School Choice advocates are circulating a revised petition for an amendment to the Oregon Constitution — an amendment which would give state money to homeschoolers and private schools, among others.
Amendment advocates imply it protects homeschoolers from getting additional state regulations when in fact it invites more regulation.
An Overstated Claim About Protecting Homeschoolers
The amendment advocates claim that the amendment would protect homeschoolers from state intrusions:
“The School Choice Amendment will add language to the Oregon Constitution to protect Home School students and families who choose to participate and receive money from a School Choice Account.
”This protective language added to the Oregon Constitution will protect Home School students and families from regulation by the state: Home School students and families may not be forced to change their creed, curricula, education practices, or teaching credentials or qualifications. Protection like this is not currently available to Home School students and families and will only be available to Home School students and families who choose to participate and receive money from a School Choice Account.”
These protection claims are technically true, but the “protections” are meaningless for homeschoolers.
The actual amendment language says:
“Neither the Parent nor the education providers who receive or use School Choice Funds will be required by the state to change their creed, education practices, teaching credentials or qualifications, admission policy or curricula.”
Do you remember that time when the Oregon Legislature tried to change your creed? Or when they wanted to change your education practices? Your teaching credentials or qualifications? Your admission policy? Your curricula?
Neither do I.
These five categories seem more focused on the needs of private schools than homeschoolers. They do not cover the in-your-face threats that homeschoolers have actually faced in Oregon, such as mandatory home well-being visits by state nurses or intrusive state surveys of homeschooled students. You may remember those battles.
The amendment’s whack-a-mole approach cannot protect homeschoolers from state regulation.
I have written elsewhere about a similar proposed law which had four “protective” categories rather than five:
“There are four specific regulation categories included in this prohibition. Do they protect homeschoolers from all regulations? The answer is, of course, No.
“One example of a regulation which would bypass these four “protections” occurred in 1990. In response to a School Choice initiative petition which included government funding for homeschoolers, the Oregon Department of Education proposed a preemptive regulation that any homeschooled student whose test scores went down from the previous year — in any subject — would be barred from homeschooling. So a student whose math score dropped from the equivalent of an A to a B would be remanded to school.
“The problem is not with these four particular prohibitions. One could just add a fifth category to cover the threat from 1990.
“The problem is that no matter how many categories one might add, there would always be additional space allowing restrictive regulations to bypass those categories. It is not feasible to enumerate all possible variations.”
Three Points to Remember About School Choice for Homeschoolers
- School Choice advocates claim their constitutional amendment would protect homeschoolers from restrictive regulations. It cannot do so. Read why here.
- School Choice laws which include homeschoolers inherently endanger homeschool freedoms.
- School Choice initiative petitions bring on additional dangers because they publicly override the Legislature.
OCEANetwork recommends that homeschoolers do not sign the petition. And vote No on the amendment if it comes to a vote.
OCEANetwork Freedom Watch Team
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