IAHE Action Letter to State Board of Education Regarding Diploma Changes

Due the School to Prison Pipeline debacle where schools inappropriately encouraged students to “homeschool” even though they did not have parental support, we have serious concerns about the potential change in diploma requirements that will make it even more difficult for struggling students to earn a public high school diploma. We believe these students’ educational issues begin long before high school, and we are concerned more will be inappropriately encouraged to “homeschool” if they cannot receive a Core 40 diploma.   

IAHE Action sent a letter to the State Board of Education (SBOE) with our concerns:

December 4, 2017

Indiana State Board of Education

200 West Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Members  of the Board:

You are all most certainly aware of the Indiana Constitution’s provision for public education. It states: “it should be the duty of the General Assembly to encourage, by all suitable means, moral, intellectual scientific, and agricultural improvement.” Furthermore, it declares the system should be uniform and open to all.

Unfortunately, it has become quite clear our current public system is not uniform and certainly not open to all. When the Indianapolis Star reports numbers like only 44% of white, 29% of Latino and a ghastly 22% of black Hoosier fourth graders are reading proficient, it is self-­‐evident we are failing kids well before graduation. The focus on different diploma pathways seems a poor substitute for problems that start well before a child enters his freshman year.

Often our sister organization, Indiana Association of  Home  Educators (IAHE), receives phone calls from parents of children around 3rd   grade wanting to learn more about home education and, more specifically, reading help for their struggling reader. IAHE’s online Facebook groups receive inquiries for reading curriculum recommendations at least once a week if not more. Many parents quickly discover their child is dyslexic and needs an entirely different method of instruction than received in the public schools. Data from the Indianapolis Star only confirms the trend we see in the homeschool world.

The frequency of the above equation causes us to ask what happens to the kids who do not have parental support at home? Are these the kids who have behavior problems? Are these the kids who are being pushed out of the government school system because they score poorly on exams?  What happens when the parent is unable or incapable of giving a student the education the Indiana Constitution demands? What responsibility does the public education system have towards those parents and children? According to the state constitution, the public education system is constitutionally obligated to provide appropriate instruction for those children, too.

IAHE Action has spent the better part of the last two years grappling with the School to Prison Pipeline. While the point of the study was to focus on minority populations in the public education system, incorrect testimony regarding the state of Indiana homeschooling was submitted. We found ourselves in the midst of this issue because so many school administrators had begun pushing their poor performers and behavior problems into homeschooling to better protect their A-F ratings and graduation rates.  If this is already a problem, why is our supposedly uniform system that is open to all creating an even greater incentive to leave the public education system?  A student, who was never given the appropriate tools and cannot attain the standards set forth in these diplomas, is forced to flee the system in hopes of finding a means to other education.  Coercing student departure through a series of “requirements” does not fulfill the vision our Constitution lays before the State Legislature or the State Board of Education.

IAHE Action believes the root of the push out and drop out problems begins around third grade. Once kids receive effective, science-­‐basedreading instruction in early elementary school many of the issues that develop in high school may ultimately resolve themselves.

Sincerely,

Alison J. Slatter

Member, Board of Directors

IAHE Action



IAHE Action is a 501c4 organization and donations are not tax deductible. Our efforts are possible by the donations from our generous supporters.

A Brief History of Indiana Homeschool Freedom

Here’s a timeline of some issues that have affected Indiana home educators through the years. It’s a reminder that our liberty to educate our children at home is precious and must be continually guarded. Thank you for standing with IAHE and IAHE Action.

1904 – Indiana has the nation’s earliest homeschool court ruling in State v. Peterman. Essentially, the court said that a school at home is a private school. The court defined a school as “a place where instruction is imparted to the young. . . . We do not think that the number of persons, whether one or many, make a place where instruction is imparted any less or any more a school.”

1980’s –  Most Hoosiers thought that either, 1.) Home education was illegal, or 2.) Home education required approval from the State of Indiana, or at least the local school superintendent. Local school districts, truancy officers, and county prosecutors harassed homeschool families.

1983Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) was founded by a Marion County judge, his wife, and two other couples to encourage and support homeschool families, maintain visibility as home educators with civil government leaders, influence the legislative process to protect our freedom to home educate, publish information of interest for home educators, and sponsor seminars and events to encourage families. It’s one of the earliest state homeschool organizations in the nation.  

1985 – In Mazanec v. North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation a federal district court recognized that parents have the constitutional right to educate their children in a home environment. The court wrote concerning the qualifi­cations of homeschool parents that, “it is now doubtful that the requirements of a formally licensed or certified teacher . . . would pass constitu­tional muster.

1989 – A statewide meeting of superintendents was held with the goal of curtailment of home education. Local superintendents required an intrusive several page questionnaire to determine if homeschool families would “be allowed to homeschool.” A federal civil rights lawsuit was threatened which slowly ended the practice after 3 or 4 years.

1994HR 6 required all teachers in America to be certified in each and every course they teach. IAHE joined HSLDA and other state homeschool organizations to defeat it with over 20,000 phone calls from angry homeschoolers.

