Conflict with Government Schools

The key event that triggered our decision to homeschool our eldest daughter was when our daughter joined a counselor’s group for kid’s with divorced parents. Never mind that my wife’s divorce had occurred when our daughter was 2 years old and our marriage had occurred when she was 5!  The school counselor’s had apparently had some time on their hands, so they went to each middle school classroom and had the children fill out a form listing which groups they’d like to belong to. A few days later she was called to the counseling office where the first group meeting was held. We heard about the group for the first time that evening. Upon contacting the staff involved, we asked, “Why didn’t you provide a permission slip?”  The answer: “We used to, but not enough parents would give their permission.”

Many parents have had similar run-ins with the school authorities. This has become especially pronounced recently because of several trends:

  • Teachers aren’t the only college trained people around most towns these days. The parents went to college, too, and weren’t impressed with the students that became education majors.
  • Teachers don’t live in the community anymore. When I was growing up, teachers lived in the community they taught in. This gave them a stake in the results of their work — if Johnny grew up to be a criminal, he might just as well burglarize the teacher’s house as anyone’s. The teachers also ran into the parents of their students at church and at the grocery store. Parents and teachers talked often — not just twice a year at formal meetings as they do now. Today, teachers are even encouraged by the older teachers not to live nearby, least they run into Johnny’s parents. And thus, the teachers don’t teach what the parents want taught.
  • Schools have increased the proportion of counselors to students. And these counselors have to have work to keep them busy, rather than dealing with the few truly serious problems those students might have. So they have begun teaching mini-courses on conflict resolution, sexual harassment, and similar things. This leads them into more and more controversial areas.
When parent have arguments with school authorities, there are only three ways these disputes are settled.
  • The staff and parents really listen to each other and work out a solution.
  • The staff and parents argue. A lawsuit results if the parents are aggressive.
  • The staff and parent argue. The parents remove their students from the school if the parents are peaceful. Another homeschool family is started.