Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Illinois SB136: Pointless Regulation for Illinois Homeschoolers (UPDATED)

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  The original proposal was withdrawn because it also included language which required all non-public students to be registered.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.. 

: 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. . . ."
We will continue to fight.


  1. "Maloney, in testimony, expressed surprise at the outrage over the bill. ``The majority of parents do an exemplary job'' at homeschooling, he said. He said the concern is those who use their right to homeschool as merely an excuse to let their kids stay out of school."

    HELLO?!? Many public school parents do an exemplary job, too. The concern should be with those who use free public schools as free babysitters just to keep their kids out of their hair. Regulate homeschooling for the few who abuse the right?? Then let's also regulate public school parents' parenting and punish those who don't make their children do homework, don't help with studying, don't provide them with a healthy lunch, don't feed them breakfast before sending them off for the day, don't dress them in adequate clothing, don't teach them self-care skills such as brushing teeth and taking showers. I don't think I need to go on. If the government wants to check up on the homeschooling parents, then they better be checking up on the public school parents too!

  2. That's the main point of the excellent editorial I've linked above. The state SHOULD have PLENTY on their plate just dealing with the issues in their own educational system without trying to fix the imagined problems in ours!! With nearly 50% of Illinois' public school children failing to meet expectations in Reading and Math, I'd say they have plenty of their own problems to deal with.

    The burden of proof should FIRST be on them to prove that there's actually a problem that needs fixing before they propose legislation to fix it!

    This is so troubling.

  3. By the way...thanks for stopping by!!

  4. State Senator Ed Maloney stated that he was not concerned about those parents who were doing a good job homeschooling their children but that he wanted to find a way to identify those parents who were not doing a good job. Truancy Officer William Reynolds of the Regional Office of Education of Monroe and Randolph counties explained that Senator Maloney’s legislation would give him an opportunity to assist home-schooled students whom he didn’t already know about. Meanwhile, executive director of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools Michael McCreery just wants to know where the homeschoolers are so that he can assist them. It appears that Senator Maloney wants to give Mr. Reynolds and Mr. McCreery a fishing license. He wants them to have access to a citizen’s home without probable cause that any laws have been broken. When will these knuckleheads understand that once a precedent has been set that grants the state access to a citizen’s home, some legislator somewhere will devise a reason for the state to have access to all homes for a variety of different reasons? Their homes will be next.