November 2, 2023 at 6:51 am #178Jonathan BuhacoffKeymaster
The selection of educational topics and the knowledge and skills taught for each topic is an important process which should always be open to improvements in the proposals and the evaluation and decision methods of the selection process itself.
There should be a minimum set of knowledge and skills that is deemed essential for everyone to have, and which would be included in mandatory instruction in schools. Even with a certificate badge system in place to support personalized learning plans for students, the essential knowledge and skills should be included in each student’s plan and each student should be encouraged to achieve them, even if it takes them longer than other students.
Parents who want to exercise their right to parental control and educate their kids themselves or send them to a private school would still be responsible to ensure that their learning plan includes the minimum essential knowledge and skills.
However, the government should not get too involved in monitoring home-school and private-school curriculums for a few reasons. First, monitoring is an expense and there can be many home-school and private-school curriculums to review compared with the few standardized curriculums that would be used in public schools across the state or country, driving the monitoring cost higher and higher. Second, to keep the monitoring costs low the government would probably ask the home-school and private-school teachers to send their curriculums for review, which means the government doesn’t really know what’s being taught if it’s not what is recorded in the curriculums, and showing up to each home-school and private-school and observing classes would make monitoring much more expensive. Third, complying with such a monitoring program also has a cost in time and money for the schools themselves.
Instead of monitoring, conceptual gates should be set up in different aspects of public life which require certain certificates or badges for participation in some activity. This provides a motivation for the home-school and private-school activities to ensure the students earn the certificates for the minimum essential knowledge and skills. For example, to obtain a driver license a person typically needs to pass a written test and a practical test — that process could also require the reading and writing badges, and possibly also other badges related to civics. Another example could be applying for a government job or admission to a university — certain badges could be listed among the eligibility requirements. Another example could be buying real estate or registering a business — in addition to having the money, some badges related to civics and responsibilities might be required.
The right to education and the practical matter of where to place children during the day when parents are at work means that public schools must be free and open to all local residents. If parents choose to home-school or private-school their children, there can be some transfer of funds to them, approximately the marginal cost of having one more student in public school, to cover some of their cost. However, the government should not attempt to cover the entire cost of parent choices for home-school and private-school for two reasons: first, public schools must stay open for others and there are costs that aren’t reduced when a child stays; second, the government doesn’t control the cost of home-school and private-school options and should not commit to covering costs that it doesn’t control. Therefore, any kind of school choice voucher program can only be a limited rebate.
The result would be that parents have a choice of where and how to educate their children, and parents are responsible for making choices that will set up their children for success, and for paying for those choices. If parents make choices that leave the children uncertified in essential knowledge and skills by the time they are considered adults, the right to education ensures that those adults can then enroll in free adult education classes that cover the essential knowledge and skills. The same adult education classes would also have students who are immigrants and need to either acquire the knowledge and skills or merely prove their proficiency and get certified.
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