THE MYTH OF SOCIALIZATION
September 28, 2002
Every time I run into a public school teen it happens. "Hi, Ryan." Unintelligible grunt response. "Whatcha doing?" "Nuthin'." "Anything happenin'?" "Naw." Whereafter Ryan hurries off to pursue his active life of nothing happening with his friends and I check to see if I have acquired dengue fever without knowing it. So tell me, where is this socialization the government school crowd always promotes as a reason for not home schooling?
When home schooling took on serious momentum two decades ago, educrats chanted the mantra that home schoolers couldn't pooooossibly get the same quality education that students in public schools had; nor could their parents teach them because they weren't qualified to do so. However, as home school scores on standardized tests soared above public school scores and home schoolers took top positions in national academic competition, that argument went down in flames; although some ideologues will try to resurrect it every now and then.
Stupidity Masquerading as a Virtue
Needless to say, home school's success was tres embarrassing for the educrats, who then contradicted their earlier arguments by complaining it wasn't fair to allow home schoolers in national competition because they had an unfair advantage over public schoolers. After all, those educated at home had more one-on-one time from those same parents the educrats originally said were too incompetent to educate their children.
Time for a New Mantra
The latest mantra asserts that home schooled kids -- although possibly better educated -- just can't be socialized in a home school setting. Once again experience is showing just the opposite.
Every week I go out of my way to speak to teenagers just to see what's going on in their minds. Too often the answer is nothing. Public school students seem to have this glassy, disorganized, disoriented look about them. They're preoccupied with things that don't matter, especially image and conforming to peer pressure. I really do keep trying to argue myself out of this observation but it grows inexorably the more teens I interview.
Changing Students' Attitudes, Values and Beliefs
This lack of social presence is a direct result of the "socialization" of our educational system. Thanks to the elitists, today's public school students are taught dialectically rather than didactically. This means they are taught there are no absolute facts or morals and a thought process based on feeling and collective thinking has been substituted for individuality and logical, rational thought. History has been revised to match politically-correct guidelines and the basis for belief in one's culture destroyed.
A large part of public curriculum is devoted to shaping attitudes and beliefs into a relativist, socialist mind set rather than educating the students in the solid education and the classics which served a previously-literate country well for generations. This accounts for the glassy look that so many public school students exhibit -- nothing going on upstairs. In talking with them, many of them would like to have something going on but just don't know what or how because their dialectic public education didn't teach them to achieve it. The bottom line on the dialectical is group think. Without a group, the individuals can't think.
Home schoolers on the contrary have escaped the morass of public educational theory and returned to the traditional form of didactic education: facts, phonics, mathematics, self-responsibility, and logical thought. It shows. Colleges are soliciting home schoolers because they can think uniquely and out-perform their public school peers. Three years ago when virtually everyone in my daughter's college speech class did speeches on global warming (even the professor yawned after the X-number speech on hot air), she did a blockbuster speech on the coming biological terrorism -- two years before anyone had ever heard of Osama bin Whatshisname - which held the whole class that listened in stunned silence. An "A" on that one, by the way.
Home schoolers are bringing fresh creative air into an otherwise stuffy academic environment, which is why it represents such a threat to the education establishment.
Oh But the Children!
Ok, so what about socialization? It doesn't really happen in public high schools because those are abnormal environments. Nowhere in life -- not even the military -- will one be associating strictly with people of one's own age or be subjected to massive amounts of mind-numbing, conformity-inducing peer pressure totally preoccupied with image and having northing to do with real life. Moreover they will be confronted with a myriad of moral and sometimes physical hazards which their relativistic education leaves them singularly unprepared to face. "Just say no" doesn’t cut it without a solid absolute moral basis for saying "no."
The stratification of students into age-related peer groups has choked off the ability of teens to model from and communicate with those older than one's self, which is how maturational development is supposed to occur. It used to happen that way when students were educated at home or in small schools where the ages were mixed. One learns to be an adult from adults; not from other teens pretending to be cool, uh in, uh hip, uh groovey, uh rad, uh....what's the latest buzz word? In any stratified school situation, the students are forced to model after each other -- the blind leading the blind.
Combine deprivation from normal inter-age interaction with the imposition of values and beliefs contrary to their parents and one finds the adult-teen "communication gap" so widely posed as "normal;" another problem created by socialization in public education. It is also the source of the "normal" teen rebellion, which isn't normal at all. It's one thing to teach youth to be independent and self-sustaining but that doesn't require rebellion. Teen rebellion is the product of communication cutoff between teens and parents because they spend the majority of their days apart and in the case of teens in an artificial environment called public education.
The moment teens leave high school, the majority of the so-called socialization in an artificial environment is found to be worthless. No one cares about their, feelings, socialization or image. "What can you do?" and "what do you know?" are the real questions. Once public schoolers emerge from high school, they discover that all the socialization skills they learned in dealing with peer pressure don't apply in the real world. Meanwhile the inter-age communication skills they need are sorely lacking. Most government schoolers I have met can't read, think, express themselves clearly and concisely, have little knowledge of anything from history to politics, and have a very distorted view of both history and society imposed upon them by a radical leftist curriculum.
Home schoolers don't suffer from the strictures of peer pressure and other artificial structures of public schools. They are, I have found, much better integrated than their public school counterparts, being as conversant with adults as with peers on a wide range of topics. They are skeptical of much of the peer-pressure nonsense their public school peers accept so readily because they have found they can truly be individuals without fear.
Socially, home schoolers congregate in soccer leagues, football leagues, baseball leagues, special events, ski trips, astronomy clubs, church groups, on the internet etc. So please, Mr. Sociologist, where help me find this appalling lack of socialization among home schoolers so we can stamp it out and stop depriving them of this most important asset? But you know, the more I think about it, home schoolers don't have to learn to put condoms on bananas, suffer from peer pressure, be introduced to illicit drugs, be subjected to one-sided radical leftist curricula, be taught moral values contrary to their parents or religion, be beaten up by bullies or even stabbed, shot and killed. But maybe we can do without that type of socialization for a while. What do you think?
© 2002 John Loeffler - All Rights Reserved
John Loeffler is host of the nationally syndicated news program Steel on Steel, which is produced by his wife Carol Loeffler. Both are career broadcasters, who met working for a major television network. Steel on Steel can be heard anytime at www.steelonsteel.com on the internet. Tape subscriptions are available from (800) 829-5646 or (208)765-8337.