Education Law Association’s “Law of Homeschooling” Revisited

A comment from "Jennifer" showed up a couple of days ago on the Home Education Mag News & Commentary blog underneath the following post.  (This review of The Law of Homeschooling monographs posted February 12, 2009.) 

"Jennifer" hasn't reappeared to respond.  Here's the post excerpt with comments following :

The Law of Homeschooling via a school lawyer

The Law of Homeschooling Education Law Association publication was written by Brian Schwartz, counsel for the Illinois Principals Association. This monograph is particularly intriguing to this Illinois homeschooler. The state of Illinois has no homeschooling law, for instance. I reviewed a copy and have a few thoughts stemming from my immediate reservations after seeing a press release about this monograph last December.

I would guess that planting an ‘expert’ seed in a brand new homeschooling parent’s brain via this “guide” might keep folks from researching their homeschooling rights and responsibilities themselves. Homeschool advocates are frequently enlightening ill informed school administrators (including principals) about education statutes. Going against mainstream societal school norms, we have to know our rights and responsibilities, or we might have an official coming to our home threatening our family’s well being.
Why is the Associate Director/General Counsel to the Illinois Principals Association, who is also a frequent education conference/event speaker (I don’t believe those would be homeschool conferences), and past chair of the IL State Bar Association’s Education Law Section Council so wrapped up in The Law of Homeschooling? One would think all these duties, along with an active private practice specializing in the very lucrative field of education law, makes for a full schedule without dawdling about concerning a tiny minority of homeschoolers.
Besides pointing out the most disturbing Business of writing a school advisor’s ‘guide’ for public perusal, I’ll lay out a few concerns I have of Schwartz’s opinions concerning homeschooling legalities. [continued at site]

Jennifer says:
June 26, 2009 

Are you kidding me? I have read the monograph and use it regularly as a reference tool. This book was obviously not written to be critical of homeschooling! It was written to provide all interested with objective information and state specific mandates. I can see how this book would benefit home school advocates. I can also see how this would allow school principals to understand the rights of children who are homeschooled. What is so wrong with that?

What evidence do you have that the Il Principals Assoc advocates against homeschooling efforts? NONE! IPA represents principals and provides professional development to educators on a large scale. In fact, they provide this resource to public school, private school, and charter schools. Attorney Schwartz wrote this book in an effort to educate any who are interested and he did an excellent job!

I would also like to point out this resource was incredibly well researched – did you take note of the numerous citations?

It seems your negative bias could use a little “fact” checking itself.

I responded with this:

Susan says:
June 27, 2009 

You are a strong defender of this monograph, a piece that the Education Law Association would like homeschoolers to use as a reference tool. It does seem productive for school principals to be aware of school law and the exemptions to compulsory attendance laws. But I’m a little uncomfortable with his apparent focus in this book called “The Law of Homeschooling”: “The publication is intended to be used by parents, students, homeschool advocates, and public school officials to do what is in the best interests of the children: to ensure that each child receives an appropriate education within the context and scope of the law.
Homeschoolers have our own ‘reference tools’ in our state statutes/laws, and within the homeschool community.
This year, and last, California homeschoolers found some extra help with pro bono law firms (see above referenced post). Again, did Mr. Schwartz do any research i.e.. work, with any homeschoolers regarding this book?
Do you homeschool? Do you homeschool in Illinois? Since you see how this “book would benefit home school advocates”, are you a homeschool advocate? I ask because living this alternative lifestyle makes you very protective of your family rights, and properly suspicious of professional offerings from the education industry.
I hoped to provide some background about the author and his ’cause’. I think you answered your own question (after “NONE”), by stating this: “IPA represents principals and provides professional development to educators on a large scale”
Homeschoolers educate their families on a non-professional level and at a very individualized scale. We don’t make a lucrative living playing with education law.
Since Schwartz is making his living (see above referenced post) in Illinois via education law, I’ll remind there is no “homeschool” law in Illinois. I thought that was ironic.

I’ve sat in a hearing room or two (in Illinois), and can verify that the group he lobbies for (IL Principals Association) is no friend of homeschoolers. They lobby for public schools. (I do know a couple of individual principals/school administrators that I would describe as advocates of educational choice/learning in whatever manner works.)
Please let me know of any errors in my facts. I’ll be happy to correct them, as citations and accurate research is very important to me.
Thank you for your comments.


Education Law Association’s “Law of Homeschooling” Revisited — 1 Comment

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