Hit and run job - oh and the new panel, official line-up
Is this a sign of the times? Or just human nature to do whatever you can get away with, regardless of the impact on other people? For some reason this incident reminds me of the new panel line-up. OK, so we asked for rationale, and there is at least some attempt to provide one now:
It is imperative that the process is supported by a range of experts to ensure recommendations are rigorous and firmly rooted in evidence.
Hmmm. What evidence will it be firmly rooted in? I hope it's set out, because it will be scrutinised.
It will be used to cross check the interpretation of evidence and gain expert insight into key issues, such as the operation of current processes and practice within LAs; child development and the outcomes of home educated children; and child protection for example. It will also act as a sounding board for emerging findings and recommendations, ensuring they are based on firm evidence, are workable and will actively improve outcomes for children.
Good. First job, please: get every aspect of ECM, including all relevant PSAs, rewritten to iron out all the various problems they're going to cause for us. Next job: Do something to correct the imminent two-tier system, brought about by the new welfare reform bill, which will prevent people below a certain level of income from home educating. And yes, looking at prejudiced, ultra vires and damaging treatment of home educators by certain local authorities with a view to correcting these might be very helpful.
Meanwhile on our part, I suppose the panel members' histories and interests need to be Googled by us, to try to work out what their contribution might be, and whether we agree with their involvement.
We were chatting about it again at our home ed meeting today, in which we agreed that there's more to do on ECM and on demonstrating outcomes. I'd love to know, for example, what percentage of electively home educated young people genuinely do go on to become NEET (not just UTC: Unknown To Connexions) and how this compares with the average for schooled children. That would be a potentially powerful piece of information. Surely there's a way of finding out? (FOI requests to all the Benefits Offices?)
There's a lot we could still do: many more hours we could spend on justifying our position and our decisions, but I'm getting the same feeling about it that I got when I was waiting in the police station today: a waste of time. (Though I'll probably do some of it anyway.)
Meanwhile I'll leave you with a few other links and quotes from this week so far:
From Firebird: UK Government v the family:
In England, they came first for the single parents on Income Support, And I didn’t speak up because my husband works;
And then they came for the Home Educators, And I didn’t speak up because I send my older children to school;
And then they came for the Independent Midwives, And I didn’t speak up because my children were born in hospital;
And then . . . they came for me, because I have a child under 5 at home . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
A powerful article.
Then, from Renegade Parent: The Baroness and the Badman - a fairy tale:
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Once upon a time, there was a Baroness. When surveying her kingdom of schools and teachers, she came across a small community of parents who had legally opted to retain their independence. ...
I love it.
I love the fact that we have such creative, determined, profoundly intelligent people on our side who are managing to home educate their children and keep the pressure on about this review. It pushes us to the limits, but there's no other choice, particularly when we look at what's happened in some places:
The bill would require homeschoolers to undergo the same assessment testing as public-schooled children (currently grades 4, 8, and 11, though as of 2005 there will be language arts and math tests in grades 3 through 8 to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act). The bill would also require homeschooling families to present their district with evidence of a medical exam annually for each homeschooled child. In addition, the bill would require the State Board of Education to draft administrative code to enforce the two previous clauses.
Shirl has written more about this in her post: The Same Thing Happened in America in 2003:
Many thanks to Ami for this info, which reads exactly like what we are now going through here in the UK...
And finally: Listening To "Experts" Inhibits Decision Making:
When thinking for themselves, students showed activity in these critical thinking brain regions, but when given advice from an expert, activity in those regions "flat lined." Interestingly, students in the study "tended to follow [the expert's] advice regardless of the situation, especially when it was bad"
Thanks to Kajsa for sending those last three links, and to Shirl for hers.