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July 12, 2020

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Unless the law has been changed, it's illegal to homeschool in Germany.

"Home schooling has been illegal in Germany since 1918, when school attendance was made compulsory, and parents who choose to homeschool anyway face financial penalties and legal consequences, including the potential loss of custody of their children."
German Homeschooling Family Battles Deportation from U.S., Penalties at Homes: Germany too authoritarian? Shocking.

My sense is that, if your motivation for home schooling is because your child cannot get a good enough** education in the public schools, you are evading the real problem rather than fixing it. A normal (or what should be normal) public school system ought to be able to do the job. If it can't, you ought to be working on getting it to the point where it can.

It's entirely possible to run a public school system like that. It does take money, so you have to be willing to pay the necessary taxes. (Which can include state taxes, in order to get money from where the big economic activity is to where the children are.) But it's no different from funding any other infrastructure need. You just have to be srrious about it.

That includes paying teachers enough to get good people. The days when you could pay low, because educated women had so few alternative careers available, are long behind us. If you are trying to do education on the cheap, it won't work.

** Stipulating that, by "good enough" I do not mean evading teaching science or other stuff about the real world. If you're unhappy because the public schools won't teach your pet idiocy, tough.

Keep in mind that a lot of homeschoolers in the US are also Parental Rights supporters:

https://parentalrights.org/amendment/

...and that leads into a constellation of alternative medicine and anti-vaxx activism and a deep well of anti-LGBTQ sentiment.

a lot of homeschoolers in the US are also Parental Rights supporters

See "pet idiocy" above.

If they were just trashing themselves, it wouldn't be so bad. But their folly is hurting their children as well.

Yes. I always read "indoctrinating our children" complaints as actually meaning "won't help us indoctrinate our children."

While there is still lots of room for improvement in German schools, the only persons and groups I am aware of that actively call for allowing pure homeschooling are religious of the less tolerant kind. That includes people not belonging to established denominations though e.g. some with esoteric leanings. The latter tend more towards 'my kids do not need this education lacking spirituality'. But the majority seems to be afraid that their kids could be infected with thoughts at angles to their parents' narrow worldview (My mother knows a family where the parents prayed that The Lord please come back before they have to sent their kids to godless school or alternatively take their children away to heaven by other means). Religious schools are not seen as an alternative by these guys because those too have to follow the basics of the official school curriculum including e.g. sex education. Plus they would not really trust anyone but themselves (and maybe their pastor*) not to stray off message. And of course there are those that would prefer to send only their boys to school but keep the girls 'safe' at home.
Muslims have entered the picture only rather recently and there it tends to be more about specifics ('I do not want my girls to learn swimming because indecent exposure is inevitable'; burqinis are not allowed everywhere and schools refuse to have separate swimming classes for boys and girls, either of which was peddled as an alternative).

*or equivalent thereof.

We were longtime homeschoolers in the USA. Where we lived for most of that time (RTP North Carolina, liberal bubble in red-trending-purple state) there were two distinct groups of homeschoolers: one secular, one rigorously-bible-believing. That former group was the perfect fit for us. More than a hundred families, lots of professionals from within or without the group offering classes. Our eldest, who is a conscientious but not brilliant student, by age 13 had a higher SAT score than the average North Carolina high-school senior. Until we moved to the UK, our kids had never been in a class with a child who didn't want to be in that class, which makes a world of difference to teaching efficiency and student experience.

Now we're in the UK, and the homeschooling climate seems to be very different; our children are all in state schools. During 2016-2017 my wife spent a lot of time looking into the online homeschool community in London, and it seems to have far fewer of either families seeking better customised schooling or families seeking religious purity; rather, it seems to be dominated by students with behavioural or developmental issues that make them poorly suited to learn in the standard state school classroom. This means there's less of a community, fewer professionals offering classes for homeschoolers, etc. Because the testing gates are even more dominant here, there seems to be even more of a focus on "How do I, as a parent doing all the work, educate my child enough to pass the bar on tests?" Homeschooling has a bad reputation here.

"Homeschooling" during the pandemic isn't doing anything to help its general reputation. Talking to an administrator at the secondary school, and looking at some of the messages from teachers, noncompliance by students is very high. Our secondary school is throwing out the fall curriculum plans to focus on remediation. This seems likely to make another huge problem with next year's exams, since the GCSEs (and I believe the A-levels) are still very reliant on memorisation. Every school seems to be left to its own devices, and they're coming up with widely varying teaching plans.

Although separate tracks are mostly gone in the state schools at primary levels, they're still there in secondary schools, and I believe our middle child was pretty badly mis-served by being put in a lower set than his ability level dictated. Our secondary school's reputation is "really good... if your kid is self-motivated", and so the bottom sets are full of the kids who aren't. There were serious issues with classroom management and continuity of teaching. So very diametrically the opposite of our homeschooling experience in the US.

We're considering sending the youngest to grammar/selective state schools, or possibly even paid schooling, since there aren't the sorts of magnet or honours programs you find in much of the US and it's easy for kids in the top few percent to get bored, even if they're in a top set. Again, in the US, we could consider addressing this by homeschooling instead of trying to come up with 20,000+ pounds per year for a selective school.

...Until we moved to the UK, our kids had never been in a class with a child who didn't want to be in that class, which makes a world of difference to teaching efficiency and student experience...

I don't know what age(s) you child(ren) is/are, Tom, but for the sixth form you might want to consider a sixth form college if there is a good one in the area.

Both my children attended grammar school, but both chose to move to a (large) local sixth form college for their A Levels.
It (in common with most such institutions) was of non selective intake, but that didn't really matter, as the students choosing to study there wanted to be there studying the subjects they had chosen.

Being in a large institution like that (nearly 2000 students in each year group) was also excellent for the development of independence and self0study habits required for university.
And of course if you're large enough, the problem of recruiting specialist subject teachers in al subjects is much ameliorated.

Until we moved to the UK, our kids had never been in a class with a child who didn't want to be in that class,

I think this may highlight the problem (other than the religiously narrow minded) that I have with home schoolers. Why didn't their public school kids feel that way? Because a public school certainly can make that happen.

Why do I think that? Because those I attended did. I grew up in a small farming town, just starting to think about becoming a suburb. That is, there were no magnet schools or anything like that. There was, as I recall, a Catholic grammar school, but that was it. The lone high school had tracks, but that's as close as we got.

