Elective Home Education: A Review of 'Suitable' and 'Efficient'

Neil Taylor

Super Moderator
I have sent the following to the contact email address for a forthcoming conference on "Elective Home Education: A Review of 'Suitable' and 'Efficient'" at Birmingham University.

Hello,

I don't know you, and you don't know me, but you have decided to make me
and what I do your subject for discussion. I am a home educator.

I and my children are sovereign beings, and not someone elses 'human
resources' to be managed, or for that matter discussed, unless we present
some problem to the rest of society, which we do not. We have no interest
whatsoever in your opinions of that which in all probability you have no
experience, and even less in your debating the meaning of suitable and
efficient, with which there has been little problem in this context for the
past 61 years.

Case law has established the meaning of those terms that originated in the
1944 Education Act, and there is no problem with that requiring any debate
by academics or anybody else. In fact it is hard to see that this exercise
is anything other than a Badman, so called 'review' inspired determination
to interfere with the established common law meanings of those terms,
generalisations which, precisely by avoiding being rigidly specified by
inevitably bogus criteria, preserve essential liberty, as indeed does the
1996 Education Act, s437, which alone enshrines the LEA duty towards those
electing to educate their children otherwise than in school.

Frederic Bastiat, in 'The Law' recognised that the business of the law is
to prevent injustice, not to ensure justice. Law he said should therefore
be negative. That is what s437 of the 1996 Education Act is. It tasks the
LEA, not with 'ensuring' 'suitable' education, it gives it a duty towards
the home educated, *only* 'if it appears that a child..... is *not*
receiving... suitable' education. This distinction is crucial because upon
it hinges the preservation or destruction of essential liberty. In this
negative context of only acting if there is an appearance of neglect or
failure of s7 duty, discussions about the meaning to be applied to suitable
and efficient, are necessarily irrelevant. It only makes sense to define
them further than their common usage meaning if the LEA duty is an ensuring
one, through some regime of inspection. But it is not, and there is no
statutory provision for such.
That it is not, is part of the content of the meaning of a 'free
country' that my parent's generation were sacrificing their lives to
defend in the penultimate year of ww2 when these words were first drafted
into statute. It is as it should be, preserving the presumption of
innocence, and empowering the authorities to interfere in private family
life only if 'it appears' that something is wrong, and there maybe default
of a parent's s7 duty. It does not prescribe.

It really is that simple, and that right, if you are prepared to forgive
the 1870 transgression and insult to human nature of making education
compulsory, and compounding the insult by pretending school, not just
education is compulsory ever since, in order to hide the law. Why was
school not made legally compulsory? - force of public opposition to such a
measure prevented the government from getting its way, so it lied about it
ever since, coining the phrase 'compulsory school age', instead of
'compulsory education age', which would have been the truth. This was the
same opposition which can neither tolerate education 'otherwise' from being
defined, controlled, inspected, licenced and denied by a state hostile to
our precious liberty, no less now than then.

Not until this past year have I ever in my life felt so colonised, nor the
lives of my prospective grandchildren so threatened as I do now by a
seemingly endless stream of rent seekers recognising a fresh feast when
they see one. It's a horrible feeling. It is the experience of tyranny,
where once there was freedom. This year has been open season on home
educators, and everyone has an opinion as to what should be done with us.
Teachers unions, academics, government, children's charities and social
engineers of all descriptions, and all with one thing in common, a complete
lack of experience and total ignorance of what we do, but bristling with
their own prejudices which have been invariably grossly misinformed by the
education establishment, which has a natural tendency to feel entitled to
own anything and everything that comes under the umbrella of 'education'.

I realise that this communication might seem offensive to some, but I would
ask you to have the humility and decency to recognise the scale of the
threat currently facing the family and everyones historic liberty to raise
our children as we see fit, within the existing constraints whereby the
state may be called upon as parent of last resort only, in cases of
irremediable parental default or worse.

There is no 'problem of home education'. No problem has been
demonstrated, but much slander and invention by a hostile state education
establishment with clear totalitarian ambitions has been heaped on us.

Why discuss the meaning of suitable and efficient, as opposed to
discussing say, 'freedom in education'? But really, why discuss that
which has nothing to do with you whatsoever, at all? You are talking about
us behind our backs, and that's not nice. Is your discussion without
reference to us intended to inform policy making, which is also made
relentlessly without reference to us, except in so far as it is to make a
pretence of consultation, and then adopt the prior plan A in its entirety
anyway? This is what we have already been subjected to, but despotism has
always needed intellectual mercenaries to dress up its tyranny in order to
make it appear respectable. I am sorry but that really is the only word to
accurately describe what is going on here, whether you are aware of it or
not.

