The legislation the following article discusses is House Bill 5912. The main addition to the language of the law is:
Sec. 1578. … 2) The parent or legal guardian of a child being educated at the child’s home by his or her parent or legal guardian as described in section 1561(3)(f) shall at the beginning of each school year furnish all of the following to the superintendent of schools of the school district in which the child’s home is situated or the intermediate superintendent of the intermediate school district in which the child’s home is situated:
(a) The name and age of each child who is being educated at the home.
(b) The number or name of the school district and the city or township and county in which the parent or legal guardian resides.
(c) The name and address of the parent or legal guardian.
Homeschooling notification is not an undue burden, 16 April 2008, Livingston Daily, Livingston, Michigan
Three Democratic state lawmakers from the mid-Michigan area are sponsoring a bill that would require all homeschooled students to submit their names and ages to their respective school districts each fall. It would also mandate that the address and name of the parent or legal guardian of the home be submitted to the school district.
Not surprisingly, the homeschooling community — and Livingston County lawmakers — are opposing the bill. They see it as unnecessary, and worry that it could lead to further controls on homeschooling. …
“I think it’s reasonable that we know where and if our children are being educated, whether it’s in a public school, private school, or at home,” said sponsoring Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing.
The information could be valuable to districts in planning, as Scott Menzel, superintendent of the Livingston Educational Service Agency, pointed out. “Having looked at the bill, it seems on the surface to be innocuous,” he said. “I think that information could be valuable to know where students are.”
The comments attributed to the representative and the superintendent indicate the viewpoint of the people working to pass the legislation.
The representative sees the children of other people as “our children.” Now, if the children in question were under the direction of a group of people who had their own children in the system, then yes, those children could be described as “our” children. But when the children in question are not part of the system in question, then why do the people running that system consider the children to be theirs?
The children have their own parents who are seeing to their educations. Problem solved with no need for legislation.
The superintendent sees the children as “students.” By quantifying Michigan children as “students,” they are pigeonholed in relation to school. They are not ‘sons,’ or ‘daughters,’ or ‘skateboarders,’ or ‘bicyclists.’ Michigan children of compulsory attendance age are “students,” whether their parents have enrolled them in public schools or not. The children who live in the state do not function (in this characterization) as anything except school widgets.
The superintendent describes the information of knowing who they are, and where they are, as “valuable.” In other places, the value of this information was proven. When the cyber-school development began in Ohio and Pennsylvania, homeschooling parents were surprised to find cyberschool information in their snailboxes without the parents having requested such information, and it irritated some of the parents.
I have seen no indication that this is what is intended in Michigan, it is only something I know has happened elsewhere.
I have just begun reading Alfie Kohn’s book, Education, Inc., and one of the early concerns in the book is how children are viewed.
The question is what vision of schooling — and even of children — lies behind such suggestions. While a proper discussion of this issue lies outside the scope of this book, it is immediately evident that seeing education as a means for bolstering our economic system (and the interests of the major players in that system) is very different from seeing education as a means for strengthening democracy, for promoting social justice, or simply for fostering the well-being and development of the students themselves.
Although I object to the use of the word “students,” is agree with the rest of the thought.