For us kids, going to school and learning stuff was just what one did. It wasn't about parental pressure on us as individuals, or (noticable) peer pressure -- we just did it. It helped that we had teachers who liked their jobs and were mostly good at it.

The lone exception I recall was the lady I had for 5th grade. It was here first year teaching, and she was floundering. But her peers brought her along; she ended up one of the top teachers in the district.

How well served were we? My high school graduating class had 250 students. The next year, all but 2** were in college. Granted, the largest number were at the local junior college, but everybody was keeping on with school. We weren't required to, of course. There wasn't pressure per se -- any more than there was "pressure," after 8th grade, to go high school. It was simply what one did. And school was, in our experience, attractive enough that nobody rebelled.

I willingly accept that getting many current schools to that point would be a non-trivial exercise. But that's a long way from impossible. And, for the sake of our kids generally (i.e. not just our own families), not to mention the future our our country, we need to be making the effort.

** Of those two, one was a kid who, in retrospect, was seriously mentally retarded (or whatever the current term of art is). Even he was adequately served by the high school. But further education was clearly not going to be of use.

The other was a boy who, middle of his senior year, got his girl friend pregnant. (Birth control being essentially unavailable way back then.) Society being how it was, he necessarily married her and got a job to support his family. Otherwise, he would have been in college, too.

I know a handful of families who have home-schooled their kids. All of them have different reasons for doing so.

One family are very conservative evangelicals, and they didn't want their kids being indoctrinated with secular values. Their kids are, predictably, kind of blinkered as young adults.

One family has a son who had profound attention disorder and who was incapable of sitting still for six hours a day without driving himself and the teacher nuts and disrupting the whole class. They arranged for him to participate in group tutoring for academic work, which he got through in about 15 hours a week. With the rest of his time, he apprenticed himself to a local auto mechanic and took some classes in massage and herbology. He later got credentialed as a massage therapist.

Friends in Salem home-school their kids because they aren't that crazy about the quality of the public schools in Salem. And, they have a point. To wj's point, yes, they should and in fact do advocate for improvements to the public schools, but their judgement call for their own kids is to home school. They live pretty modestly so that dad's tech job is sufficient for mom to be stay-at-home. The whole family is very engaged with the community, so the kids aren't socially isolated.

Another family are basically genius level mom and dad, and I think they home schooled their two girls because they figured they were really bright kids and would get more focused attention that way. While still in middle and high school, the girls (who live in NH) performed in theater in NYC, started a web-based business selling hand-made scarves and hats (they made the scarves and hats and also stood up and managed the web site), and were competitive league hockey players.

Home schooling isn't for everyone. It's probably not even for most people. I am completely in support of public schools, am the product of really good public schools (both primary and university), and IMO the benefit of public schooling go well beyond the academics.

What I will say about the home-schooled kids I know is that most are young adults who are unusually resourceful, resilient, confident, and at ease in the world.

Home-schooling is a really good fit for some people. I'm not sure there are general statements you can make about it, you have to look at specific cases.

One way to reduce the number of homeschoolers is to increase the number of charter schools. A difficult which is the lesser evil choice for some people.

I'd like more granularity in the discussion of what is meant by a charter school and I'd like to see a much brighter line between charter schools that receive public funding and private schools that can do their own thing, but receive only limited public funds. Too often charter schools are just another tactic for hoarding educational funds and opportunities for better off students at the expense of at-risk students.

I'd also like a little public acknowledgement from homeschoolers that what they do isn't so much teaching as it is tutoring (at least in the professional sense of context and work environment). Facilitating the learning of a small number of students, all of whom you share values and backgrounds with and disciplinary approaches is a far different creature from a classroom of more than a dozen students from different backgrounds and contexts all of whom you must facilitate learning for while respecting their disparate backgrounds.

And I really wish that (more) homeschool parents could experience that public classroom space because it might give them more respect for what public school teachers do.

Too often charter schools are just another tactic for hoarding educational funds and opportunities for better off students at the expense of at-risk students.

Charter schools have a higher percentage of low-income minority students than do traditional public schools. And they're funded less per student than the public schools they compete with.

In my observation (not a comprehensive study, I admit), charter schools are sold as improving education for low-income students. But when implemented, they are overwhelmingly used by high-income students.

Charter schools have a higher percentage of low-income minority students than do traditional public schools.

I don't have time right now to verify this claim, but his makes some intuitive sense as public schools in "better" neighborhoods are well funded, and charters offer little in the way of advantages by comparison.

So the charters are off-loaded to "poor performing" schools because they offer an easy way out for policymakers to demonstrate they are indeed "doing something."

And they are. They are shoveling yet more public money to private purposes.

Have you ever taught at a charter school, CharlesWT? Have you ever taught at a public school? Do you have first-hand experience with a charter school? Have you read the peer reviewed studies comparing public and charter school performance and expense?

I'm not in any way opposed to charter schools. I like many things about many of them. My wife taught at one for three years. One of our closest friends has taught at one for longer than that. My sister-in-law taught at another in a different state. Two more of my former college classmates teach at charter middle schools as bilingual teachers. All of these charters had their good points and their bad, and a lot of both is baked into the charters.

Charters can work well for low-income minority students, but you really need to dig into the figures to get the full story. Many achieve higher average results, but do so by using "no excuse" policies that let them keep the best students and send the lower performing ones back to the public schools that they came from.

And charters pay their teachers 15% less on average than do public schools. And there is an even greater instance of the usual 3-year burnout. It takes about 3 years of teaching to figure out what one is doing and become a seasoned teacher. I suspect that what we see in the more positive test results is mostly a matter of the selection and self-filtering process. I'd love to see what a charter school could do with an experienced and empowered corps of teachers, but market pressure works against that.

[T]his makes some intuitive sense as public schools in "better" neighborhoods are well funded, and charters offer little in the way of advantages by comparison.

Where they crop up is in school districts which have both high-income and low-income areas within them. By shifting to charter schools, the high-income folks are basically opting out of involvement with the public schools. And therefore are free to vote to keep school taxes down. Which harms those kids in the low-income neighborhoods.

Have you ever...

No.

I'm not crazy about charter schools because I see them as only a halfway measure. But they are often an improvement on the traditional public schools around them.

Some, like Success Academy, are a huge improvement. But Success Academy schools are not scaleable. Success Academy not only demands a lot from students but requires a lot from their parents. So much so that probably only two-parent families should apply. A single parent with a job is likely to be completely overwhelmed.