Please don't fall for this abuse of your talents by power. Think instead
how you might help us defend pluralism and liberty for everyone, and roll
back this slide into totalitarianism that we are already embarked upon.
Leave suitable and efficient, and those who are lawfully entitled to reject
the state's model of education alone.

Sincerely, Neil Taylor, home educator to three no longer so called
school age children, and someone who has been privileged to see the
difference that can make, and which explains why I said earlier that I have
never felt so colonised in my life before. That is part of the hidden
curriculum of compulsion schooling, to prevent you from noticing your own
colonisation by its very ubiquity. Nobody is intended to escape it, and
that is how any other possible perspective is prevented. Home educators
disturb state compulsion schooling's absolutism, and the system needs
absolutism in order to prevent the truth about who we really are, and what
we are capable of if unmolested, falling into too many hands, and giving
the lie to so many underpinning wrong beliefs of the system. And that is
really what all this Children Schools and Families Bill and the bad man
'review' is about, and why Birmingham University has been coopted into this
scam to dress it up in respectable academic garb. Please have more respect
for yourselves as well as us, than this.


I would be pleased for this short plea to be read out at the start of this
conference, and if it is I would be pleased to hear from anyone involved.
 

Neil Taylor

Super Moderator
I received a very prompt reply from Birmingham, to which I also responded exactly one week ago now, and in which I asked permission of my respondent to reproduce their reply and my reply to their reply on UK-HOME-ED and the Home Education Forums.

I have received no further reply to my request, or the substance of my reply, and it seems unlikely that after a whole week that I will. Without permission to reproduce the reply to me, I shall instead convey in my own words the essence of that reply, as fairly as I am able, in order to make sense of my response.

I am also copying this reply to Birmingham in the interests of transparency and to provide the opportunity for response if desired. It is a pity if this ends in a parallel dialogue because one party does not wish to engage with those of the community it has chosen not to engage with, but the public interest in this event empowers and compels me to challenge it, whether that challenge is responded to or not. The fact that home educators are by now used to being interfered with without reference to us, or opportunity to represent ourselves is something we have become accustomed to, just as our muscling in on such deliberations uninvited is something those that choose to do this have had to get used to, and quite rightly so. It should be remembered that the Badman so called review was initiated without any provision for dialogue with home educators whatsoever, and that all dialogue with this bogus process has been at the insistence of home educators, essentially doing what I am doing now, and being determined not to be treated like livestock.

The essence of the reply was to report some offence taken and to point out to me that many of those present at this conference are either home educators themselves or sympathetic.

On 11 Feb 2010 at 17:17, my respondent replied, and I responded:

XXXXX,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I can see that I have offended you.
Please try not to take my strong expression personally. As I said, I
don't know you or any of you, and so this is obviously not personal in
that sense. I was responding to the fact of this conference and its
subject matter, and the timing, which as we both know is wholly reactive
to the desire of gvt to alter the meaning of language, its stock in
trade, so that greater control can be exerted over home educators, whilst
leaving the primary legislation intact, because they neither dare, nor
have the time to overturn that at this stage. Any activity which
legitimises this ambition, and discussion as to narrowing those
definitions, is collusion with tyranny. Some may see such an exercise as
damage limitation - getting the best we can hope for - I'm familiar with
all the arguments, over many years. If this is not your argument in
essence, please enlighten me. Because this can only ever be a slowly
lost war of attrition, in which only the pace of the advancement of
totalitarianism is at best slowed, but in the process inevitably made
respectable by being seen to dignified by academia. Frog boiling. I
simply cannot understand how a conference dedicted to discussing the
meaning of two perfectly well understood words in the English language,
reinforced in those meanings by a judiciary who had no desire to mess
with them, can either last more than the ten minutes it takes to agree
their common usage meanings, or if it goes on longer, where are these
words going to end up? The perversion of language, as Orwell so
eloquently explained, is the handmaiden of totalitarianism, and gvt have
already committed enough sins on the language, the most common being to
invert the meaning of most of the language completely.

On 11 Feb 2010 at 7:57, you wrote:


My paraphrase:
My respondent sought to reassure me that some attending the meeting did not agree with what was going on, that they were very supportive, and as I said, some are HEers themselves.


