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10/31/2007 2:57:53 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA Responds to Columnist's 'Alarm' Concerning Homeschooling

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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HSLDA Responds to Columnist's 'Alarm' Concerning Homeschooling

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Recently an opinion article appeared in the Lansing State Journal in
which columnist John Schneider criticized what he called the lack of
government oversight over home education. (The column may be viewed
online at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4507 )

The letter below was written in response:


October 30, 2007

John Schneider
Lansing State Journal

VIA FACSIMILE: (517) 377-1298

Dear Mr. Schneider,

Your article "Lack of oversight for home-schooled alarms educator"
indicated that because homeschooling is not supervised by government
bureaucrats, homeschooled children are not being well educated. The
statement from public school teacher Nancy Head that "nobody ever
checks up on these kids" makes it appear that homeschool parents need
to be held accountable to the state.

However, this is not what evidence has shown. A national study (which
can be found at http://nche.hslda.org/docs/study/ray1997/12.asp)
performed by Dr. Brian Ray compared and contrasted the performance of
homeschooled children throughout the country according to the amount
of government regulations. The study shows that the academic
performance of homeschooled children in states such as New York, with
much regulation, is the same as homeschooled children in states like
Missouri, which have little regulation. In other words, more
government rules and accountability does not make better students.

There is nothing "broke" with the academic performance of Michigan
homeschoolers, and there is, therefore, no need to fix it. National
studies have shown that Michigan homeschool students, on the average,
score above average on standardized achievement tests.
http://nche.hslda.org/docs/study/comp2001/default.asp. The bottom line
is that homeschooling works.

Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court has recognized that the
average parent acts in the best interest of their children. After
working for the Home School Legal Defense Association for 23 years, I
have found that homeschool parents want their children to not only
succeed academically, but in every way. Michigan's compulsory
attendance statute regarding homeschooling both protects the
fundamental rights of parents to direct the education of their
children as guaranteed through the Fourteenth Amendment, and also
upholds the understanding that we need to trust parents more than the
government oversight.

Homeschooling has not always been free in Michigan. Thousands of
families in the 1980's and 1990's felt the oppression from the state
when they were hounded as criminals by local school districts and the
State Department of Education simply because they chose to home
school. Many families were taken to court. During those years, HSLDA
represented thousands of homeschool families, whose right to home
school was being challenged by the state. Fortunately for the innocent
homeschool families in Michigan, the state supreme court, in our case
People v. DeJonge, 501 N.W.2d 127, (Mich. 1993), ruled in favor of the
home school families and found the teacher certification requirement
an unconstitutional violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First
Amendment.

A few years later, the legislature saw the importance of protecting
parents' rights in the area of education and enacted MCLA sec. 380.01.
"It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians
to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their
children." This reaffirmed the basic fundamental right of all parents,
including home school parents, to have the right to choose the form of
education that they deem best for their children.

There is no need to question the need for accountability for
homeschool parents to state bureaucracy. Homeschooling has a proven
track record of working best when it is left alone by the government.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka, Esq.
HSLDA Senior Counsel

CJK:kts


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-> Will your friends stand by you in trouble?

They will if you're an HSLDA member and your homeschool is
threatened. HSLDA is ready to stand by your side along with
80,000 other homeschool families.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1105

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