Tag Archives: School to Prison Pipeline

Latest DRAFT Posted of School to Prison Pipeline Report

We were able to bring balance to the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights draft School to Prison Pipeline report. Homeschooling is discussed beginning on page 30 under “3. Non-traditional Education and the Pipeline.” You may review the latest draft at the link below. We understand the committee must complete this topic by early December.

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The Unintended Consequences of ESAs – Inflated Costs for All, Fewer Choices for All – Part 5

This is part five of a five-part series. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

     5. We’re going to tell ourselves that ESAs won’t affect us if we don’t take them.

What if you decide that you don’t want to take the ESA? What if you want to remain independent? Will you be able to continue to homeschool the way you do now?

No.

Think ESAs won’t affect you if you don’t take them? They will. Try telling yourself that the increase in government funding for higher education hasn’t affected the ability to pay for college without getting financial aid and/or student loans.

The government already has a hard time separating homeschoolers from virtual public school and continuation schools, lumping homeschoolers into the “School to Prison Pipeline” despite overwhelming evidence against including us in that group.[1] It’s doubtful that the government will be able (or willing) to distinguish between homeschooling families who take ESA funds and homeschooling families who don’t. Nevada already believes that homeschooling parents need to qualify as a “Participating Entity,” thus undermining a heritage of home-based education that is many thousands of years longer than public education’s comparatively short 150 years or so. This requirement lays bare the collective attitude of the Nevada government towards parents: ignoring overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Nevada government begins with the assumption that parents are not qualified to teach their children. It is within the power of the state legislature to require homeschooling parents to qualify and register, even without accepting government funds. Many other states have burdensome homeschool requirements, such as annual standardized testing, which has never been proven to improve educational achievement.[2]

Beyond government regulation, the homeschool curriculum market will suffer.

Used curriculum will fade away. Because of the funding restrictions that will come with an ESA (the money can only be spent on certain approved items), there will be a lot less “red tape” if you use an ESA to purchase used curriculum (probably from a list of “pre-approved publishers”). If you get audited, providing a receipt from Bookshark is much less scary than providing a handwritten note from your friend Kristin who sold you her secondhand curriculum at the homeschool co-op curriculum sale.

In the “old days” before “free money” from ESA accounts, you could buy used curriculum, and also sell some of your curriculum when you were done with it. You had to buy extra “student sheets,” but the cost of those was about $10-$50 per child, which was affordable. The publishers don’t really want you to buy used or re-sell your curriculum, because they don’t make much money if you do that. They make reusable curriculum because homeschooling families are frugal and like to buy curriculum that will last through several children. Publishers sell replacement student sheets now because the market demands it. Right now, we are spending our own money, and we budget it accordingly. If we can buy used and save $1000, we can spend that extra money on whatever we’d like because it’s our own money. With an ESA, the money must be spent only on approved items, and the amount of money is vastly increased over what we would normally spend, so there is no incentive to save. There won’t be much of a market left to sell used curriculum. Would you even be allowed to sell items that were purchased with government funds?

As ESAs increase and people opt for new curriculum purchased with “free money,” publishers will not have any reason to continue to support curriculum that can be re-used year after year. They’ll shift to selling consumable curriculum that is easy and fast to use, but is used up after one child so that you have to re-purchase each year.

Publishers will increase the prices on their old, reasonably priced packages as they add newer and bigger packages. They don’t want to remind ESA-takers of the cheap prices that you used to enjoy before ESAs. Perhaps you can afford $300-$600 for curriculum now, but will you be able to absorb a package price hike to $1500? To $2000? The prices will continue to increase across the board, and remember, publishers will drop support for reusable curriculum. Just like college tuition has increased for everyone, not just those who take student loans, the cost of curriculum and classes for homeschoolers will also increase with the huge influx of government funds.

The content of curriculum is also likely to change. Remember how Sonlight decided to make a new company to offer a new, non-religious curriculum called Bookshark? If Bookshark is an approved purchase, but Sonlight is not, then as more and more people take ESA funds, eventually so many people will buy Bookshark instead of Sonlight that Sonlight will cease to be profitable. Publishers will have to focus on the products that keep them in business.

Is any of this really worth taking any amount of money from the government? Even if only a tiny portion of these negative effects come to pass, the answer is no! Homeschoolers in Indiana are already providing our children with a superior education, for very little cost. We cannot allow ourselves to be grouped together with the problematic public school system we have rejected. Homeschoolers must stand united in maintaining our independence from government schools.

