Saturday, October 25, 2008

Homeschooling after the election

While we continue to sort out what Obama really thinks about homeschooling, here's a question I received via email from a reader:
We are a home schooling family in Texas. I read your blog regularly and glean so much from you. I wanted to know your opinion on a matter. I am worried about the future of home schooling especially if Obama wins and the Democrats are in charge. I never finished college and am now wondering if I should go back and get my degree and get a teacher's certification. Do you think that home school moms will have to be certified to teach in the near future? This is something that has been on my mind these past few weeks. Thank you for your time and again I really appreciate your blog and all your insight.
Teacher certification or any added restrictions on homeschooling depends more on your own state legislature or state supreme court ruling than who is elected the next president. However, as long as there is a federal department of education there is always the possibility that something could be passed nationally - no matter who is elected. Republicans and Democrats are both eager to "fix" our schools. Quality teachers for a"all" children is always part of that fix.

Clinton had School-to-Work and Outcome Based Education (OBE) and Bush had No Child Left Behind (NCLB), both of which could have negatively impacted homeschoolers. Thankfullly, OBE was defeated and homeschoolers were exempted from the requirements of NCLB, so I wouldn't panic and drop homeschooling and enroll in a teachers college just yet. But at the same time don't become complacent in the (unlikely) event McCain/Palin gains the White House.

Something that might affect homeschoolers in a future administration would the passage of national testing and standards. In the past, homeschoolers have successfully fought and won exemption from such requirements, but with every new administration comes new uncertainties. Who the next president appoints as the the Secretary for the Department of Education will tell us quite a bit about their priorties and the adminstration's education agenda.

Both Obama and McCain currently oppose national standards. That doesn't mean that we're safe from national standards, the pressure on the next president to accept national standards is mounting. At a forum in Houston,
The Council of the Great City Schools released an open letter to the next president calling for such standards to raise expectations for students in every state.

"I don't believe we can have a federal accountability system without some kind of national standards," said Houston Independent School District Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra.

Whoever the next president is, credentialing and national standards are both issues to watch in the coming years.

No comments: