Tag Archives: Indiana Association of Home Educators

Homeschooling in Indiana and Nationwide

This research from National Home Education Research Institute was commissioned to provide to elected officials for Indiana Association of Home Educators’ Home School Day at the Capitol. We understand there were approximately 1,100 in attendance. Funding from our generous donors allowed IAHE Action to assist IAHE in defraying part of the cost of the study.  Thank you for your support and for partnering with us to keep Hoosier homeschoolers free!

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At Work For You

Maintaining the Integrity of Home Education

Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) and IAHE Action protect Hoosier parents’ autonomy to direct the education and upbringing of their children.  We know one of the biggest threats to our liberty is entanglement with government funding. When we hear of the government trying to “help” homeschoolers, we are very cautious as not to jeopardize our liberty. We remember the wise words of our second president, John Adams, “Liberty once lost is lost forever.”


Common Schools

Although Common Schools are mentioned in the Indiana Constitution, we wonder if the State remembers the history of Common Schools? According to E.G. West author of, Education and the State, the Common Schools were only for those families who did not desire to take responsibility to educate their children privately.

Before these government schools began in America, most families were privately educating their children in brick and mortar schools or at home. The Common Schools were first formed in the rural areas for those who did not have access to private brick and mortar schools. Common Schools were not universal, compulsory, or free. Parents had to pay to send their child to a Common School.

Those who benefitted economically from the Common Schools were the ones who advocated that schools become universal, compulsory, and free. Of course, human nature being what it is, people soon flocked to the “free/taxpayer funded” schools and the private options eventually withered. Today, most do not even realize that at one point in our nation’s history most everyone was privately educated, and public schools were basically non-existent. The United States had a very high literacy rate prior to the advent of Common Schools.

We have come full circle. Today, some advocate for the government to have control or “accountability” for all forms of private education through “school choice.” The state of Indiana has accountability requirements for private voucher-accepting schools that require the students to take ISTEP and to collect intrusive student data. Vouchers were originally “sold” to the public as having little to no regulation. Now some private school families whose school accepts voucher students feel like it was a “bait and switch.”  Their private school feels compelled to follow the state standards that resemble Common Core in order to do well on the state test to protect their school rating.

This is a valuable lesson for us to remember.  Home educators must fight hard to maintain our liberty for our families and our posterity.

 

Universal ESAs and Liberty

Should universal ESAs concern homeschoolers? Yes, according to attorney Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project.  In her July 19, 2016, article, “New GOP Platform: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Concerning” she writes, “Now for the troubling parts. The platform focuses a great deal on choice in education and endorses the concept of “portability” of education funding to be used for many different types of schooling (private or parochial schools, homeschooling, etc.) and with many different funding mechanisms (tax credits, vouchers, etc.). While efforts to shatter the government monopoly on education are laudable, extreme caution must be exercised to ensure—if this is even possible—that when government money follows the child, government regulations don’t follow as well. For example, a state that grants vouchers (such as Indiana) may require the private schools that accept voucher students to give the state Common Core-aligned test, which means the private schools will pretty much have to teach Common Core.  

“Choice” that results in all schools’, whether public or private, having to teach the same thing is no choice at all. The platform would have done well to acknowledge this danger.”

Ms. Robbins reminds us that “school choice” has the potential to trample on individual liberty. Universal government programs do not take into account the liberties of the individual even when they assure us that they will.

Nevada Homeschool Network learned this first-hand with Nevada’s ESA bill. There was an attempt to use their homeschool statute as the vehicle for the ESA bill. They were told they didn’t have to accept the ESA money if they didn’t want it. They fought too hard to gain their homeschool freedom after many years of bad homeschool regulations to take a chance on it. As we have recently seen in Indiana, confusion between virtual charter school students and home educated students has resulted in a threat of increased regulations for the homeschoolers. ESAs would cause increased confusion.

Homeschoolers always need to be concerned about guarding liberty and parental rights when dealing with elected officials and bureaucrats who think they are responsible for the education of all children and for determining how that education should present itself. IAHE has spent 33+ years protecting our rights.  Whenever a government “freebie” is accepted, there is ALWAYS a risk to liberty.


