Re: Cohousing / Homeschooling
From: Catherine Harper (
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 16:20:33 -0600
On Thu, 3 Apr 1997, David Mandel wrote:

> I'm sure there are exceptions to the stereotype, yet it rings true to me in
> another way, pushing the same bias button I have against private schools in
> general. Good quality education is something society owes all it children.
> Only a broad-based public school system can do this. If those with money
> for private schools and/or time to teach their own kids pull out of the
> public school system it contributes to the further undermining of it
> constituency of support.
> To pull the topic back to cohousing: For the most part, the movement talks
> about creating communities not to be insular but as parts of larger towns,
> or urban neighborhoods. I think it will be the loss of the messages
> cohousing purports to have for society if it comes to be seen as merely
> elitist and separatist. I'd rather put my energy into improving my kids'
> and the city's public schools (and I try to do my part) than put it into
> pulling them out and "educating" them in isolation.

This is a pretty hot topic for me, as we're sitting here looking at both
creating community and having kids.  (Okay, not immediately.  But it's
going to take me a while to get psyched up enough to be ready to
reproduce. ;-) )

I was raised to be a supporter of public schools.  On the other hand,
public schools did pretty poorly by me.  A lot of this was me -- I was an
overly bright, overly sensitive kid.  A lot of it was the schools, that
had no room for anomolies, inadequate staff, racial tensions up the wazzu,
etc. etc.  The only saving grace of my career in the public schools was
that I got to spend some of the time in a "gifted" program -- which, let's
face it, is also rather elitist.  But I don't think I *ever* would have
developed any social skills had I not had that oppurtunity.  

Some of my friends at work are starting up a co-operative homeschool group
-- in all cases I know of, because the public schools were serving their
kids very poorly.  I've got to say that the idea of little enclaves of
upper middle class liberals, who not only live together, but by and large
work together and raise their kids together is kind of horrifying to me.

On the other hand, unless my kids look to be a bit more resilient than I
was as a child, I don't think I could bring myself to enroll them in the
kind of schools I went to.  And while I'm not much interested in turning
my back on the public schools -- I also feel like I could pour my life
into the public schools, never have kids, get completely burnt out...  and
probably not make that much difference, overall.  (Did I mention that I
used to teach?  I loved it, too.  But man does the pay suck.)

I'm not sure what we'll do.  But if we leave the public schools it will be
because of despair -- maybe elitism too, because many people don't have
the option. 


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