Tightening the clamp on home education, the Michigan State Board of Education recently voted to force homeschoolers to be registered with a school on a yearly basis — not to mention having them submit to a physical inspection biannually.
This decision was pushed through with a 5 to 1 vote earlier this month to support House Bill 4498/Senate Bill 284, which was penned by Michigan lawmaker Stephanie Chang to put more restrictions on homeschoolers statewide.
One incident ruining it for all
Home School Legal Defense Association Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly argues that the legislation was imposed as an overreaction to one isolated incident.
“Board member Dr. Richard Zeile opposed the proposal, pointing out that everyone else shouldn’t be over-regulated because of one person’s criminal activity — horrific as it was,” Donnelly stated. “Zeile was referring to the case of the Detroit mother who murdered her two children and reportedly claimed later that she was homeschooling them.”
The plea for parental control and freedom over their children’s education was not fully heard by state legislators.
“Chang’s legislation was filed in spite of opposition from Detroit homeschooling families and a pronouncement from Senator Phil Pavlov, chair of the Senate Education Committee, that the bill would not be acted on,” Donnelly informed. “Dr. Zeile and fellow board member Eileen Weiser (not present for this vote) have stated they oppose attempts to ‘limit the freedom of families to choose suitable education for their children.’”
Negative campaigning at work
The HSLDA attorney insists that the power-grabbing state schools have been effective in raising public sentiment against homeschoolers with the support of local and state news hubs.
“HSLDA has observed a continuing trickle of reporting from Michigan and anti-homeschooling media outlets on the Detroit incident, apparently in an attempt to revitalize the issue and to move forward Chang’s ill-fated legislation,” Donnelly reports.
Fighting for the freedom to educate their own
Countering the negative publicity, a number of leaders within the Wolverine State have stood up to champion home educators’ rights.
“Michigan homeschooling families can be thankful for Dr. Zeile, Mrs. Weiser, Senator Pavlov and other likeminded leaders who understand that parents know their children best and should be free to direct their education without unwarranted government intrusion,” says the lawyer for HSLDA, a Christian nonprofit legal organization based in Purcellville, Virginia.
HSLDA contends that concerns over the abuse of one parent in the state should not be enough to take away the freedom of parents across the state who have their children’s best interest in mind when it comes to education.
“HSLDA condemns the alleged actions of the Detroit mother as well as any form of child abuse,” the pro-family organization proclaimed, which is working in unison with the two Michigan state organizations, INCH and CTV, to get the word out on the legislation as it moves forward. “However, the best thing to do when crimes like this are committed is to aggressively prosecute, convict and imprison the perpetrators, rather than use a tragedy for political purposes or as an excuse to impose unnecessary regulation on others.”