The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind. said it this way: “Moms’ pleas highlight home-school dilemma.” What really happened is a different story. The headline should have read: “Two moms who pissed off their government school by re-enrolling their children last year, now slaves to the state for failing to make and mark up attendance calendars when their kids were learning at home for awhile.”
OOPS! I see the problem: The truth makes headlines too long!
There’s also another problem I have: When private citizens know things about a situation that the media doesn’t (or just won’t ask about) we run into a frustration factor as we listen to or read speculations on the part of the public that are so wild and not based on reality (let alone the facts) that it’s laughable.
It would be great to blog about what we know, but we aren’t “the professionals” and for some reason (probably reasonable reasons, like we aren’t professionals) our information isn’t going to get the respect needed to give our facts the legs they need to make the story complete.
What most people see (and think) when they read The Journal Gazette’s story, is that there seems to be a problem with homeschooling, when parents can “educationally abuse” their own children without the State or any other government agency getting in there and saving those children. There appear to be “loopholes” in the law that “some people” are using as a means of hiding the fact that they are ABUSING their children! It’s as if people think that the act of homeschooling alone breeds violence. Right… and being poor causes armed robbery. The problem is, the law (any law) has nothing to do with what a person will or will not do, given the lack of moral character typical law breakers posess.
But let’s stay on homeschooling laws, since it’s alleged that the breaking of these laws, led to the “educational abuse/neglect” of children. You want to know what Indiana Homeschooling law says? Here it is:
There. Surprised? Why? Didn’t you know that there is no mention of “homeschooling” in Indiana Law anywhere? There’s no “Homeschooling Law” anywhere on the books. If you want to read (in English) what the Indiana Education Code really says, check it out on the IHEN.org web site. (There’s a link to the Indiana DOE site from there.)
In a nutshell, parents who educate their children at home, are running private schools. Most all laws and rules that apply to private schools in Indiana, also apply to parents who homeschool. There is one rule that private schools and homeschooling parents must follow in order to meet the requirements for Indiana’s Compulsory Attendance Law: Parents must “keep attendance.” Don’t take my word for it. Read it from the IDOE web site:
No. Home educators (the term is interchangeable with home schoolers) must, upon request of the local or state superintendent, show attendance records. There is no format to the records required by law. See I.C. 20-33-2-20. Home educators must also register with the State Department of Education as a private school. See I.C. 20-33-2-31. They do not have to use any specific type of curriculum. See I.C. 20-33-2-12. One interpretation of educational law as it applies to home educators is that it is legislative intent that there is a form of accountability (attendance) but not of quality control. Consequently, the public schools do not have any jurisdiction to demand that home schools provide anything other than attendance records. Issues of equivalency or neglect are questions of law that should be referred to the proper authorities in your county. The proper authorities include, but are not limited to, Child Protection Services, the Prosecutor’s office, and law enforcement.
Yup! My kids are here, in the house (or at the library, or visiting the museum) and they are “attending” our little private school. That’s it. State laws are satisfied. The State just needs to know that all children are ATTENDING a school of some sort. That’s because the State mandates ATTENDANCE, not EDUCATION. If the State actually mandated “education” then by all accounts, every Government School Employee who socially promotes or graduates a child that can’t read and write should be fired and jailed.
But wait! That’s what happened to these two moms! They ended up with one year probation, whereby if they fail to inform the court of every single excused and unexcused absence of their children (in public school) they could face jail time for breaking their probation agreement. I call that slavery. But I’m a blunt kind of person.
Actually, aren’t ALL public school parents on probation? I mean… if their kids skip too much school, we do fine and eventually jail them, right?
Now you ask: “So… they weren’t really abusing their children by not teaching them anything?”
I don’t know. For some reason, the actual teaching of the children was never brought up. Probably because the law does not allow for the state to dictate curricula. Only ATTENDANCE was brought up. The moms didn’t keep attendance while they were homeschooling, and when they put their children BACK IN PUBLIC SCHOOL ABOUT A SEMESTER OR TWO AGO!! (oh… don’t remember THAT fact, did you? That’s because it wasn’t reported.) the school’s control freak in charge asked them for attendance records, so they could “prove” the kids were being homeschooled before coming BACK TO PUBLIC SCHOOL. (It’s a vindictive thing that some Government School Employees do because they can. It’s not like they believe that ATTENDING something actually means you LEARN something. Heck! Just look around where they work and you’ll have to agree.)
Well, it seems these kids have been back in public school for more than enough time to make this entire thing a moot point. (That means meaningless.) But for some reason, these two women were brought up on charges anyway.
I believe some reporters and publishers who care about the truth, should either start asking questions and reporting with a little more depth, or maybe trying to put a little more truth in their headlines.
Yeah, I know… too long.
[Stay tuned for more on “attendance” issues and what really happens when children are independently educated outside of State Control.]