Last Chance to Stop the Iowa Homeschool Law Repeal!

It turns out that there is one last chance to stop the repeal of Iowa’s reporting and assessment requirement. While the house and senate have passed it, the governor hasn’t signed it yet—though he is expected to. Remember that it’s an all-encompassing education reform bill, most of which I assume is very good. Here is a link to the entire bill, which is named House File 215. The section of concern is Division XI. Iowa allows a line item veto. That means the governor could veto a specific portion of the bill and sign the rest into law.

The person to call is Governor Terry Branstad. His number is 515-281-5211.

If you call, explain that you want a line item veto of Division XI of House File 215, and explain why. Explain that Division XI would make it optional for homeschooling parents to file annual paperwork notifying the school district of their intent to homeschool, and optional for homeschool parents to have their children participate in annual assessments. Explain why you oppose eliminating these requirements (some of these posts may help). If you were yourself homeschooled, or are a homeschool parent, or have known homeschoolers, say that and explain how that informs how you feel about this bill.

I hope you’ll consider calling. I am under no illusions about this, but if nothing else, perhaps Governor Branstad will pause and think twice before signing the bill in its entirety. And that alone is something I would consider a success.

For those of you who want more details, let me add a few additional points. Currently in Iowa, homeschooling is called Competent Private Instruction, or CPI. Everyone going this route must file a form with their school districts each year. Then they have two options—they can homeschool under a supervising teacher, or they can go without that and instead have their children participate in annual assessments. There are several different assessment options; in each, students must demonstrate that they are making academic progress. Division XI of House File 215 would change this by differentiating between “Competent Private Instruction” and “Private Instruction.” Competent Private Instruction would mean homeschooling under a supervising teacher, and that option would still require filing the current paper work, and the current requirements of the supervising teacher (there are evaluations they have to turn in) would remain in place. Private Instruction would mean the parents homeschooling without any sort of supervisory authority over them, and while those taking this option could technically still file the form and do the assessment, changing the word “shall” to “may” makes those things optional and not mandatory. So you can read it for yourself, here is the text of Division XI of House Bill 215:

DIVISION XI

PRIVATE INSTRUCTION EXEMPTION

Sec. 102. Section 299.4, subsection 1, Code 2013, is amended to read as follows: 1. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child who is of compulsory attendance age, who places the child under competent private instruction under either section 299A.2 or 299A.3, not in an accredited school or a home school assistance program operated by a school district or accredited nonpublic school, shall furnish a report in duplicate on forms provided by the public school district, to the district by the earliest starting date specified in section 279.10, subsection 1. The secretary shall retain and file one copy and forward the other copy to the district’s area education agency. The report shall state the name and age of the child, the period of time during which the child has been or will be under competent private instruction for the year, an outline of the course of study, texts used, and the name and address of the instructor. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child, who is placing the child under competent private instruction for the first time, shall also provide the district with evidence that the child has had the immunizations required under section 139A.8, and, if the child is elementary school age, a blood lead test in accordance with section 135.105D. The term “outline of course of study” shall include subjects covered, lesson plans, and time spent on the areas of study.

Sec. 103. Section 299A.1, unnumbered paragraph 2, Code 2013, is amended to read as follows: For purposes of this chapter, “competent private instruction” means private instruction provided on a daily basis for at least one hundred forty-eight days during a school year, to be met by attendance for at least thirty-seven days each school quarter, by or under the supervision of a licensed practitioner in the manner provided under section 299A.2, or other person under section 299A.3, which results in the student making adequate progress.

Sec. 104. Section 299A.3, unnumbered paragraph 1, Code 2013, is amended to read as follows: A parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age providing competent private instruction to the child shall may meet all of the following requirements:

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Conuly

    My phone is busted. Is there an email?

