Friday, November 4, 2011

Bringing Homeschooling Community Opposition to Education Reform Out of the Shadows

Many bloggers are dedicated to topics of interest for the homeschooling community. Grumpy Educators is focused on education reform initiatives and leaves homeschooling to others. This week, however, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) published a statement opposing the current U.S. Senate bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that was renamed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in 2001. The U.S. Senate HELP has a full committee hearing on Tuesday, November 8.

HSLDA admits they were less involved in 2001, but have observed the failures of NCLB. They are equally concerned about the increased federal control through the Common Core standards and assessment at the expense of local and parental control. While there is nothing specific in the legislation relating to homeschooling, the HSLDA sees a potential threat for the homeschooling community if the requirements of the bill in its current form federal take hold.

It is still unclear at this point whether homeschool protections will stay in the Senate’s education bill, but even if they do, the trend of national standards could lead to homeschoolers losing the freedom to choose the curriculum for their children. For these reasons, HSLDA is urging opposition to the Senate’s ESEA reauthorization legislation.

The HSLDA urges calls to U.S. Senators to voice opposition to the bill.
HSLDA’s federal relations staff have read this 868-page bill, and we believe that while it does not directly impact homeschool freedom, the bill will 1) increase the federal role in education at the expense of state, local, and parental control, and 2) will greatly increase the pressure on states to align their curriculum and standards, resulting in de facto national education standards.

News reports indicate a national increase of parents choosing the homeschooling route. In Florida, Volusia and Flagler counties report an 11.5% increase. Pasco county saw a 13.5% increase in homeschooling students at the start of classes this fall. Parents choose the homeschooling option for a variety of reasons and one often repeated reason is a rejection of the current test-driven curriculum and testing that they believe does not serve their child's needs.

The homeschooling community represents parents whose voices, objections, and concerns must also be brought out of the shadows.

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