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Does state oversight of HS improve the outcomes?


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If you live in a state that regulates homeschooling, do you think those regulations improve the quality of education for homeschooled students overall? Do the regulations lead to fewer "slackers" and more actual school work getting done?

 

How easy would it be for someone to coast along in your state? I'm wondering because I live in NJ (not highly regulated). I used to think that our lack of oversight was a good thing -- less hoops, less forms. For myself, LOL, I still think it's great! :D

 

Without getting into too many details about another family's life and choices, I've been wondering lately... :blink: Do HSers in regulated states end up doing a better job (than little to no teaching), or do "unregulatable" people slip by in every state, no matter what the rules?

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No, I don't think it improves things on the whole. I think people who want to slack or neglect their kids can do so even with regulation. Even in the most tightly regulated states, I think it is quite possible to produce the "right" paperwork even for a kid who doesn't have access to solid educational opportunities.

 

In my tightly regulated state, it mostly feels like a whole lot of pointless hoop jumping that proves absolutely nothing.

 

eta: I love hoops like having to go to an evaluator, get a letter from them, only to have to submit to the local district's superintendent anyway. That type of thing just makes it feel like a silly hoop-jumping treadmill. What's the point? If districts understood the law, it would be more tolerable, but the yahoo groups in my state have plenty of regular misunderstandings between districts and parents, where the district simply does not understand or doesn't wish to adhere to the law. Extralegal requests like requiring families get "approval" before HSing, or "meet with the superintendent" at the beginning or end of the year, or any number of inaccurate requests make it very frustrating. I moved to a district known to be fairly easy to HS in, and there was a personnel change. Last year they started making extralegal requests, like trying to require HSers to use their evaluator form, trying to dictate format and labeling of the port, etc.

 

My state requires "sustained progress in the overall program." It is pretty tough to show someone is NOT doing that, unless they don't care at all. Those people are unlikely to really engage in the hoop jumping or hand in their kid's real work anyway. So we jump, jump, jump, but what's the point? I don't feel like it susses out anything other than maybe the most extreme cases of neglect, at which point I doubt the people involved are compliant in their paperwork.

Edited by Momof3littles
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I Do HSers in regulated states end up doing a better job (than little to no teaching), or do "unregulatable" people slip by in every state, no matter what the rules?

 

This.

 

 

I will say that going from NY to OR was quite the homeschool culture shock. NY is one of the most regulated states [PA excepted] and I believe it helped me to stay on task better.

 

However, I knew people in NY that never filled out paper work and others who flat out lied. [exceptions to be sure but they are there]

 

In OR, I see a lot more 'unschoolers' and honestly I let it lie and try not to think about.

 

Of course, who's to say that regulated is better in the long run? I have no idea. My oldest is only 13, and there is nothing to say that me being on the ball is going to lead to a well-rounded, civic-minded, responsible, God-fearing adult. ;)

 

 

How is that for convoluted? :tongue_smilie:

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At least when it comes to standardized test scores, I know that I've read statistics showing that there is no correlation between how tightly regulated a state is and average scores among HS students. Now of course that only looks at students who take the SAT/ACT or other standardized tests, but it's a good talking point when HS critics start advocating for increased regulations.

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Yes, we have to test in my state, but not annually. However, my understanding is that the standard is still "sustained progress in the overall program," so test scores can't really be used in and of themselves against a HSing family. More hoop jumping ;) and I'm not convinced the testing really has any meaning at all.

 

eta: WHen you have districts trying to argue over the portfolio format and require a "three inch binder" being required (it is not part of the law in my state, but our district tried this with HSers last year as a "requirement"), I think to myself, is this *really* the best use of their time and resources?

Edited by Momof3littles
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It would be interesting to know, wouldn't it?

 

Homeschoolers try to have it both ways with standardized testing -- both that it completely doesn't matter and the reason my 1st grader bombed social studies is because we (not she, mind, but all of us) were too busy conjugating Latin and studying ancient Rome to learn what a mailman was, or even what her own last name is, and anyhow tests don't measure what's important, AND that homeschoolers ace every standardized test and are 5.7 x more smarter than public school kids (data not available for private schools), and my kid knows the capital of all the states in alphabetical order, recites the Declaration of Independence in her sleep, and can calculate cubic roots in her head.

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I think parents who are neglecting their kids' educational needs will slip by in every state. All increased regulation does is make it more work for the people who will follow the rules/law. Plus there are plenty of families who would not appear to be meeting regulations but who still have fantastic outcomes.

 

Having known kids who were neglected in acquiring basic skills and in their overall education, I do worry about bad situations. It really saddens me to see the issues caused by educational neglect. But ultimately I don't think bad outcomes are prevented with regulations. And of course we all know plenty of ps kids who are neglected educationally and have bad outcomes. I guess I would suppose that in egregious cases it is best to go to CPS than to try and prevent the egregious cases with lots of added rules for everyone.

Edited by kijipt
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I don't think so. I think like most things motivation has to come from within and most homeschoolers I know want to give their kids a good education, an individualized education even. HS parents that don't care are probably rotten parents anyway and can always get around regulations. There is nothing new about that.

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I was completely against regulations at all for a long time. Like, I would never even THINK of moving to PA from my relatively easy state! But then I had to get my daughter tested for dyslexia, and it was actually really good information to have had her annual test scores for 4-5 years, which I never would have done had it not been required by law. Because my state requires immunizations to be kept on file, I had my oldest's records when he needed them to study abroad, which I would not have had if it hadn't been required by law.

 

So, now, I lean more towards actually wishing there were more regulation, not stupid hoop-jumping stuff like mentioned above, but things like making a yearly portfolio of their work, or having an outside person look at what you are doing. A lot of homeschooling is hidden and just having to explain to someone what you're doing might be good. Of course, I also see how it could be bad, or worthless, or stupid. :D

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Look at the overregulated public school system. Some really good & bad ideas and really bad execution and interpretation of regulations/laws. I think regulation initiates more regulation.

