One of the arguments against alternative forms of education – whether it be homeschooling, private schools, Montessori, or any other – attempts to point out that these alternatives offer a limited view of the world. The arguments claim that by not “allowing” children to go to a traditional school, parents are limiting their experiences.
The problem with this argument, is that it works the other way as well. Parents who don’t “allow” their children to attend an alternative school or to homeschool are limiting their children’s experiences as well.
No matter what choices we make for our kids, we’re limiting them. No matter what choices we make for ourselves, we’re opting not to do something else. Public school does not miraculously step an individual into a varied and diversified life. It steps them into a life of the school they attend. Every school has its own personality, with its own set of experiences to offer the people who are there.
There is no such thing as neutrality or a true unbiased selection of information to choose from in any school. There is no guarantee that by attending school, an individual will recognize the importance of weighing different opinions and making a personal choice. No, in school, kids are still taught that something is “right”. They are even tested on it.
Growing up in public school, private school or homeschooling is not inherently better or worse. They are different experiences. All of them with their unique set of what is learned and what isn’t. None of them provide an absolute diversity of learning. They all have the potential to be limiting, and they all have the potential of providing varied experiences.
Parents sending their kids to public school are making a choice, just as parents who choose alternative forms of education. And in either case, these parents are limiting their children’s experience in one way or another. It boils down to a choice of what limits parents want to make. And therein lies the problem in the “not enough diversity” criticism of alternative education – there isn’t a problem of lack of opportunities, but a disagreement on what kind of opportunities are good, and what kind of opportunities should wait until adulthood, or not be experienced at all.