1995 – President Clinton signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the ChildIt is still waiting to be ratified by the Senate, and it will give a parent’s rights to the government.

1996 – There was an unsuccessful attempt to add to law the following sentence, “Parents have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children.” It was met with great resistance and sent to an interim study committee where an IAHE Board member testified.

1998 – A federal law opened doors for homeschoolers to enter military service.

1998 – A day-time curfew was proposed in Columbus, IN. Homeschoolers and others fought it because it violated the 4th & 5th amendments to the US Constitution.

2003 – The Indiana “Education Roundtable” had a draft plan with the potential to dramatically undercut the ability of private school students, including homeschoolers, to choose their own curriculum, be admitted to college and get scholarships and financial aid. Homeschoolers’ calls helped make satisfactory changes.

2003 –  The City of Mishawaka gave a homeschool parent these unlawful guidelines:   “Guidelines For Home Study,” parents must:

1) Substantiate that they will provide equivalent instruction;
2) Initiate contact with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE);
3) Obtain a “school number” from the Department of Education;
4) File a “notice of intent;”
5) Acknowledge that the notice of intent is binding for one year;
6) Disclose each subject the child will be taught;
7) Disclose the “performance objectives” for each subject;
8) Disclose the name, qualifications, and experience, of every
teacher; and
9) Submit a daily instructional schedule indicating how many minutes
are taught each day in each subject.
10) In case parents are not sure how much time they should spend
teaching their own children, Mishawaka thoughtfully provides
recommended time allotments. According to the collective wisdom of
their school officials, for example, a third grader should receive
precisely 105 minutes per week in “motor skills development and
health/safety education.”

Homeschoolers refused to submit to the unauthorized requirements, and the city apologized for the distribution of obsolete guidelines.  

2004 – a Senate bill allowed the principal to refuse to consent to the withdrawal even if the parent intends to provide equivalent instruction.  “It would have given a principal the authority to refer the
family to a prosecuting attorney who will conduct an investigation against the family merely for the principal’s “disbelief” that the family is providing their children with “equivalent” instruction to that given in the public schools. The family must prove to the
satisfaction of the prosecuting attorney that they are providing
instruction that is “equivalent” to the instruction provided in the
public schools. If not, the parent may be prosecuted for truancy.

Not only would this bill limit homeschooler’s freedom to construe the term
“equivalent instruction,” but it also gives a principal the power to
question a home education program’s “equivalency” on his or her
impulse.”

2005 – House Bill 1530 would increase the compulsory school attendance age from 18 to 19. This bill creates one more year of state “monitoring” of children. IAHE worked to helped remove harmful provisions in the bill.

2006 – House Bill 1347 made it a crime for your children to be out in public or drive a car during public school hours. Homeschool calls helped remove curfew provisions.

2006 – A Terre Haute Senator in a thinly-veiled attack on homeschooling asked the Indiana Senate to create a committee to “examine the need for establishing homeschool guidelines.”

2007 – A bill required all private schools to report whether girls between the ages of 11 to 12 have been immunized against four types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that are mainly transmitted by sexual contact. The bill was amended to exempt “homeschools”.  It is a slippery slope to use the word “homeschool”.

2011 – Indiana Supreme Court held in Barnes v. State that an individual has no right to reasonably resist by force the unlawful entry into his home by a police officer.

2012 – IN SB 384 House Amendment 3 required homeschool parents to
submit an educational plan before withdrawing their children from high school. Massive pushback from homeschoolers defeated the amendment.

2012 – A forum was hosted by the Indiana School Board
Association and the Indiana Association of Public School
Superintendents. Glenda Ritz, a candidate for the
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, was asked, “Do you think 
policy needs to be changed on homeschooling?” 

Her response, “We don’t have any policy on homeschooling in Indiana. We need some policy on homeschooling. It’s actually being abused in many cases. I have heard of students being withdrawn by their parents to take care of an aging grandparent and getting absolutely no schooling at home. There are no regulations at all regarding it. So, yeah, we need some policy on homeschooling.” The crowd erupted in cheers.

Although Indiana does not have a homeschool statute, home schools are classified as non-accredited, non-public schools due to case law as they are in many other states. Homeschoolers must provide an equivalent education taught in the English language, keep attendance records, and teach for the same number of days as their local public school which is generally 180 days.  If a parent does not provide this education, Indiana Code has educational neglect and truancy laws that should be enforced. All Hoosiers are mandatory reporters. If someone is aware of a parent that is not providing an education according to state law, he or she should report it instead of demanding increased regulations for law-abiding homeschoolers.

