Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Should Homeschooling Disqualify Someone From Leading a Board of Ed?

Kristin Maguire has served on the South Carolina State Board of Education since 2000 and is currently Gov. Mark Sanford's representative. She is co-founder of South Carolina Parents Involved in Education, "a grassroots organization committed to public school excellence through meaningful parental involvement". She is also Visiting Educational Fellow of the S.C. Policy Council, a member of the Educational Leaders Council, and is on the advisory boards of the S.C. Public Charter School Association, the Center for Education Reform PERC Grant, and the South Carolinians for Responsible Government. Even her critics admit that she is "brilliant". Fellow board member Joe Isaac calls her "the most prepared person I have known in my life." Rick Adkins, another board member says: "She knows her stuff and puts a lot of effort into what she does.”

While no one is questioning Mrs. Maguire's credentials, she is taking a lot of heat for her decision to educate her four daughters at home. Given her affiliation with the Public Charter School Association, I suspect that she is not even an independent homeschooler but rather has her children enrolled in a charter program. I Googled her but couldn't find any information on it. Apparently, she is, in fact, an independent homeschooler.

The board's chairperson nominating committee, headed by Mr. Isaac, passed over Mrs. Maguire because of her homeschooling. Area educrats have also bashed her:

“I couldn’t see someone who does not support public schools by sending their kids to be a proponent for public schools,” said Mr. [Danny] Hawkins, associate dean of the college of education at Anderson University.

So Mrs. Maguire is supposed to sacrifice her children's education by sending them to sub par schools just to "prove" her commitment to improving public education? Isn't that a bit like saying that no one except those who live next to a toxic waste dump could be in favor of cleaning it up?

UPDATE #1: The Board of Ed voted 9-7 in favor of Mrs. Maguire as chairwoman, yay!

I corrected earlier speculation about whether Mrs. Maguire homeschools independently vs. through a charter school.


Clemson Community Church said...

Kristin truly homeschools her children - they are not in a charter school.

Crimson Wife said...

Thanks for the info- I've corrected my post!

Alasandra said...

Thanks for posting on this. I had seen bits and pieces elsewhere. I think it is wonderful she was elected.

Lisa said...

My husband is the CIO of a very large public school system in Colorado; we have homestaught our children for 15 years. His is not an elected position, or I don't know how he'd fare. But,
his co-workers, knowing exactly what goes on in the public schools do not blame us a bit for homeschooling, though they can't say so publicly, obviously.