money to homeschool from government? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-27-2010, 07:22 AM
 
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The New Zealand government gives parents money for homeschooling - I'm not sure how specifically it's allocated, but Mum used to use it for field trips, stationery, curricula and so on. It isn't a lot of money, and less for succeeding children (which makes me think they expect you to use it largely for curricula you're going to reuse, as second and third children don't get discounts on violin lessons or trips to the museum!). It isn't a lot of money - a pittance, really, when you consider how much it must cost the government to send the average kid to public school every year.

I know of some families who refuse to accept the money, either because they're anti-government or afraid of increased interventions. Personally, when the time comes I'll take it with a grin. I pay my taxes (well, OK, I usually get money back because I earn so little, but DH pays his taxes...), some of which go towards things I find useless, ridiculous or morally abhorrent; I'm not going to object if the Powers That Be give a little back so I can buy my kidling coloured pencils.

And in NZ, there's really very little interference (certainly compared to some of the horror stories on this thread!). You have to apply for an exemption (not sure if it's a once-off, yearly or every few years), describe a vague curriculum/plan of attack, and promise the kids will be taught "as regularly and as well" as at a public school. Which isn't hard, trust me. Then an ERO supervisor MAY visit you every few years, but they tend to be both overworked and homeschooler-friendly, so if you make a good impression they tend to leave you be for years at a stretch. I was homeschooled from 13 up and NEVER checked up on; my little sisters have only had one ERO visit, most of which the guy spent eating muffins baked by one of those little sisters. Whether or not this lack of supervision is good or bad depends on your POV, but for anti-interventionists it's pretty low-key. No attendance records or similar oddness.

So I don't believe government assistance HAS to go hand-in-hand with draconian measures of control. Then again, there are some homeschoolers in NZ who believe the country's becoming very much a nanny state and homeschooling might be made illegal in the next 10-15 years. So... who knows. For now, it's pretty good.

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Old 06-27-2010, 01:05 PM
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If you don't want the government to expect "the same level of oversight" for all types of homeschoolers/unschoolers/charterschoolers, then LOBBY for your goal.

Many homeschool parents fought long and hard up here to change the HS allotment rules, and there are independent homeschool "watchdogs" all over who make sure the rules stay the way they want them.
I don't really see how the officials are going to keep us all straight unless they keep us separate on their end.

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It doesn't mean we have to fight against one another, or draw lines in the sand separating the homeschool community into "Stars Upon Thars" and "No Stars Upon Thars."
I don't know who is fighting against one another. Do you go to homeschool group functions and see signs that say "charter schoolers unwelcome"? Disagreement is not the same thing as persecution. The people we meet and hang with in the homeschool community use many different methods in educating their children. I just think that, from a legal standpoint, homeschoolers and public-school-at-homers are different. That doesn't mean we can't all play together.

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I thought this community was about building bridges and understanding...not about divisiveness and labels. Labels are for canned food.
What community, specifically, are you referring to?

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Old 06-27-2010, 01:09 PM
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So I don't believe government assistance HAS to go hand-in-hand with draconian measures of control.
The problem is....one person's "Draconian" may not be another person's. I feel resentful that I have to deal with the school department AT ALL. There are several states in this country that have a "hands-off" policy for homeschoolers. I wish every state were like that.

Unfortunately, for every homeschooling-freedoms activist, there are dozens of others who comply, comply, comply with demands that aren't even required by law. They make it difficult for any progress to be made.
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:31 PM
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I've realized one main difference between my line of thinking and several on here boils down to our politic philosophies. Many have the position of "I pay taxes so I have a right to receive money from the government".
OTOH I am very much more on the Libertarian or Costitutionalist end of the political spectrum. I want the tax dollars to stay in my pocket from the beginning. I don't want the government taking my $$ and then deciding how much of it I am entitled to get back.



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I don't know who is fighting against one another. Do you go to homeschool group functions and see signs that say "charter schoolers unwelcome"? Disagreement is not the same thing as persecution. The people we meet and hang with in the homeschool community use many different methods in educating their children. I just think that, from a legal standpoint, homeschoolers and public-school-at-homers are different. That doesn't mean we can't all play together.
Well said
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:53 PM
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I've realized one main difference between my line of thinking and several on here boils down to our politic philosophies. Many have the positing of "I pay taxes so I have a right to receive money from the government".
OTOH I a very much more on the Libertarian or Costitutionalist end of the political spectrum. I want the tax dollars to stay in my pocket from the beginning. I don't want the government taking my $$ and then deciding how much of it I am entitled to get back.
I am of similar political persuasion, so you may be right.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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Interestingly, I am 100% okay paying taxes to support public schools. I recognize that I am "lucky" enough to be able to homeschool by having the ability to survive on just my husband's income. I recognize that not all families are able to do that. (of course many could that choose not to- different things though)

I am quite alright not getting back my money and having it spent on public schools. It is in my best interest (and my children's best interest) to have good schools for the *majority* of the population. Do I think that the public schools are perfect? Of course not. I'm still content for them to spend my money to attempt to do the best they can to educate the masses.

-Angela
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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I am of similar political persuasion, so you may be right.
And I'm not, but I still tend to agree with you on the funding aspect.

I don't want funding from our state, but I don't begrudge them the money I pay in property taxes. I benefit from the services that tax money pays for in many ways - do I wish our tax policies were a tad less regressive? Most certainly, but that's neither here nor there. For some children public schools fit a much needed role in their lives. I'm glad to contribute to that.

I know that others on the thread have says that it works in their country (or state) which is certainly intriguing...at the same time I sometimes wonder if we're so fundamentally screwed up nationally that somehow negates the possibility of it working here too.

Still at this point even though we could really use it I don't want it it nor do I want to report to anyone beyond what we already do. In our state we have very minimal requirements and I'm happy to help keep it that way. I don't think this has to be about one's political perspective anymore than we need to assume that homeschoolers are some sort of monolithic behemoth. Diversity in approaches and diversity in beliefs. I suppose the inability at coming to a consensus in this isn't any different from our national inability to come to a consensus on just about anything.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:45 PM
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Interestingly, I am 100% okay paying taxes to support public schools. I recognize that I am "lucky" enough to be able to homeschool by having the ability to survive on just my husband's income. I recognize that not all families are able to do that. (of course many could that choose not to- different things though)
And then there are those families who homeschool without a full-time SAHP....like my own. DH works 40 hours a week and I average 32-35. And yes, we are just "surviving," too. I don't think of us as being "lucky". I see us as making sacrifices for what we think is best for our family.

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I am quite alright not getting back my money and having it spent on public schools. It is in my best interest (and my children's best interest) to have good schools for the *majority* of the population. Do I think that the public schools are perfect? Of course not. I'm still content for them to spend my money to attempt to do the best they can to educate the masses.

-Angela
So....if you believe the majority of schools are good, then why do you homeschool?

I homeschool because I oppose the school model. I believe that schools were implemented to create a standard citizenry and to get people used to doing what they're told. And from what I've seen, a high school diploma does not = educated. Schooling as we know it is not going away anytime soon, but I can't say I truly support dumping my money into a failed system.
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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So....if you believe the majority of schools are good, then why do you homeschool?
That's not what she said. She said that she believes in good schools for the majority of the population. The term majority was referring not to "good schools," but to the portion of the population who cannot or will not choose to homeschool.

I'm of a similar mind. I am happy for my tax dollars to support capable, humane, effective public hospitals, even though it is my hope that my family will not need to use them. Ditto for schools.

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Old 06-27-2010, 03:18 PM
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That's not what she said. She said that she believes in good schools for the majority of the population. The term majority was referring not to "good schools," but to the portion of the population who cannot or will not choose to homeschool.


If the majority of the population are to attend good schools, wouldn't that mean the majority of schools would have to be good ones? I fail to see how the majority of the population can attend good schools if most of the schools are bad.

She's suggesting that tax dollars contribute to good schools, and implying that most schools are good ones because of funding. Not only do I disagree with this (in my area, tax dollars contribute to fat paychecks for DOE employees....the 2003 study showed that RI schools were ranked #37 in the nation, yet we rank #9 in teacher pay), but I don't understand why someone who believes that most schools are good would choose to keep their children out of school (unless they live in an area with bad schools, in which case the argument that her tax dollars contribute to good schools doesn't fly).
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:30 PM
 
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So....if you believe the majority of schools are good, then why do you homeschool?