  • Iowahomeschooler

    As an Iowa homeschool parent for 15 years, I am appalled. We’re already judged becsuse we’re homeschoolers but at least explaining how our state cares about our children’s well being took some of that stigma away. I also believe it made it easier for them to get into college because Iowa colleges understood our kids were held to a certain standard. It’s not like the paperwork is that big of a deal and the assessment is in the best interest of the child. Having been part of very large homeschool groups, I can honestly say I never heard anyone complain about the requirement. We always looked down on those states like Oklahoma where you just made a phone call.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Thanks for your note! Can you get your friends to call the governor and ask for a line item veto, identifying as homeschooling parents who are happy with the regulations the way they are? Governor Branstad has a history of being liberal with line item vetoes, so it’s just possible he might listen.

  • sunnysidemeg

    Done. It was easy; do it, people.

  • Caleb G.

    I was homeschooled in Iowa as a teenager. My sisters and I took the Iowa Standardized test every year. My parents were very concerned about our education. But not all parents are concerned for the education of their children as mine were. Because of this, I support reppealing this bill. I have called Governor Brandsted’s office and told him I am concerned that passing this bill would potentially keep the state from finding out about child abuse. I made it clear that I am not opposed to homeschooling. I urge everyone here to also call and ask Governor Brandsted to veto this part of the bill.

  • LL

    Does anyone think a petition would be effective, for those of us currently without phones (ahhemmm… me :))? I also have no idea how to make one or start circulating it as I also don’t even have an account for any social media… just throwing it out there for more educated and equipped people than I…

    I’d like to see this take traction. Many people at work during the day aren’t going to be able to call (I’m thinking).

  • psykins

    Should I be calling if I’m not from Iowa? I feel weird messing with another state’s government, even though I do think this bill is irresponsible

  • Momtofourmonkeys

    you forgot that there is one very important safeguard…the parent. I find it offensive that you seem to feel that given the opportunity homeschooling parents will wantonly neglect their children’s needs. Like you assumption is that without someone chekcing we might simply watch TV and eat bob-bons all day and let the kids run wild thought the electronic world… I mean, the state seems to trust parents with children’s health and safely and well being. They seem to allow them them latitude to raise their children and instill religion, beliefs, values and morals without oversight or testing…why is it so horrifying to think that it might be OK to trust that they can teach them academics?…trust me, it is much easier to instill than that other stuff. As a homeschooling mother of 4, I trust my ability to decide what and how to teach my children far more than the local schools, which, incidentally, in my area are excellent. But no matter how excellent NONE can provide the individual attention nor meet their specific needs based on ability that I am able to) Still, look at test scores, look at the declining achievements of American students, the overall much higher testing of homeschooled children. Look at how colleges look for homeschooled kids as they are often able to be self motivated and seek knowledge not just regurgitate information for a test. I think we ought to have a bit more oversight in the public schools and leave the parents alone.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Whether you want to admit it or not, some homeschooling parents, given the opportunity, DO wantonly neglect their children’s needs. I’m glad that you’re a dedicated parent and that you do well by your parents, but the simple reality is that not all homeschool parents do. Poke around this site, for instance: http://hsinvisiblechildren.org/

      As for the testing of homeschooled children, you’re actually misinformed. We actually have no evidence that homeschooled children outperform their peers. As for the studies that exist, there are two problems with every single one of them—first, they are voluntary, meaning that they are not representative and suffer from selection bias, and second, they never correct for things like race or marital status, and comparing whiter, wealthier children from two-parent families with the public school average is highly misleading if not outright deceptive. In fact, when you correct for these background factors, the difference in test scores disappears. For more information, see these FAQs: http://icher.org/faq.html

      • Fusgeyer

        I would like to see statistics of how many unsupervised homeschool parents abuse their kids compared to how many public school parents abuse their kids. State supervision is not the answer. Here in Arkansas, we have very limited oversight and the majority of homeschoolers perform very well. Just because a kid is in homeschool is does not mean that their parents will cause educational neglect or abuse. I bet if you look at statistics, the rate of abuse is about equal throughout both groups.

