The slippery slope has begun!
The warnings regarding government regulation and encroachment that INCH and others have been voicing to those homeschooling families participating in virtual public academies and public school partnerships are now being realized. HB 4805 is a response to a proposed Michigan Department of Education policy that would require homeschool students taking more than two public school classes to submit an educational development plan to the local school district. The bill essentially exempts homeschoolers from having to file educational development plans. You can read the bill for yourself HERE.
This bill reflects several current realities in Michigan, and warns us of some possible future trends.
First, the bill reminds us that where the government is involved in education they want some control and oversight. Frankly, as tax payers, we want this, too, don’t we? Shouldn’t the government always be accountable and responsible for the money they spend? Homeschoolers who use public school resources don’t want to submit to public school regulations. That is understandable– but is it fair? If we play in their sandbox, shouldn’t we have to play by their rules?
Second, the bill demonstrates that in our current legislature, we have a predominantly homeschool-friendly group. This bill is meant to protect homeschoolers from government oversight, making them an exclusive class for non-compliance. While this is a slippery slope, too… it sure feels good when we are the special class!
The warning here is the further revelation that there are still many who oppose the freedom homeschoolers enjoy in this state, and will do what they can, when they can, to get control over us. When we take public school resources, we invite government oversight into our midst. Should we keep them from their goal this time, know that they might redouble their efforts the next time.
The second warning we should understand is that if the political party currently in the minority, ever becomes the political party in the majority– both in the legislative and executive branches, we should expect more legislation to be proposed that will diminish our homeschool freedom. The current minority party has been a longtime friend of public education, and it appears their will is to regulate, control, and even remove our homeschool freedoms.
INCH believes, first and foremost, that parents should be the primary determiners of their child’s education. We work diligently with the legislature, HSLDA, and others, to keep Biblically-centered, parent-directed, home-based, privately-funded home education available to our constituency. Ultimately, INCH believes that homeschooling is a God-given right for training our children in His ways– because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Mike Winter is the Executive Director for INCH of Michigan.
Photo credit: Foter.com