2012-2013“751,366 or 4.5 million. That is the number of instructional days and hours 102,030 students in Indiana lost during the 2012-2013 school year due to suspension and expulsion. Almost 1 in 10 students were suspended or expelled that year.”*

2013 – Governor Pence mentions home education as an equal alternative to other forms of education in his State of the State address. “We have to put kids first and ensure that every child in Indiana has access to a world-class education at public school, public charter school, private school or home.” Gov. Pence January 22, 2013

2013 – IN SB 171 was a grandparent/great-grandparent rights bill that allowed the courts to intervene in an INTACT family to determine who may have access to your children for visitation rights. IAHE testified against it, and the bill did not become law. Unfortunately, IAHE Action must continue to testify against it in future years.

2013 – IC 20-33-2-28.5 requires a high school dropout to lose his driver’s license. The General Assembly told IAHE some families claim to “homeschool” in order to keep the student’s license but actually do not provide an education. IAHE worked with the General Assembly to develop a form to be used only for those currently in a high school which the parent must sign that states he or she understands the legal requirements to provide a home education. The State will prosecute parents who falsely claim to homeschool instead of regulating all homeschoolers.

2013 – IAHE was invited to the Governor’s office for a bill signing ceremony for efforts related to repealing Common Core in Indiana. Unfortunately, the new Indiana standards are remarkably similar to Common Core.  

2014 – An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Southwest Taskforce Newsletter stated, “Please report children that you think should be in school. Call 911 and ask for an officer to check on the children. Truancy is a growing concern to all of us. We need to find these children and determine which school they should be attending.” Needless to say, this advice alarmed many homeschool families. IAHE and HSLDA visited the IMPD Southwest, and our attorney spoke to the task force members about home education.

2014 – A bill was caught in third reading. The source of the language was frustrated public school administrators who struggle to fulfill their responsibilities in a declining market. The bill originated in a Local Government Committee and called for the “oversight of homeschooling.” Rapid “behind the scenes” action stopped the bill in its tracks.  

2014 – The Interim Study Committee on Education met to discuss a federally funded preschool grant. IAHE was the only one to publicly testify against it and submitted a detailed report about early childhood education concerns with a particular emphasis related to accepting federal dollars for preschool. Governor Pence surprised everyone after the hearing when he decided not to apply for the funds. 

2015Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society, Inc. (FACES) homeschool group received a final ruling from a discrimination case that began in 2008. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that FACES did not violate Indiana Civil Rights Code.

2015 – Families across Indiana received a letter from the state Department of Health informing them that their children had not been vaccinated against the Human papillomavirus (HPV). IAHE worked with the Governor’s office to determine a parent may opt-out of the vaccination registry.

2015 – IAHE was invited to the Governor’s bill signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but the law was amended a week later. Religious liberty is one pillar of home education liberty. Parental rights are the second pillar. Both are under attack.

 

 

2015 – In addition to its focus on education to help Indiana home educators have a solidly academic home school, IAHE as a 501c3 organization may do limited advocacy work. Over the past few years, IAHE noticed an uptick in threats to Indiana homeschool liberty, so IAHE Action, as a 501c4 sister organization, was formed to be able to do unlimited lobbying and a limited amount of political work to better protect home education liberty and parental rights.  

2015 – December 15, 2015 – IAHE contacted the Indiana Department of Education for homeschool numbers for the past five years: 2010 – 8318; 2011 – 8530; 2012 – 6983; 2013 – 5691; 2014 – 4257   Note: Due to voluntary and infrequent reporting the numbers of homeschools students are not 100% accurate.

2013-2016 – IAHE received a considerable amount of calls from parents who claimed the school reported their child as enrolled as a homeschooler and gave them IAHE’s phone number.  After IAHE Regional Representatives explained homeschooling requirements to the parent, the parent decided home education was not a good fit for their particular situation. The parent was referred back to their school or the IDOE for other options. Were they ever removed from the Indiana Department of Education homeschool roster? We doubt it. 

Additionally, parents called IAHE and said the school signed them up for something, and they did not know what it was, but they were given IAHE’s number to call.  Teens who wanted to homeschool but had no parental support called IAHE as well. Some had been expelled, and others told IAHE there is “too much drama at school to learn.” IAHE referred them to their school or the IDOE for more appropriate options since home education is parent-directed.

2016 – During testimony for a School Choice bill in the House Education Committee, the principal of an alternative school in northern Indiana was there to testify and claimed that they are serving many needy students including “homeschool dropouts”. The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has data that reports 10,000 students a year or 30,000 public school students for the past three years have transferred to homeschool.

2016 – An individual who testified at the School to Prison Pipeline hearing told the IAHE Director of Government Affairs: “If we can make homeschoolers register, teach them how to homeschool, monitor their homeschool, buy their curriculum and test them, homeschooling will work for the dropouts.” 

Of course, that would be a total redefinition of home education here in Indiana where an engaged parent chooses to take complete responsibility for their child’s education to avoid the government’s involvement, so they can provide a superior education.

2016 – IAHE, IAHE Action, and HSLDA defended Indiana homeschoolers before the Indiana Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights after testimony claimed the School to Prison Pipeline supposedly included “homeschoolers”. Instead of expulsion or suspension that would harm a school’s A-F grade, some principals encouraged students to “homeschool.” In fact, we have since learned that each student who exits a public school is informed about every educational option including home education even though they may not be a good candidate due to lack of parental support. We are told a number of “homeschoolers” have ended up in correctional facilities.

