(Page 2 of 2)
In states including Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Virginia, lawmakers and opponents of DIY education are calling for tighter restrictions and more-intrusive regulation of homeschooling families by government. In each instance, officials point to instances of abuse by adults who fail to educate the children under they charge or who, more horrifically, claim to be "homeschooling" children they're actually subjecting to abuse. The crimes are real, but isolated.
Iowa Rep. Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids) calls out the starvation deaths of Natalie Finn and Sabrina Ray on his way to arguing for his bill that "requires the parent or guardian to submit a report annually to the school district of residence. Children will also receive visits by the school district." But these incidents, with their specific names, draw headlines precisely because they're so rare and noteworthy.
By contrast, the institutions that Rep. Staed and his colleagues want to set over parents are awash in victims whose names are lost in the overwhelming numbers.
"In 2016, students ages 12-18 experienced 749,400 victimizations (theft and nonfatal violent victimization) at school and 601,300 victimizations away from school," notes the Bureau of Justice Statistics in its latest report. "The total victimization rates were 29 victimizations per 1,000 students at school and 24 per 1,000 students away from school."
"Nearly 9.6 percent of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career," cautions a 2004 report prepared for the U.S. Department of Education.
"A yearlong investigation by The Associated Press uncovered roughly 17,000 official reports of sex assaults by students over a four-year period, from fall 2011 to spring 2015," we learned in 2017. "Ranging from rape and sodomy to forced oral sex and fondling, the sexual violence that AP tracked often was mischaracterized as bullying, hazing or consensual behavior."
So government-run schools are academically inferior to homeschooling, riddled with crime and abuse, and producing graduates less tolerant than their counterparts who were educated at home. But rather than fix their pet institutions, politicians prefer to grab for power over people fleeing from their grasp.
Ummm… no. Not that homeschoolers have the time or inclination, but they have more standing to claim the right to oversee the floundering public schools. Instead of seeking to crush the competition, public officials should learn from it.
Photo Credit: Ingram Publishing/Newscom