Obama and Homeschooling

I’ve seen an interesting letter referenced on blogs and lists a couple of times now, in response to a November 12 fund-raising alert from HSLDA, which stated in part: “…And whenever private educators accept grants and benefits, there are conditions to receiving those benefits, including being subject to regulation. Just because the federal government has no constitutional authority over home education, however, doesn’t mean that federal bureaucrats or legislators might not attempt to impose some form of regulation over private and home education.”

The apparent letter of reply to that solicitation came from an interesting source: Dr. Patrick J. Wolf, a Professor and 21st Century Chair in School Choice in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions. Dr. Wolf wrote, “I cannot tell you with any certainty what policies President Obama will pursue regarding homeschooling, since, as you correctly observed, he has been strategically evasive regarding the issue. What I can do is provide you with some reasons to be more or less concerned about the future of homeschooling in America.”

Dr. Wolf, who holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard, then outlines three potential reasons for concern – and five reasons those concerns are probably unfounded. It’s an interesting read, especially this part: “Obama does speak of requiring “greater regulation” of and “accountability” in independent charter schools. Such language suggests that Obama may be skeptical of the effectiveness of autonomous educational institutions that are free of government control.”

Ever more reason to develop ways to distinguish between “autonomous educational institutions” and “autonomous educational methods.

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