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State Superintendent: Homeschoolers Need More Oversight
In her first address to West Virginia’s joint standing committee on education this week, incoming West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple criticized homeschoolers. According to a West Virginia homeschooler who posted to an Internet group, Speaker pro tem and Delegate Ron Fragale told her that Mrs. Marple said “West Virginia homeschoolers need more oversight, better standards, better evidence of progress; homeschoolers have too much flexibility.”
Delegate Fragale told the homeschooler that “he’s not sure why Mrs. Marple is so negative about homeschooling. Perhaps there are some new board members who don’t have a good impression of it. However, the West Virginia Department of Education could create a new policy that might make homeschooling more difficult in the state.” He recommended that homeschoolers contact Mrs. Marple.
HSLDA Staff Attorney for West Virginia affairs Michael P. Donnelly noted that West Virginia homeschoolers do an outstanding job of educating children and that West Virginia has one of the nation’s more stringent homeschooling laws.
“Mrs. Marple’s comments reflect the outdated stereotypes typical of some narrow-minded government school bureaucrats,” Donnelly stated. “Mrs. Marple should get the facts before painting a bull’s-eye on West Virginia homeschoolers. If Mrs. Marple really cares about educational achievement for West Virginia students, she should study why homeschooling works so well and encourage it, not criticize it.”
“West Virginia already requires an annual notification and annual assessment from every family. Only a minority of the United States require this much interaction between homeschoolers and government officials,” he added.
Numerous studies affirm that homeschoolers outperform their public and private school counterparts on standardized tests of academic achievement. These studies show that increasing regulation on homeschoolers does not have any impact on academic performance. HSLDA is troubled by Mrs. Marples’ comments because they reflect an inappropriate eagerness to impose additional bureaucratic requirements on a population who are doing an excellent job of educating their children. Mrs. Marple should focus her attention on the 280,000-plus public school students who need her oversight, and leave West Virginia’s approximately 8,000 homeschoolers alone.
HSLDA is committed to defending the freedom of homeschoolers in West Virginia and calls on Mrs. Marple to retract her comments and to encourage homeschooling rather than seeking to impose additional and burdensome regulations on it. Mrs. Marples should remember that she is the new and 27th state superintendent of schools in a state where the motto is Montani Semper Liberi, or “Mountaineers Always Free.”
To contact Mrs. Marple:
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Phone: 304-558-2681 extension 53304
By mail: Dr. Jorea Marple, state superintendent of schools
1900 Kanawha Blvd., E., Building 6, Room 358
Charleston, WV 25305
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