The Home School Court Report
VOLUME IX, NUMBER 5
- disclaimer -
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 1993
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H. R. 6
SPECIAL REPORT


Cover Stories
Parental Rights Victory: Dangerous Elements of the Vaccination Bill Removed From Clinton Budget

Home Schoolers Assaulted by French Government
Suing the Social Workers
Reviewing the 1992-1993 School Year

Features

Michigan Public Schools Lose Funding

National Center Reports

Congressional Action Program


President’s Corner

Across the States

National Center Reports

Navy Considers “Attrition Predictor” for Enlistment

In a July 7, 1993, letter from W.S. Sellman, Director for Accession Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Center for Home Education was notified that the Navy “has developed a compensatory screening model for predicting first-term attrition. Individuals with an alternative high school diploma [which is the category where home school graduates are placed] who score above an empirically determined level are eligible for enlistment in the Navy. An individual’s score is determined by a variety of factors, including their age, aptitude as measured by the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, employment history, moral waiver status, etc. The army currently is considering a similar program.”

This is a divergence from the military’s previous policy. The Department of Defense evaluates a candidate’s desirability according to a three-tiered system based on attrition rates of recruits correlated with their educational background.

Tier I, the highest level of desirability, includes traditional high school graduates and young people who have completed some college work. Tier II includes GED candidates and correspondence school graduates, and Tier III is reserved for high school dropouts. Because a formal study on the attrition rates of home schoolers has not been done, the Department of Defense had arbitrarily lumped them together with correspondence school graduates in Tier II.

The National Center has been monitoring this issue since 1991 and is glad to see that home schoolers are finally going to receive fair treatment from the military.

State Teachers’ Union Calls Home Schooling a Threat

The April 1993 issue of American Information Newsletter reports that according to PERC (April 1993), “The Nebraska affiliate of the NEA teacher’s union is calling for a $4 dues increase to fight ‘threats’ to public education, which include the home school. President of the NSEA, C. Christiansen, wrote an article in the March 24 teacher’s union journal in which he claimed ‘public education’ faces danger from the ‘organizational approach of extremists and enemies of public education.’

“And just who were these ‘enemies?’ First on his list were home schools which he said were brought by ‘racial bigotry, economic elitism, religious intolerance or the simple attempt to prevent children from really learning to think critically.’ Other ‘threats’ to NEA absolutist control of the minds of children mentioned by [Christiansen] were tuition vouchers to private schools and caps on government school spending.”

College Says Home School Grads “Too Good to be True!”

The Family Times (May 1993) announces that “Hillsdale College, a bastion of free enterprise which has refused to accept any government monies in order to assure its independence, has begun recruiting home schoolers as students. The Hillsdale Admissions Office has begun exploring ways to make the college better known to home schoolers. According to Vice President for Student Admissions, Dr. Bob Blackstock, ‘They’re almost too good to be true. We’ve not yet had a poorly trained home-schooled student. They have been exceptional.’ According to Blackstock, home-schooled students follow a similar pattern of rising to positions of leadership and influence at the college.”

Mixed-Age Settings Superior For Young Children

Highlighted in Education Week’s “Early Years” report (June 23, 1993) is a University of North Carolina study claiming that mixed-age settings are beneficial for young children. “The study involved 59 children between 21 months and 67 months who were studied over a four-year period form 1986 to 1990. Those grouped with older peers fared better in communication, cognitive skills, and motor development than those in same-age groups.”

“The study, described in the June issue of the journal Child Development, suggests that ‘the quality of children’s play is higher’ when they have older role models.”

Study Says Siblings Beneficial to “Cognitive Development”

Margarita Azmitia and Joanne Hesser’s new study, “Why Siblings Are Important Agents Of Cognitive Development: A Comparison Of Siblings And Peers,” establishes that “a brother or sister typically can teach a young child more effectively than can an older peer.” Azmitia and Hesser &lduqo;found that during an ‘unstructured building session, young children were more likely to observe, imitate, and consult their older siblings than their older peers, and older siblings were more likely than older peers to provide them with guidance spontaneously.’ The researchers further established that during a ‘teaching session, older siblings provided more explanations and positive feedback and gave learners more control of the task than [did] older peers.’“ The final conclusion? “ ‘Older siblings do seem to make some unique contributions to young children's cognitive growth.’” (Quoted from The Family in America, August 1993.)

Of course, home educators know from firsthand experience that older siblings can have a vital role in the development of younger brothers and sisters. But it’s great to have the psychological community “discover” the fact!

Do Court Rulings Set Precedent For Children To Divorce Parents?

Baby Jessica returned to her “biological parents” in Iowa-Illinois court lets boy stay in adoptive family-11-year-old prefers adoptive parents-Kimberly Mays doesn’t have to submit to parental visitation-Are these rulings setting precedents for children’s rights advocates to assist youngsters in finding “better” families or standards of living?

To date, it appears that each case is being individually determined. The Kimberly Mays case is not a “child divorcing parent” scenario. The court ruled in Kimberly’s favor that she is not obligated to include in her life the biological parents with whom she has established no relationship. Kimberly has been reared from infancy by Mr. and Mrs. Mays, resulting from the accidental switching of two babies in the hospital.

The Washington Times (August 20, 1993) reported that “An Illinois appeals court ruled that a 2 1/2-year-old boy should remain with his adoptive parents and not be returned to the birth parents, who want him back. The ruling was the opposite of the ‘Baby Jessica’ ruling, in which a Michigan couple was forced to return a 2 1/2-year-old girl to her biological parents in Iowa earlier this month. In both cases, the biological father had objected because he had not been notified of the mother’s intent to give up the child at birth.

“In the court’s 2-1 ruling Wednesday, Justice Dom Rizzi wrote, ‘It would be contrary to the best interest of Richard to switch parents at this stage of his life. To hold that a child is the property of his parents is to deny the humanity of the child.’”

The phrase “in the best interests of the child” will likely be appearing in more and more of these rulings-particularly in light of growing “children’s rights“ advocacy in government agencies. What many parents do not realize is that any time there is a disagreement between parents about an issue affecting the child, the court has the authority to make a decision in light of the “best interests of the child.” Reports of child abuse render the same authority to the child welfare system and ultimately the courts.