On The Current, a CBC radio program, dated November 14, 2012, host Ms. Anna Maria Tremonti decided to air a “last word” mocking homeschooling, casting mothers who teach their own children as uneducated and incapable, and children who learn at home as unchallenged and resentful. It was a funny skit and played to the tune the establishment likes to hear. The only problem is, she described a fictional scenario quite divorced from reality. Masked in humour, her message in this segment was all the more insidious.
Listen to it here, starting at 27:30.
Homeschooling families, as a rule, think about education much more than the average parent, and they tend to take their responsibility of raising the next generation of thoughtful, contributing citizens very seriously. Far from being dysfunctional as portrayed in the skit, homeschooling families are a model of normalcy. Because the parents spend a great deal more time with their children than the average, the relationship between parent and child is most often one of mutual understanding, honour, and respect. The values that are taught and modeled at home begin with humility and gentleness, which later blossom into self-esteem and independence gained through genuine learning that usually far surpasses the requirements of any published curriculum. The kind of conversation this segment portrayed would be unlikely to occur in a homeschooling family.
It is not just homeschooling parents who are voicing concerns with the public education system. As we’ve pointed out on this blog, Maclean’s recently ran a cover story on elementary education titled, “Stop Brainwashing Our Kids: How educators are hijacking the classroom to push their own political agenda.” Industry leaders are complaining that graduates cannot think for themselves. The Canadian Council on Learning, in its publication “Post-Secondary Education in Canada 2008-2009,” reports that 20 per cent of university graduates in 2006 were below Level 3 on the prose literary scale. (Level 3 is the internationally-accepted minimum literacy level required for coping in a modern society.) That’s 20 percent of university graduates! Too many of our young people are falling through the cracks, and our society is suffering for it. Should we not take a stand and declare this state of affairs unacceptable? The list goes on, and truly inquiring minds can readily find information on this subject.
Regretfully, Ms. Tremonti did not take the opportunity to engage in a real debate about the state of education in this country. Instead, she demonstrated exactly the kind of “close-minded” and “prejudiced” thinking of which she believes others to be guilty. Is committing this kind of logical fallacy not an embarrassment for a nationally-broadcast radio host?