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ALL TOO EASY

Filed at 3:57 am under by dcobranchi

The NitwitTimes, er, NWITimes thinks (and I use that term very loosely) it has an issue worthy of the Indiana legislature’s best efforts– home education:

Here’s another education issue the General Assembly should examine: standards for home-schooling.

…But left behind in this zeal to improve the quality of education are the 23,455 youngsters in Indiana who are home-schooled.

Indiana requires little except that the parents fill out a form to register the child as being taught at home.

After that, parents can do pretty much whatever they want. Resources are available to the parents, but they are not required to use them.

Some students who are home-schooled excel academically. But others don’t.

Those are the children who can easily fall through the cracks.

Some educators worry that parents are only pretending to home-school their children, using the privacy this arrangement offers in order to withdraw their children from public schools and avoid prosecution.

It’s a legitimate concern. How would anyone know whether those children are learning well in a nontraditional setting?

The state’s interest in seeing that all children receive the education they need in order to survive in today’s world could easily be addressed by requiring standardized tests like the ISTEP for all children, regardless of where they are taught.

Parents who are truly teaching their children would have no reason to worry about these tests. They would give an independent gauge of how well their children are performing compared to their peers in the public schools.

The parents who are failing to teach their children well, if at all, would have a reason to stop procrastinating on their children’s lessons.

And educators who worry about students who are withdrawn from public schools would know that the state hasn’t written off those children because they are outside the system.

Indiana should make sure that all children should learn at least the very basic skills needed to survive in today’s society — including balancing a checkbook and reading signs, general-interest magazines and newspapers.

Requiring all students, even ones schooled at home, to take a standardized test each year would be a good way to measure progress toward that goal.

Your opinion, please

Should children taught at home be required to take a standardized test each year to measure how much they are learning?

Share your thoughts at http://www.nwitimes.com/youropinion

I think I’ll send a comment.

UPDATE: I love the smell of snark in the morning. My LttE (which will never see the light of day):

Dear NitwitTimes editor,

Just a couple of quick comments about your proposal to test all homeschoolers–

1) You acknowledge that the IN public schools are “dismal.” Is not the standardized testing an integral part of the system. It appears to be not working. Why do you think this is a good idea to propagate these same tests to homeschoolers?

2) You fail to mention private schools, which also don’t take the ISTEP. How come? Afraid to take on a larger constituency?

3) Your proposal to force homeschoolers to take the ISTEP is illegal under federal law. That’s right. NCLB exempts homeschoolers from having to take the state accountability tests.

But, other than these minor flaws, I think your proposal is a fine idea. I’m sure you’ve done your public school teachers proud today.

BTW, I have decided to include reading your editorial as part of my homeschooled children’s lessons for today. You see, we’re studying The Fallacy Detective and I’m sure we’ll be able to spot at least a half-dozen in this brief piece. Thanks for the free real-world lesson.

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