Proposed Bill to Outlaw Ignorant Homeschool Parents?
February 25, 2013 in Politics
“MONONGALIA COUNTY- Senator Bobbie Freshauer (D), has introduced a bill that would call for all parents who homeschool to have at least a ninth grade education.
The bill [SB 2PLS-2EQ4] is presently being considered by committee, but is already creating immense statewide opposition. Freshauer is the legislator who also initiated the bill in 2010 that required all state school board members have a high school diploma or equivalent. It was never passed.
Freshauer’s newly proposed legislation has homeschoolers up in arms, especially in rural areas like Lincoln and Mingo Counties where public schools are underperforming and hiring qualified teachers has been difficult.
The bill, if passed, will allow arrest warrants to be issued for any parents thought to be teaching their children at home without the ninth grade certification. Children will be immediately removed from the premises and placed with Child Protective Services (CPS), where they will be forced to go to public school.
Freshauer said, “Homeschooling parents with less than a ninth grade education are doing a grave disservice to this state. Sure, our teachers may have trouble keeping order in the classroom, drugs are rampant, and test results are dropping faster than Bill Clinton’s pants. But the problem is inequity in education and outcome. Studies suggest homeschoolers score well above their peers in public education [LINK]. It’s not fair!”
Rebecca Linger, whose family owns Linger Scrapple Company in Lancaster, PA, is a Lincoln County homesteader who came to West Virginia after Rumspringa, when Amish elders excommunicated her. Rumspringa is the period when Amish adolescents engage in rebellious behavior, resisting and defying parental norms.
Linger and her partner found an affordable rundown farm on Pig Sty Hollow, where they’ve been raising and home schooling their six small children. Linger has only an eighth grade education, as is the Amish custom, and she says the increased government intrusion into her life scares her. She disagrees that homeschooling parents with less than a middle school education are unqualified to teach their children, especially in the age of the Internet.
Linger says Freshauer’s allegations that homeschooling is not conducive to producing well-rounded members of society is unfounded. She maintains that trips to the dentist constitute a real life science lesson and a trip to the grocery store is a great learning experience.
“I even give physical education extra credits when the kids clean the chicken coop,” she said.
Freshauer, on the other hand, maintains undereducated homeschooling parents are putting the state’s youth at risk.
“With less than a ninth grade education, these parents are the worst-equipped people to be educating their children, especially during the developmental stages of their lives. If I had my way, there would be no homeschooling. Period. Public school teachers are trained to deal with 25 students at a time, which makes them more qualified to teach children, simply by experience. Tell me, have you ever known of a homeschooled kid becoming a neural biologist, nuclear physicist, or ANYONE who can positively contribue to society [LINK]? It isn’t going to happen, especially with the way the law stands now,” Freshauer said.
Advocates for the bill agree. They argue that parents who do not have at least a ninth-grade education don’t have the acuity to be teach their children anything of value.
“These are parents who thumb their noses at modern society and don’t have the basis of common knowledge,” said Principle Noah Iddall, of McDowell County. “They can’t teach children how to deal with attractive teachers making passes at you, asking for nude photos, or negotiating a good deal for drugs. Homeschool students are completely unprepared for real life.”