Correction on Spain and a Conference About Ivan Illich's Work
I have learned that though my first post about the situation in Spain was correct, my second, where I claimed homeschooling was officially illegal in Spain, is not correct. This is due to my misreading of the information I received and I apologize for any distress this may have caused anyone. The situation in Spain is that the courts did not find a constitutional basis for homeschooling to be a right that families can exercise, but the courts noted this right could be added to the constitution. Obviously this is a big task for the small number of Spanish homeschoolers to accomplish, but one that is possible. In the meantime, Spanish homeschoolers are in the gray zone of homeschooling versus government authority, a situation familiar to homeschooling veterans in the US in the 1970s and 1980s: the Spanish families I know are still homeschooling but no one knows if they will be prosecuted for doing so. Time will tell, and I hope that during that time Spanish homeschoolers are able to rally public opinion, as well as polticial and educational support, to make homeschooling a constitutionally-protected practice.
Ivan Illich is certainly one of the most controversial philosophers and social critics of the twentieth century. His influential canon of work includes penetrating analyses of schooling (Deschooling Society), medicine, (Medical Nemesis), public policy (Energy and Equity), literacy (In the Vineyard of the Text), and so on. His influence on John Holt's thinking about school is well-documented, but like Holt, Ivan often worked, in his own words, "on the fringes of academia." I often feel that Illich's work is more appreciated in other parts of the world than in the United States, so I was very pleasantly surprised to learn about this upcoming conference, sponsored by the Western New England College School of Law, on April 1, 2011 (I hope this is not an April Fool's joke!):
I look forward to being a member of the audience for this all-day event.