This Designated Conservative received word last week from a legislative staffer in Lansing that the recently fast-tracked public school reform legislation will very likely be followed up in 2010 with bills aimed at significantly tightening homeschooling regulations in Michigan. No details are available, but…
…it appears that our Democrat-led state leadership are being pushed and prodded by the Michigan Education Association teachers’ union to make the changes.
As with past efforts to curtail homeschooling, this latest attack was preceded by a hit-piece article in The Detroit News and a follow up ‘analysis.’ An accompanying reader poll provides a good indicator for just how small of a minority of Michiganders want to kill homeschooling:
Michigan has one of the best regulatory environments for homeschooling among the 50 states (or 57, according to President Obama). This is thanks in very large part to Dr. Pat Montgomery, retired director of the Clonlara School in Ann Arbor. Current rules are based upon a pair of Michigan Supreme Court decisions from the early 1990s, in which Dr. Montgomery played a pivotal role in helping to bring to pass what we have now.
It amazes this Designated Conservative that the liberal Democrats, among whom can be found the “pioneer” homeschooling families back in the 1970s, are planning this attack on education choice.
However, I suppose I shouldn’t be so amazed – after all, it’s all about the money! The MEA views homeschoolers as thieves who, by removing their children from public school, “cost” the local school district $7,000+ in per-pupil state school aid each year. To the teachers’ union leadership, your child is nothing more than a paycheck.
The MEA’s strategy appears to be to try and compel homeschooling families to send their children to the local public school by having the state tighten the regulatory screws to the point where the paperwork, school district oversight, and curriculum mandates become so onerous that parents simply give up.
If you support homeschooling in Michigan, please take the time NOW (before the bills are introduced!) to contact your state representative and state senator to ask them to oppose any changes to Michigan’s homeschooling laws.