Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another Day, Another Homeschooling Critic

I had a big long post with a point-by-point rebuttal ready to go on this essay on homeschooling by Jack Lessenberry. His post has all the usual assumptions, leaps of logic and vague emotional appeals that we've come to know and love from people that want us to know we're doing a bad thing but can't be bothered actually learning about what it is we're really doing. Nothing too challenging. The fact that such a sloppy argument comes from a journalist of 30 years is a little surprising.

Then I looked at the comments. There were a number of good ones. What was Mr. Lessenberry's response? He invoked the Spelling Defense (sister tactic to Godwin's Law):

Ms Kelle, I did not say you are unqualified. however, you spelled both invoked and argument wrong, and have inadvertently helped prove my point

So I guess that if I were to assert journalists aren't qualified to write then his lack of punctuation and capitalization would prove my assertion?

Then someone points out, "you should have at least spoken to some public school teachers, or met some homeschooled kids, before penning your article."

Mr. Lessenberry provides this howler in response:

I sleep with a public school teacher, every night, and have for 31 years. I remain convinced that, if anything, I was too kind to the homeschoolers.

Talk to one public school teacher and you've talked to all public school teachers, eh? I'm mean, they're all connected to the mighty Mother Brain, right?

From his profile:

Jack has always said that the thing he loves about journalism is the fact that it's all about people-about connecting with and learning from them.

"I want to create intelligent dialogue about the problems we face. I think we need to think about and talk about who we are as a country and people, and explore those things."

I call bullpucky. His essay is by someone who has decided he knows enough. Someone who's given up on curiosity and settled on pontificating. His comments to those who try to engage in an intelligent dialogue show he wants no such thing.

So why did I shelve the big long post with point-by-point rebuttal? Mr. Lessenberry did all my work for me. In two comments he revealed his ridiculous leaps and sloppy attitude to research and learning better then I ever could have.

UPDATE: Doc did the research I, and Mr. Lessenberry, didn't in this excellent post. She takes his essay apart quite nicely and introduces the wonderful term, edutard.


Independent George said...

I sleep with a public school teacher, every night, and have for 31 years. I remain convinced that, if anything, I was too kind to the homeschoolers.

Isn't that the textbook definition of 'conflict of interests'? By his logic, because he's married to somebody with a personal & professional stake in an issue, he has no need to investigate the opposing viewpoint.

For example, let's see what happens when we re-write his sentence:

"I sleep with a mortgage broker, every night, and have for 31 years. I remain convinced that, if anything, I was too kind to..."

Dawn said...

That's why I post about these things. People smarter then me see the points I miss! :D

Anonymous said...

Looks like George beat me over here to comment on the "I sleep with a public school teacher every night" argument. :) I say we toss this author some crumbs of good will just for saying something so darn amusing.

Becky said...

I saw from his comment to Kelle at the blog that his name appears as "Jack lessenberry".

You'd think that someone who's been sleeping with a public school teacher all those years would have the rules of capitalization down pat.

I've always that for home educating families, the comparison between surgeon and operating on the kitchen table was much less accurate than, say, Four Seasons resort restaurant serving by formula hundreds of people each day and small, three- or four-table Mom and Pop cafe, where M and P can take advantage of what's in season at the market.

Trishy4Him said...

I love your questions about Lessenberry's logic (lack of, actually).

Trishy (hope40) from homeschoolspot.