        I do not condone child abuse, but when public schools can still dish out corporal punishment (at least in Arkansas they can) where do you draw the line at abuse? I read the law and the parents still have to comply with teaching core subjects and requests from the local superintendent of schools — see section 299A paragraph 2 section b of the law. The law is not absolving parents of their responsibility to teach their children, it is just giving those who object to immunizations and other governmental intervention a choice. Homeschool should be about choice and not immediately assuming that parents who homeschool without the state in their living rooms will neglect and abuse their children.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        That’s the problem- we don’t know. You can’t see those statistics because they don’t exist. Trust me, all of us would love to see that data too. Go talk to HSLDA and other groups like them about getting it collected, as they are currently the main roadblock.

      • Susan

        The author and many commenters’ issue seems to revolve around what you don’t know. The assumption the problem will be resolved if you do know who homeschools is a bit punitive. Unless controlling children and their mindset is the real issue. Because that is what schools do (and they are not the parents).

        We do know the public school system abuses more children proportionally and by far. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/21/AR2007102100144.html

        It’s documented AND ignored. “School bullying” is a popular and standard phrase taken for granted now. How sick is that?

        We should rarely assume parents pull their children out of schools to abuse them. If the parents are suspect, it’s likely they are already in the ‘system’ for abuse or neglect. The vast majority pull their children out of schools because the schools failed their children and they want better for their beloved children.

        The assumption school authorities, as a whole, will protect children from abusive family lives seems a bit off-track. In the mean-time, punishing homeschool families with bureaucratic time-wasters is exactly what makes schools not work for far too many children.

        The Pearls, the Rod, all that sickness is fought, most of all by the homeschooling community. Because we care about our communities and most of all, the children. It’s a more direct route than counting on the government to solve our communities’ problems.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        The assumption the problem will be resolved if you do know who homeschools is a bit punitive.

        Who is making that assumption exactly?

        The author and many commenters’ issue seems to revolve around what you don’t know.

        You are aware that I, and many others here, were homeschooled?

        “School bullying” is a popular and standard phrase taken for granted now.

        This is actually incorrect. Bullying is taken seriously and actually addressed today in a way it wasn’t in the past. It’s absolutely not taken for granted or seen as something to turn a blind eye toward — it’s the opposite.

        We should rarely assume parents pull their children out of schools to abuse them.

        What do you mean by this? No one thinks this is why most homeschoolers pull their kids out, but we do know that it happens and is a real problem. Children die.

        If the parents are suspect, it’s likely they are already in the ‘system’ for abuse or neglect.

        Part of the system is being seen daily by teachers (who are mandatory reporters). When abusive parents pull their kids out to homeschool them, they are removing them from the system. When social workers decide whether to keep a child in a family or remove her, they make that decision with the assumption that the child will be seen by teachers who can report it if things take a turn for the worse, and whom the child can go to if she needs to. Homeschooling messes up this equation.

        The assumption school authorities, as a whole, will protect children from abusive family lives seems a bit off-track.

        Care to support this with evidence or at least an argument? No one here is saying that it will protect them from every being abused, but yes, a child being in public school does serve as a check on the level of abuse an abusive parent can inflict on that child. Here’s a good explanation of that: http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/i-cant-tell-my-story-without-a-trigger-warning-elizabeths-story/

        In the mean-time, punishing homeschool families with bureaucratic time-wasters is exactly what makes schools not work for far too many children.

        How are assessment requirements that ensure that children are being educated a time waste? I think you’re only thinking from the perspective of the homeschool mom who doesn’t like “paperwork,” not from the perspective of a homeschooled child. While most of the homeschooled kids I knew growing up were indeed being taught, I also knew kids who weren’t (and I’m not talking about unschooling, which involves a parent creating an educationally rich environment and facilitating child-lead learning, I’m literally talking about no schooling), and you better believe those parents would have stepped it up if the alternative had been sending their kids back to school. But with no assessments, no requirements, no nothing, they didn’t have to, and their kids suffered as a result. What words do you have for these kids?

      • Susan

        Libby Anne, I do know you were formerly homeschooled. I’ve visited your blog here and there for some time and appreciated you sharing yours and others’ experiences from your point of view and your childhood history. I’m glad you’re telling your story.

        I don’t know if you’ve had any public school experiences (year after year) with your own children. For the record, my family has been in and happily out of the public school, all while serving as active public school parents – school board, fundraisers, parent volunteers, etc. I’m not trying to negate the terrible issues a few homeschooling parents inflict on their children, but realistically, govt oversight does not seem to be the answer. Unless the law is broken and children are abused or killed. Most times, those families had already been investigated by agencies and NOTHING happened until it was too late. So sad.

        My assumption the objective is to know who homeschools and how they homeschool seems to be prevalent throughout your blog and commenters. I know it’s a common mantra from education researchers, so I possibly misunderstood. If you haven’t read Kunzman’s book about several “conservative homeschool families”, check it out. According to a TN family with a Rod on the table, the parents had been investigated and the social worker seemed to have some issues himself. Mr. Kunzman didn’t seem to catch the irony.

        School Bullying is a problem. So much so the school wonks couldn’t ignore it anymore and had to say they were addressing it. “Say they are addressing it” is of course different than actually getting to the root of the problem. Do you think 1/3 of homeschooled children are bullied?
        http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/school-bullying.html

        We pulled our son out of the school because he was being bullied on the bus. The principal told us he knew we would drive our children to the school, but the bully wouldn’t get to school otherwise, so he refused to do anything and the kid kept at it. This is not an unusual story in how schools “address school bullying”.

        Have you heard of the term “Passing the Trash”. That’s a popular insider school term. An understatement is unfortunate in that mandated reporting of abuse does not always occur in the schools.

        I’ve tried to look at the big picture of education right now. WIth the standardized testing, teaching to the test, profit making of a few in the edu-industry, it doesn’t make sense to throw private schools in that vicious cycle too.

        I’m in Illinois where homeschoolers don’t report or turn in assessments. We need to teach our children the same branches of education commensurate to the public school grade level (even if the schools are not successful at it). It’s a minimal private school law, but if there is a question a private school family is not following that statute, a truant officer can step in and investigate. I suspect most, if not all states have the same sort of regs at the minimum. I understand you want more than that.

        I’m looking at proportions and trying to inflict more busy-work on Iowa homeschooling families who love their children enough to spend all day/every day with them trying to give them a good education does not solve the larger societal problems we have. Naomi Wolf’s – Hey Young Americans, Here’s a Text for You – comes to mind. (Again, I do not negate abuse in the homeschool community)

      • Composer 99

        Susan, the problem is that the framing you are working from, shown here:

        I’m looking at proportions and trying to inflict more busy-work on Iowa homeschooling families who love their children enough to spend all day/every day with them trying to give them a good education does not solve the larger societal problems we have.

        is patently false.

        The change on the table isn’t “trying to inflict more busy-work” on Iowans. It’s systematically removing such oversight as exists and replacing it with… nothing.

        In addition, perhaps you can point to what, exactly, “larger societal problems” that preventing Iowa from taking this step Libby Anne and those in agreement with her are trying to solve, apart from attempting to reduce the incidence of child abuse and/or neglect among homeschoolers.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        School Bullying is a problem. So much so the school wonks couldn’t ignore it anymore and had to say they were addressing it. “Say they are addressing it” is of course different than actually getting to the root of the problem.

        You need to actually back this up. What proof do you have that they’re only saying they’re addressing it, and not actually doing so? I know numerous people with kids in public school, and they have said they’ve been impressed at how well schools actually are addressing it. Is bullying still a problem? Sure. But is it ignored or waved away with “kids will be kids”? No.

        Do you think 1/3 of homeschooled children are bullied?

        That’s a good question. I don’t think we have statistics on that yet. I know that a number of my siblings were bullied–by me. My parents were given the Pearls child training book by other homeschoolers, and based on its advice they gave me the authority to spank my younger siblings. And I did. And I wasn’t always nice about it. My siblings tell me today that I was a bully and that they were afraid of me—and note that in this case they had no way of getting away from the bully, ever. The same is true in a lot of authoritarian homeschooling families where parents essentially act as bullies against their own children.

        On this topic, I found this story interesting:

        http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/mother-charged-beating-obese-son-death-homeschooled-spare-boy-fat-taunts-article-1.358799

        Homeschooling doesn’t always offer kids protection. Sure, it can, but it doesn’t always.

        I’m in Illinois where homeschoolers don’t report or turn in assessments. We need to teach our children the same branches of education commensurate to the public school grade level (even if the schools are not successful at it). It’s a minimal private school law, but if there is a question a private school family is not following that statute, a truant officer can step in and investigate. I suspect most, if not all states have the same sort of regs at the minimum. I understand you want more than that.

        I, too, grew up in such a state, and while most of the kids I knew were being educated I also saw some who were not. As an adult I actually reported a family. I called CPS and said I needed to report educational neglect in a homeschooling family, and they told me they don’t handle that. So I called the state department of education to ask how I should be reporting it, and they told me to call CPS. In theory, homeschool parents in my state are supposed to have to teach the same subjects as public schools, but there is literally nothing at all ensuring that they actually do, and no process for intervening in a family that’s not doing so. I suspect it’s similar in other states with laws this lax as well. It’s the most heartbreaking thing in the world to have a 16 year old come to you for help and tell you her parents haven’t taught her a think in years, and that they keep her busy cleaning and caring for the kids and helping with home businesses and don’t give her time (or books) to study on her own, and that they’ve told her they’re not going to give her a high school diploma because they don’t believe girls should go to college—and to have nothing you can do to help and be forced instead to watch as her education is robbed from her.

        ‘m looking at proportions and trying to inflict more busy-work on Iowa homeschooling families who love their children enough to spend all day/every day with them trying to give them a good education does not solve the larger societal problems we have.

        Again, you’re only thinking from the perspective of the parent, and from the perspective of a dedicated homeschool parent at that. Not all homeschool parents homeschool for the reasons you state here. In fact, if all homeschool parents did homeschool for the reasons you state here I wouldn’t be so worried. But, some homeschool for religious reasons and not academic ones, believing that passing on religious beliefs is more important than silly things like teaching algebra, and some homeschool to hide abuse. I think it’s worth a little extra “busy-work” to ensure that homeschooled kids in other families are actually being educated. Here is a link I wrote about the idea that homeschooling is only attractive to good parents:

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/05/why-homeschooling-is-attractive-to-abusive-parents.html

        For more on those homeschooling for religious reasons, see:

        http://homeschoolersanonymous.org/

        For more on those homeschooling to hide abuse, see:

        http://hsinvisiblechildren.org/

        Let me give a concrete example of how regulations can help. I knew a family where the parents didn’t actually educate their kids. The mom was too busy taking care of the one who had special needs to actually put together a curriculum, and while the older kids sometimes tried to do that themselves, it never amounted to much. If there had been assessments, though, and this mother had known that the alternative to not educating her kids was to have to put them in public school, I am confident that she would have put together a curriculum and actually put some effort into educating her kids. It’s not just about busy-work or throwing homeschooled kids in school, it’s about basic accountability We generally think accountability is a good thing. Why not here?

      • Susan

        I gave you our experience with school bullies and the reaction. That was the last straw and the superintendent was gracious and apologized to us when we left. But there are school bullies and abusers we are paying to work in the school – passing the trash, a federal dept of ed study. Those children (and I assume their parents) thought they had absolutely no other choice but to go to school.

        If the state agencies are so inept they can’t determine who handles educational neglect, how can we assume they’ll do right with more regs against private schools. We can’t.

        The Staten Island story is tragic and horrible. Did you know New York has some of the most rigid homeschool reporting laws in the country? Quarterly reports, lots of state oversight, et al.