 

I live in an easy to homeschool state. We do have an annual evaluation (testing for most of us) requirement but we don't have to show anyone.

 

lisaj, mom to 5

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There's no evidence that more regulation/oversight improves outcome, although it would be tricky to prove that one way or the other, because how would you find statistics for states which don't require testing?

 

Besides which that would only show test scores, which we all believe are not an indicator of "success."

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Look at the overregulated public school system. Some really good & bad ideas and really bad execution and interpretation of regulations/laws. I think regulation initiates more regulation.

 

I live in an easy to homeschool state. We do have an annual evaluation (testing for most of us) requirement but we don't have to show anyone.

 

lisaj, mom to 5

 

Yes, this. People who neglect their children's education do it in public schools, private schools, home schools, charter schools, etc.

 

Our public school system is regulated all over the place, 6 ways from Sunday and almost a third of the students aren't graduating. How many graduates read at a 4th grade level and can't figure out the percentage off at a store without a calculator? Regulations make people feel better and feel like the gov't is proactive, but as far as actual improvement, I am highly dubious.

 

I don't follow an unschooling philosophy for the most part, but I have seen it in action with great results. I have seen "school at home" done with crappy results. Regulations won't change that but would really hinder anyone trying to truly teach their children in a manner that doesn't adhere to a standard protocol.

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Here in CO we are required to turn in a notice of intent and turn in standardized test scores every other year (very brief summary), and those test scores have to be above the 13th percentile.

 

I know a family whose 19ish year old daughter doesn't have beyond a 2nd grade education. She does intense TKD and boxes. That's it. Very bright girl (she teaches TKD), but her mom felt her talents were better used elsewhere, so now the girl supports the family with the money she makes from boxing. But she doesn't have an education to speak of. From what I understand, the mom simply never registered her at all, and since the girl had never been in public school, no one ever questioned it.

 

So I'd say that yes, even in a state where there are regulations, there are still slackers.

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I'm not in the states, but I think the way the provincial government has it set up here in British Columbia is quite nice. They get their oversight, I get money for cirriculum. There are literally dozens of options for me to choose from (public, private, unschooling, online...). I report once a week to an advisor (trained teacher). I have only done it one year, but it has worked just fine. I think that as the kids age, it may get harder to meet the specific expectations of the provinical cirriculum (which topics we cover which year). But if it becomes a problem I am free to opt out as well.

 

From what I see here, it is really a win-win situation. The province essentially gets many more kids homeschooled and thus saves them capacity on the regular public school system, but it costs them less than half of what it costs them to do through the system. And I get some money for cirriculum/classes, and someone who is paid to listen to me gripe and/or ask homeschooling questions.

 

There are different levels here - if you choose to register as a homeschooler, you get a tiny bit of money, no oversight. If you agree to go under an umbrella program (they are called DLs here or Distance Learning) then you get more money and have weekly oversight. You can even choose to have your kids' cirriculum all chosen for you and handed in and graded by a separate teacher, but that is not something I have any specific experience with (perhaps that is a bit like K12?). You can choose not to register as a homeschooler also, and it is not against any law as far as I understand to just do whatever you like.

 

As far as specifically improving outcome, I would guess it does. I have more resources to work with. It gives us more choice and opportunity than we would have without it.

Edited by Tjej
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Yes, this. People who neglect their children's education do it in public schools, private schools, home schools, charter schools, etc.

 

Our public school system is regulated all over the place, 6 ways from Sunday and almost a third of the students aren't graduating. How many graduates read at a 4th grade level and can't figure out the percentage off at a store without a calculator? Regulations make people feel better and feel like the gov't is proactive, but as far as actual improvement, I am highly dubious.

 

I don't follow an unschooling philosophy for the most part, but I have seen it in action with great results. I have seen "school at home" done with crappy results. Regulations won't change that but would really hinder anyone trying to truly teach their children in a manner that doesn't adhere to a standard protocol.

 

Agreed!

 

I think PA is too regulated, and, worse, the regulations are not always crystal clear in the wording of the law and districts vary in their interpretation of them and what they try to "require." Still, PA has groups of hardcore radical unschoolers, for example, who figure out ways to meet the requirements. Either they are in more lenient districts or if they're in stricter ones they do some fudging of portfolios etc, yet sometimes this seems to work great for their kids. I fall in the somewhat relaxed/eclectic range. Like someone else pointed out, studies have shown that kids don't seem to fare less well in less regulated areas, so I do wish we didn't have so many hoops to jump through here. Especially when you have to report to failing districts whose time could be better put to use with the kids they do have to teach. :P

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IME, kids in regulated states have a better chance at not slipping through the cracks.

 

While there will always be slackers and those who slip through the cracks, in a regulated state, those slackers have a better chance at being caught and having something "done" about it (better homeschooling, enrollment in school, whatever). In a non-regulated state, the gov't can't do a thing even when they know the student is out there getting the shaft.

 

For us - and pretty much anyone who cares enough to join the Hive - regulations really aren't needed because we've already proven we care enough to try to do right by our kids regardless of whether we've chosen unschooling or super rigorous college prep. But, we're (Hive members) a super minority out there. There are several who opt to "homeschool" just so they can't be bothered with all the school "stuff" and they'll claim "Johnny" is being homeschooled when he isn't (by any method). States with regulations have some teeth to catch these. States without can not.

 

PA's regulations are not burdensome. While I, myself, know they are not necessary for us, I'd vote to keep them any time it came up as I feel they are worth it for those who end up in crappy homes educationally (and usually in general). I don't feel public school (esp mine) is educationally great, but it sure beats the alternatives for some kids. I've seen some good, positive results from some of the non-homeschoolers our dedicated guidance/truancy guy has "caught" and "pulled in." Trust me, their parents wouldn't be on here...

