Kelly Green and Gold

I have remarked before upon the way that anybody disagreeing with the prevailing orthodoxy among home educators tends to be shouted down and where possible suppressed. The only reason of course that I began this blog in the first place was because I had been barred from all the Internet lists on home education! One gets the feeling that only those who follow a certain ideology and have a particular attitude towards matters such as the Badman Review and so on are welcome on those lists. I have also found the same thing happening with some blogs; I comment in a perfectly courteous and good natured fashion and a few hours later my comment is deleted. Since both the list owners and those keeping the blogs are keen to brandish their libertarian credentials, I find this odd and a little inconsistent.

The latest example of this is on the blog Kelly Green and Gold. I was surprised when reading the submissions to the select committee last year to find one from somebody who was not a citizen of this country and did not even live here. I must confess, I found this strange. It would be as though I had heard of a government enquiry in Uganda or South Africa and not liking the law that was being proposed, decided to submit evidence of my own in an attempt to influence their legislature. It would be a bit of a cheek if I were to do so!

Somebody recommended to me that I read the blog written by Kelly, the American/Canadian who submitted the statement to the select committee. I did so yesterday and found that she had been posting about two things which I have noticed before being said by parents in this country. Firstly, there was a gloating reference to a teacher in her country and an education welfare officer in ours who had been discovered to be using child pornography. She went on to link this to the supposed attempt to pass a law making it possible for local authority officers to see children alone, without their parents being present. This was a reference to Schedule 1 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill 2009. The inference was clear; if such a law had been enacted, home educated children would have been at risk from paedophiles working for the local authority.

Now while it is quite true that Graham Badman suggested this, there was never any realistic prospect of the idea finding its way onto the statue books. It would have required a wholesale revision of our common law! Badman is not a lawyer though and this was just one of his ideas. When the CSF Bill was actually published, it was made clear that any such interview would only take place with the agreement of both the child and her parents. It was also made plain that this sort of interview was not intended to be a routine event, but rather was something which might have happened only in very rare circumstances. I pointed this out in comments on Kelly's blog. Here is her post, with my comments;

Her response was swift. She posted a piece referring to me as a troll or monster and saying that any further comments of mine would be deleted at once. I have noticed before that many home educators call anybody who disagrees with them 'trolls'. I have even been accused of trolling on my own blog, which is a truly surreal notion. I have not yet, even by the most dedicated autonomous educator, been described as a monster though! Her post about me may be found here;

I answered, again in a good humoured fashion saying;

'Dear me, harsh words indeed! There were certainly problems with Schedule 1 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill 2009, but children being seen alone by local authority officers without the presence of their parents was not one of them. I felt this was worth pointing out. You say that I am ‘ well-known in the home education community for these kinds of tricks’, but I am probably better known for being a lifelong, ideological home educator, whose own daughter never spent a single day in school. As such, I am very concerned about home education and do not feel that it is helpful to perpetuate misleading rumours about things like the CSF Bill, such as that it would have given education workers the right to see children alone without their parents. Including this inaccurate piece of information in a post mentioning paedophile teachers and education workers would naturally lead to the inference that these two topics were connected.'

True to her word, this was deleted almost immediately. This leaves all subsequent people commenting free to say further misleading things to which I am unable to respond. I find this particularly staggering in view of the fact that this blog is touting a self-published book of Kelly's called A matter of Conscience - Education as a fundamental freedom. This is precisely the kind of libertarian slant to which I referred above. Home educators often claim that they are pursuing their lifestyle in the name of freedom. Part of the book deals with media bias and what is described as 'combating uneducated, unsubstantiated opinions and hate speech about home-based education'. That anybody could write about these topics and then react to the views of a home educator with whom she apparently disagrees by calling the person a monster or troll and then refusing to allow any response says all that I need to know about this woman! 'Monster'? Sounds a bit like hate speech to me......