So What DO We Do With Homeschoolers?

“Legislators. Anybody home?” Are  you listening?

prepare to find out why government school employees, sheeple, and now, a pastor, want homeschoolers investigated and regulated.

Step One: Read Pastor Stein’s editorial: What do we do with homeschoolers? on the Richmond Palladium-Item web site (if it’s not archived and squirreled away… in which case, read it here in the SkippingSchool Archive.)

Step Two: Come back here so I can attempt to answer the questions: Why is it that people scream the loudest about investigating and regulating homeschoolers whenever the Government Schools are about to get spanked? And secondly, what should we REALLY do with homeschoolers?

Why do people call for the regulation and investigation of homeschoolers?

It’s quite simple, really. Government school employees and anyone else who believes that the State is responsible for taking care of children–more than parents–are deathly afraid that someday soon, people will wake up and realize Government Schools are failing… they’re REALLY failing, if not damaging generations of future adults. Someday, people will actually look at the results of the government controlled, mass instruction of a majority of America’s youth… and say, “This isn’t working!” And… they’ll walk.

The pro-State Schooling advocates are afraid that THEY are the ones that will be investigated. And like little children, the first thing they do is point to someone else.

For decades, this behavior has been working, but as more and more parents are simply leaving the state schools for other options like homeschooling, it’s becoming clear that it’s only a matter of time before someone with a brain cell will openly wonder why Government Schools can not seem to educate children in an efficient and relatively safe manner–especially with all the billions of dollars we send them.

It’s like they’re saying, “Hey we know WE suck at educating the MAJORITY of YOUR children, but what about those homeschoolers over there? They aren’t doing it like we do, so I bet they’re giving their kids a worse education than WE are.”

The heat can’t get too close—which is why I suspect the Government Education Complex is relieved Dr. Tony Bennett (no relation) recently released a “Parents Pledge” encouraging parents to essentially promise to homeschool their children for the public schools. Read my thoughts on the pledge here: I Pledge My Children, to the State.

Now that the spotlight is getting turned on to failing Indiana schools (Richmond Community Schools) that are suddenly creating bureaucratic magic with dropout rates, we are treated to editorials like this one by Pastor Stein.

Shall we dissect?

Some oversight seems reasonable compared to cost of lifetime dependency

The tag line already brings up (what some people consider) the obvious question: To what data are you referring to that suggests a lack of oversight into the methods of privately educated children, leads to a lifetime of dependency? You are starting out on poor footing Pastor Stein.

The subject of the week is home-schooling. More and more people in Richmond are doing this — or claiming to do this. One result? Our graduation rate is improving, for when a student leaves the district for home-schooling, the departure does not count against the rate. Does this explain the whole increase? Maybe not. But it sure helps.

Sure it helps! … the school. Let’s take the homeschooling “loophole” aside and just look at the table trick going on here: If we have 75 kids who want to drop out of school and have no hope of gaining credits to graduate, what would be better for the school? Keep the under-educated in school two more years, failing ISTEP tests, causing trouble, chronically truant, or suggesting to his parent that if they only would say they’re homeschooling, he could leave school now?

Let’s be real. Something is happening here, and one doubts it is a citywide divine revelation about the glories of home-schooling.

You are absolutely right there. It’s happening state-wide and has been written about in Illinois, Texas and other states for, oh.. about three years now. Again… that’s why THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOMESCHOOLING AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH PUBLIC SCHOOLS EXCOMMUNICATING ITS OWN WORST STUDENTS.

Are our local administrators quietly encouraging parents of troubled and troublesome kids to sign the form that promises home-schooling?

Yes.

Are parents claiming to home-school, so they can dodge the law that now requires kids to be in school until they are 18?

And yes again. Wouldn’t you? If you discovered a way to get your trouble-making kid out of a mandatory sentence that didn’t promise reform or remediation of any kind, would you take advantage? Our own DOE Super, Tony Bennett, even used the word “escape” in a recent Q&A session for the Pal-Item.


Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana Dept. of Education Superintendant of Schools

Bennett told Palladium-Item reporter Brian Zimmerman during a recent statehouse interview that, as a former principal, he fretted that some parents and guardians might use home schooling as cover to get their students out of school without consequence.

