Saturday, February 19, 2011

Where is the Fight New Hampshire Homeschoolers?

Homeschoolers in Illinois are putting up a fight in Illinois against notification, how come New Hampshire Homeschoolers are not putting up a fight? Could it be because for 20 years people like Chris Hamilton, Mary Faiella, CHeNH and HSLDA have fought for oppressive homeschooling laws and against freedom?

The following story appears in the Beacon News. Be sure to visit the Beacon News site to see the pictures and extras associated with the story.

Spelling errors, grammar errors, misuse of homonyms and typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Home school families fight state registration
By Jenette Sturges Feb 19, 2011

Onlookers said it was a crowded room, and not just by Illinois Senate committee hearing standards.

“My husband wasn’t even able to get into the room there were so many people there,” said Keturah Mindock, the full-time mother and educator of two in Oswego.

About 4,000 parents and their children flocked to Springfield Tuesday afternoon to oppose Senate Bill 136, a bill that would require Illinois’ estimated 50,000 home-schooled students to register with the State Board of Education for the first time.

“Basically it’s just government intrusion into our lives,” said Priscilla Kenney, an Aurora mother with four children, all home-schooled. “The system isn’t broken, so why try to institute unnecessary government watch-dogging?”

State Sen. Edward Maloney, D-Chicago, said he introduced legislation requiring registration after meeting an acquaintance who home-schooled and becoming concerned about a lack of oversight.

“There are virtually no rules in Illinois, except they’re asked to teach a curriculum of math, English, science and social studies. There’s no periodic testing, no qualifications, no accounting at all,” Maloney said.

And that’s true. Illinois has some of the most relaxed guidelines in the country for home schooling. So long as children between 7 and 17 years old are being taught the same subjects they would learn in school, in English, they are in compliance with the law. Illinois parents are not required to notify the state that they are home-schooling, unless they are brought to court for truancy.

Other states are far more stringent. In heavily regulated states like New York and Pennsylvania laws vary, but they can include curriculum approval, teacher qualification for parents and home visits by state officials.

The majority of states fall somewhere in between: parents have to notify or register with the state and may have to submit test scores or other proof that students are progressing.

But home school parents around the Fox Valley said they have plenty of proof.

Proof like admission to one of the country’s most prestigious universities: Kenney’s oldest daughter, 20-year-old Fiona McCoy, attends MIT. Her three high-school-age daughters participate on a math team of home-schoolers that has taken home the state title, competing against conventional small schools, for the past four years.

“If you look at all the statistics from testing and college, home-schoolers are doing an awesome job of teaching their kids,” Kenney said.

Or take, for example, Mindock, whose daughter, Lacey, will be 7 in April. “She already reads at a sixth-grade level,” said Mindock. “Each of my children gets one-on-one attention. I don’t have to worry about 30 other kids and what they’re doing.”

The individualized education home-schoolers get also means a lot more flexibility, from curriculum to scheduling to discipline.

Gina and Armando Regalado have two children, and both are sharing the responsibility for home-schooling their 6-year-old daughter.

“He (Armando) focuses more on the language arts and theology,” said Gina. “His degree is in theology and they’re more artists. I’m more math and science.”

The ability to teach their daughter on a flexible schedule fits their lifestyle and allows them more family time, she said. Gina works in child care during the day, and her husband works as the Paul McCartney in The Cavern Beat, a Beatles cover band. But both parents used to teach high school, and that’s what really drove them to teach their children at home.

“Knowing kids in public high school, they were not really concerned about their educations, and their parents weren’t always either,” said Gina. “Ask any teacher: the parents make or break the student’s ability to learn.”

Political intrusion?

Maloney is concerned more about those students who might be falling through the cracks. He is chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and a former administrator at both Brother Rice High School in Chicago and Oak Lawn Community High School.

“My concern isn’t with those who are doing a conscientious job, but it’s with those who aren’t. Ultimately, the state is responsible for people’s education, so to speak. If nothing is going on, they ought to know about that,” Maloney said. “I fail to see why this is such an imposition.”

Conservatives in the state senate largely agreed that the matter of education lies ultimately with parents.

“I’m a huge proponent of public education, especially locally, but I’m also a proponent of parental authority,” said state Sen. Chris Lauzen, an Aurora Republican who said the home-schooling parents from his district he talked to were relieved to hear he opposed the bill. “I am certainly opposed to state government having more control ... within our families. In the end, these are our families’ children, rather than the government’s children.”

State Sen. Linda Holmes said she also met with constituents Tuesday, but hadn’t come to any conclusions on home schooling.

“When they go on to college, home school students excel against their counterparts, but those are the kids who go on to college,” said Holmes, an Aurora Democrat. “Do we have any that don’t? How do they fare? It does pique my curiosity to want to know, if we did have a way of measuring home school kids, how well prepared they go out into world.”

Holmes said traditional schools are also a place for intervention when it’s needed. A teacher might notice, for instance, when a student is being abused.

“They’re (home school parents) doing a wonderful job and are dedicated,” she said. “I think the concern lies in: How do we address the 2 or 3 percent who are not?”

And Holmes pointed out that while registration is voluntary, there’s simply no way to know how many students are learning at home, or at the park district, the Morton Arboretum, their church, College of DuPage, and all of the other places home school parents take their students for extra classes, enrichment and socialization.

“I guess I would say the best way to explain it is: I understand the concern, but the problem is that senators tend to run with a lot of things,” said Regalado. “What they say it’s for ends up being more and more intrusive.”

