As an Illinois homeschooler, this headline below published in the Fox Valley Villages Sun definitely got my attention as a very strange possibility. Homeschoolers are independent of the public school system, and school district policies shouldn’t have anything to do with a homeschooler’s graduation.
Proposed changes could make it impossible for them to graduate
But after reading the article, it appears the proposed changes refer to homeschoolers who made the decision to enroll (transfer into) public schools. According to Human Resources Asst. Superintendent Nancy Valenta, an Indian Prairie School District policy revision proposal addresses area homeschool transferees to “pass the same muster” and obtain the “same sense of rigor and standards present in the school“.
In other words, via the School Way, Valenta was pushing for a district policy revision demanding that a “district-approved external accrediting agency” certified any homeschool credits and grades transferred onto a public high school transcript.
From the article:
Home-schooling mother of three and Naperville resident Wendy Montalbano has been home-schooling for two years and does not plan on sending her children back to the public school system unless an emergency forces her to work to support the family. If that happened, credits such as an anatomy class taught by a medical doctor that her son took this year would not transfer to the district. Her son would have to repeat any classes he took while home schooled before graduating.
I wouldn’t think they’d be attracting too many homeschoolers back to that school district with this new proposal. Wendy Montalbano and Holly Ramsey (Naperville Home Educators founder/moderator) are working with school district staffer Mike Popp, to change the proposal into a more realistic version that reflects homeschoolers’ actual knowledge acquisition.
Looking at some of the Naperville area learning opportunities including libraries, 4-H, park districts, science museums and living history sites, it does seem ironic that bureaucratic stamp of approval seems necessary. The quality of those community enterprises is evident to those who use them.
The informational good fortune continues for the children, as some of the Naperville home educators also co-op. The kids can’t be lacking with the teachers involved in this organization. Learning Vine Homeschool Co-op founder Chris Digweed notes that:
The Learning Vine has been offering quality classes to homeschoolers for many years, and is currently launching a new academic program which will begin this coming fall. It will provide intensive, college preparatory coursework for high school students which will include AP study classes, intensive mathematics, science, and honors level literature and writing studies.
Many Illinois school districts don’t offer that multitude of college preparatory opportunities. Surely an equal or better “sense of rigor and standards present in the school” is also recognizable in private school opportunities. A practical person would think that educational due should be given even without accreditation. But I might just be thinking outside the school building (box).
Brava to Dawn DeSart, who thought input about policy should be heard from the community taxpayers that it affects. She appears to be a true community servant.
School board member Dawn DeSart, who questioned the policy revision in Monday’s meeting, said she would like the current policy to stand or else to have a standardized test administered to all students entering the district.”Whatever the policy says I just want it to be fair,” DeSart said. “Even though people like Wendy don’t have children in the school system, they’re still in the district – they still get a property tax bill like the rest of us do, so they definitely need to have input.
The negotiations are ongoing. It appears that the proposal will be heard again at the June 22nd school board meeting. Let common sense prevail. Learning is the bottom line. Accreditation should not be.