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OUR FRIENDS THE SHEEPLE-HERDS

Filed at 5:24 am under by dcobranchi

WISH-TV in Indiana aired a piece on homeschooling Monday. From the transcript it’s hard to determine if the tone was neutral or negative. I want to focus, though, on a post-script that didn’t air.

Big Response

Since Monday afternoon, WISH-TV has been blitzed by phone calls and emails about this report.

Why does the topic hit a nerve? Why does it spark so much passion and controversy?

Before our report aired Monday at 6:00 pm, we received a fax from the Home School Legal Defense Association in Washington, DC attorney Scott Woodruff. He had read our preview of the story on WISHTV.COM and wrote, “I would like to offer to review your homeschool story for legal accuracy before you air it.”

Woodruff sent an email to countless Indiana subscribers requesting they barrage us with phone calls and emails – and barraged we were.

Hundreds read or wrote from a script. It listed a half-dozen talking points. It repeatedly called our information quote “inaccurate.” This was before our story aired.

Not all of the emails were critical. After the broadcast home schooler Tony Grahn wrote, “It’s so refreshing to hear a broadcaster not put home schooling in a negative light.”

Home schoolers don’t want much regulation but they don’t want critics to think they are free to do nothing. They were sensitive to the interview with the Indiana Deparment of Education where Mary Tiede Wilhelmus told us that home schooling parents don’t have to turn anything in to the state.

In fact, as the home schoolers’ emails point out, there is a state statute that says a home school is considered a non-accredited private school. It requires children be in school from the ages of 7 to 17, and 180 days of instruction be provided a year. It does not require mandatory subjects be taught or standardized tests given and teachers do not have to meet any qualifications. It does not require any reporting to the state unless a school official raises questions.

Home school advocates say there are many studies showing home education successes. Indiana University Professor of Education Dr. Robert Kunzman says most studies have been conducted by home school advocates.

“The studies that have been done on home schooler academic achievement have not been comprehensive. They often times been self selected participation,” he said.

But Dr. Kunzman and the Indiana University admissions director say home schooled students who apply to IU are usually very qualified.

Yes, those HSLDA E-lerts are oh so effective… at making us look like a bunch of idiots.

5 Responses to “OUR FRIENDS THE SHEEPLE-HERDS”


Comment by
Scott W. Somerville
February 22nd, 2006
at 1:55 pm

Daryl, you don’t know the REST of the story! There’s a real push for more regulations in Indiana, based on the claim that homeschoolers are “unregulated.” The results of HSLDA’s blitz on this station can be seen in the response:

“In fact, as the home schoolers’ emails point out, there is a state statute that says a home school is considered a non-accredited private school. It requires children be in school from the ages of 7 to 17, and 180 days of instruction be provided a year. It does not require mandatory subjects be taught or standardized tests given and teachers do not have to meet any qualifications. It does not require any reporting to the state unless a school official raises questions.”

This media response is EXACTLY what we needed to neutralize the argument that Indiana needs to pass a new law to “crack down” on homeschoolers.

Scott Woodruff that the call-in campaign was necessary because, as the station notes, the callers “were sensitive to the interview with the Indiana Deparment of Education where Mary Tiede Wilhelmus told us that home schooling parents don’t have to turn anything in to the state.”


Comment by
Daryl Cobranchi
February 22nd, 2006
at 4:29 pm

Scott,
The post-script states that the calls and emails started coming in before the piece aired. Did Woodruff get his preview? Or was the Wilhelmus bit in the promos?


Comment by
Daryl Cobranchi
February 22nd, 2006
at 4:40 pm

BTW, if I were, say, the ombudsman for HSLDA, here’s how I would address the problem. I’d ask whoever wrote the e-lerts not to include specific talking points. I’d suggest that stating HSLDA’s case (to its members) and then providing contact information for the paper or TV station would suffice. I’d point out that if HSLDA’s members are smart enough to teach their own kids, surely they’re smart enough to figure out what to send in an email. It’s really too bad that they don’t have someone who functions in that capacity.

Am I hired?


Comment by
COD
February 22nd, 2006
at 7:28 pm

I’m a strict one friend that works at HSLDA quota. If you get a job there either you or Scott will be off the Christmas card list 🙂


Comment by
Daryl Cobranchi
February 22nd, 2006
at 7:30 pm

Can we still go camping?