Yes, and it probably should. The bill requires that the home schooled students receive instruction from qualified individuals, and that the students be registered with the state. Both are reasonable requirements for any educational program, home schooling or otherwise.
But this is considered unacceptable by many homeschooling proponents (but not all). I found an interesting commentary from Michigan that demonstrates what I think is a widespread viewpoint among home schoolers. (Home schoolers by the way often insist that they are a diverse group, but I have seen very little dissent from the perspective shown here).
On its face, [Michigan] House Bill 5912 may seem harmless enough to the average observer. The legislation… requires parents to register their home-schooled children with local public school authorities. …
…In late February, a California court ruled that all California home-school students must be taught by certified instructors. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, representatives of the California Teachers Association went on record praising the decision. Fortunately, the Second District Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case; pending the outcome of the appeal, the previous ruling is not binding. Nonetheless, this case may have relevance for Michigan.
Requiring home-school students to have certified teachers and mandating registration are part of a slippery slope of state regulatory interference in home education….
Now, we are about to head down the slippery slope… read the following carefully …
First, state officials may force home schooling parents to register their children. Next, officials may mandate that home schools use certified teachers. Then, home-schoolers may be required to report the number of days and hours spent on each subject, then adopt a required curriculum and so on. The possible areas for state regulation of home-schoolers are endless.
Such misguided policies would affect an increasing number of Michigan families….
Where is the ‘slippery slope’? I thought slippery slopes were all about the bait and switch … first we make a rule that seems reasonable, then follows a set of outcomes that are clearly unreasonable. But here we seem to have a reasonable legislative/regulatory approach and that’s about it.
The problem here is that many homeschooling parents are nothing other than libertarians who are bringing their children along on the libertarian bandwagon. That may be a bad thing, it may be a good thing, but I do wish that such parents would admit that when confronted with the possibility. But here in this commentary we see that this is clearly the case. Much home schooling is not about safety or quality of education (as home schoolers insist). It is about being a good libertarian.
The reason that home-school instructors do not need to be certified is at the heart of the choice to home-school: Parents are seeking an alternative educational environment for their children. Of course, the strongest argument against the requirement that home-school instructors be certified is that parents, not the state, have the fundamental right to look after the welfare and rearing of their own children.
Requiring home schooling parents to register their children with local districts may seem harmless even to those amenable to home schooling, but anyone interested in preserving parental rights should be vigilant. Though registering home-schooled students may seem like merely a hassle to many Michigan residents, it may well be the first step down the wrong path.
Not convinced? Oh, sorry, you must be one of them….