Monday, September 25, 2006

DeVos Speaks to Homeschoolers

Dick DeVos, son of Amway founder Richard DeVos, a former homeschooling dad, and Michigan's Republican nominee for Governor is actively seeking the support of homeschoolers. His wife, Betsy, is scheduled to speak this Wednesday evening at the homeschool building in Grand Rapids. He sent out an email recently letting homeschoolers know he's on our side in education. Here's part of what he said,

Governor Granholm has announced her support for expanding government control of education, threatening the independence of home school families. While I strongly favor increased accountability in education, I do not support government regulation that hinders the freedom of home school parents.
So how do you increase accountability in education without expanding government control and threatening the independence of homeschool families? If it's anything close to what Republican Governor Jeb Bush is doing in Florida, it isn't good news for Michigan homeschoolers. And does this mean Mr. DeVos is okay with hindering the freedom of public school parents? After all the state and national standardized testing is just as big a problem for their children as homeschoolers. Socialism hurts all American citizens equally.

I hope to get a chance to ask a few questions of Betsy DeVos this Wednesday night. Is anyone else from around Michigan planning on going?

And for those not in Michigan, I encourage you to find out what the candidates running for office in your state think about national testing and standards for all students.

Update: I just had a brief chat with a policy advisor to the DeVos campaign this morning. She was cordial and listened to my little speech, but she didn't seem very aware of how our state exam really affected homeschoolers. She also said that she personally thought using the ACT exam as the state exam was a a good move. Not a lot of reassurance there. When she asked me to write an email suggesting what I would do as far as education policy in Michigan, I told her the first step would be for Mr. DeVos to boldy lead by being the first governor to pull his state out of No Child Left Behind. Talk about free advertising for the campaign, that would make headlines across the country. I thought about adding in ending compulsory education across the state, but I didn't want to appear too radical. I'll make sure that's in the email.

And if all this talk of testing and such has you bored out of your mind, read the Ballad of Big Mike. It's an inspirational story of how one family reached out to a homeless black teen and made at difference when just about everyone else had given up on him. It's long but worth the read. (Heads up: the New York Times story has some profanity.) (HT: COD)

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