In her March 2, 2017 Washington Post article, “These activists want greater home-school monitoring. Parent groups say no way,” Lisa Lednicer discussed possible additional regulations for homeschoolers in response to claims of abuse and neglect.
We at GHF: Gifted Homeschoolers Forum felt the need to add to the conversation.
GHF is a nonprofit reaching millions of individuals each month around the US (and the world) who believe that children whose needs are not accommodated in traditional educational environments should not be overlooked. Their needs deserve to be met, no matter their gender, race, culture, religion, or ability to pay. Many of our community members are families who homeschool one or more children; many of our community members do not homeschool but are open to learning from others with children like theirs. Many of our community members teach in or work for the public school system.
GHF absolutely places the utmost importance on the safety and welfare of all children, regardless of school choice. We view the right to pursue any and all educational options as critical to children’s safety and welfare, as many families deal with inferior schools, limited access to special needs services, bullying, dangerous school environments, and so on. We also strongly encourage all families pursuing alternative educational options, including homeschooling, to follow all related regulations outlined by their state. Most parents who choose to homeschool do so because they want a good education for their child. We recognize that there are significant differences in what a good education should entail within any and all communities.
What will not be helpful to the children whose families we represent is increased educational regulations, where stronger, better enforced child protection laws would suffice. Increased regulations and requirements would only serve to burden the vast majority of families who are doing an excellent job of educating and raising their children in an alternative education environment, while driving those few who would do harm to their children further underground and out of the reach of Child Protective Services. The families we serve often have the additional concern of seeing to their children’s special needs as part of their education. Placing them under the jurisdiction of the very system that failed them in the first place sets up unnecessary conflict and does the children a great disservice. It would be far more constructive for those who care about the public education system (as we do) to sit down with us and ask us what went wrong and why we have chosen alternative educational paths for our families.
Finally, we would like to note that the HSLDA, an organization that adheres to a very conservative religious view, in no way represents all of the estimated two million homeschoolers in the United States. GHF member families belong to every religion and to no religion, and we are aware of groups in almost every state who serve homeschoolers regardless of their religious views. For many years, and especially since NCLB, a significant percentage of families from all backgrounds have come to homeschooling not for religious reasons, but with the goal of providing their children with access to the best educational opportunities possible. The results can be seen in the increased numbers of homeschoolers being admitted to (and graduating from) colleges and universities throughout the country.
For more information on the outcomes of educational alternatives, we encourage you to visit our resource pages on education alternatives.
~ the GHF Board of Directors
P.S. Have questions or concerns? Please let us know!