Monday, July 21, 2008

Truancy and Parental Rights

Michigan education columnist Kelly Flynn makes the case for a Democrat proposal requiring parents to register with the state in order to homeschool because some parents use bogus claims of homeschooling as an excuse for habitual truancy.
"In Michigan, HB5912, introduced by state Rep. Brenda Clack, seems to be a logical compromise. It does not interfere with a parent's right to homeschool, but merely requires parents to register. Where the bill goes wrong is in requiring them to register with their already overburdened school district. The registration should be handled by the state." Where Flynn goes wrong is in not realizing that the burden is not on us to prove that we are doing what we say we are doing.
In a free society, it is not the responsibility of the parents to register or report to the state in order to alleviate suspicions of guilt that arise simply because they choose to homeschool or other parents neglect their duties.

As free citizens, we are not required to report to the courthouse if we are not accused of a crime. We do not report to the Department of Health and Human Services if we are not on welfare. We do not report to the Department of Transportation if we don't ride public transportation. Likewise, we should not be required to report to the Department of Education or the local school district if we don't intend to use the public schools.

The motivation to increase regulation is rooted in good intention (aren't all liberal power grabs?)and a desire to protect children from abuse or neglect. However, good intentions do not necessarily form the basis for good laws. (Haven't we learned that by now?)

In America we're innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof is on the state to provide evidence of neglect, not on the parents to register to prove that they are not.

When this Michigan bill was first introduced a few months ago, I spoke with one of the 24 Democrat co-sponsors. During our conversation he admitted that he hadn't even read the bill, but signed on with Rep. Brenda Clack because, "she is a nice person who really wants to help children who are suffering from educational neglect which affects all of us."

Can someone please introduce a bill that makes "legislative neglect" a crime? The abuse lawmakers inflict on the people by their ignorance affects all of us!

(More articles on Educational Neglect and Parental Rights can be found in both the Spring and Summer issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine .)

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