There need to be more choices for students. Middle and upper-income families can choose with their feet by just moving into the school districts of the schools they prefer. Low-income families, not so much. It's take what's available because you can't leave it.

I'm not crazy about charter schools because I see them as only a halfway measure.

Half way to where? (I suspect I can guess. But I'd rather let you speak for yourself.)

I prefer to see governments completely out of running schools. Governments could give low-income students vouchers that they can then take to the schools they prefer.

Now I'm curious. What functions would you be happy to see governments performing? If any.

Just a note, here, that the idea that a student can recognize the most effective teacher for their own learning is cast deeply into doubt by assessment work done on pedagogy and student evaluations. Students often rate very effective teachers quite low (and moreso when dealing with minority or female teachers).

Students prefer teaching with clear examples and a minimum of ambiguity and rate teachers who provide these things quite highly.

But performance tests administered in subsequent terms indicate that students actually learn more and retain more when they are presented with more ambiguity and with information that is less easy to apply and break down into discrete chunks. And they rate the teachers who teach this way quite low compared to the ones from which they learn less.

So saith the data.

I'm generally not happy to see governments do much of anything. But I guess I'm closest to being a minarchist with governments doing a few things well. Perhaps, at the federal level, state, defense, treasury, and justice.

Of course, there's no way to get from here to there. And it's just my opinion. I have no knowledge or expertise to justify it. But then all the current technocrats, will all their education, knowledge, training, experience, and expertise, often don't seem to know what they're doing either.

We didn't used to have universal, or even widespread, public education. Now we do.

And now, the overwhelming majority of people can read and write and do basic math. The overwhelming majority of people have a basic understanding of the history of this country and of the world. The overwhelming majority of people have at least a rudimentary understanding of the physical sciences. Most folks have at least some exposure to at least one foreign language. Most folks who want to have the experience of participating in things like sports, music, art, and theater.

Maybe that would have all happened in the absence of public education. If you can point to a place, now or ever, where all of the above happened in the absence of widespread public education, I'd be interested to know about it.

Americans were pretty well educated before government schools.

And students and their parents might wish to pick and choose from your list and add any number of things not on the list.

"The fact is, at least in early America, education was better and more widespread than most people today realize or were ever told. Sometimes it wasn’t “book learning” but it was functional and built for the world most young people confronted at the time. Even without laptops and swimming pools, and on a fraction of what government schools spend today, Americans were a surprisingly learned people in our first hundred years."
The Myth that Americans Were Poorly Educated before Mass Government Schooling: Early America had widespread literacy and a vibrant culture of learning.

Perhaps, at the federal level, state, defense, treasury, and justice

Yeah, but since education is a state and local matter, what are you willing to see done there?

For example, do we need infrastructure, like roads and such? I mean, when the country started, most roads were privately run. If it worked when we were a dozen little, basically agriculture-based, colonies scattered along the East Coast, why wouldn't it be just as good for a country spread across a continent?

"My sense is that, if your motivation for home schooling is because your child cannot get a good enough** education in the public schools, you are evading the real problem rather than fixing it. A normal (or what should be normal) public school system ought to be able to do the job. If it can't, you ought to be working on getting it to the point where it can."

I'm very open to this kind of argument, but it could well take many years to improve the school enough--even assuming you are able to. Meanwhile your actual kid is floundering. I can understand why parents might not be thrilled by that as an option.


And so America gives into the prisoners dilemma wrt education because one's children of the moment make the decision making process an immediate choice rather than an iterated choice.

Us in a nutshell on so many public issues.

I can understand why parents might not be thrilled by that as an option.

Yes, parents shouldn't be asked to or required to sacrifice their children on the public school altar.

Show me parents who have opted for charter schools (or home schooling), but nonetheless are working at getting their local public schools improved. Then I'll begin to be persuaded that it's just concern for their own children which is involved.

First off, Tom H. great comment. A real interesting path you've been on.

I missed the last few comments in the other thread, so I was a bit surprised by the lack of love for homeschooling, though being from the south, I'm pretty aware of how homeschooling has been used to circumvent what is being taught. So nous' invocation of a prisoner's dilemma is pretty spot on.

Here in Japan, I'm a lot more sympathetic to home schooling and alternate schools, because there are some horrific examples of bullying, including instances where the teachers, not only tacitly but actively encourage it. So a parent who feels they should get their kid out of that situation has my sympathy.

I personally think that we can't make any generalizations about alternate schooling because we can't really know the motivations of the people involved, and as nous notes, it is not simply the motivations of the parent, it is the motivations of the people who set up the schools. And because there is no national system of education, you have no generalizations to start from about what a good alternate schooling program should consist of.

I was going to make a comment about the Japanese system, but I might make it into a post instead. Folks are welcome to write a guest post about their own experiences.

Why should parents be involved in improving public schools? They're not the schools' customers. Politicians and government bureaucrats are the customers. They're the ones with the money and make the rules. About all students and parents can do is jump up and down, scream and yell. Vote every few years for the politicians making the best promises. And file lawsuits. Some public schools activity discourage parents from being involved with the schools.

Why should parents be involved in improving public schools? They're not the schools' customers.

So what you are saying is that we, as a nation, have no interest in whether or not we have an educated population? Because that's nuts. Even if I have no children of my own at all, I still have an interest in having other people's kids be well educated.

In the Middle East.

"According to a recent article in The National, homeschooling is growing in the UAE for several reasons. Ironically, these reasons are related to the same issues in America’s public education system which former teacher and social critic John Taylor Gatto has been pointing out for several decades. These include:

1. Tuition Costs
2. Opportunities for Practical Instruction
3. Boredom

3 Reasons Why Homeschooling is Booming in the Middle East: Basically, they're the same reasons why more and more Americans are homeschooling.

Why should parents be involved in improving public schools? They're not the schools' customers.

this is just foolish. as is the rest of your comment. just foolishness.

Sometimes it wasn’t “book learning” but it was functional and built for the world most young people confronted at the time.

This is exactly right.

If you had money and came from a family that afforded you the luxury of a tutor or a private academy, your education might go beyond the rudiments of reading and writing and maybe basic mathematics.

Otherwise, your education would probably be focused on the "functional" aspects of whatever trade you were being trained into.

If you were uncommonly bright, and highly self-motivated, maybe you would push yourself beyond that.

