Eyewitness News 3, Hartford, Connecticut, Â Report: Conn. has more school students than Census countedÂ
Dateline: Boise, Idaho.
- Idaho is one of six U.S. states that require no registration from parents who decide to keep their children out of school and teach them at home. But neither the state nor school districts track homeschooling, so nobody knows for sure how many children are learning somewhere. Kelly estimated there are more than 4,700 homeschooled kids in Idaho.
"You’re still left with 9,000 kids" not accounted for, Kelly said. His report, "Educational Neglect and Compulsory Schooling: A Status Report," was commissioned by the Idaho governor’s office, which did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.
This report is reminiscent of a story I saw inÂ our overseas military community’s newspaper, theÂ Heidelberg Herald-Post, in 1995.Â The homeschool-specific portion of that 1995Â story read:
- In other DODDS news, officials will establish a new regulation requiring DOD personnel overseas (sic) to attend school.Â Present rules call for commanders to encourage school attendance.
â€œThe word â€˜encourageâ€™ is too soft,â€ said Bartley Lagomarsino, deputy director of the DOD Education Activity.Â â€œIf we get a DOD instruction requiring school attendance, commanders and DODDS administrators will have the authority to make inquiries of parents.â€
Lagomarsino said DODDS doesnâ€™t have data on whether there are children overseas who arenâ€™t getting an education.Â With the regulation, officials can gather this information.
â€œWe can match that list against our rolls, and find our (sic) if children are not attending our schools are going to host nation schools (sic) or are getting other appropriate alternative education,â€ Lagomarsino added.Â â€œWe want to make sure no children are falling through the cracks.â€™"
At the time, I wrote DoDDS a letter, DoDDS being the DoD Dependent Schools system.Â The point I made to them, and one that is relevant-in-theme to the Idaho-by-way-of-Connecticut story, was that during the Cold War, andÂ prior to both the overseas militaryÂ ‘drawdown’ and the rise of homeschooling, there was no mechanism for keeping track of the thousands of American kidsÂ littering foreign countries around the globe from Germany, to Morocco, to Turkey, to the Philippines, to Japan,Â and nobody worried thenÂ about crack-slipping children.Â Truancy aside, it wasn’t until parents started taking responsibility for their children’s educations that the overseas officials started worrying about where the kids were.
From my letter:
- During the Cold War, when overseas troop strength was at its highest, I noticed no such policies requiring parents to report where their children were enrolled, despite the size and fluidity of the population.Â There were more cracks for the children to fall into , and they were much bigger since there were no computer databases on students, nor were there programs to consolidate data.Â Why was there no fear for these children then?
The junior noses in theater remained uncounted by DoDDS throughout the 70s, … the 80s, … and the first part of the 90s …Â Never once was concern expressed by the school when we arrived at a new duty station as to whether or not we had children or, if we did, where they were.
The common featuresÂ between the Channel 3 report of the Idaho story, and the 1995Â Herald-Post story are:
- "No one" knows where the children are
- The student "accounting systems" are poor
- Schools ‘don’t have the data’
- No registration is required
- The bureaucracy needs more authority
- Officials need to oversee homeschooling
The unanswered question, though, is what about the children whoÂ do attend school, but yet graduate without a good education?
- Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri, 20 January 2006, College students lack basic skills
More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks.
So, in the Idaho story, a boy had his mother fill out his application.Â In the 2001 episode,Â anÂ overseas general said he’d heard of a boy who couldn’t pass the ASVAB.Â Â These types of examplesÂ are being used to push for more authority over homeschoolers.Â But what about the 50 and 75 percenters in the A.P. story picked up by theÂ Kansas City Star?Â Where did they go to school?Â And who’s got authority over those schools?Â
The watchers want to watch us.Â Who’s watching them?