Ohio State Senator Capri Cafaro has proposed a law that would force every homeschooling family in Ohio to come under the watchful stare of the government. The law would require that every family that wishes to homeschool would have to first meet with and be approved by Ohio’s Social Services.
Senate Bill (SB) 248 was introduced on December 3, 2013, and would require children’s services to review all homeschool notices to determine whether homeschooling is “in the best interest of the child.” Under this proposed legislation, children’s services would be required to meet with parents who choose to homeschool and conduct separate in-person interviews with each of their children. Children’s services would then make a recommendation for or against the excuse from compulsory school attendance.
Children’s services would automatically be required to recommend against homeschooling if they determine it is not in the child’s “best interest” or if the family has any record of a child welfare investigation, regardless of the result of that investigation. If there is a recommendation against homeschooling, the superintendent would be ordered to delay excusing the children for homeschooling until the family participates in a CPS parenting “intervention.”
The effect of the bill would require children’s services to divert time and resources away from true child abuse investigations in order to review homeschool plans which they are neither prepared nor qualified to evaluate.
This bill is breathtaking in its attempt to impose unreasonable government intrusion on Ohio families.
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) says that this bill suggested by Senator Cafaro may be the “worst-ever homeschool law proposed.”
There are a few major issues with that should jump out at us when we consider this bill. The first one is simply the audacity of the state government to even consider this bill. The proposed legislation is a massive overreach by legislators who must be so blinded by hubris that they actually believe that the government has the right to dictate to parents how their children should be educated. This isn’t some random application of this idea. Culturally, we have seen the state growing more and more bold with its paternalistic agenda – but it is amazing to watch legislators act as if they truly know better than you what is best for your child.
The second issue that should leap off the page at us is that America’s public education system is failing horribly. Study after study shows that home schooled children test higher than their public school counterparts, excel in college and may even be more productive in society post-college. The real question is, with all of these proven benefits to homeschooling, shouldn’t parents who prefer public education be the ones being interrogated by the state? Of course, I’m joking. But you see how ridiculous that sounds, right? It sounds just as ridiculous to hear someone say that homeschooling families should be investigated simply because they prefer homeschooling.
The third and last issue is that the social services department in most states is already stretched thin and overtaxed. All over the country, children who truly need child protective services fall through the cracks each day, and now Ohio is considering adding a new burden to this department? It’s a ridiculous plan. Passing this law will only create more problems and lead to more abuse and death.
This plan from Ohio Democrats deserves to be ridiculed, and Ms. Cafaro in particular should be ashamed she ever thought of the idea. The answer to our problems isn’t always more government (in fact it hardly ever is) — sometimes it’s just common sense.