A lot of this depended on where you lived. If you lived in New England, where there was a tradition of public education going back to the 17th C., you might have other options. Other parts of the country, not so much.

But yes, prior to widespread public education, the education available to people depended on the world they "confronted at the time". And it was, in general, limited by the circumstances of their birth.

Why should parents be involved in improving public schools? They're not the schools' customers.

Apologies for the pile-on, but I'd argue that we are seeing the results of this philosophy in the approach (or lack of it) to corona.

I fully agree that parents should try to change the system. I also fully agree that non-parents should also be interested in getting a good education system in place. But given that I've been trying for that for about 20 years without huge improvements, I'm not going to begrudge alternative action from people with young children who think that it won't be fixed in the next four or five years.

My view of civic responsibility is that we need to try to make change in the political world around us AND we need to take other steps to protect the people in our lives if the political world isn't changing fast enough. Its a definite 'both' situation.

I posted this too soon, but I would take care to cite John Taylor Gatto's arguments, especially at a second hand remove (Look! This guy from New York has the education system of the Middle East figured out!!). He's passed, and his books have lots of interesting things, but a clue that his arguments are one-sided are the fact that he always uses military metaphors to describe how to deal with schooling.

But a bigger clue is that he was a huge supporter of Trump
https://www.johntaylorgatto.com/all/winning-pennsylvania-open-letters-to-donald-j-trump-from-john-taylor-gatto/

That kind of tunnel vision makes me think the guy, while possibly having some insights, was generally a fucking idiot.

There're big fights going on in New York City because the city and the education bureaucracy decided to make big changes in the schools without bothering to consult parents on what they wanted and needed for their children. Just more of the "We know better than you what's best for you. So, if you know what's good for you, you'll STFU and get with the program."

So, are individuals expected to spend decades of their lives fighting with various levels of government to improve schools? About the best they can do is contribute to organizations that will join the fight on their behalf.

There're big fights going on in New York City

I would say that current events in NYC are not a particularly representative sample of the experience of universal education in the US.

So, are individuals expected to spend decades of their lives fighting with various levels of government to improve schools?

People who want things to be different than they are, at any particular place or historical moment, should basically expect to spend a lot of time fighting with various levels of all kinds of things, not limited to but also not to exclude government, to improve whatever it is they want to improve.

It's fncking hard to make a dent, in anything. Work is involved. It's not obligatory, you can just stay to the side and complain, or you can say screw it and head for the hills and ponder lovely mountain valleys.

But if you actually want to engage and make something change, work is involved.

Public school systems, in most places although likely not in NYC, are one of the areas of governance that are most accessible to individual action and intervention.

NYC is basically just too freaking big. It's like a states' worth of people packed into a couple of square miles. It's chaos on a platter with a side of chips.

Some people love it, some don't, a lot of folks who live there just find a way to put up with it.

It's not a particularly good example of how Public Education Has Run Amok. Everything in NYC runs amok. Amok is its middle name.

I also heard there is some sort of infection running around. I wonder if that might have anything to do with it.

NYC public problems have been decades in the making. The current fights over how the schools were going to be reorganized started before the virus hit.

Gosh, lj, one would think that (unlike Charles) we think the world might have changed a tiny bit since 1800. Silly us. Obviously nobody could need to know anything more than folks did then.

I think one of the problems with figuring out what to do about public education is that we've never really agreed on what education is for.

In pre-Enlightenment times, it was considered a bad idea for non-nobility to have any formal education whatsoever, as it would give peasants "ideas above their station." But peasants did get practical education: how to farm, how to butcher animals for meat, how to tan hides, how to weave, metal-work, etc. upon etc. Skilled trades, in other words; and youngsters were apprenticed to guilds to learn them.

Post-Enlightenment, when a market economy became a Thing, there was a need for people in general to be at least literate, as many professions demanded workers be able to write and do arithmetic. Thus, the beginnings of what we think of as "formal" education - and the driver was almost entirely economic, a 16th C. version of "f u cn rd ths y cn gt a gd jb."

But "practical" education was still a Thing, too, alongside "formal" education. Many young people got both: went to school part of the day to learn basic literacy, and then spent the rest of the day on the farm or at the master's shop learning a trade (and girls learned housekeeping from their moms and aunties - a real job back then, from sewing to keeping a stillroom, dairy, and running a household.)

Now we live in a society where there is hardly any practical education at all, Home Ec and Shop having gone the way of the manual slide rule. Most people have no idea how to do essential things like basic home repairs, car repairs, elementary chemistry or electricity or carpentry.

We know how to use gadgets - none of which we can repair, much less build. Maybe we can do some coding, but that's it. We know how to drive vehicles, the engineering theory and chemical reactions of which we have only the vaguest idea. (Never mind knowing how to mine and work the metal to build the mechanisms.)

We know how to cook food we have no idea how to grow (as James Burke famously asked in the first episode of Connections, imagining an urban dweller wandering a post-Collapse wasteland: "Do you know how to maintain and run a tractor? Would you even recognize arable land if you saw it?")

In the US, at least, we have become almost entirely end users of things, consumers of things, entertained by things.

In that light, what is education and what is it for?

To be well-rounded, a critical and creative thinker, an active part of society?

To be creative, in any of a myriad media?

To be a reliable and docile laborer?

To be an inventor, a healer, an engineer?

How do you get to where you want to be, from a child learning the alphabet to....whatever the end goal is?

We tried to do it all, and did so quite well for a surprisingly long time.

Until we decided we didn't believe in paying anything forward anymore. Funding education became less and less of a priority, even as schools were burdened with having to provide more services than "an education" (whatever that means): meals for poor kids, after-school activities for turn-key kids, counseling of all kinds for troubled kids... all the services that society at large wasn't interested in providing, or in paying for.

We have no shared idea what an education is, what it's for, what we think people should be when they grow up, or what kind of society they should be that in. We teach subjects with little context as to what those subjects mean, what value they have... and no idea what value the students have.

my guess: education helps people learn how to live in the culture / society that's teaching them. it's society perpetuating itself.

what's it for? to make sure the next generation can work the machine.

What CaseyL said. My guess is that comment would leave far too many people staring blankly, which may well be a symptom of the problems he describes. I will say that my school district does offer a good bit of practical learning, sometimes under what they call "engineering" courses when they are oriented more towards technology, but also traditional wood and metal shop. One of my son's courses, selected as a second or third choice for one of his electives, was "Architectural Arts," which translates more or less to basic home repair. Personal Finance is another course I think all the kids have to take.

