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  • DMN UPDATE

    Filed at 6:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is sweet. The Op/Ed’s author (I didn’t see a byline earlier) has a blog. Comment away.

    7 Responses to “DMN UPDATE”


    Comment by
    Josh
    December 12th, 2005
    at 6:53 pm

    For the record, I’m not recommending any particular course of action or regulation. I’m just saying it bugs me that schools have found a way to look better on their dropout numbers by encouraging parents to pretend to be homeschoolers.

    And it’s not just me: the HSLDA says the same thing:

    “But we are increasingly concerned about the disturbing trend in a number of states that treat homeschooling as a ‘dumping ground’ for problem children. This problem has now surfaced in Louisiana. A number of states have established ‘high stakes’ systems that punish school districts when children fail. In some states, the districts are punished for having test scores that are too low. In other states, they are punished for having dropout rates that are too high. Creative school officials have learned to evade these accountability systems by turning their problem cases into ‘homeschoolers.’ Instead of allowing a child to drop out, they hand him or her homeschool paperwork…we also ask local support groups to be on the lookout for ‘dumping’ in their district. If you find that your district is turning real truants into fake homeschoolers, please insist that this practice stop. If your district will not respond to your polite request, let HSLDA know.”

    HSLDA has also opposed laws that allow kids to get a driver’s licenses only if they’re enrolled in school — precisely because such laws would cause a large number of dropouts to declare themselves “homeschoolers” just to get around the regulation.

    I’m not a homeschooler, but I absolutely respect a parent who wants to provide that his/her child. I just agree with the HSLDA that the legit homeschoolers would be better off if they could find a way to clear out the fakers.


    Comment by
    Daryl
    December 12th, 2005
    at 8:58 pm

    Sure. But your solution is apparently increased regulation for all. We “legitimate” home educators will fight that tooth and nail. And win every time.

    And you’re incorrect about HSLDA’s motivation for opposing laws tying driver’s licenses to school enrollment. In fact, you have it totally backwards. The rationale for opposing these laws is that it makes it easier to regulate home educators. After all, the HEKs would have to prove to some bureaucrat that they were “legitimate” homeschoolers in order to qualify.


    Comment by
    Josh
    December 13th, 2005
    at 12:30 pm

    “Totally backwards”? I point you here, where HSLDA tells its members why to oppose a Minnesota bill that would tie driver’s licenses to enrollment:

    “Although this bill has little direct effect on homeschoolers, its indirect effects are quite serious. Other states with similar legislation have seen a surge in ‘fake homeschoolers’ who pretend to be homeschooling when they have really simply dropped out. Homeschoolers are hurt when dropouts use homeschooling as a cover for their own misconduct.”

    Go reread my comment and tell me how I got it “totally backwards.” “Homeschoolers are hurt when dropouts use homeschooling as a cover for their own misconduct” — that’s exactly my point.


    Comment by
    Jeanne
    December 13th, 2005
    at 1:28 pm

    Josh, the problem is that some legitimate homeschoolers LOOK like drop-outs to some people who would like to take away their freedom to do things very differently from schools. My youngest son is learning to read despite total lack of a “curriculum,” and my oldest son spends very little time looking like he’s doing formal work but is constantly challenging himself and growing intellectually. If he’s reading politics, philosophy and economics at midnight but walking downtown by day, people could assume he’s a drop-out.

    The problem is not unregulated homeschoolers; the root problem lies with the fact that people are compelled by law to participate in an educational system that doesn’t work very well for many of them. So you get drop-outs. Homeschoolers shouldn’t be regulated into being assessed like schools in order to cover for the fact that the schools don’t meet the needs of many people, who then drop out.

    Regulating homeschoolers to make them fit a school model reduces parents’ abilities to customize education so it fits their children. We already see what happens when schools try a regulated “one-size-fits-all” system; why would we want to also tie the hands of interested, entrepreneurial parents whose children are becoming responsible, educated citizens through homeschooling?

    Deal with drop-outs by making education an attractive, workable option for people, not by reducing the freedom of homeschoolers.


    Comment by
    Scott W. Somerville
    December 13th, 2005
    at 2:59 pm

    I’m jumping in here without having read all the preceding items, but since I wrote the HSLDA articles that are being quoted here, I guess I have the right to comment.

    HSLDA has years of bitter experience of dealing with these new “raise the compulsory attendance age without really raising it” laws. Whether they are driver’s license bills or other attempts to condition government benefits on extended school attendance, they tend to have the same effect. Real dropouts pretend to be homeschoolers in order to qualify.

    HSLDA’s position on raising the compulsory attendance age is unwavering. We oppose EVERY attempt to raise the age where a child can leave school EVERY time.

    I believe that the entire concept of compulsory attendance is fatally flawed, and those flaws inevitably show up when the State attempts to use its coercive power to compel teens to do what they don’t want to do.


    Comment by
    Daryl
    December 13th, 2005
    at 3:07 pm

    OK, I stand corrected. Apologies, Josh. All that means, though, is that HSLDA’s position is incomplete. There may be good reason to oppose driver’s license bills because of the fake homeschooler “problem.” A bigger and better reason to oppose them is because they inevitably bring homeschooled kids to the point where they have to prove to some bureacrat that they’re NOT dropouts.

    Dropouts are the government schools’ problems. Homeschoolers have nothing to do with that. So, it’s best to leave us out of your regulatory plans. They won’t happen. Not this year. Not this decade.


    Comment by
    Scott W. Somerville
    December 13th, 2005
    at 4:11 pm

    Did I mention I’m jumping without having read everything carefully? It is a rare treat to see Daryl say he’s wrong about something.

    Not that he isn’t willing to admit he’s wrong: he just doesn’t get the opportunity very often! In this case, he jumped a little too soon. He’s apologized for something he didn’t do.

    Driver’s license bills generally DO wind up imposing new regulations on homeschoolers, even when the Legislature is VERY careful to exclude homeschoolers from the requirement. This was the problem we had in Kentucky, back in the bad old days before HSLDA learned to oppose this kind of legislation every time.

    The sponsor of the Kentucky bill promised it wouldn’t affect homeschoolers, and wrote in very clear and specific exemption language to make SURE it didn’t affect homeschoolers. Then I was stuck with dealing with one Clerk of Court after another who was too brain-dead to be expected to read a law and follow it. After several years of this, the Kentucky Supreme Court struck the whole law down (for ridiculous reasons, but that’s another story) and HSLDA has been able to mobilize Kentucky homeschoolers to keep it from coming back.

    So: to conclude and clarify. Driver’s license bills are bad because (1) they induce “homefoolers” to pretend to be homeschoolers to gain government benefits and (2) they wind up forcing real homeschoolers to prove their educational status to the government. The reason I personally care about is #2, but the argument that tends to persuade legislators is #1.

    (Now I think I’d better go back and figure out what this discussion was about before Daryl apologizes for something else!)