I saw that Susan commented on this story a couple of weeks ago in Forced to Homeschool?, and that she questioned the terminology used. I put it out of my mind but another version of the story came to my attention again as I was cleaning out my Google alerts folder. I saw that misnomers by some members of the news media continued (an explanation of “home-bound” instruction is on PDF pages 30 – 31), and many bloggers commented on the story in the context of ‘homeschooling = home bound.’ The participants at the Snopes discussion board continued in this vein until one of the participants noted, “I take back what I said about homeschooling. According to this columnist, they aren’t doing what we think of as homeschooling, they are getting a district paid tutor. That’s homebound not homeschooled. Big difference.”
Not everyone figured out the “big difference.”
(underlining added in the snips)
CBS2 Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 13 December 2006, Teen Expelled From School For Turning In Found Gun
… Ryan Morgan’s parents and supporters attended the school board meeting Wednesday evening to try to fight the expulsion. They believe the punishment, and the subsequent alternative school option, are not the proper responses to a mistake made by a teenage boy.
WBBM Newsradio 780, Chicago, Illinois, 14 December 2006, Teen Turns In Found Gun, Gets “Expelled”
John Izzo says, while he is prohibited from going into detail about the allegations, the student has been restricted from the general school environment and all school activities but will be provided a home-based tutor and will be allowed to graduate with his class.
The Herald News, Sun-Times News Group, Joliet, Illinois, 14 December 2006, Student ordered to be home schooled
JOLIET — The school board for an elementary district has chosen to have a student home schooled instead of expelling him in response to a possession of a gun incident.
The Herald News, Sun-Times News Group, Joliet, Illinois, Troy student won’t be expelled in pellet gun case
JOLIET — A Troy Middle School student will be home schooled instead of being expelled for gun possession.
Officials at Troy School District 30C barred the teen from attending school for the remainder of the year, although they have assigned him an at-home tutor.
Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, 15 December 2006, Parents hit punishment for picking up pellet gun
“In this case, the board’s final motion was to have the student assigned to homebound study instead of expulsion, where no educational services would be offered at all,” Schochat said.
Blogger News Network, 14 December 2006, Schoolboy Turns in Found Weapon’, Gets Suspended For Effort.
As mentioned, this penalty is supposed to leave young Ryan expelled for a full year. Of course, the school board really does “care” about education, you know? We know this because they say so, you see. So, instead of leaving him expelled and sans educational opportunity they are going to pay for a year of home schooling.
And this is where the commotion about what at-home education is called. Once the term ‘homeschooling’ refers to any kind of at-home education/instruction/learning, the conclusions reached during the discussion may be erroneous.
Not only is Ryan being punished for trying to fulfill what he is told is his duty, but now so are the taxpayers who will have to pay double for this young man to be educated. With property taxes already paying for his education once at the school, it will now be doubled for his home schooling.
Free Republic, 14 December 2006, Schoolboy Turns in Found ‘Weapon’, Gets Suspended For Effort
— Also, as to the homeschooling crap…not only do the taxpayers have to anti up, but what about the parents?
— The school district does NOT receive funding for this kid’s education if he is not there, so in effect the taxpayers are NOT paying double for his education. Furthermore, the cost of private school or homeschooling (or vouchers) is typically less than the amount spent per student by the public school system. Therefore, if he is being homeschooled with the school district paying for it, the taxpayers are actually saving money on this kid’s education.
— And if, during the year of home schooling, he should find another gun and turn it into his publicly-funded homeschoolers….
— Homeschooling at taxpayer expense. What an interesting concept.
— This school ordered the boy to be homeschooled (or, as officials put it, to “home bound study”) for a year, at taxpayers’ expense.
See where the confusion of terms gets us? It appears that the officials are seen to be waffling by calling homeschooling, “home bound study.”
— Interesting, as many families homeschool their children without the taxpayers footing the bill.
Many? No, not many, most. But the terms need to be used correctly, while taking into consideration state specifics.
In states such as Iowa and Florida, homeschooling can be legally underwritten by the taxpayers while California has only private school laws, so ‘homeschooling’ is up in the air, too — legally speaking. But the story of Ryan Morgan is from Illinois, and the Illinois laws don’t include public school at home in the private-school homeschooling language, although un-enrolled youth may participate in credit courses at public schools if space is available. In this manner, the course is ‘paid for’ by the registration in the school, just as with any other young person who attends public school, and the course is administered and proctored in the normal public school fashion so that the bureaucracy does all the appropriate i-dotting and t-crossing.
In many places, though, the concept of homeschooling is either knowingly or sloppily co-opted. Regardless of whether the confusion is intentional or accidental doesn’t mean that public school programs delivered via a computer modem and now being labeled homeschooling actually are homeschooling (as in the case of virtual schools), or that “home bound” school lessons mailed back and forth from the local public school constitutes homeschooling. Those programs are publicly funded in their entirety. (caveat for virtual programs fully paid for by parents — this topic is not simply black and white)
Homeschooling families fund their children’s educations privately — that was the impetus before the movement was a movement: Independence. Freedom. Liberty.
Schooling provided at public expense is a part of the public school system. Of course, given the fifty-plus sets of rules (or lack thereof) concerning home education, there are exceptions to the legal terminology, but the ‘do it yourself’ modus operandi of homeschooling parents is intrinsic to the concept of homeschooling. Yes, junior college classes add a wrinkle, but those classes aren’t part of the compulsory primary, elementary, middle/junior, and high school structure such as is considered by most state laws (or most state funding pigeonholes).
Using public money specifically for 1st through 12th grade instruction (but not for college credits) usually incurs an obligation to meet the instructional requirements to be met by using the money. This is how the federal government enforces NCLB. If you take the money, you take the test.
A big problem with the confusion of homeschooling with other at-home options is that, in the realm of public opinion, what is factual doesn’t matter. It is what is believed that sways opinion — and believing the worst is a pleasurable hobby.
posted by Valerie