My critique of Friedman's homeschooling statement
After posting some quotes from Milton Friedman (yes, I can spell his name), I began thinking more about his statement on homeschooling. From what I can tell, the statement was made more in jest, so it is difficult to ascertain how much it actually expresses his opinion of homeschooling. To review:
QUESTION: Dr. Friedman, my question has to do with home schooling. Is that large enough yet to qualify as competition for the public school system and do we learn anything from that?

ANSWER: We do learn from that. We learn from home schooling that there is a serious problem with our public schools. Do you know any other major advanced product that people make at home? ... FORAtv (video)
We can tell there is a problem with public schools because people can do it at home with equal or better results? I can only assume that means that Friedman believes that if the factory were working at maximum efficiency, people would choose to educate their own child about as often as they would choose to make their own microwave. Public education is inherently considered the standard, although the system was originally conceived to provide an education to those who could not attain it otherwise, either because their parents were uneducated, poor, or both.
For the first two-hundred years in American history, from the mid-1600s to the mid-1800s, public schools as we know them were virtually non-existent. . . . In these two centuries, America produced several generations of highly skilled and literate men and women who laid the foundation for a nation dedicated to the principles of freedom and self-government. . . . The private system of education in which our fore-fathers were educated included home, school, church, voluntary associations such as library companies and philosophical societies. . . . The Bible was the single most important cultural influence in the lives of Anglo-Americans. Thus, the cornerstone of early American education was the belief that “children are an heritage from The Lord.” Parents believed that it was their responsibility to not only teach them how to make a living, but also how to live. As our forefathers searched their Bibles, they found that the function of government was to protect life and property. Education was not a responsibility of the civil government.
And it was this system of education which Pierre Du Pont de Nemours described in a book written at the request of Vice President Thomas Jefferson,
It is because of this kind of education that the Americans of the United States, without having more great men than other countries, have the great advantage of having a larger proportion of moderately well informed men; although their education may seem less perfect, it is nevertheless better and more equally distributed. Education in America
The central problem with Friedman's statement is that the burgeoning homeschool movement is not evidence of a failure of the public school system. On the contrary, the massive scale of public education in this country demonstrates the failure of the family to take responsibility for the rearing and education of their own children.

(Just to be clear, I am not saying that a parent cannot send their child to a public or private school. The problem is that most have completely abdicated their primary responsibility in the education of their own children to the point that they place a teacher's credentials above their own experience with their child.)

Thank you, Judy for the yogurt comment which inspired me to think a little more on Friedman's statement. Homemade yogurt does not compare to that congealed stuff they sell in stores.

Related Tags: , ,