Ted Byfield: The first big government move against home-schooling backfires badly

Ted Byfield: The first big government move against home-schooling backfires badly

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We continue here with our study of the man who’s out to change the way we backward, bigoted, hurtful, hateful, narrow, divisive, intolerant Albertans think. I refer, of course, to our minister of education, David Eggen. But how does he himself think? His handling of three issues that have come before him is instructive. We have already dealt with two:

First, we stand astonished at the iron-clad secrecy with which he surrounds what he calls his sweepingly new school curriculum. Who are these 300 people chosen to shape the minds of our children? How were they chosen, what materials were they given for guidance? All this must be regarded as strictly confidential, says the minister.

Second: we have his offer to champion the “rights” of students if their  parents or teachers seek to obstruct their membership in one of his LBGTQ clubs? Is there any school check on what goes on in these clubs? For instance, can the clubs show porn films? Is watching them one of the rights the minister wants to uphold. Has he consulted the police about such clubs?  None of this has been publicly discussed, so far as I know. He knows what he’s doing , or thinks he does, and will not see, or tolerate, or even recognize anything that stands in his way.

Which brings us to his third fit of monomania — his thwarted attempt to shut down the biggest home-schooling organization in the province. To grasp the minister’s action here, one must understand the utter horror with which educational constructionists view the spectacle of home schooling. To them, as far as I can understand them anyway, the real goal of education is produce a citizenry with an unwavering loyalty to adopted communal norms– meaning to forms of conduct approved by a select circle of academics, bureaucrats and acquiescent journalists. Acquiring an aptitude with words and numbers is good too, but definitely secondary to the “social” goals. The enemy, of course, are the traditionalists who see the teaching of specific skills as uppermost, including the skills of rational thought, aesthetic sensitivity, and moral purity as defined by what is called natural law.

Home schoolers, nearly all of them, fall into the second category. Alberta has by far the highest percentage of homeschoolers of any province, and offers the highest level of government funding for them. (How this conservative change came about in Alberta is amusingly recounted  on page 13 of a little booklet I published in 2008 under the title Why History Matters. See footnote at the end of this column.)  As soon as the socialist NDP took office in 2013, therefore, homeschoolers all expected the worst. Mr. Eggen emerged as just the man most likely to try to exterminate them. Last October, when he moved against Wisdom Home Schooling, shutting it down without warning, and ordering the parents of its 3,500 students to register them immediately in the nearest public school, it seemed at first that the end had come.

This article continues at [Ted Byfield Blog] The first big government move against home-schooling backfires badly

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