 

No program/laws/whatever will ever be perfect and catch everyone with a minimum of hassle for those who don't need it, but having relatives in a state with NO regulation, I know there are several out there who could be getting a better education if their state had some sort of law like ours. These kids are "known" but nothing can be done.

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In theory, what Creekland says would hold true. In practice, it might only hold true if one is zoned for a district where there is something to actually be done for the child.

 

Here is the reality, I'm from Michigan...the educational pit of the nation as far as I am concerned. Our local high school has a state ranking out of 100 - wait for it - 38! The elementary school my children would have been zoned for a 19, and the middle school a 21. There are inner city, crime riddled schools in Detroit that outscored my local schools. I don't care how lazy I could be as a homeschooler, if my children have even a pittance of reading skills and any piddly math skills at all, they will outscore the local public and that's just really, really sad if you think about it. As it is, my children (only one of whom has the IQ that meets the designation) look like geniuses by comparison when they would have just been the normal, honor roll students of my day and as my dad puts it, "regular people when I was in high school, nothing special, but nice, reasonably bright kids". We have a young man in our community who is homeschooled by parents who put fun-fun 100% before academics and is two years behind grade level for his age in what I believe is some of the poorest "curriculum" I've ever seen (they often just complete those "big book of learning" or "summer bridge activity books" from Sam's Club for their year's worth of work), he is completely UNself-disciplined, and by his parents own admission has no learning disabilities. They just don't like to hurt his feelings by pushing him to get his work done :001_huh:; this kid would out perform the average kid from our school district at that same age.

 

Regulations would not help Michigan right now. If anything, all it would do is identify to the school administrators every kid who has the potential to raise their scores and cause MASS harrassment of homeschoolers and false allegations to try to get their children forced back into PS. We've already had one school superintendent say publicly that if he could think of any way to make homeschoolers' lives miserable, he would certainly do it so he could have A. the money per head of each kid re-enrolled and B. the value of raised scores because it's obvious the homeschool kids are outperforming the kids in his school. PUBLICLY SAID AT A SCHOOL BOARD MEETING!

 

The staggering number of kids who are not learning anything in this state is just appalling beyond belief. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the lowest "school" achieving element of homeschoolers, those that practically let their kids run academically feral, would improve by being placed under supervision. I'm afraid that our educational system in this state has so far passed the point of no return that giving them homeschoolers to supervise would be like letting Hannibal Lecter (sp?) be the nanny!

 

But, maybe it would be a different question all together if one lived in a state where the schools actually taught kids to read and add numbers. :glare:

 

And by the way, remember that discussion of Highland Park Schools? There are two schools in that district that scored HIGHER than our local, rural, not poverty stricken, small teacher/student ratio, non crime ridden, high school.

 

On a scale of 100 (meaning A +) down to zero, the VAST majority of the schools in Michigan scored below a B, with the bulk of them scoring D or lower. Nope, this is not an educational system that should be given the right to supervise my kids.

 

Faith

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A qualified no from here in Ma, a fairly regulated state.

How can I put this? Bullsh*tters will always get away with it because paperwork can always be made to look impressive.

 

Standardized tests are only one of several reporting options here, others are dated work samples, portfolios and my favorite, the written progress report.

It kind of makes me bonkers that I know people whose 10 year olds can't read yet and others who leave their kids in the car with workbooks while they work.

While here we are working our butts off for 11 years this year and faithfully reporting and actually doing what I say we are doing.

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My parents grew up in a cult like group. If they had not escaped when I was a baby I would have been homeschooled and intentionally uneducated so I was easier to control. As far as I am aware most of my cousins are poorly educated and unable to escape the cult because they can't function in regular society. Yet they are in a highly regulated state (NY) So I don't think it matters that much.

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I know a family whose 19ish year old daughter doesn't have beyond a 2nd grade education. She does intense TKD and boxes. That's it. Very bright girl (she teaches TKD), but her mom felt her talents were better used elsewhere, so now the girl supports the family with the money she makes from boxing. But she doesn't have an education to speak of. From what I understand, the mom simply never registered her at all, and since the girl had never been in public school, no one ever questioned it.

 

So I'd say that yes, even in a state where there are regulations, there are still slackers.

 

Yes, razorbackmama, this is what prompted my question. Not exactly the same circumstances, but similar. A 14-16 year old (during the time we've known him) who is "homeschooled" but tells us that his parents aren't teaching him anything. He also said that they really aren't educated enough themselves to teach him certain subjects, and since I've known his mom since high school (and his dad shortly after that), I can vouch for him that this is probably true. :glare: I never asked him to share all this, honestly! He just seemed to need to tell someone, and now I have no idea what to do.

 

:confused:

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I think parents who are neglecting their kids' educational needs will slip by in every state. All increased regulation does is make it more work for the people who will follow the rules/law. Plus there are plenty of families who would not appear to be meeting regulations but who still have fantastic outcomes.

 

Having known kids who were neglected in acquiring basic skills and in their overall education, I do worry about bad situations. It really saddens me to see the issues caused by educational neglect. But ultimately I don't think bad outcomes are prevented with regulations. And of course we all know plenty of ps kids who are neglected educationally and have bad outcomes. I guess I would suppose that in egregious cases it is best to go to CPS than to try and prevent the egregious cases with lots of added rules for everyone.

 

Yes, this. People who neglect their children's education do it in public schools, private schools, home schools, charter schools, etc.

 

Our public school system is regulated all over the place, 6 ways from Sunday and almost a third of the students aren't graduating. How many graduates read at a 4th grade level and can't figure out the percentage off at a store without a calculator? Regulations make people feel better and feel like the gov't is proactive, but as far as actual improvement, I am highly dubious.

 

I don't follow an unschooling philosophy for the most part, but I have seen it in action with great results. I have seen "school at home" done with crappy results. Regulations won't change that but would really hinder anyone trying to truly teach their children in a manner that doesn't adhere to a standard protocol.

