Sen. Ed Maloney, D-Chicago, is reconsidering his bill, SB136, after crowds of homeschooling families descended upon the Illinois State capitol, in Springfield, yesterday. Surprised by the reaction from the community, he announced he would not pursue it in the immediate future. Although it is not a certainty that he feels strongly enough to leave the issue alone, he intends to talk with homeschooling advocates to find a way to develop a system to ensure that children aren’t “falling through the cracks” of the educational expectations of the state. In a report from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, he said:
Maloney said later he will continue to talk with home-schooling advocates about whether a system can be set up that would ensure that children aren’t “falling through the cracks” of education in families that don’t send them to school but don’t properly educate them, either.
The questions still remains, “Why is there a more focused concern for homeschoolers, who statistically perform better and are generally better educated, than the masses of publicly schooled children who do not and are not.”
There are conflicting reports in the media as to whether the bill has actually been pulled from consideration or if it will advance and be voted on when the assembly returns from recess in two weeks. As of this posting it has not been withdrawn.
Something of concern, for the homeschool community in Illinois, is that this bill is a slippery slope that will lead to further encroachment, regulation and monitoring, and with good reason. In the following video, Bill Reynolds, a truant officer explains very clearly, that his intent is to pursue monitoring of all registered homeschooling families regardless of reported abuses, or not. And Senator Susan Garrett states education standards should be the same for homeschoolers and public schoolers. There is certainly reason to fear the Illinois general assembly feels homeschooling should be further regulated.
I fear Illinois homeschoolers are not out of the woods. The elected representation and other government employees are clearly in favor of regulation and mandates. The homeschooling community in Illinois, and around the country, needs to monitor this bill and make sure it doesn’t further advance or get lost in an omnibus bill and quietly passed along and voted into law under the radar.