More ROE/Legislation Offenses

And I do mean they are being offensive. I squirreled around enough writing up something on the SHA list, that I decided I’d try to get more bang for my buck.  So here’s my post with some editing:

It seems like the world of oversight seekers has learned a new way of functioning. It’s creeping at times but it is definitely an onslaught.  Even in Illinois, unfortunately.   Below is just one example from my observations.  From talking with homeschooling compadres in other states, it seems to be the same across the country.

Coming out of many public schools in Illinois, for one.  Watching over the years, it seems like they’re more in your face about filling out unnecessary forms.  Illinois is a wonderful state to homeschool as we don’t have to report or notify if we haven’t been in the public schools.  But many regional offices of education ask that you fill out a registration form.  Here’s just a few more examples in a quick look [That’s 4 ROE’s listed so far. Know there’s more]:

St Clair ROE’s Faqs 

Lake County ROE’s site on homeschooling 

and here it is on the ISBE site under research.

I know they say it’s voluntary, but realistically, I have to wonder how voluntary it feels when a principal or superintendent is handing it to you.

Follow that with this 2004 Illinois Public Act and then you can see where this is heading.  There was no reason for this Act as it was already a given:

[Sec. 2-3.25o.  Registration and recognition of non-public elementary and secondary schools.] 

That doesn’t sound very voluntary.  Here’s the synopsis as introduced as a bill:

<Amends the Higher Education Student Assistance Act. Makes a technical change in a Section concerning defaulting on a loan.>

Below is what it turned into ala the stealth modus operandi apparently learned from our ‘fine’ leaders in DC.
Deletes everything after the enacting clause. Amends the School Code. Provides for the voluntary registration and recognition of non-public
elementary and secondary schools in Illinois. Requires assurances of compliance with State and federal laws. Provides for the State Board of Education to prescribe guidelines and procedures. Effective immediately.

Why?  Take out the word “voluntary” or “may voluntarily” in that text and what do you have?  Registration in the state of IL.  Very sneaky.  Kind of the same sneaky that raised our compulsory attendance age to 17 from 16 years of age with little or no action from the homeschooling world.  And the same kind of sneaky that almost reduced the compulsory attendance age to 5 from 7 last spring.  Who stopped it finally?  Homeschoolers.  And the sponsor for lowering the compulsory attendance age was on a steamroll adding that he wished it would be reduced to 3 years of age, but would settle for 5 right now. That’s a big heads up as it’ll come back again and again until they get what they want just as they did with the raising of compulsory attendance age.

Statistics

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself, in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force:  "There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics."

-Autobiography of Mark Twain

We’ve seen Dept of Ed ‘research’ papers and articles with statistics such as this.   I get apprehensive now when I see this regarding # of homeschoolers such as:

The Federal Department of Education estimates that 1.1 million children were homeschooled in 2002-03, but experts at the pro-homeschooling National Home Education Research Institute say it may be closer to 2.2 million, depending on how states define "homeschool."


There you go….between 1.1 and 2.2 million with 2 studies. My kids know the difference between 1.1 and 2.2 donuts. So there is a bit of a discrepency when those 2 numbers are followed by million.

Why study that? Why the ‘research’ when it’s obviously soooo inaccurate? What data do they get when they’re trying to do these studies? And has anyone noticed that they always say it needs to be researched further? Data collecting and tracking is irresistible for these people (besides profitable).

The same NCES (primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data..related to education in the US…) study uses this definition of homeschoolers

who are considered to be homeschooled if their parents reported them as being schooled at home instead of at a public or private school for at least part of their education and if their part time enrollment in public or private schools did not exceed 25 hours/week 

Let’s not forget that several states, including Illinois, don’t require homeschoolers to register or report so all of those state ‘numbers’ aren’t even on this radar, thank goodness.

And here’s another puzzling part in these ‘statistics’. If my kids were living this definition of part time enrollment up to 25 hours/week, when would we have time to live the essence of homeschooling? (The quantity and thus the quality of time just hanging out with your family living and learning?)  25 hours/week  in brick and mortar would mean 5 hours/day in the classroom which often means that the public school would receive funding for that student….hmmm…funny that coincidence. It seems ludicrous to include those "enrolled in school part-time" students in the homeschooling category when there is public funding to the schools for them.

If this was in our school district here, the kids would be in school from
8:20 until 1:20 every day (excluding lunch time). 1 hour and 40
minutes left to in the school day. If that works for families who choose that way to educate their kids, great! But let’s hold these researchers feet to the fire in their defining a homeschooler. 

Larry and Susan Kaseman wrote an article concerning the P Lines monograph. They addressed some key points concerning her writings:


Lines presents misleading statistics and information about homeschoolers
Lines makes bold statements about homeschooling that she does not support with evidence, statements that, in fact, are contradicted by readily available data.
Lines misrepresents key points of education and homeschooling law
Is Homeschooling Being Used as Part of a Larger Agenda?

Growing Ginger

Thought that would be hard, but the KY extension service says no. 

We’re off to the all day Extension Service sponsored Herb Day.    It’s an annual Christmas present treat that my mom and I do.  3 years ago, I couldn’t come and my daughter took her place.  They came home with some interesting information.  Like that the tea in the tea bags is often the swept up floor remains from the good stuff that was dropped.  (Some things you just don’t want to know, ya know.  Now we buy the looseleaf.) 

Save Trees, ROE’s

That rhymes.  Sounds like a good chant in front of some government building.

 There is a discussion on the SHA group about what happens to homeschoolers’ autonomy doing the voluntary ‘this and that’ through precedents set, etc. I’d noted this before back in September. Here it is again:

So parents could be reading along checking out different sources as they consider homeschooling. Good Plan. If parents read enough, they’d know that the ROE could get involved with checking out a family’s homeschooling plan if there was cause. So you check out the ROE for your area and below is what you’d find in The Boone-Winnebago Regional Office of Education.

Regional Office of Education

The Boone-Winnebago Regional Office of Education acts as an advocate for education by providing leadership, performing regulatory functions as directed by the Illinois School Code and Illinois State Board of Education, coordinating and delivering state and local services and disseminating information to educators, school districts and the community.

Great, ya think, they say they are performing regulatory functions as directed by the IL School Code.

Reading on: The Regional Office is responsible for registering teacher certificates, providing school bus driver classes, administering GED tests and issuing GED certificates, monitoring school bus districts for compliance with Life/Safety Code, providing environmental workshops and field trips to the Regional Environmental Center and registering home school programs.

Well, whoops, there is NO statute that states home school programs (or just everyday homeschooling families) have to be registered. No Illinois School Code says any such thing. But they do make it sound like you do.

The Dupage ROE has the same problem with their information form that’s sent on to ISBE’s Data Analysis & Progress Reporting Department.  Looks like  information is tabulated from the non-public registration enrollment and staff report form. Any doubters that this isn’t about homeschoolers too should note that under affiliation, of all things, the #15 check off is Homeschooling [Parent Operated].

So let’s remember that the next time you hear a public school bureaucrat complaining about The Paperwork they have to deal with when ‘they just want to concentrate on education’. Busy bodies, they are.

Public school folks can cut themselves a break as they really don’t have to fuss around with that paperwork for homeschoolers. They really should take out the ditty about registering home school programs. Homeschool registration forms can just hit the trash can (recycling, of course) and save everyone the wood, hassle and who knows what else.