.
I took my son out of a great school to homeschool him (or, I dunno, I guess out of one charter school to another that happens to instruct out of my home and use me as free teaching labor). It was better for my son to be at home with me. Other kids were thriving there. A lot of homeschoolers don't homeschool because they believe school=bad.
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:44 PM
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I took my son out of a great school to homeschool him (or, I dunno, I guess out of one charter school to another that happens to instruct out of my home and use me as free teaching labor). It was better for my son to be at home with me. Other kids were thriving there. A lot of homeschoolers don't homeschool because they believe school=bad.
If the school was not meeting your son's needs, how was it great? Does your daughter go to school?
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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If the majority of the population are to attend good schools, wouldn't that mean the majority of schools would have to be good ones?
Sure, the majority of the population will likely attend schools, and they should be good. It doesn't follow that the schools are, at this point, good. Some are, no doubt. But many aren't. I support funding schools with my tax dollars because adequate funding is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for the development of good schools.

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Old 06-27-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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So....if you believe the majority of schools are good, then why do you homeschool?

I homeschool because I oppose the school model. I believe that schools were implemented to create a standard citizenry and to get people used to doing what they're told. And from what I've seen, a high school diploma does not = educated. Schooling as we know it is not going away anytime soon, but I can't say I truly support dumping my money into a failed system.
I never said the majority of schools are good I said it's in my best interest to have good schools for the majority. They're not there yet.

I am not super-keen on the school system we have set up right now. I think that changing it is a process and I can't fathom doing away with it entirely in the foreseeable future.

-Angela
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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Sure, the majority of the population will likely attend schools, and they should be good. It doesn't follow that the schools are, at this point, good. Some are, no doubt. But many aren't. I support funding schools with my tax dollars because adequate funding is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for the development of good schools.

Mirnda
Well put. I agree.

-Angela
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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If the school was not meeting your son's needs, how was it great? Does your daughter go to school?
Imagine yourself trying on a lovely pair of shoes. Unfortunately they don't fit your feet. Does that make the shoes bad? Does that make your feet bad? Not at all. It's just that the perfectly good shoes don't fit your perfectly good feet.

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Old 06-27-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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She doesn't, but that was more about me than about her - I didn't want to deal with one kid at home and one at school. She's happy either way - I have no doubt she would have been fine, happy, adjusted, emotionally supported, and well educated there. The main reason it was not great for my son is because he didn't want to be there. He didn't want to be around other kids for a good portion of his waking hours. There's nothing really a school can do to combat that. Obviously, for a lot of kids that wouldn't be a problem. In any case, my biggest point was that homeschoolers are not always opposed to the idea of school in general. Choosing to homeschool is not, necessarily, an indictment of all schools or most schools or even any schools. Thinking something is "great" or "good" does not mean that the default should be to use it.

I'm not a "school is great! rah! rah! rah!" person myself - I think that there are some really issues in a lot of schools. But not every child has the same resources my kids do or your kids do (and by resources, I don't mean money or one parent at home full time or internet access or anything like that - I mean parents who care enough and are capable enough to participate in and ensure their educations). For those kids, even mediocre schools can be better than the alternative.

Now, to bring it back to the issue of government funds and resources being used for homeschooled kids (and I really, really don't want to fight about the definition here of homeschooled) - I would homeschool whether those funds and resources were available to me or not. Technically, I don't think we should even be enrolled, since our primary residence in Mexico. If we weren't enrolled, though, I think I'd be in legal gray area in Mexico, as I have not been able to find any information about homeschool and school attendance laws here. Good schooling here opens a lot of doors for people that would otherwise be closed, so it is very hard for people to understand why I'm not sending my kids to private international school (which is inexpensive by US standards, but probably out of reach for us with three kids - I'm not sure). People here will live with two families in a tiny apartment with all adults working several jobs to be able to send all their kids to private school, because it makes such a huge difference for the future of their children. I know that's off topic, but it gives me a different perspective on what kind of role schooling/education plays in people's lives.
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:35 PM
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Thinking something is "great" or "good" does not mean that the default should be to use it.
True.

If I found a great pair of shoes that didn't fit, should the law require me to buy them for someone else? In addition to having to buy my own shoes?

Let's say I struggle to pay for my own shoes (all the while paying for someone else's shoes by law). Let's say the government opens up a shoe program, in which tax dollars will furnish me with shoes as long as I accept their style and color, and meet with someone monthly to make sure they still fit properly and don't have any holes in them. Because I obviously can't be trusted to pick out and maintain my own shoes. Sound familiar?

(FWIW, I'm not opposed to public education being available. I just don't believe it should be compulsory.)

