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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Let The Harrassment Begin

I have been watching and reading a lot of education shenanigans lately. Schools are losing funding, and they are starting to panic. First let me say I have never been bothered by my local school board. However, I have been reading articles from IL and FL about parents being harassed by the local school district. One particular district in South Florida is telling parents all kinds of things that are not true. Like they have to show grades, and they need to keep their portfolio to go over with other teachers to see if anything needs to be added. If you live in FL, and homeschool, these are not requirements by the education laws. In FL you must meet 3 requirements: keep a log of daily activities, document a reading list, and have samples of work. You must also be evaluated each year by a certified teacher, or other means allowed under the statute, and keep your portfolio for two years. This is your burden under the homeschool laws. School districts do not have the power to add requirements to this. They can not tell you that you have to grade papers, teach this, or not teach that. They can request in writing, with 15 days notice, to see your log of activities, reading list, and samples of work done. They can not keep it to so called go over with other teachers, and they can not tell you that you did not teach something you were supposed to. If they have your evaluation I see no reason for them to even request this, other than to try and intimidate and harass you. You do not ever have to let them enter your home, and you can show the info to them in a public place, if you so desired. Even then if they find you are missing one of the three requirements you have one year to remediate and fix the issue. I would recommend someone accompanying you, and keeping good records should this ever happen to you.

Florida is a state with high unemployment and with seasonal and migrating workers, school districts gain and lose students each year. Right here where I live, unemployment is 10.2%, and our new governor wants to cut school spending by 10%. The education system in FL, is already not one of the greatest, so losing funding is not a great thing. Our very small school district reported that admissions were down like 6%, that is a lot for a very small school. Schools are going to start feeling the pinch, but they need to come up with better ways to meet their budgets than harassing homeschoolers into putting their kids back into the public school system. If you are having issues in your school district you can contact HSLDA, even if you are not a member you can report issues to them. You can also become a member, it is not expensive and they will help you with legal issues that arise. You can also contact The Home Education Foundation which will get you to Brenda Dickinson, a homeschool lobbyist in Florida who helped write our state's homeschool laws.
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Anne said...

I never thought of homeschooling effecting the school district funding. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) we don't get a lot of funding from the state so homeschooling doesn't really impact our budget (although I guess it would if there were a lot more). I do have friends with kids in special education who are fighting for services as budgets get cut).

Melissa said...

At this point, in FL, all states are different, it effects public school funding in the sense if you pull your child from public school to homeschool that effects their funding. The less children you have enrolled in public school the less funding they get. If they can change the laws to make homeschoolers show attendance or things like that, then they could try to count them in funding. It is complicated and difficult. Some schools up north, like NY, have very high regulations for homeschool, and I believe require attendance be kept.

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