 

I'm so thankful to be in a state where it's easy to homeschool! People who are invested in giving their kids a great education will do so no matter where they are, and I believe the reverse is also true. People who want to slack will find a way to skirt the system.

 

:iagree:

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...A 14-16 year old (during the time we've known him) who is "homeschooled" but tells us that his parents aren't teaching him anything. He also said that they really aren't educated enough themselves to teach him certain subjects, and since I've known his mom since high school (and his dad shortly after that), I can vouch for him that this is probably true. :glare: I never asked him to share all this, honestly! He just seemed to need to tell someone, and now I have no idea what to do.

:confused:

 

Can you include him in things you are doing? Connect him with other opportunities? Suggest curricula to his mom? Talk to him about his goals and what he'll need to do to achieve them? Take him to the library when you go? Introduce him to other teens who are doing interesting things? Encourage his mom to consider a co-op or "school for homeschoolers"? Is public or private school a realistic option? Can he enroll in the local community college and do some remedial classes?

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For what it is worth, the kids that I saw who were not doing well in school were in a more regulated state. The ones I saw in a totally unregulated place were all doing very well. The difference wasn't regulation- it was the parents and who homeschooled. In the most unregulated place, all the homeschoolers were from a subsection of people who were living in a different country= all had two parents in the home, all had an employed parent, all had medium income and above. The few kids I am specifically thinking had maybe less than adequate homeschooling (though in both cases, the parent was trying and adjusting the work), the home situation was chaotic. All were struggling financially. THose kids would have been doing not as well in the public school too. They both had some sort of disability, less educated parents, chaotic homes, less money=== that is a recipe for failure in the public school. In those situations, the parent was giving the kid a better education-- not better than mine were getting but better than what they would have gotten in a classroom of 30 with no aide.

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Regulations usually come about because:

 

  1. There is money to be made
  2. People do not self-regulate

 

I'm sure there are more reasons, but the question of whether regulation ensures a better homeschool outcome--in theory yes, in reality no. People always find a way to get around regulations.

 

Personally, I find it way too easy to say, "Tomorrow" and pretty soon it's next month and science still isn't done. I'm not a slacker. Life gets in the way with doctor appointments and canning tomatoes, or waiting for a car repair. While many resist regulation, homeschool will become more regulated the more families use homeschool to not ever teach their children.

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Can you include him in things you are doing? Connect him with other opportunities? Suggest curricula to his mom? Talk to him about his goals and what he'll need to do to achieve them? Take him to the library when you go? Introduce him to other teens who are doing interesting things? Encourage his mom to consider a co-op or "school for homeschoolers"? Is public or private school a realistic option? Can he enroll in the local community college and do some remedial classes?

 

Well, he's a friend of my nephews and the family has since moved out of state (into PA, actually). I'm wondering if perhaps not being in NJ (and being in PA) will help him, or if he'll still fly below the radar. He's a sweet kid, really, and he wasn't complaining. I just asked him, "How's the homeschooling going?" and it opened up this can of worms. Private school is not an option with this family. Ironically, dad is a youth pastor, he bounces around from post to post, and the family never has any money. They only homeschooled this son here because he was getting SERIOUSLY bullied (threatened with death) in the high school and on the way to school. The school officials did nothing about it. "It's happening off of school grounds, it's not a school issue." :tongue_smilie: The parents were trying to keep their kid alive, I think. :crying: They meant well, but the boy said he learned nothing for several years, and he knows he's not ready for making a living/college/trade school. I don't know what he'll do.

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The few kids I am specifically thinking had maybe less than adequate homeschooling (though in both cases, the parent was trying and adjusting the work), the home situation was chaotic. All were struggling financially. THose kids would have been doing not as well in the public school too. They both had some sort of disability, less educated parents, chaotic homes, less money=== that is a recipe for failure in the public school. In those situations, the parent was giving the kid a better education-- not better than mine were getting but better than what they would have gotten in a classroom of 30 with no aide.
That is an interesting comment, one I need to think more on.

I have a homeschool friend that quit homeschooling nearly 2 years ago, but hasn't put her children in a 'brick and mortar school.' She just keeps saying that they are getting an education by seeing her deal with life. They do have a very, very chaotic life. I am so terribly sad for her children - and for our friendship as I can't deal to be around her anymore. I like to think that if she just enrolled them, they would all be better off. But - in all honesty - her children probably wouldn't do better in public/private/charter school. I try not to dwell on it, but she is forever telling me why she can't get her act together to homeschool and why I should slack off. It is ruining our friendship. :glare:

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Just for the record, though NJ has no forced oversight for all, the law indeed holds each of us accountable.

 

From the NJ Dept. of Ed. website:

The following New Jersey statutes apply to compulsory education:

 

  • N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25 requires that “every parent, guardian or other person having custody and control of a child between six and 16 to ensure that such child regularly attends the public schools of the district or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and attainments or to receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school.â€

Note: The provision, “to receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school†in N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25, permits a parent/guardian to educate the child at home.

 

  • N.J.S.A. 18A:38-31 states that “a parent or guardian or other person having charge and control of a child between the ages of 6 and 16 years, who shall fail to comply with any of the provisions of the article (N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25) relating to his/her duties, shall be deemed to be a disorderly person and shall be subject to a fine of not more than $25.00 for the first offense and not more than $100.00 for each subsequent offense, in the discretion of the court.â€

The local board of education is required to enforce the compulsory education law, N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25. If the local board of education determines that there is credible evidence that the parent/guardian or other person(s) having custody and control of a school-age child is not causing the child either to attend school (public or nonpublic) or to receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school, the board may request documentation, such as a letter of intent from the parent/guardian confirming that the child is either attending a nonpublic school or receiving equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school. The mere fact that a child has been withdrawn to be homeschooled is not, in itself, credible evidence of a legal violation. If it appears that the child is not receiving an education in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25, the board may wish to consult with its attorney regarding possible charges against the parent/guardian for failure to have the child educated.

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No- it does not improve the outcome, just as non-regulated states aren't full of slackers/coasters/non-educators.

 

 

My state has a bad reputation- but its laws are useless and/or vague. We submit objectives for the year, but can't be denied the abilty to homeschool based on them, and we don't have to meet/fulfill them.

 

We submit standardized test scores in each grade editing to add: that they are required for, but again can't be denied homeschooling due to scores. Waste of time and money- no test has ever told me something I didn't already know.

 

We have to do 180 days OR 900(990 secondary) hours, but do not have to prove it... even though some school districts think we do. when people check off 180 boxes (undated) in a grid, what meaning does that have?

 

We have to turn in a reading log- this item is debated in many districts- from a reading list of books only to a detailed dated/hourly description of every educational moment.

 

To me, it is an annoyance that does not enhance my children's education. If I didn;t have to do these things and keep records and go to evaluations and waste a day testing and so on, I'd have more time to spend teaching or money to take a field trip.

 

So what DO the regs in my state do? Stress and annoy me.

Edited by Rebel Yell
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It would be interesting to know. And while my knee-jerk reaction is to say no, who knows. There aren't studies about it that I know of.

 

I would guess that if there was a single factor that you could engineer to improve homeschool outcomes in a community, it wouldn't be the state checking in, it would be the strength of the homeschool community - whether there are good co-op options, good classes available, opportunities for newbies to find informal mentors, an open attitude, a general pro-academic attitude, etc.

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As an example, Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana have very "lax" rules but in all those states still require parents teach certain things to the kids. In some places, no one checks normally, presumably they do if there's some controversy or investigation, but still, one is supposed to provide an equivalent education in the same basic subjects.

 

I had a funny conversation with my grandma recently, who wanted to know if I would be homeschooling my children (future tense), and she was explaining her interpretation of the rules in her state. I couldn't figure out if she approved or not, but she seemed to dwell on the fact that they had to prove the kids were learning the regular subjects. I don't know if it was discreet fishing or complaining or what it was, but I assured her that we have to teach all the subjects (english, math, history, science...) in my state too, just as in her state. As I said, I wasn't sure where the conversation was going, but I imagine it is valuable to inform people that they cannot just skip certain subjects.

 

I also think there is likely something adviseable about PA laws of periodic medical, dental, and vision exams. I think it's a good thing when schools catch kids with, say, vision or hearing problems in school screenings, and it's sad to think of this happening and I can understand why the state would want some assurances that a child has someone else check that the child is healthy and doesn't have any overlooked health problems. It's easy to happen. I have seen it happen, and not out of malicious intent or neglect.

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But - in all honesty - her children probably wouldn't do better in public/private/charter school.

 

Probably might be the correct word to use here (as you did), but it's certainly not a definite. We have a few kids each year who do well in spite of their parents and home life. They are very inspiring students. Left at home on their own with a similar parental lack of involvement I don't think they'd have a chance to be doing as well. Some hold down jobs too. One was paying their mortgage with her job. :glare:

 

 

We submit standardized test scores in each grade,

 

Your location lists PA... in PA we only need test scores in 3rd, 5th, and 8th. ;)

 

I'll repeat that regulations aren't needed for anyone on the Hive. If we care enough to be here, we're also doing something for our kids - far more than some parents do. BUT, I'm glad my state has regulations so that some of those kids whose parents don't care end up getting enrolled in school and have a chance. They may not do better, but they have a chance to do so. In a non-regulated state - even with the NJ regs posted above - I can't imagine anyone would have the actual "teeth" to get anything done. In our district, kids who don't have an intent filed and aren't registered in a school get followed up on. Someone is looking out for them and I'm glad about that. Parents who are doing what they are supposed to be doing are fine - no hassle - aside from a little bit of paperwork. They may be just doing workbooks, but at least they ARE doing workbooks (or unschooling or whatever). They aren't being 100% educationally neglected.

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BUT, I'm glad my state has regulations so that some of those kids whose parents don't care end up getting enrolled in school and have a chance. They may not do better, but they have a chance to do so. In a non-regulated state - even with the NJ regs posted above - I can't imagine anyone would have the actual "teeth" to get anything done. In our district, kids who don't have an intent filed and aren't registered in a school get followed up on. Someone is looking out for them and I'm glad about that. Parents who are doing what they are supposed to be doing are fine - no hassle - aside from a little bit of paperwork. They may be just doing workbooks, but at least they ARE doing workbooks (or unschooling or whatever). They aren't being 100% educationally neglected.

 

I don't agree.

 

1. You are making the assumption that pretty paperwork (err, portfolios) = acceptable level of teaching.

 

2. The fact that any superintendent can haul me into court before a judge if I don't pass muster (undefined!), well that's teeth to me. Having a portfolio review, where I simply have to compete against other Mothers' submissions to not look "bad," well, I could skate on that any day of the week, and not really be doing anything substantial for my children's education. I spent enough years in the corporate world -- I can make absolute muck look like gold. (...and, put it in the preferred, acceptable format.) :lol: Also, with a process in place, I can shop for an evaluator, where I can't shop for a judge (well, sort of, this is NJ!)

 

 

I'm fine with you being glad with your regulations. Just keep them on your side of the river. ;) And, I would have no problem if NJ chose to do more questioning on an individual basis if there are any concerns. The law is there to use. Just don't make me have more work by default because someone else isn't doing his/her job.

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If I moved from PA to NJ, my kids' education wouldn't change one bit. But after fullfilling 4 years of PA regs, I could easily teach someone how to push a crummy education through the hoops.

