Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Jore watch: home education and compulsory attendance

Rick Jore, C-Ronan, presented his bill to abolish compulsory education in Montana yesterday. Even if his bill gets out of committee and indeed out of the House, it has no chance of making it through the dual barriers of the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Governor's office.

But even with this likely failure, Jore has highlighted the relevant issues of personal liberty and family autonomy in a way that should help ward off bills like that sponsored by Don Ryan, D-Great Falls, to add additional regulations that parents educating their own children at home must comply with.

The only interest the state should have is whether truant troublemakers are supposed to be in school or whether their parents have assumed 24 hour direct responsibility for their behavior. Not having recently encountered gangs of destructive home-schooled children recently, Montana Headlines suspects that Sen. Ryan's concerns that truancy officers need these additional regulations are overblown.

Montana has a "leave us alone" libertarian streak that should be nurtured, not quashed. And it all starts with the children. Sen. Ryan's intrusive bill was voted down in committee 8-1, which is a good sign.


Anonymous said...

I've been a teacher in Montana for 26 1/2 years now and I've frequently thought that the quality of education would improve if it were not mandetory. I see many students who only come to school because they are required to. The problem is that there is nothing for the students who don't 'belong' in school. There needs to be many alternatives to traditional public schooling besides homeschooling and dropping out.

Yosemite1967 said...

Wow, seeing a Montana teacher who admits that compulsory attendance might not be a good thing is amazing (and awesome)! Thank you, Anonymous, for having an honest enough heart to admit it. Would that more public-school teachers were like you.

You see, some are saying that ALL of those who opposed HB 404 at the hearing yesterday were people who get their paychecks from the Montana public school system. Hmmm--I smell a little conflict of interest.

Montana Headlines said...

There are probably more Montana teachers with views that don't quite follow the party line of the teachers' unions than many would think.

Having known teachers ostracized for their attempts to disengage from the NEA and join an alternative teachers' union/association, there is little question that fears of retaliation are real.

It would be interesting to hear of any views that anonymous might have regarding alternatives to traditional public schooling.

One thought that springs to mind is that some of the best and most dedicated college students are ones who went out and worked for a living for a while. They return to education with an increased appreciation for it, and bring common-sense life experience along with it.

Of course, with child labor laws, the new minimum wage laws, and illegal immigrants taking up low-end jobs, there aren't a lot of job opportunities for a 15 year old.