Pushouts again, as noted in our neighboring state of Indiana

Indiana now joins the official Pushout trend in the United States of America.  The National Charter School Watch List had an article and issue pointed out by Indiana Home Education Network‘s Ben Bennett:

Mooresville High School officials criticized over student dismissals Parents also concerned home-schooling is only alternative for education

Parents of current and former Mooresville High School students have raised complaints about the way students are being dismissed from school, and parents are being told they have to home- school their children.

The parents questioned the school’s conduct in releasing the students, although no legal action has been taken. In releasing those students, school officials told the parents it was their responsibility to home-school their children.

Illinois school officials are mandated to document the reason a student was "transferred", if known, for a quarterly report submitted to the Regional Superintendent and Secretary of State. [Why the Secretary of State? That will be in the next post.]   If students are transferring, as opposed to dropping out or being truant, the records look so much cleaner (for state and federal funding purposes).  [See 105 ILXS 5/26-3aSuch list shall include the names and addresses of pupils formerly in attendance, the names and addresses of persons having custody or control of such pupils, the reason, if known, such pupils are no longer in attendance and the date of removal from the attendance rolls.]  The parents might not have any idea what those documented reasons are on those reports.  For example, they might not know that their children are "home school"ed as  opposed to being a dropout.  We can likely thank NCLB for that.  This below was one of my experiences.

From a previous post:  Absent 10 days=Homeschooled: Go figure

I remember 2 men (public school staff; not a truancy officer) here in central Illinois made a surprise visit  at a single mom’s door with a piece of paper to sign.   The paper said that she was going to homeschool that year. They had to provide the paper and pen, I would imagine, because she couldn’t find one when I visited her.  No transportation, no computer, no library card, a whole lot of nothing.  I didn’t think the school district was looking out for their best interests (understatement), but it probably helped out their test scores and truancy rates.

From the Sun-Times in January of 2004:

"The dropout problem is largely a push-out problem for kids who’d like to stay in school," said William Leavy, director of the Greater West Town group. "Our neediest kids have the least support."

So very true, but I’m still looking for some accountability from the schools.  From an article about a very young Pennsylvania mom:

School officials also have encouraged A.C. to switch to a home-school program or attend the district’s vocational high school because it has a day-care program, the lawsuit said.

But school districts are allowed by state law to have a policy to deal with parenting and pregnant students, but the district has not addressed the subject in their truancy policy, Cliatt said.

If the schools don’t have a policy, then maybe the unwritten policy will be to Push Out.  It’s easy to do unless they go a little bonkers and start doing it in bulk as they did in Mooresville, Indiana or in Chicago. Then the media gets wind of it,  as there will be some outraged parent somewhere who wants to know what is going on. 

From Steve Orel (a hero who passed on in July) of WOO in a letter to Chicago’s Substance publication:

Stop using ‘dropout’ to denigrate people who are pushed out 

Well, the term “dropout” is equivalent to bum, slacker, quitter, and other negative descriptions which put the burden on students and children for not finishing school. Dropout indicates that the student/child quit or gave up. That’s rarely the case.

Sit down with young people who have not completed their secondary education and you will find that they did not wake up one day and “dropout.” Unbearable pressures from school, standards and testing, difficulties at home and within the family, financial insecurity, hunger, and other inequities combined to PUSH a student out of school.

Homeschool advocates know it’s happening.  Very often, we’re just busy trying to figure out the best way to help the families even as these kids/families and our homeschooling name gets dragged through the public school mud.

Update: reminder on the NCSW list of Home Education Magazine interview by Peggy Daly Masternek of Susan Ohanian

Homeschoolers know something about "push-outs." We have heard their personal stories for years in homeschooling forums. Happily some have found their way to a commitment to homeschool. Many more, we know, have not. What do you see happening to children who are now being pushed-out to boost school district’s test scores?

I’m a board member of the World of Opportunity (WOO) in Birmingham, AL, the starkest example I know of push-outs. In 2000, an adult ed teacher, Steve Orel, noticed a high number of teenagers seeking to enter his GED preparation program. Steve began to question why three different high schools were using the same forms and language–"Lack of interest"–to withdraw students. He investigated, discovering that 522 African-American students had been involuntarily removed from the Birmingham schools right before the spring administration of a high stakes state test. The schools were under threat of state takeover if they didn’t improve their scores. Anyone familiar with testing can tell you: The easiest way to raise test scores is to get rid of probable low scorers. [more at site]

[Update numero dos] Another article came to mind from an interview on HEM Support Group News:

Homeschooling Under Fire: The Iowa Homeschooling Crisis of 1989-90 A history of the plot to depict homeschoolers as truants and child abusers” By Lynn and Sarah Leslie, August 30, 2004


Pushouts again, as noted in our neighboring state of Indiana — 9 Comments

  1. Pingback: Principled Discovery » Mayor Fenty to track all homeschooled students in D.C.

  2. Hello again, Susan! Enjoyed perusing your always informative blog. IL certainly hasn’t changed since we moved out last summer; can’t say I miss it, either. Of course, Wisconsin has its own issues.

    Just posted this today:

    …Those same parents might be interested in another story about homeschooling, one that hasn’t gotten nearly as much publicity as the Washington, D. C. situation. Schools in several states have become prohomeschooling, but for self-serving reasons. Some parents are actually being told to homeschool their children by their children’s schools, which are pushing the children out in an effort to raise their schools’ aggregate test scores; see Susan’s fine post on “pushouts” at Corn and Oil. …

  3. Hi Barbara, I’m subscribed to your blog and saw the frozen lake (and your chicken post :-)), but just didn’t get to the actual blog.
    You are in SUCH a beautiful area. We camped at Peninsula State Park.
    Anyway…back to serious stuff. I wish you were still here but understand why you’re not…because you’re right, things haven’t changed much except more taxes (err…fees) and more laws. I do think we have another governor heading for the big house (maybe even in Wisconsin). That’s gotta be a record.

  4. Pingback: Corn and Oil » “don’t want to get kids in the middle”

  5. Great post Susan. Push-out’s happen in Connecticut too but we only learn of them when we meet a new homeschooler who tells their story. I have heard these stories over and over at homeschool support group meetings. In Connecticut we don’t hear of it from the media or anywhere other than from the families.

    I will note that all the famillies I’ve met feel coerced into homeschooling and some admit they don’t really want to do it. Of course only those families in which the mom is not working and is home during the day can actually accept the ‘push-out’. From what I know of homeschooling my own kids it can be challenging and can try ones’ patience. I worry sometimes if a family is homeschooling as they feel forced to when their heart and mind are not ready to do it or willing to do it.

  6. I worry about the ‘heart’ to homeschool too. Especially if they’re not getting information from homeschoolers. Some of the parents have felt so helpless because they’ve been directed to buy accredited curriculum by the schools in order to homeschool. The nervi-ness never stops with these ‘experts’. Families often can’t afford it and their kids hate it.
    I’m happy if they can talk to homeschooling advocates to get some practical, frugal resources.
    I think that makes a world of difference in attitude too. If teens can see that they can take charge of their education, sometimes the sky is their limit. Sometimes the message doesn’t get through.

  7. Pingback: Push-outs - 1974 : The Informed Parent

  8. Pingback: More Black Parents-Education Works Best at Home | News & Commentary

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