 

Notice I said *crummy* education. Pushing a nonexistant education through would require some real effort. At that rate, why not just teach the kids a thing or two? ;)

 

Personally, I have yet to meet a homeschooler of any type who would be unable to make the hypothetical cut, no matter how much I may disagree with their practices.

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So, now, I lean more towards actually wishing there were more regulation, not stupid hoop-jumping stuff like mentioned above, but things like making a yearly portfolio of their work, or having an outside person look at what you are doing. A lot of homeschooling is hidden and just having to explain to someone what you're doing might be good. Of course, I also see how it could be bad, or worthless, or stupid. :D

 

I respectfully disagree. I'm not interested in spending any time explaining what I'm doing or why to someone else. I'd rather spend that time teaching my kids.

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No- it does not improve the outcome, just as non-regulated states aren't full of slackers/coasters/non-educators.

 

 

My state has a bad reputation- but its laws are useless and/or vague. We submit objectives for the year, but can't be denied the abilty to homeschool based on them, and we don't have to meet/fulfill them.

 

We submit standardized test scores in each grade, but again can't be denied homeschooling due to scores. Waste of time and money- no test has ever told me something I didn't already know.

 

We have to do 180 days OR 900(990 secondary) hours, but do not have to prove it... even though some school districts think we do. when people check off 180 boxes (undated) in a grid, what meaning does that have?

 

We have to turn in a reading log- this item is debated in many districts- from a reading list of books only to a detailed dated/hourly description of every educational moment.

 

To me, it is an annoyance that does not enhance my children's education. If I didn;t have to do these things and keep records and go to evaluations and waste a day testing and so on, I'd have more time to spend teaching or money to take a field trip.

 

So what DO the regs in my state do? Stress and annoy me.

Exactly. Useless hoop jumping. ITA-objectives are silly because you can be incredibly vague and broad so that they apply to every single year, they can't be used against you, etc.

 

I'm sure you didn't mean to type that we are required to test every year, but again, I agree testing is silly because the standard is "sustained progress in the overall program" and test results in and of themselves can't really be used against a parent.

 

The days, the log, etc. are all silly too IMO. Counting days amuses me because we regularly engage in educational activities on weekends. I will check some weekend dates off. I'm sure there are districts that would roll their eyes at that, yet have no problem counting days where students watch non educational movies in class or go on fieldtrips to an amusement park (and I'm not talking about physics days). So I feel like they are thinking "silly homeschoolers" if I check of a box for a date that follows on a weekend., but I don't care ;) So we have to engage in a silly box-checking exercise, and even if I'm honest about it, I feel like the district will roll their eyes because I checked off weekend dates, iykwim.

 

Someone on a local group recently mentioned that their district looked at their child's reading list and said he's not reading on grade level. The mom was already well aware of this and if I remember correctly, he wasn't reading on grade level in school. She's aware of it, working on it, etc. Again, we are held to "sustained progress in the overall program." I'm sure the kid was making sustained progress according to what the mom said. There are kids who struggle with subjects and material at home, just like the would have in school. The point of the "log" is what exactly? To see if the kid is reading on grade level? But that isn't what we are held to, so it can't really be used against a HSing family, as far as I know.

 

It just seems like lots of hoop jumping and paperwork that has very little meaning, and honestly, most of it couldn't be used to "prove" anything, even if the district wasn't happy. That's why I don't feel it really proves much in terms of accountability.

 

Even in terms of subjects taught, my understanding is that legally the only subject that must be taught *every* year in PA is....fire safety. There is a list of subjects that must be covered in elementary school, but apparently those subjects don't all even have to be covered annually. The fire safety requirement means my kids review stop, drop, and roll with me, we talk about basic fire safety while we camp, we review how to exit our house and where we'd meet up if there was a house fire, and maybe they color in a worksheet. I could just stick a worksheet in there and it would count.

 

eta: to the person who said they'd like to see some sort of external oversight, in PA you have a port reviewed by an evaluator. But if someone wants to, it is very easy to find evaluators who are a-ok with very minimal compliance ports. As in, I could generate the content for the whole port in about a week's time easily. I don't think it proves much. There are many USing friendly evaluators (I don't US but am supportive because I think it can work well in many families), evaluators who are fine with minimal documentation, etc. In PA, we have to jump through the hoop of locating an evaluator, meeting with an evaluator, and paying for the cost of that evaluator in most cases (a few do offer free evaluations in some areas). The evaluator has to draft a letter saying you are doing okay, only to have to take the whole portfolio (including the evaluator letter) to the district superintendent anyway, so they can look through it.

 

Our PDE changed their website recently to say that school districts can ask for the evaluator's credentials so that they can be verified using an online database. Districts want the evaluator's SS # so they can use their online database to look up whether the teacher/evaluator is certified. But our online database for certified teachers only says whether or not they are certified, not how much experience they have evaluating at various levels (secondary vs. elementary). Our law says the evaluator has to have 2 years of experience at the level they are evaluating...the database doesn't even tell the district that info anyway. There are also 4 other types of evaluator besides a certified teacher. Some of the evaluators are not too happy about being asked to cough up their SS# since they aren't employees of the district. Basically, they are making all sorts of requests about the evaluator's credentials, but they can't even verify what the law requires using the paperwork and info they are requesting :glare:

 

In some states you take a port to an evaluator of your choice, then the evaluator's letter (but not the actual port) goes to the SD. That would at least be slightly more tolerable.

Edited by Momof3littles
too many typos!!
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So, now, I lean more towards actually wishing there were more regulation, not stupid hoop-jumping stuff like mentioned above, but things like making a yearly portfolio of their work, or having an outside person look at what you are doing. A lot of homeschooling is hidden and just having to explain to someone what you're doing might be good. Of course, I also see how it could be bad, or worthless, or stupid. :D

 

Trust me when I tell you that making a portfolio of work can be as hoop jumping as anything else. And to make it less hoop-jumping takes a huge amount of money for training and implementation.