I'm pleased to hear it, thank you. Perhaps it is the ones amongst you
who are not that I need to reach? But it can never be enough for ones
heart to be in the right place can it? The road to hell.......etc. It's
what you do that matters, and where there is likely to be disagreement,
even amongst well motivated people.

I know home educators of whom what you say is true, but who also feel
that we must find a compromise with tyranny and 'get the best we can'.
To me they are not merely misguided, they have decided to become gvt over
me. I have a choice, I can say no - we all can. I do not give anyone a
mandate to negotiate with gvt for me over fundamental liberty, which no
one, gvt or otherwise has the right to compromise for future generations,
nor to please a majority of the present population. The only legitimate
governance there can ever be is one that preserves or restores liberty.
No one has any mandate or right to place restrictions on other human
beings without their consent, except to restrain them from infringing
those same freedoms of others.


At this point I was invited to liase with a member of Education Otherwise, who will be attending the conference.

We don't have much contact now, but I have known XXXXX through the forums
for many years, and XXXXX knows my views very well. I have published my
email to you on the UK Home Education mailing list and the Home Eduction
Forums at:

http://www.home-education.biz/forum/england/10271-elective-home-education-
a-review-of-suitable-and-efficient.html

and it has been blogged on other home-ed related blogs,
so XXXXX should be aware of it, if XXXXX still has any interest in opinion
outside their own organisation.

I work in the open, so that everyone can see what I'm doing and argue
with me about it if they want to, which I value and learn from. To this
end, I would very much appreciate your permission to publish your reply?
And my response here of course.


I am informed that the person from EO is a 'friend' and that they have had a difficult time recently with the fight for HE.


That goes for all of us fighting to retain this liberty.


I am asked to realise that some people in universities are sympathetic and understanding of our situation, and that those people are trying their best to ensure that our situation is well understood.

When it comes to getting gvt to understand home education it is very much
a case of a horse that has no intention of drinking being led to water.
Home educators have been trying to gain this understanding from national
and local gvt for over half a century, with precious little to show for
it. The institution is *necessarily* and inevitably hostile. It
survives on successfully mystifying 'education' as something requiring
experts and vast institutions and heavy taxation, an army of teachers and
conscription, when home educators know that if you just live your life,
pursuing your interests unmolested, but with interested engagement,
facilitation and support where wanted, then the 'results' give the lie to
this idea. The emperor is naked.

The point is that things should not be changed, unless it is in a better
direction by common consent such as getting the state out of education
altogether, the institution is that toxic. There can and will be no
compromising over this fundamental liberty for very many of us. Gvt is
in danger of precipitating widespread civil disobedience, and any and
every creative means that a creative people can come up with to put
spanners in the works of the intended new regime will be employed, just
as it always is under all pathocracies until their inevitable demise.
This will change the fundamental relationship of the home educator to
gvt, or of a significant number of us, lest I be accused of speaking for
all. In the old status quo, the general consensus put up with the insult
of education compulsion, so long as those to whom it mattered might be
permitted to be left alone well enough. Achieving that right, supposedly
protected in law, has been our historic battle ground with
institutionally despotic and hostile LEAs. We upheld and defended the
rule of law, even in its compromised form, because it was just about
'good enough'. Our ambitions however are divergent to that of gvt, which
only ever seeks greater repression, ever greater control over how we all
live. We seek to improve on our conditions, not to accept further
attrition. This is why some discussions seem illegitimate, because it is
hard to see their purpose other than to take matters in the opposite
direction from the one we seek. If you are able to enlighten me as to
why my worries on this score are inappropiate or wrong, I would be very
grateful.

The state education system does not wish to understand home education
other than in order to defeat it as getting in its way, and threatening
its monopoly. It was always a fraudulent project; Prussian model state
compulsion schooling, designed to handicap, cripple in specific ways,
prevent active literacy, and ensure a way of thinking and conforming to
what a rising industrial elite wanted of its 'workforce'. The language of
DCSF, and courses taught in universities, probably including Birmingham,
I don't know, I haven't looked it up, is of 'human resources management' -
a term of serfdom, not of respecting human beings as sovereign. So the
goals and the backers remain the same. This is what many of us will never
accept. The universities are a part of that system, and expected to
instill the right kinds of conformity, the right patterns of thinking
itself. They are not neutral institutions. There are no neutral
institutions.


