I home school. I hate these tests. My two oldest tested over a year ago. I had to take them and pick them up every day for two weeks. They tested way above other students, but I already knew they would. My oldest daughter is 15 and will be taking her SAT next year. My younger son is now having to test. Do I have to go through this dog and pony show again or can I "opt-out"? What are the options for home school families.
I homeschool. How do you suggest that I opt out?
My child is homeschooled in XXXXXXX County, TN as a freshman. We have been asked to bring her to the school for testing for 85 minutes (roughly) on 8 different days. With the TNReady fiasco going on, the dates keep getting pushed. Is it too late to opt out? How does this apply to homeschooled students? I chose to homeschool for very specific reasons (i.e., being in charge of my childs education)
I homeschool my son. He has autism, auditory processing disorder, & expressive/receptive language disorder. My son attended a lab school in Kentucky & participated in the standardized testing in 3rd grade. It was torture for him & his aide. We decided to homeschool after being told that the school we were in district for had “issues” with regard to their special education department & their implementation of the IEP. To be honest, my husband, myself, my son’s behaviorist, & another therapist had to rewrite every IEP so that they contained defined, measurable goals instead of ambiguous goals that were written by the special education department. I am located in XXXXXX County, Tennessee. Is there a statute or is there a way to opt out of standardized testing for my son?
Homeschool Momma Bears, here is what the State says about TNReady:
Which got us to thinking...
Right now, Tennessee law, as specified above, allows homeschoolers to take standardized assessments administered by a professional testing service instead of TNReady. But the proposed ESA voucher legislation requires participating homeschoolers and private school students to take TNReady in Math and ELA.
We know some of you are probably wondering why the proposed ESA voucher bill omits Social Studies and Science. Well, we think we know the answer to that question. Social Studies and Science are not priorities in Tennessee's common core curriculum. So, the State pretty much sold out it's social studies standards and curriculum to someone with a lot of political clout. You can read the details in our past blog.
Under the proposed ELA voucher bill, homeschoolers accepting the ESA gift card must take TNReady in Math and ELA and there is no provision in the ESA bill which allows those home schoolers to take any other standardized test in place of TNReady. So, is this the beginning of intrusive state regulation of homeschooling?
That is a growing concern among homeschool families nationwide.
Some state homeschool associations are very careful to distinguish between homeschool and ESA "home-based" education where a family enters into a contract with the State to provide education at home.
In Arizona, ESA is separate from homeschooling, which is another legally defined education option in our state. Since ESA students taught at home have a very similar day-to-day experience as homeschooled students, there is often confusion about the distinction between the two student classifications.
As evidenced by increased legislation popping up in various states, there is a significant push nationwide to increase regulation for homeschoolers. AFHE has worked hard since its inception in the early 1980s to remove burdensome regulations that did exist for homeschooling families here in our state. In order to maintain that hard-fought freedom, it is crucial to keep homeschooling separate from taxpayer funds.
What the State funds it must oversee and regulate. This is wise stewardship of our taxpayer dollars—however, with government money comes government strings. One key element that has been a hallmark of Arizona homeschooling for more than three decades is that what we value most is our freedom.
And in Nevada, the homeschool community is also very protective of the distinction between homeschool and those accepting ESA vouchers to educate their children at home.
First and foremost, Nevada parents, who choose to use the ESA program, will NOT be “homeschooling” under NV statute. Two statutes, NRS 392.070(2) and 388D.020 allow parents, who receive NO MONEY from the state, to educate their children free from government control, although educational abuse and neglect statutes do apply as safeguards.
Second, “homeschooling” is legally defined in Nevada Revised Statutes, NRS 385.007(3) differentiating it from “home based education” through the NV-ESA. And while imitation is the best form of flattery, Nevada Homeschool Network (NHN) became alarmed when Senator Hammond introduced an amended version of his original ESA bill in April of 2015 that no one had been able to read prior to the hearing in the NV Senate Education Committee (this seems to be a pattern repeating itself in other states in 2016 and 2017 as ESA bills are being mulled over... but not available for public review).
NHN opposed the bill, SB 302, as introduced due to the Senator’s references to homeschooling in his verbal introduction of the bill. Both public school and homeschool students (but not existing private school students) were to be able to access ESA funding. Further, the Senator’s initial version attempted to use the NV homeschool law as the vehicle for this new program, blurring the distinction between a self-funded homeschool child and a child receiving a “home based” education through the government approved ESA program.
Camel's Nose under the Tent
An Indiana homeschool group has this to say about ESA vouchers:
Homeschoolers need to take this to heart whenever a legislator assures our community that ESAs will cause no harm to our liberty. Once the camel’s nose is under the tent, it is very difficult to keep him out.
As we’ve shared with homeschoolers, a new public school system is being built. We first noticed it as we read quotes from early reformers from the 1990’s. The question for homeschoolers who worked so hard to have the liberty to teach their children as they see fit, do you want to be sucked back into the public school system? We’ve seen what has happened to it over the past 50 years. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. ~ John Adams
A Texas lawyer and homeschool advocate had some sharp words about ESA vouchers:
We grumpy-pants HSLDA lawyers eat, drink, and breathe homeschooling—then we come to work. So why on earth do we oppose these so-called “ESAs”?
First, a closer examination of the name is in order. Why is it called a “savings account”? No one is saving money. The happy-sounding name belies what is really happening. For example, the full title of the “ESA” bill in Texas says, “Senate Bill 3 establishes a state-funded subsidy program called an ‘Education Savings Account.’” In other words, as Joe Biden might say, these so-called savings accounts are literally misnamed. Not to be confused with Coverdell ESAs1, these fake “ESAs” are just the old idea of vouchers from the 1990s, repackaged under another name. The funds in these accounts are not “saved” in any normal sense of the word—they are tax dollars.
