Here in Illinois, we're currently involved in a battle to retain our rights to homeschool our children without interference from the state. True to form, an Illinois politician is proposing a law to solve a problem that may not even be a problem to begin with. If passed, this law would require all homeschoolers to register with local authorities and/or the state board of education. The original proposal was withdrawn because it also included language which required all non-public students to be registered. According to Illinois Review, Illinois Senator Ed Maloney (sponsor of SB 136) stated last week that "...we're not going for the private school students, we're going to change that [in the proposal]. What we want to know is where the homeschoolers are. It's as simple as that."
Evidently, Mr. Maloney, which ironically rhymes with bologne, is concerned with the lack of regulation of homeschoolers in Illinois. Though he doesn't seem to have much evidence that a widespread problem exists, he still believes his proposed law holds the key to ensuring that Illinois' homeschooled children receive a quality education. In an outstanding editorial, "Homeschoolers Not the Problem," the SouthTown Star, quotes Mr. Maloney,
“There are virtually no regulations on homeschools. No curriculum, no periodic checks on their progress. We want more accountability.” (emphasis mine)
As the SouthTown Star article effectively points out, Mr. Maloney seems to forget that large numbers of students currently receiving a regulated, state-administered education are not doing all that well.
In an interview this morning with Cisco Cotto on a popular Chicago radio station (transcript available here,) Senator Maloney displayed both his ignorance and his bias. When questioned about his financial ties to the Unions, he also displayed a propensity toward bending the truth as this record clearly indicates. But what else would you expect from a liberal, big-government politician from Chicago?
Illinois has been a holdout in terms of homeschool regulation. Laws currently on the books here in Illinois place standards and requirements on homeschoolers, with the burden of proof being placed on the homeschooler to prove his compliance if challenged. This law would be a huge, and ominous change for homeschoolers in Illinois. Give the government an inch and they'll end up taking a mile..
UPDATED POST HEARING: From ICHE:
"The hearing is over and Senator Maloney is not planning to withdraw SB 136. Looks like it may be a long battle. Even though the Education Committee chairman kept referring back to registration, things like testing and curriculum approval and, and, and, . . kept coming up. One truant officer said that if they knew where we all were they could check on us and "help" us. Hmmm. . . ."Discouraging.
We will continue to fight.