The Instigator
MTGandP
Pro (for)
Winning
35 Points
The Contender
Turtel
Con (against)
Losing
17 Points

Public schools provide better education than homeschooling.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/1/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 18,901 times Debate No: 8499
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (9)

 

MTGandP

Pro

DEFINITIONS
By the resolution, I mean public schools and homeschooling in general, not in any specific case. For the sake of simplicity, let's limit this debate to high school (9th to 12th grade) in the United States.

(My definitions, with help from Merriam-Webster)

Public School: A school paid for by the government that is free to attend.

Home School: (verb) To teach school subjects at home; (noun) An education center in which the teacher is the parent of the student and the student is taught at home.

Education: Training in a variety of skills that will likely prove useful in a large set of potential future careers.

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Contention 1: Public schools are more qualified.

Anyone can teach homeschooling. But who is to say that the child will get the necessary education? At public school, every teacher must meet certain standards of qualification, e.g. must have a teaching degree. Students will learn what they need to know. No such guarantee can be had through home school.

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Contention 2: Public schools offer much more teaching diversity.

In public high schools, each student has six or more teachers, each an expert on one particular subject. When a student goes to public school, he can learn about the essential subjects from people who really know what they're talking about. At home school, there is only one (possibly two) teacher(s); no matter how skilled this teacher is, he or she cannot possibly match the sheer diversity achieved in a public school.

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Contention 3: Public school has a strong board of education.

Every state has a board of education. This board oversees homeschooling and private schooling as well, but their primary investment is in public school. When the board of education makes a decision, it is followed through in public school. Home schools are not run by the state board of education, nor must they follow the regulations of the board.

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Contention 4: Public schools are accredited.

When a school is accredited, this means it upholds certain necessary educational standards. Public schools, being government-funded, are virtually guaranteed to be accredited. But home schools have no such guarantee. And without being accredited, there are numerous problems that begin to arise. First, it is more difficult to get a diploma. Second, companies prefer to hire people who have gone to accredited schools, since they have been guaranteed to meet certain education standards. Third, colleges prefer people who have gone to accredited schools for the same reasons as companies.

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Conclusion

Homeschooling, while sometimes more fun, simply cannot be guaranteed to uphold the necessary educational standards. Public schools will always meet these standards. When you're being home schooled, you don't know what you're going to get. But with public schools, you are always guaranteed a certain level of education necessary for the development of the intellect and the acquisition of necessary life skills.

[1] http://schools.nyc.gov...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Turtel

Con

Contention 1 -- That public schools are more qualified.
Opposing Argument --- In my book I point out that teacher education degrees and teacher colleges are the laughing stock of the academic community. There was a study I include in the book where hundreds of new public school teachers who went through a teacher college to get their "education" license told an interviewer that the "education" courses were a joke and waste of time. These courses only taught the "philosophy" and history of education. They did NOT teach the actual subjects these wannabee teachers would have to actually teach in a classroom. So these "qualified" teachers were not qualified in the least to teach kids how to read or do math. A huge majority of these education "degree" graduates had never taken a single college course in the subject they ended up teaching in a public school.
For example, "English" teachers where never taught even the rudiments of the phonics teaching method, since the public schools have dropped teaching phonics a long time ago. So-called Math teachers now teach "fuzzy" math courses in public schools. Social studies teachers teach a watered-down, socialist version of American history that spits on American traditional values, etc.
The main point is that far from being "qualified", public-school education "degree" graduates are at the bottom of the list of knowing the material they will be teaching on the job, and they're "training" is held in contempt and laughed at by students and professors in business and science courses at major universities, who have to really learn material they will use in the real world.
There was a famous test a few years ago given to "graduates" of "qualified" teacher colleges in Massachusetts. These new teachers were given basic literacy and reading tests to determine their abilities in reading, writing, etc. The majority of these "qualified" teachers FAILED the test! So these "qualified" teachers in a classroom are like the blind leading the blind, and the notion that public schools are more "qualified" than a diligent homeschooling parent who studies the material she will teach her child, is a sad joke, sad for the 45 million school children in public schools today who suffer the consequences of being taught by anything but "qualified" teachers in the public schools.
Debate Round No. 1
MTGandP

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response. I request that in the future, he separate his paragraphs with spaces. It makes his case much easier to read.

Contention 1 Defense

"There was a study I include in the book where hundreds of new public school teachers who went through a teacher college to get their "education" license told an interviewer that the "education" courses were a joke and waste of time."
I'd like to see a source for this. Until then, I will point out that it doesn't sound much like a study; teachers telling an interviewer that their education course was a joke? How is that a study?

