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Does Education Innovation Mean Managing Unruly Homeschoolers?

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Does Education Innovation Mean Managing Unruly Homeschoolers?

By Mary McCarthy

No-Carrot-HomeschoolersIn an Orlando Sentinel article last week, reporters Leslie Postal and
Dave Weber detailed Governor-elect Rick Scott’s radical ideas for
changing public education including vouchers for homeschoolers.

Under the guise of “school choice,” the governor-elect is
proposing to bring homeschools, as well as private schools, into the
state’s education department using taxpayer funded education savings
accounts parents can use for their child’s whatever education.

I believe in school choice, but I also recognize that for the majority
of parents in America, that choice is public school. We will not as a
society do away with public education. The governor-elect has ideas,
but they are nothing but new ways to waste taxpayer’s money; to take
local control of education and turn it over to large corporations that
profit from the perception of the failed public system or to those
with an agenda to replace public schools with religious teachings. I
cannot see how fraud can be avoided without setting up a system to
account for the use of every tax dollar, whether its in your private
home or a private school.

The Governor-elect’s ideas sound desperate, as desperate as parents
who see their children not being educated in the public system and are
willing to throw money at the problem without educating themselves
first about what the problem is and who they are throwing someone
else’s money at.

Where Do Homeschoolers Fit Into the Picture?

When parents opt to accept responsibility for their children’s
education by homeschooling, part of that responsibility includes
paying for it. With funding comes oversight; as taxpayers we cannot
just hand out money for education without a guarantee the parent is
performing. If parents want to put aside money for their child’s
education they have every right to do so, but it should be their own
money, not mine. Parents have every right to instruct their children
in the tenets of their religion but not at taxpayer expense. I think
tax-exempt churches that operate schools for their members should not
be funded by the state’s taxpayers. James Madison thought that, too.

Online private schools are also unregulated, something homeschoolers
often have to explain to parents who have handed over thousands of
dollars for worthless curriculum. Anyone (and I mean anyone) can buy a
couple used textbooks, build a fancy website and become a school. And
if you like the nice website, you’ll like the accreditation
organization website the same person set up to accredit their
‘school’. While there are reputable online schools, the poor
performance of the public schools has led desperate parents to take
chances on ‘schools’ that are nothing more than scams. I call them
scamools. How will the state explain using taxpayer funds to enrich
the purveyors of educational snake oil? I cannot believe Florida’s
taxpayers want to pour money into the black hole of private
corporations, shell corporations and management companies promising to
fix education.

Fifty years of “more money” has not produced better schools,
better teachers or better educated citizens. I think it is safe to say
more money isn’t the answer. In the last 50 years children’s test
scores have continued to rise each year, yet young adults increasingly
leave school functionally illiterate. Testing does not seem to be the
answer either. And I doubt the public school will ever ask
homeschoolers how we consistently turn out well educated, responsible
young adults; it seems to frighten them.

Does Education Innovation Mean Managing Unruly Homeschoolers?

So why is governor-elect Scott suggesting we take taxpayer funds
designated for each student and give them to parents without any
oversight? He’s not. One proposal is changing the name of the
Department of Education to The Department of Education Innovation.
Innovation is a new way of doing things; like managing those unruly
homeschoolers so the state can keep an eye on ’em.

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3 Responses to “Does Education Innovation Mean Managing Unruly Homeschoolers?”

  1. Arwen says:

    There is so much wrong with that article, it's hard to even know where to start. The whole thing is obviously based on assumption with no actual facts to back up any of the opinions (whether they be on public, private or homeschooling, not to mention apportionment of tax dollars).

    However, I do think homeschoolers want to avoid government aid or even tax credits for the very reason mentioned by the article: it would mean becoming accountable to the government. They can't even keep their own house in order; I certainly don't want them in charge of mine.

  2. Mother Mary says:

    I'm sorry, Arwen, I guess I should have included the link to the Orlando Sentinel article so it would be clearer what I was responding to. I apologize.

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/stat

    Mary

  3. Arwen says:

    Right, that's what I was referring to – the article you linked to. Sorry for the confusion.

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