And what is a tax dollar? It begins as your dollar, then through the hocus-pocus of representative democracy it becomes the government’s dollar—whether you want it to or not. After passing through various sticky agency fingers it then magically becomes 50 cents deposited in your or someone else’s state-funded voucher—er, “savings account,” to be spent with a debit card.
HSLDA believes it is not the government that is responsible for our children’s education. As a matter of first principles, we believe that parents are responsible, and that the freedom to homeschool has been won because parents took that responsibility—including the financial responsibility. “ESA” vouchers are based on the premise that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that children are educated and to fund that education.
The homeschooling movement has grown up organically, as hundreds of thousands of parents made a myriad of choices in the best interests of their very own Hunter and Taylor. Innovation, voluntary collaboration, and an entrepreneurial spirit fuel the engine of the homeschooling movement. Not tax dollars.
That sentiment is echoed by the Nevada Homeschool Network:
- We must understand and proclaim the Biblical truth; ALL parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their own children, not the state.
- When private schools/parents accept “taxpayer funding” the government sets up “accountability” measures that will limit their Liberty, that may be “choice” but it is NOT freedom.
- Independent, self-funded homeschool parents and advocates as well as private schools must stay engaged in the debate over “government funded school choice” and its impact on our Education Liberty from the state.
The Constitutional Home Educators Alliance in Oklahoma expressed their concern over ESA vouchers:
What is an ESA? While the EdChoice sect would like you to believe they are savings accounts, ESA's are nothing more than disguised government vouchers because you cannot contribute personal monies to them and you have little or no control over them. A real ESA or Education Savings Account allows private contributions from parents or family members and is not controlled by the government.
ESAs are different than tax credits, which do not increase government regulations. We are currently working on tax credit legislation for 2019 and hope to have built up a great support for this piece of legislation which will help every family with school-age chilren regardless of the method of education they choose.
After talking with legislators over the past two years, our concerns about the School Choice movement quickly turned from caution to great concern. The thought is that if homeschoolers participate with an ESA program, at the least, they should have to take an End of Instruction exam each year. While participation is voluntary at this point, the influx of new families not familiar with our struggle to remain regulation free, who see nothing negative about taking the government funds and the regulation that accompanies it, could expand the accompanying regulations over into the entire homeschool community. One of the articles below shows just how easily that can happen
Oklahoma has numerous bills introduced each session which will bring ESAs to the state. With the help of HSLDA, we are working to keep home educators excluded from these bill but they still pose a threat to parent-led and directed home education.
Is Gov. Lee turning his back on his base?
It is all becoming more and more clear....
As my friend Michael Bohr correctly states…
“Parents, who are the first and forever educators of their children, are the only people who hold the right to determine “the best interests of their child. Everyone one else has an agenda that puts their best interests over those of the child and they have done so by taking control of our government. Their hope is that we continue to fight the false battles they lay down before us and forget that we, the parents, are the sole authority in determining the education and upbringing of our children.”
“SCHOOL CHOICE” IS THE MOTHER OF ALL PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS, THAT WILL BE THE DEMISE OF EDUCATION IN AMERICA!
What has been written into the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which is the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), is NOT local control.
Additionally, Education Savings Accounts (ESA)s are an important part of the federal take-over of education.
Anita Hoge clearly laid it out.....
“Specialized Student Support Services” and “Direct Student Services” mandate equitable services to all private schools, the same as in public schools. This is referred to in the ESEA legislation as “meaningful choice.”
There are specific lists of providers that must be used, as well as, an ombudsman that will oversee compliance in private schools. This is where the mandate will force teachers to identify students as being At-Risk of not meeting College and Career Ready/Common Core as a disability and perform psychological services paid for by IDEA. These interventions are defined as positive behavior intervention and supports, PBIS, multi-tiered system of supports, MTSS, response to intervention, RTI, and early intervening services, EIS, etc.
These interventions are happening NOW because of the Flex Waivers.
By identifying students as At-Risk under Title I, ALL will receive psychological treatment and interventions on your children in private, Catholic, and Christian schools, as well as homeschools (defined as a private school.) THERE WILL BE NO ESCAPE FROM THE COLLEGE AND CAREER READY/COMMON CORE OR THE PSYCHOBABBLE IN THE LEGISLATION. Regular classroom teachers are being trained to identify children who would need services through PBIS, RTI, EIS, & MTSS.
Once EDUCATION SAVING ACCOUNTS (ESA)’s are in full operation, dedicated to each individual student, an individual career pathway meeting College and Career Ready/Common Core soft skills (Grit) interventions and a treatment plan which will be funded by direct student services known as psychobabble. Because these specialized services are defined in the legislation as psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc, these services will be mandated. These members of the psych profession will be in a position for MEDICAID TO BE BILLED FOR SPECIALIZED STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES. This is your meaningful CHOICE. Medicaid is on the scene as mental health wrap around services. Your family and child will be assigned a case manager. This initiates an individual family service plan. The federal government has just walked into your front door.
(THIS ORIGINAL PLAN WAS DRAWN UP UNDER SEC BELL UNDER THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION UNDER THE NAME “KNOWLEDGE REVOLUTION- NETWORK FOR ALL AMERICANS.” Bell has written extensively about parents not being capable to raise their own children.) https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED351771.pdf