No to Illinois SB 136
The Illinois State Senate is currently considering legislation (SB 136) which would require registration of private school and homeschooled students. My wife Julie homeschools our ten-year-old daughter, Maddie, who has progressed rapidly (she's already studying at the high school level) and has enjoyed a far better education than she ever could have gotten from our local public schools. Maddie is an amazingly enthusiastic student with a real hunger to learn, and most of that is due to the close attention and guidance that Julie is able to provide. It's also worth noting that we support our public schools financially via our hefty property taxes, yet do not burden the system by having Maddie enrolled in it and thus diverting resources from other students.
SB 136's sponsor claims that the bill is merely about registering students. But I can't help suspecting that this is actually the first step towards full-scale regulation of homeschoolers, including the eventual imposition of a state-mandated curriculum and standardized testing. As parents, Julie and I have chosen to educate Maddie on our own, and the results (as well as those of other homeschoolers, who consistently outperform public school students) speak for themselves. We should remain free of registration or any other regulation that the state wants to impose.
If you agree with me, please contact your Illinois state senator and express your opposition. Even if your own kids are in public schools, this should matter to you. Because it doesn't matter where - in public schools, private schools or at home - our children are educated. What matters is that they're getting the best education they can get. Burdening homeschoolers with registration or any other regulation does nothing to improve the quality of education our kids receive. And taking away parents' right of choice on how their kids are educated is simply wrong.
Stop SB 136 now!
Pete, this is really interesting. I think it's awesome you're doing such a good job with Maddie. I do wonder whether, though, there are some parents who don't do such a good job. Not to stereotype, but I knew a couple homeschool kids who pretty much did Bible study all day and that was it. While I'm all for individual liberties, it seems like those kids weren't getting the education they deserve. Is there anything in place to even vaguely make sure parents are doing well by their kids, as you and Julie are?
Posted by: Beth J. at Feb 9, 2011 10:48:38 AM
thanks for bring attention to this important issue.
Posted by: Pete at Feb 10, 2011 2:10:14 PM
Like public and private schools, home schools will differ in quality. You can find out online what the state asks of Illinois homeschoolers.
Here is something to think about. There are things in place that are supposed to make sure teachers are doing well by kids. It comes from the state. Have these helped those students? Parents are told to mind their own business. A judge said that once you drop your child off at the school's doorstep, they not you, have the right to teach whatever to your child. If have assented to their curriculum, because if you don't like it you can send them to a private or home school. His interpretation, not mine.
Posted by: Chrysd at Feb 10, 2011 2:26:50 PM
Woops! Should say you have assented, not if you have assented. Sorry.
Posted by: Chrysd at Feb 10, 2011 2:28:29 PM
Thanks, Pete. I totally agree with you. I am contacting Sen. Larry Bomke to vote against this.
Posted by: Marie at Feb 11, 2011 11:04:47 PM
There is no reason to collect data and do nothing with it. If it's going to be used, I want to know how before this becomes law.
Posted by: Lonnie at Feb 14, 2011 10:27:12 AM
Apparently about a thousand Homeschooling parents agreed.
Posted by: Lynn Swearingen at Feb 15, 2011 12:36:17 PM
In response to Beth's comment regarding the home schooled kids that did Bible Study all day, it is quite possible that the parent's were using the Bible as a basis for main lessons. To an outsider it may appear as if the child is "only studying the Bible", but there are many ways and philosophies to approach the learning of all subjects, without resorting to mainstream tactics with fragmented lessons. (After all, the present traditional educational system is failing our children and society miserably.) It is very important that IL parents continue to have the freedom to choose how their child learns best without constraints imposed upon them by the state. If a parent chooses to use the Bible as the basis for their main lessons, which could easily be done, I say all the better. At least those children will have the added benefit of learning great God-centered morals and values which will serve them well, as well as our society, through life.
Posted by: Jennifer M. at Feb 16, 2011 12:22:49 PM
Were you personally with the homeschooled children who seemed only to have 'bible study' at all times? If they were studying their bibles, they were apparently able to read, which is more than can be said for many public school students. Do I sense a bias on your part against parents who choose to incorporate their religious beliefs into their children's education? Do you have evidence that the children in question were not educated in other subjects? Was there evidence of abuse or neglect by their parents? It is people like you, with your pre-conceived ideas of how other parents should raise and educate their children, that cause hair - brained senators to come up with intrusive, freedom grabbing bills like senate bill 136. What are your children learning? Who is teaching them? How much do you know about the background of the teachers who have control of your children for eight hours daily? Aside from what you can see of the curriculum they are using, what personal bias and influence do those teachers interject? You should quit speculating about the kids who are reading their bibles and mind your own store.
Posted by: successful home school at Feb 16, 2011 12:35:14 PM
ps. "not to stereotype"? That's exactly what you did.
Posted by: successful home school at Feb 16, 2011 12:36:28 PM