|Posted on December 27, 2008 at 2:00 PM|
St. Petersburg, Florida, Ongoing, first published October 2007--The paradigm is Libertarians don't lead change by not getting into the community...or if they do, 'car wash' Libertarian activists are Libertarian lightweights who blindly attack government structures. Change your paradigm. For while courts from California to Germany debate the advisability or legality of home schooling , they might join the 21st century and see how Libertarians have helped transform schooling in Florida. So says Julie Chorgo, who points out that in Florida home schooling is simple, widely supported by educators, andt Schoolers even have there own appointive school boards to mentor parents and advise on policy.Chorgo serves on one of the boards and helped lead activism for educational change.
"At one time Florida had some of the most retrograde education laws in the industrial world. But starting with brainstorming sessions begun by Libertarians in the 1980's the landscape has been transformed," said LIO senior advisors Marshall Fritz of the Separation of School and State Project and Ralph Swanson, who advised the effort which forged several coalitions that resulted 'in massive changes' including:
- Consensus on an 'all mentor the learner,' not 'authoritarian educator' model
- A simplified but detailed set of recommended home school standards developed by the home schoolers themselves, with parents mentoring 2% of learners
- Schooling choice such as magnet (themed, such as classical academies or techical crfts), charter (parent designed), or easy to create private schools
- A privately funded voucher program passed through the state
- Free college tuition funded by lotteries and efficiencies for all students passing tests
- Diagnostic tests and teacher incentives
- Accelerated certification of teachers if one has university degree
- Work on legalization of the teaching of evolution and advanced biology (UPDATE: In 2008 it was agreed that evolution per se could be taught and teachers could not be fired for using the word).
- Florida public schools have even adopted the Libertarian suggestion of using the internet so public school students can learn at home or get credit for college courses 'effectively reducing class size to one-on-one tutoring while saving taxpayer funds'
Typically, says Chorgo, home schoolers have been religious families or those with very bright or special needs children, but are increasingly people who see it as a powerful tool to encourage creativity, bring families closer and help students proceed at their own pace.
Chorgo emphasizes 'complete prparation by not only reading things from educational philosophy to current policy' but community outreach. She's become 'the Libertarian poster' for 'Car Wash Libertarianism' encouraging community activism and participation as part and parcel of the Libertarian Project. In 2005, she co-founded DisasterHelp, a mentoring group which raises money for disaster victims engaing disabled persons in community activity and which has attracted praise from local officials such as St. Petersburg mayor Baker..(See: http://www.disasterhelp.cjb.net/ )
What next? Chorgo has created resource websites for parents with hits from around the world, and suggests exploring community school boards of the parents and students with voluntary endowments to create 'truly free' education that will raise teacher salaries.