Monday, 9 November 2009
Apparently this is one of our *problems*, we are too secretive.
What does *secretive* mean?
one definition says: "inclined to secrecy or reticence about divulging information"
Why would many home educators be reticent about divulging information I wonder?
Apart from the fact that we are just getting on with our lives; happily and lawfully, and the minutiae of people's everyday lives is really nothing to do with anyone else, there are a multitude of reasons for being reticent about divulging information.
I'll blog some of my thoughts, but would be grateful if others would add theirs in the comments box.
The old postcode lottery cliché. Yes this is definitely in play across the country. Some LAs are understanding and even respectful, but many are anything but. They can and do make people's lives a never ending battle over the course of many years, and so quite understandably people who live in such an LA would be quite sensible to avoid contact. I have heard some really horrible tales over the years from families who are horribly bullied by LA officials, many of these families have fled to other counties to get away from the stress they are put under by officious officials. What is so frustrating is that these cases aren't rare, and if the Badman recommendations become law, these same officious LA folk will be in seventh heaven with the legal right to lord it over families who are doing nothing wrong.
The problem is that many people who take on the HE *inspector* roles come from school backgrounds. Often they are former headteachers - just like Mr Badman. I don't know what the headteachers were like when you were at school, but the ones I knew were mainly very authoritarian, and brooked no dissent. The problem with people like this is that they take this attitude into all other areas of their work, and many treat HEing parents as recalcitrant children who must be broken to fit their mold.
As their only experience of education is the school model, they simply cannot (and often will not) understand that there are other models of education that are equally (I might say more) successful and far more sustainable than the school one. Many see it as a personal affront to a lifetime's professional position to find that unqualified parents can and do as good (or better) a job than they ever did for all their years of chasing academic qualifications.
Then there are the *inspectors* who allow personal prejudices to influence the treatment of individual families. Some don't like religious families, some don't like single parent or same sex families, some don't like coloured families, some don't like those who live in council houses, some don't like those who don't use computers, some don't like those who paint their toe nails pink. Ok, the last one was me being flippant, but you get my point. They make personal value judgements about families that can have far reaching effects. This happens even in *good* authorities, and is more likely to happen when the family loses control of the information they provide - for instance by allowing home visits.
Now that last sentence might bring out the *if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear* brigade, but just stop and think before trotting that one out. Do you have a disapproving mother in law who will find fault and criticise every little thing about your home? (Thankfully mine isn't like that, in case she's reading!) If you do then take the thought of how that feels and give it the power of a local authority employee who can bring the threat of social services to your door. Then you might be some of the way to understanding why we wouldn't want someone coming into our homes making judgements about us and the way we as a family live.
Right now i need to go and enjoy the sunshine with my children, so I will stop there and hope that others will put forward their reasoning in the comments box.
Posted by Tech at 12:15