Indiana is a Leader in Home Education Freedom

We have excellent laws in Indiana that protect a parent’s right to educate their children.  The Indiana Constitution provides for schools that are open to all, but it does not say that all must be educated in a Common School under government control.

Homeschoolers do not accept state funding and do not have to register with the State; although, we may report enrollment.  We have the freedom to direct our children’s education and are not forced to submit test results to the State. As homeschool parents understand, we do not need to have a standardized test to inform us of our child’s progress. Teaching our children on a daily basis enables us to know how they are progressing. The Superintendent has the ability to check on students by requesting attendance records. Indiana also has educational neglect and truancy laws to deal with any issues that may arise.

When we are not entangled with the State, we have the ability to do what is the best for our children. We have the freedom to teach in the manner that best suits their needs.  As Dr. Karen Effrem of Education Liberty Watch shares, Indiana is rated an “F” on the Private School Choice Freedom Grading Scale due to the regulations associated with vouchers in the Hoosier state.  The schools that take vouchers must administer ISTEP; therefore, many schools feel obligated to teach Indiana’s version of Common Core in order to do well on the test.  

In order to be reimbursed for ESA expenses, families must submit receipts for expenses. Would homeschool families eventually be at risk for using faith-based or non-Common Core curriculum? Would the State decide we are not providing an equivalent education since they would have the ability to evaluate our curriculum?  The State ultimately decides which “choices” are acceptable. The State in charge of deciding which curriculum or providers are acceptable is a very troubling proposition. Homeschoolers currently have a real choice that is not limited by the State.

Home education works! Hoosier homeschoolers have proven that families of all income levels can successfully homeschool apart from government involvement. Leave us alone! The fact that families take this responsibility without State involvement should be encouraged. It increases self-respect and self-sufficiency.  The IAHE Testimonial page is a source of encouraging stories of Hoosier families who have educated their children without government assistance.

Over the course of the past three decades, Hoosier home educators have proven it does not take a lot of money to educate a child. Many have had the experience of eventually having children who end up being better educated than their parents. It takes a dedicated parent and not an exorbitant amount of money to educate a child.

Note: There are a variety of types of ESAs.  IAHE Action will assess each one and alert homeschoolers about required strings.

Seven Reasons Why Indiana Homeschoolers Do Not Need More Regulation

This post originally appeared on the Indiana Association of Home Educators blog in October 2015.

Homeschooling has been a tradition in Indiana for over a century. Due to the longstanding legal environment regarding home education in Indiana, we have seen how less regulation facilitates the parent-directed learning experience. Below are some reasons the Indiana homeschool law works successfully.

 

1.)  We have the right to operate as a private school. 

The Indiana Appellate Court held that the Indiana compulsory attendance law must treat home school programs the same as a private school. In State v. Peterman, 70 N.E. 550 (Ind. App. 1904, the Court said a school at home is a private school.

The Court defined a school as “a place where instruction is imparted to the young… We do not think that the number of persons, whether one or many, make a place where instruction is imparted any less or any more a school.” Peterman, 70 N.E. at 551. The court explained further: “Under a law very similar to ours, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts has held that the object and purpose of a compulsory educational law are that all the children shall be educated, not that they shall be educated in any particular way.” Peterman, 70 N.E. at 551.

The Court concluded: “The result to be obtained, and not the means or manner of attaining it, was the goal which the lawmakers were attempting to reach. The [compulsory attendance] law was made for the parent, who does not educate his child, and not for the parent who…so places within the reach of the child the opportunity and means of acquiring an education equal to that obtainable in the public schools….” Peterman, 70 N.E. at 552.

 

2.)  Since 1983, the Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) has provided support and assistance to Indiana families interested in home education. Parents who choose to homeschool have a readily available network of resources to help them start and continue their homeschooling journey. For parents who do not understand any particular aspect of their responsibilities, there is an established network of experienced and successful homeschoolers who are available to assist and answer their questions. We recommend all home educators connect with IAHE and utilize the resources available to them. We also recommend families seek out and connect with other home educators in their community.

