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Teach Your Children Well…

February 2, 2010

…. Or, better yet, teach your legislators to leave you the heck alone when it comes to imposing restrictions on you, concerning decisions you make as a parent, in directing your child’s education.

Missouri homeschoolers battle, every year, to maintain their liberties against the ever-present NEA lobby, in the legislature, that is ever vigilant in chipping away at their rights and responsibilities in directing the education of their children. Last year, as the session progressed, verbiage added to various education bills resulted in raising compulsory school age to 17 from 16, and imposing credit hour accounting standards that were not before in place, with no grandfather language added to address or exempt those homeschool students already in high school. While factions of the homeschooling community saw benefits, in allowing for early high school graduation for some students, some saw these changes as devastating and cumbersome and considered it quite a blow to homeschooling families of Missouri, who have long enjoyed the freedom to direct the educational careers of their children without government interferences.

Most would also agree that any attempts to reign in the freedoms of educational choice in the homeschool arena are taboo, and should be fought against vigorously. The results of the 2009 legislation has begun to create a division among those who home educate. As in any issue, there are arguments of all types, for and against the benefits and detriments, and as homeschoolers are of diverse opinion, there are many ways to dissect and analyze the details of last year’s bill. While last-minute deals were attempted to maintain practical, defining guidelines for homeschoolers, ultimately additional, unwanted regulations were imposed and liberties were lost.  Unfortunately, even these “fixes” have become a source of confusion and contention and there even remains a few Missouri homeschoolers who don’t know the law has changed.

It seems that the traditional assault on educational choice and parental rights is again underway. A flurry of legislation has, once again, been introduced by several representatives attacking various areas of the educational choice arena. Not the least of which is SB688, introduced by Senator Robyn Write-Jones, which requires parents, or other persons responsible for the child, to register their homeschool with their school district.

One of last year’s driving forces behind SB291, Sara Lampe, has once again led the charge by introducing legislation, HB1297, that would lower the compulsory school age to 6 from 7 years, and require that all public schools have all day kindergarten programs.

Read about other legislation, in Tere Scott’s Examiner article and on the StLouisHomeschoolerwebsite, also introduced this session which addresses sports participation in public schools by home schooled students and scholarship considerations for homeschoolers. Both of these bills also require certain registrations by home schooled families for eligibility.

Most homeschool families do a wonderful job educating and raising their children without direction or interference from the government. They traditionally have received no government subsidies or support and have struggled with the concept of accepting tax credits or reimbursements to avoid mandated meddling from Uncle Sam. Liberal NEA strategy has always been to chip away, a piece at a time, at your freedoms to gain the control they seek over your liberties. It was effective for them last year and so they continue to pursue this path again.

It is up to you to monitor the progress of these bills since, as we have seen from last year’s results, the opposition is relentless in the pursuit of your homeschooling freedoms. Make your voices heard, not only at election time, but also during the legislative sessions if you want your representatives to work to protect your rights and liberties. Otherwise, decisions will be made for you. The Culture Vigilante will be posting information on how to monitor these bills and get in touch with your representatives to let them know how you feel about these issues.

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