By Julie Schmidt
Recently Illinois Senator Ed Maloney (D) introduced SB136 which would require “the parents or legal guardians of children attending non-public schools, a defined term, or private or parochial schools to annually register their children with the State Board of Education, in conformance with procedures prescribed by the State Board of Education.”
Basically homeschoolers and anyone else who has deemed the public education system a failure would have to register their children with the State, since apparently Senator Maloney believes “that since the State was responsible for the education of our children, the State should know who was being homeschooled,” according to Pastor James McDonald who met with the Senator along with several homeschooling advocates.
I hate to burst the Senator’s progressive utopian bubble, but as Pastor McDonald points out “in the eyes of most home educators, the responsibility to ensure our children receive a competent education belonged to parents, not the State.” I don’t think registering children, like licensing a dog, was exactly what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he envisioned public education.
Jefferson trusted the people closest to the issue to care most for the outcomes. Regarding education he stated in a letter to Joseph Cabell, “But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by the Governor and Council, the commissioners of the literary fund, or any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward, it is a belief against all experience.”
Hardly a resounding endorsement of the power of the State, which he was extremely wary of, when he stated in the same letter, “What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and power into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or of the aristocrats of a Venetian senate.” Or even the Illinois Senate.
Jefferson also believed that education was-brace yourself progressives-voluntary. He stated, “It is better to tolerate that rare instance of a parent’s refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings by a forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of his father.” So I will give you a moment to consider how he would have viewed compulsory registration. “Appalled” would be kind.
Laurie Higgins of Illinois Family Institute (IFI) applies the “board of education” to our illustrious politicians’ posteriors when she said, “Serious thought should be given to the proper role and limits of our state and federal governments. If the vast majority of home schooling families are educating their children well, IFI doesn’t believe that it is appropriate to penalize them in order to solve the problem of the failures or inadequacies of a minority of home schooling families.”
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