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Jonathan Jansen attacks homeschoolers again

Jonathan Jansen

University of the Free State rector Jonathan Jansen is known as being antagonistic towards home education. Click here for an article of his previous attack on home education where the following statement was made : “Dit is die hoëronderwys-weergawe van tuisonderrig, waar jong mense in ’n eng, bevooroordeelde, “Nederduitse Gereformeerde” denkwyse geïndoktrineer kan word, presies hoe Suid-Afrika in die eerste plek veral sedert die 1940’s in die moeilikheid beland het.

In a recent article he attacked home education again by making the following statement : "Although I sympathise with parents sceptical of public education, teaching is not something parents can do unless they are highly trained,..." This statement caused a lot of unhappiness under homeschooling parents and a number of them write letters to Times Live. A few of these letters are published below.

Two factors are critical to the success of education : An understanding of the education content and an understanding of the child that receives the education. Highly trained teachers might have a better understanding of the education content than parents, but parents can easily compensate for this by consulting Google or Youtube, or the best teachers in the world on Khan Academy. However, parents have a much better understanding of the child that receives the education, and there is very little that teachers can do to compensate for this.

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[Shirley Erwee]

Dear Sir/Madam

I was so infuriated to read the unfounded and false comment by Prof Jansen in the closing lines of your article about homeschooling today: ".teaching is not something parents can do unless they are highly trained."

Prof Jansen needs to do his homework. As he well knows every survey shows the school system with the 'highly trained' professional teachers is failing dismally.

In contrast, research in the USA comparing the performance of homeschoolers and public school students on three standardised tests revealed that with public school students at the 50th percentile, homeschoolers were at the 89th percentile in reading, the 86th percentile in science, the 84th percentile in language, math, and social studies.

(The percentile is not the test score, the 89th percentile means that 89% of all students scored lower than homeschoolers in reading, for example.)

The parents' own education had little effect on the academic achievement of homeschooled children: In families where neither parent had tertiary education, homeschoolers scored in the 83rd percentile. If one parent had a university degree, they scored in the 86th percentile. If both parents were university graduates, the students scored in the 90th percentile.

Take note Prof Jansen: Whether or not the parents were certified teachers or not had no effect on the children's academic outcomes.

Parents can teach their children and it is their love and dedication to their children that enables them to do it well...and they never strike!

Regards

Shirley Erwee

Home educating mother of 6 children, homeschooling author and activist

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[Joy Leavesley]

Dear Editor,
 
I am writing to you in response to your article on homeschooling. There are some factual errors in the report. It is a shame that these were not corrected prior to publication as it is often difficult to change public perception once an article has flown.  
Homeschooling options legally available to a parents include different forms of instruction so long as it is in the child's home. Section 51 (1) of the South African Schools Act states "A parent may apply to the Head of Department for the registration of a learner to receive education at the learner’s home". It makes no accommodation for tutorial centers as per your article. That is not to say such centers do not exist, but they do not meet the said requirement of homeschooling as per SASA. 
 
It would be useful for Kobus Maree to quote the research being used when he makes his statement " illiterate parents and people from poor backgrounds had no choice but to settle for what was being offered". This statement is very misleading and further marginalizes a very marginalized group of our society. The research I have available to me states that the parents level of education and household income does not make a significant difference to the academic outcome for the child. This type of thinking is echoed in the statement of Jonathan Jansen when he states "teaching is not something parents can do unless they are highly trained." Again I would be very interested in reading the research which supports this statement. 
 
I am trusting the the incorrect statements will be corrected in a follow-up article. Please advise me when this happens.
 
Regards
 
Joy

 

 

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Comments 2

Micky Brand (website) on Thursday, 17 September 2015 05:58

Like other homeschooling parents, I perceive these articles as prejudiced, unilateral and extremely one-dimensional. It is clearly the OPINION of this person and nothing based on sound scientific research. In my experience, so called experts and people with titles are quick to make unfounded statement, arrogantly believing that people should take their word for it and the intellectual superiority that comes with it. A title does not belay knowledge. I firmly believe in sound scientific research as mentioned by Shirley Erwee and not in the fairytales dreamt up by prejudiced public education facilitators and politicians. The facts are that the public education system in South Africa is pathetic. Schools can't cope with the large amounts of students ; teachers are undertrained and uncaring, many "experienced" teachers failing to recognise and respect learning difficulties and trying to cope with an ever changing, yet never improving, curriculum ; the children are unable to cope with the sheer amount of work that they are required to complete in a school year and receive enormous amounts of homework, even from gr. 0. There's also a growing pandemic among teachers to blindly recommend to parents of "problem children" to medicate them with pacifying medications such as Ritalin, just to not have to "endure" these kids. There's something profoundly wrong with the education system in South Africa and it's no secret that we are outranked in all faculties by every single country in the world. If Professor Jansen did a little more research and had taken the time to actually speak to homeschooling parents and their children, he would find that his own opinion about homeschooling is as old fashioned and unconstitutional as his comment about people raising their children in an apartheid fashion. One of the reasons for homeschooling my own son, is because my child was repeatedly victimised by children and teachers alike for being an atheist. There are also, literally, millions of resources available to homeschooling families on the internet and many employ the services of a tutor. Many articles on homeschooling, even the one recently aired on Carte Blanch, was highly suggestible and very under-researched. It gives a false impression of homeschooling and this does influence public opinion about the matter. Being outspoken about issues dear to our hearts, is a good thing, but our disgruntlement should be based on facts, not fiction and personal prejudices.

Like other homeschooling parents, I perceive these articles as prejudiced, unilateral and extremely one-dimensional. It is clearly the OPINION of this person and nothing based on sound scientific research. In my experience, so called experts and people with titles are quick to make unfounded statement, arrogantly believing that people should take their word for it and the intellectual superiority that comes with it. A title does not belay knowledge. I firmly believe in sound scientific research as mentioned by Shirley Erwee and not in the fairytales dreamt up by prejudiced public education facilitators and politicians. The facts are that the public education system in South Africa is pathetic. Schools can't cope with the large amounts of students ; teachers are undertrained and uncaring, many "experienced" teachers failing to recognise and respect learning difficulties and trying to cope with an ever changing, yet never improving, curriculum ; the children are unable to cope with the sheer amount of work that they are required to complete in a school year and receive enormous amounts of homework, even from gr. 0. There's also a growing pandemic among teachers to blindly recommend to parents of "problem children" to medicate them with pacifying medications such as Ritalin, just to not have to "endure" these kids. There's something profoundly wrong with the education system in South Africa and it's no secret that we are outranked in all faculties by every single country in the world. If Professor Jansen did a little more research and had taken the time to actually speak to homeschooling parents and their children, he would find that his own opinion about homeschooling is as old fashioned and unconstitutional as his comment about people raising their children in an apartheid fashion. One of the reasons for homeschooling my own son, is because my child was repeatedly victimised by children and teachers alike for being an atheist. There are also, literally, millions of resources available to homeschooling families on the internet and many employ the services of a tutor. Many articles on homeschooling, even the one recently aired on Carte Blanch, was highly suggestible and very under-researched. It gives a false impression of homeschooling and this does influence public opinion about the matter. Being outspoken about issues dear to our hearts, is a good thing, but our disgruntlement should be based on facts, not fiction and personal prejudices.
Jan De Klerk on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 16:23

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