In the United States, parents have the right to remove their children from the public school system and find an alternative way to educate them. This may come in the form of a private school or homeschooling. This often happens when the family has had issues with public schooling, problems with things like bullies at school or even feel that the public school environment does not support their religious views. The regulation of homeschooling parents is left up to the individual states, and for the most part seems to be somewhat reasonable.
There is a certain level of expectation that the parents who are teaching their kids at home have their best interest at heart. In New Hampshire, a program in 2012 made homeschooling easier for parents in the state as they removed much of the red tape that was required to remove a child from the public school system. Five years after these efforts were successful, there are some who want to reverse this progress. Not only do they wish to make homeschooling a more difficult process, but they are also saying that they need third-party oversight because homeschooling is essentially child abuse.
Democrats in New Hampshire have suddenly decided that conservative parents are no longer able to make choices about the best way to teach their children and that homeschooling is failing kids in the state. The efforts to essentially turn back the clocks and go back to a time where the state had far more control over the average family is being equated to a “nanny state” by many.
The term “nanny state” originated in Great Britain in the 1960s. This essentially means that the government steps in to act as a nanny to its citizens. The average citizen loses a great deal of control of their day to day life each time this occurs.
According to a recent report about the emerging “nanny state”:
“One of the more disturbing trends in government expansion over the last 30 years has been the collection of laws, regulations, and binding court decisions that make up the ”nanny state.” Those laws and regulations represent government at its most arrogant. Their message is clear: politicians and bureaucrats know more about how to live your life, manage your health, and raise your kids than you do. Former president Ronald Reagan once said: ”Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”
Democrat Edith Tucker has made heavy hitting claims that homeschooling is leaving many in the state with little to no real education. During a recent press event, she stated that in just one local school district there were at least 45 students not receiving any instruction under the cover of being “homeschooled.”
Tucker’s claims just do not make sense when one takes into consideration the current requirements for successful homeschooling in the state. As a part of the laws in place to guide parents in educating their children, parents must provide substantial documentation of the education efforts and progress.
Each year homeschooled students are required to put together a portfolio of their work and also be evaluated by an educational professional for age-appropriate progress. These are not children that are being hidden away and not being educated.
If these students are not being educated, there is a failure within the school system that is supposed to track their progress. They are required to test the students either via a standardized test, interactions with school district professionals or some other certified teacher. There are already clear laws and criteria to maintain educational progress via a homeschool program.
Without any real data to support the idea that homeschooled children are not adequately educated, these same Democrats point to the fact that kids not being in the public school may also mean that they miss out of accessing critical social services like the free lunch program. In this case, there is no evidence supporting the idea that those being homeschooled are even eligible for this type of program.
While Tucker talks about homeschooling in general terms without much factual support, Republicans like William Marsh maintain the benefits of being able to choose to homeschool. The Marsh family has traditionally homeschooled. The four oldest kids graduated from the program and went on to top-tier colleges.
Marsh shared his dismay with lawmakers equating homeschooling with child abuse and was issued a formal apology. This, unfortunately, did little to slow the efforts to force the state to step in to manage homeschooling programs.