2016 – IAHE Action was told a bill was drafted to require homeschool registration. Fortunately, it was not introduced.

2017 – In the House Education Committee, it is claimed that 13,000 students have exited the public schools to “homeschool” each year for the past three years.

The Indiana House and Senate Education Committees attempted to curtail the practice of schools pushing “problem” students into “homeschooling”IAHE testified about the phone calls their Regional Representatives received from parents who were inappropriately referred to IAHE to begin home education. They defended legitimate law-abiding homeschoolers.  

Schools now must provide proof, if requested by the IDOE, that the parent initiated homeschooling. For decades in order to avoid truancy charges, IAHE recommended a parent write a letter to the school when they transfer their child to home education. Since schools reported students’ enrollment as a homeschooler without a parent truly comprehending the required legal responsibilities, it is now recommended the letter be sent certified and a copy kept in the permanent records at home as proof a parent actually sent it.

2017 – IN HB 1591 was an Education Savings Account voucher type bill which included homeschoolers. It was the “carrot to control”. The concern was that it would encourage the practice of pushing problem students into home education since they would be “government-funded”, and it would be the beginning of two classes of homeschoolers: state-approved and non-state approved. Indiana already had 50 cases of homeschool discrimination in 2016 and 37 in 2017. 

Parents could be “approved” providers. Although only vague additional rules and regulations were mentioned in the bill, it did not specifically mention assessments. The author of the bill posted on his Facebook page that there would be assessments to “make sure parents are giving taxpayers their monies worth.” The bill did not receive a hearing due to the response of homeschoolers.

2017 – The IAHE Director of Government Affairs was offered a seat on the Commission for Improving the Status of Children in Indiana’s Educational Outcomes Task Force because home education is often discussed particularly due to the School to Prison Pipeline issue. We are grateful the State has given home educators an opportunity to contribute our perspective as state agencies attempt to work through difficult issues.

Protecting homeschool liberty is a continual effort.

“If homeschoolers do not remain active, we will not remain free. It’s that simple.” ~ Michael Farris.

 

As a 501c4 organization, donations to IAHE Action are NOT tax-deductible.
IAHE Action is funded by our generous donors. 
THANK YOU for partnering with us to protect home education liberty in Indiana!

*Flier from the Children’s Policy and Law Initiative of Indiana. Other information for this post was retrieved from eyewitnesses, The IAHE Informer magazine, the IAHE, HSLDA, and IAHE Action websites.

 

 

The Alliance Calls for National Homeschool Day of Prayer

As we pray for New York, the most highly regulated state in the nation, regarding the details below, let us also pray for Indiana homeschoolers. Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) and IAHE Action have been dealing with issues related to the School to Prison Pipeline since early 2016. Indiana has school discipline and truancy issues. 751,366 or 4.5 million. That is the number of instructional days and hours 102,030 students in Indiana lost during the 2012-2013 school year due to suspension and expulsion. Almost 1 in 10 students were suspended or expelled that year.”* Instead of expulsion or suspension that would harm a school’s A-F grade, some students were encouraged to “homeschool.” We are told a number of “homeschoolers” have ended up in correctional facilities.

IAHE has taken many phone calls from families who said the school reported their student’s enrollment as a homeschooler with the Indiana Department of Education. When IAHE provided the family with an explanation of what is legally required by law to homeschool, they decided that was not a suitable option for them. Where they ever removed from the roster of homeschoolers? We doubt it. Read more here

Some would like to use this public school created issue as a springboard to increase homeschool regulations. Pray for the discernment of those in positions of authority to know the difference between a law-abiding homeschooler and others who are not homeschooling without adding undue regulations on law-abiding homeschoolers. Ask the Lord to provide wisdom to IAHE and IAHE Action as we deal with the State about this concern. Pray our financial needs will be met as we spend resources to defend home education in Indiana.

Sincerely,
IAHE and IAHE Action

The Alliance (The National Alliance of Christian Homeschool Leadership) has declared November 3, 2017, to be National Homeschool Day of Prayer. Support us! We will be praying for the needs of New York homeschoolers, the most oppressed in the nation. New York Loving Education At Home (NYS LEAH) leadership has shared their prayer concerns with us at the Alliance. They are stated below.

Background:

New York is the most regulated state in America. Homeschool families must submit seven different documents to their school district annually, for each child. The regulations are overseen by the NY State Education Department (SED) and administered by the Superintendent of Education of each of the hundreds of school districts across New York. This causes great stress upon and even oppression of homeschool families as they work through the varying requirements. They need and deserve relief.

