She's listed in the article as being the Missouri mother of a "truant" son, although she has been homeschooling for some time. Thanks to the Corn and Oil blog (http://eduwrit.com/blog) for the link.
What do you think about parents who use homeschool law as a cover for "truancy?" And do you think there is truancy in this case? Sounds like the mom is *probably* not doing the most amazing, perfect job of homeschooling this rebellious child given that there are other children with absence issues from public school. That being said, I'd like to know how you can mandate learning. It's my opinion that you can have perfect attendance at your public, private or home-school and be determined not to learn what's on the teacher's agenda.
Should there be "compulsory education?" You might think that an educated citizenry is essential to a good funcitoning democracy. Then we'd have to determine what would consist a good education and who would determine the ideology behind it. There always is one, you know. Does the ideology we want mean children are learning the importance of eugenics for the good of the Fatherland? Whoops, just thought I would mention that public, state-run education systems might just maybe sometimes have an agenda parents reading my blog disagree with? But onward...
Another issue that Susan brought up on the blog was the fact that there are "pushouts" out there. Pushouts are students who are encouraged to drop out, or students who face a hostile environment at school in some way and whose parents are encouraged to "homeschool" when conflict arises. Not everyone is ready to homeschool their child at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately in our country, we've accepted the mindset that it's someone else's job to educate our own children, and some of these parents fall down on the job. Some of these parents also have no support in homeschooling and/or no idea how to begin, or have special-needs children the school was doing a crummy job educating to begin with. Special-needs kids don't always show improvement one year to the next. I'm relatively sure I could pull out G's 5th grade work and his work today and not see much difference. So who decides what's good enough? Another issue with pushouts is that these tend to be older children who have already developed a terrible attitude toward learning and anything even remotely resembling schoolwork.
I know there's much talk of the No Child Left Behind holding schools "accountable" for low scores. (Hang on while I snort loudly.) This "accountability," however, does not mean that my autistic son G is going to get the BEST education possible, or that the local special ed. teacher's job is on the line if he does not do well on his fill-in-the-dots. On the contrary, it's my feeling that because we're white, suburban, and don't get a free lunch that we're going to be overlooked as not one of the important target groups of people who matter to administrator-types.
But back to the article. How's jail going to help this situation? How's the requirement that the child be enrolled in public school going to help? If it were me, I'd quietly move out of state and/or instruct ALL my children to sabotage the all-important MAP test and get EVERY. SINGLE. ANSWER. WRONG. That'll teach 'em. Oh - and another tactic would be to drop out of school on the first day the child is of legal age to do so. Then, you could homeschool at your own pace without any of those pesky state oversights, AND you get the benefit of making the school district look really bad on paper.
But I'm bad that way.
In a future post, we're going to chat about what we should make our children learn and how we measure whether it's good enough. Bless you all!