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If I moved from PA to NJ, my kids' education wouldn't change one bit. But after fullfilling 4 years of PA regs, I could easily teach someone how to push a crummy education through the hoops.

 

Notice I said *crummy* education. Pushing a nonexistant education through would require some real effort. At that rate, why not just teach the kids a thing or two? ;)

 

Personally, I have yet to meet a homeschooler of any type who would be unable to make the hypothetical cut, no matter how much I may disagree with their practices.

 

And this is my point. There are those out there giving no education (not unschooling) and calling it homeschooling if asked. These kids deserve a chance somewhere IMO. I've seen some kids do well in school even if coming from a poor home situation. I have relatives in a no regulation state. While there may be laws saying a judge can get involved, can anyone state annual cases where it's actually happened? I would suspect there would have to be a lot of outside push and in the vast majority of cases, that just doesn't happen. My relatives know of several who do nothing and nothing happens. They mentioned it once and were told nothing could happen (told by people in authority).

 

No one can guarantee a student will do better if in school vs no education at home, but at least they have a chance even if it's slim.

 

Personally, I think most of us here are semi-blind to the whole "homeschooling" world. We know us (Hive), our friends who homeschool, and any who may share field trips or whatnot. What few see are those under that radar - using homeschooling as a name to cover up truancy. Some of these are those I see being given a chance through our regs and our really good truancy officer and guidance support at school. These don't go on to Harvard or similar, but they do get a chance at having a successful life. Some break the "cycle" and do well whether college or a trade or whatnot. Many don't, but they had a chance. Without enforcement, they have no chance.

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And this is my point. There are those out there giving no education (not unschooling) and calling it homeschooling if asked. These kids deserve a chance somewhere IMO. I've seen some kids do well in school even if coming from a poor home situation. I have relatives in a no regulation state. While there may be laws saying a judge can get involved, can anyone state annual cases where it's actually happened? I would suspect there would have to be a lot of outside push and in the vast majority of cases, that just doesn't happen. My relatives know of several who do nothing and nothing happens. They mentioned it once and were told nothing could happen (told by people in authority).

 

No one can guarantee a student will do better if in school vs no education at home, but at least they have a chance even if it's slim.

 

Personally, I think most of us here are semi-blind to the whole "homeschooling" world. We know us (Hive), our friends who homeschool, and any who may share field trips or whatnot. What few see are those under that radar - using homeschooling as a name to cover up truancy. Some of these are those I see being given a chance through our regs and our really good truancy officer and guidance support at school. These don't go on to Harvard or similar, but they do get a chance at having a successful life. Some break the "cycle" and do well whether college or a trade or whatnot. Many don't, but they had a chance. Without enforcement, they have no chance.

 

I refuse to hoop-jump for the state (IL, no less!) because someone else is breaking the law.

 

I knew a family that did nothing with their kids. Guess where they are now. If you don't care enough about your kids to actually educate them at home, you eventually don't want them around, either. They're back in public school.

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It just seems like lots of hoop jumping and paperwork that has very little meaning, and honestly, most of it couldn't be used to "prove" anything, even if the district wasn't happy. That's why I don't feel it really proves much in terms of accountability.

 

In our district, the hoop jumping by itself shows an involved parent who is working (at least somewhat) to educate their offspring. It certainly doesn't take long and is only minorly burdensome IME.

 

Those who are being neglected are those whose parents won't do the hoops. The state forces them to either do the hoops to show some involvement or put their kids in the school of their choice. FWIW, there's also paperwork involved for kids in ps. My youngest needs his medical sheet turned in this year and the first evening of school is filled with paperwork for parents - far more than I'd have to submit if I were homeschooling him. The portfolio at the end has more for homeschooling, but not the beginning paperwork.

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And this is my point. There are those out there giving no education (not unschooling) and calling it homeschooling if asked. These kids deserve a chance somewhere IMO. I've seen some kids do well in school even if coming from a poor home situation. I have relatives in a no regulation state. While there may be laws saying a judge can get involved, can anyone state annual cases where it's actually happened? I would suspect there would have to be a lot of outside push and in the vast majority of cases, that just doesn't happen. My relatives know of several who do nothing and nothing happens. They mentioned it once and were told nothing could happen (told by people in authority).

 

No one can guarantee a student will do better if in school vs no education at home, but at least they have a chance even if it's slim.

 

Personally, I think most of us here are semi-blind to the whole "homeschooling" world. We know us (Hive), our friends who homeschool, and any who may share field trips or whatnot. What few see are those under that radar - using homeschooling as a name to cover up truancy. Some of these are those I see being given a chance through our regs and our really good truancy officer and guidance support at school. These don't go on to Harvard or similar, but they do get a chance at having a successful life. Some break the "cycle" and do well whether college or a trade or whatnot. Many don't, but they had a chance. Without enforcement, they have no chance.

 

But, you are assuming that enforcement will solve their problems. It won't necessarily. I'm not sure that parents who just don't want to educate can be forced to. I've read before that the #1 predictor of educational success is parental involvement. If the Dc are sent to school chances are the parents still won't be involved in their education. If the Dc are taken away from their parents they'll end up in a foster home and I'm not sure that's going to help their education in the long run. Maybe in a foster home they might have a better chance to get educated, or maybe they might have a better chance of being abused---depends on the foster parents.

 

I agree there are some cases of educational neglect happening in the homeschooling world. In at least two of the cases I know of personally I don't think the Dc would be doing any better if they attended a b&m school. The parents, their lifestyle and attitudes are the problem. So, yes, there are some problems, but how to help is a huge question. I don't think the vast majority of homeschoolers should be made to prove themselves on paper or answer to officials b/c of a minority of neglectful parents.

