Peter Greene writes here about one of the worst education ideas of the decade, an idea so bad that only Betsy DeVos and Jeb Bush could like it: He calls it “Learning Everywhere.” That translates into “Learning everywhere except in a public school.”

Here is the most important thing to know about the state commissioner of education: All of his children were home-schooled.

Frank Edelblut was a businessman, venture capitalist, and one-term NH state representative before he decided to run for the governor’s seat. He was beaten in the primary by Chris Sununu, son of former NH governor and Bush I White House Chief of Staff John Sununu (full disclosure: my grandmother was a NH GOP representative for decades, including under John Sununu, and she did not have a very high opinion of him). Edelblut gracefully conceded and publicly supported Sununu, who then appointed Edelblut to the top education job, despite Edelblut’s complete lack of anything remotely resembling education experience.

All of Edelblut’s children were home schooled. As a legislator, he backed vouchers and as a candidate he backed personalized [sic] learning. [Governor] Sununu said that the homeschooling was a plus because it meant Edelblut understood alternative methods of education.

What is “Learning Everywhere”?

Back in the 1960s, this approach was called “deschooling,” and it was associated with Ivan Illich. But now it is gussied up, and it is simply outsourcing.

Think of it as homeschooling on a statewide scale.

Learn Everywhere is a proposal to allow students to replace public school courses with coursework offered by private and nonprofit organizations. It is a mechanism for outsourcing public education…

The overall approach is similar to what we’ve seen with micro-credentials, but it keeps the framework of the public school credits. You attend a course or program that has been approved by the state DOE, and upon completion, you get a certificate that you present to your home school for course credit.

There are a variety of issues here, and the department, to its credit, anticipates most of them.

Time issues? You could duplicate classes, such as taking an outsourced drama class and also your school’s drama class, but if the outside class is cutting into homework time, drop the school course and take a study hall. The site does not address what happens is you take so many outside courses that your day is mostly study halls. Can you just stop attending public school entirely?

Funding and Equity? Part of what makes this saleable is that it doesn’t take a cent from public schools at this time; the families are responsible for paying for the outside courses. This in turn raises another question– Edelblut is selling this, hard, on the notion that it will solve the equity problems of public schools and help raise up struggling students, but if the families have to pay for the courses, that would seem to lock poor students out of Learn Everywhere, which would seem to be the opposite of what Edelblut is advertising. The website addresses this issue with a resounding, “Well, we don’t know.” Some of these programs might be free. Businesses might want to pay to send students to programs that would be useful for that business. Families that can’t afford full tuition at a Philips Exeter might be able to afford one course.

In other words, all of Edelblut’s talk about how this program will close the opportunity gap and increase equity in New Hampshire is pretty much bullshit.

Greene suggests that if you live in New Hampshire, you might consider calling a member of the state board of education, which will be considering this goofy proposal on June 13.