1. If the state starts to inspect all home educators, it will soon start to dictate to them. It will tell them what to teach, when and how. This is an infringement of freedom and free speech.
2. The parent is the correct person to have primary responsibility for a child, not the state. The state should be the servant of the people, not the boss. The state already has the power to take a hand if it has reason to think a child is being abused or not getting an education. Anything more than that would mean the state was taking over the primary responsibility of the individual.
3. Through inspecting and then prescribing what should be taught and how, the state will reduce the diversity of home education. In doing this, it will damage home education. Some children are currently taught in ways that are a response to the individual problems and opportunities that exist in the particular situation. For one child, lots of confidence-building activities may be desirable after that child has been badly bullied at a school. For another, trips to China, Egypt and elsewhere in the world may be possible and highly desirable to give a world perspective. Freedom allows the ulitmate in individualised education.
4.Inspection followed by increasing prescription of what should be taught will deter an unknown proportion of parents from home educating. This will deprive their children of the benefit that they would otherwise have had from home education. The benefit includes plenty of on-to-one teaching and a great deal of parental contact. Already some local authorities are somewhat hostile to home education. Further powers to inspect and regulate will give those bureaucrats greater power to obstruct and discourage parents who would otherwise have home-schooled.
5. Mr Badman has apparently said that there is no apparent correlation between home education and child abuse. In admitting this, he has removed the main argument for automatic inspection.
One supporter of moves to inspect all home educators every year said on Radio 5 Live that “We want to know where children are” as though this was a clinching argument. It is an absurd argument. For the vast bulk of the time, the state has no idea where people are nor does it need to know nor is desirable that it should know. We, the people, should be free to live our lives under the law. The state should not be monitoring us or dictating to us. The idea of “we want to know where children are” is based either on the notion that “the state knows best and had better be in control of everything” or else on some psychological problem which leads individual administrators or parties to want to control others. The first notion is wrong and the second is positively disturbing.
The whole history of the welfare state tells us one thing above all others: the state starts by inspecting, goes on to regulate and finishes by taking over. In the process, the state demoralises those who perform a service; it makes that service inferior to what it would otherwise have been; the bureaucrats dominate frontline providers; the numbers of bureaucrats increase and the cost of what it does escalates. So one ends up with an inferior service provided at great expense to the taxpayer. Both of these consequences in turn lead to damage to the economy and culture of a country.
"Throughout my playing career with Preston North End, I can only recall two sendings off. This was not because referees were more lenient but because standards of conduct were much higher. Yes, we played hard, but we were also fair."
Sir Tom Finney, football star of the post-war years.
"A splendid book. It's a devastating critique of the welfare state. A page-turner, yet also extensively sourced. Demonstrates how attempts to achieve good intentions have led to horrible results -- increasing crime and violence, worsened conditions of the very poor, an extraordinary deterioration in the quality and character of British life.
Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winner.
Read The Book
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Before the welfare state
The Greycoat Hospital
The Greycoat Hospital was once a workhouse. It has since been a hospital and a school. It has a very long welfare history. It has now been taken over by the state. No related posts.
- The Greycoat Hospital
Education and State
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