If you want entertaining reading, I recommend portions of the National Education Association’s 2014-15 Resolutions. An earlier post noted the NEA’s strange urge to take positions on global climate change, international consumer protection, infants with disabilities, and many other topics completely outside its areas of concern.
Today, I’ll highlight NEA’s almost-too-ridiculous-to-be-believed resolution on home schooling. Here’s the passage in full:
The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.
The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools.
The Association further believes that local public school systems should have the authority to determine grade placement and/or credits earned toward graduation for students entering or re-entering the public school setting from a home school setting.
I’ll start charitably. Home school students should take the “assessment tests” required by their state. And of course public school districts should have the power to “determine grade placement” for students moving from home schooling to a public school.
The “no extracurricular activities” policy is simply mean-spirited. If families are willing to pay the necessary fees for sports, bands, theater productions, debate clubs, etc., what’s the issue? They’re already paying to support the local schools and getting next to nothing in return. And if some activities require a class (like band or choir), the home-schooled student should be able to take that class. Fortunately, more than 20 states have ignored the NEA and let local home schoolers participate in their local public school extracurriculars.
As for homeschoolers not getting “a comprehensive education experience,” the hubris is simply breathtaking. It’s hard to know where to start – with the arrogant assumption that they know what’s best for every child? with the weird assurance that “comprehensive” learning can’t occur outside NEA-approved settings? with the barely disguised sneer at parents taking charge of their own children’s education?
In the face of such lunacy, it’s best just to laugh.