Saturday, 24 May 2014

08:17 – The morning paper ran an article about the North Carolinians for Home Education annual conference that’s currently running in Winston-Salem. The article mentioned that North Carolina is a “homeschool friendly” state, which is kind of true. North Carolina is friendlier to homeschooling than many states, but it’s by no means in the top rank. Some states have no requirements at all for homeschooling, not even requiring notification of intent to homeschool. North Carolina requires notification to register a home school. The requirements are not onerous, but they do exist.

What surprised me was the number of registered homeschools in Forsyth County: 1,600 of them. That means that 1,600 families in this county are homeschooling. Some homeschool families homeschool only one child, but many have two or more learning at home. One homeschool family that lives down the street from us has four or five kids being homeschooled, and that’s not an unusual number. I think it’s safe to assume that the average homeschool family has at least two kids being homeschooled. That means there are 3,000+ students being homeschooled in Forsyth County. ISTR that Forsyth County has about 50,000 students in public schools, which means homeschooler students here are 6% or so of total students.

This fast-increasing percentage of homeschoolers doesn’t bode well for public schools. On average, homeschool students dramatically outperform public school students by every measure. That’s not because home schools are “better” than public schools. It’s because there’s self-selection going on. Brighter kids are much more likely to be homeschooled than average or slow kids, simply because brighter kids are much more likely to have bright parents, who in turn are much more likely both to care about their kids’ education and to have the resources to take on homeschooling. What we’re watching is the dumbing down of public schools, as they lose many of their best students to homeschooling. If this trend continues and accelerates, which I suspect it will, public schools are going to end up being warehouses for average and below-average students, with most of the above-average and really bright kids being homeschooled or attending private schools.

10:36 – Speaking of reasons why any sane parent who is able to do so homeschools their kids or sends them to private school, take the case of poor Gwendolyn Williams. She’s eight years old. She stands 4’1″ (125 cm) tall and weighs 66 pounds (30 kilos).

The New York City Department of Public Education is very concerned about overweight kids. They send notes home with the kids to report to the parents on their weight status. They tell the kids not to look at the notes, but of course nearly all of them do. Gwendolyn’s note reported that she is fat, which of course horrified her. This was not a mistake, you understand. The NYC DPE honestly believes this little girl is fat, not that they are in any way qualified to have an opinion. They base their judgment on BMI, which has been known for decades to be worthless. But they accomplished what they apparently intended to accomplish: they now have this little girl and presumably tens of thousands of others believing they are “fat”. Way to go folks. I wonder how many cases of anorexia nervosa they’ll cause. Not to mention how many little girls will have their self-images destroyed for no reason. Here’s a better image of Gwendolyn than they used in the article. She looks to me like a normal little girl, with a stick-like figure. Only a moron could believe that this little girl is “fat”. But I’m sure that the NYC DPE has lots and lots of morons on staff.