Last year, U.S. marshals serving an eviction notice found the decomposed remains of the children of Banita Jacks. Although five government agencies had dealt with Ms. Jacks since 2006, and took no action to help the children, it is homeschooling parents who will be held accountable for the results of Ms. Jacks’s mental illness: the murder of her children.
Yes, some people lost their jobs as a result of the tragedies, but those people were paid by the taxpayers to watch out for bad situations.
Yes, social work case loads increased after the city was shocked by the discovery of the children’s remains. Apparently both 3rd party reporters, and social workers, have become more conservative.
But it is homeschooling families who will be subject to the new restrictions from now until …
DC makes rules for parents who home school, 22 July 2008, WTOP, Washington, D.C.
Some important changes are coming for parents who want to home school their children in the District.
The changes that will effect the homeschooling of children between the ages of 5 and the children’s 18th birthdays include:
- parents and guardians electing to homeschool will be required to submit written notification of their intent to homeschool to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education
- parents must have a high school diploma or an equivalent, or a waiver from the OSSE
- yearly notification of homeschooling to be filed before 15 August each year
- notification within 15 days of the discontinuation of homeschooling of any child
- specification of minimum areas of study: “language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, health, and physical education.”
- parents must maintain for one year a portfolio of their child’s work
- the OSSE may review the portfolio upon request up to two times a year, although regular reviews are not mandated
- the OSSE will make determinations about whether regular instruction is taking place in the home within 30 days of any review
- the parent or guardian must respond in writing within 30 days, and provide a “Corrective Action Plan”
- the OSSE shall respond within 15 days of the date of the “Corrective Action Plan”
- if the OSSE approves the “Corrective Action Plan,” the parent is required to implement it
- if the “Corrective Action Plan” doesn’t correct the deficiencies, the OSSE will issue a “Letter of Non-Compliance” which the parent may appeal within 15 days of the date of the non-compliance letter
- if the appeal is denied, the children must be enrolled in a school unless a court order stays the decision
Apparently, earlier drafts of the regulation were more restrictive. Other homeschooling organizations advised the D.C. homeschoolers, and the regulation states that, “over 2800 emails and written comments and 400 phone calls were received from across the United States with 16 written comments from District of Columbia residents.”
It is ironic that the people who will be weighing the success of homeschooled children are the same ones in charge of a school system that, in 2007, was said to be “failing.” The irony only increases because those parents also pay taxes supporting the school system they have chosen not to use. From the Brookings Institution:
Over the years learned reports detailing the poor performance of DC schools have piled up in a high stack. These reports all say the same thing. Despite many excellent principals and teachers, substantial investment and some successes, too many students are not learning basic reading and mathematics skills, and few are excelling. Too many students are dropping out; too few are going on to post-secondary education and succeeding when they get there. Many school facilities are in bad shape, out of date, and poorly maintained. Some principals, teachers, and staff are not up to the job. Special education (including transportation) is often ineffective and absorbs too large a share of the budget.
Other information about this chain of events can be found at: