Thursday, January 17, 2008

New York State to Deny Services to Homeschoolers

There are many reasons why people home-school their children. Some don't like the bad behavior in the schools and want to shield their children from it. Others oppose the values that are taught in schools, finding them in conflict with their own. Others may object to the immunizations required for school. But most who home-school probably feel that they can provide a superior education at home compared to formal schools. If the prevalence of home schoolers in the National Spelling and Geography Bees is any indication, they may be right.

Regardless of the reasons for home schooling, it is LEGAL; and it is regulated by the state because the state has an interest in ensuring that learning actually takes place.

Of course, there are probably some things offered in the public schools that some parents won't be able to teach at home, such as drivers ed, or auto mechanics. Certainly things like speech or occupational therapy and other "special education" interventions would be beyond the abilities of most parents. Isn't it in the PUBLIC interest to ensure that home schoolers have access to these services like the students attending public and private schools do? What possible public interest would be advanced by denying these services to students who choose to school at home?

Well, that is exactly what New York State intends to do. Take a look at this "Happy New Year" memo out of State Ed.

Unlike the parents of some children in public school who insist that every possible service must be lavished on their little darlings (even to the point of requiring public schools to send their children to special academies for instruction) most home-schoolers ask for little. Why should home-schoolers be denied special education when it is requested? As a taxpayer, I am paying for these services -- and it seems arbitrary to deny them to someone just because they are home schooled.

Perhaps there is a problem with the wording of a statute or a regulation. Perhaps there is a problem with the interpretation of a statute or a regulation. (It appears that the intent of the Federal law to confer a benefit is being thwarted by an overly narrow interpretation and application of state law -- contrary to well-accepted rules of statutory construction.)

Maybe the problem really is an attitude that the government must have primary control over the raising of the next generation. . . and that home-schooled kids are a threat.

Whatever the problem, denial of needed services for home schoolers, just because they are home schoolers, is wrong and needs to be fixed.


Anonymous said...

One of the things not mentioned in your blog about home schooling is that public schools get extra state aid for children with disabilities attending public school. So they have a monetary interest to convince as many people as possible to take advantage of their "wonderful" special ed programs. By denying needed services to home schooling families, they have another lever to get home schoolers back into the public school system. Follow the money.

Strikeslip said...

That is an EXCELLENT point, Anonymous!

Anonymous said...

As a parent who was in the school system: I tryed and failed to get services for my special needs child, I ask where did this extra money for my child go? Are they that greety that they have to take from the handicapped?