"These courses only taught the "philosophy" and history of education."
Why would they need to teach the actual subjects? Teachers can learn those on their own. What they really need to learn is not WHAT to teach, but HOW to teach. And, as my opponent agrees, that is exactly what a teaching course does.

"A huge majority of these education "degree" graduates had never taken a single college course in the subject they ended up teaching in a public school."
Teachers can re-learn the material when it comes time to teach it. Getting that sort of information is not difficult. What really matters is being good at passing on knowledge.

"Social studies teachers teach a watered-down, socialist version of American history that spits on American traditional values, etc."
I'm not going to respond to my opponent's other subject examples, since they prove nothing and I already adequately refuted them. But I wish to respond to this one just for fun.

It makes no sense. Suddenly social studies is "socialist"? What does that mean? And how does history class spit on American traditional values (which are what exactly)? I spent four years learning about American history. How many years did I spend on world history? One. And this "spits on American traditional values"?

"The majority of these "qualified" teachers FAILED the test!"
a) How did they pass their teaching course then?
b) Evidence please.

========

I have adequately refuted my opponent's rebuttal. My opponent has offered no rebuttals to my other three contentions, so they are considered conceded. My opponent has also offered no original arguments. The choice is clear: vote PRO!
Turtel

Con

Counter-Argument to Contention 2 and 3

Contention 2 --- It's argued that public schools have more "diversity" in teachers and the subjects they teach than homeschooling parents can give their children. See my rebuttal on Argument no. 1 that public school teachers are "qualified" to teach their subjects, which too often they are NOT.

Even if students are taught six or seven subjects in public school by "qualified" teachers, what exactly does this "teaching" consist of? When I was in public school, and it is exactly the same today, "teaching" consists of the teacher making the student read the next chapter in the subject textbook, and then there is a discussion the next day on this subject matter (IF the students are lucky enough to have a teacher who does this).

Is there any reason why an intelligent homeschooling parent cannot give their kids the same dumbed-down public-school textbook to read, or far more interesting textbooks or REAL books and other reading material on any subject under the sun that the student may be interested in? Moreover, a parent can hire a low-cost college student or tutor to teach their child any subject whose complexity goes beyond the parent's particular knowledge at the time.

In public schools, moreover, the student has to study the subjects dictated to them by the school curriculum, even if the student is BORED TO DEATH by the subjects (example: Geometry, Trigonometry, European History, etc.). Why should children be in an education PRISON where the wardens dictate what they should study and learn? In homeschooling, parents who love their kids pay much more attention to each individual student's abilities and likes and dislikes regarding the subjects they enjoy learning.
Also, homeschooling allows each student to study a subject he or she loves IN DEPTH, AT THEIR OWN PACE, unlike in public schools, where kids are treated like rats or factory robots going through a maze of little classrooms, going from classroom to classroom and subject to subject, every 50 minutes.

What if a child loves literature, or biology, or history in public school and would like to spend more time on this subject? The teacher does not have the time or the desire to give such student special attention on each child's personal choices of which subjects they love or hate. Children are treated like factory workers in the public schools, where all child must study the same subjects in the same curriculum, being bored to death most of the time.

With homeschooling, students can study subjects they love all day long to their heart's content. It's these subjects they love that can lead the child to the eventual career they will choose. There is no such freedom of learning for the child in the typical public-school education prison. The so-called "diversity" of subjects taught in public-schools turns out to be an education cage children are locked into.

Counter Argument to Argument 2

With home schooling, there is no school board?? I don't understand the 'benefit' of a school board?! A school board is just a collection of parents/teachers/school bureaucrats who dictate the same idiotic curriculum and rules for the public schools. The best thing to do with school boards is to abolish them, and let all children homeschool. Kids would be a lot happier.
Debate Round No. 2
MTGandP

Pro

"Contention 2 --- It's argued that public schools have more "diversity" in teachers and the subjects they teach than homeschooling parents can give their children. See my rebuttal on Argument no. 1 that public school teachers are "qualified" to teach their subjects, which too often they are NOT."
I have adequately refuted my opponent's rebuttal. I offer an additional point:

Even if a student has six under-qualified teachers, those teachers still offer more diversity than a single parent. If we accept my opponent's ideas about teaching courses (which we shouldn't), it means that teachers are on average only as good as a parent. But then, aren't six teachers still going to provide more diversity than a single parent?

