Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission just released a series of recommendations including one shocking (but hardly surprising) one which could radically increase government oversight over homeschooled children.
The commission, created to make recommendation to prevent future Sandy Hook elementary massacres, is suggesting that the state should allow local officials the power to decide if parents should be allowed to homeschool children with behavioral or emotional challenges. How those challenges would be defined would be anybody’s guess. The idea of potential homeschooling parents being forced to bring children to be “evaluated” should make everyone wary.
Commissioner Harold I. Schwartz, psychiatrist-in-chief at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living reportedly pointed to a “risk in not addressing the social and emotional learning needs of [homeschooled] children.”
The thing is, Sandy Hook killer Adam Lanza was in public schools far longer than he was homeschooled. In fact, he was homeschooled as a desperate last resort of sorts after a battery of therapists, counselors, and teachers all failed to help the child. That isn’t to blame them. But it’s interesting to see the commission’s take on this is to increase the amount of therapists, counselors, and teachers in public schools while offering a recommendation that homeschooling be closely monitored and could possibly result in its eradication.
Matthew Hennessey, an associated editor of the City Journal whose wife homeschools their three children, wrote a well worth reading piece in which he summed it up by saying:
Nuances aside, the issues raised by the commission’s draft recommendations are fundamentally about agency: Who’s in charge of a child, and who decides how, where, and what that child learns? Is the first and final decision about a child’s development made by the family or by the state, as represented by the local school district’s trained professionals? Of course, no one wants another Newtown. It’s understandable that Connecticut residents would demand answers. But lost in the commission’s analysis is a disruptive fact: the Newtown school system did not have to scan the horizon for Lanza. He was well-known to them and his parents all but begged for help. It didn’t come, in part because it couldn’t. There are limits to what the state can do. There are limits to what even the most well-intentioned public servants can achieve. Lanza’s act was monstrous. Only in the liberal imagination could a multidisciplinary risk-assessment team have prevented it.
Governor Malloy’s handpicked commissioners have indulged a dangerous impulse, common on the left, to reorder society at the expense of the family. In the process, they have trampled on the rights of homeschoolers to raise their children as they see fit.
To be sure, the state teacher’s union is well represented on the panel, a fact that should surprise few.
This recommendation, if enforced, would have the power to essentially give local districts the power to refuse parents the right to homeschool their children.
You ready for a scary sentence from one of the draft writers?
University of Connecticut law professor Susan R. Schmeiser said, “We need a holistic approach that will follow children from birth to adulthood, identifying risk factors, reinforcing protective factors, and promoting positive development throughout.” Ah, the good intentions of pervasive government.
The commissioners insist they only desire to “make sure that kids get what kids need” but puts public school officials in charge of deciding what your children need. But isn’t one of the reasons that so many parents made the decision to homeschool their children because they’re uncomfortable with the priorities of the public schools?
How soon until officials decide it’s not healthy for a child to be homeschooled and taught that marriage is between one man and one woman? Too many crosses in the home, not enough rainbows. How long until bureaucrats consider that teaching children about the sacredness of life doesn’t allow for the proper nuance or emphasis on women’s rights? How long until the need for cultural diversity trumps the right of parents to homeschool their children?
Leftists are always making up rhymes and shouting into bullhorns about keeping the government out of their bedrooms but they certainly don’t seem to have a problem with having the government bullying their way into your home, evaluating your children, and dragging them from their kitchen tables and forcing them into government run schools.