First, the article. After detailing many of the concerns and complaints that some parents of gifted children expressed on a Facebook group, the author chides the parents (emphasis mine):
If parents of homeschool kids kept their kids in public schools, gifted education would have a stronger base of much-needed advocates.
. . .
When parents take their children out of public schools, they may not realize that they are taking away the magical collaboration that is so essential to learning. Homeschool parents may not realize what their children would have added to the classroom. They are taking away the peers that their public school counterparts are seeking, and they are taking away the ideas their kids would have brought to class discussions. There is no way for the community to regain what is lost when gifted kids leave.
Public schools need the voices of these insightful parents. Gifted education needs the support of these dedicated parents, who research gifted education, who study best practices, who analyze what is happening and what works. Most importantly, gifted education students need their homeschool peers in the classroom, because they are going to be architects of future community schools.
Duty. That's what the author is talking about.
The meaning of the term “duty” is: the moral necessity to perform certain actions for no reason other than obedience to some higher authority, without regard to any personal goal, motive, desire or interest.
Ayn Rand, “Causality Versus Duty,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 95. (via the online Ayn Rand Lexicon)
In other words, public schools NEED gifted kids, and parents who choose to homeschool them instead of dutifully sending them to schools that cannot meet the needs of the children, those parents aren't doing their duty to be a part of the solution (which implies that they are then part of the problem). Sounds pretty selfish, doesn't it? Yes, yes it is. And hooray for that!
I don't have any sort of duty to send my child, gifted or not, to any school, simply because they feel like they "need" my kid. The government-run public schools do not have any moral claim on me or my children. And they have no claim on your kids, either.
Ugh. Particularly heinous was this plea (guilt trip!) that the schools need not only the kids, but the parents. You know, those parents who do all of this extra work for them (for free)! So, you selfish homeschooling parents of gifted kids, you're not only cheating the schools once by not turning over your children, you're cheating them twice, because who are they going to get to do all that research into how best to provide a rich learning experience for your child? Sheesh already.
So I was thrilled to discover that there are many parents who share the same sentiment! From the comments section of the article (my emphasis):
as the parents of these challenging children we have to do what is right for our families. When one has spent years banging one's head against a brick wall in order to make only a tiny bit of progress, and when your own child is suffering the consequences of being left in an inappropriate environment, you eventually wake up and realize that all of that energy that you are putting into the school can get a better return on investment by putting it directly into your child.
I'm sorry...if a building is burning and my child is inside, I am going to rescue my child, not attend a city council meeting on how to improve fire codes. Our public school failed me, failed my child, and I don't feel an obligation to fix the system for them. I begged for help from our principal and the teachers. I was met with indifference at best, sarcasm and hatefulness at the worst. I volunteered in the classroom, I played the game of endless conferences and assessments, but in the end I took my child out of that burning building and I haven't looked back.
My first priority is to my kids and their well-being. Aim your argument at the public schools, suggesting that serving the needs of gifted kids is actually in the best interests of the system, and I'm on board with you. I think you're right. But it is not in the best interest of my kids to suffer--and they did suffer quite profoundly!--the intellectual neglect and mistreatment of a curriculum that doesn't meet their needs, and I won't subject them to it any longer. . . It is NOT the duty of children and active, caring parents to sacrifice time, energy and sanity to try to fix a system that doesn't work for them. We can opt out of that and I for one feel no guilt whatsoever about doing so.
When a relationship consistently benefits one party and costs the other, it's not collaboration. And when the person consistently paying the price is a child, it's absolutely unacceptable. . . .
You would never choose to sacrifice your children to "educate" elitists who believe they are made from Teflon and that you have the problem, your child has a problem and the home environment has a problem - certainly there can be nothing wrong at the school! After all, you have insinuated the parents are at fault by not role modelling good collaboration skills, may I humbling suggest you review your data for this basis. Vote with your feet is my advice to EVERY parent of a gifted child. All of them are being sacrificed by "academics" and their dumbed down curriculum to make everything fair.
There were many other points made in the comments section, but I'm focusing here on a few of the remarks that are specifically aimed against the altruistic plea that parents stop homeschooling and put their children (who are selfish values to them) into a place that does not meet their needs, simply because someone at that school has decided the school NEEDS them. These commenters are right to resist sacrificing their children because of someone else's desires.
Hooray! I read comments like these and it encourages me, that people out there in the world have enough spirit, and enough selfishness, to ridicule and refute the horrible premise of this article.