Sunday, September 16, 2007

NCLB Invades Your Living Room

I missed this earlier at Home Ed Magazine's News and Commentary blog:

Miller-McKeon Discussion Draft, PDF-pages 276 - 277
‘‘(d) SHARED RESPONSIBILITIES FOR IMPROVED STUDENT ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT.—As a component of the school-level parental involvement policy developed under subsection (b), each school served under this part shall jointly develop with parents for all children served under this part a school-parent compact that outlines how parents, the entire school staff, and students will share the responsibility for improved student academic achievement and the means by which the school and parents will build and develop a partnership to help children achieve the State’s high standards. Such compact shall—
(1) describe the school’s responsibility to provide high-quality curriculum and instruction in a supportive and effective learning environment that enables the children served under this part to meet the State’s student academic achievement standards, and the ways in which each parent will be responsible for supporting their children’s learning, such as monitoring attendance, monitoring homework completion, and monitoring television watching; volunteering in their child’s classroom; and participating, as appropriate, in decisions relating to the education of their children and positive use of extracurricular time; [emphasis added]

So not only does the sheer amount of homework determine how much free time a family has to pursue family activities, but you could potentially get in trouble if you let your child watch whatever is deemed "too much" or the "wrong kind of" tv? What the heck happened to autonomy, individual rights, the freedom to just goof off, not be governed by the state for every little thing? And what exactly is "positive use" of extracurricular time? The way they word that last bit, it makes it look as though life is either "school" or "extracurricular" and nothing else.

Is anyone else the slightest bit worried about where this is headed? I had a discussion with a friend a couple years ago about the home instruction statute, and she felt that oversight was necessary (in our case in Va, in the form of proof of progress each year) to protect the kids who might be neglected otherwise, where I completely disagree. I feel it's not their business, and that it's intrusive.

(And of course, there are going to be kids who are being neglected that the schools can't possibly catch just because parents turn in a test once a year. They have kids enrolled and in school, in their faces everyday, that slip by, not to mention the kids whose parents just don't enroll them in school or notify the school division that they are going to homeschool them. That's a whole 'nother discussion, though, and not something the home instruction statute needs to cover. Neglect is already against the law!)

I said to my friend that while oversight at this level might be tolerable and even welcome by her (because she feels it's for the greater good of those who can't protect themselves), what about when it turns into something she wouldn't find tolerable, such as a home inspection (are you up to their "standards?") or dietary requirements, for example. What if they want to check your pantry? Then will you stand up and take notice? It's like the saying about boiling a frog slowly and it won't even realize the water's getting hotter. People feel it will never get to that point, but I think the passage above shows we're moving in that directions, steadily and slowly, maybe, but it's coming. Unless we do something about it.

HT to Daryl. And I really liked the title of his post on the subject. :) But I try not to swear on my blog, so I enjoy his lack of inhibitions.

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