I am now told that not everyone is the enemy, and that they won't be able to help me and my grandchildren unless I help them, but what helping them entails is not explained, hence my asking this question in response.

What do you want from me?

I'm not asking for your help, I'm asking you not to interfere, or become
part of gvt over me. If the outcome of this conference is to give gvt
useful semantics with which to get its way, then that will not be helping
me or my grandchildren. I've shared with you my fears, but you haven't
shared with me what you do hope to achieve, so I am at a disadvantage in
this exchange, and you are just asking me to trust you. I have no reason
not to trust your motives, but perhaps some reason, as I have explained,
not to trust what you are doing, I don't know, please enlighten me? It
would interest me to know who initiated this conference for eg. and who
is funding it - what their interest is?


I am encouraged to believe that we are all on the same side, working together.

I can only hope so, but that has to remain to be seen. By your works we
shall know you.


My 'eloquence' is praised, and solidarity expressed with the strength of my concern which is equal. regardless of whether those concerned have children or not.


No one without children who have grown in freedom, uninstitutionalised,
can know what this means, and I have yet to hear from anyone who revealed
that they did, only terrible deep fundamental incomprehension. None of
us have escaped being moulded, however smart we like to think we are, it
is just that some of us by accident or design 'experimented' on our
children by successfully protecting them from the grosser and more recent
experiment they were not intended to escape. Such 'experiments' create
new knowledge, or restore lost knowledge more likely, give the lie to the
institutionalised versions of who we are. Do you know what it is like to
hear professors of eminent universities tell you that who your own
children are, cannot possibly exist?* Our voices, my voice, doesn't
matter - it doesn't fit, therefore my experience can and will be
invalidated - suppressed. I do not exist, only my anti-social
irresponsible misrepresentation exists.

What I will never tolerate is the loss of that same freedom for my own
grandchildren, no less, and I have personally twice now given notice of
this to the gvt.


I am told that we are all fighting for all children, and therefore for all humanity


I hope so. Please accept my criticism in the spirit of the pursuit of
that goal.

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me.

Best wishes, Neil

Best wishes

XXXXX


* See for eg. Daniel Monk 2004 'Problematising Home Education' which
betrays an appalling institutionalised ignorance it is hard to know where
to begin with.
 

Neil Taylor

Super Moderator
Faster than I can type, I have just received this reply to my last post in this thread earlier this evening, with permission to forward.

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Neil

Hi. I've read your thread. I appreciate your feelings fully about the lack of consultation by government with home educators. If better consultation and listening on the part of government to home educators and what they experience, do and hope for had happened it would have been better. That goes without saying, I think.
I personally believe very strongly that dialogue is important. If I didn’t get back to you before the reasons were as follows: I was in Barcelona and it was difficult to access a suitable computer, your email shocked me and frightened me a little with its tone as I take it for granted that I am working (very hard by the way) to help home educators and others and would never have imagined that anyone could think otherwise of me, and lastly, I am unbelievably busy trying to work to help home educators and other people and especially children, by studying etc to get the kind of power that can be heard in these circles of power. I believe that is what I ought to do to help people (I am still a PhD student, although hope to finish my thesis soon) and correspondence is a real luxury, alas.
Please understand that I am just one little person trying their best FOR you, not against you. In academic work everything takes an incredibly long time to bear fruit and even getting that fruit out is tough going. We are not superhuman and we need friends as much as you do. Being attacked is a horrible feeling, as I’m sure you agree. I hope we can be friends and respect one another's views, even if they diverge. At least if we can talk we can make progress. Alas (again) I am afraid that my method to work for home educators is through philosophy and full and constant communication with the home education community is not my job, although perhaps I wish it were! I have spoken with many home educators in the course of my research and at HESFES etc and they are the most wonderful people and I would love to talk and dialogue with them more than any other community (if they would like to talk and dialogue with me of course), but who knows what directions life takes. Therefore, this is the last time I can ˜talk with you personally for now I'm afraid as I just don't have the time if I am to be focused on the work I am meant to do. I hope you might understand? It would be great to talk more but it's not possible for now. Perhaps we will meet one day and sit down for a cup of tea or a beer and have a good discussion about it all. Who knows!
I thought it might be helpful for the home education community – if they are interested to hear about it - to be aware of how this conference started as an idea. I think we would all agree that transparency is a good thing when people feel that they are being put in the dark by DCSF or whoever. Myself and my academic friends at the conference, as academics who are interested in researching home education, are FULLY supportive of home education as educational practice. The conference started as the idea of a colleague (a home educator) who asked me to help organise it. It is in order to debate the review of ˜suitable and efficient" that is happening through the DCSF as we are very worried about what they might do with it. We'd like to talk also on the day about various aspects of the philosophy of home education as there is much to offer our understanding of EHE through philosophical debate that can help people like Graham Badman and Ed Balls to better understand how EHE is different from schooling, by using philosophy (that's my way of thinking about it!). Other speakers are looking at EHE from various perspectives. Also the conference is a chance for networking and getting together. The Badman Review was a difficult situation for all supporters of EHE and we are meeting, each of us with our own idea of what we want out of the day, in order to create something positive. We've all had enough (haven't we!) of negativity with regard to EHE recently, which only deserves positive sentiments and situations because good EHE is joyful and beautiful and beneficial. Everyone I've ever spoken to so far who home educates has talked about how much they and their children appreciate it.
Nevertheless there is a caveat which is that as an academic (I am myself only at the moment potentially an academic!), we are all aware that our work must be impartial. It must be close to truth and of course truth is a moving target. Please be assured that we are WITH you, but we must be free to research without attack. In academia, what I like about it is that whatever is said is open to debate. I guess that is what your forum is for. Personally I hope to publish in journals where I hope that what I say might have some impact to HELP home educators. Whatever I say in my writing that is what I wish to achieve. You do have friends working in institutions of power. Will you stop being so fierce now please? All the best, Helen
You can publish this message.