        You mentioned unschooling. I imagine it is difficult, at best, to explain to an traditionally schooled school worker how unschooling works, let alone insert those wonderfully natural, often spontaneous learning experiences into a report. I’m glad I didn’t need to try working around a narrow, inflexible design. That would waste my time and energy away from nurturing and educating my family. That’s what I mean by busy-work.

        Let alone a truant officer who thinks if all homeschoolers were registered in IL, he should have free rein to inspect our homes and check on all homeschoolers. He and other school staff used this term “no-schooling” in regards to those who “fall between the cracks”. The question is – does falling between the cracks mean unschooling too, or just educational neglect. This similar phrasing of “no-schooling” to “unschooling” made more than a few of us uneasy. We pointed out there are no cracks in the law. The law only needs enforcement, rather going at the entire homeschool community. That’s my tax money/tax paid accountability at work. I am accountable to my children.

        When Scott Somerville was working for HSLDA, he told me a few years back he estimated around 5% of all IL homeschoolers belong to HSLDA. How many of that HSLDA membership percentage in a tiny minority of IL (or other states’) homeschooled children make up families following the likes of the Pearls or the Rushdoony philosophy?

        We have big problems in the entire educational world and that is important to me and our communities. Hopefully, the entire Iowa education reform package will be good for all of Iowa. Even as I try to grasp what you and your siblings suffered through, I don’t see how allowing Iowa homeschoolers more educational freedom will solve that problem when so many schools are in such dire straits with their educational results. It just seems like an easy target. I will read your links, if I haven’t already.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        I’ve never said public schools were perfect, and as it so happens there are lots of people involved in school reform trying to improve the schools. I’m honestly not sure why that would mean that no one should care about making sure homeschool parents educate their children.

        You mentioned unschooling. I imagine it is difficult, at best, to explain to an traditionally schooled school worker how unschooling works, let alone insert those wonderfully natural, often spontaneous learning experiences into a report.

        Actually, the earliest homeschoolers were unschoolers and in 9 cases out of 10, the school districts listened as the parents explained their educational philosophy and what it would involve and then let them do it. In the cases where there were problems, John Holt or Raymond Moore would call and explain, and they were usually resolved peacefully. So I don’t actually think what you suggest here is correct. And actually, these early unschoolers were okay with this relationship, and it wasn’t until the evangelical and fundamentalist homeschoolers came onto the scene, believing that schools were Satanic hothouses and that children literally belonged to their parents, that the push for complete deregulation and lack of oversight began. For more on this early history, I recommend Milton Gaither’s book (Gaither is a homeschool dad himself): http://www.amazon.com/Homeschool-American-History-Milton-Gaither/dp/0230606008

        I’m glad I didn’t need to try working around a narrow, inflexible design. That would waste my time and energy away from nurturing and educating my family. That’s what I mean by busy-work.

        Oh! Then rest assured, Iowa didn’t have any busy-work before. There was no requirement that they fit their homeschooling around a narrow, inflexible design. The requirements were minimal. They had to report each year that they were homeschooling, and do an annual assessment that could be as simple as putting together a portfolio and having a teacher look it over and write an evaluation of the student’s progress. Instead of the assessment, a parent could choose to homeschool under a supervising teacher who would provide resources and answer questions. Here’s more about it from an Iowa homeschool mom: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/05/homeschool-mom-iowas-laws-helped-my-children-and-me.html

        I don’t see how allowing Iowa homeschoolers more educational freedom will solve that problem.

        What educational freedom are homeschoolers in Iowa getting that they didn’t already have? Homeschooling was legal before, homeschoolers could choose their own curriculum, etc., before, so what freedom did they not have?

      • Susan

        I think the question is whether the government is a good overseer for educational success. Statistics seem to show they are not and the problems are getting progressively worse.