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Contention 2

"When I was in public school, and it is exactly the same today, "teaching" consists of the teacher making the student read the next chapter in the subject textbook, and then there is a discussion the next day on this subject matter (IF the students are lucky enough to have a teacher who does this)."
This is true sometimes, but not always. There are interactive activities and group projects as well. And if a student needs help, he or she can get it from the teacher.

I don't know what my opponent means by "if the students are lucky enough".

"Is there any reason why an intelligent homeschooling parent cannot give their kids the same dumbed-down public-school textbook to read"
No. But they can't have a class discussion with only two people. And in this scenario, we have to remember that teachers are more qualified than parents to discuss these subjects. Even by my opponent's rebuttal to my first contention (which I have refuted), a teacher teaches the same material several times a day for many years. Through this repetition, teachers become better at their subjects. Parents may repeat some subjects, but not nearly as many times. Teachers just have more experience, and are better qualified to teach and have intelligent discussions.

"or far more interesting textbooks or REAL books and other reading material on any subject under the sun that the student may be interested in[.]"
It seems ludicrous to me that a single parent can make a better choice of material than a seasoned team of educational administrators.

And it's not for the best that a parent can teach anything. Not just any subject will be enough. Students must learn the essential subjects in order to have successful careers; this is impossible when a parent is teaching his or her child about flowers or trains and avoiding other important topics.

"Moreover, a parent can hire a low-cost college student or tutor to teach their child any subject whose complexity goes beyond the parent's particular knowledge at the time."
Why would a college student be more qualified than a college-graduate public school teacher? Or why would a tutor be more qualified? Tutoring is a part-time job. People who are the most qualified to teach a subject get a full-time teaching job at a school. Tutoring is for college students, people with other jobs, and people who aren't qualified enough to teach full time.

"In public schools, moreover, the student has to study the subjects dictated to them by the school curriculum"
Yes, because those are the most important subjects for a student to learn.

"even if the student is BORED TO DEATH by the subjects"
School is not about fun. School is about getting an education. If children have fun all day during homeschool, that's great and all, but learning is a higher priority.

"Why should children be in an education PRISON where the wardens dictate what they should study and learn?"
My opponent makes it sound so dreary. In reality, prisons are rather boring. But public school is an environment for education. Students learn in school. They learn what they need to learn. And they can specialize to some extent by choosing electives. It's not really very much like a prison at all.

"Also, homeschooling allows each student to study a subject he or she loves IN DEPTH, AT THEIR OWN PACE"
That's a good point: public schools more or less have a set pace. But students need to get in a certain amount of education before they graduate and go on to get careers. If there is no guaranteed pace, students have less of a chance of a good career.

"What if a child loves literature, or biology, or history in public school and would like to spend more time on this subject?"
They can research it outside of school. It's not too difficult. But public school provides the necessary foundation for these subjects that the student can use as a springboard if so desired.

"The so-called "diversity" of subjects taught in public-schools turns out to be an education cage children are locked into."
I don't know about that. Public schools are pretty diverse. They teach literature, mathematics, foreign languages, theatre and more.

========
Contention 3

"I don't understand the 'benefit' of a school board?!"
A school board is a team who decide the best direction for education to go. A single parent cannot determine a course of education as effectively as an entire board who spend much of their lives on education.

"A school board is just a collection of parents/teachers/school bureaucrats who dictate the same idiotic curriculum and rules for the public schools."
In a way, though that's not quite how I'd word it. The job of the school board is to determine what forms of education will be best for the greater good.

"The best thing to do with school boards is to abolish them, and let all children homeschool. Kids would be a lot happier."
What kind of a world would that be? The workload on parents would be massively increased. At least one parent would have to be at home teaching all the time, and it would be virtually impossible for single parents. Millions of underqualified parents would be giving their children terrible educations; a parent who wants to homeschool is one thing, but there are so many parents out there who could not each if their lives depended on it. Millions of children would be getting inadequate educations. Standards would fall. Businesses would become less and less efficient as the employees became less and less qualified. The lack of productivity would lead to a market crash and global depression. And my opponent says it's all worth it, because "kids would be a lot happier"? I, for one, would not be very happy if I was stuck with an incompetent teacher and, on top of that, my single mom's house was foreclosed because she had to quit her job to homeschool me.

========

As I have demonstrated, public school is a necessary and powerful entity in the continuation of society. The educational power of public school should not be underestimated. Affirmed: public schools provide better education than homeschooling. Vote PRO!
Turtel

Con

It seems that my opponent is hung up on trusting the competence and experience of teachers, administrators, and other "accredited" authority figures in the public school system. If the public schools were so good, and the classroom 'discussions' with teachers, etc. are so valuable, why is it that close to 50% of students in many schools have illiteracy rates between 40% to 70% in many school districts, why the drop-out rates are shocking, why millions of students who graduate need remedial reading and math courses in college freshman year, if they get into college. We all know the horror statistics of the continual failure of our public schools, yet my opponent keeps advocating giving more education poison to students to cure the education poison caused by the government-controlled schools in the first place.