________________________________________

On 11 Feb 2010 at 7:57, Helen wrote:

> Hi Neil
>
> Some of us do not agree with what has been going on you know! We are very
> much for home educators and some of us are home educators.

Hello again Helen,

I am sorry you appear to have chosen not to respond to my reply to this
email. If you have responded and I have not received it please accept my
apologies and resend.

I have paraphrased your reply as fairly as I am able in the absence of
permission to reproduce your response verbatim, to give context to my
reply to you, and ypou can view this here:

http://www.home-education.biz/forum/england/10271-elective-home-education-
a-review-of-suitable-and-efficient.html#post32723

If you would like to respond, you are welcome to either do so yourself,
or if you prefer I would be happy to publish anything in full unedited
for you in the same thread on the forum.

Sincerely, Neil
------- End of forwarded message -------
 
This is an interesting exchange. Thanks to Neil for posting with Helen's permission.

I am unbelievably busy trying to work to help home educators and other people and especially children, by studying etc to get the kind of power that can be heard in these circles of power. I believe that is what I ought to do to help people.
Where has this person been during England's slide into totalitarianism? Home educators are perfectly capable of making their views known to govt without 'help' or 'support' from third parties, it's just that these views fall on deaf ears as the outcome has already been decided. The idea that 'circles of power' can be influenced by academic talking shops is at best naive.

The conference started as the idea of a colleague (a home educator) who asked me to help organise it. It is in order to debate the review of ˜suitable and efficient" that is happening through the DCSF as we are very worried about what they might do with it.
FFS we already know what they will do with it. Let me guess....this colleague is doubtless connected with that discredited 'support' organisation which has done almost as much as Badman and Balls to threaten the existence of home education in England and fails to represent its own paying members, never mind the interests of home educators.

We'd like to talk also on the day about various aspects of the philosophy of home education as there is much to offer our understanding of EHE through philosophical debate that can help people like Graham Badman and Ed Balls to better understand how EHE is different from schooling, by using philosophy.
Some of the many thousands of articulate responses to earlier 'consultations' aimed to help people like Graham Badman and Ed Balls to better understand how EHE is different from schooling, but that understanding is invariably used to hone their next assault on home education, which is, by its very nature, a threat to their plans.

Other speakers are looking at EHE from various perspectives.
As if it hasn't already been done time and time again. :yawn: Such a shame these 'academics' missed the master Gatto in Arbroath - now that was a pespective well worth listening to.

Also the conference is a chance for networking and getting together.
Been there, done that, but I don't choose to engage with dishonest players.

The Badman Review was a difficult situation for all supporters of EHE and we are meeting, each of us with our own idea of what we want out of the day, in order to create something positive.
There is no me in your we.

The rest of this makes me lose the will to live. Whatever happened to university education?

Personally I hope to publish in journals where I hope that what I say might have some impact to HELP home educators.
:help:

You do have friends working in institutions of power.
With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Will you stop being so fierce now please?
If Neil is considered 'fierce', this academic must have led a very sheltered life. We are not the ones who need help here.

