Family-based education, schools, and community development
Consider education as a "good" that a community produces for children. This good includes knowledge, skills, habits, values, and outlooks toward the future. The knowledge and skills are measured in part by tests in math, reading, science, and other formal subjects. But, we know that in order to acquire competence in those areas, children must also be learning the discipline that it takes to study hard, the values that it takes to get along with others in a school or home setting, and outlooks that tell them that if they master these subjects, they can succeed in life as adults, form their own families, and take care of their children. They must learn faith, hope, and trust therefore, in order to succeed in their academic studies.
Communities must impart to them faith, hope and trust. In order for communities to do so, they must be filled with strong and productive families. Without a solid core of strong families, communities rarely form around children. Schools, agencies, churches, and other non-familial institutions are not enough.
Family-based community development is necessary in order to create the communities around children than enable them to be fully educated. It emphasizes the productive roles of families in education. It holds that if community is educating its children successfully, then most of its homes are in fact functioning in various ways as home schools. It recognizes that in the formal school settings, if education is taking hold, then that is because parents, teachers, and other significant institutions are co-producing it. It challenges teachers and school administrators to embrace the parents of their students as partners in producing education.
Tragically, public schools were designed as much to displace families and remold students for consumerism and conformity as they were to truly educate. In fact, some critics, John Taylor Gatto in particular, argue persuasively that "dumbing down" students and perpetuating adolescence were the primary, hidden purposes behind mandatory schooling.
A great wave of schools reform projects are underway. Despite the crying need for families to be empowered in their educational roles, many community schools, school-based family centers, and other school-based institutions have yet to address this imperative seriously.
For info on home schooling, including our own experience with it, click below:
For a powerful and intelligent analysis of how the public education system has harmed families, communities, and kids, go to:
Organizations with Interesting Views on School-Family Partnerships