Consistently, studies have shown that the children of "inexperienced" homeschooling parents' do far better in math and reading standardized tests than public-school students taught by "accredited" teachers in public schools. If public school education by "accredited" "authorities," is so much better than education by homeschooling parents, why do American public-school students now consistently score in the bottom 20% on standardized math and reading tests compared to foreign students of all European countries, Japan, Korea, and many other third-world countries? I recommend that my opponent watch the video by John Stossel on the 20/20 segment on YouTube, "Stupid in America", for further proof of the unending failure by our public schools, run by so-called "accredited" teachers and other "accredited" school authorities who my opponent has such naive reverence for.

Moreover, public schools can damage children in so many other ways (see my book "Public Schools, Public Menace" for a full description of these ways), that even if parents taught their children NOTHING at home other than how to read well and do basic math, then let their child loose in the local library or in front of their computer to study whatever interests them to their hearts content, their children would be safer at home than in these violence, drug-infested, inferior-education institutions run by government employees, who my opponent seems to so admire because they are "accredited" by teacher colleges that are the laughing stock of the academic community.

Again, the notion that because public-school teachers are "accredited" means that they somehow give students a decent education is a joke if you consider where and how these "teachers" were trained in their so-called teacher colleges.

Also, even the best teacher in a public school has to teach 20 to 30 bored children in her class, and cannot possibly give any individual attention to each student. Homeschooling parents, however, can give their total attention to their child's education, and their child can learn at their own pace with a vast amount of education curriculum material parents can find on the Internet, in education software, in stacks of education book aisles in book stores like Barnes and Noble, etc. If a parent Googles "education curriculum material" on the internet, she will get literally MILLIONS of hits for books on every subject covered in public schools, software programs, low-cost Internet schools, and other resources she can turn to, to help her educate her child at home.

My opponent seems to prefer that students be taught by public-school drones who either couldn't care less about each individual student's problems, strengths, weaknesses, etc., or has no time for such individual attention.

Moreover, most homeschooling parents spend about three to four hours a day homeschooling their children, and find that they can rearrange their work schedule to homeschool in the evening, on weekends, etc. There is a saying, "where there is a will, there is a way." Millions of homeschooling parents with jobs who love their children and want the best education for them, manage to find many ways to rearrange their work schedules to homeschool their children. It's called "initiative", a word usually missing in public school education.

There is an even more fundamental reason why children should be homeschooled, and that is parents' right to direct the education of their children in any way they see fit. It's called liberty, which is a concept my opponent seems not be be familiar with. Public schools are products of a collectivist government, and are favored by people such as my opponent who simply do not understand the notion of individual liberty. My opponent believes that government bureaucrats have the right to dictate children's education and force this factory assembly-line education on parents, regardless of parent's wishes, or whether parents think these government schools are incompetent or worse.

My "socialist"-minded, collectivist-minded opponent puts his trust in government officials, and believes these government officials literally "own" childrens' minds and lives for twelve years, with the right to, in effect, lock up children in their education prisons, irrespective of parents wishes or desires. Public schools are simply education tyranny, on a massive scale, and are adored by people who either work for the government or believe government has the right to violate parent's rights at will.

Moreover, even if some parents don't give their children a "better" education than the rare public school that gives a child a decent education, that is irrelevant. There is no inherent "right" to an education for any child. Education does not grow free on apple trees. Schools, teachers salaries, books, supplies must be paid by someone, and that someone is taxpayers who pay unconscionable real-estate school taxes. Yet millions of single-people, older people, parents with older children no longer in school, and parents with children in private schools must pay these school taxes to pay for the education of other peoples' children. That is, public schools therefore require organized theft of taxes of millions of Americans who have no children in these public schools, to give unearned money to support the education of other parent's children in these government schools. This is organized and legalized theft by local governments on a massive scale, done through the imposition of heavy real-estate school taxes.

There is no more "right" to an education for a child, than there is a "right" to a child having sneakers, a house in the suburbs, or anything else. The notion of a "right" to an education that requires massive taxation from millions of Americans who do not have children in public schools, is as absurd as saying that because some parents do not feed their children properly, then there should be a Public Food system, whereby all grocery stores and supermarkets should now be owned and operated by government, just as local governments now own and operate the business of education with government (public schools).

