Sunday, 29 April 2018

The Law doesn't matter. This is Revenge.

The first thought I have on seeing a copy of the Times article - how police are tracking home-school kids - is, Revenge.

The fact that Lords and Ladies are supporting this - a police action which has no statutory basis - shows how much of a toss they don't give about the law.

They're taking revenge. Last time, you see, we got away with it. We protected a fundamental principle of law. We protected the legal duty we all have, when we citizens hit parenthood. You, parent, get to choose what education fits your child.

Learning - it isn't about verbs and nouns, facts and figures. It's the type of world your child knows; the type of world they are shown as aspirational; the type of world which makes us proud. 'Learning' means who they interact with; how they use private and social space; who they feel accountable towards; who they see as authorities in their world. 'Learning' means all the unwritten rules, the codes of behaviours, the way we can challenge those codes; who can break them, who cannot.

All these intimate, intricate power relationships we stitch into our everyday, which we casually gloss under that word. Education.

But I can see how one law - declaring a parent's duty to educate their child - simply gets in the way. It gets in the way if more powerful people than me are trying to readjust a world of structures and hierarchies and obligations. In our new world, they need compliant citizens who don't ask too many questions; who don't criticize power too deeply; who don't ask that most dangerous of questions: Why?

In someone's vision of society you need to demonstrate all your activities in a public way. Imagine a society where your actions can be monitored, regulated, authorised. Perhaps governments and business work hand-in-hand to pass your identities and personalities between them: to better manage your compliance for other regulations, sanctions and, um, social improvements. Let us then sing our new hymns: Our society will improve! We become a better people! In our hearts is the sun!

In this utopia, some behaviours can be addressed as anti-social, fined and punished. Some behaviours are rewarded. Some behaviours modified. How is your e-behaviour credit balance doing? The score which combines your attitude to learning and your receptiveness to engagement? Welcome to our new age: Social Panopticon.

But are you failing to agree to certain rules? Did you fail to engage in the market this year? Did you fail to show us behavioural compliance with the consensus? Did you fail to demonstrate how you would like to be embraced by technological progress? Um, I think we're now on the territorial fringes of totalitarianism, aren't we?

We old dinosaurs stand in the way. We unhappy band of home educators. We who are not trying to replicate school at home. Clinging to old fashioned, quaint ideas, like The Law. My band, my tribe, those laws, we all get in the way of social improvement.

Me, I won't buy a fridge to help me make online purchases, I'll simply do without a fridge. I won't change my energy supplier, but I'll turn off the lights and lower the heating. I don't live by the consumer world. I can repair things. I can make things. I am resourceful. I am crafty.

What can I say to the Lords and Ladies who are now eagerly supporting illegal action?

Know the world my children know. They know to trust themselves and their own judgements. They know they can change the world. They know that they are valuable people who will touch the lives of others in many positive ways. They are independent-minded, strong, and determined. They are inspired by the powers, crafts, talents and ideals of ordinary people. Not with people who assume power over us.

They know that governments around the world are corrupt. They see how money doesn't reach ordinary people. They know that unbridled corporate power leads to division, greed, and makes a new type of slave-owner. They know that many who take it upon themselves to lead can be easily seduced by money and power.

They also know that home education is just one type of educational structure and in itself it's not a problem. The problem is with shit parenting. And some parents are shit whether they offload the kids to school or shut them in a cupboard at home. If you want the statistics on that, I bet I'm on safe ground to assert that more kids who go to school are abused, beaten up, made into terrorists and nut-jobs by their parents than kids living outside the mainstream schooling routine.

Your basic problem, Lords and Ladies, is this. Schools have become joyless, miserly, soul-stealing exam factories.

Schools who have one eye to their customer base are desperate to off-load kids who are not making them look good. The very kids who need social support. Schools are suggesting to parents they might like to 'home-school'. They're using home education as their cover. Schools, not home education, should be your proper focus. Unless you are particularly vengeful.

Look how governments have demolished and destroyed what children love to do - feel free, run outside, explore the world, engage in hours of child-led play, ask questions of adults who do not know the answer, find out things with people who want to explore as they do.

Governments have destroyed this childhood because these children will grow up to create an adult world which is out of their control. The adult world created by free-thinking people will be dangerous to the controlling, organising powers. We have adults who ask Why? and who feel powerful enough to organise and act. They can create a world of spontaneity, exploration, and radical challenging to traditional vested interests. If you were on the controlling side, wouldn't you want to stop this type of world, dead? And take revenge on those who try to keep it alive?

I'm not engaging with the worlds of Soley and Deech. They represent a future that my children won't have. My children will go about this world, bright sparks, bright satellites, bright thinkers, who'll always ask, Why?

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