In his closing argument, Skyfloating sums up his side of the argument in this fashion:
Public schools are wasting your childrens time ladies and gentlemen. Homeschooling and Private Schools outperform public schools.
It is a leap of epic proportions to say that, because public education can be improved upon, it is a waste of time. By that logic, since modern health
care cannot cure all cancers, visiting the doctor when one is ill is a waste of time.
In addition, the benefits of home schooling and private schools are the result of resources, not methodology. Because both private and home schools
are held to the same academic standards as public education, it is obviously a fallacy to claim that such teaching methods are radically different.
History? Algebra? Chemistry? If these subjects are required to be taught in public schools, they are similarly required to be taught in the other
No, the most telling statistic in Skyfloating's "Homeschooling versus Public schools" is one that likely escapes notice -- "National average
children per household: Homeschooled: 3.5 children". Rounded up, we find a teacher to student ratio of 1:4, as opposed to the 1:16 ratio that public
schools saw in 2007 (Source
). So home schooled
students see four times the amount of time with the teacher, and yet the scores posted show only about a 30% improvement. Combined with the fact that
the demographics of the home and private schooled is different, primarily as regards income, the fact that public school performance lags slightly
cannot necessarily be attributed to the methods of public school educators.
As I noted in my previous post, my esteemed opponent's focusing on rote memorization represents an outdated view of education in two different ways.
First, it is ludicrous to claim that US public education uses nothing but rote learning -- as I showed, a number of new educational techniques are in
use in the US education system, and in fields where experimentation is appropriate, such has always
been in use -- thirty years ago, most of my
time in physics and chemistry was spent in conducting experiments.
Secondly, claiming that rote learning is worthless is not borne out by the facts. We've seen that such techniques are used in both private and home
schooling, and it is well established that some fields, such as mathematics, are best taught through such a method.
Finally, I need to point out another technique, Depth of
, which is widely used in more than ten states and meets the exact specifications of what my opponent says is lacking in public
education. Space prevents me from a detailed description, but the link above and the graph below are a great introduction.
In the closing of my last post, I noted that public education has a clear benefit, economic wise, as high school dropouts earn considerably less than
graduates. If public education truly was a "waste of time", dropping out would result in a better off person, but we find the exact opposite to be
true, as dropouts:
- Have lifetime earnings of $260,000 less than graduates
- Commit 75% of the crimes in the US
- Are not qualified for 90% of the jobs in the US (Source)
- Represent 60% of prison inmates
- Have a 2 1/2 times higher death rate than graduates
These and other factors show that clearly,
education, public or not, has a significant positive effect on a person, as well as society at large.
So, to summarize, we have seen that, since the early 1800s, the United States has made free public education accessible to all those who wish to
learn. Among those who take advantage of this offering, the result is lifetime earnings significantly higher than their dropout counterparts, as well
as a longer life span, they are less likely to abuse alcohol or illegal drugs, less likely to commit crimes, and more likely to be a productive member
We've also seen that, contrary to outdated perceptions, public education is embracing new teaching techniques, refining existing ones, and
progressively improving graduation rates and breadth of knowledge. The field is, necessarily, limited in the amount of resources that it has at its
disposal, but teacher hour for teacher hour, it performs as well, or better than either the private or home schooling versions.
Unlike my opponent's claims, it is abundantly clear that, personal feelings aside, public education in the United States is highly beneficial on a
personal and societal level, therefore hardly a waste of time.