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HEY KAY!

Filed at 3:59 am under by dcobranchi

The Jackson (TN) Sun is calling for increased regulation of homeschooling in that state. The whole thing is pretty ugly, but these may be the worst parts:

Finally, the law should be rewritten to require that every home schooler take the same state-mandated achievement tests as everyone else.

Those opposed to reform and in favor of maintaining the status quo are missing the point. Home-schooling was intended to give parents flexibility in teaching their children. It never was intended as a substitute for traditional education, and it shouldn’t become one.

Homeschoolers in Tennessee are blessed with a strong statewide group. I imagine the LttE are being composed even as y’all sleep. 🙂

6 Responses to “HEY KAY!”


Comment by
Jill
December 21st, 2004
at 8:29 am

What is TN law regarding private schools? I’d be very interested to know. This sounds like the same stuff they are trying to pull in NJ, pretty much the same wording in the editorials I’ve seen up here and everything. Yet here in NJ the private schools are not required to do any testing, and there are many more of them than there are of us!


Comment by
Eric Holcombe
December 21st, 2004
at 9:16 am

Homeschoolers are registered as independent or as part of a church-related (private/umbrella) school. Independent homeschoolers register with the local school board and take all testing required by public schools and all attendance/grade reporting goes to local board. Must have a BS/BA to teach beyond 8th grade. Those registered with an umbrella are treated as private school students and must follow the testing guidelines set forth by the private (church-related) school for K-8. No records go to the state. The private/church related umbrellas are generally about the same as the public system on achievement testing. Generally, only a HS diploma required to teach through 12th grade. All students take the same tests for grades 9-12. Except for the “Gateway” exams. These were made by the state prior to NCLB as proficiency tests (English, Algebra, Biology). Their “passing” score varies from 40-45%. They are used for NCLB now. Thus, they only apply to the students receiving federal funding and NCLB prohibits the state from forcing these qualifier tests on private and homeschool students. Some school districts haven’t figured that out yet.


Comment by
Daryl Cobranchi
December 21st, 2004
at 10:40 am

Kay Brooks has written before that the rule that homeschoolers must take the state accountability tests is widely ignored. I think it would also be unenforceable under NCLB, but I don’t think that’s been tested in court.


Comment by
Eric Holcombe
December 21st, 2004
at 11:23 am

Well, I did my part. We’ll see if it gets published.

I think HSLDA has been involved on an occasion or two regarding the Gateway stuff, but the LEA always backed off after a letter. I think it is usually more ignorance on their part than malice.


Comment by
Roy W. Wright
December 22nd, 2004
at 11:40 am

Home-schooling… never was intended as a substitute for traditional education…

No, “traditional” education was devised as a substitute for homeschooling.


Comment by
Kay Brooks
December 26th, 2004
at 11:05 am

Sorry to be posting so late…been busy with holiday stuff…well and working around here to deal with the Jackson Sun’s opinion piece.

It’s no surprise to the folks in Jackson that they’ve taken this stand. But the folks there are writing letters and making their opinions known. They’ve got a poll up at miva.j...784099, left column, near the bottom.

The Tennessee legislative session opens on January 11. We’re encouraging folks to contact legislators before then to prevent the filing of any bills that would require additional regulation. It’s been tried before and failed. The last time it failed 52 to 35.

This one incident which touched off the longer Tennessean article (tennes...065441) which the Jackson paper uses as a jumping off point for their opinion piece started with a 16 y/o girl being behind has a lot more to it than just homeschooling.

Mom was ill, the girl was scared, she trusted the wrong people and they called in DCS. The original charges of neglect were dropped for lack of merit and that’s when educational neglect charges were filed. Folks will be glad to know that the local homeschooling community jumped right in to help after learning of the trouble and the girl was making incredible progress. I’m not sure how well I’d have scored on a test if DCS had removed me from my home, forced me into a large public high school and been in my family’s face for months. The last I heard she was going to be enrolled in a Montessori school after the Christmas break.

The story was news because educational neglect charges are rare in Tennessee and it being a homeschooler added extra sizzle to the story.

Homeschoolers should not be held to a higher standard than private or public schoolers. You won’t find DCS charging any school system with educational neglect. Having homeschoolers register with the state will not ensure their education anymore than perfect attendance in the local school district will. Last year a legislator tried to get all private and home schoolers to take the same tests…it never got off the ground for the uproar it caused.

If a homeschooler is registered with an umbrella school (called church-related schools in Tennessee) they must test as the school tests their students…and that may not be any testing at all. If the child is registered with the LEA they must be tested in the 5 & 7th grades. The law also includes the 9th grade but there is no 9th grade test. There are end of course/gateway tests. We’re in a polite stand off about submitting to those. LEA’s regularly send out letters saying “Come take the test” and we ignore those letters.

The ‘satellite’ option that most private/homeschoolers utilize isn’t codified. It’s clarified in a position letter from a DOE attorney after some trouble almost 5 years ago. TnHome...r.html.

Let me know if I can clarify anything further. I’ll try and check here more often. 🙂