalist hegemonic side” (p. 109). Promotes statism, progressivism, and neo-Marxism. “Unfortunately, the existing literature on home schooling provides little critical analysis of the political aspects of the movement. Most academic studies of home schooling have focused on questions about the academic performance or socialization of home schooled children and adolescents or on developing profiles of the “typical” home schooling family. While these are certainly important questions, they do not [p. 92 ends] offer much guidance in determining the democratic potential of the movement. What is necessary therefore is an examination of the home schooling movement with particular focus on questions of democracy and political struggles. This paper seeks to address these questions through an examination of the theory and practice of home schooling and with a foregrounding of their implications for democratic struggle. In particular, I will examine the arguments of Ivan Illich and John Holt, who offer the most sustained theoretical exploration of the political ramifications of home schooling and build the strongest philosophical case for it. I will argue that the movement cannot be a tool of democratic struggle, because despite the best intentions of home schoolers, both the theory and practice of home schooling ultimately rest on anti-political and anti-democratic assumptions. This paper will reassert the central role of universal public education in democratic movement. The best strategy for progressives concerned with the hegemonic content of education is thus to work to revitalize and reform public education, not to abandon it in favor of home schooling” (p. 92-93).) (Keywords: homeschooling, democratic education, public schools, statism)

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