2008/03/25

Its not just republicans!!

Open letter to the Michigan Legislature


The Michigan Legislature has before it House Bill Number 5912, a bill that would require home-schooled children to be registered with their school district.

My first question is why?

The United States of America is built on the principle of freedom, and Michigan has fought, from its very inception, to maintain as much independence as is feasible from federal government inteference.

Are we not aware of the young Governor Mason, who was deposed briefly by federal intervention for purposes of political expedience, who was re-elected in a landslide by the people of Michigan who, on the same day, voted for the constitution which serves our state so well? We, the citizens of the State of Michigan, don’t like government interference unless we can see good reason for it.

It alarms me that the state legislature now intends to have home-schooled children registered with the state, a requirement that flies in the face of our freedom and can serve no useful end.

There is no good reason to register home-schooled children with the school district. It therefore represents a needless intrusion into the privacy of Michigan's citizens.

For any tale of woe about an irresponsible family who neglects their children by failing to educate them, there are a thousand such tales of publicly educated children who enter high-school without basic literacy skills.

Registering home-educators with the state system will not, nor can it, improve either situation. While home-education will continue successfully as it always has, the already burdened state system will have the increased workload of registering its home-educators and their students to no useful end. The increase in burden may not be great, but any increase is too much for a system that is already struggling.

As a home-educator, I can assure you that government registration represents a significant barrier to home-educating families who may consider moving to Michigan. Home-educators tend to be the very type of "can-do" people that are needed in this state as we pave a brighter future for our children.

There is no evidence to suggest that home-education in Michigan is broken. Registration of home-educators serves no useful end.

Registering home-educators with the state system can only serve to burden an already under-funded system with useless information, and present one more barrier for the families who want to immigrate to our state in these difficult times.

Please reconsider your co-sponsorship of this bill that flies in the face of our freedom, intrudes on our privacy, and adds to the already substantial burden that the people of the State of Michigan bear in these difficult times.


Sincerely


Rodney B. Smith
Home Educator

Please feel free to hijack any part of this for your own protest letters.


Representative Brenda Clack is the major sponsor of this bill.

Rep. Brenda Clack
N0798 House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514

517-373-8808
brendaclack@house.mi.gov

CO-SPONSORS OF H.B. 5912 are:
(There are 24, you might want to select those who represent you.)

Joan Bauer: 517-373-0826, joanbauer@house.mi.gov
Bob Constan: 517-373-0849, bobconstan@house.mi.gov
Marc Corriveau: 517-373-3816, marccorriveau@house.mi.gov
Robert Dean: 517-373-2668, robertdean@house.mi.gov
Kate Ebli: 517-373-2617, KateEbli@house.mi.gov
Barbara Farrah: 517-373-0845, barbarafarrah@house.mi.gov
Richard Hammel: 517-373-7557, richardhammel@house.mi.gov
Ted Hammon: 517-373-3906, tedhammon@house.mi.gov
Shanelle Jackson: 517-373-1705, shanellejackson@house.mi.gov
Bert Johnson: 517-373-0144, bertjohnson@house.mi.gov
Robert Jones: 517-373-1785, robertjones@house.mi.gov
Kathleen Law: 517-373-1799, davidlaw@house.mi.gov
Richard LeBlanc: 517-373-2576, richardleblanc@house.mi.gov
Gabe Leland: 517-373-6990, gabeleland@house.mi.gov
Mark Meadows: 517-373-1786, markmeadows@house.mi.gov
Fred Miller: 517-373-0159, fredmiller@house.mi.gov
Gino Polidori: 517-373-0847, ginopolidori@house.mi.gov
Joel Sheltrown: 517-373-3817, joelsheltrown@house.mi.gov
Mike Simpson: 517-373-1775, mikesimpson@house.mi.gov
Alma Smith: 517-373-1771, almasmith@house.mi.gov
Virgil Smith: 517-373-0589, virgilsmith@house.mi.gov
Aldo Vagnozzi: 517-373-1793, aldovagnozzi@house.mi.gov
Lisa Wojno: 517-373-2275, lisawojno@house.mi.gov

All of them can also be reached at:

N0798 House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514

4 comments:

Marsha said...

Rodney,

Thank you for your impassioned letter in support of homeschooling freedom and parental privacy in Michigan. As a long-time homeschooler I am alarmed also, at why this legislation has been introduced at this time. Mostly, though, I am annoyed. Because said legislators are wasting taxpayer's money and wasting the time of our elected officials debating and promoting and considering such foolish legislation. I'd look to the bottom line for inspiration as to why this has been introduced. Look at it as market research; identify the target market (homeschoolers) and figure out how to market a product (so-called public school homeschool program) which will invite homeschoolers to sign up for some sort of program at the public schools and reinstate funding for all those homeschooling families who are currently outside the reach of the public school system. Once identified, they can be marketed to. Until identified there is no way to reach them. I know there is interest on the part of school districts, as I have been contacted by the local school superintendent more than once, over the time of two different superintendents, as well as had our homeschool group spoken to by a retired high school teacher a few years ago; he and his wife were homeschooling his grandchildren and he had been approached by his former employers to broach the idea of homeschoolers signing up for a program at the schools. Once families were signed up, they weren't obligated to continue - of course not, once signed up and the money available from the state . . .well, you can figure it out. I spoke out loudly against this, as did others, and most indicated they weren't interested anyway, and nothing ever came of it. Most homeschooling families in our area aren't interested in having their kids enrolled through the public schools for much of anything, although a few have availed themselves of such things as band, choir, orchestra, and other non-core classes. These families do have to register with the state in order for the school to receive funding. But for it to be mandatory for all homeschooling families, even those who have no intention of using any services through the school district, smacks loudly of "big brother" and invasion of privacy.

Thank you again for your letter.
Sincerely,
Marsha Ransom
17 year Homeschool Mom of 3 grads and one to go

Rodney Smith said...

Thanks for the feedback, Marsha.

As secular home-schoolers with a young child, we are pretty much on our own with the exception of a few friends scattered across Washtenaw county who are in the same boat.

I'm glad to see that you have one left to go!! You must have been at this a good long while, and your experience is priceless.

Thank you!!

Take Care

Rod

Anonymous said...

I read favorable data awhile back on this topic. So many people worry that homeschooled children are not "socialized" properly. The data seemed to indicate that the homeschooled children simply were not "anti-socialized" from the classroom/school atmosphere.
I having had 5 children go through public schools (and am a strong supporter of) feel my youngest who has been in YPS for 12 years, is prepared for anything life throws at her. But retrospectively would I would choose different settings for some of her sibs, too late at last. But California is way off base in this arena.
maryd

Rodney Smith said...

Thanks for the comment Mary,

Some kids do well in the school system, others don't. Homeschooling is both a very personal and very committed choice, and I'm glad we are free to make that choice in this state.

All the comments I'm hearing from people "in the know" suggest that this bill will never see the light of day.

Home schoolers are apparently Michigan's most vocal lobby group. I'm sure I'm not the only person who sent e-mails and letters off.

The news I'm hearing from home schoolers in California suggests that home schooling is actually safe there as well.

Take Care

Rod