Since there is no inherent "right" to an education, the alleged problem that my opponent brings up that some parents, because they work or might not be good teachers, would therefore not give their child a good or even minimal education, even compared to most incompetent public schools, is just as irrelevant as arguing that many parents would not buy their children the best quality sneakers or give them the best quality food. The answer to that argument is that, sorry my friend, but in a free country there are no guarantees in life, neither for parents or their children.

If my socialist-minded, authority-loving opponent craves to insure that ALL children get a minimum "decent" education, let him raise money from VOLUNTARY contributions for education for children who he thinks might not get the best education, rather than proposing that government continues to put a legislative and tax gun to parents's heads by forcing parents to send their children to incompetent pub
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Cobjob 5 years ago
Cobjob
I would love to have this debate...
Posted by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
Lexicaholic
Hmm ... I accept the argument on burden. Clearly I was in error in voting tied. Fixed.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Lex, There is burden of proof in a debate. I argue that Pro always has the burden of proof, because the resolution is a call to action, and the default is not to act. Others argue that the instigator has the burden of proof. In this case the instigator was Pro, so that disagreement doesn't matter. The burden of proof is similar to a trial, the burden is to prove the case. Defendants are not found "innocent," they are "not guilty" -- meaning the case was not made. So if neither side makes an argument of substance, the resolution fails.

I agree that Con should have marshaled evidence. Without evidence, it comes down to Pro having conceded enough of Con's case to undermine the proof of the resolution. I think that is what happened, but I don't blame anyone for judging that did not happen.
Posted by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
Lexicaholic
Hmmm ... you have a point on the generalization ... but Pro used common features of the educational system, and pointed out the merits thereof, with resources (not good ones, but some). If Con gave me just one verifiable outside source, even a bad one, that supported his contention, I would have swung the other way. By the end of the debate, I actually voted 'tied' for result ... Pro's contention wasn't persuasive, but Con didn't convince me it was incorrect ... I have assumed that Tied represents the inability of either side to make a wholly persuasive argument. So the debate came down to grammar/spelling, conduct, and sources.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Pro properly generalized the debate with "By the resolution, I mean public schools and homeschooling in general, not in any specific case." The best way to prove a generality is with statistics, and Pro had the burden of proof. He did not produce any statistics, and although Con's arguments were weak in several respects, I don't think the burden of proof was quite met.

Pro claimed that public education was better because each teacher was a specialist who knew the subject. Later he said that there was no need for teachers to be taught their subjects because they could do it themselves. Con should have jumped on that contradiction, but failed to do so. Still, it was evident in reading the debate. Admitting that public school teachers have no particular advantage in expertise seems to me fatal to Pro's side of the debate. Incidentally, only large public schools have different teachers for different subjects.

Con failed to stress the homeschooling advantage of smaller class size. He did get at that point with the argument about individual interests and pacing, but I suspect the individual attention is the major advantage. Also, homeschooling parents are self-selected. It's doubtful that a parent who lacks the education necessary would, in general, try it. Con failed to point out how homeschooling standards can be assured through standardized testing, which is the same way public school standards are assured.

A good topic and an interesting debate, despite flaws.
Posted by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
Lexicaholic
There were a lot of ways Con could have approached this to make his argument work, but he didn't. He also didn't provided any statistical sources that would need to exist to back his claims regarding performance, academic standing and health hazards. In short, Con failed not because he had an impossible argument, but because he did a poor job arguing.

I mean, come on. The Pro statement was an absolute. You would just need one proven instance of homeschooling having been a better choice than public school to state "this is not necessarily so" and refute the resolution.
Posted by MTGandP 5 years ago
MTGandP
"There is an even more fundamental reason why children should be homeschooled, and that is parents' right to direct the education of their children in any way they see fit. It's called liberty, which is a concept my opponent seems not be be familiar with."

This argument was introduced in the last round, and I got no chance to rebut it. So I am going to rebut it here.

Any parent is free to homeschool their child; this debate is not even about that, though. This debate is about which system provides better education. The right to liberty has nothing to do with the debate at hand. This point should therefore be discarded.
Posted by FlashFire 5 years ago
FlashFire
Pro definently gets my vote. All Con's doing is blowing things way out of proportion with nothing to back it up. It's just a rant.
Posted by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
This is an interesting topic but Con would do well to make his future responses a bit more thorough.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by frodo1995 3 years ago
frodo1995
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Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by Volkov 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by MTGandP 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by pcmbrown 5 years ago
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