Home Schooling and Child Neglect

One function of public schools is to assure the safety of children. The school choice movement, with its lack of oversight, makes a mockery of this aim. As a principal and now as superintendent I have seen the neglect unmonitored school choice makes possible.

Public schools are responsible for tracking attendance and for reporting suspected abuse. One way for lousy parents to fly under the radar of intervention on behalf of kids is to pull their children out of public school and to claim that they are home schooling them.

I have seen parents who were facing truancy or who have begun having to answer questions about what goes on in the home, remove their children from school. I wish I could say that I have only seen this one or two times. Sadly, that would be far from the truth. I have seen this sort of action increase as unscrupulous parents have learned from others that this is a way to escape legal investigation.

Once a parent declares that they are home schooling their child(ren) there is, for all intent and purpose, zero oversight from any agency. Home school parents are not required to report anything to anyone regarding their decision or their child(ren)’s progress. You can read about the incredible lack of oversight of home schooled kids in Michigan here: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/home_schools_122555_7.pdf. It is a very short document, much unlike the rules traditional schools must abide by.

I doubt that the framers of the rules for home schooling thought they were laying out the groundwork through which neglect and abuse could prosper; however, that has been one of the effects of their work.

I would also add that I have seen successful home schooled families and children. My point is that the system for home schooling as it currently stands in Michigan is ripe for the picking for bad and ill-intentioned parents and I have seen home schooling used increasingly by adults who are using it as cover.

Unfettered and unmonitored oversight of home school families has laid the groundwork under which unscrupulous adults escape intervention. The victims of this state-sponsored neglect are the children who have no champions in their corners.

Maintenance and growth of the home school system as it is will result in more children being under-educated and living in neglectful and abusive situations. If home schooling is to be allowed some form of oversight and monitoring should be implemented by state agencies.

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