UN Treaty and the Rights of the Child

A clip below from the Real News Network about the UN Rights of the Child treaty, often controversial in homeschooling circles, and a good analysis by the Kasemans at the venerable Home Education Magazine.  But India has unfortunately felt the peer pressure to do education the American way and has passed a compulsory education law.  Again, access to educational resources for all seems vital, but allowing that access to drive the development --the  most democratic approach -- this economic function is restricted immediately when it becomes compulsory. 
From the treaty: 
(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;  
The compulsory school model has been accepted worldwide, a model that begins with a punitive approach to education and encourages industrial schooling models to thrive. The role of compulsory schooling in creating bureaucratic and ultimately, centralized economic structures, is critical and unacknowledged. Education does not need a police force and any approach that begins by defining truancy and compulsory attendance will create structural problems between families and government.  Children and families must not be coerced nor do they need to be. Providing families resources will allow them to filter the wheat from the chaff quite effectively.
The driving force behind such laws are the jobs created and inherent in this structure. Once implemented, the democracy that should be at the heart of any educational system, is sidetracked and a network of employment fills the space and will then dominate educational policy continuously.  This network will begin to manufacture curricula that become more and more refined, like polished rice, until it cannot sustain the intellect. And while there would be employment generated within a non-compulsory system, it would less systematic and less centralized.  Growth would not be as fast but it would also tend to be more sure, more organic to the local needs.  And the decisions about resources would be quite different if an automatic bureaucracy was not created but was allowed to develop in response to providing families resources where families have an active say in how things are done. Homeschooling functions this way. 
From coerced education, we get curricula abstracted from learners, schemes of knowledge unrelated to the people who must learn them, lessons that expand to fit the allotted space, education that stretches beyond college, fully 18 years or more. And the larger the country's physical size, as well as the greater the population, the more remote this approach will be.  It is our newness at democracy that weakens us as well as the financial manipulations of corporate gangs.
Provision of universal education does not need to be compulsory and many alternative models would provide a population with this social service.  There is no need for the nation-state to embed this authoritarian structure into its citizens lives, indeed, there is  good reason to suspect that compulsory education laws will reinforce authoritarian structures that impede democracy.  It will also acclimate children to manipulation and lessen their ability to be active in a democracy.




Post a Comment