 

3.)  Parent-directed, privately-funded home education is successful.

Multiple studies show that homeschoolers score at/or above their public school peers on standardized tests. No matter what type of K-12 education is chosen for a child it requires the active involvement of parents to be successful. Homeschooling parents are already highly motivated to be involved in their children’s education. Very few parents take on such a huge responsibility without a commitment to education and a belief (if not a conviction) that they can do as well as the public school. Parents who are willing to take on this responsibility rarely do it without counting the cost, both in dollars and time.

 

4.) We provide a comparable education to the public schools.

Indiana law requires parents to provide instruction that is comparable to what is provided in the public school. Parents choose to homeschool for many reasons, but most also recognize the unique ways in which their children learn. Many parents who homeschool begin to investigate their options when their children are preschoolers, while others, finding their child struggling in the traditional public school setting, desire to enhance and not hinder their children’s educational experience. Homeschooling resources have exploded in the marketplace. One look at a homeschool convention will tell you there is no lack of educational materials available for homeschoolers to use. All have one thing in common, however: a comparable, if not superior, education to the public schools.

 

5.) The state has the authority and ability to investigate and prosecute if there are problems.

The state already has the ability to investigate and prosecute if there are problems. State laws already prohibit parents from neglecting or abusing their children. The fact that there may be the occasional parent who does not adequately educate his or her child doesn’t negate all of the excellent parents who homeschool any more than a few poorly-rated public schools do not negate the excellent public schools out there. A few isolated situations of parents who have been prosecuted for failing to properly educate their children have resulted in their children being placed back into the public school system.

While the state should be concerned with the abuse or neglect of all children, regardless of where they are educated, there are plenty of ways to locate and identify abusive parents without having to further regulate homeschooling in our state. While most homeschool support groups are there to provide assistance when a parent needs help in educating his or her child, there have been reports to the authorities within these groups when a parent has demonstrated a failure to ensure their child is educated. Even if more homeschool regulations were passed, it would not catch all abusive parents any more than public schools catch all of the abusive parents with children in their schools.

 

6.) Homeschoolers have a higher percentage of college graduates than public schools.

While many factors may influence why some students graduate from college and others do not, it should come as no surprise that homeschoolers find the transition to college much easier than their public school counterpart. First of all, homeschool parents tend to give more independence to their children to take charge of their education by the time they are juniors and seniors in high school. One of the goals of homeschooling is to teach children how to teach themselves. Another is to give a student a love for learning.

College is no different, and many colleges seek out homeschool students because they have seen how homeschoolers are not focused on learning only to pass a test or to get a good grade, but they learn because they love to learn.

Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society. One of their goals is to recognize students who “love to learn.” If this collegiate honor society understands that the most successful people must have a love for learning, then perhaps this also explains why so many homeschoolers successfully obtain a college diploma.

 

7.) Homeschooling parents are responsible parents.

Clearly, this doesn’t mean parents who do not homeschool are not responsible, but rarely do you find parents who are as committed to the education of their children than homeschooling parents. They take their parenting responsibilities seriously and strive to help their children, whether they are gifted or struggling learners, to become productive members of our society. Homeschoolers come from many different backgrounds and philosophies, so one cannot generalize; however, homeschooling results in as much character training for the parent as it does for the student. Parents who homeschool over many years realize the road isn’t easy, but they homeschool because they believe it is best for their family and their children. Those who try it and return their children to public or private schools do it for many reasons as well. The state or public school system will never replace a parent’s love and care for a child. We should always expect and believe that parents above anyone else are responsible, accountable, and motivated as home educators because they love their children.

For additional information on how homeschooling compares with public schooling: Click here.

 

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Camille Cantwell graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Journalism and Political Science. She worked for the Wisconsin State Assembly and Governor Tommy Thompson until 1989. She received her law degree from Regent University and was admitted to practice law in Indiana in 1993. Her license is currently on inactive status. She and her husband, David, have graduated their oldest son from their home school and are currently homeschooling their high school-age son.

