Archive for the ‘Laws & Regulations’ Category

The World that Works vs. The World that Fails

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I was reading an article on the HSLDA site in response to an article written by a Pastor Tom Stein.  I encourage you to read both of them for yourself.  I am reminded of a speech given by Newt Gingrich a few years ago about the world that works and the world that fails.

One particular statement from the Stein article that troubled me is “So I ask: is it in the interests of the state, to keep an eye on [homeschooling]? I say yes.”

To this I say NO!  I have read both the U.S. Constitution and the Indiana Constitution.  The U.S. Constitution says nothing about this. Only Article 8 of the Indiana Constitution mentions “by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall be without charge, and equally open to all.”  If you read Article 8 it pertains to the availability of Public Schools to all without charge and directs the funds to be used “profitably.”  I am not taking issue with this.  I question whether the average student or taxpayer is profiting much from them.

I take issue that any state has a “right” to make parents answer to the state for the education of their own offspring.  Really?  Homeschoolers on average rate at or above the 85% percentile on standardized testing, exceeding even privately schooled students.  Is there anywhere in life (except government) that those who are failing (public school system) tells those who are succeeding how to succeed?  That would be comparable to a homeless crackhead trying to tell Mark Zuckerburg or Bill Gates on how to make a billion dollars.  Does this even make sense?  I think not.

He tries to point out neglectful parents who homeschool.  Funny, I didn’t see any real examples of that.  It seems easier to me to send kids to school on the yellow cheese wagon as we used to call it.  Could there be parents not educating their kids?  Possibly, but even unschooling demonstrates that children are naturally curious and learn much on their own.

He points out that the public schools are trying to classify students as homeschoolers to fix dropout rates.  So we trust those to regulate homeschoolers that are trying to hide their own failures by artificially padding their graduation numbers and declaring “dropouts” as homeschoolers?

Pastor Stein further writes:

“As with many issues these days, we tend to run to the extremes.  One side might say, “Do not touch my home-schooling!” The other side might say, “Just outlaw it!”"

Pastor Stein, in closing, makes a false attempt at moderation.  He makes a point of wanting “reasonable” regulations.  Others want to outlaw it.  Both ignorantly trample the rights of parents to educate their children without the strong-arm of State telling them how to do it.  This has been the Hoosier way for over thirty years, via law and case precedent: the Department of Education is not neutral and only the courts have the power to determine if a child is not receiving an “equal” education.  I believe this is wise and works.

I say to Mr. Stein, if you want to improve education, you should focus on the public schools that serve 90% of the population and leave the 10% of us private schoolers alone.  Our track record as a group speaks for itself.

Homeschooling – The law in Indiana

Friday, August 20th, 2010

All kinds of opinions exist as to the regulations and laws as it relates to homeschooling. The HSLDA has an excellent page on this. I will be focusing in this article about the laws in the State of Indiana were we reside.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

Indiana is one of the least regulated States when it comes to homeschooling. Indiana is a no notice state. Unless your child is already in the public school system you do not need to notify anyone that you are homeschooling. You simply do it. If your child is already in the public school system you need to provide the school a letter informing them that your child will be educated elsewhere. That is it.

In Indiana you do NOT have to register your child. There exists a page on the Indiana Department of Education providing a form to register. It is not required. The form is here for anyone who is curious.

The compulsory ages for education in Indiana are from 7 to 18, unless the student graduates early or drops out at 16 or 17. The school year is generally 180 days.

All non-public schools are exempt from the 180 days requirement. Homeschools are treated as private schools in Indiana based on case law. According IC 20-33-2-20, parents are required to keep attendance records in case the State Superintendent or local school system Superintendent wishes to verify enrollment of a particular child.

No specific subject requirements exist for homeschools, but the education must be provided in English. The only other requirement is that the “provided with instruction equivalent to that given in public schools” (IC 20-33-2-28). What is equivalent cannot be determined by the Board of Education. For multiple reasons it is probably a good idea to keep records of a child’s progress and not just attendance.

Each State has its own requirements when it comes to home education. I suggest checking out the HSLDA’s page on this at http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp as well as check out your own state Department of Education web site. Some state web sites can be a bit inaccurate, so I would verify the information provided there with the HSLDA, state and local homeschool groups, and the law itself.

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states of the United States. As with anything like this do your homework on it before you begin.