Prayer Needs:

  • This is a spiritual battle. Pray for victories in the spiritual realm that will result in victories on earth.
  • November 3rd and 4th is LEAH’s leaders’ meeting. Pray for strength and power for these saints.
  • Pray that God will raise up more laborers to share the vision and more resources to meet the challenges.
  • This fall, LEAH is attempting to force needed legislation out of committee for a vote. Pray for the favor in the halls of power, for wisdom, for protection, and for victory.
  • Homeschoolers in many districts are oppressed by regulators. Pray that homeschoolers will have the wisdom, the courage, and the right information to counter these attacks successfully.
  • With the aid of HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association), several NY homeschoolers have filed a lawsuit against the City of New York and its Education Department to stop the harassment. Pray for wisdom and insight for the legal team, and that the outcome of this lawsuit will have a statewide impact and improve the homeschooling environment for all.

This day of prayer is being supported by:

The Alliance (The National Alliance of Christian Homeschool Leadership)

HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association)

Alliance State Affiliates

#homeschooldayofprayer*Flier from the Children’s Policy and Law Initiative of Indiana.

Latest DRAFT Posted of School to Prison Pipeline Report

We were able to bring balance to the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights draft School to Prison Pipeline report. Homeschooling is discussed beginning on page 30 under “3. Non-traditional Education and the Pipeline.” You may review the latest draft at the link below. We understand the committee must complete this topic by early December.

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The Unintended Consequences of ESAs – Inflated Costs for All, Fewer Choices for All – Part 5

This is part five of a five-part series. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

     5. We’re going to tell ourselves that ESAs won’t affect us if we don’t take them.

What if you decide that you don’t want to take the ESA? What if you want to remain independent? Will you be able to continue to homeschool the way you do now?

No.

Think ESAs won’t affect you if you don’t take them? They will. Try telling yourself that the increase in government funding for higher education hasn’t affected the ability to pay for college without getting financial aid and/or student loans.

The government already has a hard time separating homeschoolers from virtual public school and continuation schools, lumping homeschoolers into the “School to Prison Pipeline” despite overwhelming evidence against including us in that group.[1] It’s doubtful that the government will be able (or willing) to distinguish between homeschooling families who take ESA funds and homeschooling families who don’t. Nevada already believes that homeschooling parents need to qualify as a “Participating Entity,” thus undermining a heritage of home-based education that is many thousands of years longer than public education’s comparatively short 150 years or so. This requirement lays bare the collective attitude of the Nevada government towards parents: ignoring overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Nevada government begins with the assumption that parents are not qualified to teach their children. It is within the power of the state legislature to require homeschooling parents to qualify and register, even without accepting government funds. Many other states have burdensome homeschool requirements, such as annual standardized testing, which has never been proven to improve educational achievement.[2]

Beyond government regulation, the homeschool curriculum market will suffer.

Used curriculum will fade away. Because of the funding restrictions that will come with an ESA (the money can only be spent on certain approved items), there will be a lot less “red tape” if you use an ESA to purchase used curriculum (probably from a list of “pre-approved publishers”). If you get audited, providing a receipt from Bookshark is much less scary than providing a handwritten note from your friend Kristin who sold you her secondhand curriculum at the homeschool co-op curriculum sale.

In the “old days” before “free money” from ESA accounts, you could buy used curriculum, and also sell some of your curriculum when you were done with it. You had to buy extra “student sheets,” but the cost of those was about $10-$50 per child, which was affordable. The publishers don’t really want you to buy used or re-sell your curriculum, because they don’t make much money if you do that. They make reusable curriculum because homeschooling families are frugal and like to buy curriculum that will last through several children. Publishers sell replacement student sheets now because the market demands it. Right now, we are spending our own money, and we budget it accordingly. If we can buy used and save $1000, we can spend that extra money on whatever we’d like because it’s our own money. With an ESA, the money must be spent only on approved items, and the amount of money is vastly increased over what we would normally spend, so there is no incentive to save. There won’t be much of a market left to sell used curriculum. Would you even be allowed to sell items that were purchased with government funds?

As ESAs increase and people opt for new curriculum purchased with “free money,” publishers will not have any reason to continue to support curriculum that can be re-used year after year. They’ll shift to selling consumable curriculum that is easy and fast to use, but is used up after one child so that you have to re-purchase each year.

Publishers will increase the prices on their old, reasonably priced packages as they add newer and bigger packages. They don’t want to remind ESA-takers of the cheap prices that you used to enjoy before ESAs. Perhaps you can afford $300-$600 for curriculum now, but will you be able to absorb a package price hike to $1500? To $2000? The prices will continue to increase across the board, and remember, publishers will drop support for reusable curriculum. Just like college tuition has increased for everyone, not just those who take student loans, the cost of curriculum and classes for homeschoolers will also increase with the huge influx of government funds.

The content of curriculum is also likely to change. Remember how Sonlight decided to make a new company to offer a new, non-religious curriculum called Bookshark? If Bookshark is an approved purchase, but Sonlight is not, then as more and more people take ESA funds, eventually so many people will buy Bookshark instead of Sonlight that Sonlight will cease to be profitable. Publishers will have to focus on the products that keep them in business.

