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Opening Arguments

No-rules schooling

This is a movement/trend that Indiana, alas, has been in the vanguard of:

Unlike so much of education in this country, teaching at home is broadly unregulated. Along with steady growth in home schooling has come a spirited debate and lobbying war over how much oversight such education requires.

Eleven states do not require families to register with any school district or state agency that they are teaching their children at home, according to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, a nonprofit group that is pushing for more accountability in home schooling. Fourteen states do not specify any subjects that families must teach, and only nine states require that parents have at least a high school diploma or equivalent in order to teach their children. In half the states, children who are taught at home never have to take a standardized test or be subject to any sort of formal outside assessment.

And the movement is growing. Once mainly concentrated among religious families as well as parents who wanted to release their children from the strictures of traditional classrooms, home schooling is now attracting parents who want to escape the testing and curriculums that have come along with the Common Core, new academic standards that have been adopted by more than 40 states.

I've never understood why some parents in Indiana let themselves get into trouble for not monitoring their kids' school attenance to make sure truancy isn't becoming a problem. All you have to do is announce that you're taking the kid out for home schooling, and you're all done. You can plop him in front of the TV all day, call that an education, and never have to show anything to anybody about what he may or may not have been learning.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking home schooling. But as long as a certain level of education is required by law, and there are certain benchmarks you have to demonstrate you've met, I'm not clear on why home-schoold kids should be exempt.

Oh, well. That's just one of the education issues I think the General Assembly should consider that it will not consider, such as how can we call education here free when parents have to shell out for textbooks?