Yes, the same sort of School Spirit. Which was considered so darn cute, that it was incorporated into a S.P.I.R.I.T. program in the Land of, and the City of Lincoln. There’s something a little creepy about paying so much attention to other people’s business that you feel the need to report.
HEM NewsComm’s posted that the Illinois focus on homeschoolers-as-truants continues. Illinois homeschoolers seem to have a growing and chronic problem with Regional Offices of Education. The Lincoln Courier noted the "spirit group at the 420-student junior high has provided the regional superintendent’s office with the names of 80 students who have been truant". Shop owners in that particular ROE have SPIRIT too, as at least a couple of homeschool families have been questioned by clerks about truancy. Apparently and according to retired city police detective John Bunner, who is now a case worker (truancy officer) for the Logan/Mason/Menard Regional Office of Education #38, nearly one in five Lincoln Jr. High students have been truant. It seems to me that they should step up the educational program in the public school and make it interesting enough to engage the students in attending. Just a thought anyway.
The purpose of the SPIRIT program is to assist schools and families by identifying truant students, diagnosing causes of truancy, and providing intervention services.
The SPIRIT program supplements and strengthens local school service agencies without duplicating existing services. Elementary, junior high, and high school-age students are assisted through this program, which is funded through a grant obtained from the Illinois State Board of Education.
According to the Lincoln Courier, this program is modeled after the Peoria program, which has also received an infusion of new monies for media campaigns paid for with $4,000 in federal grant money. Peoria also wants adults to report anyone suspicious out there.
Peoria adopted a daytime curfew in 1998, but school officials there say the ordinance had gone largely unenforced until a couple of years ago. The 2005 Peoria City Council minutes document the passage of this ordinance. Apparently there was no homeschool representation and there was no concern for private school family concerns in the area at that meeting. There was some council member concern about the increased fee rates for lower income families. The logic of the concern was a typical class line bigotry, but that is nothing new in the schools or with other governmental bodies. (Check out the ‘need’ for universal preschool and the cheer for that program follows along the same lines.)
Here’s the exemptions below in the Peoria ordinance. But they’re not really exemptions. It doesn’t mean that homeschooling kids can’t be hauled back home in the back of a police car to check whether they’re legit or not. Because they can. It doesn’t mean that they won’t be stopped by Peoria police as opposed to moving freely in their community. Because they can. It means they have to prove they’re innocent while being presumed guilty.
Sec. 20-74. Exemptions.
The following persons between the ages of seven and 16 years shall be exempt from daytime curfew:
(1) Any person between the ages of seven and 16 years who attends a school or home school which is not in session at the time he or she is apprehended.
(2) Any person between the ages of seven and 16 years who is lawfully employed who has been excused from attendance at school by the superintendent of schools pursuant to section 5/26-1 of the Illinois School Code.
(3) Any person between the ages of seven and 16 years who is excused for the lunch period pursuant to the rules of the school in which the child is enrolled.
(4) Any person between the ages of seven and 16 years who is present at a court house for a court appearance or who is on his way to or from a court ordered appearance.
(Ord. No. 14567, § 1, 9-1-98)
As I’ve said before, Do Your Job, Peoria School District. Your 2006 chronic truancy rate does not document success in this program. And that the city of Peoria was sucked into this program rather than demanding the Peoria ROE do their job hunting down truant public school students via their TARGET program seems to reek of money issues; as noted earlier in the increased fees. It also reeks of Monitoring of Home Schools; as noted on the ROE site. Illinois homeschools, including Peoria’s, do not need monitoring. They are exempt from that rigamarole. Peoria’s problematic public school backyard is not our home’s back or front yard where our homeschooled children can play when and if they want.
Illinois homeschoolers could take a lesson (of sorts) from Texas homeschoolers. TX homeschoolers seem to be very aware of the infringements on homeschooling freedoms of movement. See HEM Newscomm again for: Texas daytime curfew challenged.
It would have been good for Lincoln and Peoria homeschoolers if we’d done the same as Texas. I’m glad Lincoln homeschoolers are fighting this.