Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Maryland Homeschooling

While the national debate about education is about coming up with a single national curriculum rather than fifty state versions, the debate that is not happening is about homeschool rules. Each state has its own rules and regulations about homeschooling. I think it's fascinating that these questions are too hot for any politician to handle. It's also interesting how dramatically different the Maryland homeschool rules are from say Alabama homeschooling rules.

If I've understood correctly, in Maryland, the families are required to meet with the board of education twice during the school year for a review of the program. As I've heard, while this seems scary, they actually send out very positive supportive well-informed people who seem to have a constructive relationship with the families.

In contrast, in Alabama, homeschooling is basically not allowed under that name unless the parent is a certified teacher. Families must join these bogus "cover schools" which are basically private schools organized to provide an umbrella or cover for homeschoolers.

For homeschooling in Florida, there are cover schools but many homeschoolers take the option of notifying their school board that they intend to homeschool and then fulfill the annual requirement of getting their child reviewed by a certified teacher or other formal annual review.


Ruralmama said...

Maybe it's just because I'm a Libertarian, but I really find the idea of a national "policy" about school revolting. I just plain want less government! If my state wants me to jump though hoops (and MN doesn't) then I can fight the state or move to one that's more open-minded. That's supposed to be the beauty of a republic. But alas! Another fine pile of "change" for us to swallow. (grumble, grumble, grumble)

BBat50 said...

In terms of homeschool laws, I'm a believer in leave it to the states. The states are really different in terms of situation. Alaska is differen than Rhode Island for these questions.

In terms of public schools, I'm in favor of national standards. I think it's inane and EXPENSIVE that we pay for curriculum people at the federal, state, and county level. At the federal level, they spend a lot to develop educational standard guidelines. At the state level, since it's not indepth and states like to fiddle, they have people doing more work filling it out. And at the district level, they try to reconcile the standards with actual textbooks and school years.

Other countries have a lot less bureaucracy by doing it at the federal level indepth and right. Simpler, cheaper, less waste.