Saturday, January 23, 2010

More Testimony Presented at the HB 1580 Hearing

January 21, 2010
Stephanie D
Bedford, NH
HB 1580

Thank you for taking the time to hear us today. Thank you, Rep. Ingbretson for aiding us in the battle to maintain our rights as parents to provide our children with the education we believe they deserve.

Those who favor heavy regulation of homeschooling often ask, “If a parent has nothing to hide, then she shouldn't have any problem with regulation.” This is not so. My first problem with this argument is that I am an American citizen, and I am innocent until proven guilty. But there are others here better qualified than I am to make this argument. I would like to talk about my second problem with public school officials having regulatory power over my children's learning; it is like a Model T mechanic overseeing the maintenance of a Ferrari.

Home-learning requires a paradigm shift in order to understand how it works. Many homeschools do not operate on the top down approach of the classroom. They use an open source approach to learning, where every experience is an opportunity for learning and every individual is a potential teacher. The classroom model of the 19th century prepared people to work in factories and do the same thing day in and day out. That's not what our country needs anymore. We need people who are driven to take on complex challenges and tasks, and who have the know how to find solutions using a number of different sources. Most home-learners are already doing this, which is why it doesn't make sense for people who only understand the public school model to get involved.

Roger Schank, one of the world's leading researchers in Artificial Intelligence, learning theory, cognitive science, and the building of virtual learning environments, wrote, “Today's schools are organized around yesterday's ideas, yesterday's needs, and yesterday's resources ...Consider the most common classroom approach: one teacher standing in front of thirty children trying to get each one to be at the same place at the same time. This approach has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive, but it flies in the face of everything scientists have discovered about children's natural learning mechanisms, which are primarily experimentation and reflection. In other words, learning by doing. Consider also the concept of curriculum: that there is a particular body of knowledge everyone should know. This idea may comfort those who are concerned that our children know the "right stuff." Children, however, learn facts about the world because they feel the need to know them, often because these facts will help them do something they want to do. What is the right stuff for one may be the wrong or irrelevant stuff for another.”

In conclusion, I have a right to make sure my children are learning the best way they can, that they are prepared for the 21st century workplace, and I don't believe the state should be able to hamper our progress by making our family adhere to the antiquated public school model of the 19th century; It is like trying to make a Ferrarri look and work like a model T.

No comments: