What Do You Mean Kindergarten Isn’t Mandatory in Indiana?

Kindergarten isn’t mandatory in Indiana, but almost all children in Indiana already begin kindergarten at age 5. It is so common to start school at age 5 that most people assume that kindergarten is mandatory when a child is eligible.

Indiana educators are now pushing to lower the compulsory school age to 5. (It’s also being called “mandatory kindergarten,” but that’s a bit of a misnomer because most children who do not enter school at age 5 do not skip kindergarten; they just start kindergarten at a later age).

Currently, children in Indiana must begin school at age 7. The compulsory school age was set at age 7 for a reason, and lowering it now will not result in any educational improvement. Right now, parents can decide if their under-age-7 children are ready for school. If the compulsory school age is lowered, parents will no longer have that right.

“To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” – Mark Twain

You’ve probably heard variations of the above quote. I was reminded of it again and again during the years I was a public-school teacher. The quote refers to something that’s also called the law of the instrument. This truism states that there is a natural human tendency to be over-dependent on their narrow skill-sets and resources. In other words, if you’re used to using a particular tool, you’ll use it to solve any problem, even if another solution would be much better. That’s what happens in education time after time. 

The hammer of the public-school system is wielded as the sole tool of education.

That hammer has been in use for a hundred years, and for a while the people even largely forgot that there was any other way to become educated.

Comments and Actions Reflect a Strong Bias Against Parents and Parental Rights

Proponents of lowering the compulsory school age have a tool – the public-school system – and they view it as the only correct way to educate a child. They act shocked (“appalled”) that children are not already required to attend a brick-and-mortar school at age 5. Some of the comments made by those pushing this bill are disturbingly anti-parent.

“McCormick said the state needs to send a strong message that kids need to be in some sort of structured educational environment by the time they’re 5 years old.”

No evidence is offered for placing a child in a structured educational environment by the time they’re 5. As I will detail later, on the balance studies do not show a need for structured, formal education at age 5, and in fact there are many studies showing that structure can be harmful in early childhood development.

Exactly what do proponents of lowering the compulsory school age view as a “structured educational environment?” I doubt most home school kindergarten environments would qualify in the eyes of those who wield the hammer of the institution of public school. Many homeschooling parents make a distinction between “homeschool” and “school at home,” and intentionally avoid the latter.

Despite thousands of years of homeschool tradition, and hundreds in our nation, parents are no longer trusted with their natural ability to educate their own child – even parents of 4-to-5-year-old children. Comments from proponents of lowering the compulsory school age reveal their ignorance, dismissal, or contempt for the parent’s right and ability to educate their child.

It turns out that the evidence supports thousands of years of tradition – children who are with their parents and caregivers are better off.

“[C]ontrolled for child functioning prior to school entry, child gender, and measures of family and child care experiences through the first 4.5 years of life before we assessed the impact of entry age on child development….greater maternal sensitivity and greater child care quality predict better social and academic functioning in the early elementary school years;”

Who is in the best position to decide their child’s educational pathway? The parent.

But, against best evidence and tradition, the proponents of lowering the compulsory school age are ready to step in and force parents to put their child in school at a lower age. If your child’s educational model doesn’t fit into their view of what is correct, they’re willing to hammer your child down into place by forcing earlier compulsory schooling.

First pre-K was pushed. Proponents of lowering the compulsory school age use pre-K as an excuse to push for structured kindergarten, mandatory at age 5.

How long will it be until they are also forcing your children into whatever it is they deem a “structured environment?”

Shouldn’t we all be asking what’s really best for the child?

Are proponents of lowering the compulsory school age operating with your child’s best interest in mind, or are they pushing their own preconceived agenda? Who do you think is an in a better place to decide what a 5-year-old child is ready for – the child’s own parent, or a state law that applies universally to all children?

Is it better, on average, to begin formal school at an older or younger age? There are studies that support both sides of the debate, but the consensus is that there is a small benefit to entering school at an older age.

“In sum, over and above experiences at home and in child care, the age that children entered school showed some modest relation to school achievement, especially growth in achievement, with children who entered school at an older age progressing faster than children who started school at a somewhat younger age…”

This large, well-designed study is contrary to the agenda being pushed by proponents of lowering the compulsory school age. 

Proponents of lowering the compulsory school age should have a responsibility to properly demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship between a lowered compulsory school age and long-term benefits for children into adulthood.[i]

They have not shown this evidence. So far, as stated above, the sum of the research shows the opposite: A lowered compulsory school age does not result in long-term benefits.

Why are educators so keen to force this on the people of Indiana without evidence to show that it will improve education?

The Problem is Vastly Overstated

There are parents who decide that it’s best to delay a child’s entry into public school. This happens for many reasons.

It’s wrong to automatically assume that a child who doesn’t attend public-school kindergarten when eligible will be “behind” if the child is subsequently placed into public school. There are many reasons why a concerned parent might choose alternative education, or to delay education altogether for a young child.

Some parents simply place the child in kindergarten a year later than the child is eligible. Most of those children would be placed in kindergarten, not first grade, as the idea behind delaying kindergarten was to allow a child to catch up to peers.

Some children attend private school for kindergarten. Private school tuition costs could be manageable for kindergarten, but once the price increases steeply for first grade, it becomes unaffordable for more families.

Some children are homeschooled for kindergarten.

Parents choose these options for many reasons, but part of it is in response to the changing nature of kindergarten. Parents are doing what they can do fix the problems that the education system is creating by forcing longer days and tougher curriculum on five-year-old children who are not all developmentally ready.

“It’s not just a question of when do you start kindergarten, but what do you do in those kindergarten classes? If you make kindergarten the new first grade, then parents may sensibly decide to delay entry. If kindergarten is not the new first grade, then parents may not delay children’s entries as much.”

No one knows how many parents are choosing the above options, or which options they’re choosing. Those who want to lower the compulsory school age have tossed out numbers from 118 to 7000. What is the real number? Common sense, history, and the fact that the overwhelming majority of Hoosiers (even lawmakers!) are surprised to hear that the compulsory school age isn’t already 5 tell us that the number of children is probably very small.

What to Do?

First, lawmakers need to understand that miracles do not accompany increased schooling.

I don’t think anyone is arguing against the fact that public schools are in decline. We’re all watching it happen.

Do we want more of a bad thing?

No, and it shows. Parents are increasingly demanding alternatives. We don’t want to use the hammer. We have better tools.

Our state has public schools to educate those children whose parents are unwilling or unable to do so. The state’s primary concern should be providing the education it is authorized to provide, and doing it well.

“Having expected miracles from increased schooling, the public has no choice but to live with the limitations of education. … [I]n seeking to free rather than imprison the child, promote growth rather than stunt it, and foster individual welfare rather than harm it, not only the quality of schools but also the quality of the society in which young people are growing up must be improved.”[ii]

Lowering the compulsory school age is a mistake. The state should focus its efforts on doing what it can to fix our public schools.

 

 

[i] Ray, Brian D. (2009). Is there any solid evidence for expanding compulsory school age? Salem, OR: National Home Education Research Institute.

[ii] https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED119389.pdf Katz, Michael S., A History of Compulsory Education Laws. Fastback Series, No. 75. Bicentennial Series. Phi Delta Kappa, Bloomington, Ind. 1976. Available at https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED119389.pdf, last accessed December 10, 2017.

 

Lisa Yankey is a happy homeschooling mom of three, but she never expected to homeschool. Teaching runs in her blood – she is a former public school teacher, and her mother, father, and brother are all former public school teachers. During her childhood and as a teacher herself, she recognized many issues in public school. She went to law school at night in a long-term plan to help improve public schools. She used to believe that every child could receive a good and appropriate education from public school. She realized the error of this belief when she watched her own child suffering in public school. She began homeschooling shortly after her oldest child had a disastrous start to public school first grade, and she has never looked back.

Lisa serves as a member of the IAHE Action Government Affairs team. She kept her career as a part-time attorney and works for herself as a sole practitioner, with a practice area in immigration law. She is known particularly for her representation of victims of domestic abuse. She continues teaching adults as a speaker on immigration law at continuing legal education events for fellow lawyers. Lisa resides in Noblesville, Indiana (Hamilton County). with her husband, three children, two dogs, and a cat. 

IAHE ACTION is a 501c4 organization. Donations are not tax deductible. It is funded by our generous donors.

Should the Government Be the Ultimate Authority for Your Child?

A full episode that exposes the idea that the government should have the ultimate control of a child’s education and upbringing instead of the parents may be found on “Michelle Malkin Investigates” on CRTV.com.  They have shared this clip as a teaser, but it gives us a glimpse of how a number of individuals view the role of parents in a very low regard and elevate the role of government. Unfortunately, many with these views can be found working in government or other areas of influence.  Yes, even here in Indiana.  Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute is the second man in the video who refutes the first man’s position.

Support IAHE Action as we are on the front lines at the Indiana Statehouse defending the proper and traditional role of parents in the education and upbringing of your children.  As a 501c4, donations are NOT tax deductible.

 

 

 

Tuttle Twins – PreSales Start TODAY!

IAHE Action is partnering with the author of the Tuttle Twins to offer us a terrific opportunity. As you know, IAHE Action has been extremely active this legislative session protecting the freedoms of all homeschooling families in Indiana. Having a voice at the Statehouse has never been more important than right now.  As the homeschooling community continues to grow, so do the issues we face. Purchasing the Tuttle Twins books through us will not only help raise your family’s understanding of liberty principles, it will help ensure that IAHE Action can continue to be a presence and a voice at the Statehouse.

“Each year, hundreds of millions of children are spoon-fed false history, bad economics, and logical fallacies. Your child is not immune.

Well-meaning parents have long desired a way to inoculate their children against this trend to help them really grasp the importance of freedom and free markets—the pillars of peace and prosperity that create abundance and social harmony in our world.

These parents—just like you—have had nowhere to turn, and no literature to provide their child… until now!

The solution is here: The Tuttle Twins books.”

A set of five Tuttle Twins books has the presale price of $45 for pick-up at the IAHE Action booth at the 2017 IAHE Home Educators’ Convention March 24 & 25. Order them here.

The Tuttle Twins books are written by a homeschooling parent.

  • Economic concepts difficult for many adults will be a breeze for your child.
  • Your child will be familiar with the important literature in the liberty movement at a young age.
  • The world will make more sense to your child—watching the news, overhearing “grown up” conversations, and even going to the store… your child will have a solid foundation to better discern right from wrong.

You are never too young or old to learn more about the principles our Nation was founded on, and there has never been a better time for all of us to become more aware of our rights as citizens.

The 5 books set includes the following titles:

1.) The Tuttle Twins Learn about THE LAW    

The foundation of freedom

Children are often taught that government protects our life, liberty, and property, but could it be true that some laws actually allow people to hurt us and take our things? Join Ethan and Emily Tuttle as they learn about property, pirates, and plunder!
Help the children in your life learn the principles of liberty!

The Tuttle Twins Learn About the Law is 62 pages long and full of fun, colorful illustrations. Recommended reading age: 5-11.

 

2.) The Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil  tt2_cover

The miracle of the free market

Ethan and Emily Tuttle have grown up taking for granted the many things they use: clothes, cars, homes, backpacks—even something as simple as a pencil. In this fun adventure to an amazing factory, the twins learn about the miracle and importance of the free market.

Help the children in your life learn how the free market works!

The Tuttle Twins Learn and the Miraculous Pencil is 64 pages long and full of fun, colorful illustrations. Recommended reading age: 5-11.

 

3.) The Tuttle Twins and the Creature from Jekyll Island
tt3_cover

 The creature stealing our money

Join the twins in their exciting third adventure as they uncover the mystery of how a powerful creature is stealing their grandparents’ hard-earned savings, and how they can fight back to protect the money they make in their family business!

What kind of creature can steal your money? Join Ethan and Emily Tuttle in their exciting third adventure, as they uncover the curious mystery of how a powerful creature is stealing their grandparents’ hard-earned savings, and how the twins are also being controlled by the same creature—without even knowing it!

The Tuttle Twins and the Creature from Jekyll Island is 58 pages long and full of fun, colorful illustrations. Recommended reading age: 5-11.

 

4.) The Tuttle Twins and the Food Truck Fiasco

 tt4_coverA fight for fairness

Disruptive businesses often fight against their crony competitors and their allies in government. Ethan and Emily witness this firsthand with their food truck friends as they embark on a campaign to win public support and overturn the laws that shut them down.

The oldest economic battle is repeating itself!

Disruptive businesses must fight against their crony competitors—the ones with friends in government who try and protect them from innovative upstarts. Ethan and Emily Tuttle witness this battle firsthand with their food truck friends as they embark on a campaign to win public support and overturn the laws that shut them down.

The Tuttle Twins and the Food Truck Fiasco is 58 pages long and full of fun, colorful illustrations. Recommended reading age: 5-11.

 

5.) The Tuttle Twins and the Road to Surfdom

 tt5_coverA tale of unintended consequences

History abounds with examples of government officials making decisions that harm others. Unfortunately, these unintended consequences are rarely if ever anticipated. As the twins find in their latest adventure, central planning can ruin people’s lives!

History abounds with examples of government officials making decisions, well-intentioned or otherwise, that harm others. Unfortunately, these unintended consequences are never anticipated and rarely considered once they occur. As the Tuttle Twins find in their latest adventure, central planning can ruin people’s lives.

Nobel prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek’s famous book The Road to Serfdom comes to life in this edition, showing that when people get what they wish for, they often get much more than they bargained. Read along as Ethan and Emily investigate a new road built to take travelers to a beach named Surfdom—and the disruption it brings to the entire community.

This book is 64 pages long and full of fun, colorful illustrations. Recommended reading age: 5-11.

 

We are offering an opportunity to pre-order the Tuttle Twins set of five books and pick them up at our booth at your convenience at this year’s IAHE Home Educators’ Convention on March 24 & 25, in Indianapolis.

Here are the details:

A set of five Tuttle Twins books has the presale price of $45 for Convention pick-up, and you can order them here. (Retail price of $50.)

The presale will run from today until March 15.

Thank you for supporting us! If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to email info@iaheaction.net.

IAHE Action is a 501(c)4 organization and donations are NOT tax deductible.

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Homeschooling in Indiana and Nationwide

This research from National Home Education Research Institute was commissioned to provide to elected officials for Indiana Association of Home Educators’ Home School Day at the Capitol. We understand there were approximately 1,100 in attendance. Funding from our generous donors allowed IAHE Action to assist IAHE in defraying part of the cost of the study.  Thank you for your support and for partnering with us to keep Hoosier homeschoolers free!

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At Work For You

HSLDA Requests Calls about HR 610

Urgent Action Needed: Congress Attempting to Give Federal Government Money to Homeschools

A message from Will Estrada and Mike Smith

Dear Friend,
It has been said that there is no such thing as a free lunch. As homeschooling families know too well, government money will eventually lead to government control.
That’s why HSLDA is opposing a bill introduced by our friends in Congress, Rep. Steve King (IA) and Rep. Andy Harris (MD). Though well-intentioned, H.R. 610 is ultimately ill-advised. It calls for sending all federal education dollars to the states in the forms of federal grants so that the states can then give the money as vouchers to public, private, and homeschool students.
(Note: While Rep. Trent Franks (AZ) is also listed as a cosponsor of H.R. 610, we talked with him and his staff last night and they agree with our concerns about homeschooling families being included in H.R. 610. As a result, there is no need to contact his office, and we are deeply grateful to him for his commitment to protecting homeschool freedom from “help” by the federal government. Here is the statement Franks gave to us: “I understand the concerns of the homeschool community. My support for the bill only extends to vouchers for public school and private school students. If this bill moves forward, I would request that any language that would impose vouchers upon homeschools is taken out.”)
Read more here.
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The Third Wave of Homeschool Persecution

IAHE Action believes this piece is very important for all faith-based homeschoolers to read. It is from a speech delivered by HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris at the Christian Home Educators of Ohio conference on October 7, 2010.

A THIRD WAVE OF ARGUMENT that seeks to curtail or crush the homeschooling movement—specifically, the Christian homeschooling movement—is coming. You need to know about it. You need to get ready to fight it.

Unlike the first two waves, it is based on an essentially true factual premise, whereas the first two waves were based on faulty factual assertions.

The first wave of attack on homeschooling was based on the argument that homeschooling simply could not deliver a proper program of academic instruction. This assertion has been decisively proven false and is no longer believed by any credible person on any side of the homeschooling debate.

The second wave of attack was based on the all-too-familiar whine, “What about socialization?” But, because the first generation of homeschoolers has participated in a huge number of community activities while being home educated and is now entering the world of college and the workforce, tens of millions of people now know people who have been homeschooled. And the vast majority of people who know a child who has been homeschooled for a number of years would simply laugh at the idea that there are socialization problems from this approach to education.

There is a bit of work left to completely eradicate this second false assertion, but another decade of homeschoolers entering the workforce and the world of adulthood should pretty much take care of the need we have for societal acceptance of the truth: homeschoolers get along well with others—even those who radically differ from them.