We teach subjects with little context as to what those subjects mean, what value they have...

I tend to wonder why math and science particularly aren't taught from a more practical point of view, especially for kids who aren't otherwise too interested in learning that sort of thing. The personal-finance course is something that could get kids to master decimals and percents and such without simply teaching them decimals and percents.

Word problems are among the most hated aspects of school for kids, but I think a big part of that is the absurdity of the proposed situations. Too many are ridiculous contrivances that leave even the parents saying "They're doing what?" and having to read it three times just to fathom what's supposed to be going on. If you can't find something more true to life to teach a concept, why are you teaching that concept?

Benjamin Franklin wrote in his autobiography about how educators at the time wanted people to learn Latin so they could then more easily learn the other Romance languages. His approach was to learn modern Romance languages that weren't so removed from the times to then learn the more archaic Latin. He analogized learning Latin first to hoisting yourself to the top of a flight of stairs so you could walk down the stairs rather than up.

Teach the practical to get to the theory rather than the other way around.

Getting off my little tangent, is anyone proposing that people not be allowed to home school? Some of the comments seem to imply someone is saying that, but I don't see it.

..., is anyone proposing that people not be allowed to home school?

"Yet Elizabeth Bartholet, Wasserstein public interest professor of law and faculty director of the Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, sees risks for children—and society—in homeschooling, and recommends a presumptive ban on the practice. Homeschooling, she says, not only violates children’s right to a “meaningful education” and their right to be protected from potential child abuse but may keep them from contributing positively to a democratic society."
The Risks of Homeschooling

A counter to some of the assertions made in the above article.

"In the last 50 years, homeschooling in the United States has grown from a tiny movement composed primarily of conservative Christians and John Holt “unschoolers” to its present size of around 1.69 million students. Despite these numbers, and despite the fact that most Americans are familiar with the concept of homeschooling, some misconceptions continue to make the rounds."
7 Persistent Myths About Homeschoolers Debunked: Time to put these misconceptions to rest once and for all.

I meant anyone here. I'm sure someone somewhere is proposing just about anything you can come up with, given the existence of My Little Pony Nazis.

One of the ways that Charter schools reduce their costs is to eliminate or reduce school counselors and nurses.

Which is fine, as long as you're sure that they won't be needed...even kids that aren't "disabled" may very well need a mental health counselor, or a school nurse to help them deal with persistent problems.

If your kid has a serious asthma, food allergy, Type 1 diabetes, etc, then they can have a life-threatening emergency at ANY TIME during school, and having a nurse that visits for half a day, 2 times a week, just doesn't cut it.

Now, if the standard of care was "you kill my kid, I get to kill all of YOU", then maybe that could work. Once.

I think what y'all are looking for is something like Finland's project based learning:

https://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2018/10/phenomenon-based_learning_in_finland_inspires_inquiry.html

Which is something for which the pedagogy people at my teachers union have been advocating for a while.

Interdisciplinarity is key to learning, as is a problem solving, critical thinking approach.

Why don't we do it? It's hard to assess and it requires a highly professionalized teaching corps that has more latitude over class planning. And because it is bottom-up, there is no role for the big ed conglomerates who make their money off of testing and standardized curricular materials.

That and current school administrators are all wedded to testing the way that police chiefs are wedded to their policing metrics. They owe their position to their embrace of the testing regime and if the regime changes, many of them will go with it.

Not to forget that the GOP dislikes critical thinking so much that the fight against teaching it in schools has been part of the (Texas) GOP party platform.

Well, critical thinking and ideological purity (on the right or the left) are mutually antagonistic.

Unless of course it's the obligatory ritual self-criticism in communist regimes or their fanclubs.

I've never been aware that critical thinking had much to do with self-criticism in such regimes. If anything, the reverse.

Benjamin Franklin wrote in his autobiography about how educators at the time wanted people to learn Latin so they could then more easily learn the other Romance languages. His approach was to learn modern Romance languages that weren't so removed from the times to then learn the more archaic Latin.

My approach is the same, but skip the part about learning Latin later, unless you want to.

My semi-mandatory two years of high school Latin were, IMO, a complete waste.

What is education for? Up through high school there is really not much disagreement among the majority. Basic language and mathematical skills, knowledge of science and history, etc. However, some people, mostly evangelicals in this country, don't believe in science and may have their own versions of history. They require that their children be indoctrinated in religion and be protected from anything that would undermine their own beliefs. According to the Wikipedia article on homeschooling "From 2003 to 2007, the percentage of students whose parents reported homeschooling to provide religious or moral instruction increased from 72 percent to 83 percent." This has to be kept in mind not only in discussions of home schooling but also charter schools. In fact most home schoolers seem to have a different idea from the majority about what education is for. Religious instruction outside schools is not enough for them.

Whatever the perceived or real benefits of homeschooling (and I realize that a lot of "homeschooling" doesn't actually mean school at home):

There shouldn't be a situation where kids have no contact with other people except for their parents, because that's a recipe for child abuse.

So to the extent that "homeschooling" is not allowed, it should not be allowed that people should be able to keep kids in a situation where nobody knows what's going on with them except for their parents.

Regulation? Yes.

Religious instruction outside schools is not enough for them.

Others have had similar views. But somehow, parochial schools worked for them.

Makes one wonder how off-the-wall their views are that they either a) cannot find others who agree enough to join them or b) cannot let anyone else see what they are teaching, lest they be shut down as a menace.

Science teaching is a good place to start sorting through what should be taught and how.

A few people on this thread advocated for teaching a "practical" approach to science where students learn how to do or understand things that are directly related to their lives or interests in a practical sense. I don't know if this is also a call to teach practical laboratory skills for a career as a lab technician or not.

Many homeschoolers pull their children out of public schools because they believe that the teaching of evolution is indoctrinating students into the "religion" of secular humanism and want their children to be taught creationism or some other form of natural philosophy that approximates an understanding of the natural world.

My own preference is to teach science as a process and methodology and to emphasize the production of knowledge and understanding through observation and experimentation rather than assembling important facts about the world for the students to know and work with. And I would also want the curriculum to address the "natural philosophy" side and make sure that students understand that they can believe and have faith in alternate explanations, but that those explanations are not in any way scientific.

A practical approach to science classes at a public school would probably combine the first and third approaches with the material shifting balance from more informational to more theoretical as the students progressed in age and built a good core of concepts. The second approach could be bracketed off and addressed in classes with a more philosophical and epistemological approach.

