Homeschool Truants in the Crosshairs

ILLINOIS, INDIANA, MICHIGAN — The year 2010 is going to be the year of “The Hunted Homeschooler.” Some cities are considering new curfew laws, supposedly to counter truancy, but in practice, they will be used to harass homeschoolers. Some cities are just outright picking targets that they know aren’t really homeschooling, and nailing them. (I wonder how they know that education isn’t going on? Read more for my theory.)

My friend, Sue Ryan at Corn and Oil has been writing about what has been going on in Illinois this month, and combined with what we have been discussing here in Indiana and in Michigan, it almost appears like an all out frontal attack on homeschooling.

We need more regulations!

Homeschoolers are unaccountable!

Parents who didn’t fill out an attendance record are educationally neglecting their children!

Parents are skipping school and ‘saying’ they’re homeschooling!

I’m sure there are more.

Conspiracy? Nah. But while I won’t give it that much credit, I do believe that what is going on of late is a result of the practice I’ve called, “Public School Excommunications, or Ex-schooling.” Public schools, in the desperate need to reduce the dropout rates among students (including those who are not old enough to legally drop out) have found that by encouraging parents to simply “say” they are homeschooling, both the school and the parents can conveniently get rid of a mutual problem.

We can all blame NCLB all we want, but the fact is, no matter what was required of public schools to meet the federal demands, teachers and school officials all across the country did everything they could, to either dumb down the requirements so more kids could ‘appear’ to pass, or they sabotaged their classes to prove the point that the Republican’s plan for school reform wouldn’t work.

Part of the sabotage plan (I would argue) was to indict parents for not holding up to their end of the bargain to educate their children after (school) hours. Stupid kids aren’t the schools fault… it’s the fault of parents who don’t appreciate education the way they should. The battle of who’s schooling whom stays on cruise control until those stupid public schoolers get too hard to handle and control; then it’s time to get rid of the problem.

It’s like a getting out of school free card!

The solution is obvious! The school gets rid of a child that doesn’t want to be there and is likely acting out in disruptive or violent manners (not to mention purposely tanking his or her state mandated tests) by forcing the parent to leave the school in the only legal way possible — they are forced to transfer out of public school to a private school. And since they can’t afford a private school, they are told their only choice is to homeschool.

It’s likely the parent is already frustrated with her child’s behaviors, and double-frustrated with how the school handles and miseducates her child. What concerned (or even neglectful) parent wouldn’t be glad to get out of the cycle of  abuse and punishment inflicted by government schooling on her child?

There are questions that need to be asked of every parent from here on out that is accused of “pretending” they are homeschooling:

  • Did you recently decide to homeschool, or have you been doing it for a long time?
  • Why and when did you decide to leave public school to homeschool?
  • Were you told that you were required to homeschool?
  • Were  you told that if you didn’t, CPS would be called on you?
  • Were you informed of the legal requirements to homeschool, or do you feel you were just tossed out?
  • Did you look for local and statewide resources for help, once you decided to homeschool?
  • Would you have rather gone to another school, if you had a choice?

These are the first questions reporters should be asking when they come across cases like this. But instead, we are going to get more and more articles indicting non-homeschoolers for no other reason than NOT going to a government school.

Therefore, this will be the year of The Hunted Homeschooler.


3 thoughts on “Homeschool Truants in the Crosshairs

  1. The IL ROE Supt calls what you’ve tagged as “ex-schoolers” – ‘no schoolers’.

    I do blame federal control over local educational needs as part of the problem. NCLB just super-amplified the schools’ real agendas, which have little to do with education. Bush and Kennedy pushed NCLB for the control. Obama is pursuing for the money AND control.

    Either way, we’re screwed as homeschoolers, because they don’t know anything about us and it must be our fault. (Your IU guy, Kunzman, and his universal basic testing comes to mind with that concern of his..hmmphh)
    Go Illini (tonight) :-)

  2. I have been told by several parents that this happened to their child. The last thing we need is the very organization that can’t keep its own house clean attempting to regulate one of the only educational methods that actually works.

  3. Regarding ex-schoolers and no-schoolers: The difference between the two is that being excommunicated from public school ‘can’ lead to becoming a no-schooler (and probably does more often than not.)

    Over the past three to four years, the parents who were given no choice but to “Get out and homeschool or we’ll call CPS on you,” either just left, relieved to be done with the cycle of educational punishment, or they contacted homeschoolers or organizations like IHEN and started educating independently.

    Those who were just glad to be out of the system without the stigma of being a “dropout” and without having to deal with the legalities of truancy (which now include jail time for parents) are the true “no-schoolers.”

    The irony here, that occured to me just the other day, is that if these parents aren’t reporting enrollment to the DOE, and if they aren’t keeping attendance records (things that the law says makes a homeschooler legal) then they are, in fact, NOT LEGALLY HOMESCHOOLING. They are simply legally truant. The Indiana moms who plead guilty to educational abuse, were not legally homeschooling, hence, they can not be charged with educational neglect.

    Keep tabs on news reports as this continues. I’m of the opinion that there will be more of these kinds of prosecutions throughout the year. And since most of the cases are going to be no-schoolers, organizations like HSLDA are going to be WAY OUT OF THE PICTURE. It’s up to anyone’s guess when things like this will become a snowball too big to stop.

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