I was reminded yesterday by several legislators I visited with at the Capitol, that we have to be vigilant in keeping the camel’s nose out from under the tent or we will find ourselves under strict regulations. More than one legislator made the statement that our autonomy is vital and we cannot maintain that when we are absorbed into a bigger system through our own lack of vigilance.
The deeper I look into SB958 and read some case law that has dealt with equal access in other states the more convinced I am that we do not want this. Even if it is a "voluntary option," now, we do not know at what point some aspect of it will become mandatory for all or create a need for blanket oversight. In South Carolina, just one year after passing an equal access law, legislators from both parties were introducing legislation to bring regulation on ALL home education families. Don’t think it can’t happen here.
"...our autonomy is vital and we cannot maintain that when we are absorbed into a bigger system through our own lack of vigilance."
Think about it, kindergarten used to be voluntary. Families did not HAVE to send their children to school at age 5 it was only for the people who chose to participate. Now, kindergarten is mandatory and compulsory attendance is lowering the age requirement at an alarming rate. In Oklahoma they have tried to make the 4 year old program mandatory and in other states have introduced legislation making compulsory attendance begin as early as age 3.
The logic that has been expressed is that even though we may not want equal access as individuals if we don’t participate it will not affect us so, we should still support it for those who do want it. Hmmm…let’s see…that logic is about as flawed as it gets. Why do we have a legislative process if I am just supposed to support everything on the basis of another person’s desire. And, to say that just because I am not participating it will not affect me? Really? I didn’t want legalized gambling but it passed and it DOES affect me. It is causing me to have increased taxes. (XX amount of your tax dollars are set aside for gambling addictions.) It sucked in people I care about and caused them to have financial and marital issues. It is destroying families and increasing the work of our DHS workers.
No, equal access is not gambling, but allowing it for even a few will, at some point, have consequences for the whole. When legislators no longer see the distinction between public and non-public education, it affects you. When you enroll in the public school for any reason be it brick and mortar, charter, or virtual, you DO become a public school student for all intents and purposes even if it is only one class you are taking. Now, where is the distinction? You consider yourself a home educator, the school considers you an interloper but gets to count you on their weighted daily attendance so they can get paid for you being there, and the state considers you a public school student because you are in their national database and they are paying the school for your participation.
"Why do we have a legislative process if I am just supposed to support everything on the basis of another person’s desire."
So, be wise. Be vigilant. Be picky about what you choose because even though something doesn't look like it will affect you now is no guarantee you won't find yourself sharing your tent with a big stinky camel tomorrow.