        Raymond Moore and John Holt were not in my neighborhood, as much as I would have enjoyed that. I would agree problems were resolved by families on a local, independent and individual basis with the schools. Sometimes, they were not resolved and school or police tyrants used their power to intimidate families. Because they can, and they still do occasionally. There were good phone trees in place to help each other, while the families were across the spectrum as far as philosophical diversity and educational styles. I like primary sources and I’d suggest a site I’m partial towards – Home Education Magazine http://homeedmag.com/closerlook/homeschooling-freedoms-at-risk/

        “They had to report each year that they were homeschooling, and do an annual assessment that could be as simple as putting together a portfolio and having a teacher look it over and write an evaluation of the student’s progress. Instead of the assessment, a parent could choose to homeschool under a supervising teacher who would provide resources and answer questions.”

        The above description sounds oppressive to me. I created a satisfactory portfolio of my kids’ work and assessed them, as needed. It was exactly the way we needed it to be knowing these kids and their plans. We have that luxury and don’t fit into a classroom box. I didn’t need the state’s help to do it, they wouldn’t understand what I was doing and my standards are far higher than Illinois’. (I think that is typical of parents) Our kids wanted to attend college, so we had them practicing those wretched standardized tests,because that seems to be the fed and states’ chosen means of assessment. Regarding the Iowa homeschooler’s reasoning, the University of Illinois and other universities/colleges actively recruit homeschoolers, most especially Illinois homeschoolers, so our minimal law must be satisfactory. The university and community colleges were bending over backwards for Illinois homeschoolers.

        I don’t mean to trumpet homeschool successes. I only want to challenge the historically recent and flawed mindset the state should tell us how to educate our children. If parents choose to take that responsibility. Have you read any of the former NY Teacher of the Year John Gatto’s writings? It’s constantly amazed me state schools (especially in corrupt Illinois) should be considered the best source for education and should have oversight of all children with the use of homeschool assessments and such. Thank goodness we are detached from that obstacle in Illinois. (Sorry to be so long-winded. I appreciate your thoughts.)

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        The above description sounds oppressive to me

        Then you don’t know what oppression is.

      • Susan

        I do know what freedom is and plan on keeping it.
        I hope that doesn’t offend you.

      • Composer 99

        Susan finds the following “oppressive”:

        They had to report each year that they were homeschooling, and do an annual assessment that could be as simple as putting together a portfolio and having a teacher look it over and write an evaluation of the student’s progress. Instead of the assessment, a parent could choose to homeschool under a supervising teacher who would provide resources and answer questions.”

        What’s next, conflating the above with living in East Germany under the thumb of the Stasi?
        BringTheNoise has nailed it, Susan. If that’s your standard for “oppression”, you haven’t a clue what it is.

      • Susan

        Composer, you brought up East Germany and the Stasi, silly. Along with telling me I’m not framing correctly. ‘Nuf trying to tell me what I should or shouldn’t say.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        Stop deflecting and answer the question: What is “oppresive” about the old Iowa laws?

      • Composer 99

        Please link to a comment where I tell you what you should or shouldn’t say. Both my relevant comments bracket this one (*), and upon re-reading them I can find no place where I do as you claim.

        I don’t care what you should or shouldn’t say. The only person who can decide that is you. What I am doing is criticizing what you are saying:

        (a) That filling out some paperwork is “oppressive”. The reference to East Germany is a reference to actual oppression and is meant to show up the ridiculousness of your claim.

        (b) That Iowa was trying to inflict more busy-work on homeschooling families. This is factually false. The bill under discussion is meant to eliminate such regulations as exist. In addition, I am rejecting the (unsupported) premise that you appear to include, where applying some minimal degree of oversight to Iowan homeschoolers amounts to inflicting pointless busy-work.

        —–
        (*) contingent upon the way Disqus sorts comments – you or others may see a different comment stream.

