Fight this Homeschool Legislation Now!

Representative Stephanie Chang (District 6) has introduced a bill to be decided this Tuesday (April 21, 2015). Her letter requesting co-sponsorship states:

This bill would require that each person who is educating a child at home furnish the school district, at the beginning of each school year, with information about the child being educated. In addition, if a child is being educated at home, the parent or guardian shall ensure that the child meets in person twice a year with a physician, social worker, teacher or school counselor, regulated child care provider, etc.

Ms. Chang cites two severe cases of child abuse leading to death as the reason for her legislation. One is a recent case out of Wayne County involving two children who were dead in a freezer for years and no one noticed them missing, ostensibly because the parent claimed that she homeschooled.

It’s easy to look at a horrific case like this and say, “Something needs to be done!” But, legislating against homeschoolers is not the answer. Here’s why:

  1. The right to oversee and direct the education of children rests with the parent, not the state. I, as their parent, have the right to choose to put my kids in school or to homeschool them. I evaluate that choice for each of my kids. I make changes as I see fit. The state does not and should not have the legal or moral right to require that I notify or answer to them about my child’s education.
  2. It seems like a small thing, asking that we submit a form and have our kids get a physical and meet with a social worker each year, but it transfers the authority to the state from the parent. This legislation shifts the power and sets a precedent for future increased regulation.
  3. Let’s call a spade a spade. The people that Ms. Chang mentions, these horrible, horrible child abusers and murderers, are NOT HOMESCHOOLERS. They lie and say they’re homeschooling. Homeschooling becomes the scapegoat. Why validate the lie of a murderer by harassing and regulating a group of innocent people? The news is full of horrible stories of child abuse and child murder that have absolutely nothing to do with homeschooling. Child abuse is awful. Child abuse needs to be stopped, but regulating homeschooling won’t make any difference.
  1. My son (adopted out of the Michigan foster system) saw a physician regularly and went to day care, and yet somehow the doctor and workers all missed the three broken bones that were in various stages of healing when he came into foster care at four months of age. What Ms. Chang proposes is a band-aid fix. Our foster system is broken. Children are abused with no consequence to the abuser. Children are returned to the abuser over and over and over.

People call CPS because a neighbor lets her kids run barefoot, yet no one calls when they haven’t seen their neighbor kids for years on end? Wayne County, where the kids in the freezer were found, is home to 70% of Michigan’s foster kids, yet my experience with the foster system there was appalling. Legislators, if you want to protect our kids, begin by fixing the foster system and start with Wayne County.

Homeschoolers, believe me when I say that we don’t want caseworkers anywhere near our kids. Three of the ones I’ve worked with have lied in court under oath. We’ve had two great caseworkers; the others were dishonest, uncaring, and at times malicious. We saw false reports filed and policies violated repeatedly. While there are some great individuals, as a group these are not people I want talking to my children.

Legislators, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Homeschoolers are doing a great job. The test results show it. The graduated homeschoolers show it. No regulation is needed for something that is working and working well. Use our tax dollars elsewhere. For example: you could put laws in place to require prosecution and lengthy prison sentences for child abusers. You could introduce legislation to prosecute GALs who don’t do their jobs, or legislation that would allow foster parents to become a party to the case for children in their care. Creating a fair way for cases to be appealed on a child’s behalf, not just on the parent’s, would really do some good, as would better oversight of judges.

Everyone, please contact the state representative for your district before this goes before the Michigan House of Tuesday. You can find your representatives here: http://house.michigan.gov/MHRPublic/

3 thoughts on “Fight this Homeschool Legislation Now!

  1. Dawn B. April 17, 2015 / 1:39 pm

    Thank you for this! I couldn’t have said it any better! I contacted my rep &, I hope you don’t mind, I used some of your AWESOME points from this blog! 🙂 Praying this legislation does not go through!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue April 20, 2015 / 3:46 am

    Right on! I made some similar points in my own blog rant about this proposed legislation, but you brought up something that hasn’t hit me yet. I, too, was a Michigan foster parent until I adopted children out of the system and had my hands full enough. I also experienced social workers lying under oath to the judge about their inaction on my son’s case. (Why, yes, your honor, I filed that paperwork months ago!) I had a grievance filed against me because I shared data that uncovered the lies. I simply would not have believed caseworkers could be so malicious had I not experienced it myself. The culture is toxic.

    Like

  3. Laura April 21, 2015 / 7:01 pm

    Unfortunately, my rep (District 55) is a co-sponsor of the bill. Here is what he said:

    Dear Laura,

    Thank you for contacting me about House Bill 4498 and homeschooling reforms. It’s vital to the legislative process that I hear valuable feedback from the people I represent.

    I truly appreciate hearing your views on this matter, however I am supportive of Representative Chang’s bill and have cosponsored it. The goal of the legislation is to ensure the safety of every child. I recognize the dedication and hard work of the majority of homeschooling parents/guardians who do an excellent job. However, Michigan can and must do better to ensure that every child is accounted for. This bill provides for very basic notification and check-in requirements, and does not have any impact on curriculum or assessments. The check-in meetings can be with a wide range of individuals, providing flexibility to the homeschooling family. Those who are providing an excellent home education will easily be able to meet or exceed these requirements, and this will be just one way we can help ensure no children are lost through the cracks.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. If you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my office at (517) 373-1792.

    Sincerely,

    Adam Zemke
    State Representative
    55th District
    (517) 373-1792

    Like

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