Just to clarify
My understanding of his views from recent radio interviews, (transcribed here and here) especially:
TM: The children are in control, yes. That's my experience. They are dictating how their education should go and what they want to do and what they don't want to do.
EN: That's not a child's place though is it?
TM: I don't think it is. I think when youngsters get out of the primary stage [they] should be following a logical, structured course of study and it's not the case in many of the families I go to.
is that he's definitely referring to the legitimate practice of autonomous learning. Tony Mooney obviously puts no faith in the method and has little or no understanding of how it works.
Given that the mainstream media seems to be queueing up to provide him with a platform to assert this view, should we not be presenting information to the contrary, to be used in our defence?
He's been given three opportunities to proclaim his opinion about this 'scandal', as he calls it, and yet I have not seen autonomous learning defended on any of those occasions. Is this deliberate? Do the people 'on our side' who are being asked for their view not think autonomous learning is publicly defendable? Because I beg to differ.
Many of us can and will, if necessary, produce our autonomously-educated adult offspring to prove him wrong. Both my sons have said they would argue the case for autonomous learning to anyone on any occasion and they would do so very well. I know of other young adults who would do so equally well. Many, if not most autonomously educating parents keep diaries and/or blogs to chart their children's undeniable educational progress and the method has been more than adequately explained in various books, journals and educational reports over the years. LA personnel who properly research educational methodology and have been lucky enough to see it in action and observe the results, are invariably understanding and supportive of autonomous learning.
I think Mr Mooney is being used by the mainstream media to assert his view on this matter in order to raise the profile of the home education issue in a negative way and to cast doubt about it in the minds of the general public. I think this should be rigourously defended at every opportunity - not just because of the risk to autonomous learning, but because this is obviously being done as a precursor to the consultation, in order to add weight and support to the view that we should all be monitored and regulated on an ongoing basis. I think Tony Mooney should be publicly counter-attacked by us for his obvious lack of professional knowledge about educational methodology. In drawing public funds for "inspecting" (a job which currently has no basis in law) home educating families without proper understanding of what it is that many of us do, is he not being fraudulent, actually?
I strongly disagree - if this is what happened - with the policy of blaming the lack of work seen by home education "inspectors" (and until their role has proper legitimacy I will continue to use inverted commas,) on those families who may or may not have been coerced by schools into deregistering against their wishes and who may or may not belong to the legally recognised race of people which is officially known as Gypsy/Roma and Travellers of Irish heritage.
I fear the intended damage to our case has already been done, but nevertheless it's crucial that we work together and discuss our policy to prevent this plan of discreditation of autonomous learning and the raising of concern about it in the public mind, from continuing to be so alarmingly successful.
Unless there are good reasons not to do so? If you can think of any, please do tell me.