But there is a third wave coming. And I doubt that many of you have any idea of the intensity and breadth of the elitist movement that is taking dead aim at our movement. This time, they are armed with an argument that is essentially true.

Read more here.

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Education Liberty versus School Choice

Our friends at Nevada Homeschool Network were forced to aggressively defend their homeschool law in 2015 when School Choice advocates attempted to use it as the vehicle for Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).  They fought for many years to remove onerous homeschool regulations in Nevada, so they now must protect the liberty they have gained.  

They have done extensive research about ESAs (in Indiana we are seeing them called Education Scholarship Accounts or Education Option Accounts.)  They are education subsidies that are accompanied by regulation.  We have asked if we could share their research. They issues they raise in Nevada are applicable in Indiana.

As the 2017 Nevada Legislative session approaches, homeschool parents and advocates must stay engaged in the debate over “government funded school choice” and the impact on homeschool freedom; Education Liberty, or #EdLiberty for short.
We must understand and proclaim the Biblical truth that ALL parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their own children, not the state.  But when private schools/parents accept “state funding” the government takes control, not the parent!

1/23/2017 – Question:  Why shouldn’t NV Legislator’s regulate self-funded homeschooling if they vote for funding the ESA program that does come under government control?

Answer:  Parents have the fundamental right to direct the health, education, and welfare of the child which is upheld in Nevada statute, case law and by the US Supreme Court. Homeschool parents in Nevada who do not accept taxpayer funding have the ultimate right and responsibility to ensure that their children are educated within the framework of the child’s age and abilities, as determined by the parent. However, the court may intercede in the event of “education neglect” as allowed in NV statute. So, in Nevada the “best interest” of a child who is homeschooled is determined by their parents or guardians, not the government, which is in line with the views of delegates to the 1884 writing of the Nevada Constitution and upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court.

Blog Update:  January 22, 2017 – Barbara Dragon, NHN Officer Emeritus

Click here for printable version of 1/22/17 update.

Self-funded Private Education vs. Government Funded School Choice:

The Liberty of Parents and Private Schools vs. Government Control

  1. Nevada’s “Education Savings Account” program now being proclaimed “the model” for other states in the publicly funded “school choice” debate.  Or is it? 

Background:  During the 2015 Nevada Legislative Session, State Senator Scott Hammond requested a Bill Draft Resolution (BDR) for a government funded alternative education option for Nevada K-12 students. The Friedman Foundation (renamed EdChoice in 2016) assisted Senator Hammond in the writing of SB 302, the Nevada Education Savings Account bill.  What makes Nevada’s ESA unique from existing smaller programs in four other states (Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee) is that it is “universal”, meaning it is not “means” or “needs” tested and is available to all NV public school students enrolled for a minimum of 100 days regardless of family income level or school failure rates.

Authors of SB 302 proclaimed, “It allows parents to remove their children from their assigned public schools and access a portion or all of their children’s public education funding to pay for services like private school tuition, curriculum, learning therapies, tutoring and more.” [i] This new program passed the 2015 NV Legislature along strict party lines (all Republicans in support, all Democrats opposed).[ii] [1]  Currently, state legislatures in Texas, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and even President-elect Trumps’ new administration are mulling government funded ESAs to expand “school choice” in 2017 and the Nevada ESA program is the model for many of the proposals.

An Education Savings Account (ESA) program is different from a “voucher” they say, since money from the state’s Distributive School Account (DSA) is not being paid directly from the state to a religious private school (Blaine Amendments in many state constitutions prohibit the use of public funding for sectarian purposes).  Rather, the money (between $5,100 to $5,700 in NV) is to go from the state’s Distributive School Account into the Education Savings Account in the name of the child, whose parents then choose from government “approved” resources where to spend the money so that the child receives an education as compelled by state compulsory attendance laws.[iii] This, proponents say, means the parent, not the state, is choosing the education modality for the child and the parent is then “empowered” to choose a private religious school or use religious materials for the education of their child. The NV Supreme Court upheld this in Schwartz v. Lopez.[iv]  However, this new “empowerment” called “school choice” is still controlled by government when compared to self-funded, private homeschooling that is rooted in the parent’s right to direct the education of their child, free from government control, in other words, Education Liberty.

Read more here.

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