My homeschooling relatives do one and two and seem oblivious to three, which is sad because three is at the core of most real science.

This is going around like a virus, as virulent fascist American conservatism attempts to destroy teachers unions, as the Soviet Union might.

https://www.mediamatters.org/laura-ingraham/fox-guest-says-teachers-are-grooming-our-children-sexual-predators-use-them

Don't be fooled by the "loving teachers" rhetoric tortuously invoked in the message.

And aren't there stats that show a plurality of sexual assault occurs in the home.

Anti-American trump QAnon conservatism knows opening schools, without social distancing and masking rules intact, will serve their malign murderous crypto-Christian goals of spreading the Covid-19 far and wide as a test of ... what.... American grit.

We're in the grip of a murderous death cult.

Rush Limbaugh, lung cancer faker and the subhuman dog who ruined the Medal of Freedom for everyone (Biden should retire it), invoked the brave, stoic cannibals in the Donner Party (it was a dinner party if I recall) in ripping those afraid of coming down with Covid-19 and who want to limit its spread.

He ripped the complaining and weakness, so unAmerican, he, the grifting complainer in chief who winges about every blessed thing under the sun for 40 years, from the safety of his Covid-19 proofed studio, from taxes to teacups, about uppity blacks and unraped women, and made a career of complaining about Hillary Clinton, and made tens of millions doing it.

Limbaugh is under doctor's orders not to go near a school child, not that he would anyway, children's heads being merely a place to set down his drink while he zips his fly.

You didn't hear the Donner Party complaining did ya, Limbaugh sez.

Pa Donner: "You'll eat your supper or you'll BE supper in a few days. You don't see your sister complaining, do yah?"

Kid Donner: No, and you know why? Because we ate sis the day before yesterday. And I won't eat my supper. That's Uncle Jebediah's thigh you are serving me. He died a week ago and I saw you digging him up this afternoon.

Pa Donner: Dammit, that's your mother's meat loaf, is all? And you'll eat up every bit of it, you whiner.

Kid Donner: Mama IS the meatloaf, you liar. You should talk about whining, pa. You've done nothing but complain about the Catholics and the Irish since we crossed the Mississippi. And the wild Indians! Mama told you we should have wintered on the prairie, but no, manifest destiny has crawled up your ass and you wouldn't listen to some woke woman, even your own wife.

Pa Donner: Just for that, sonny, no dessert for you.

Kid Donner: No dessert! My God, your favorite saying is "Let them eat cake!" Eat me, pa!

In a win-win for white people, Trump declares we will not be replaced in the thoughts and prayers of law enforcement:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/president-trump-says-george-floyds-death-was-terrible-but-says-more-white-people-die-at-hands-of-police-than-blacks-in-us-2020-07-14?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

We're damned sick and tired of these affirmative action programs in law enforcement that seek to equalize black killing with white killings by the POlice.

If black people want to be killed in numbers equal to white killings, they can damned well work for it and earn their killings thru merit like we whites.

No more molly-coddling.

Now, I'll count to ten while you run away unarmed.

I've never been aware that critical thinking had much to do with self-criticism in such regimes. If anything, the reverse.

I took that to be a given. Also compare how 'freedom' gets redefined by totalitarian ideologies (or how apologists in the US these days try to persuade us that black slavery was actually the gift of freedom and that its abolition threw the 'freed' into actual servitude lasting to this day).

As far as Latin is concerned I also doubt that it is much use in learning living foreign languages. In my experience (which had Latin as first foreign language) its main effect is on the relationship to one's native tongue. At least in Germany it has been consistently found that Latin (and the earlier the more) improves the use of German. When I left school my English was abysmal btw (and French even more), so 9 years of Latin obviously had little effect there. A side effect of Latin and (classical) Greek I observed while studying chemistry was that co-students that had neither at school had to struggle far more with scientific vocabulary, so there was a temporary advantage.
I am inclined to believe that the effect of learning Latin for native speakers of English with its less complex grammar and far more Latin loanwords is significantly lower than for speakers of German (or Icelandic for that matter). The important part is that Latin is not learned to speak but to analyze. Otherwise I could actually propose Icelandic as a viable alternative.
Disclosure: retraining to become a teacher for Latin (and chemistry) obviously makes me rather biased.

When I was learning Italian, I had the definite impression that having a Latin A level and several years of French under my belt made it a lot easier. Two years of ancient Greek in secondary school, however, not only gave me misery at the time (rendering the concept of "irregular" verbs etc laughably meaningless), but has never been the least bit of use to me. Except I suppose that I could read road signs in Greece on the rare occasions I was visiting.

Ancient Greek was a language for sophisticated people not barbarian Italian farmers and their upstart descendants ;-)

About the only practical use for it I ever had was understanding natural science vocabulary.
I had 4.5 years of it at school* (half as long as Latin) but it's almost completely lost. I can read the script, recognize a few forms ('there's a -sa- in it, so it must be a weak aorist' 'oh, reduplikation at the start and a kappa near the end, perfect') but that's about it.
Latin is primitive enough to be of use in teaching schoolkids about language. Greek is by far the more versatile and sophisticated language but for those same reasons far more difficult (and as one of my profs said, Sanskrit is to Greek what Greek is to Latin, so if one finds Greek too easy there's still a way up).
In hindsight I would not consider it a waste of time (Latin and Greek both carry a lot of cultural information) but the loss of any proficiency in classical Greek does not disadvantage me either (and for my degree in Latin it was enough to have had Greek at school not that anything of it stuck).
I'd be happy, if my Greek was as good as my Latin (lots of stuff to read out of interest) but there is no actual 'need'.

*and then dropped it.

Fun game for Californians to play, once restaurants open up:

Make a reservation for 8 (7,9, number not that important) in the name "Donner".

Show up at the restaurant, with your party of 2 or 3.

When they call "Donner, party of 8", inform them that you're still waiting for some people, but there's been one cancellation.

Then they call "Donner, party of 7", repeat.

Does't work at vegan restaurants. I suspect.

Three years of Latin and Latin club for me, it was valuable in establishing the holidays that were appropriate for drinking. Beyond that I could speak Latin fairly well for several weeks after graduation, now I occasionally find a word or phrase I remember aside from more famous quotes.

Did anyone else use these texts in their Latin class?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Latin_Course

They were the source of a lot of humor in my high school.

