It’s been awhile since the accusations flew from RCS (Richmond Community School) board member, David Stidham, who said: “When [Indiana education law is] abused, we gain.” [See Richmond Pal-Item Op-ed: Home-school transfers must be held accountable.]
This leads us to the obvious question: “When public servants accuse citizens of crimes and educational abuse… do they make a sound?“
In this case, apparently not. Other than a lengthy discussion thread on the original op-ed above (which included invectives like “breeders” — referring to the apparent ‘crisis’ of parents saying they’re homeschooling, but really just letting their children run loose, out from under the thumb of school authorities) there seems to be little evident follow-up on the alleged crimes of educational law abuses.
I wonder why that is?
As a fifteen-year homeschooler, and project director of a statewide networking organization, I am fully aware it’s in the best interests of all parents who educate their children privately, to make sure that the law is followed to the “T” and that “abuses” are not going on.
Maybe the RCS employees and board members are just a little confused. If they would take some time to read the actual law… maybe they wouldn’t be so worried about homeschoolers abusing them. I wrote an article about the Indiana Code (in English) a year or so ago. Feel free to check it out here: http://www.ihen.org/incode/
Maybe… it’s not the parents who are doing the abusing?
For everyone who apparently didn’t hear the accusations fly, here is what I think I heard (from reading the op-ed): Everything seems to boil down to a surprise (a miracle really) positive bump in the graduation rate at RHS. It seems the good news can be attributed, in part, to the fact that there were over 100 student transfers from Richmond schools… many of whom allegedly left Richmond to attend private schools and to homeschool.
Big numbers!! This led the good board member to suggest that most of those transfers were due to parents “abusing” the law and yanking their kids out of school to avoid punishments of some kind or…. or what?
Problem is, we don’t really know what the numbers are. It shouldn’t be hard to find out how many kids transferred to another public school, and how many transferred to a private school and/or homeschooled. It’s very likely RCS records would tell… but for some reason, no one is asking and no one is telling. Why?
I have a theory.
I have had this theory for about two years. I’m also thinking I’m right; because immediately after the accusations against rogue homeschoolers was made, it felt like someone somewhere said, “SHUT UP!”
You see… it really all comes down to motives and means. Is it possible that RCS has a greater motive to “abuse” the “lax regulations” (it’s subjective whether they are ‘lax’ or not) if by doing so, they could slash their dropout rate by over HALF? Maybe it’s just me, but I think a reasonable person might have to agree RCS has more to gain by more than a few troublemakers leaving school.
The cold hard facts are these: There are way too many children under the legal dropout age of 17, who are desperate to get out of a school they KNOW isn’t doing them any good. Delinquents or not (I’m sure many are) they find themselves in a situation where they feel the need to fight, rather than acquiesce and ride their prison terms out for 12 years.
If the school finds they can not control these children, and they likewise can not let them drop out (legally) then it serves both parties to find an equitable solution. The question again is: Who has the most to gain? On the one hand, kids get out of state schooling, but later get the dogs called on them for not being “accountable”. On the other hand, the school system gets Miracle Numbers and possibly MILLIONS in new tax dollars for suddenly doing such a great job educating kids!!!
Well, since no one is speaking up, here’s how I believe this abuse thing works: Someone (maybe a school official? Maybe a mom who’s worked the system with her child?) tells a parent that their child can’t legally drop out, but all they have to do is “say” they’re homeschooling, fill out the homeschool enrollment report form at the IDOE, and they ALL (parent, troubled youth, and of course, the school) are ‘free’.
Done. Now to avoid possible trouble (for the government employees) wait a few months and scream ABUSE! UNACCOUNTABLE! Look out! There are a ton of parents out there “saying” they’re homeschooling and their kids are running in the streets causing trouble! Crisis!
You can make up your own crazy plot… (Wait. Hear that? Crickets chirping.) but this is the ONLY crazy plot that MAKES SENSE. The puzzle pieces fit.
The question is, of course, whom is doing the ILLEGAL THING? Are the parents abusing the education of their own child or are school employees “abusing” the law to try to return sanity to a school system that is having a hard enough time just teaching, let alone running a prison camp? Tough questions to be sure, but I’m thinking the answers aren’t that hard to figure out.
Oh… Did I mention any school that does this, gets a great miracle graduation rate and low dropout rates!?
There are still some people out here in the woods, waiting for some answers. Will we hear a sound?
[Original post is here.]