School Board Chairman Concerned With Home Schooling

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On this, the first day of school for many across Kansas, there’s a new question about whether the state should be making “home school rules.”

People of the side of privately owned home school say “no” to an issue raised by the chairman of the state’s board of education. He wants the legislature to find out if all homeschooled students are actually being taught.

"It has been fun; it has been challenging. It has been hard work, but we loved it," says Talita Stoltz, who homeschools children.

Derrick and Talita Stoltz, pastors of Christ Life Ministries, homeschool two daughters, 13-year-old Melinda, an 8th grader, and 10-year-old Mikala, a 5th grader. Two older daughters were homeschooled until they reached high school. Homeschooling is an experience the Stoltzs say they wouldn’t change.

"I love it,” Talita says. “It is hard work. It takes a lot of my time."

She says it’s their way of instilling their beliefs in the children. But what concerns the education board chairman are stories he’s heard of parents saying they’re homeschooling, but instead the children are simply home babysitting younger siblings.

Kansas Board of Education Chairman David Dennis says, "What the concern that I have is are we meeting the needs of all the students in the state of Kansas to give them an education?"

Dennis wants legislators to consider whether laws need to be enacted to ensure all being homeschooled are getting a good education.

"The state board of education has no jurisdiction over non-accredited private schools," says Scott Woodruff of the Home School Legal Defense Association.

That’s a point Dennis doesn’t dispute but asks, from a moral standpoint, if the state should get involved. Woodruff says making laws based on anecdotal stories leads to bad legislation.

"And the facts are that adding more legislation does not help homeschool kids," Woodruff says.

Right now, the homeschooling parents bear responsibility.

Dennis says, “The vast majority of homeschooled kids in Kansas are getting a good education.” He adds he’s just worried about those instances where they’re not being taught.

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