This is a reposting of my weekly column at Da Tech Guy: The Fundamental Right To Homeschool
By A.P. Dillon
The NY Times has an article out this week titled, “Home Schooling: More Pupils, Less Regulation“. The article focuses on changes in Pennsylvania, but this is an article that should give everyone pause.
The article’s main thrust is that homeschools are not regulated enough and deserve more oversight – by a government entity, of course. A loose translation of that might be ‘all your kids are belong to us’.
The article talks around the fact that the choice to homeschool is the fundamental right of the parent, despite what the DOJ or in this case, a non-profit, might have to say about it. One of the major points of homeschooling is to avoid government interference and intrusion, not add to it.
The NY times cites a non-profit leading the charge to invade homeschools and bases the article around the non-profit’s claims on oversight:
Eleven states do not require families to register with any school district or state agency that they are teaching their children at home, according to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, a nonprofit group that is pushing for more accountability in home schooling. Fourteen states do not specify any subjects that families must teach, and only nine states require that parents have at least a high school diploma or equivalent in order to teach their children. In half the states, children who are taught at home never have to take a standardized test or be subject to any sort of formal outside assessment.
Coalition for Responsible Home Education’s (CRHE) website is registered anonymously. It seems perhaps that CHRE’s demands for accountability and transparency only extends to other people. View the non-profit information for CRHE here. I was unable to find their 990 or required 990-N.
The founders, Rachel Coleman and Heather Doney were homeschooled but have turned their attention to raising awareness of the abuses that can happen in a homeschool. Gee, because public schools don’t have that problem at all, right?
The unspoken underlying theme being that homeschooling is dangerous; Parents can’t be trusted to make educational decisions for their kids. Along those same lines is the theme of the use of homeschooling as a shield for abuse or equating homeschooling with abuse, with the focus on a small fraction of cases being used as the premise for oversight of the majority.
The NY Times article doesn’t cite the number of abuse cases but their non-profit source does on their website, “As of October 2014, the website has 242 cases listed, of which 94 involve fatalities.” Bear in mind, there are somewhere near 2 million homeschooled kids in the United States. On the official CHRE site, I didn’t see a time frame of these “242 cases and 94 fatalities”, however, on the website CHRE redirects you to called ‘Homeschooling’s Invisible Children’, they have a timeline of the fatalities that goes back to 1987.
The question has to be asked, are the “242 cases and 94 fatalities” CHRE is using from this timeline that spans a 28 year period? It can also be argued that in these cases pointed to by CHRE, homeschooling isn’t the issue, abuse is. Arguably, said abuse would have happened regardless of schooling status. I’m not trying to make light of any of these rather horrifying cases, just pointing out there appears to be a muddying of the real issue here.
Coleman, according to CRHE’s website, “is currently working on a dissertation on the role of children and childhood in the rise of the Christian Right.” Someone didn’t get the memo about homeschooling not being just for “scary religious people” anymore. Paging Buffy and Glenn Reynolds.
Coleman seems to be in the ‘all your kids belong to us’ camp. By her own admission in the NY Times piece,
spying on parents some accountability ought to keep those pesky parents in line:
Rachel Coleman, executive director of the coalition, who was home-schooled from kindergarten through high school, said that although she had a good experience, she had talked to many others who did not. “Just having some accountability would absolutely make parents who might otherwise drop the ball step it up a bit,” she said.
Got that parents? We need someone checking your work for you because you might slip up.
The closing paragraph is a good response to Ms. Coleman or anyone else who thinks they know best for someone else’s children:
Ms. Santoro said she was frustrated that despite the change in Pennsylvania’s law, she still had to show a portfolio of Jack’s and Lily’s work to an outside evaluator.
“It’s almost like the State of Pennsylvania feels that home-educating families are hiding something or that they just absolutely must micromanage us,” she said. “I only know what’s best for the Santoros. I don’t know what’s best for anyone else, and no one knows what’s best for me.”
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A.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon recently participated in Glenn Beck’sWe Will Not Conform. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.