Friday, February 03, 2017

Daniel Monk's attempts to force another review.

Daniel Monk, whose research I scathingly critiqued in 2015, appears to be trying to pressure the Department of Education into conducting another Badman-style review into home education.

So far, his efforts have included:

  • lobbying members of the House of Lords to bring about a mini-debate on the subject there, at which the government minister eventually reluctantly conceded that the department would "look into" the issue
  • generating an article to explain how he did this and some of his ostensible reasons for doing so.
  • and....

This is where this post enters into the realm of speculation, but here is what I might consider doing if I was driving this season's campaign to cause home educators to be further regulated.

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I think I would first of all come up with the kind of headline I wanted to be blazoned across the country's news stands. Something along the lines of: "Mum homeschools her children by letting them play computer games for SEVEN HOURS a day.."

Then I might scour the many home education blogs and/or Twitter etc looking for a family on which to pin such a headline. If I had been studying home educators for a long number of years, I would know exactly what to look for to meet these ends, and I prepare the ground well to make an easy job for whichever pally journalist I might approach in order to propose this sensationally headlined, potentially syndicated (and therefore profitable) story.

One of the factors which might influence my choice of target family might be my contacts in local authorities of which, if I had been supplying training to them, I would likely have at least one friendly contact in quite a few local authorities. My plan would be to phone my Local Authority contact and supply them with the most useful response when they were contacted by the journalist for a quote. I would need them to blame the current legal position, in order to suggest the remedy of a government review, to look into changing the current legal position.

Have done such detailed research into the family in question, I would be able to suggest to the journalist some methods of winning their trust, such as talking to them first in a semi-casual way, about learning through technology. The idea would be to gently groom the family into signing off on the story and supplying the required quotes and photos.

If my plan went well, the result would be a national outcry leading to a bout of moral panic which would trigger the political result I was looking for. If it did not, I would simply rinse and repeat the process with other home educating families or the people who know them, until it did. The families themselves would get the blame from their fellow home educators for selling their stories to the newspapers: my own part in it would not be known. I would then have achieved another helpful outcome: that of dividing home educators against each other even more than they already are.

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I do not know if the above scenario or any version of it is happening, or did happen. It seems likely that the Badman review itself was predicated by this kind of story-placing. I may suspect it is/was, but I would have no proof. The point is, it could be said to be quite likely and therefore we would be wise to guard against it and to try to mitigate against any damage that has already occurred.