September 4, 2012

Education Establishment Still Doesn’t Get It!

J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President


J. Michael Smith is president of HSLDA. He has been an advocate for homeschooling for more than 30 years. Read more >>

The leading spokesperson and advocate for public education in America, the NEA, addressed early childhood education and homeschooling again at their recent annual convention. They developed positions on various subjects and put them in the form of resolutions.

The NEA’s latest pronouncement on early childhood education should not surprise us. They support early childhood education programs in public schools for children from birth to age 8. Of course, the NEA insists these programs must be available to all children on an equal basis, all supported by taxpayer dollars. Basically, we’re talking about taxpayer-funded babysitting.

They want all children mandated into school earlier and kindergarten to be mandatory. If they succeed in getting states to lower compulsory school attendance to age 5, then most children would attend kindergarten at age 4, effectively reducing compulsory attendance to that young age. Various states try to reduce the compulsory school age every year, and several years ago Washington, D.C., entertained lowering the compulsory age to 3 years old.

On the issue of homeschooling, the NEA believes it cannot provide a student with a comprehensive education experience. Therefore, they believe that homeschooling should be regulated by the state with all homeschoolers required to meet state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of state-mandated assessment tests.

While we’ve made advances in terms of the number of homeschoolers, high academic achievement, individual success stories and acceptance by the general public, the education establishment has not bought into it. Therefore, we must continue to monitor closely both the state legislatures and Congress to make sure these folks don’t mess with the genius of home education by enacting burdensome legislation.

Homeschoolers have earned the right to be left alone. Rather than trying to regulate homeschoolers, the NEA and others should glean from home education ways to improve public education. After all, it’s hypocritical to try to clean up somebody else’s house when your house is a mess.

Your continued support of HSLDA allows us to make sure that any laws that are passed in the state legislatures or in Congress regarding homeschooling expand freedom, not reduce it.