House Representatives David Miller, Darlene Senger, Robert Pritchard, Jerry Mitchell and Jehan Gordon are sponsoring HB 2448- Remote Educational Programs. Here's the synopsis and as in so many other Illinois bills, "a fiscal note may apply".
Miller and Gordon are Democrats. Mitchell, Pritchard and Senger are Republicans. Representative Mitchell serves as the Republican spokesperson of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.
This brand new section presented in this bill has the usual language that teacher unions like: certificated instructors required, along with clock hours for the money.
(A) they are certificated under Article 21 of this Code
(B) they meet applicable highly qualified criteria under the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001; and
(C) they have responsibility for all of the following elements of the program: planning instruction, diagnosing learning needs, prescribing content delivery through class activities, assessing learning, reporting outcomes to administrators and parents and guardians, and evaluating the effects of instruction
(4) The school district has in place a system to calculate the number of clock hours a student is participating in instruction in accordance with the remote educational program.
There is a troubling piece that seems to codify parental roles in their homes.
When do "clock hours" start and stop when a child is learning at home? How are those hours determined?
Apparently this was the first of a procession of bills to open up a state-wide virtual public school to replace the IL Virtual High School. Colin Hitt (IL Policy Institute) wrote an informative piece about Private Sector Educators, Public School Students
The Wisconsin Parents Association wrote a piece (pdf) about the Wisconsin Virtual School and public monies heading towards a Virginia company:
HB 3743 is a new Virtual Public School Acts bill and there is a troubling "home-school" portion in the bill. The sponsor for this bill is Representative Chapa LaVia. The bill is set for a hearing in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee tomorrow morning.
It has a whole section related to the "home-schooled":
(1) Make the determination if the student is approved to enroll in an Illinois Virtual School course.
(2) Make sure the student’s Illinois Virtual School course is supervised by a responsible adult.
(3) When requested by the Illinois Virtual School instructor, proctor the student’s participation in Illinois Virtual School activities or assessments.
(4) Provide payment to the Illinois Virtual School for the applicable enrollment fees.
(e) The Illinois Virtual School may not issue credit or diplomas except in the following situations:
(1) The student is home schooled. “
Did the homeschooling community ask for all of this attention in a bill related to public school at home? I should note that in HB 2448 (passed out of the Committee), it is stated that: "The home or other location outside of a school building shall not be deemed to be a public school facility. "
My question is this: Who's watching out for homeschoolers? This legislative/legal quest to poke around trying to find what works educationally for children, by seemingly trying to mimic what works for independent homeschoolers could be counter-productive.
Homeschooling successes have often occurred because no governmental strings were attached and nothing is holding back an individual child's educational needs in the home. Besides shooting the "home-schooled" out from under the much larger Illinois private school umbrella with the language in HB 3743, these educational statutes/bills are codifying what family homes are or aren't and what parental roles should and shouldn't be when and where.
All this codification of "the home". With due respect to good intentions, we should be paying very close attention to every word inserted into these bills. Let's not throw the little bits that do work under the school bus.