“It bothered me because I always wondered, was that student really going to get schooled as is in the title of home school,” Bennett says. “Or was that child escaping being schooled?”

I don’t know and I don’t know. But we do have a way of finding and using loopholes in laws, and this one is a mile wide.

Yet behind all that, is this: What do we do with home schools?

You do nothing. And any attempt to regulate, legislate, “crack down on” or close loopholes on private home education will end up backfiring on public state schools. What Pastor Stein fails to understand is the reason more and more parents are leaving public schools is because they are finally at the point where they are fed up. Kids make it all the way to their sophomore year in high school, suddenly realize they don’t have the GPA nor the credits to  graduate with a “real” diploma, then get smacked in the face with the realization that even though they are hopelessly unable to meet the demands of the State school, they will nevertheless have to stay imprisoned, like indentured servants, or face penalties.

I run in circles where home-schooling is often present, and sometimes popular. Home schools are like anything else: Some are good, and some are bad. Some parents are passionate, diligent and competent. Other parents are lukewarm, negligent and unqualified.

If I run into REALLY negligent parents, I would tend to report them, or offer to help them. When a pastor runs into a truly negligent parent, what does HE do?

Oh… are you talking about “educationally” negligent? Be careful. By definition, a public school that forces children with minimal credits and failing GPAs to stay in school until they are old enough to legally drop out, could be considered negligent.

By the way: Schools are legally responsible for attendance, not education. This is why when people start to cry for accountability for EDUCATING children, the schools aren’t held accountable. But attendance? Sure. They’re good at that.

I admire those who do it well. My kids surpassed my home-schooling skills somewhere around first grade.

If you are not confident or knowledgeable enough to teach your own kids first grade concepts, then I’m truly sorry. Perhaps your public school was negligent?

So I ask: is it in the interests of the state, to keep an eye on this? I say yes.

If it’s any of YOUR business, then I might agree with you that the State should be involved. But if on any particular issue you would say, “It’s none of my business,” then why would you believe that it’s the State’s business?

Let’s say the schools do happily say goodbye to frustrating and failing kids through this home-school loophole, and never see them again. Or let’s say exasperated parents do sign the form, then allow their children to enjoy a curriculum of potato chips and ESPN. What is the result? Uneducated, unskilled, unmotivated people who will barely survive in the work force and might eventually drop out altogether. Then, since we are so generous with our social programs, we will have another group of people who take far more than they give.

By all indications, it seems FOR GENERATIONS there are a significant number of high school graduates who have been doing the very thing you are suggesting above. And they supposedly didn’t have the benefit of the potato chip and ESPN curricula. To what do you ascribe the blame for the generations of welfare families who weren’t homeschooled?

Is this what we want? I hope not. Some oversight and regulation seems reasonable. This might include submission of a curriculum, occasional visits and participation in the standardized tests. Yes, this addition to our bureaucracy will cost money, but how does that compare to what we pay for a lifetime of dependency?

Did it occur to you that we are spending an easy $10,000+ a year for each Indiana high school student that doesn’t have a passing GPA and will never have enough credits to graduate (and go to college and a productive life by your standards) and will be required to stay in school for two to three years longer against their will, before they can “escape” legally by dropping out? Isn’t that wasted money for the exact same results?

So what’s the difference… other than a few million dollars a year for a few thousand under-educated kids that will end up on the ‘loser’ end of society whether they skip school early or late? Again… this has nothing to do with homeschooling.

Home-schooling is an excellent path for some. But it is not for everyone — especially those who merely sign a form to evade a law.

Are you willing to say the same thing about public schools? Mandatory State controlled schooling isn’t for everybody? And if so… what options would you suggest for the parents who don’t believe it’s the State’s job to educate their children?

Never mind. I think I’d rather not know.

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Archive: What do we do with homeschoolers?

The original post was linked here: http://www.pal-item.com/article/20101001/NEWS03/10010314/What-do-we-do-with-home-schoolers- but may have been moved. The entire article is reprinted below so it’s easier to find. All rights are reserved by the original authors and publishers… of course.