[1] http://iaheaction.net/iahe-actions-school-to-prison-pipeline-response-part-1/

[2] https://www.hslda.org/laws/

Lisa Yankey is a happy homeschooling mom of three, but she never expected to homeschool. Teaching runs in her blood – she is a former public school teacher, and her mother, father, and brother are all former public school teachers. During her childhood and as a teacher herself, she recognized many issues in public school. She went to law school at night in a long-term plan to help improve public schools. She used to believe that every child could receive a good and appropriate education from public school. She realized the error of this belief when she watched her own child suffering in public school. She began homeschooling shortly after her oldest child had a disastrous start to public school first grade, and she has never looked back.

She kept her career as a part-time attorney and works for herself as a sole practitioner, with a practice area in immigration law. She is known particularly for her representation of victims of domestic abuse. She continues teaching adults as a speaker on immigration law at continuing legal education events for fellow lawyers. Lisa resides in Noblesville, Indiana (Hamilton County). with her husband, three children, two dogs, and a cat.

IAHE Action Responds to DRAFT School to Prison Pipeline Report

IAHE Action expressed its concern to the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding the DRAFT report about the School to Prison Pipeline. It is troubling to see home education scrutinized instead of focusing  on public schools where the problem was created and should be corrected.  Home education should not be used as a way for public schools to remove “problem” students from their school. Homeschooling requires solid parental commitment and motivation to be successful.  It is wholly inappropriate for public schools to encourage families who are uninvolved with their children toward this type of education.

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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 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.

IAHE Action’s School to Prison Pipeline Response – Part 5

This post is our fifth 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, and here.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 96. So on one hand it sounds like really this is a bad situation is going on here in Indiana and then on the other hand if it is done, if home schooling is done properly, it has been a saving grace for an awful lot of kids from across the country. So I am just wondering if in your work if you have attempted to isolate this issue as to home schooling as it relates very specifically to expulsion and would there be a way under those circumstances to, I don’t know, to determine whether or not if something could work for this child who is about to be expelled, or if not, if there is an intervention that could occur there so we don’t lose these kids?

IAHE Action’s Response: The key in this part of the testimony is “homeschooling done properly”. Homeschoolers use a variety of methods, curricula, etc., to successfully educate their children. It takes dedicated, engaged parents. The student must respect authority. When both are present, homeschooling works!

“Homeschooling done properly” does not include encouraging a teen with serious behavioral issues and a parent who is unavailable to home educate. The necessary ingredients for proper home education are an involved, present parent; a cooperative, obedient student; and parental time available to instruct the child. If any of these ingredients are missing or disproportional, homeschoolers know it is a recipe for disaster. A student who is unruly cannot be forced to learn.

These students DO have a good life-changing option. The Crossing is an alternative education option seeking to serve students whom would otherwise be government school dropouts. Find more about The Crossing here.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 96. MS. DANIELS: We interviewed three principals, two public and one charter, and they both said, yes, we have engaged in the practice. But we know those kids are not home schooled, they are probably out there. When we talk with the Department of Corrections, on their intake process they do write down what kind of schooling the child has, but it is not in their database. You have to go through every court placement through those records and see who was going to be or who has had home schooling. It is not in a database. So that’s a task in itself to go through all of those records.

But essentially the Department has been notified, they have been really trying to find this information and really trying to do something — find out about what can they do. In long conversations with John Nally, he has been very, very supportive and very, very involved in wanting to see what can we do here.

IAHE Action’s Response: Once again, government school principals engaged in this practice knowing “home” education is not occurring are breaking public trust and running roughshod over the spirit of the law. They are sullying the reputation of countless home educators who are sacrificially educating their children while victimizing dropouts by counseling a path toward the child’s personal failure.

MS. HINER: Pg. 97. If I could get just a quick follow-up, so in the state of Nevada, the public schools will — and they have this expulsion thing also, but what they do is they refer that student to a home schooling expert, someone who isn’t a home schooler and who works within the network of home schoolers in Nevada and they also have very, very few regulations up there as well, but this woman though will talk to the parents, talk to the students and, you know, oftentimes advise against home schooling as an option.

But there is a communication there between the home schooling community and the public school. They work in partnership together so that if it is not right, it is not right and it is not happening. If it is right, well, then that’s a good thing. But there is that linkage there between the public schools and the home schooling community and I was wondering if that sort of thing could work?

IAHE Action’s Response: IAHE Action, curious by this assertion, contacted our friends at the Nevada Homeschool Network (NHN). Their refutation of Ms. Hiner’s testimony is enlightening. You can read their response here:  2016. NHN ltr to US CCR.BKD
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TESTIMONY: Pg. 98. MS. DANIELS: That’s not the case here. That’s not the case as I understand it from the principals that we have talked with, that is not happening. I did speak with charter school, virtual school people, and they are getting lots of — when they started the virtual schools, it was for that affluent family that really could go to the museum and mom was at home and could take the child this place and that place and they would go to the virtual school if it is a hybrid model two days a week, have contact with other children and come home. The virtual schools are basically for high school students and there is very little contact with anyone except through Skype, and the teacher grades a paper and it comes back through the E-mail system. But no one is working with the parent who has accepted the responsibility of home schooling, that’s that loophole that allows this to feed into the School-to-Prison Pipeline or I would call it the Schoolhouse-to-Jailhouse Pipeline, but that is exactly what is occurring, at least that’s what I am being told by people who man schools.