One final point: Scotland is a Balls and 'education otherwise' free zone, but the conference billing fails to differentiate between 'England' and 'UK'.

:tsk:
 

Diane

HEdups
The next person who says that they are trying to, or going to, 'support' or 'help' me will get a knuckle sandwich in the kisser and my large dog hanging off their meaty buttocks.

The next letter I get from any LA will be replied to with the statement that my eldest intends to take them to the cleaners through the court for the four years of bullying she suffered at schools, and do they want to comment on that.

Diane
 

Neil Taylor

Super Moderator
RE: Elective Home Education: A Review of 'Suitable' and 'Efficient'

Helen,

Thank you again for your reply.

On 18 Feb 2010 at 22:36, Helen Lees wrote:

> Neil
>
> Hi. I've read your thread. I appreciate your feelings fully about the
> lack of consultation by government with home educators. If better
> consultation and listening on the part of government to home educators
> and what they experience, do and hope for had happened it would have been
> better.

It would of course, but that kind of gvt we have not got, and such
listening (empathetic understanding), cannot be obtained from gvt which is
essentially psychopathic by its nature, and run by authentic psychopaths.
(A whole other area of study I am sure you have even less time for
unfortunately, but one which sorely needs sound academic work to better
explicate than current literature manages.) Pathocracy is a good word to
describe the gvt we have. Rule by psychological deviants, and worse.

> That goes without saying, I think. I personally believe very strongly
> that dialogue is important. If I didn't get back to you before the
> reasons were as follows: I was in Barcelona and it was difficult to
> access a suitable computer, your email shocked me and frightened me a
> little with its tone as I take it for granted that I am working (very
> hard by the way) to help home educators and others and would never have
> imagined that anyone could think otherwise of me,

Helen, I don't understand why you are still saying this. I tried to be
very clear in my first reply that this is not personal, that I don't know
you, and that as I said I have no reason not to trust your motives (only
your judgement), and I mean that. I don't really know what other
reassurance I can give. The situation home educators find themselves in
right now is extreme, and this has to be spoken of without mincing words,
calling a spade a spade. I am not trying to shock or intimidate you in any
way, but I have strong substantive concerns about this exercise, which you
have not been able to allay I am afraid, but perhaps a little.

> and lastly, I am
> unbelievably busy trying to work to help home educators and other
> people and especially children, by studying etc to get the kind of
> power that can be heard in these circles of power.

I am sorry to have to break this to you, and I expect you will want to
dismiss what I say out of hand because of the personal investment you have
in doing this, but you are chasing a chimera. The policy makers have a
prior agenda, which is itself set for them higher up the pyramid, where
planning is global, as it always has been in state education incidentally.
Prussian model state compulsion schooling, exported the world over at the
end of the ninetenth century was the beginning of globalisation. If you
have ever looked into the history of education as I have, and read about
some of the educational reformers, you can't help asking yourself, 'where
is their legacy in state schooling'? It is striking by its complete
absence. It has *all* been anhihilated. The system is totally unresponsive
to reform, precisely because it does not belong to us, it is not working
for us, but it is in the business of producing the right kind of maleable,
governable, placid worker and consumer. Its demonstrable purpose has never
wavered, and if you do a site search on the DCSF site on 'human resources
management', 'human capital' or 'workforce', this is what it is all about,
but they never use language like that when talking to the human resources
of course. You do not consult 'workforce' you 'mould workforce'. Try
putting those two words into a site search for a flavour of how this
institution which pretends to be helping each of us 'reach our full
potential' (for what they conveniently never say), talks to its real
clients. If you can't see anything wrong in a gvt trying its best to help
our children become employable in this way, then this is where your
education has been lacking. The talk is not about presenting truly free
choices to children from which some may decide to pursue independent
livelihood, or do something unusual, risky or unexpected with *their*
lives, it is of talking of them as little lumps of clay to be formed and
fashioned according to the specifications demanded by large corporate
institutional employers. Ask yourself when you sample this stuff 'who owns
the life?' It isn't the child. Are we sovereign beings, or are we serfs?
The DSCF has its clear answer, and we have ours.

> I believe that is
> what I ought to do to help people (I am still a PhD student, although
> hope to finish my thesis soon) and correspondence is a real luxury, alas.
>

If you want to help, then you need to hear from those you want to help. If
you are just another social engineer who knows better than we do what we
want, then you don't need to of course, just like the gvt doesn't need to.
The Prussians also invented the PHd incidentally. Sorry if that sounded
'fierce', its just plain speaking.

