This morning I read an opinion piece, “Home schools: Some regulations required” at the Mississippi Clarion Ledger. The commentary states that home education “can boast of dozens of famous people as successes.” It then goes on to state: “Despite luminaries of the past who were home schooled, today’s society requires academic and social skills that may be lacking in the home.”
This individual who wrote the opinion piece, reminded me of another article that was published in the Wapakoneta Daily News in Ohio a couple of weeks ago. In the article, “Honing Home Scholars; Stricter regulations needed” by Annie Linder, they too started off by stating that home education does do some good, but they then took a wild-curved turn and ‘hone’ in on why they believe home educators need more regulations.
Individuals such as these truly don’t understand that home educators are no more “perfect” than those who choose to send their children to public school. Each educational choice is a viable one and only individual families can determine which will best meet their child’s needs. Whenever I hear talk of “more regulation” I am reminded of the old maxim that hard cases make bad law.
Below is the letter I wrote to the editor in response to the Wapakoneta article that they have yet to print. I’d like to share it here as a public response to both of these articles.
To the Editor:
It’s a pleasure to know that your reporter, along with area school superintendents, unanimously agree that parents have a fundamental right to determine the educational decisions for their own children, as discussed in the opening paragraphs of your recent report, “Honing home scholars.”
Nonetheless, the superintendents’ later-stated goals seem a desperate grasp at a handful of students in the Auglaize County area who are being homeschooled, hoping to recapture them under schools’ umbrellas. “Recapture” is actually a word used by school administrators in their discussions about stemming funding losses by uncovering every potential captive student/dollar.
This makes logical sense, if not sense relative to parental rights or the best interests of their children. After all, base state funding for an Ohio student is $5,430. Added money for special education students, local and federal funding, and more translates to some real money. In the big homeschool campaign, the 125 homeschoolers countywide mentioned in the article, if captured, could translate to $678,750 minimum, a small but tidy payoff.
How? Virtual schools. In the classic corporate model: Bring more customers (fear mongering about parents might be productive?) while reducing your cost of doing business (virtual schools likely have bare-bones costs with curriculum packaged for mass consumption, especially in staffing costs since moms do all that work while losing the “captured” family’s independence.) Improve your bottom line and keep your job.
For families enrolling in any Ohio virtual school, this choice, too, is a fundamental right under current law. Claim that right if you wish, but go in with your eyes open and your descriptions clear. Your child will be enrolled in a public school, even if they are enrolled in a public charter school that takes place at home. Take a close look at the fine print that accompanies your choice so that you understand you will no longer be homeschooling, despite the building being used.
We are heading toward the third generation of families who have successfully homeschooled in the last 40 years. In the meantime, under draconian educational interference (think No Child Left Behind), teachers and students are hamstrung in schools by the dictates of Washington.
But don’t take my word for it. Visit the exploding on-line petition, created by school teachers, to dismantle NCLB.
Read what school is really like, as told by teachers, parents, students and honest administrators, before you even think about charging homeschooling parents with holding their children back or harming them in any way.
Olmsted Falls, Ohio
posted by Mary