The Seduction of Homeschooling Families

Has the time come for homeschoolers to reevaluate a relationship with the local government school?  Pioneers of the homeschool movement were very leery of any involvement with public schools due to a myriad of reasons.  It appears homeschoolers are not the only ones who foresee a loss of liberty with involvement in this educational system.

Regarding “… homeschool-public school partnerships … In fact, finding ways to draw homeschooling families back to the public school system seems to me a necessary complement to the passage of effective regulations [of homeschoolers]” [p. 39-40]. *

* Reich, Rob. (2001, August 30 – September 2). Testing the boundaries of parental authority over education: The case of homeschooling. Paper prepared for delivery at the 2001 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, August 30 September 2, 2001.

Indiana Association of Home Educators and IAHE Action have been concerned about the government’s reach into the area of homeschooling.   The word “seduction” is a perfect description.  We may even describe it as two Trojan Horses.  They appear to be gifts, but on closer inspection, there may be hidden, undesired surprises.

The first Trojan Horse is the virtual public charter school.  We have attempted to make a distinction between home schools and these type of schools which are accredited, public schools which are funded by the state.  Homeschools are non-accredited, nonpublic schools which are funded by the parent.  We are pleased to see improved marketing where these schools are now advertised as online, public schools.  In the early days of these programs, many believed they were the same as what IAHE has been advocating for over three decades.  IAHE has spent considerable effort educating the Indiana homeschool community as to the difference.

The second Trojan Horse is the idea of government-funded homeschooling.  For those who are new to the homeschool community, they may not understand that taxpayer funding forces the recipient to have accountability to the government.  This is as it should be.   The best way to protect your autonomy as a parent is to avoid the strings of government-funding.   What “choice” do parents have if all educational options are funded by the taxpayer and therefore under government control?

ESA Trojan Horse

IAHE Action wants to share an excellent article that we believe ties in well with the concerns expressed above.  It is called, “The Seduction of Homeschooling Families” and is from Foundation for Economic Education.

Government Homeschooling Programs Seek to Eliminate Parents’ Choices for Their Children’s Education

Do the public school authorities feel threatened by homeschooling? Judging by their efforts to lure homeschooling families into dependence on local school districts, the answer is apparently yes.

For the last several years, homeschooling has been the fastest growing educational alternative in the country. Estimates of its growth rate typically range from 15 to 25 percent annually. Homeschoolers are notoriously difficult to count; however, the National Homeschooling Research Institute believes that currently 1.2 million children get their education at home. While that constitutes only about 2 percent of all school-age children, it’s more than 20 percent of those who are outside the government educational system. and, with a 20 percent annual growth rate, another quarter million children will join the homeschooling movement this year.

The sheer number of homeschoolers represents a distinct threat to the hegemony of the government school monopoly. Qualitatively, the academic success of homeschoolers, measured by standardized test scores and recruitment by colleges, debunks the myth that parents need to hire credentialed experts to force children to learn.1

Read more here.

IAHE’s Response to the Indiana Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights – Part 9

This post is our ninth of nine installments regarding the transcript from the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing that was held on February 17, 2016.  Neither IAHE nor IAHE Action knew about this meeting until after the fact when we were informed about it by a concerned special needs advocate who was in attendance to testify about dyslexics in the School to Prison Pipeline.  You may read our other posts here:   intro, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth.

Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) expressed concerns about the 600+ page transcript to Melissa Wojnaroski, Civil Rights Analyst for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Regional Programs Unit.  Debi Ketron was invited to join the Committee for a conference call on April 20, 2016.   An opportunity was permitted to submit written testimony which was provided by IAHE Government Affairs team member, Alison Slatter, and Debi was called upon to provide public comment which was limited to three minutes.  It was decided that IAHE should submit the written testimony since it has been serving Indiana homeschool families for 33 years and doing the very things that were discussed in the transcript.  Attorney Tj Schmidt of HSLDA was on the call as well.  Homeschooling was not mentioned at that meeting by the Committee.  It was noted by the Committee that they now had to consider the conflicting testimony that was submitted for consideration.  You may read the written testimony that was submitted by Indiana Association of Home Educators IAHE School to Prison Pipeline Testimony (1), Home School Legal Defense Association HSLDA-IndianaAdvisoryCommitteeTestimony, National Black Home Educators NBHE Letter April 18_2016, and Nevada Homeschool Network 2016. NHN ltr to US CCR.BKD.  Public comment was provided by IAHE  SPP Oral Testimony 20160420.  We will know the results of the report on June 15.

