Friday, January 30, 2009

Oklahoma 'ahead of the curve'

My friend Bob Holland, a senior fellow for education policy at the Heartland Institute, has an excellent letter to the editor in today's Oklahoman. "Homeschooling has become one of the most positive trends in American education over the past few decades," he writes.

Today, an estimated 2 million children are homeschooled; 20 years ago there were only a few thousand. Moreover, their academic and social achievements are numerous. For instance, home-schooled youngsters regularly win or place high in the National Spelling Bee, and many studies have documented their solid academic achievement.

Oklahoma was ahead of the curve in recognizing and protecting the freedom of parents to educate their children at home. It adopted a constitutional provision guaranteeing this right 102 years ago; it remains the only state to have done so. All states now allow homeschooling by statute, but Oklahoma's laws are among the top 10 in providing a favorable regulatory climate.

Therefore, your editorial was right on the mark in decrying an attempt to require homeschooling parents to sign up on a state registry and report regularly to state bureaucrats. Surely there are better ways to ferret out a few cases of parental neglect than making all families wards of the state.

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