Gotta go to work now.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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(FWIW, I'm not opposed to public education being available. I just don't believe it should be compulsory.)

Gotta go to work now.
Actually, *public* education isn't compulsory. Education is. It is compulsory that children be provided an education. I'm in TX where private schools have NO governmental oversight and homeschoolers are seen as private schools so I can do anything I want. I do think that there are children for whom "compulsory" school is a very very good thing.

-Angela
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:19 AM
 
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I've realized one main difference between my line of thinking and several on here boils down to our politic philosophies. Many have the position of "I pay taxes so I have a right to receive money from the government".
OTOH I am very much more on the Libertarian or Costitutionalist end of the political spectrum. I want the tax dollars to stay in my pocket from the beginning. I don't want the government taking my $$ and then deciding how much of it I am entitled to get back.
Yeah, OK, but given that they already have taken your money, why not try to get as much back as you can? It's not like refusing it will influence the government to tax you less. Wouldn't they just use the money you refused to do more things you don't feel the government should be doing?

Yes, I realise the answer is probably the increased control thing; but in and of itself, I don't the argument that they shouldn't have taken it in the first place is an argument for not taking it back. The reverse, if anything...

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The problem is....one person's "Draconian" may not be another person's. I feel resentful that I have to deal with the school department AT ALL. There are several states in this country that have a "hands-off" policy for homeschoolers. I wish every state were like that.
I tend to be resentful of having to comply with the government at all, out of sheer laziness - I hate having to deal with taxes, ballots, reminders to get my cervical smear, jury duty, whatever. But I'm not convinced it'd be a good thing if the government totally left everyone to their own devices. Child abuse and neglect happen. "Interference" by the government has been known to save kids from starving and receiving no education whatsoever. I know *I* won't be abusing my kids, but the government doesn't, and enough cases of abuse/neglect happen that the odd check-in does more good than harm, IMO. (Bearing in mind I'm writing in NZ, where the restrictions really are minimal - I'd be the first one to gripe if the government started saying that delaying reading until 6 was neglect, or anything like that.) Anyway, that's probably a larger discussion...

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Old 06-28-2010, 01:42 AM
 
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She's suggesting that tax dollars contribute to good schools, and implying that most schools are good ones because of funding. Not only do I disagree with this (in my area, tax dollars contribute to fat paychecks for DOE employees....the 2003 study showed that RI schools were ranked #37 in the nation, yet we rank #9 in teacher pay), but I don't understand why someone who believes that most schools are good would choose to keep their children out of school (unless they live in an area with bad schools, in which case the argument that her tax dollars contribute to good schools doesn't fly).
Ah yes...those DOE employees with their good faith negotiated contracts. I'm sure they're enjoying their second homes, helicopters for transportation, and staff to care for their large estates. Can we spare the red herring?

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Sure, the majority of the population will likely attend schools, and they should be good. It doesn't follow that the schools are, at this point, good. Some are, no doubt. But many aren't. I support funding schools with my tax dollars because adequate funding is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for the development of good schools.
Most especially this. Might I add to that decently paid teachers...such that they can both go to school in order to get their teaching certificate and then pay off said loans before they reach retirement age (something that may become increasingly difficult as college costs increase and funding for scholarships, grants, etc decrease).
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:51 AM
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Yeah, OK, but given that they already have taken your money, why not try to get as much back as you can? It's not like refusing it will influence the government to tax you less. Wouldn't they just use the money you refused to do more things you don't feel the government should be doing?
The school systems here are already in financial trouble. Teachers are being forced to take furlow days, there are talks of increasing the length of the school day and going to a 4 day school week to cut costs etc. If the proposed hoeschool legislation passes there is no magic money tree there to cover the costs. The only place to get the money would be to raise taxes.
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:56 AM
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Yes, I realise the answer is probably the increased control thing; but in and of itself, I don't the argument that they shouldn't have taken it in the first place is an argument for not taking it back. The reverse, if anything...
I completely disagree. The way to make big goverment smaller is not to give it more power. The only way to make it smaller is to take away some of the power.
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:37 AM
 
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I completely disagree. The way to make big goverment smaller is not to give it more power. The only way to make it smaller is to take away some of the power.
I don't get how taking the money gives them power, though. It takes away some of the government's money... money is power.... ergo, aren't you taking away power, if anything? The infrastructure to OFFER homeschoolers money is already there, so taking the money isn't adding to the system. I don't get it.

