Across the States
Truants Encouraged to Homeschool
Over the past few months, some Home School Legal Defense Association members have learned that their local school districts are forcing public school students with a high rate of truancy to register as homeschooled students. HSLDA has verified reports that school districts in the Muncie and Huntington areas are doing this, and we have received similar, unconfirmed reports about several other districts.
Generally, if a child is planning to drop out of public school, the parents are not prepared to teach their child at home. Most have little or no knowledge about what to do after registering with the Indiana Department of Education. It is doubtful that any of these families know that registration of homeschool programs is entirely voluntary in the Hoosier State.
Most of the time, a local school district will institute this type of policy to try to lower its dropout rate. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, schools with high dropout rates and low graduation rates receive lower performance scores. However, shifting truant pupils to homeschool programs without providing adequate information and support will likely have a negative impact on their education as well as on the broader homeschool community.
Local support groups can have a positive impact in these situations. By maintaining a visible presence in the community, your local support group has the opportunity to help parents who have been told they must homeschool their children.
Your support group can provide information on Indiana’s legal requirements for homeschooling (see HSLDA’s analysis of Indiana). Support groups can also provide mentors, friends, and activities for these new homeschooling parents. Two additional resources that you can point these families to are HSLDA’s Homeschooling Thru High School website and our introductory site to homeschooling.
— by Thomas J. Schmidt