On February 3, HSLDA issued an alert for Illinois homeschoolers to contact their elected state leaders and strongly urge them to withdraw a bill, SB 136, and to stop advancing it through the Illinois legislature. That bill would require all Illinois homeschoolers to register with the state. In an E-lert issued by HSLDA:
SB 136 threatens to expand government power into the realm of private education on an unprecedented scale.
Sound familiar? Missourians are currently watching SB 20 and SB 21 advance through their legislature. These initiatives expand compulsory school age, mandate kindergarten and take local control away from school districts to enact their own policy relating to these issues. Most notably, the language in this bill does not provide exclusions for home or private schoolers.
This is another attempt, in a climate of Race To The Top initiatives percolating under the surface educational legislation across the country, to encroach on the freedom to homeschool and pull all education under the big, federal government umbrella. Arne Duncan, now President Obama’s Education Secretary, issued a report, at the time when he was Illinois CEO of Illinois Public Schools, that, among other things, said:
Parents/Legal Guardians who choose to educate their children at home should notify their local school of their intention to homeschool.
St.LouisHomeschoolers, Laura Kostial, had this to day about the Illinois initiative:
Illinois homeschoolers – if this bill progresses and you find yourself assembling upon the steps of your capitol – please let me know. I, and I am sure many of homeschooling friends in Missouri, would be happy to make the drive to Springfield and stand alongside you in your opposition of this legislation. While you may be pushing back on remnants of Duncan’s old policy recommendations before he left Illinois, you are now also pushing back on his policy initiatives for all homeschoolers across the country.
Homeschoolers need to vigilantly watch developments across the country concerning legislation related to education. Quietly, bills are being submitted, and passed, that further advance Race To The Top (and in Missouri, Educated Citizenry 2020) initiatives. They have been actually doing so for many years. We will keep you posted on developments as they become available.