Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Why is there no lawyer for the kids and the parents?

As I explain in my bio, my entry into the legal reform/access-to-justice arena was via a public law case concerning schools, and the competing interests at war within them. I spent some 20 years investigating power dynamics in public schooling, in real time and historically, and continue to watch the education system carefully. My legal applications on the matter spanned the 2012-2016 period.

A really fascinating element to study is the parent representative bodies. As documented in Parents and Schools: 150 years of struggle for control of public schools, by William W. Cutler, III, cultivating parent approval is a task that is assiduously undertaken by school personnel, and the challenge to parents has always been to avoid becoming lapdogs; to rather remain vigilant about their children's interests. In effect, parent organizations are an important illusory technique for sustaining compulsory enrolment and its corrupting effect of creating a rent-seeking executive class. If there were no parent organizations "for sorting and controlling"* parent response to schooling, there would be protests and revolts (those occur sometimes anyway, rarely organized by the official parent organizations). Compulsory school laws could not have survived this long without creating some channels through which parental energy can be collected, given an outlet, and then ignored. 

Parent organizations have been so effectively managed that most are fundamentally complicit in rent-seeking (ie, in fostering the abuse of institutional power for the benefit of paid stakeholders and against the interests of unpaid stakeholders). In my province, British Columbia, this state of decay is more advanced than in most places, partly because our teachers' unions have so relentlessly cultivated public belief in their agenda, and parents who buy into it have established themselves as parent leaders. 

As a result, our parent representation infrastructure is long past its best-before date to the point of actively supporting non-consensual psychological experimentation with other people's children. As a result, I've now made a public call for the provincial parent organization to be dismantled, and for it to be replaced with a legal office that gives unpaid stakeholders an equal voice in the place that matters most: the courts. 

My presentation suggesting this legal office, as a new independent office of the legislature, is now posted on my education blog: https://edrogue.blogspot.ca/2018/05/why-is-there-no-lawyer-for-kids-and.html

The full citation for the book mentioned above, with some links where you can get a better flavour of the contents, is here:

Parents and Schools: The 150 Year Struggle for Control in American Education. By William W. Cutler, III (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. xiii plus 290 pp.). 

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/17984/summary

https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Parents+and+School%3a+The+150+Year+Struggle+for+Control+in+American...-a082066762


*I'm not sure this is verbatim; it's from memory

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