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And this is my point. There are those out there giving no education (not unschooling) and calling it homeschooling if asked. These kids deserve a chance somewhere IMO. I've seen some kids do well in school even if coming from a poor home situation. I have relatives in a no regulation state. While there may be laws saying a judge can get involved, can anyone state annual cases where it's actually happened? I would suspect there would have to be a lot of outside push and in the vast majority of cases, that just doesn't happen. My relatives know of several who do nothing and nothing happens. They mentioned it once and were told nothing could happen (told by people in authority).

 

No one can guarantee a student will do better if in school vs no education at home, but at least they have a chance even if it's slim.

 

Personally, I think most of us here are semi-blind to the whole "homeschooling" world. We know us (Hive), our friends who homeschool, and any who may share field trips or whatnot. What few see are those under that radar - using homeschooling as a name to cover up truancy. Some of these are those I see being given a chance through our regs and our really good truancy officer and guidance support at school. These don't go on to Harvard or similar, but they do get a chance at having a successful life. Some break the "cycle" and do well whether college or a trade or whatnot. Many don't, but they had a chance. Without enforcement, they have no chance.

 

*For me* that's too much of a slippery slope. If the state and society is okay with investigating families suspected of serious neglect or abuse of other parenting areas only when there's red-flag evidence (as opposed to requiring all parents to go through a review and approval process each year), why in the world can't homeschooling work similarly?

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In our district, the hoop jumping by itself shows an involved parent who is working (at least somewhat) to educate their offspring. It certainly doesn't take long and is only minorly burdensome IME.

 

Those who are being neglected are those whose parents won't do the hoops. The state forces them to either do the hoops to show some involvement or put their kids in the school of their choice. FWIW, there's also paperwork involved for kids in ps. My youngest needs his medical sheet turned in this year and the first evening of school is filled with paperwork for parents - far more than I'd have to submit if I were homeschooling him. The portfolio at the end has more for homeschooling, but not the beginning paperwork.

I could easily create a port in about a week's time that made it look like we did something all year long. And I am pretty sure I could find an evaluator who would okay it.

 

I don't think the hoop jumping is minimally burdensome, fwiw. I moved into a district known to be easy to work with, and there was a personnel change. Now they are asking for things beyond the law, trying to require people to use their district-generated forms for evaluators that ask for things that go above the law's requirements, etc. They tried last year to require a 3 inch binder labeled in a certain format or it wouldn't be accepted. That stuff is ridiculous.

 

All of that is workable, no doubt. I can advocate and stand up for myself. But, it is a lot more manageable for people with higher education levels or resources at their disposal, like support groups, financial security that would allow them to have an attorney send off a letter, etc. I have those things, but I feel for people who don't, because I think it can be a LOT more intimidating to stand up for yourself and your rights if you don't have those things in your back pocket.

 

I know we are in compliance, and when/if my district gives me grief over things not in the law, I feel confident in standing up for myself and advocating for my rights. And if push comes to shove, we can afford to have an attorney fire off a letter. I think there is definitely a potential for districts to make people's lives stressful, because I still see plenty of evidence that districts overstep. If I lived in a different district, perhaps I'd view it as relatively benign hoop-jumping. I always thought of it that way too, until we moved 1.5 years ago. I moved into a pretty workable district only to have a poorly educated staff member take over the HSing stuff, and suddenly people were having to really stand up for their rights. Even after a letter from an attorney, one woman I know got a little letter saying, "we'll let it slide THIS year, but next year we expect you'll use our forms, etc." They *still* didn't get that they were overstepping and making requests that went beyond the law.

 

I consider that *more* than a little benign hoop jumping.

 

I know we'll be fine if anything ever comes up, because I'm confident in our compliance and my ability to defend myself and my rights. And if I absolutely had to, I could hire an attorney. I think that all takes a certain amount of resources, including mental and financial resources, as well as an investment of time. I find it annoying to have to use all of those resources just to deal with someone from the district who is misinformed or hasn't bothered to read the law in the first place. It can take hours and hours and a lot of stress to get things resolved in some districts. I feel for families who have to deal with that garbage. I feel for those who don't feel confident advocating for themselves, or who don't have the confidence that comes with knowing if push comes to shove, you can afford to hire an attorney.

Edited by Momof3littles
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The thing that annoys me most about my state's homeschooling regulations is that I spend my valuable time preparing the notification that is required. This includes a curriculum list and a brief descriptions of each area required to be taught. I have four "official" students this year and it took me several hours to prepare my paperwork, then I had to mail it certified just to make sure it makes the trip across town. THEN . . . when all is said and done, I get my "approval" letter back and it's missing a kid! It's just irritating that I'm required to do all this work and then apparently nobody even bothers to read it or even look it over with more than a cursory glance.

 

I had to contact them in order to have a new letter issued that included all my kids.

 

Regulation just for the sake of creating paperwork with no other purpose is frustrating!

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I'm bowing out as we all obviously have our own thoughts on this and we've made them understandable. I'm ok with agreeing to disagree.

 

Actually, I'd probably go ahead and vote to have one state (or federal) form we all needed to fill out as I think it would make life much easier. We use our district forms now (or did when my older two were homeschooling) and consider them quite the time saver... ;)

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I'm bowing out as we all obviously have our own thoughts on this and we've made them understandable. I'm ok with agreeing to disagree.

 

Actually, I'd probably go ahead and vote to have one state (or federal) form we all needed to fill out as I think it would make life much easier. We use our district forms now (or did when my older two were homeschooling) and consider them quite the time saver... ;)

Are they consistent with the law?

 

My issue with ours, to be clear, is that it asks for things beyond the scope of the law. When a district is trying to obligate HSers to use their forms, when they ask for things beyond the law, is IMO a problem.

 

I can see how it could be a time saver if you didn't object to the content of them, but I do object to giving more than the law requires. Complying with the law in our state is enough IMO...it is already a pain. I know not everyone feels that it is a big deal, but in certain districts it can be. And one personnel change can mean that your district goes from "easy to work with" to a big pain, IME.

Edited by Momof3littles
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