As far as Latin is concerned I also doubt that it is much use in learning living foreign languages.

Of course. It seems obvious that if you want to learn French you should study French, not Latin.

Further, IMO, if you want to learn Italian or Spanish, time spent studying French will be more helpful than time spent studying Latin.

If you had been home schooled, you might have learned only about the holidays that were INappropriate for drinking.

I hold the fact that I never took Latin to be a substantial hole in my education, among a sea of holes, which from time to time I think about rectifying.

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods could have been provisioned in the Donner larder.

The Donner Burger: Pine needles, axle grease, shoe leather, and cousin Rush's rendered stiff upper lip for flavoring.

byomtov, the point was, for those of us who had been forced to study classics at school, had there been any benefit in later life. Presumably you had understood this, and your comment was an inscrutable American joke?

If we're focused on Romance languages, I wonder if it would be helpful to teach young kids (grades 1 - 3?) Interlingua as a general precursor to learning other languages.

I think it helps most to study an actual living language. One you might reasonably use to talk to people. Thus, for Americans, Spanish or maybe French. (I took German in high school, having been advised that it was more useful in the sciences. Which it wasn't, at least at the level I ever got to.)

But learning any second language is helpful in learning subsequent ones. Just because it opens your eyes to things in your native tongue that you never realized were totally arbitrary, rather than just how language necessarily works. Yes, having studied German made studying Japanese easier that way -- even though they are totally unrelated.

I'm not sure if that was a response to my comment, wj. But what I'm getting at is that Interlingua is, more or less, a simplified amalgam of Romance languages (with a bit of English, German, and Russian thrown in). So it serves as a simpler and more easily learned precursor to a number of other languages, which might be particularly useful for young children to learn, not just because of its simplicity, but also its wider applicability, especially not knowing what language(s) they might want to learn later on.

What I'm thinking is that it does what educators thought Latin was supposed to do in Benjamin Franklin's day, except it does it far better because it's easier to learn than other languages rather than harder. And it's even more similar, despite those languages having evolved from Latin. (Not only that, but, even if you don't learn another language, you can still use it to get by with someone who speaks a Romance language. They'll at least understand you, even if you can barely understand them. I don't expect anyone would bust out their Latin in Brazil as a stand-in for Portuguese.)

I went to a town meeting a number of years ago where we were to vote on the town budget, including a school district budget. The finance person an super for the school district started the presentation with the need to raise the property taxes with an override to accommodate the new school system budget.

This turned into a very detailed review of the ins and outs from last years budget, particularly in grades 1-4. The outs were things like music and art, the ins included more teachers to reduce class sizes.

However, there buried in the text, never presented or discussed, was the new French teacher. The district had decided learning a second language was critical for elementary students, beginning in first grade. And, for reasons those present couldnt explain when I made my way to the microphone, they had determined it should be French.

To make song story a little shorter there were no French speaking e at the town meeting and the budget did not pass the override vote. My children took some foreign language in high school but not French.

The district had decided learning a second language was critical for elementary students, beginning in first grade.

I believe there is a fair amount of research supporting the idea that it is easier (and more effective) to learn a second language at a younger age.

I always wondered if it would be beneficial if "English monolingual" families with young kids could pair up with immigrant Spanish-speaking families with young kids, to make a bilingual play group.

Get 'em young, before they realize that it's supposed to be unfun hard work.

I believe there is a fair amount of research supporting the idea that it is easier (and more effective) to learn a second language at a younger age.

I think Marty's point was "Why French?" (or perhaps "Why not Spanish?").

wj - correct.

And it is quite possible that the district chose French precisely because there were no children in the town who grew up as French speakers. It makes no sense to teach Spanish as a foreign language when some of the children speak and read it as their first language.

Having a language that is new to all the students in the classroom has a definite pedagogical role.

So many assumptions get baked into discussions of and agendas for teaching languages, and so many tacit power structures and relationships get reinforced or disrupted based on which choices get made.

I chose Spanish in HS for what seemed like practical reasons to me at the time. I learned classical Greek and French as an undergrad ("learned" being far too generous a word for my Greek experience). I've picked up Swedish since then.

In hindsight, though, I should have learned Anglo Saxon and Icelandic and gone the medievalist historian route. Had I done so, I probably would also have needed to pick up German to be able to read a lot of the journals I'd need in grad school for research and professionalization.

So really my point was that shouldnt have been prioritized over music, art, an hour of PE. I think by fourth grade you could start to integrate a second language curriculum, but, yes,l hsh,the rest of my point was that French made no sense as a choice even if you prioritized a language. Portuguese would have been s language most of them could use at home.

I think Marty's point was "Why French?" (or perhaps "Why not Spanish?").

My immediate guess would be that they knew where they could get a (credentialed) French teacher. But perhaps not a Spanish one.

Alternatively, there are still those who see French as an elite language, and Spanish as the language of poor people. Even though, in today's United States, Spanish would be more likely to be of use. Could have been that as well.

So really my point was that shouldnt have been prioritized over music, art, an hour of PE.

Totally agree there. Especially in grammar school, kids need to get out and run around during the day.

My mom, a grammar school teacher, had one kid who was supposed to be severely learning challenged. And a discipline problem. (Maybe Attention Deficit Disorder, although it was before the term was common.) She discovered that if she sent him out to run across the school yard, to the far fence and back, every hour or so, he could learn just fine. No discipline issues either. Kid just needed to get out of his chair more often than most. But all kids do, to some degree.

"Having a language that is new to all the students in the classroom has a definite pedagogical role."

This is something I object to in modern education. Not this specific thing but the idea of teaching things with no practical value, particularly at an elementary level, seems a useless waste of a child's time. It's bad enough I remember none of the German I took in high school, what value is a year or two of French to a 6-7 year old living in a Portuguese neighborhood in Massachusetts?

I think we see as time goes on that we have successfully taken every ounce of value out of a k-12 education, reinforced that knowing things is unimportant in university and refined the concept to perfection in graduate schools.

I still work with the latest few generations and they do all discussion by referencing a link, perceiving that makes them look intelligent. As long as they can reference some authority they dont have to know or have an original idea about the subject. Even the tech architects writing is a stream of linked articles with little value add in the description, things that in the past would be a few succinct paragraphs of explanation now read like google search results.

It's like just publishing the notes. And its hard to convince them to actually do the writing.

