The Myth of Socialization
by John Loeffler, Steel on Steel Radio Program
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 activelife of nothing happening with his friends and I check to see if Ihave acquired dengue fever without knowing it. So tell me, where is this socialization the government school crowd always promotes as areason 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 publicschools had; nor could their parents teach them because they weren'tqualified to do so. However, as home school scores on standardizedtests soared above public school scores and home schoolers took toppositions in national academic competition, that argument went downin flames; although some ideologues will try to resurrect it everynow 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 bycomplaining it wasn't fair to allow home schoolers in nationalcompetition 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 -- althoughpossibly better educated -- just can't be socialized in a homeschool setting. Once again experience is showing just the opposite.
Every week I go out of my way to speak to teenagers just to seewhat'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 thatdon't matter, especially image and conforming to peer pressure. Ireally do keep trying to argue myself out of this observation but itgrows inexorably the more teens I interview.
Changing Students' Attitudes, Values and Beliefs
This lack of social presence is a direct result ofthe "socialization" of our educational system. Thanks to theelitists, today's public school students are taught dialecticallyrather than didactically. This means they are taught there are noabsolute facts or morals and a thought process based on feeling andcollective thinking has been substituted for individuality andlogical, rational thought. History has been revised to matchpolitically-correct guidelines and the basis for belief in one'sculture destroyed.
A large part of public curriculum is devoted to shaping attitudesand beliefs into a relativist, socialist mind set rather thaneducating the students in the solid education and the classics whichserved 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 ofthem would like to have something going on but just don't know whator how because their dialectic public education didn't teach them toachieve 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 publiceducational theory and returned to the traditional form of didacticeducation: facts, phonics, mathematics, self-responsibility, andlogical thought. It shows. Colleges are soliciting home schoolersbecause they can think uniquely and out-perform their public schoolpeers. Three years ago when virtually everyone in my daughter'scollege speech class did speeches on global warming (even theprofessor yawned after the X-number speech on hot air), she did ablockbuster speech on the coming biological terrorism -- two yearsbefore anyone had ever heard of Osama bin Whatshisname – which heldthe whole class that listened in stunned silence. An "A" on thatone, by the way.
Home schoolers are bringing fresh creative air into an otherwisestuffy academic environment, which is why it represents such athreat to the education establishment.
Oh But the Children!
Ok, so what about socialization? It doesn't really happen in publichigh schools because those are abnormal environments. Nowhere inlife -- not even the military -- will one be associating strictlywith people of one's own age or be subjected to massive amounts ofmind-numbing, conformity-inducing peer pressure totally preoccupiedwith image and having northing to do with real life. Moreover theywill be confronted with a myriad of moral and sometimes physicalhazards which their relativistic education leaves them singularlyunprepared 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 haschoked off the ability of teens to model from and communicate withthose 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. Onelearns to be an adult from adults; not from other teens pretendingto be cool, uh in, uh hip, uh groovey, uh rad, uh....what's thelatest buzz word? In any stratified school situation, the studentsare forced to model after each other -- the blind leading the blind.
Combine deprivation from normal inter-age interaction with theimposition of values and beliefs contrary to their parents and onefinds the adult-teen "communication gap" so widely posedas "normal;" another problem created by socialization in publiceducation. It is also the source of the "normal" teen rebellion,which isn't normal at all. It's one thing to teach youth to beindependent and self-sustaining but that doesn't require rebellion.Teen rebellion is the product of communication cutoff between teensand parents because they spend the majority of their days apart andin 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. "Whatcan you do?" and "what do you know?" are the real questions. Once public schoolers emerge from high school, they discover that all thesocialization skills they learned in dealing with peer pressuredon't apply in the real world. Meanwhile the inter-age communicationskills they need are sorely lacking. Most government schoolers I have met can't read, think, express themselves clearly andconcisely, have little knowledge of anything from history topolitics, and have a very distorted view of both history and societyimposed upon them by a radical leftist curriculum.
Home schoolers don't suffer from the strictures of peer pressure andother artificial structures of public schools. They are, I havefound, much better integrated than their public school counterparts,being as conversant with adults as with peers on a wide range oftopics. They are skeptical of much of the peer-pressure nonsensetheir public school peers accept so readily because they have foundthey can truly be individuals without fear.
Socially, home schoolers congregate in soccer leagues, football leagues, baseball leagues, special events, ski trips, astronomyclubs, church groups, on the internet etc. So please, Mr.Sociologist, where help me find this appalling lack of socializationamong home schoolers so we can stamp it out and stop depriving themof this most important asset? But you know, the more I think aboutit, home schoolers don't have to learn to put condoms on bananas,suffer from peer pressure, be introduced to illicit drugs, besubjected to one-sided radical leftist curricula, be taught moralvalues contrary to their parents or religion, be beaten up bybullies or even stabbed, shot and killed. But maybe we can dowithout that type of socialization for a while. What do you think?
# # #John Loeffler is host of the nationally-syndicated news program Steel on Steel heard at www.steelonsteel.com.
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