Hat Tip: Mrs. Woody
Remember these numbers: S1691 and HR3753. Legislation has finally been introduced at a federal level that will help alleviate (note I do not say "guarantee a lack of") discrimination against homeschoolers. Fronted by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), these bills are designed to "clarify" already existing federal law regarding public schools that have a negative impact on homeschoolers.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. If you've been reading the Woundup recently, you know how I feel about the federal government's involvement in education to begin with. I'm no fan of "No Child Left Behind" because it smacks of "Children Shall Learn at Our Dictated Pace." Furthermore, education was supposed to be publicly supported, not government guaranteed. There's a difference.
In spite of those feelings, however, I'm glad to see this legislation become part of the national debate. If, that is, Congress will give it the time of day. That's a long way from being a done deal. There will be, of course, numerous committee meetings to refine the initial proposals, then conference meetings to hash out differences, and that's only if each chamber's leaders allow the bills to go to committee in the first place. I can understand the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) getting excited about it (they are, after all, a bunch of lawyers), but my own enthusiasm is tempered by my perception that Congress is traditionally adverse to considering any legislation that makes sense.
In simple terms, discrimination is really just the manifestation of someone trying to assume control over something that should never be controlled in the first place. In its most heinous forms, you get racial discrimination and all the ugliness that accompanies it. In other forms, it takes well-meaning attempts to make something happen and turns them into unintended violations of basic rights. Control of education is one such violation.
No one argues that children need to receive a certain level of education, and that certain subjects need to be taught. Where we receive the greatest threat, however, is from those who would dictate how we are to teach. That level of control has no place in my home from anyone other than myself and Mrs. Woody. We have the responsibility to see to it that our girls are educated, and we alone will determine how that is to be achieved.
This legislation may help. Assuming it is implemented more or less as currently written, it should provide a federal mandate that may finally help us get local school districts to see us as less of an enemy. This assumes, of course, that we can get the professional educators unions to shut up and quit whining about all the money that homeschoolers take away from them every year. Since that's not likely to happen, no matter what federal (or even state) laws exist, I don't look for an elimination of discrimination.
I just hope it'll get better.