IAHE Action’s Response: Let us first establish two definitions. A child enrolled in a virtual charter school cannot be a homeschooler. While the child’s location is physically in the home; the grades, curriculum, programs, and teachers are administered and controlled outside the home by an agent paid by the government with taxpayer funds. Home education has three hallmarks: home-based, parent-directed and self-funded. Virtual public students do not exhibit two of the three criterions for being homeschooled.

As homeschoolers who diligently document our children’s attendance, we have a few questions. If administrators KNOW this is happening, does the Superintendent of Public Instruction or other entity send a truant officer to the home? How many have been prosecuted under the Indiana laws currently in force? Seems to us a good place to start combating this problem is through enforcement of current law.

If one looks at the Homeschool Help Sheet on the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) website, the individual will find Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE)’s phone number and website link. It says, “While not a source for textbooks, these organizations can provide guidance about local support groups, choosing curricula, and the “how to’s” of home education.” IAHE has been helping Indiana homeschoolers since 1983. Help is only a call or email away with our 16 Regional Representatives.   They can connect families with local support groups and/or co-ops.  IAHE publishes the Home Education in Indiana book to provide more in-depth information about how to have a solid foundation for homeschooling.  The public libraries across the state have carried this book for many years.   Indiana home educators can find helpful information in IAHE’s The Informer magazine which is also available in libraries across the state and in IAHE podcasts on iTunes; both are available for free.  IAHE’s yearly Convention offers continuing education workshops.  IAHE has discussion groups for encouragement and support. Finally, IAHE Regional Representatives hosts informational workshops to educate parents about home education throughout the state of Indiana.  Local groups may offer these types of events as well.  Homeschoolers who have moved to Indiana from other states claim that homeschool information and support is much more accessible here than in other states where they lived. IAHE makes it a priority.

IAHE has been doing this for over 30 years. They have an annual convention and bring in curriculum vendors, speakers, and continuing education workshops. They recruit regional representatives across the state who field phone inquiries and network with other groups. This provides a volunteer network to help home educators get connected and encourage them in their homeschool journey.

IAHE’s trained regional representatives can correctly evaluate a parent’s true interest in homeschooling in just a few questions. They explain to prospective parents they are taking full responsibility for their child’s education. Some of these parents tell us they are not interested. We then refer them back to their school or the IDOE for other options.

Home education is a privately-funded and parent-directed educational option. Inserting government oversight into homeschooling effectively guts the characteristics of home education. It will no longer be parent-directed, but government directed. It will no longer be self-funded, but taxpayer funded. The only thing remaining would be the child’s location, which is the least meaningful characteristic to the child’s outcome.

A parent wanting or needing another entity to teach, provide curriculum and resources, is not interested in homeschooling. Indiana is blessed with many more suitable options for this parent and child to explore. IAHE encourages them to find the best fit for their child and their situation.

Homeschool parents take personal and financial responsibility for the education of their child. This commitment requires sacrifice and stretching to achieve excellent results. Government school principals who value home education so little as to use it as a disciplinary measure are belittling and besmirching the patient, careful work done in Hoosier homes by parent educators. These principals should be ashamed.

Read Part 6 here.

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Balance Needed for School to Prison Pipeline Report

IAHE Action was notified about a hearing last week of the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights relative to the School to Prison Pipeline in Indiana. We were told that the panels consisted primarily of public school teachers and administrators from urban schools in Indiana.  It is our understanding that there was concern by some in attendance regarding the lack of balance pertaining to educational options.  BLOG Featured Image_Action Logo Square BW 10.28.15 SMALL

Due to this fact, grave concerns have been expressed regarding the report that will be produced by this committee. The committee members didn’t seem to know the difference between home schools and charter schools. They did point out the “seeming no regulation” of homeschool in Indiana. One advisory committee member asked, “Is the choice movement inhibiting public instruction?” and testimony was provided with statements like, “68% of students who attended charter schools came back to us. We are seeing the fragmentation of the neighborhood school. As we introduced magnet programming, open enrollment protocol to keep from losing students, has caused a problem. We are now moving kids back and forth between programs. I’m losing kids who are losing a community school environment.”  There was no representation from the charter school or homeschool community at this hearing.

IAHE Action knows many families who had children that struggled in public school and have found success with home education. We are hoping that you will share your story with the advisory committee, so that they will have a balanced report. Testimony is due by March 18 and should be sent to mwojnaroski@usccr.gov .

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Update on this issue may be located here.