12/17/13. Democrat: Investigate every homeschool parent. Bob Unruh, wnd.com
A proposal by a state senator in Ohio, Cafri Cafaro, a Democrat, would require every homeschooling parent in Ohio to be investigated – and approved of – by various social services agencies before they would be allowed to teach their own children.
And officials with the Home School Legal Defense Association say it is the “worst-ever homeschool law proposed.”
“SB 248 is breathtakingly onerous in its scope,” says a report assembled by Michael Donnelly, an attorney with the world’s premiere homeschool advocacy organization. “It requires all parents who homeschool to undergo a social services investigation, which would ultimately determine if homeschooling would be permitted. Social workers would have to interview parents and children separately, conduct background checks and determine whether homeschooling is recommended or not.
“If it is not recommended, parents would have to submit to an ‘intervention’ before further consideration of their request to homeschool.”
The proposal was offered as a response to the child abuse death of Teddy Foltz-Tedesco, 14, who reportedly had been abused for years by his mother’s boyfriend, Zaryl Bush.
And while that certainly is a tragic case, the marginal involvement of homeschool was not the reason for the tragedy, HSLDA explained.
“HSLDA condemns child abuse and is saddened by Teddy’s death,” the organization said in a statement. “HSLDA supports the prosecution of child abusers like Bush and the improvement of systems that prevent child abuse. However, this proposed law does not actually address the problems that led to Teddy’s death and instead unfairly targets homeschooling.”
Homeschool experts explained that in the case of the 14-year-old, reports indicated that he had been abused for years, and after teachers reported the abuse to authorities, Teddy’s mother withdrew him from public school, allegedly to homeschool him.
The facts are that neighbors, friends, family, police, teachers and others all knew the 14-year-old was being abused, HSLDA said.
“Finally, Bush beat Teddy so severely that he later died of his injuries. Bush and Teddy’s mother now are in prison,” the group said.
“Teddy Foltz-Tedesco was killed because those responsible for protecting him did not step in as the law or common sense would have dictated. Why?” HSLDA said in a statement. “Although news reports indicate that abuse had been reported for years prior to Teddy’s death, it does not appear that any serious intervention was made by government authorities charged with investigating such allegations.
“Why was not enough done to protect Teddy from known abuse?”
Subjecting hardworking parents who want to invest their time and money in their own children’s education is not the way to address such problems, HSLDA argued.
“Even if, as SB 248 would require, his mother had sought social service’s approval to homeschool and was denied, he still would have been at home subject to abuse after school. Regardless of where he went to school, Teddy was left by authorities in a home where they knew abuse was occurring. Clearly, SB 248 would not have saved Teddy,” the organization said.
Donnelly suggested that lawmakers, through SB 248, simply are turning fundamental American values “upside down.”
“Parents have been deemed by the United States Supreme Court in Parham v. JR to act in their children’s best interests. In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the court ruled that parents have a fundamental right to direct the education of their children,” he said.
Ohio’s plan would replace parents with “unqualified social workers to make educational decisions for children.”
“Rather than target tens of thousands of decent Ohioans who homeschool, policymakers like Cafaro should try to discover what prevented police and social workers who knew what was going on from taking action and faithfully enforcing Ohio’s already adequate child protection laws.”
HSLDA said it has asked its members in Ohio to recommend the bill’s sponsors withdraw the idea.
“This misguided attack on homeschooling in Ohio may only be a precursor to more general attempts by some to impose similar restrictions on parents,” the group said.
WND has reported over the years on a wide range of issues on homeschooling, from Germany’s jail sentences for homeschooling parents and Sweden’s arbitrary decision to take a young boy away from his parents over homeschooling.
In America, the disputes have included threats from social workers that they will confiscate children if their parents don’t agree to a home search, and a state court’s decision, later overturned, that parents have no right to homeschool their children.
WND also reported when a German school district took a student and put her under mental health care for being homeschooled.
Just days ago there was the report about a Florida judge who ordered several children in a homeschooling family into public school district classes based on the “gut reaction” of a court appointee in a divorce and custody case where homeschooling wasn’t even an issue.
The ruling now is on appeal to the 3rd District Court of Appeals in the Florida court system, where arguments are mounting for the panel of justices to overturn the district court ruling.
Names and ages of the children in the family are not being publicized by WND, but an attorney handling the case, Karen J. Haas, confirmed the basics.
It was during a routine hearing in which the education of the children, who live with their mother, was not an issue, and was not expected to be subject to a court opinion. According to court records, “the father had not made education an issue before the hearing,”
Suddenly, a guardian ad litem in the case – a court appointee assigned to look after the best interests of the children – said she had a “gut reaction” about homeschooling.
“You know what, maybe the kids should have socialization with other kids and go to a small school,” she said, according to court records.
The judge, whose name is being withheld because it could lead to the identification of the children, agreed.
HSLDA said the judge lectured the mother: “When are they going to socialize? Is homeschool going to continue through college and/or professional schooling? At which point are these children going to interact with other children, and isn’t that in their best interest?”
Without notice that the issue was being considered, he ordered the children into public classes – where they will be – and are not liking it – until a ruling would come from the 3rd District Court of Appeals, where arguments are being assembled even now, Haas said.
The HSLDA told the court in that case that a survey revealed 50.2 percent of homeschooled students go on to some form of college, compared to 34 percent of their peers. In addition, 8.7 percent received associates degrees, compared to 4.1 percent of their peers, 11.8 percent received bachelor’s degrees, compared to 7.6 percent of their peers; and 0.8 percent received master’s degrees, compared to 0.3 percent of their peers.
Further, the study found that 71 percent of subjects were participating in an ongoing community service activity such as coaching a sports team, volunteering at school or working with a church or neighborhood association, while 37 percent of similarly aged U.S. adults and 39 percent of all U.S. adults did so.
The survey found that while 88 percent of these home-educated subjects were a member of an organization, only 50 percent of similarly aged U.S. adults and 59 percent of all U.S. adults were.
“Homeschoolers scored higher on the ACT than the national average for 10 years – from 1996 until 2006. In 2006, the ACT stopped reporting the results of homeschooled students separately,” the brief added.