Is any of this really worth taking any amount of money from the government? Even if only a tiny portion of these negative effects come to pass, the answer is no! Homeschoolers in Indiana are already providing our children with a superior education, for very little cost. We cannot allow ourselves to be grouped together with the problematic public school system we have rejected. Homeschoolers must stand united in maintaining our independence from government schools.

[1] http://www.iaheaction.net/iahe-actions-school-to-prison-pipeline-response-part-1/

[2] https://www.hslda.org/laws/

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.

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 Responds to DRAFT School to Prison Pipeline Report

IAHE Action expressed its concern to the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding the DRAFT report about the School to Prison Pipeline. It is troubling to see home education scrutinized instead of focusing  on public schools where the problem was created and should be corrected.  Home education should not be used as a way for public schools to remove “problem” students from their school. Homeschooling requires solid parental commitment and motivation to be successful.  It is wholly inappropriate for public schools to encourage families who are uninvolved with their children toward this type of education.

fullsizerender

 

At Work For You

IAHE’s Response to the Indiana Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights – Part 9

This post is our ninth of nine installments regarding the transcript from the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing that was held on February 17, 2016.  Neither IAHE nor IAHE Action knew about this meeting until after the fact when we were informed about it by a concerned special needs advocate who was in attendance to testify about dyslexics in the School to Prison Pipeline.  You may read our other posts here:   intro, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth.

Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) expressed concerns about the 600+ page transcript to Melissa Wojnaroski, Civil Rights Analyst for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Regional Programs Unit.  Debi Ketron was invited to join the Committee for a conference call on April 20, 2016.   An opportunity was permitted to submit written testimony which was provided by IAHE Government Affairs team member, Alison Slatter, and Debi was called upon to provide public comment which was limited to three minutes.  It was decided that IAHE should submit the written testimony since it has been serving Indiana homeschool families for 33 years and doing the very things that were discussed in the transcript.  Attorney Tj Schmidt of HSLDA was on the call as well.  Homeschooling was not mentioned at that meeting by the Committee.  It was noted by the Committee that they now had to consider the conflicting testimony that was submitted for consideration.  You may read the written testimony that was submitted by Indiana Association of Home Educators IAHE School to Prison Pipeline Testimony (1), Home School Legal Defense Association HSLDA-IndianaAdvisoryCommitteeTestimony, National Black Home Educators NBHE Letter April 18_2016, and Nevada Homeschool Network 2016. NHN ltr to US CCR.BKD.  Public comment was provided by IAHE  SPP Oral Testimony 20160420.  We will know the results of the report on June 15.

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IAHE Action’s School to Prison Pipeline Response – Part 6

This post is our sixth of nine installments regarding the transcript from the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing that was held on February 17, 2016.  Neither Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) nor IAHE Action knew about this meeting until after the fact.  You may read our other posts here, here, here, here, here and here.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 99 MS. DAVIS: Tammi Davis, thank you all for your presentations and I also have some challenges with the home schooling issue, at least as it relates here in Indiana. I do have family members who were home schooled and matriculated very well going on to college and post college studies, but one of the challenges that we face with our children, particularly as they are being defined as troubled kids, is that there are challenges at home. So if you have problems at home, you are expelled from school because of behavioral issues and then some adult, whether it is the parent or legal guardian on paper says, well, this child is being home schooled when they may not be actually home schooled because they are not regulated, then that becomes an additional challenge for our kids just being out there in the system.

IAHE Action’s Response: First, let us establish the context of “homeschooler” above. In the second half of the above excerpt, Ms. Davis is clearly talking about public school families who have been forced into homeschooling because of disciplinary actions of the public school administrators. These children are not homeschoolers, but public school dropouts who are not given the support required in their individual cases by school administrators. Contrast this context with that of homeschool parents who have actively chosen from all available educational options to take on the responsibility, expense and labor of home education. The family members Ms. Davis mentions would undoubtedly fall into this category. Equating the two situations requires a gross suspension of reality.

Hard cases make bad law. The answer should be to fix the problem at its source: the public school. Just as forced charity is no charity at all, forced homeschooling does not beget homeschooling.

Parents actively choosing to take a primary role in their children’s education are not the problem here and do not require regulation to do their jobs.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 99. So there are two things that I would like to know, how does one get classified as missing? What has to happen for a student to be determined as a missing child, missing student, number one; and then secondly, what correlation of study has been done relative to the number of homeless children, homeless students as would relate to this issue? Either one of you have done any research or work in that regard?

MS. DANIELS: Well, what I was told in terms of missing is that the child has not shown up to school, either the attendance clerk or social worker has gone to the home and no one is there, they can’t find the child, there is no track record. And so when you have to fill out your little codes at the end of the year what happened to all of your children, you just mark missing.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 100: The other code area that really kind of bothers us is the code area of transferred out of state. We are finding large numbers of youngsters who I don’t believe have transferred out of state but that’s a code that is marked by the school. I just can’t believe 37 kids transferred out of state in one of the schools that we have looked at.

