EDUCATION HACK: just send your kids to regular school

Here’s an article in America’s most pedigreed repository of credulous woowoo, Wired, on the techy side of homeschooling. Homeschooling (or as I like to call it, artisanal segregation) is a really natural fit with the norms of Silicon Valley, a community that takes as its central premise that its members are smarter and better than everyone. Might as well start ’em young. Little song, little dance, little C++, and you’ve got yourself the continuity between bonnet-wearing Anabaptist types and our digital overlords: we don’t need anybody. Meanwhile, back on planet Earth:

“Students who gain access to a home computer between the 5th and 8th grades tend to witness a persistent decline in reading and math scores,” the economists wrote, adding that license to surf the Internet was also linked to lower grades in younger children.

In fact, the students’ academic scores dropped and remained depressed for as long as the researchers kept tabs on them. What’s worse, the weaker students (boys, African-Americans) were more adversely affected than the rest. When their computers arrived, their reading scores fell off a cliff.

Now, before the boo birds come and get me, of course you have the right not to send your kids to public school, or to any school. And, yeah– standardized tests mostly suck, as the super-cool tech parents in the article say. Of course, you could be part of a broad social movement to oppose the rise of ceaseless testing, and point out to our education overlords that we have ample ability to use careful sampling and inferential statistics to have a remarkably accurate picture of how well our students are doing. (We just couldn’t build a massive standardized testing and test prep industry, in that case.) Or, you know, you could teach Arduino to love, or whatever. Your call, Google Glass Explorers.

The tech community, “a group not known for mastering the delicate social mores of adolescence.” Maybe instead of holding your kids out of high school you should get on some Drew Barrymore Never Been Kissed plan and try to sneak back in yourselves, Valley types. I get it, high school can be rough. But there’s this whole world of regular people out here. We’re not so bad, once you stop preening around like you’re too good for the rest of us.

Update: Related.