Homeschooled kids: Did they fall through the cracks?

policeIn a story that was apparently even linked by The Drudge Report, a homeschooling couple in Montgomery County, New York was arrested for failing to register their homeschool.  This stirred a bit of controversy as there was no evidence of abuse, nor even that the children were not being properly educated.  An anonymous tip led to an investigation which discovered missing paperwork.  They have since fulfilled their legal obligations, and the Superintendent of the Fonda Fultonville Central School District even issued a statement in the wake of the controversy.

All over missing paperwork.

Local reporter Marci Natale seems shocked at the events.  Closing the lead paragraph of her article Homeschooled kids: Did they fall through the cracks? she asks:

How was this allowed to happen and who should be held accountable?

Even the description for the video segment seems over the top, trying to push viewers to an emotional response.

Marci Natale investigates how four children in the Fonda Fultonville school district went undetected for years.

Again, over missing paperwork.

My concern after watching the video was not for the homeschooling family which neglected to file their paperwork, nor for the school district which appears to be attempting to work with the family to resolve the matter.  Instead, I wondered exactly what kind of world this reporter wants us to live in.

How much power are we willing to give the state to ensure the law is being followed by every citizen?  How much money are we willing to spend for the necessary staffing?  How much intrusion into our daily lives are we willing to accept?  Just so that no family in New York State slides under the radar and homeschools without filing the proper forms?

It is not the state’s job to go door to door, interviewing citizens, looking for people violating laws, statutes or codes.  How many Americans are currently driving without a license?  Some are violating court orders, some have sneaked out with their parent’s car and others have simply allowed their license to expire.  But we don’t send police officers door to door checking licenses.  They don’t make random stops to check for licenses.  Unless there is some reason, some probable cause, for an officer to check your driver’s license, you can possibly go on driving for years on an expired license.

How can that be allowed to happen?  Who should be held accountable?  What about all these drivers falling through the cracks?

These things are “allowed” to happen because we do not live in tyranny.  We do not have to check our every move with the proper authorities, and the authorities do not have the power to search our property without some cause.

Hat Tip: Homeschool Buzz

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0 Responses

  1. I live in a neighboring county, and I’m always late with paperwork, so I was very alarmed when I heard about this case.

    As you can imagine, there’s been quite a lot of discussion on the local Yahoo Groups, but there is one comment from a long-time, highly respected home school parent that I thought was especially salient:

    “I wouldn’t get too worked up over the use of the terms “register” and “approve curriculum” in these articles. I think it’s just a result of the fact that the articles were written by reporters who don’t know what they’re writing about. I think every news story I’ve ever been involved in has gotten stuff wrong. These reporters have to bang stories out in a hurry and don’t learn the ins and outs of an issue, especially for brief blurbs like these. Heck, we know that there are plenty of *districts* that don’t know enough to realize that terms like “register” and “approve curriculum” don’t apply. Moreover, those terms are what most people understand, which makes them convenient shorthand.

    Not that I’m *happy* about the way these articles were written, but it’s pretty much what I’d expect.

    As for this case, we don’t know what the parents’ reasons were for not submitting paperwork. They could have been flying under the radar. They could have been basing their actions on the belief that compulsory attendance laws are unconstitutional (long-timers here know that this has been done in the past). They could even have been unaware of the compulsory attendance law and the homeschooling regulation.”

    (Copied directly from a NY Yahoo Group)
    .-= Sandra Foyt´s last blog ..Are you coming already? Dog In Training! =-.

  2. Yeah, but that banging things out in a hurry bothers me because it continually reinforces certain ideas that in the long run are damaging to homeschool freedoms. It also leads me to be increasingly skeptical of everything I read in the newspaper, which is a shame.

    I was glad the Superintendent answered the reporter, clarifying that there was indeed education going on. I wondered at their reasoning a little, but it isn’t really that important. They resolved the issues as quickly as possible as soon as there was a problem.
    .-= Dana´s last blog ..Homeschooled kids: Did they fall through the cracks? =-.

  3. Ah, God bless Idaho, where you don’t have to file paperwork or even notify the state that you are fulfilling your God-given responsibility tio care for and nurture your own children.

    P.S.- Don’t say that too loud though or we’ll have people from the NEA, etc. banging on all our doors.

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  5. I live in MA and just saw this article – very late in the day, but wanted to add my two cents about my experience with our town. When enterin my son in kindergarten, they lost his paperwork , ( including our requets for an IEP and testing) no article came out about he fell through the cracks. When he was in 1st grade and they decided to ignore his medical diagnosis (and in fact told me that the team of doctors who diagnosed him must be wrong) no article came out to cry out how he was falling through the cracks.
    Six months after I pulled him out of school to homeschool, I receieved a letter from the public school’s sepcial ed team, detailing the progress he was making IN SCHOOL. When I called the called the school to find out why I was receieving an educational progress report for a child they were not even teaching, I was told “throw it away, it must have been mailed by mistake” – even though it had my son’s name & date of birth on it. When I contacted the superintendent about the same letter his answer was, “don’t worry about it”. I AM worried about it, because a letter like this means one of two things, either they kept my son on the books to bilk the state out special ed money, OR we received the progress report for another child, who is now going to fall through cracks.
    This time I contacted the newspaper, and they weren’t interested.
    I guess it all depends on who dropped the ball.

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