Thursday, August 23, 2007

NAESP Calling for Government Interference with Homeschooling

The other day, I did a post about the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) criticizing homeschooling. Well, Lynn Aleshire over at "Homeschool 2.0" did some further investigation and located the original source. Turns out it comes from the official platform of the NAESP adopted in 1993 and updated in 2003 & 2004.

I skimmed through the entire 52 page document and the tone throughout is very much in favor of the "nanny state". Americans can't be trusted to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their own lives, so Big Brother needs to do it for them. Among the issues that the NAESP platform calls for schools to address include: junk food, tobacco & alcohol advertising aimed at children, violence in the media, and even the "creation or maintenance of a safe, nurturing, and stable home life for children". Of course, I'm certainly against junk food, substance abuse, media glorification of violence, and unsafe and/or unstable households! However, it's parents' responsibility to worry about those things (or social workers in extreme cases), not schools. Schools need to focus on academics. The NAESP platform devotes a section to "quality use of the school day" that talks about how principals should minimize "non-instructional activities during the school day". However, the platform is full of calls for schools to deal with a wide variety of non-academic concerns better left to families.

Anyways, the section dealing with homeschooling is found on pg. 38 of the report (43/52 on my Adobe Acrobat Reader). The NAESP is clearly calling for strict government regulation of homeschooling in the name of "accountability" and "establishing safeguards":

When alternative options such as home schooling have been authorized by state legislation, resources and authority should be provided to make certain that those who exercise these options are held strictly accountable for the academic achievement and social/emotional growth of children.

When home schooling options are exercised, NAESP strongly recommends that state governments establish safeguards to ensure each child:
1. participates in appropriate social experiences;
2. interacts with students from other social/racial/ethnic groups;
3. receives the full range of curricular experiences and materials aligned with state standards;
4. is guaranteed instruction by certified and highly qualified persons;
5. is required to participate in state-mandated assessments; and
6. learns in a healthy and safe environment.

NAESP strongly urges states to require home schools to comply with state and federal laws addressing children with special needs.

NAESP strongly urges local and state associations to address these issues as critical to the education of children.

So basically, the NAESP is calling on politicians to require a state teaching credential for home educators, strict adherence to the cookie-cutter standards imposed by a committee of bureaucrats in Sacramento or D.C., the teaching of every single topic covered by the public schools including highly controversial ones such as evolution and sexual education, provide proof that the child is getting "appropriate" social experiences with a diverse set of peers, and most likely home visits to ensure that the environment is adequately "safe and healthy".

Talk about intrusive! I highly doubt that children's welfare is the primary concern here. Rather, the NAESP likely wants to make homeschooling such a bureaucratic nightmare that it'll be pretty much legislated out of existence. Right now, it's growing at something like 10-25% per year. As many as 2 million kids are homeschooled currently and that number is projected to triple by 2010. Each child who leaves a traditional public school to homeschool represents a loss of thousands of dollars' worth of funding and often also the loss of a parent volunteer fundraiser. No wonder powerful education unions such as the NAESP and the National Education Association feel threatened by homeschooling!

Homeschoolers need to be aware of this opposition and should consider joining a legislative advocacy group such as the California Homeschool Network, the Homeschool Association of California, the National Home Education Network, or the Homeschool Legal Defense Association who will lobby against intrusive homeschooling regulations.

1 comment:

Greg Laden said...

Are you sure this document is the source? The number of bullet points, the exact things they say, and their wording are too different for me to be sure that NAESP and (the post that started this entire discussion) are the same thing.