Is Homeschooling Under Attack In Missouri?

Homeschoolers in Missouri have long enjoyed reasonable freedom to educate their children at home without much government interference, but the last several years have brought subversive attacks to chip away at those freedoms. The upcoming session proves to be no different. Culture Vigilante reported that the 96th general assembly will once again consider placing more restrictions on the citizenry as it relates to a parent’s right to make educational decisions for their children. Robin Wright-Jones pre-filed a bill, SB 20, in early December which would lower compulsory school age for students in metropolitan school districts to 5 years of age. While the present compulsory age is 7 to 17, (18 in metropolitan school districts and 16 under certain credit hour parameters) this bill mandates that children start school at age 5. While it does address, specifically, students of metropolitan school districts, and exclude homeschoolers, here’s where it gets sticky.

SB 21, also filed by Wright-Jones, pretty much negates the exclusions in the previous bill. And it also plays fast and loose with the definitions of calendar year and school year so that not only will your children be mandated to begin schooling at age 5, some of them will actually be 4 years old, if the bill is adopted as written. And remember, these are mandates, not suggestions.

ANY child whose fifth birthday occurs at any time during the calendar year shall be deemed to have attained the age of five years at the commencement of the school year beginning that calendar year.  The parent, {guardian, or other person having charge} of ANY child who has attained the age of five years in accordance with this section shall be responsible for enrolling the child in kindergarten.

So, that means if your child is 4 years old and does not turn 5 until after the beginning of the school year, he is 5 years old in the eyes of the state and must go to kindergarten. Present laws would postpone admittance to school until the following year. Also, there is no exclusion for children outside of a metropolitan school district or homeschoolers in this bill. And just incase your child misses the age mandate of the first part of this bill there is a provision to allow the school system to evaluate your young geniuses and admit them even earlier to school.

If passed, SB 20 will also raise the compulsory school age in metropolitan school districts to 18, and firms up the upward adjustment to 17 years of age in other (seven director) school districts, and takes away the ability of those districts to adopt a lower compulsory age via their school board.

Now, anyone who has ever had any involvement with public education knows that there is, in Missouri, a provision in the law for schools to collect funding for any warm body who inhabits a school building. So, perhaps that is where some of the motivation comes from in these two bills. Culture Vigilante also outlines resolutions from the NEA lobby and their influences in this area of legislation.

What ever the motivation, for the reoccurring attempts to mandate that a government school have more and more control of your children, it is important to communicate, with your representation, that you will accept no regulation that takes away your rights to choose how and when you educate your children.

In 2009, Republicans in the House and Senate introduced and passed legislation, SB 291, that tightened the noose around the neck of parents by raising the compulsory school age for all students, including homeschoolers, in the state from 16 to 17 and changed the requirements for graduation. Because the homeschool community, as a whole, has no directed lobby or representation in the capitol, the legislation was not flagged early during the session, and was slipped through and voted on the at nearly the last possible moment in the 2009 legislative assembly. This unfortunate circumstance gave very little opportunity for constituents to be educated on and voice their displeasure with its intrusive constraints. Well, hopefully, we have learned our lesson about how important it is to be proactive and educated about our rights and freedoms, or they will be taken away. Maybe not all at once, but they will be taken away, and when our children have children they may be living in a very different world with a lot fewer choices for themselves or their progeny.

It seems that each year there is an effort to chip away at your rights to educate your children in the manner you, as a parent, deem appropriate. While we still have the choice, perhaps it is important to teach your children about their freedoms and which actions and laws ensure those liberties, so that we strengthen the liberty loving culture and maintain it for the future. That education also includes watching your representation and letting them know how you feel about maintaining your freedoms.

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One Response to Is Homeschooling Under Attack In Missouri?

  1. Pingback: Obama And Democrat Party Want To Bring Sweden’s War On Parents By Government Takeover On America « Start Thinking Right

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