WHAT DO WE DO WITH HOME-SCHOOLERS?

SOME OVERSIGHT SEEMS REASONABLE COMPARED TO COST OF LIFETIME DEPENDENCY
Tom Stein
October 1, 2010

Tom Stein

Time to offend everyone. How can you write about education, and do otherwise?

The subject of the week is home-schooling. More and more people in Richmond are doing this — or claiming to do this. One result? Our graduation rate is improving, for when a student leaves the district for home-schooling, the departure does not count against the rate. Does this explain the whole increase? Maybe not. But it sure helps.

Let’s be real. Something is happening here, and one doubts it is a citywide divine revelation about the glories of home-schooling.

Are our local administrators quietly encouraging parents of troubled and troublesome kids to sign the form that promises home-schooling?

Are parents claiming to home-school, so they can dodge the law that now requires kids to be in school until they are 18?

I don’t know and I don’t know. But we do have a way of finding and using loopholes in laws, and this one is a mile wide.

Yet behind all that, is this: What do we do with home schools?

Leave them alone? Regulate them? Ban them?

I run in circles where home-schooling is often present, and sometimes popular. Home schools are like anything else: Some are good, and some are bad. Some parents are passionate, diligent and competent. Other parents are lukewarm, negligent and unqualified.

I admire those who do it well. My kids surpassed my home-schooling skills somewhere around first grade.

So I ask: is it in the interests of the state, to keep an eye on this? I say yes.

Let’s say the schools do happily say goodbye to frustrating and failing kids through this home-school loophole, and never see them again. Or let’s say exasperated parents do sign the form, then allow their children to enjoy a curriculum of potato chips and ESPN. What is the result? Uneducated, unskilled, unmotivated people who will barely survive in the work force and might eventually drop out altogether. Then, since we are so generous with our social programs, we will have another group of people who take far more than they give.

Is this what we want? I hope not. Some oversight and regulation seems reasonable. This might include submission of a curriculum, occasional visits and participation in the standardized tests. Yes, this addition to our bureaucracy will cost money, but how does that compare to what we pay for a lifetime of dependency?

As with many issues these days, we tend to run to the extremes.

One side might say, “Do not touch my home-schooling!” The other side might say, “Just outlaw it!”

But can we do better than that? Home-schooling is an excellent path for some. But it is not for everyone — especially those who merely sign a form to evade a law.

If we believe we need to help people who need help, we need to help them when they are kids, so we do not need to help them when they are adults.

Let’s not stick our heads in the sand about what is happening or what could happen. We can value freedom and urge responsibility.

Hello, legislators. Anybody … home?

Tom Stein is senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Richmond.

About Me: Are You Part of the Homeschooling Movement?

Question: So how did you get involved in the home schooling movement? I home schooled some, saw a lot of positive out of it. Unfortunately, I also met home school parents who didn’t do a good job.

Answer: The short answer is, No. At least not in the sense of a movement that is organized. I think many people believe a movement isn’t a real movement until there are some non-profits involved, hiring lobbyists to give the movement ‘a voice’ in Washington. That’s not a movement. A movement is something where a huge number of people end up doing the same thing without the need for mailing lists, newsletters, calling trees and fundraising campaigns.

IF we are using the later term, then yes, I am part of the homeschooling movement. And I got into it by simply not forcing my kids to attend their local public school.

I didn’t get involved in the “movement” so much, as I just decided to become an involved parent. We decided to be involved in the raising AND education of our children. We decided early on that one of us was going to stay home when we had children, and as it turned out, I was self-employed in a business that was not conducive to a steady income and my wife was. Choice made.

While the kids were growing up, I used my skills to develop a web based and user-group based homeschooling network http://www.ihen.org. I also joined a few other, like-minded parents to found http://www.indianahomeschoolers.com. For about a decade now, we’ve supported, helped, networked with other parents who need help with their homeschooling. We’ve (collectively) answered literally thousands of questions and pointed thousands of people in the right directions, finding co-ops, internet resources, hard resources (like museums, libraries, etc.) and generally Helped Hoosiers Homeschool. In fact, that’s our motto: Helping Hoosiers Homeschool since the turn of the century.

