The halls of the State Capitol are crammed this morning with what appear to be hundreds of homeschooling parents, kids and supporters, here for a hearing on a regulatory bill from which the sponsor already is reportedly is backing off.
The bill would make home-school kids register with the state Board of Education. Currently there are no regulations. The sponsor, Sen. Ed Maloney, D-Chicago, originally presented the bill as merely a way for the state to know how many kids there are who are homeschooled, as they are currently completely off the radar.
"It's as simple as that,'' he told the conservative website Illinois Review last week.
Not so simple, as it turns out. Religious, libertarian, conservative and other websites have erupted with the issue in the past week, culminating in the crowd outside the hearing room right now.
There are reports that Maloney has pulled the legislation (SB 136), though it's still currently in the system. In any case, the expectation around here is that lawmakers will quickly drop this thing once they get a look at all these angry moms, and get back to not balancing the budget.
The hearing starts shortly. We'll update here.