As We Were Saying

Recently, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Jennifer McCormick, was on a panel at the annual meeting of the Coalition for Public Education with former Superintendents, Glenda Ritz and Suellen Reed.

Dr. McCormick called for increased accountability measures for charter and private schools that accept taxpayer funded vouchers. Her hope is that all schools that receive taxpayer funding will have the same “academic and financial scrutiny as traditional public schools.” She wants to make certain students receive a quality experience for their education.  

Currently, according to the EdChoice publication, The ABCs of School Choice, these are requirements for Indiana taxpayer-funded voucher schools:

IC 20-51-1-4

  • Be accredited by either the state board or a national or regional accreditation agency that is recognized by the state board.
  • Comply with health and safety codes
  • Must not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin*
  • Conduct criminal background checks on employees
  • Administer the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP) program and report to the state data for A-F ratings including ISTEP scores and graduation rates

To remain eligible to accept new scholarship students, a school must not be rated as D or F for two or more consecutive years

  • Must grant the state full access to its premises for observing classroom instruction and reviewing any classroom instructional materials and curriculum
  • Provide civic and character education and display related historical documents [3]

*There has been a discussion regarding discrimination by Congresswoman Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts about an Indiana Christian voucher accepting school and a recent effort in Nevada to broaden this to include gender.

If Dr. McCormick has her way, there would be even greater regulations and private schools will look increasingly like public schools. Homeschoolers need to take this to heart whenever a legislator assures our community that ESAs will cause no harm to our liberty. Once the camel’s nose is under the tent, it is very difficult to keep him out. 

In a similar vein, Heartland Institute’s Teresa Mull shared the money quote in her article, “Ending Government Schools Does Not Mean Ending Public Education.” Delivering families access to alternative forms of education—whether it be in the form of online classes, learning therapies, homeschool textbooks, tutoring, or private schools—is the purpose of tax-credit scholarships, education savings accounts, and vouchers, all of which are forms of “public education,” since public tax dollars fund the programs.”

As we’ve shared with homeschoolers, a new public school system is being built. We first noticed it as we read quotes from early reformers from the 1990’s. The question for homeschoolers who worked so hard to have the liberty to teach their children as they see fit, do you want to be sucked back into the public school system? We’ve seen what has happened to it over the past 50 years. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. ~ John Adams

2 thoughts on “As We Were Saying

  1. Thank you for getting this information out and patiently continuing.
    As more and more people think either romantically or desperately of homeschooling, pull their kids out without thinking it through, and then turn around to either want someone else to actually do the teaching (online public schools) or someone else to pay for it (the lure of vouchers), homeschool liberty is put in such great jeopardy. We all need to be the balance of kindness and boldness to help people understand what homeschooling IS and what it is not, so they can make better choices; maybe it isn’t exactly what they are looking for as an alternative. If new homeschoolers are feeling overwhelmed, or have been duped into believing they need to spend college level funds to do K-12 at home, we who are dedicated to “free” homeschooling can come along side and help. Thanks to IAHE action, among other parental rights watchdogs, we are better equipped to do so. It needs to be understood that you can’t step out of public control and then demand, expect, or passively accept public funding.
    True freedom has a cost – vigilance, personal responsibility and willingness to stand for what is right.

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