You gave lip service to home-schooling, which is nice, sort-of, but then came this indefensible rant:
Home school kids are massively underdeveloped socially, they miss out on a lot of cues that the rest of the population learned the hard way in social environment.
I'm calling you on the carpet -- this is your big chance. Prove it!
I never actually met someone who actually believes that our public school system, by and large, produces such well-adapted children. Nor have I met anyone who crows about the academic prowess of our elite Federal public schools.
I do hear *lots of* concern about drugs, rape, murder, school fights, dropouts, peer pressure, depression, suicide, ADD/ADHD, racism, bullying, teen pregnancy, AIDS/HIV, lack of discipline, school riots (!), hazing, poor grades, and on and on, in the public schools. Some of our good/safe local public schools have metal detectors, since students have brought guns into their lockers. How is this good "socialization," again?
Oh, by the way, my wife and I worked in the public school system for a few years (K-12 and junior college) and personally know many ex-elementary public school teachers who now home school! One of the reasons we all don't public school? Socialization!!! (Now, I do think colleges are generally safer than junior/senior high schools, but that's another story). Increasingly, our friends who teach in public schools are pulling their kids out, in favor of home schooling!
Do you have kids, BTW, or is this just a hypothetical rant -- "if I had kids?"
Uhm, maybe look up the definition of "socialization" or "socialize", some time. It's probably not a "good thing" at all, unless you like the thought police: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/socialization
If this is what you mean by "socialize," which of these these attributes would you call "good" with a straight face:
1. To place under government or group ownership or control. (Is this good -- really?!?!?! Public school *does do* this!)
2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable. (I'll grant you this one, maybe, if you like an institution defining it for you)
3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society. ("Bend to our will and do our bidding, slave!")
How about "socialization," itself?
1. a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position. (Should public school be telling our kids about their "norms" or "values" -- really?)
2. the act or process of making socialistic: the socialization of industry. (OK, we're defining the word with the word, here)
What is "socially normal" about a child spending his waking hours with a bunch of rowdy people/class clowns/bullies/jocks and picked-on kids/nerds/outcasts/druggies -- all part of a pecking order, all part of a high pressure/peer pressure "society," all kids roughly his/her own age for 13 years? How is this in any way like "society," outside of school? This "society" of public school is institutional, artificial, and orthogonal, compared to "normal" society.
As far as socialization of home schoolers is concerned (as I guess you are redefining the term "socialization"), prove it with actual evidence, please. I call foul. Please define your term, too.
You need to read John Taylor Gatto http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/, some time, and remember that he's a public school expert and taught in NY public schools for about 30 years. He's also a researcher of public schools. He's a sharp critic of public (and even private) schools and he has ample evidence to destroy your tired old assumption, which is not based on fact.
Not only do public school students lack mental acumen, they also lack social skills, the facts show.
Hey, I at least sited an expert on the subject who's "been there, done that" and who's researched his position. What about you? (Prove your bald assertion, please!)
OK, here are more articles, in case you actually care about this issue (some expert articles, some opinion):
here, and here.
Now, not all public-school kids are wusses, jerks, whatever, but I don't see the positive fruits of public-school "socialization." On the other hand, however, public-schoolers are generally *far less* well-adjusted (socially) and don't compete with the rest of the industrialized world (academically). Do a Google search on "school violence statistics" some time. The 2.3-2.4 million articles returned ought to change your view on public-school "socialization" a bit.
Anecdotally, my own four kids are home-schooled and they are not only "sharp as tacks", but they don't give in to peer pressure, don't believe the thought police, or do "group think" like the other kids. They are well-adjusted, instead of wussy pushovers. They don't start fights with other kids, either.
Not only that, but our kids do not lack for friends, group and individual interaction, etc. When we see them interact with other kids, we notice how well they behave, and so do the other parents, and the other kids.... They play with their neighbor kids, go to church, play well with each other, go on numerous field trips, respect other children, respect each other, have lots of friends, respect their parents/elders/relatives, aren't dysfunctional, get invited to (and go to) numerous birthday parties, play online games (with real people they actually met in real life), watch most of the same cartoons, read very extensively about world cultures and have multi-cultural friends, yada, yada, yada.
The "social skills" my kids have (and I am concerned about them having *great* social skills) are more important than the bogus "are your kids popular in school" and do they "conform to peer pressure" acid tests most people apply to home-schoolers.
Home-school is not right for every parent, every family, or every kid; nor is private school; nor is public school. In the USA, we have this nice thing we call "freedom" and it reintroduces competition and choice in schooling.
I'll apply some acid tests of my own: Is your public-school kid a.) The Bully, b.) The Picked-On Kid, c.) The Already Burned-Out Child, d.) The Poor Performer, e.) The Angry Child, f.) The Depressed Child, g.) The Drug Addict, or h.) A Child that no Longer Relates with You? Or, are they i.) The Increasingly Rare "Functional" Child?
Again, prove it.