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THE INQUIRER PILES ON

Filed at 7:08 am under by dcobranchi

The Philadephia Inquirer has a really ugly homeschooling=abuse regulation=good article.

If they had lived in Pennsylvania, it might have turned out differently.

There, homeschooled children are subject to some of the strictest scrutiny in the nation: Parents must file annual affidavits with the state that certify they have not been convicted of certain crimes; students must take standardized tests and have periodic, comprehensive health exams.

Children also have to be weighed and measured every year.

But for the four Collingswood brothers who authorities say were so starved by their adoptive parents that even the 19-year-old weighed less than 50 pounds, an important social trip wire was missing, experts say.

The Jackson brothers were homeschooled, and New Jersey has no requirements for such children to be evaluated. The state Department of Education does not require students to register, and does not authorize local school districts to monitor these students.

There are no standardized tests or curriculum requirements.

“If a family has something to hide, homeschooling is a very attractive option,” said Bonni H. Zetick, assistant professor of social work at La Salle University.

Schools are a vital part of a child’s safety net, Zetick said.

“At school, you can look for signs of physical abuse without a parent being present,” she said. “Schools have a long-term view; they see the child over time. These children either were being hidden or were not coming to anyone’s attention.”

They do quote a couple of homeschoolers (including Linda Dobson) but the paper’s position is obvious. I guess this means that a new homeschooling law for PA is unlikely for the forseeable future.

UPDATE: Tim, you might want to keep an eye on this:

Assemblywoman Mary T. Previte (D., Camden) said yesterday that she had ordered two bills be drafted to address problems exposed in the Collingswood case.

One bill would require adopted children whose parents receive a subsidy from the state to have annual medical examinations. Raymond and Vanessa Jackson received an average of $400 a month for each of their adopted children, who state officials said had not had a medical exam in five years.

Previte, chair of the Family, Women and Children’s Services Committee, said one bill would add oversight of homeschooled children.

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