Educators infer that all we need is an education to solve problems. If we -- or those currently afflicted by suffering due to ignorance -- could simply learn what we needed to know, we'd come out of our current situation.
Poverty? Equations? Interpersonal tensions? Economics? Political division? All could be done away with or resolved with a little know-how.
But then these same educators opt to create arbitrary (if not illogical) rules rather than use education to solve problems. Example: Deter gang violence by outlawing American flags at school. Rather than teach kids that Cinco de Mayo is not a reason to beat up on your white American neighbors -- as it is a Mexican-American holiday -- administrators let the gangs run wild that day and suppressed any US "patriotism" to reduce a repeat of past gang violence on May 5th.
On the one hand, I agree: If you've got out-of-control kids bent on hurting others due to a warped sense of misplaced loyalty, let's do what we can not to provoke them. If my student was doing something likely to raise ire, it'd be good to be aware of the risks. Given such a climate at school, I may just keep my student home, thank-you-very-much.
On the other hand, we've got zero-tolerance laws in place. If you know students are going to act out on a particular day, you get security and other systems in place to crack down on kids who are disrupting school and enacting violence against their peers. It's ridiculous that we throw up our hands about that but expel students who pretend to diffuse imaginary bombs.
On the other hand, this is a complex, difficult situation with a bunch of moving parts and humans. There is not going to be a simple, clean fix. Lives need to be changed. And one way we can help that is through education.
One way we help people move forward is by helping them learn. An "education" in a traditional sense -- a certain number of hours where your rear is in a room -- does little to help. But opening up the world, making sense of the present by looking at the past, and allowing students to see things through the eyes of others makes for a much better place.
And that global, historical, humble approach to learning is exactly what you'll find as you homeschool with Sonlight. I'm not here to decry public education, they have enough to deal with and rightly don't much care what a little blogger like me thinks. I'm here to offer you an alternative. I'm here to encourage you if you've already made the counter-cultural choice to homeschool. Because I believe that what we learn can be used to solve problems.
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian