The Des Moines Register’s Attack on Homeschooling Deserves a Thistle



gustoff-family

The Gustoff family

The Des Moines Register in their Sunday editorial decided to take aim at the homeschooling community because of the new independent private instruction law that went into effect this school year.

The subheading was that “lawmakers disregarded decades of standards when they modified the home-schooling rules.”

Disregarded?

More like knowingly jettisoned.  The editorial board of The Des Moines Register writes:

The education reform law created what state education officials are referring to as a new category of home-schooling called Independent Private Instruction. Parents and guardians have been granted unprecedented permission by this little-noticed change. They can keep their children home for school without notifying anyone in government. They do not have to follow any specific educational curriculum, and they answer to no one about what they are doing. Their kids will not take assessment tests or dual enroll with a local school district for academics, special education and extracurricular activities.

What is especially troubling: In addition to their own children, parents can provide this new type of education to four unrelated children.

Just a reminder to Caffeinated Thoughts readers.  This law came into being as a compromise with Democrats during a conference committee on the education reform bill.  You want 4% allowable growth?  How about giving something back in return like educational liberty measures like independent private instruction and independent private accreditation for non-public schools?  Fortunately the House Republicans stuck to their guns and made it happen and Governor Branstad was happy to sign it into law.

I know it comes to a shock to the Register that many believe parents, not the government, are ultimately responsible for the education of their children.

Some corrections to the above article…

  1. Homeschooling parents never had to follow specific educational curriculum.
  2. Homeschooling parents never needed to dual enroll their children, even children with special needs.  I seem to remember a Des Moines Register article that bemoaned the Home School Assistance Program almost 3 1/2 years ago.  Based on their editorial yesterday they should love this program.
  3. Homeschooling parents were not required to give annual assessments every year.  There are benchmark years where assessments are required, but most years parents are able to provide a portfolio or meet with a supervisory teacher of their choosing.   Some parents did opted to have their student take assessments and some opted not to.

So the three big changes are: parents do not have to turn in a competent private instruction form, but some probably still will.  If a homeschooling family wants to teach drivers’ education they have to file a CPI form.  Parents do not have to give assessments, do a portfolio and/or meet with a supervisory teacher, but some still may – even if they don’t turn over results.

The third change is that parents can provide this new type of education to four unrelated children, and the Register calls this “troubling.”

Why?

If a parent would like to have their kids homeschooled, but feel like they lack the ability to do it themselves they can have someone else do it for them.  How is this different than tutoring?  I seem to recall many historical figures educated this way.  The change in the law also allows parents to pool resources and knowledge.  It also makes it easier for single parents to have their children homeschooled if they so desire.

It can improve home education.  It’s only troubling to statists because it will expand this option to families who may not have considered homeschooling before.  That is what is really troubling the Register.  They continue:

Though Iowa has long imposed some minimal requirements on home-schooling families to protect children and ensure they are making academic progress, this new option will allow some children to fall off the education grid. It undermines the long-standing Iowa law that requires all Iowa children, with rare exceptions, to attend a public or private school. The legislative change gives a bad name to home-schooling parents who work with their school districts to track the progress of their children and get help if needed.

Again, the long standing Iowa law since 1990 (maybe 1989 I don’t remember exactly) is that parents can homeschool if they provided a competent private instruction form and do the reporting that was required up to this year.  The Des Moines Register makes it sound as if parents had to ask the school district or the state permission to homeschool (in the case of special needs children already enrolled in a program they did).  Parents didn’t have to give permission.  They just had to notify.  While the Des Moines Register considered the previous requirements under Iowa law “minimal;” the fact is until this year Iowa was one of the worst states to homeschool in.  Now they are one of the best.

They go on:

Families opting to participate in IPI do not need to notify the school district or state. Local school superintendents or the Iowa Department of Education’s director may inquire with a family about a missing student, but they are not required to. They may not even know to ask about the whereabouts of a 6-year-old when the parents have never notified any school official that the child exists. Even if officials do contact parents, the parents only have to report such basic information as the kid’s name and the location of the “school.”

How can an Iowa youth simply disappear into an unmonitored and unaccountable home-schooling situation when the state requires children to attend school? Interestingly, the law exempts Independent Private Instruction from all state education laws and rules except those pertaining to attendance and truancy. A family participating in IPI automatically meets state requirements for attendance, according to the Department of Education.

An IPI instructor is supposed to teach math, reading, language arts, science and social studies. Yet there are no standards for the content of these courses. Having a 16-year-old count the freckles on his brother’s arm could meet the math requirement. Watching a cow give birth could meet the science requirement. Students are also exempt from state-required immunizations, dental screenings and vision checks.

What? Does the Register want homeschooling families to adopt the Iowa Core, along with the Common Core math and ELA standards (now there’s data less reform they should be concerned about)?  I want to be abundantly clear – it’s a statist position to think that parents have to “report” to the government.  Their editorial also presupposes that parents will teach kids garbage.  Most parents choose to homeschool their children because they are concerned about the lack of quality of education in the public school.  The Register uses unfortunate hyperbole and is frankly engaging in fear mongering.  Could there be some families that would do this?  Sure.  Are there kids in the public schools who are failing (but have been socially promoted) and/or are abused?  Have you read the news?

Homeschooling is an educational choice that is growing in favor.  Top colleges and universities recognize, by and large, the quality students it produces (even from states that didn’t restrict it like Iowa did for so many years).  It’s a shame the editorial board of The Des Moines Register can’t see this as well.

With the education reform package that was passed the education liberty items included are the reforms that are actually most likely to help raise student achievement.  I give a thistle to The Des Moines Register for taking aim at homeschoolers; especially when there are so many failing public schools in the state.

Photo credit: IowaPolitics.com (CC-By-NC 2.0)

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  • Scott Bailey

    A very well written piece Shane. Thanks for clarifying the Register’s misinformation and for continuing to advocate for home schooling.

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      Very welcome!

      • Jayne

        Shane are you going to send this to the Des Moines Register for a rebuttal and ask them to post it in the Sunday paper (where most read the paper).? If you don’t clearly call them out on this and have them print it, the BIG MAJORITY of Iowan’s will not see how wrong and misleading the D.M register is. Very good rebuttal. How did our parents survive without Public Education, oh ya- much better.

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        I have sent the link to Rick Green and Randy Evans. It is also being cross-posted at The Register’s From the Right blog. Hopefully they will print it. If not I’ll send in a letter to the editor which I encourage everyone to do anyway.

  • heather jones

    Who loves their children more and wants the best for them more than anyone….the parent!! Thank you for always stating the facts Shane!!

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      Thank you!

    • Tim

      Heather, loving your child does not guarantee a quality education! There are plenty of parents who love their children and don’t understand our government, geography, history, math, science, grammar, or any number of subjects.

      The report from the DSMRegister highlights the grave concerns we should have when laws are changed to provide virtually no accountability to parents.

      I firmly believe the changes in these laws will not affect the parents who seek to provide their children with quality homeschool education, and will harm the education of the children whose parents are ill-equipped or unsuited to provide their children with a quality homeschool education.

      • Lani M Dingman Siciliano

        But that is just your supposition. How many students in schools are not up to par? How many schools are not providing a quality education? Yes the school tests, but do they guarantee a child has learned? No. Never have, never will.

      • Tim

        So, your argumentation is the following:

        Since there are public schools which fail, homeschooling should have little to no accountability?

        That doesn’t seem to make sense. Like it or not (and I don’t like it!), public schools are held accountable. Through test scores, teacher education, continuing education, oversight from educators and government, benchmarks and standards for both teachers and students, public schools are held accountable. And, although it doesn’t always happen to the degree that we like to see, improvements, changes, and adjustments are made when standards are not met.

        Removing accountability for homeschooling takes all the above away — no requirements, no accountability, and the harm falls not to the parent, but on the child who grows up without a proper education.

        And I do not speak based on supposition. I speak from experience. I have witnessed great homeschooling families who work hard and whose children excel. These are the families who, although they probably do not need accountability, seek it out and provide their children with great opportunities. I have also seen the opposite; illl-qualified, uneducated parents who barely educate their children, who lie and cheat on portfolio’s, and whose children are raised not understanding the basics of history, sciences, and are far behind in reading and writing skills.

      • Tonya Tawny Luedtke Mills

        OK, that didn’t make sense

      • Nate Spencer

        And how where most 90%+ ill-qualified parents educated? Oh right that would be the public school system. So therefore, by your own argument the parents who decide to homeschool are either fully-qualified to teach or if they aren’t nor are the public schools.

      • Tim

        By your logic, anyone who graduates from any school is qualified to be a teacher. If you graduate from Harvard, are you then qualified to teach at Harvard?

        There is really no merit to your argumentation.

      • Nate Spencer

        Ah yes the assertion combined with the Non sequitur. It doesn’t matter you know you are right and no one will tell you otherwise. Even though you continue to commit logical fallacy after logical fallacy.

        We are talking about Basic math, read/writing, basic science and History. U.S. Education K-8 for almost all students and 9-12 for a large number. Again 95%+ of adults. Since homeschooling by its nature is self selecting, it follows that IF the public schools successfully teaches these basics to mastery to even a majority of the population should be qualified. The idea of a “certified” teacher is a 20th (about 1910 – 1930s) century creation, also the first time to see functional literacy reverse in the U.S.

      • Tim

        Fancy words aside… Please point out my “logical fallacy after logical fallacy”…

        It sounds like your argument is not with me, but with colleges in general? Or perhaps teacher certification? I’m sure there is another forum you could spout your frustration at, but here we are simply discussing homeschooling, and the requirements for homeschooling families.

        Again, I see your fallacious argumentation to be in the fact that simply graduating from high school qualifies you to teach. I would venture a guess that you are not an educator, or you would know that being a student and being a teacher are very different things. In college education programs, you are taught how to teach different learning styles, identifying learning deficiencies, learning disorders, you learn about child growth, development, and go through extensive teacher training. Simply knowing how to read as an adult does not mean you can effectively teach reading, phonics, etc. to a child.

        Furthermore, if your view on a high school education consists of “basic math, read/writing, basic science and History” then I feel badly for you. I studied and learned (in high school) a lot more than basics of math, I learned about vast amounts of history from all around the world, studying complicated historical events, advanced biology and science, and learned to study, read critically, and write research papers. These skills transferred well to my college education, but high school prepared me for a productive and educated life had I not pursued college.

        Again, if you’re going to argue whether or not teachers should be “certified”, you’re in the wrong debate.

  • Jen

    THANK YOU SHANE!

  • Brenda Rogan

    I just read that article in the DM Register today and was appalled at all the misinformation and misleading information it contained. Thanks for this very well written rebuttal!

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      Very welcome!

  • Andtea

    I wonder if the “four unrelated children” could be foster kids or is that a different ball game?

    • JenK

      From my level of understanding, schooling of foster children falls into a different category and the last I checked (a couple years ago) foster children were not allowed to be home schooled. It was mandated that they attend a public or private school. With that said, it would be interesting to keep digging and find out if Virtual Academies count as public school, which I believe they would.

      • magma68

        Virtual Academies DO count as public school. We tried Connections Academy but it was not a good fit for us, but uses an established lesson plan thru a local public school. Would be a possibility for your fosters!

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      I believe so, but not 100% sure.

  • tmcris

    Could you please send a letter to the newspaper? You have a lot of valid points:)

    I read the article yesterday and was quite upset about it…..especially when they were bringing up examples of that having a child count the number of freckles and have that count as math. Maybe they should ask homeschooling families why they homeschool in the first place….

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      I have already contacted Rick Green and Randy Evans. We’ll see if they do anything with it.

  • Jennifer Busick

    Is there some logical explanation for why watching a cow give birth should not count as a science class?

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      Ah who needs logic when all they want to do is fear monger.

      • Tim

        It appears that you have simply written off the opposing view by calling it “fear mongering.”

        Disappointing, Shane.

        What no one seems to want to consider is that many homeschooling parents do their children no favors when they provide them with an inadequate education.

        No one seems to want to face the fact that there really are parents out there who just want the easy way out; no accountability, and therefore no testing, benchmarks, no regular educational schedule, no structure, little progress.

        Do you know what that leads to on a grander scale? Lower ACT scores, less scholarships, more debt, less college grads, more unskilled labor, more lower class, less competitive edge in global economy. But that’s all just fear mongering, isn’t it, Shane? Considering how parents choose to educate or NOT educate their children, and the regional and national impact it has is simply fear mongering, right?

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        “many homeschooling parents do their children no favors when they provide them with an inadequate education”

        Many??? Data to back that up please.

      • Tim

        The point is not metrics or data, although I should have worded that more carefully (I’m not proofreading my comments, my excuses).

        “Homeschooling parents do their children no favors when they provide them with an inadequate education” is what it should read (omit “many”). The many was a reflection on the fact that although some children who receive poor homeschooling education will succeed well, regardless, “many” will suffer consequences long after high school. However, that was not clear in the manner in which I wrote.

        My point across these various threads is that I’m not concerned with the parents who diligently apply academic standards for their children; these parents (the majority of homeschooling families) will provide their children with a good education. My concern is with the families who try to avoid the rules and regulations. The families who do not educate their children well, or at all.

        I’m all about small government, but I think that laws that protect children are vital. Laws that regulate homeschooling are in place not as much to keep tabs on the parents, but to ensure the proper education for the children. I do believe that it is foolish to remove the accountability for homeschooling families, and those who will suffer will be the children in those homes.

        Homeschooling laws are not about the parents, they are in place for the sake of the children.

      • Amanda Roegner

        Hello Tim,
        As a homeschooling mom, I wonder if you are familiar with the sacrifices that homeschooling requires from parents. If parents want to take the easy route…that is to send them to the public schools – no noon meal to make, no extra cleaning while the kids are gone during the day instead of at home exploring the world around them and creating with art supplies and/or legos and other toys, no need to buy all that expensive curriculum, no need to be available to answer questions and teach at all times of the day, etc…. It makes no sense at all that a parent who doesn’t want to invest time in their children, teach them, and give them the best that they absolutely can would decide to homeschool. (As an aside, I want to clarify that I am not saying that parents who send their kids to school are being lazy. We all have our reasons for the choices we make. What I am saying is simply that parents who are lazy have a much easier choice and that is to send their kids to a school than to keep them at home during the day.)

        What is a good education is a different question. In homeschooling, the parents do have the say in choosing what is important for their child to learn. Why does every child need the exact same education? Do all public school students really get the same education? Do they all learn in the same ways? Do they all learn the same amounts of information? Do they all graduate with the same skill sets or do they excel in some and are more average or do poorly in others? Are some graduates valedictorians and others children who just passed with a C average? Do all jobs require the same skill set or even the same basic education? I personally think each child, in public school or not, will learn different things and have a unique experience in their education. If you are honest, I think you will admit the same. So, who has the responsibility of choosing what is best or most important for children to learn? I believe our disagreement lies here…I trust parents to make good choices for their own children and it seems that you trust the government and public schools to do so.

      • Tim

        “I trust parents to make good choices for their own children and it seems that you trust the government and public schools to do so.”

        I operate more from the “hope for the best, plan for the worst” perspective.

        I trust the government as far as I can throw it, but that doesn’t mean that all government is bad. I think that levels of accountability are good, even if it’s the government who does that.

        Unfortunately, there truly are parents who keep their children home and do not provide an adequate education. Getting up in time, hygiene, helping with homework, being accountable for attendance — all these things are responsibilities that come with public school education — and for some, homeschooling absolutely is the easier solution.

        Thankfully, it is not the norm. Thankfully, most parents, like yourself, I’m sure, take homeschooling as a very serious responsibility, and your children will be raised and educated well. However, having accountability in place is important for the sake of the children whose parents will not provide an adequate education for them.

        These parents exist, and lower standards for accountability will only serve to exasperate the problem.

        Finally, I do understand the sacrifices that it takes to homeschool, and I am very pro-homeschooling.

      • Jennifer Busick

        Tim,

        There is no evidence whatsoever that the type of family you describe (“families who try to avoid the rules and regulations. The families who do not educate their children well, or at all.”) exist in any significant numbers. You are chasing shadows — with my tax dollars — and manufacturing a “problem” out of thin air.

        If children are being abused — and educational neglect is considered a form of abuse — there are already laws on the books in every single state to address that. No further regulation is necessary. Even “for the sake of the children.”

      • Stacy Lynn Brunscheen Hancock

        You must not be familiar with the testing scores of the average homeschool child compared to public and private school children.

      • Tim

        As I explained to another commenter, the vast majority of studies quoted, and in fact, I believe ALL the studies I have personally looked into, are done privately, meaning that they are voluntary studies.

        That means that you can simply choose not to complete the survey and discard it. Certainly you can understand that if a survey is optional, that a parent who does not homeschool their child appropriately would be likely to ignore a survey or reject participation in a study that determines the effectiveness of homeschooling?

        These studies are not normative and do not show a true “average” of homeschooling. Besides, I know homeschool families who do not place a high importance on testing, for instance. They walk their children through tests, step by step, or frequently allow open book exams. In test results, this would skew homeschool results compared to public schools results.

      • Stacy Lynn Brunscheen Hancock

        Your perspective is extremely narrow.
        Some believe standardized testing harms, rather than helps. One of the most interesting points(to me) in the following link is the last paragraph.
        http://www.fairtest.org/how-standardized-testing-damages-education-pdf

      • Tim

        I’m sorry, but your response to my argumentation is “look at the test scores”, then when I address the test scores, you say “yeah, but testing harms or is not valid.”

        You can’t have your cake and eat it, too, Stacy.

      • Stacy Lynn Brunscheen Hancock

        My point is, testing is not the end all. It’s not necessary for everyone. You seem to assume without testing, all is lost.
        Some test well, others do not. For those who test well, they’re great! And probably a fair representation of their knowledge. Or at the very least, satisfying for those who are monitoring the scores. The students who do not test well, they are ineffective and potentially harmful as demonstrated in that study.
        I trust the homeschooling parents(and parents of public school student who opt out) to make the call on what is best for their children regarding testing.

        But I like how you didn’t address the fact that there is a legit study indicating testing is not all it’s cracked up to be.

        *eating cake*

      • Tim

        You are correct, I didn’t address that, because you’re still trying to have your cake and eat it too. You are using testing to both bolster your argument and when testing is used as a counter argument, you hide behind the problems and issues with testing.

        If you can’t decide whether or not testing helps or harms your argument, I see no need to address it either.

        Besides, talk about ignoring arguments. You COMPLETELY ignored my argumentation on:

        Some families absolutely need accountability. Why fear accountability if done properly? Why argue and rejoice that families have free reign to choose to educate or not educate their children.

        Lack of accountability will not harm parents, it will harm those children who are raised with little education. Do you not care that this happens?

        Voluntary testing on homeschoolers will result in high test results from families who elect to participate. Low scoring homeschoolers will potentially choose not to participate. This does invalidate testing as it relates to homeschool vs. public school.

        Besides, this discussion isn’t about the validity of testing. There are just as many public school kids who don’t like testing as there are homeschool kids. That wouldn’t affect the average metric or typical results if the testing is mandatory and widely applied.

        I could be wrong, please prove me wrong, but you don’t strike me as the type of person who actually will address all the issues I mentioned. You strike me as the kind of person who will instead restate your opinion, grounded or not, and ignore the other issues. I always try to answer questions thoroughly and completely.

        If you do not answer my questions, that’s absolutely your right, but then any further discussion on my end is wasted time, because you aren’t engaging in a discussion.

  • Justin Arnold

    Boom goes the dynamite…well done sir!

  • mom of 6

    Thank you for this rebuttal! Shame on the DMR. We homeschool because of religious reasons. I feel it is my duty to ensure the proper moral and intellect ual teaching of my children. That said, even if I didn’t feel this way there is no way our local school district can meet my children’s needs…that’s why I took them out. Our district was identified as a school in need because fewer then 50 percent of the children can pass minimum assessments! I voluntarily signed my coo child up for the same assessment and my child’s received not one sure less then 97th percentile , and the majority wetter were above that. So tell me, who’s educational standards are working?

    • Tim

      Mom of 6,

      The correct standard would be to have each and every child in a specific district take that test, in public and home school education. Just like your child scored very high (props to you!), there are children in that school who scored 97th or higher, even, I’m sure! One child who is home schooled and does exceptionally well is not an appropriate measure for effectiveness in considering whether or not legislation is appropriate.

      What concerns me is the lack of accountability. If you are homeschooling well; great! But surely you can identify that there are many (note: not most or all) homeschooling families out there who need the supervision, direction, accountability. The new legislation in Iowa will probably not affect families who homeschool well; but it makes it all the easier for families who are robbing their children of a good education by not homeschooling well and having little to no accountability.

  • Heretic2011

    The Des Moines Register has the same high quality journalism as the National Enquirer. Nobody takes this rag seriously.

  • Barrie Judge

    Thank you Shane for the excellent response! I was so disgusted by the opinion piece yesterday.

  • http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org Scott McLeod

    Isn’t the point that the State of Iowa has an interest in ALL of its children getting a good education? I’m struggling with the idea that we would pick out a certain group of kids and say, “We don’t care if those kids get a good education.” If we’re concerned enough as a state to worry about public school kids getting a good education, so should we be for private school kids, homeschooled kids, online cybercharter school kids, or whatever modality in which kids are learning. The point is not the modality, it’s the concern for all kids regardless of modality. Particular modalities of education – no matter how successful they are generally (and few argue that homeschooling isn’t generally quite successful) – shouldn’t be exempt because ALL modalities of education have possibilities for some kids to slip through the cracks. I don’t think anyone would make the argument that there’s no possibility whatsoever for abuse or educational neglect in homeschooling environments. Nor would we do so for public or private schools. Instead, for public and private schools, we generally trust but we also verify. What most of the comment stream to the DMR article is saying is that – unless we see education as a purely private good and not a general public state interest – we should do the same for homeschoolers.

    An educated populace is a public good and a state interest, not just a private good and a private interest. There are numerous reasons why Iowa citizens might be concerned about calls to hold public schools accountable but simultaneously remove any and all accountability whatsoever from homeschooling families, no?

    • Nate Spencer

      And what is this “public interest” of which you speak? Are not the parents responsible for their kids? By the way I live in Indiana and basically we have had this “lack of accountability” for about 35 years.

      I find this whole business in Iowa to be amusing.

  • Angela Thayer

    This was so well written, Shane. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I completely agree with you. God bless you and your family!

  • Jack

    Honestly, I’m a conservative and believe the government intrudes far too much, but homeschooling children who are NOT RELATED TO YOU is foolish. From a grand scale, it is foolish — it diminishes the overall education quality of our nation, and on a small scale, it is foolish — many (note: not all) parents may not make wise choices or informed choices, and allow their child to be educated by an uneducated, ill-informed, or unsuitable educator, who has very little accountability.

    I speak from experience. My wife was homeschooled by her mother, and her mother (whose weaknesses included biology, math, and history) homeschooled several other children who were not her own. These children, who are now adults in their late 20′s, cannot engage in regular dialogue regarding world history, geography, and lack basic skills in math, biology, and science.

    These laws will breed ignorance. Many parents who NEED accountability will not seek it. Parents who NEED to have supervision will not seek it. Parents who should not homeschool their own, let alone someone else’s children WILL do so.

    • Lani M Dingman Siciliano

      I know just as many 20-somethings who attended school who also cannot engage in regular dialogue regarding any of the topics you named. And many are even college grads! Your sample of one doesn’t mean that tutoring situations cannot and do not work.

      • Tim

        Again,

        As I said above, the fact that public schools do not produce well-rounded, highly educated students 100% of the time does not even remotely defend why homeschooling should have no accountability. In fact, the two topics are barely related!

        You are not responding to the issue! Instead, you are simply stating that “there are poorly educated public school kids, so let homeschooling reign!”

        The answer is in overhauling BOTH systems! YES, there needs to be reform in public schools, and YES, there needs to be accountability for homeschooling!

        I find that the two camps in this discussion are typically divided in 1) homeschooling families who want freedom, and 2) public education proponents who see the public benefit for educational standards.
        Both sides are valid, but my question to homeschooling families is:

        Why do you fear a level of accountability to ensure that benchmarks for education are met?

        Don’t twist the question into a government conspiracy — I’m not talking about the government spying on your school days, it’s a simple principle: we want to ensure that children are well-educated; at home, in private school, or at public school. To that effect, there should be some regulation and accountability.

    • Nate Spencer

      No Jack these laws don’t breed ignorance. We have had this in Indiana for 35 years and have very well educated children. Most crappy parents put their kids on the yellow cheese wagon so they don’t have to deal with them.

      Government needs accountability not parents. I call BS on your story. Sorry sounds too much of this I know someone. I learned more about Science and history since I have been out of school. Then why don’t they I don’t know learn about it or is it you with your bias?

      • Tonya Tawny Luedtke Mills

        True about crappy parents sending their kids away for free government babysitting!

      • Tim

        You can call my story into question all you want, Nate. I went to an excellent school system through high school, but married into a family that homeschools their children. That placed me in the middle of a network of many, many families who homeschool their children. I have since done much reading, asking, and research on homeschooling.

        I completely agree that government needs accountability, but so do parents. Unfortunately, there are parents who do not have their children’s best interests at heart, or who believe they are qualified to teach, when they really may not be appropriate educators themselves.

        I am pro-homeschooling, but believe that there should be standards and accountability to ensure that homeschooling occurs in an appropriate manner. Although the majority of parents will homeschool well, we ought to protect the children of those parents who will not.

  • Joyce Lutz

    Shane you are right on. I am so glad there are parents willing to step up to the plate and put their children first. Thanks Shane.

  • Tim

    These laws will breed ignorance for America as a nation.

    The parents who NEED accountability will not seek it under these laws.

    The parents who NEED to have supervision will not seek it.

    Parents who should NOT homeschool their own children, WILL do so, and these new laws allow them to even educate someone else’s children.

    I support homeschooling, but there should be regulations — consider not only the “rights” of the parents to homeschool, but consider the lifelong effects on the children who receive virtually no structure or education. This is far more common than many realize.

    Don’t write this off as hating homeschooling; again, I support homeschooling, but there should be accountability, and parents who truly want their children to be well-educated should not fear a level of accountability.

    • Tonya Tawny Luedtke Mills

      Our law is now similar to that of Texas and Missouri and several others. Are we to assume we will find more abuse, neglect, and uneducated children in those states who have had these laws for quite some time?

      • Tim

        Is this the level of debate we have come to, Tonya? Really??

        Did I say parents who homeschool in Iowa will abuse and neglect their children? Come on!

        If you don’t have an argument or comment of substance to respond to, then do not comment. I would love to engage you in a mutual discussion, but you have chosen not to respond to a single one of my remarks, and instead resorted to extreme and unnecessary hyperbole.

      • Nate Spencer

        Its not Hyperbole. She is commenting on direct examples against your unfounded assertion. Instead of answering a question that is fatal to your party line and be honest, you decide to change the subject. I would add Indiana to her list. Your assertions are just that assertions.

      • Tim

        I didn’t change the subject. I simply didn’t respond to an unreasonable line of questioning. But, since we’re on topic, since most parents do not abuse or neglect their children, should we remove laws that provide accountability for parents regarding feeding and caring for their children?

        No! Of course not. We should have laws in place that provide accountability for parents and protect the children, even though the vast majority of parents will never harm their child.

        The same is true for homeschooling. By not providing your child with a reasonable high school education, you can cripple them in the work force for many, many years. The homeschooling laws should be in place to protect children from this happening.

      • BobSimonhouse

        Texas and Missouri??!!?? You want Iowa children to turn out like children in Texas and Missouri? Shame on you.

      • Tonya Tawny Luedtke Mills

        No, I want them to turn out like HOMESCHOOLED KIDS in Missouri, Texas, Indiana, Virginia, and all the other states with relaxed…and non-relaxed…homeschool laws.

  • Tim

    No, it really doesn’t, Tonya.

    First of all, the studies discuss information dating back as far as 1980 and the most recent is 1998. 15-30 year old data really doesn’t convince me when it relates to educational statistics, and it shouldn’t convince you either. The article you linked to itself is almost a decade old.

    Secondly, the problem with these kind of studies — and hear me out — is that they are voluntary. This is VERY important.

    Bear with me; if you’re a homeschooling parent who neglects areas like reading, writing, history, and science, would you submit a survey or test that is geared to determining the effectiveness of homeschooling? I certainly wouldn’t. I would shred that mail and ignore the calls from the telemarketer calling about it.

    Those who, in general, are more likely to answer the survey are those parents who do very well, and are proud to be surveyed because their child does well in school. I personally believe that in theory, homeschooling is by far the ideal situation for some families, but the studies you linked to DO NOTHING to discuss the families who are problematic in this whole debate: those parents who fear accountability because they do not educate their children well, because they try to cheat the system.

    • Tonya Tawny Luedtke Mills

      Yes, I know this was older information, there was recently a newer survey that showed homeschoolers to outperform their public schooled peers, but I couldn’t find it quickly.
      As far as telemarketer calls??? I have yet to “get a call” which I have ignored or not ignored.
      Since similar laws have been working for quite some time in other states, shouldn’t Iowa also be seen as a homeschooling friendly state?

      • Tim

        It doesn’t seem like you read my post very carefully, or perhaps I wasn’t very clear.

        A survey of homeschoolers is optional for homeschooling families to submit. A homeschooling family which does not educate their children well will likely NOT complete the form/survey and therefore not be counted in a tally or evaluation.

        These surveys, therefore, are not very reliable, as they are based on who chose and didn’t choose to submit the information.

        Let me explain from the opposite: if you haven’t taught your 9 year old how to read, are you really going to submit a survey on the effectiveness of homeschooling, or are you going to ignore/throw out that kind of survey?
        Surely you can see that a voluntary survey like this would be skewed, and therefore unreliable.

      • Tonya Tawny Luedtke Mills

        Please tell me more about these surveys…I have yet to receive one. Oh, except the one the school district sent me asking if my child had an adequate place to sleep at night. That was a little confusing for me since “adequate” is subjective.

  • BobSimonhouse

    Nothing fosters poor education more than removing measurements on the advancement of that education. I support homeschooling, but it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to remove all measurement and awareness of how a student is progressing in his/her education. I think this is nothing more than a political ideology at work, and shame on the Iowa Legislature for letting down homeschool kids in Iowa. As a follow up, we should remove testing requirements for low-performing kids in schools also. They won’t need the diploma to work at Mcdonalds anyway. /sarc