> Please understand that I am just one little person trying their
> best FOR you, not against you. In academic work everything takes an
> incredibly long time to bear fruit and even getting that fruit out is
> tough going. We are not superhuman and we need friends as much as you do.
> Being attacked is a horrible feeling, as I'm sure you agree.

Being attacked is horrible, but I am disappointed that you see what I am
doing in that purely negative light. Criticism, substantive challenge, is
what I am trying to do. That too can be scary, as I know from having been
on the receiving end of it, so I am aware that this can not be comfortable.
Gratuitous destructive attack is one thing, hard incisive criticism which
if taken on board and honestly assessed, is a gift, an unwanted gift
initially maybe, but if taken and learned from is how we grow.

> I hope we can be friends and respect one another's views, even if they
> diverge. At least if we can talk we can make progress.

Thank you, I hope so too.

> Alas (again) I
> am afraid that my method to work for home educators is through
> philosophy and full and constant communication with the home education
> community is not my job, although perhaps I wish it were!

Well these are your choices alone to make of course. Philosophy alone is
useless though, it can lead into any possible absurdity if cut off from a
wider context. Philosophy was my degree, but it wasn't until many years
later that I realised that the solution to whether a table existed in a
room or not if I was not there to see it, was to understand the narcissism
of the 'philosopher' asking the question. That explanation never entered
that corridor! You cannot do what you are doing so much in the safe
corridors of academe. That is not where you will find your subject matter,
and you seem barely familiar with it (us).

> I have
> spoken with many home educators in the course of my research and at
> HESFES etc and they are the most wonderful people and I would love to
> talk and dialogue with them more than any other community (if they would
> like to talk and dialogue with me of course), but who knows what
> directions life takes.

Indeed.

> Therefore, this is the last time I can ~talk with you personally for now
> I'm afraid as I just don't have the time if I am to be focused on the
> work I am meant to do.

These are your choices, and you are entitled to them. I will still be here
if you want to talk as you expressed the hope we could earlier in this
email.

> I hope you might
> understand? It would be great to talk more but it's not possible for now.
> Perhaps we will meet one day and sit down for a cup of tea or a beer and
> have a good discussion about it all. Who knows!

That could be nice.

> I thought it
> might be helpful for the home education community " if they are
> interested to hear about it - to be aware of how this conference
> started as an idea. I think we would all agree that transparency is a
> good thing when people feel that they are being put in the dark by DCSF
> or whoever. Myself and my academic friends at the conference, as
> academics who are interested in researching home education, are FULLY
> supportive of home education as educational practice. The conference
> started as the idea of a colleague (a home educator) who asked me to help
> organise it. It is in order to debate the review of ~suitable and
> efficient" that is happening through the DCSF as we are very worried
> about what they might do with it.

A worry we share. Thank you for answering those questions.

> We'd like to talk also on the day
> about various aspects of the philosophy of home education as there is
> much to offer our understanding of EHE through philosophical debate that
> can help people like Graham Badman and Ed Balls to better understand how
> EHE is different from schooling, by using philosophy (that's my way of
> thinking about it!).

Oh Helen, this is hopeless, and tells me that you have not spoken enough to
enough home educators that you can fail to have grasped the extent to which
home educators in their hundreds have tried to educate the uneducatable.
Our failure has been absolute. These are not people who either want to
learn or are even capable of empathetic understanding, only learning enough
about us the better to thwart us. 'Consultations' are really SATS to
determine the extent to which we have learned what is required of us, any
resistance, and to learn our language with which to pull the wool. Graham
Badman began his 'review' with no announced intention to talk to us at all.
We were once described as 'other stakeholders' in the lives of our own
children, way down a pecking order that had LEAs and teachers unions at the
top.

Graham Badman was invited to attend a local HE group, and to talk alone to
some of the children. The parents became alarmed by the children's hang
dog body language and brought the encounter to an end, but not before
Graham had had a nine year old in tears because he told him he couldn't be
a doctor if he didn't know what a cube root was. How utterly graceless was
that, to respond to open hospitality by running your hosts down like that
instead of being open to learning from them. These are not open minds, but
we most of us recognise them from our own unfortunate, often traumatic
encounters with them in school, as I have no doubt others could testify.
GB matched the worst archetypal nightmare HE inspector.