Are we a movement? Nah. We’re a project. A work in progress. We aren’t so much a “movement” as we are a simple networking hub for information and ideas about alternatives to public, state schooling.

So, am I a part of the movement? I suppose so. But it’s not like I have a fancy placard on the wall making it official.

Now… What About Those Other People?

The end of your question reflects a condition I like to refer to as: TOPS (Those Other People Syndrome).

If I can encourage you to think outside of the box a little, I would like for you to think deeply about your last two sentences.

You say you experienced a lot of positive things. Were those experiences more positive than you might have experienced with a public school? If so, then isn’t that the entire point of having the freedom to choose the educational paths for your family? You did great! Kids are great! Life is good!

But you say it’s unfortunate that (in your opinion) there were some parents who weren’t doing a good job homeschooling their own kids.

First… so what? Does the fact that (in your opinion) some people don’t do such a good job, impugn the entire enterprise? (I ask that because there are a surprising number of people who believe that a few bad apples should indite the entire barrel.)

Here is where I would like for everyone to do a little deeper thinking: If that is the case — bad homeschoolers make homeschooling an undesirable lifestyle for everyone — then what are we to do with other failing things? What about failing government schools? Bad teachers? Uninvolved and neglectful parents? Are not they just as, if not more, influential and destructive to the lives of children?

And what about those parents who are just plain bad? They send their kids to public schools because it’s convenient to not have to care for your own children 24/7, they don’t have to take responsibility for the kids’ education — and it’s free. The State Schools teach the kids next to nothing in a values-free vacuum, because they believe that kids that don’t learn things just don’t have involved parents. The kids don’t get any instruction at home, so  in essence, we have millions of kids being raised by government schools adopting Lord of the Flies philosophies and nurtured by the media culture. The kids are screwed until they can leave home and make a mess of their lives all on their own.

It’s at this point where we can easily tell which young adults were homeschooled and which went to public institutions. And I can say without doubt that the worst homeschooler I’ve met has never been worse than the best public schooler I’ve met. See, I don’t judge the parents; I judge the fruit (once it has matured.)

Are the bad parents doing a good job? Can we more easily point to those families on the street and say, “I’m worried about the way they’re raising their kids.” Sure we can.

But we don’t. Do we. So why the scrutiny on homeschoolers… who are most likely sitting quietly in a library, reading or researching or doing something relatively useful with their lives, with some involved guidance from their parents?

Homeschoolers are easy targets because they’re not doing things the way the rest of the Sheeple do, and that makes the Sheeple nervous.

The point is: at the end of the day, there isn’t much we can do about how people raise and educate their children, can we? We can’t conduct junk food raids on the homes of fat parents with fat kids (yet) and we can’t conduct “educational neglect” raids on the homes of homeschooling families (mostly because most public schools are doing much worse at that teaching thing.)

Fact is: Homeschooling families are always “suspect” and under suspicion for somehow harming their own children by doing something so out of the ordinary as RAISING THEM. Why is that? Please think about it a bit.

If there is one thing, dear reader, you come away with after reading this post, I hope you begin believing that it’s more important to watch out for the people who are REALLY affecting, abusing, indoctrinating our children and stop worrying about how parents — you’ve seen or heard about — are raising and educating their children. Here’s another motto I’ve used for years:

All Parents are Educators. What are you teaching YOUR children?

And THAT is what I do. I help people make progress and think for themselves and stop worrying about Those Other People by busting a few myths. If this is something you call a “movement” — to that I say, “Whatever. I’m in.”

BbB

Indiana needs standards for home schooling | The Journal Gazette Op-ed

Good Grief! The Journal Gazette reported last month that two mothers and their children were indentured into slavery to their public government school (for failing to keep attendance while they homeschooled) and now the second salvo has been shot across the bow.

Indiana needs standards for home schooling | The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Look for Indiana legislators in the pockets of the NEA and the ISTA to start pounding gavels on this issue next session.

BbB

Followup: Lax Home-School Laws Put Kids at Risk

We learned in an earlier post that some people believe laws encouraging freedom and liberty, are actually dangerous to … the children. To put it in the context of homeschooling, I will quote from the article on www.detnews.com:

Michigan has one of the most lenient home school laws in the nation, giving tens of thousands of families the freedom to teach their children in the manner they want without government interference. But timid and sporadic enforcement of the law’s minimal requirements has been exploited by some unscrupulous parents hiding abuse or educational neglect.

In other words… parents who say they are homeschooling are more likely to abuse their children since their children are not under the supervision of the State for most of their childhoods.

Did the article mention that these parents have been under investigation for a long time? Nope. Wonder why? Me too.

Because the state is barred from collecting any data on home school students, it’s impossible to know how many parents may be abusing the law or how well those students are doing academically.

Does anyone with a brain cell agree with me that it’s asinine to think that  “collecting data” on families will deter abuse and violence against one’s own children? I know… CPS does an awesome job already.

But at least two deaths can be traced to parents pulling their children from public schools to squelch abuse complaints, authorities say. In both cases, parents claimed they were home schooling their children despite having no books or educational materials in their homes.

READ THAT AGAIN!! Two deaths related to pulling children away from the Government Schools! I will give $10 to anyone who can determine that Child Protective Services was NOT already involved in the lives of the family of the dead children.

You can quote me on this one:

…on a per capita basis, your children are thousands of times less likely to be assaulted, raped, abused and even killed, while in your home(school) than children under the care of their Government School.

This is insane! There were allegedly already “abuse complaints” filed somewhere, and then the parents yank the kids out of school. So… what? They get some get-out-of-school card that gives them sudden permission to void all pending inquiries by the state? Lunacy!!

Others have used home schooling as an excuse to keep children at home to care for younger siblings or ailing parents, without providing any educational materials.

NO CITATIONS OF FACTS OR WITNESSES TO SUPPORT THIS ASSERTION.

Just what can be done in such cases — and who can do it — is so unclear that some officials call a false claim of home schooling a “get-out-of-jail-free card.”

PLEASE QUOTE SOMEONE WHO SAYS THAT. I ASSUME “SOME” OFFICIALS MEANS MORE THAN ONE?

“As long as home schooling is as lax as it is,” said Charlotte Smith, a state Office of Children’s Ombudsman intake officer, “it’s an avenue for parents to hide abuse.”

I AM ABSOLUTELY GOING TO EXPLODE! Some officials say that reading ignorant news articles like this can cause medical emergencies and outbreaks of heavy drinking. Really. It’s true!

In 20 years, Michigan has moved from some of the most restrictive home school laws to among the most lenient. There are no instruction-time requirements, no curriculum standards, no minimum education level for the teachers and no testing.

2014-06-24_20148_wta_5dm3And as we have learned… Michigan cities like Detroit have some of the worse public schools in the nation. So how is all that red tape and curriculum standards working out for you all? Pretty awesome, if you go by all of the photographers who are using Detroit as the super-model of urban decay photo essay subjects.  Catch some more examples of these monuments to the failed Government Education Complex, here.

That freedom has fueled an explosion of Michigan home schools, with an estimated 72,000 children now learning at home.

Did you know that the Indiana DOE thinks there are around 23,000 homeschoolers in Indiana? Would it bother you to know that in reality, it could be as high as 80,000? What difference does this make? It only points out that on a per capita basis, your children are thousands of times less likely to be assaulted, raped, abused and even killed, while in your home(school) than children under the care of their compulsory Government School. How’s that for a factoid?

Why are government officials all of a sudden so worried about FREEDOM? All this “freedom” caused an explosion of homeschooling? How about all this educational slavery finally caused parents to wake up and to seek out alternative educational options.

Just sayin’.

__________
During the past year [2005], 7.9% of students nationwide had been threatened or injured with a weapon (gun, knife, or club) on school property one or more times.
2005 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance

If Indiana Homeschoolers were experiencing the same kinds of violence, that would mean (assuming there were 40,000 homeschoolers in Indiana) over 3,160 homeschoolers are allegedly experiencing the kinds of violence and “abuse” that close to 800,000 Hoosier Public Schoolers experience (for a fact) every year in those protective institutions we call Schools.

BbB