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IAHE Action’s School to Prison Pipeline Response – Part 7

This post is our seventh of nine installments regarding the transcript from the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing that was held on February 17, 2016.  You may read our other posts herehere, here, here, herehere, and here.

TESTIMONY:  Dr. Susan Lockwood and I am the director of Juvenile Education for the Indiana Department of Corrections…..
Pg. 141 Then when it comes to how we are measured, one of the things, I found the testimony about the home — or the home school very, very interesting and we — I spoke with the presenter earlier and said it is very easy for us in our schools to add a field in our data system and just start tracking that. What we do is when a student comes to us and we do assessments and try to — we get all the records and place them where they need to be placed as far as education, we look to where the school corporation where he would have attended if he were out on the street, and so that’s the program that we enter into our system.

So we know that when the school goes back — or when the student goes back, we know where we are going to first contact, you know, which school we are going to contact to try to facilitate that re-enrollment. We are measured on being able to connect a youth to a credible program and so obviously it is hard to establish whether or not a student who is home schooled is actually connected to a credible home school program. So that’s what we do.  SMALL 300 Join Action E-List

So what we can do is start asking the youth have you been home schooled, track that data, but basically what we would be doing would be saying these are the number of youth who have come to us who have reported that they are home schooled, which is some data but it is not something that we would really be able to validate because it would be, again, what youth reports to us. So it is not — there is not really a way that we can validate that, but we can definitely do that.

IAHE Action’s Response: Tracking a student’s educational history is a good idea. However, in tracking educational history one must be aware of the different forms of educational instruction including the difference between Public Virtual Charter schools, traditional homeschooling.  Indiana Association of Home Educators would also take great issue with classifying students who have never received instruction in their home or outside of a brick and mortar school building as homeschoolers. As we have stated before, one must actually have received academic instruction in his/her home to be a homeschooler.

Pg. 208 Ms. Hiner: So previously we heard that by — that what often happens is that when a child is ready for expulsion then the alternative is not really an alternative and those are kids who don’t really get educated afterwards and they get lost in the system and are counted as missing children.

IAHE Action’s Response: We would agree that the alternative to expulsion is not really an alternative for these kids. Homeschooling requires cooperative students and a present parent instructing his/her children. Regardless, there does appear to be confusion in the recordkeeping and the categories given. Are these children really missing or are they homeschooled, public virtual school students, dropouts or simply transferred out of the district?

 

IAHE Action’s School to Prison Pipeline Response – Part 6

This post is our sixth of nine installments regarding the transcript from the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing that was held on February 17, 2016.  Neither Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) nor IAHE Action knew about this meeting until after the fact.  You may read our other posts here, here, here, here, here and here.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 99 MS. DAVIS: Tammi Davis, thank you all for your presentations and I also have some challenges with the home schooling issue, at least as it relates here in Indiana. I do have family members who were home schooled and matriculated very well going on to college and post college studies, but one of the challenges that we face with our children, particularly as they are being defined as troubled kids, is that there are challenges at home. So if you have problems at home, you are expelled from school because of behavioral issues and then some adult, whether it is the parent or legal guardian on paper says, well, this child is being home schooled when they may not be actually home schooled because they are not regulated, then that becomes an additional challenge for our kids just being out there in the system.