All very general, ymmv.

i took one year of French in HS. my father (a college English prof) forbade me from taking a second year because he thought i was wasting my time.

c'est la vie

But it does give one a certain je ne sais quoi

I really must learn French at some point, if only to match my siblings, both of whom are quite fluent. But Spanish is a higher priority at this point; greater general usefulness in California. Not to mention that the spelling is more rational than French (admittedly a low bar).

FWIW, I'm not sure the value of learning something is limited to whether you actually use it in some specific, practical context in real life.

Whether it makes sense to teach French to 7 years olds in a context where nobody speaks French, is a reasonable question. Especially if the choice is between teaching them French and giving them access to music, or art, or PE.

But learning stuff teaches you how to learn stuff, among other things. And knowing how to learn stuff is probably one of the most valuable life skills I can think of.

I took a counterpoint class in university. Two, actually. Since then, I've never written a counterpoint. But learning how to write counterpoint makes me a better software engineer, because it's an exercise in, among other things, elaborating logical patterns in the presence of strict constraints.

Same with being able to analyze an English language text and make a defensible argument about what it means. Same with doing geometry proofs. Same with learning German, which I've probably used three times since high school.

Using your mind builds mental agility. Thinking makes you a better thinker.

Also FWIW - I find this accurate:


Even the tech architects writing is a stream of linked articles with little value add in the description

and the reason for stuff like that is that people who work in technical fields frequently have come through university programs that teach them nothing other than technology.

They don't know how to think and articulate their own thoughts. And thinking your own thoughts and articulating them is actually a learnable skill.

There is also no harm in just exposing kids to a wide range of ideas and experiences. You never know what is going to stick.

Took 3 years of Latin in high school, and two semesters in college, to knock out language requirements without my self-conscious teenage self suffering the embarrassment of (badly) speaking a foreign language in front of a class.

The practical benefits (for me) were better spelling, vocabulary, and word etymology knowledge. To a lesser degree, when it comes to *reading* other languages - signs when travelling, a short newspaper article - especially Italian & Spanish, I've got a chance in sussing out the gist of it. No help in understanding someone speaking a language, granted.

Plato's Sophist:

Some of them1 drag down everything from heaven and the invisible to earth, actually grasping rocks and trees with their hands; for they lay their hands on all such things and maintain stoutly that that alone exists which can be touched and handled; [246b] for they define existence and body, or matter, as identical, and if anyone says that anything else, which has no body, exists, they despise him utterly, and will not listen to any other theory than their own.

---

Many people treat utility in education the way that the giants treat materiality.

But learning any second language is helpful in learning subsequent ones. Just because it opens your eyes to things in your native tongue that you never realized were totally arbitrary, rather than just how language necessarily works. Yes, having studied German made studying Japanese easier that way -- even though they are totally unrelated.

Could be, though I wonder if it doesn't just build in a certain plasticity, or whatever the right word is, that makes it easier to learn other languages.

I had, variously, German, biblical Hebrew, Yiddish, and English all floating around in different ways when I was young. There was Polish too, but my parents resisted having us learn it, as it was their "not for the children to hear" code.

I think that all helped me later on when I was more interested in speaking Romance languages, where I had little formal training. What I now speak, not at all well, is what I call my own personal Romance language, where I throw in whatever French, Italian, or Spanish word I can remember. It seems to work OK.

Would that be like interlingua?

I'm largely of the opinion that Spanish ought to be taught as a matter of course in elementary school. It's good to be able to communicate with other people.

Could be, though I wonder if it doesn't just build in a certain plasticity, or whatever the right word is, that makes it easier to learn other languages.

Could be another way to put it. Taking German introduced me to the concept (not unique to it) of applying gender to pretty much every noun. Including for things that were unarguably un-gendered.** That was a shock. Also the idea that sentence structure might be much more rigid than it is in English. The idea of putting one verb in the middle of the sentence, and then stringing all the rest at the end was an eye opener, too.

In short, while it wasn't formally part of the language course, it opened my eyes to the fact that other people might see the world very differently than I, or anybody I had ever met, did. Which has been invaluable, far more so that the mere ability to follow basic German ever was.

** German does include a neutral "gender." But it isn't used anywhere nearly as often as my parochial view of such things would expect.

I mean really, four (4!) different ways to say "the" -- der, den, dem, dessen -- depending on whether the noun is a subject, object, etc. Per gender! The mind boggles.

So why not teach all subjects in Spanish?

Has French been any use to me? 1. Speaking to someone (can't remember nationality) where French was the only language we had in common. 2. Reassuring a terrified flier, holding her hand across the aisle as we landed and explaining the normality of the various noises. 3. Talking to elderly Vietnamese in Hanoi in the 90s. And enjoying the good baguettes and coffee in that city, a welcome legacy of the French. But I would still rather speak Spanish or (good) Italian. But in my youth it was assumed you had to speak French, there was almost no choice.

Taking German introduced me to the concept (not unique to it) of applying gender to pretty much every noun. Including for things that were unarguably un-gendered.** That was a shock.

I still haven't gotten over it.

:)

Haven't gotten over gendered nouns for ungendered objects?

I guess that's how some conservatives feel about trans people, sorta.

Pretty sure they are adamant that trans people are gendered. Otherwise their level of hysteria would be lower. They just have some disagreement with the individuals involved over what that gender is.

So why not teach all subjects in Spanish?

I'm not sure what you're asking.

My own opinion is that Spanish is the secondary American language, maybe comparable to French in Canada. After all, huge parts of the US were originally settled by Spanish speakers.

It would be good if more of us spoke it.

What I'm asking is, if everyone here is in agreement that Spanish is a useful language for most American children to learn, why not declare that all elementary classes will be taught in Spanish to facilitate a deeper engagement with the language and that help is available for students during the acquisition process?

why not declare that all elementary classes will be taught in Spanish

because the America First crowd would lose their freaking minds and people would end up dead.

On the topic of gendered nouns, it seems to me that one of the most profound insights you can have into a culture is observing which nouns get which gender.

why not declare that all elementary classes will be taught in Spanish?

Because it would be such a great way to get the America First crowd to shut down all language instruction. Sure, at the moment pretty much anywhere on the planet educated people also speak English. But, especially if said America First troglodytes have their way, that may not last.

On top of which, we also want them to be educated in those subjects in English. Not least, so they too can talk to the rest of the world. Do all education in Spanish, and their English vocabulary is going to suffer.

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