RCS Should Define Abuse

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.

Click to see more from DetentionSlip.org
Pretty soon so many students will be expelled or transferred, the schools will REALLY start to make money.

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!!!

Hmmmm.

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?

BbB

[Original post is here.]

Moms Plead Guilty to Ed Neglect

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!

Attendance Certificate from 1930 (Click image to go to rootsweb.ancestry.com)

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:

Do home educators have to provide curricula, an educational plan, or other proof of educational services to the public schools to show that they are competent to educate in their home?

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.]

BbB