And so there is lots of coding that I think is misplaced in terms of going back to the Department of Ed, which is a loophole which means that these kids are — where are the children? They could be on the streets, they could be — we don’t know. But one of the things that feeds this schoolhouse-to-jailhouse pipeline is the fact that no one knows where — what is happening in that child’s life on a daily basis.

He could be staying with a friend tonight, grandma the next night, somebody else the next night, he is just floating, just floating. So I think that there is things that the state could possibly do in terms of laws and regulations with the Department of Ed and the Department of Corrections which I think would help to identify all these missing children.

We went yesterday to the Indiana Missing Children’s Ledger, thousands of kids from all over the state, different counties, listed. And that was for Tuesday, February 15, that we looked at it and I was just in awe that all those kids are labeled as
missing. Name, birth date, 13-year-olds, 12-year-olds missing? Something is — there is not enough being done. We can talk about numbers, but we have got to talk about lives, we have got to talk about human beings, we have got to talk about our babies, our next, the ones that are supposed to take my place one day. We have got to start talking about where are these babies. And I am just bringing this up because I think that we need to have some help in terms of doing that. We can’t do that by our — we are non-profit, of course non-profits are not funded, we are out of our pockets, but we are willing to do this work because we have deep, deep convictions that we don’t want to see another black child end up in that system. So that’s why we are here today.  At Work For You

TESTIMONY: Pg. 102. MS. DAVIS: Just real quick, do you know the number of days that a student has to be missing out of the classroom before the counselors are dispatched to actually do a follow-up?

MS. DANIELS: They told me the child only has to be at school one day a month not to be considered truant. You know, you miss 29 days, come to school one day, he is not truant. That’s what the principals all told us. So truancy laws is something else that — this is a whole — all that coding needs to be looked at.

IAHE Action’s Response: There are numerous possibilities for why children and their families move from place to place. Possible causes could be immigration status of the parents, frequent relocation due to short-term living arrangements with friends, family or relationships or perhaps a job transfer relocated the family outside the school district. While a stable home environment is best, not all parents are able to provide a consistent living arrangement.

At IAHE, they advise families who leave the public school to homeschool to send a letter informing the school principal of their status change. Anyone not sending a letter could and should expect a truant officer to visit. They also inform their constituency of the laws regulating home education in Indiana. Their members know they must provide the same number of instructional days as the public schools and provide and an equivalent education.

IAHE is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to supporting, educating and advocating for homeschooling parents and their children. Since 1983, they have worked with countless families who are teaching their children and doing an excellent job. IAHE sacrifices to minister to these families, because of the importance of home education in the lives of our families. READ SOME OF THEIR TESTIMONIALS HERE.

IAHE Action’s School to Prison Pipeline Response – Part 5

This post is our fifth of nine installments regarding the transcript from the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing that was held on February 17, 2016.  Neither Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) nor IAHE Action knew about this meeting until after the fact.  You may read our other posts here, here, here, here, and here.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 96. So on one hand it sounds like really this is a bad situation is going on here in Indiana and then on the other hand if it is done, if home schooling is done properly, it has been a saving grace for an awful lot of kids from across the country. So I am just wondering if in your work if you have attempted to isolate this issue as to home schooling as it relates very specifically to expulsion and would there be a way under those circumstances to, I don’t know, to determine whether or not if something could work for this child who is about to be expelled, or if not, if there is an intervention that could occur there so we don’t lose these kids?

IAHE Action’s Response: The key in this part of the testimony is “homeschooling done properly”. Homeschoolers use a variety of methods, curricula, etc., to successfully educate their children. It takes dedicated, engaged parents. The student must respect authority. When both are present, homeschooling works!

“Homeschooling done properly” does not include encouraging a teen with serious behavioral issues and a parent who is unavailable to home educate. The necessary ingredients for proper home education are an involved, present parent; a cooperative, obedient student; and parental time available to instruct the child. If any of these ingredients are missing or disproportional, homeschoolers know it is a recipe for disaster. A student who is unruly cannot be forced to learn.

These students DO have a good life-changing option. The Crossing is an alternative education option seeking to serve students whom would otherwise be government school dropouts. Find more about The Crossing here.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 96. MS. DANIELS: We interviewed three principals, two public and one charter, and they both said, yes, we have engaged in the practice. But we know those kids are not home schooled, they are probably out there. When we talk with the Department of Corrections, on their intake process they do write down what kind of schooling the child has, but it is not in their database. You have to go through every court placement through those records and see who was going to be or who has had home schooling. It is not in a database. So that’s a task in itself to go through all of those records.

But essentially the Department has been notified, they have been really trying to find this information and really trying to do something — find out about what can they do. In long conversations with John Nally, he has been very, very supportive and very, very involved in wanting to see what can we do here.

IAHE Action’s Response: Once again, government school principals engaged in this practice knowing “home” education is not occurring are breaking public trust and running roughshod over the spirit of the law. They are sullying the reputation of countless home educators who are sacrificially educating their children while victimizing dropouts by counseling a path toward the child’s personal failure.

