Wednesday, September 11, 2013

States Mull Relaxing Rules for Homeschoolers


Fifteen-year-old Whitney Hershberger and her two older sisters are homeschooled and receive class credit for working at their family’s business in Iowa. (Photo courtesy: Kevin Schmidt / Quad City Times)
Recent changes to homeschooling regulations in two very different communities show the tricky balance states must make between oversight and freedom. Pennsylvania’s current scheme is being criticized for regulating homeschoolers too closely, requiring dozens of pages of paperwork from homeschooling parents. Some observers, however, such as the head of the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency, support oversight to help students get a consistent and sufficient education. A few homeschooled students might need that protection, such as the Virginia student who Derek recently profiled who wanted to attend a local public school—against his family’s wishes. Another homeschooled student told the Altoona Mirror that he did not earn his high school diploma because he refused to give a sermon at his father’s church as a public speaking assignment.


Iowa, in contrast to Pennsylvania, ended most state oversight over homeschooling in this year’s legislative session. Iowa’s education reform bill essentially ended reporting requirements for most home-school parents, requiring only some to submit information upon request by the school superintendent. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier-Journal is examining homeschooling in the state, including the story of 15-year-old Whitney Hershberger, pictured left. Whitney is being homeschooled and receives class credit for working at her family’s business, a situation that may prove controversial in the national wave of testing accountability reform. About 2.3 percent of Iowa’s school children are homeschooled. About two million of the approximately 74 million school-age children in the United States are homeschooled.

Read more about homeschooling in Iowa and Pennsylvania, here and here

K-12, State law developments | Permalink


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