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Old 06-28-2010, 03:05 AM
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Ah yes...those DOE employees with their good faith negotiated contracts. I'm sure they're enjoying their second homes, helicopters for transportation, and staff to care for their large estates. Can we spare the red herring?
You're bantering with the daughter of a public school teacher. Spare me.
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Old 06-28-2010, 03:12 AM
 
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There is a really big difference between how the government and taxes are seen in most of the first world and the US. At least in my experience in Scandinavia and Canada vs. the US. If you are used to the idea of higher taxes and the government programs supporting various things it doesn't bother you. If you aren't used to it, it does seem really intrusive and power-mongering.

I remember talking with Scandinavian friends in college. They thought it was juvenille that my parents were helping me with paying for school, but in no way saw the same sort of ties/dependence upon their government that was making the same payments for them to attend the same school.

So I GET the general American idea of "hands off, government" (of course it is not the idea of all Americans, nor even a majority, nor even exclusively American... hows that for qualifiers to try to cover my stereotyping?). I think that for a non-American who is used to the $100 a month childcare benefit and the subsidized preschool and college and all that it isn't as easy to see why taking that money would be perpetuating or creating a problem.

I personally LOVE the idea of government $ for homeschooling and it is definitely weighing into my thought processes about where to live as we raise our kids. But I do understand the desire on some peoples' part to stay away from that possibility and the possibility of government enroachment on personal rights. I find that where I currently live, government money available for homeschooling seems to make it more accessible to people (and more accepted) and does not harm the integrity of choice of how a child is ultimately educated.

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Old 06-28-2010, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Actually, *public* education isn't compulsory. Education is. It is compulsory that children be provided an education. I'm in TX where private schools have NO governmental oversight and homeschoolers are seen as private schools so I can do anything I want. I do think that there are children for whom "compulsory" school is a very very good thing.
It is compulsory that children attend some sort of school program. None of the states I homeschooled in had the word "education" or "educated" written in to the statutes. Private schools in my state have governmental oversight and homeschoolers are treated the same.

Sure, there are kids who benefit from being made to go to school, because their family situation stinks or what-have-you. Then there are kids (like my DH) who felt that he'd been tortured for 13 years. His school experience was so dreadful that he has classroom anxiety to this day, and the thought of going back to college makes him physically ill.

Yes, child abuse happens. I don't believe that forcing all children into institutionalized settings in order to catch a few abuse cases is reasonable. It's kind of like circumcising a thousand newborns to save one old man from cancer. And anyway, the vast majority of children go to school, and abuse still goes undetected the majority of the time. Ever read "A Child Called It"?
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Old 06-28-2010, 03:49 AM
 
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This discussion encompasses a lot of issues... but please do not venture too far off topic. Thank you!

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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Old 06-28-2010, 10:36 AM
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I don't get how taking the money gives them power, though. It takes away some of the government's money... money is power.... ergo, aren't you taking away power, if anything? The infrastructure to OFFER homeschoolers money is already there, so taking the money isn't adding to the system. I don't get it.
I really feel like I am talking to a brick wall here (the whole thread not you specifically)
The infrastructure to offer homeschoolers money is not in place here. The legislation has not passed.


Using your own line of thinking It isn't the governments money it is our money. When the goverment taxes us they are taking our power. The goverment has overhead. "The people" do not get 100% return when they benifit from a government program. Therefore for the people to have more power they must keep more of their money to begin with by limiting the government's power.
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Old 06-28-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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The school systems here are already in financial trouble. Teachers are being forced to take furlow days, there are talks of increasing the length of the school day and going to a 4 day school week to cut costs etc. If the proposed hoeschool legislation passes there is no magic money tree there to cover the costs. The only place to get the money would be to raise taxes.
This has been an issue here in the Seattle area. The state gov't tried to cut all of these programs because it does cost the state money to have homeschool students counted as students in a school district. They pay the school districts for these students. The school districts are opening these umbrellas because they want the money that these kids bring in for their school. It's great for them because they get more students counted, pay the students a little for supplies and they get the rest. Here, the district gets around 6000 per student. They pay homeschoolers in the umbrella $500 to 1600 (depending on the district).

So, while they could raise taxes, more than likely, they'll cut these programs.

This thread has been great. I love reading all of the different viewpoints on this.

Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will.  If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk Rainbow.gif  New  User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/user-agreement

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