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'Dual Enrollment' Legislation Could Benefit Home-Schooling F

  • Jim Brown and Jody Brown Agape Press
  • 2004 18 Feb
'Dual Enrollment' Legislation Could Benefit Home-Schooling F

(AgapePress) - A bill in the Mississippi state legislature would allow home-school families to voluntarily enroll the students part-time at the local public school -- but not all home schoolers favor the idea.

Under State Senator Alan Nunnelee's legislation (Senate Bill 2056), home-school families can take advantage of classes and activities they are not able to adequately offer at home -- such as foreign languages or chemistry labs.  The procedure is allowed in a number of other states; however, some opponents of the measure fear it will lead to more governmental intrusion into home education.  Nunnelee says that is not the case.

"I've not heard of a problem where state departments of education are unduly interfering with the education of children in home schools," the Republican state lawmaker says.  "So I understand and respect their concerns, but I don't think that those concerns are valid criticisms of this particular piece of legislation."

Statewide, current policy differs when it comes to allowing home-schooled students to go on public school campuses for classes.  Nunnelee told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that a uniform state policy is needed so that home schoolers can exercise this option, should they wish.  "These are taxpaying people.  They are paying for the schools," he told the Journal.  "They're just locked out of them."

Shelley Crampton's 16-year-old son Joseph used to attend the local middle school one hour a day to play in the band.  But he was barred from playing in the local high school band because he is home-schooled.  The Tupelo, Mississippi, mom supports the dual-enrollment measure.

"This is a well-written bill that is so tight it would really not affect home schoolers who were not participating in this particular function," the mother of six says.  "And [for] those who are, there would not be any extra governmental regulations [imposed] upon them."

Home schoolers, Crampton says, are a "unique" group, and she empathizes with those who are fearful of any kind of government intrusion.  But she is urging fellow home schoolers not to be leery of the bill.

"In this situation, the bill is written so that [those] who choose not to participate in this option would not be affected at all, and those who do choose to participate ... would really not be affected in any way other than just getting the benefit of participating in extracurricular activities or classes," she explains.

According to the Journal, Joseph is currently taking private trumpet lessons.  His mom says she does not mind paying $50 a month for him to do that, but that it is "frustrating" because, as she puts it, "most people who play musical instruments like to play with other people."

S.B. 2056 is currently pending before the Senate Education Committee, of which Nunnelee is a member.  According to Nunnelee, some of his colleagues in the Mississippi senate have suggested making the dual-enrollment option available to private school students as well.