Trust The Children

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Educational Delegation

Does the "habit" of educational delegation lead to unwanted consequences beyond secular education?

Weeks ago, when I met with some dads to find out their thoughts about education, and more particularly home schooling, I heard several say in essence, "I am a busy guy. I have goals and needs of my own. Frankly, I like the idea of delegating education to others who are more qualified than myself. I would rather a school counselor guide my child through the planning necessary for getting to college than have to deal with it myself. Besides I don't think my wife could handle it anyway. She does other things well, but planning for college needs a professional."

It was after these interviews, that I coined the phrase in my own mind, "educational delegation."

Lately, I have begun wondering if "educational delegation" becomes a habit, even an addiction?

What are the ramifications, short and long term, of delegating "religious education" completely to the Sunday School teacher? If that takes a "professional" what does that mean?

When you pick up the end of the stick of delegating "sex education" to someone else, what is on the other end of that stick? Why would someone choose that path?

Is it educational delegation when we send our sons off to the scoutmaster and make him completely responsible to help our sons become "physically Strong, mentally awake and morally straight" ?

How about delegating civic responsibility by not voting, not participating in public debate, and joining up with the "silent majority."

Do the masses learn ambivalence to many things, by disinterest and non-participation in the "school thing"? Or is that just an outgrowth of surviving the economic pressures of our day?

When we feel "report card euphoria" at the "successful" delegation of secular education, does this become a pattern of "addictive behavior" that invites relative non-involvement in civic, religious, community and family matters?

We have all heard that when you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. Are home schoolers the busy people society can count on to get things done, even things outside of the educational context?

Maybe taking personal responsibility for developing our children, helps us distance ourselves from other "temptations of delegation" that are equally unhealthy and potentially damaging?

I appreciate a comment by Tammy in her blog, "Homeschoolers just get it!" I think they do. More and more, I think they do.


  • There's delegation, and then there's outsourcing.

    It's fine to delegate responsibility (or hire other people to take on a certain responsibility). Homeschoolers do that all the time.

    The problem doesn't lie in delegation, IMHO. The problem with the idea of public school educational delegation, or outsourcing, is that once that responsibility has been handed over to someone else, the boss goes on a vacation and then doesn't have but a token connection to the process. And, if something isn't going right, he is no longer in the loop enough to do anything about it. The boss (i.e. the parents) become figureheads. By "delegating" educational authority to public schools, parents are giving up far more than the responsibility of teaching their own children.

    I also think that your point about being addicted to grades is extremely valid. It's bragging material. It's something concrete that parents can say, "My kid is smart/good/important. See, it says so right on this paper." Seemingly oncrete value judgements.

    Also, in a situation where education has been outsourced, what other measurement of success is there? When a parent can't see on a day to day basis how their child is growing and learning and becoming an adult, what other criteria can a parent base their appreciation on?

    Grades and achievements are important when children and parents don't spend a lot of time learning together. It's comforting and reassuring to have these things, to make sure that their kids are getting what the parents can't or won't provide - an education.

    It all works together. Today, I read a comment from a mom who didn't like the idea of homeschooling because she "likes her time to herself 5 hours a day." And she was "glad to have her kids out of her hair during that time."

    That explains a lot of why public school will never change much, IMHO. I'm still convinced that the main reason public school is so popular and unmoving, has nothing to do with education.

    By Anonymous Tammy Takahashi, at 10:14 PM, December 01, 2006  

  • In response to what Tammy said--The MAIN reason/excuse I hear people saying to me over and over why they couldn't homeschool is that the mother likes/needs the time to herself every day with the kids out of her hair.

    This reminds me a lot of reasons mothers put their kids in daycares and go to work--to have time to themselves and to get the kids "out of their hair."

    Public school for the last century has created a people who feel entitled to have someone else care for their 5 years and up children the majority of the day.

    Seems strange to me that I would have these children and delegate the raising/guiding/educating of them to another person.

    Not to say that it is an easy decision. I, too, am tempted by the "free" daycare down the street.

    By Blogger funnymommy, at 1:49 PM, December 31, 2006  

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