The state of Oklahoma currently has no jurisdiction over its homeschooling families. This could change if two proposed senate bills are passed.
Introduced on February 2nd, Senate Bill 472 would require homeschooling parents to notify their school district and provide a progress report. Bill 308 would allow officials to interview and even detain a child not in school.
Many families are up in arms over the proposed bills which, they say, violate their rights. But much of the controversy surrounds Senator Jim Wilson’s comments. Wilson claims that the bill is important because there is a potential for abuse. His example was that many homeschooling parents simply place their children in front of the television.
“You hear examples of homeschool students excelling, but that is not the norm,” Wilson said. He also said that, on average, homeschooled students who return to public schools are two years behind their peers. I’d really like to know where this guy is getting his number.
Many families feel that they should not have to be accountable to the school system. Instead they say the school system should be accountable to them. I have to agree. Laws about accountability vary from state to state.
Here in Nevada, once a child turns seven, the parent is required to write a letter to the school district stating the intent to homeschool. The letter must include a basic outline describing lesson plans. That is done one time and you never have to do it again. Some states have much tougher requirements. But we all just suck it up and do it because we have to.
However, with many school systems failing, I do believe they should have to be accountable. After all, those are our tax dollars at work. Why should I have to prove to the state that I’m doing a good job teaching my child when the state has shown again and again that it is failing? I’m not sure what things are like in Oklahoma but I know they’re not good in our school district here in Nevada.
What do you think? How much should homeschooling families have to be accountable? Should the state require families to provide curriculum plans? Should Senator Wilson actually take the time to meet some homeschoolers before spouting off comments?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.