IAHE Action’s Response: First, let us establish the context of “homeschooler” above. In the second half of the above excerpt, Ms. Davis is clearly talking about public school families who have been forced into homeschooling because of disciplinary actions of the public school administrators. These children are not homeschoolers, but public school dropouts who are not given the support required in their individual cases by school administrators. Contrast this context with that of homeschool parents who have actively chosen from all available educational options to take on the responsibility, expense and labor of home education. The family members Ms. Davis mentions would undoubtedly fall into this category. Equating the two situations requires a gross suspension of reality.

Hard cases make bad law. The answer should be to fix the problem at its source: the public school. Just as forced charity is no charity at all, forced homeschooling does not beget homeschooling.

Parents actively choosing to take a primary role in their children’s education are not the problem here and do not require regulation to do their jobs.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 99. So there are two things that I would like to know, how does one get classified as missing? What has to happen for a student to be determined as a missing child, missing student, number one; and then secondly, what correlation of study has been done relative to the number of homeless children, homeless students as would relate to this issue? Either one of you have done any research or work in that regard?

MS. DANIELS: Well, what I was told in terms of missing is that the child has not shown up to school, either the attendance clerk or social worker has gone to the home and no one is there, they can’t find the child, there is no track record. And so when you have to fill out your little codes at the end of the year what happened to all of your children, you just mark missing.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 100: The other code area that really kind of bothers us is the code area of transferred out of state. We are finding large numbers of youngsters who I don’t believe have transferred out of state but that’s a code that is marked by the school. I just can’t believe 37 kids transferred out of state in one of the schools that we have looked at.

And so there is lots of coding that I think is misplaced in terms of going back to the Department of Ed, which is a loophole which means that these kids are — where are the children? They could be on the streets, they could be — we don’t know. But one of the things that feeds this schoolhouse-to-jailhouse pipeline is the fact that no one knows where — what is happening in that child’s life on a daily basis.

He could be staying with a friend tonight, grandma the next night, somebody else the next night, he is just floating, just floating. So I think that there is things that the state could possibly do in terms of laws and regulations with the Department of Ed and the Department of Corrections which I think would help to identify all these missing children.

We went yesterday to the Indiana Missing Children’s Ledger, thousands of kids from all over the state, different counties, listed. And that was for Tuesday, February 15, that we looked at it and I was just in awe that all those kids are labeled as
missing. Name, birth date, 13-year-olds, 12-year-olds missing? Something is — there is not enough being done. We can talk about numbers, but we have got to talk about lives, we have got to talk about human beings, we have got to talk about our babies, our next, the ones that are supposed to take my place one day. We have got to start talking about where are these babies. And I am just bringing this up because I think that we need to have some help in terms of doing that. We can’t do that by our — we are non-profit, of course non-profits are not funded, we are out of our pockets, but we are willing to do this work because we have deep, deep convictions that we don’t want to see another black child end up in that system. So that’s why we are here today.  At Work For You

TESTIMONY: Pg. 102. MS. DAVIS: Just real quick, do you know the number of days that a student has to be missing out of the classroom before the counselors are dispatched to actually do a follow-up?

MS. DANIELS: They told me the child only has to be at school one day a month not to be considered truant. You know, you miss 29 days, come to school one day, he is not truant. That’s what the principals all told us. So truancy laws is something else that — this is a whole — all that coding needs to be looked at.

IAHE Action’s Response: There are numerous possibilities for why children and their families move from place to place. Possible causes could be immigration status of the parents, frequent relocation due to short-term living arrangements with friends, family or relationships or perhaps a job transfer relocated the family outside the school district. While a stable home environment is best, not all parents are able to provide a consistent living arrangement.

At IAHE, they advise families who leave the public school to homeschool to send a letter informing the school principal of their status change. Anyone not sending a letter could and should expect a truant officer to visit. They also inform their constituency of the laws regulating home education in Indiana. Their members know they must provide the same number of instructional days as the public schools and provide and an equivalent education.

IAHE is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to supporting, educating and advocating for homeschooling parents and their children. Since 1983, they have worked with countless families who are teaching their children and doing an excellent job. IAHE sacrifices to minister to these families, because of the importance of home education in the lives of our families. READ SOME OF THEIR TESTIMONIALS HERE.