And this is why they are chosen for the jobs that they do. They must be
people proof, capable of understanding and delivering the original agenda
completely intact, while of course dressing it up a bit in the language of
your victims. You sound like a good person to me, but perhaps in danger of
filtering out inconvenient information in pursuit of an original agenda,
preconceived? I hope not. Academia has its ways of making that happen I'm
afraid, and there's nothing quite like a busy schedule for squeezing out
unwanted information. Try not to let yourself be steered by the machine.

> Other speakers are looking at
> EHE from various perspectives. Also the conference is a chance for
> networking and getting together. The Badman Review was a difficult
> situation for all supporters of EHE and we are meeting, each of us with
> our own idea of what we want out of the day, in order to create something
> positive! We've all had enough (haven't we!) of negativity with regard to
> EHE recently, which only deserves positive sentiments and situations
> because good EHE is joyful and beautiful and beneficial.

The shocking truth that even many HEers are unwilling to acknowledge is
that sometimes even truancy can be better than school. HE is not that
difficult if you love and respect your children, give them as much time as
they want from you, and don't molest them with 'Education' because you are
oh so sure that they absolutely must be made to learn this or that. If you
can do that then the results will astonish you if your own childhood was a
schooled one as mine was. None of it necessary. All of it is an insult.
And how could the institution ever allow that to be true and be able to
survive?

> Everyone I've ever spoken to so far who home educates has talked about
> how much they and their children appreciate it. Nevertheless there is a
> caveat which is that as an academic (I am myself only at the moment
> potentially an academic!), we are all aware that our work must be
> impartial.

It can never be that, precisely because you are human, and can't help
having opinions as you have so clearly expressed, but objective and open to
considering what might not conveniently fit if it seems worthy of some
respect is the best we can do. There can never be such a thing as
independent research into HE, but Graham Badman's independence was always a
farce and a travesty of the term.

> It must be close to truth and of course truth is a moving
> target.

I'm going to assume you meant the pursuit of it, truth being an absolute.
It is what it is, regardless of how close we come to understanding it.

> Please be assured that we are WITH you, but we must be free to
> research without attack.

I hope I have managed to persuade you that I am not attacking you in the
destructive disruptive to no good purpose way in which you seem to be
implying? I can understand I'm not helping tight schedules of course, but
that's hardly an 'attack' is it? I have hopefully shown you one or two
places where your research, or your model of what it is good to do is
faulty, and invite you to consider those points.

> In academia, what I like about it is that
> whatever is said is open to debate. I guess that is what your forum is
> for.

And this exchange.

> Personally I hope to publish in journals where I hope that what I
> say might have some impact to HELP home educators. Whatever I say in my
> writing that is what I wish to achieve. You do have friends working in
> institutions of power.

I know we do, and I believe you are genuinely motivated. I hope you
might one day be able to do more than add to the pile of education reform
books gathering dust unimplemented because so many well meaning people
never understood the fundamental fact that the system was never ours, never
intended to work for us, to our goals and purposes, but that of the
dominant user group of what they used to more honestly call 'the lower
orders'.

> Will you stop being so fierce now please?

How was that? ;-)

Fierce is what any animal being predated becomes unfortunately, so I
cannot protect you from others, who might be more 'fierce' than me, and can
only encourage you to try to find the truths behind the very real anger
that is a response to very real threat. We are in a desperate fight for
'who own our life', and we feel it keenly.

All
> the best, Helen Lees You can publish this message.
>

Thank you for being up for this despite its potential to disrupt your busy
schedules. Subsequent replies, including this one will be added to the
original link I gave you.

Best wishes, Neil
 

Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
She has fed herself on words and a wiser person would know that actions speak louder, if she had immersed herself in the world of home ed, listened, seen , experienced then she would not be where she is today she would be in the real world.
 
C'mon Elaine! Doing a PhD doesn't disqualify you from the "real world"!
Larry Page and Sergey Brin come to mind. Ok they "suspended" their PhD's but methinks they will get a pass from Stanford some day :)

BR

R
 

Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
This is a paragraph from Legal opinion given to the Christian Institute by John Bowers QC and Samuel Webster
I think it is relevant to Home Education given that the DCSF is seeking to define 'suitable and efficient' because this says it is the parents role to decide the content of their childs education or am I reading it wrong? I don't think so because the European court says if you don't like what schools teach you have home ed as an alternative.....

 
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