MS. HINER: Pg. 97. If I could get just a quick follow-up, so in the state of Nevada, the public schools will — and they have this expulsion thing also, but what they do is they refer that student to a home schooling expert, someone who isn’t a home schooler and who works within the network of home schoolers in Nevada and they also have very, very few regulations up there as well, but this woman though will talk to the parents, talk to the students and, you know, oftentimes advise against home schooling as an option.

But there is a communication there between the home schooling community and the public school. They work in partnership together so that if it is not right, it is not right and it is not happening. If it is right, well, then that’s a good thing. But there is that linkage there between the public schools and the home schooling community and I was wondering if that sort of thing could work?

IAHE Action’s Response: IAHE Action, curious by this assertion, contacted our friends at the Nevada Homeschool Network (NHN). Their refutation of Ms. Hiner’s testimony is enlightening. You can read their response here:  2016. NHN ltr to US CCR.BKD
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TESTIMONY: Pg. 98. MS. DANIELS: That’s not the case here. That’s not the case as I understand it from the principals that we have talked with, that is not happening. I did speak with charter school, virtual school people, and they are getting lots of — when they started the virtual schools, it was for that affluent family that really could go to the museum and mom was at home and could take the child this place and that place and they would go to the virtual school if it is a hybrid model two days a week, have contact with other children and come home. The virtual schools are basically for high school students and there is very little contact with anyone except through Skype, and the teacher grades a paper and it comes back through the E-mail system. But no one is working with the parent who has accepted the responsibility of home schooling, that’s that loophole that allows this to feed into the School-to-Prison Pipeline or I would call it the Schoolhouse-to-Jailhouse Pipeline, but that is exactly what is occurring, at least that’s what I am being told by people who man schools.

IAHE Action’s Response: Let us first establish two definitions. A child enrolled in a virtual charter school cannot be a homeschooler. While the child’s location is physically in the home; the grades, curriculum, programs, and teachers are administered and controlled outside the home by an agent paid by the government with taxpayer funds. Home education has three hallmarks: home-based, parent-directed and self-funded. Virtual public students do not exhibit two of the three criterions for being homeschooled.

As homeschoolers who diligently document our children’s attendance, we have a few questions. If administrators KNOW this is happening, does the Superintendent of Public Instruction or other entity send a truant officer to the home? How many have been prosecuted under the Indiana laws currently in force? Seems to us a good place to start combating this problem is through enforcement of current law.

If one looks at the Homeschool Help Sheet on the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) website, the individual will find Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE)’s phone number and website link. It says, “While not a source for textbooks, these organizations can provide guidance about local support groups, choosing curricula, and the “how to’s” of home education.” IAHE has been helping Indiana homeschoolers since 1983. Help is only a call or email away with our 16 Regional Representatives.   They can connect families with local support groups and/or co-ops.  IAHE publishes the Home Education in Indiana book to provide more in-depth information about how to have a solid foundation for homeschooling.  The public libraries across the state have carried this book for many years.   Indiana home educators can find helpful information in IAHE’s The Informer magazine which is also available in libraries across the state and in IAHE podcasts on iTunes; both are available for free.  IAHE’s yearly Convention offers continuing education workshops.  IAHE has discussion groups for encouragement and support. Finally, IAHE Regional Representatives hosts informational workshops to educate parents about home education throughout the state of Indiana.  Local groups may offer these types of events as well.  Homeschoolers who have moved to Indiana from other states claim that homeschool information and support is much more accessible here than in other states where they lived. IAHE makes it a priority.

IAHE has been doing this for over 30 years. They have an annual convention and bring in curriculum vendors, speakers, and continuing education workshops. They recruit regional representatives across the state who field phone inquiries and network with other groups. This provides a volunteer network to help home educators get connected and encourage them in their homeschool journey.

IAHE’s trained regional representatives can correctly evaluate a parent’s true interest in homeschooling in just a few questions. They explain to prospective parents they are taking full responsibility for their child’s education. Some of these parents tell us they are not interested. We then refer them back to their school or the IDOE for other options.

Home education is a privately-funded and parent-directed educational option. Inserting government oversight into homeschooling effectively guts the characteristics of home education. It will no longer be parent-directed, but government directed. It will no longer be self-funded, but taxpayer funded. The only thing remaining would be the child’s location, which is the least meaningful characteristic to the child’s outcome.

A parent wanting or needing another entity to teach, provide curriculum and resources, is not interested in homeschooling. Indiana is blessed with many more suitable options for this parent and child to explore. IAHE encourages them to find the best fit for their child and their situation.

Homeschool parents take personal and financial responsibility for the education of their child. This commitment requires sacrifice and stretching to achieve excellent results. Government school principals who value home education so little as to use it as a disciplinary measure are belittling and besmirching the patient, careful work done in Hoosier homes by parent educators. These principals should be ashamed.

Read Part 6 here.

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