Homeschoolers Fight Regulations

This is interesting. I hope I have time later to dig into this a bit.

The Newborns homeschool their kids and object to the legal requirement that the local district superintendent must have final approval of their children’s education, which includes religious studies.

“It’s not the paperwork we are objecting to … because there is no religious objection to paperwork. It is the final approval by the superintendent, a secular institution, over our children’s religious education,” said Maryalice Newborn.

As a guy who was homeschooled for nearly all of his pre-college years and highly skeptical of public schools in general, I’m very bothered that any homeschool curriculum must be approved by the school district. One could probably argue that the state has a basic responsibility to uphold fundamental teaching standards (after all it doesn’t want to pay for uneducated adults later in life who can’t get a job), but my gut response is that this policy has more danger of being abused than actually preventing non-education. Most parents who pull their kids out of public education are doing so because they have serious objections or doubts to the teaching process, content, and quality found in public schools; and, in my opinion, will probably end up giving their kids a better education than the average public school student.

6 thoughts on “Homeschoolers Fight Regulations”

  1. I’m with you, Steve. Though I would argue that the state shouldn’t have a responsibility for fundamental teaching standards because it shouldn’t be responsible for the uneducated adults who can’t get a job. Down with the welfare state!

    Back to reality. I still don’t think that the state should have any but the most basic control over children’s religious educations. (I’m all for putting down Thuggee cults, but short of stopping those who advocating murder, I’m not sure I’d want the state to interfere.)

    I remember reading somewhere that the way to get more support for homeschooling and vouchers for private schools is to refer to “public” schools as what they really are: “government” schools. Get people’s innate revulsion at government interference and ineptitude to work.

  2. Dear Kyle, No person is better qualified to meet the objectives of “no child left behind” than their parent. If you talk with some teachers they view the ‘extreme’ measures enforced by this policy as “no teacher left standing”!

  3. Hi Mr. Barnett! My question wasn’t out of support, but out of a lack of information. I COMPLETELY agree. My mom has been a teacher for over 20 years, and it’s one of the few subjects I’ve ever seen her get her hackles up about. My parents put me in an “optional” program to try and provide me with a system that would work for my personality.

    I then look at the inner city school I’m mentoring at, and as you say, there WILL be NO teachers left standing. Most of these kids don’t make it to class much less pass even a percentage of their classes MUCH LESS standardized tests. Unfortunately these kids’ parents have a common theme of being cracked out in California instead of feeding their kids (not an exaggeration). So we have NO parenting and the schools will take the burden and then get lashed by the community for “not being able to teach these kids.” Not only that but Seattle Public Schools has set up a system that rewards students for failing. If you fail you get an N, and no mark on your GPA, but if you get a C or a D your GPA takes a hit. So students with Ds, rather than put in the work to pass, allow themselves to fail. If they fail five class and get an A in gym they have a 4.0 How on earth are teachers supposed to get these kids through high school as is, much less if they get punished for the school’s record.

    Sigh. I get my hackles up too. We need to promote a system that does two things. 1) Allows parents to provide the best education they can for their child. Public school, private school, religious school, home school, trade school, whatever. 2) Doesn’t punish the inner city instructors for spending their lives as a weak-but-noble-barrier between young people and prison.

  4. The media attention to our case caught me a little by surprise, but it is a classic case of the tension between government jurisdiction and individual freedom/parental rights. Much of what you read is not quite right; something I have learned after doing over a dozen interviews. They are looking for 10 word sound bytes. The case actually has 7 counts; 1st and 14th amendment violations. The Religious Freedom Protection Act (Count I) has gotten the most media attention. Unfortunately, it has also gotten the most comments by those who don’t know the Constitution, Supreme Court decisions, PA Home Ed law and school code and the Bible (and logic). 😉

    The case can be easily settled out of court or go to become another landmark case like WI v. Yoder. We shall see. If you are interested in the initial complaint it is at:
    http://www.phea.net/RFPAComplaint.html

    But study hard. We need good lawyers.

    Maryalice Newborn
    MNewborn(at)alltel(dot)net

  5. Forgot to answer…
    No Child Left Behind is only for public schools. It is about accountability for the schools to taxpayers and government. Public schools are accountable to taxpayers because it is their money and their children. Private schools are accountable to the parents because it is their money and their children. Homeschoolers are accountable to the public schools because ??? It is not their money and not their children. fwiw 😉

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