Since the outpouring of opposition Tuesday in Springfield, Maloney has tabled the bill. But home-schooling families said they’re still watching carefully, expecting the registration bill to be reworded and brought back.

“I know it’s going to come back because I know there’s always going to be someone concerned about it because their family member or whoever chose a different path,” said Regalado. “I understand the concern, but I think it’s really unfounded.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Anti-homeschooling Freedom Crowd is just not in N.H.

"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom" -- F. A. Hayek, author of "The Road to Serfdom."

I think the reason all homeschoolers in New Hampshire have not fought for freedom is because they really don't know freedom. I believe they also believe what the Statists and Progressives tell them and that is that the State has a compelling interest in Education. The State does not have a compelling interest in education or its outcomes, if they did they would actually do something about the New Hampshire's failing public schools. Tenure serves the interests of teachers not students or educational outcomes. HSLDA and CHeNH have not supported or put forth a homeschooling freedom Bill in New Hampshire, because it does not serve the States interests, their financial interests or their need for power over other's lives.

Illinois currently has homeschooling freedom but will it last. Fight on Illinois homeschoolers because, "But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever." John Adams

Spelling errors, grammar errors, misuse of homonyms and typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

The following piece appears on Big

Nanny State Trolls for Homeschooled Children in Illinois
by Julie Schmidt

Recently Illinois Senator Ed Maloney (D) introduced SB136 which would require “the parents or legal guardians of children attending non-public schools, a defined term, or private or parochial schools to annually register their children with the State Board of Education, in conformance with procedures prescribed by the State Board of Education.”

Basically homeschoolers and anyone else who has deemed the public education system a failure would have to register their children with the State, since apparently Senator Maloney believes “that since the State was responsible for the education of our children, the State should know who was being homeschooled,” according to Pastor James McDonald who met with the Senator along with several homeschooling advocates.

I hate to burst the Senator’s progressive utopian bubble, but as Pastor McDonald points out “in the eyes of most home educators, the responsibility to ensure our children receive a competent education belonged to parents, not the State.” I don’t think registering children, like licensing a dog, was exactly what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he envisioned public education.

Jefferson trusted the people closest to the issue to care most for the outcomes. Regarding education he stated in a letter to Joseph Cabell, “But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by the Governor and Council, the commissioners of the literary fund, or any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward, it is a belief against all experience.”

Hardly a resounding endorsement of the power of the State, which he was extremely wary of, when he stated in the same letter, “What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and power into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or of the aristocrats of a Venetian senate.” Or even the Illinois Senate.

Jefferson also believed that education was–brace yourself progressives–voluntary. He stated, “It is better to tolerate that rare instance of a parent’s refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings by a forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of his father.” So I will give you a moment to consider how he would have viewed compulsory registration. “Appalled” would be kind.

Laurie Higgins of Illinois Family Institute (IFI) applies the “board of education” to our illustrious politicians’ posteriors when she said, “Serious thought should be given to the proper role and limits of our state and federal governments. If the vast majority of home schooling families are educating their children well, IFI doesn’t believe that it is appropriate to penalize them in order to solve the problem of the failures or inadequacies of a minority of home schooling families.”

If you happen to live in Illinois, or even if you don’t, and would like to apply your own board to the backside of this government intrusion, you can find the latest status and who to call at IFI’s website.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Homeschooling Laws in New Hampshire are Tyrannical

These are part of the current homeschooling laws.

Annual evaluations are due by July 1.

Homeschoolers are required to evaluate their children and file the evaluation results annually with their participating agents. Homeschoolers can meet the annual evaluation requirement in one of three ways:

(1) have their children evaluated by a certified teacher, or a teacher currently teaching in a nonpublic school;

(2) test their children using a national student achievement test, or a state student assessment test used by the resident school district. A composite score on either test at or above the fortieth percentile is an acceptable score; or

(3) use any other valid measurement tool that is mutually agreed upon in writing by the parent (or legal guardian) and the participating agent.

If you submit a standardized test score, remember to order your exam in plenty of time to get your composite score back before the July 1 deadline. A list of testing options is available at the NHHC website.

If you submit a portfolio evaluation, please confirm in advance the evaluator’s credentials and availability to review your student’s portfolio this year. If you are seeking an evaluator, visit our evaluators page.

The above laws do nothing to improve the quality of education I provide to my children. The only interests they serve are the interests of the State. If a homeschooled student fails to score above the fortieth percentile they are put on probation. This is not equitable with what happens in the public schools, nor should it be. However, when a child in a public school fails to score above the fortieth percentile they are not forced into a private school or to homeschool they stay in the same failing school, the teacher is retained because she has tenure. Why are homeschoolers treated differently? Tens of thousands of public school students fail to score above 40% every year. Homeschooilng laws are tyrannical and only serve the interests of the State. For the seventh year our feeder school district has failed to make annual yearly progress. The teachers still have their jobs, taxpayers still have to pay for their failure. The above laws do nothing to improve the quality of the education I provide my child, in fact they hinder my child's education because they have absolutely no benefit to my child but to the State. The quality of my children's education will improve greatly when I am finally able to educate my child as I see fit and without people trampling on my rights to do so.

Quote of the Day - “It is better to tolerate that rare instance of a parent’s refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings by a forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of his father.” - Thomas Jefferson

Spelling errors, grammar errors, misuse of homonyms and typos are left as an exercise for my readers.