Lobbying Group Thwarts Attempts to Monitor Homeschooled Children with Testing

Lobbying Group Thwarts Attempts to Monitor Homeschooled Children with Testing

Advocacy groups for homeschooling have blocked attempts to require homeschooled students to complete annual academic and medical tests.

The controversy started in 2003 when a New Jersey boy, 19, was found going through the neighbor’s garbage. He was four feet tall and weighed 45 pounds. He and his three younger brothers were all homeschooled, according to The Pacific Standard.

“My question was, how does someone fall off the face of the Earth so that no one knows they exist? I was told it was because he was homeschooled,” said New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinburg.

Weinburg introduced a bill in 2004 that would have required parents to notify the state if they were homeschooling their children. The bill also required annual academic and medical testing.

But Weinburg had to drop the bill after the Home School Legal Defense Association and its members flooded her office with phone calls and protests.

Weinburg has tried to revive the bill in several years, but each time, homeschool advocates have thwarted it.

It’s happened in other states as well. In 2009, in New Hampshire, an assemblywoman tried to pass a bill that would have also required annual tests. The bill failed.

“The general response was that (homeschooling parents) weren’t that interested in the other kids—they were interested in their own children and that’s where it stopped,” Judy Day said.

In Arkansas, a representative tried to pass a bill that would have forced homeschooling parents to seek approval from their local district, but that bill died.

“They told me the only legislation they wanted was what Alaska had, which was nothing,” said David Cook.

Said the HSLD: “Look, politics is a rough-and-tumble business at times,” he says. “If somebody can’t take some criticism, then they shouldn’t be in politics.”

Publication date: October 16, 2015