Record: Blane Després, “A Question of Resistance to Home Education and the Culture of School-Based Education” in Peabody Journal of Education 88, no. 3 (2013): 365-377.
Summary: Després, President of Ripple Deep Consulting in British Columbia, here tries to apply his systemic thinking model called the FoRSE Matrix to the question of public education’s resistance to home education.
I think Després’ original plan was to do a survey study of attitudes about homeschooling among public school personnel, but he “was unable to conduct a pilot study to generate hard data.” So in lieu of data he conducted a literature review, reducing the sources he read to various categories on his “FoRSE Matrix” that I believe Després developed to help businesses look systemically at their operations to foster efficiency and success.
His review revealed two reasons for the resistance of public school people to homeschooling. First are “philosophical ideals” like the view that all children should attend public school to foster social normalization, and second are “functionality problems” like enrollment declines that happen when children leave public schools for other options. He also determined that institutional inertia also contributes, though he acknowledges that he hasn’t even proven that the resistance he’s explaining even exists.
This is without question the worst article I’ve ever read in an academic journal. The summary I just gave is my best effort to make something incoherent as clear as possible. The “research” design is absurd. His so-called lit review is laughable, consisting as it does of the most random assortment of odds and ends imaginable. His earliest source comes from 1838 and his most recent from 2002. There is no explanation given for why he chose the sources he did. They include memoirs, random newspaper articles, internet ephemera, and a smattering of books about public education, business, critical theory, and other topics. It’s just crazy.
Després’ write up is just as scattered as his collection of sources. One reads a section and wonders why it was there or why it followed what had gone before. There’s really no rational organization or coherent thesis, just a jumble of thoughts. One does get the vague sense that Després doesn’t like institutional schools and likes homeschooling, but that’s about the most that can be said. The Peabody Journal should be embarrassed something like this appeared between its covers.
Milton Gaither, Messiah College