Feb 10, 2011

Posted by in Family Life, Home Education, Politics, SB 136, Teaching | 0 Comments

Illinois: Trying to Regulate Homeschoolers

Last week, Senator Edward Maloney, Illinois 18th District, introduced SB136, which will require non-public school students to register with the Illinois State Board of Education. This would include both private school students and homeschool students. I recently wrote in a letter to the SouthtownStar, after reading a column about the subject by Fran Eaton. Below is my letter, in its entirety.

Fran Eaton’s piece, “Homeschool parents ask, ‘Why state registration?’” raised some good points regarding the proposed Senate Bill 136 by Senator Edward Maloney. This legislation would require all non-public students to register with the Illinois State Board of Education. This includes private school students, as well as homeschooled students.

Maloney’s “concern” is about those children being taught at home. He claims to “want more accountability.”

In the article, Maloney said, “Certainly, for the most part homeschoolers do a conscientious job that exceeds standards. I’ve heard many anecdotal stories about home-taught students doing well, but there are some out there that aren’t. We need minimally to know who the home-taught kids are.”

As a parent, who homeschooled my own children for 12 years, I would twist that around and say to Senator Maloney (who represents my district):

With thousands of my property tax dollars going to fund government schools every year, I would say that for the most part government schools do a conscientious job that likely meets state standards. I’ve heard many anecdotal stories about public school students doing well. My own sons, who attended community college while homeschooling their way through high school, were classmates with public school graduates in 090 level math and English courses. These are high school level courses, Sen. Maloney.

While it is acceptable for a 16 year old to take such courses, WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL, it seems to me that a public high school graduate should be in Freshman College level courses. To me, this points to the fact that our government schools are not meeting the standards. I need minimally to know who is responsible for overseeing instruction of these “high school graduates” and why they were allowed to graduate without achieving high school level studies.

I would be very happy to have the Illinois State Board of Education express concern and demand accountability from private and homeschooled students when it can achieve success with the tens of thousands of students already enrolled in public schools. Until all public school graduates can demonstrate that they can perform at twelfth grade levels upon graduation, I do not see how Senator Maloney and the Illinois State Board of Education can exact “more accountability” from private school and home educated students.

Here is a link to my letter, as published by the SouthtownStar: http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/opinions/letters/3759592-474/forum-state-should-focus-first-on-public-school-students.html

Here is a link to Fran Eaton’s article, as published by the SouthtownStar: http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/eaton/3719092-452/homeschool-parents-ask-why-state-registration.html

There are is a page on Facebook that has been set up to fight SB 136:
Stop SB 136 – http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Stop-SB-136/151000834954598

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