It may be merely a ‘back to school’ focus, or it could show a desire for a return to ‘olden times’ when there was no relief from compulsory attendance at school, or a cash-flow problem for districts who either want or need more money in their system. Whatever the cause is, the number of articles about returning the oversight of all children’s educations to an entity other than their parents continues to grow.
- Wasilla, Alaska, 18 Sep 2005 Home-school testing sought (indirect link because the source page wants $5 for 1-day privileges)
On Sept. 7, the Mat-Su School Board voted 6-1 in support of the Alaska Association of School Board’s recommended core resolutions, one of which called for continued support for implementing state control over private home-school operations.
In 2004, state Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, unsuccessfully sponsored a bill that would have assigned 10-digit identification numbers to every child in Alaska, including private home-school children.
Information about the child’s educational process would have then been reported to the Legislature each year.
The Department of Education and Early Development was slated to administer this tracking system in conjunction with the Department of Health and Social Services.
With heavy opposition from private home schoolers, however, the bill never made it to a vote. The AASB resolution indicates the issue may come up again, though, during the next legislative session.
Larry DeVilbiss, the sole Mat-Su School Board member to vote against supporting the AASB resolutions, said he thinks public education should focus on its own students rather than trying to regulate home schoolers.
"Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against public education," he said, "but I sure don’t think public education, when we are having trouble getting kids to pass benchmarks, should be concerned about regulating everyone else."
This development may go hand-in-glove with the news article from October 2004, Mat-Su District Steps in to Meet Needs of Home-schooling Families in which my predecessor, Ann Lahrson Fisher, wrote, "It appears to me that this pro-public school at home story fits hand in glove with last week’s stories from the Frontiersman which, you may recall, advocated for a reduction of homeschooling freedom under the guise of governmental regulation of homeschooling."
In the past year there have been such reports from Mississippi, Oregon, Minnesota (PDF page 97), South Dakota, Tennessee, Oregon again, the U.K., and Oregon again, North Carolina, California, do I have to mention Oregon again? (whew!, the post after that one says the Oregonians caught a break), but only for a moment, Ohio, Alaska, and Indiana. Ten states have looked hard enough at homeschooling that the looking generated news.
It’s hard to say whether activity in ten states out of fifty constitutes a trend, but it’s something to keep an eye on.