      • iueras

        That statement right there really hits it on the head. These posters like Composer really don’t care about your kids, they are just looking for yet another way to “get all up in your business”, just like any good busybody (or the government) LOVES to do.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        The above description sounds oppressive to me. I created a satisfactory portfolio of my kids’ work and assessed them, as needed. It was exactly the way we needed it to be knowing these kids and their plans. We have that luxury and don’t fit into a classroom box. I didn’t need the state’s help to do it, they wouldn’t understand what I was doing and my standards are far higher than Illinois’.

        Could you explain what exactly sounds oppressive? If you already created a portfolio anyway, what would be so difficult about letting someone else look at it? I think you’re falling into the trap of only looking at this issue from the perspective of a homeschooling parent—and one who’s doing a good job at that. You’re aware that there are some homeschool parents who don’t do a good job, and who in fact don’t even try to educate their kids, right? (Again, not talking about unschoolers.) The goal behind letting a teacher look at the portfolios is to ensure that homeschool parents are making an effort to educate their kids. I understand that you already know how your own kids are doing, but that’s not the point of a requirement like this.

        Moving on slightly, what I hear you saying is that public schools failed your kids, so you don’t like the idea of letting them, with that track record, have any hand in overseeing or double checking how you’re doing at homeschooling. I get that, I really do. Here’s I think where I have the problem:

        I think the question is whether the government is a good overseer for educational success.

        What do you suggest instead, then? If you’re going to say “the parent,” what do you do with parents who are educationally neglectful and won’t educate their kids? This is, I think, where I disagree with you—one of the functions of the government is to protect our basic rights, and this is why, for instance, workplaces are required by law to be safe and employers aren’t allowed to discriminate based on race or gender. This is why I think it is the government’s job to protect children’s right to an education. You say you don’t like the idea of it being the local school systems that oversee homeschoolers—I’m not opposed to it being centered at the state level, with a division within the department of education dedicated to overseeing homeschooling—and, ideally, to providing homeschool parents with access to books and possibly even classes and seminars on teaching, if they so desire. But what I’m opposed to is not having anything there ensuring that homeschoolers’ right to an education is being met. What is it you suggest?

        And please don’t respond to this by saying that not every public school student has their right to an education met. I know that, but that’s not the issue here. I fully support school reform and efforts to improve public schools, and this is an issue many people are working on. But I don’t think that the fact that (some) other kids get the short shaft justifies allowing (some) homeschool kids to be given the short shaft either. And I believe we can tackle more than one issue at a time.

        Have you read any of the former NY Teacher of the Year John Gatto’s writings?

        Yes, I have.

      • iueras

        Here’s a hint for people who just don’t seem to get it. And this is gonna sound really horrible, but it is the truth.

        The type of person (criminal) who would abuse a child doesn’t give 2 shits about a “law”. They are going to do what they are going to do until someone physically stops them or removes the child.

        You can make them fill out all the paperwork and pass all the laws you want. But someone who has no problem breaking one big law (child abuse) has no problem breaking others (falsifying paperwork, lying, keeping the child away from others, cheating on tests so the child appears to be doing well, etc). These people are going to do wrong, and these things you talk about are already illegal. More paperwork isn’t going to change anything.

        On the other hand, the families that are trying their best and doing what they are supposed to don’t need the extra paperwork to make sure they are doing right. The laws don’t even need to be there for these people, because they would do what is right regardless.

        So in the end, the ONLY thing all this paperwork seems to accomplish is to make people feel better about themselves (look, I’m helping!) and give busybodies another way to make trouble for the law-abiding families that do the paperwork in accordance with the law.

      • Composer 99

        Susan:

        In the mean-time, punishing homeschool families with bureaucratic time-wasters is exactly what makes schools not work for far too many children.

        Boring non-argument is boring. Come up with some evidence instead of half-baked assertions.

      • iueras

        Boring internet troll is boring. Try harder.

      • iueras

        I don’t understand why you are getting downvoted every time. You are spot on. The last thing we need is MORE governmental and neighbor interference in our daily lives, which includes our children. I think the ones here downvoting you simply want, as you say, more control over OTHER people.

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