To: Rep. McKell, M.,
Subject: Sutherland Institute Supports SB 39
Sutherland supports SB 39 because it recognizes both the fundamental liberty interests and the responsibilities of parents who choose to home school. When a parent shows the courage and self-reliance to exercise their fundamental liberty interest and take upon themselves the full weight of educating their child through home school, they are both relieving the state of a significant burden and benefiting those in the public education system – giving them the ability to focus more on the remaining students public school students. Similarly, they continue to financially benefit the public education system through paying their full share of property and income taxes. It is fair, reasonable, and prudent to recognize these positive impacts that home school parents create for society and the state public education system by limiting unnecessary administrative and legal burdens to home school parents, as SB 39 would do.
On the other hand, it is also important to recognize home school parents’ responsibilities to educate their children, in case they later decide to exercise their right to use the public education system. SB 39 does this by giving public school officials authority to work with parent to place a home school child in their appropriate grade level, after a trial period and based on their academic abilities. In other words, SB 39 encourages responsible home schooling from parents by letting them know that there will be academic consequences for their child if the parent does not provide adequate education in home school, and then later seeks to place that education burden back on the state.
Some argue that this process would create little or no accountability for home school parents. But as any parent knows, no one is more concerned about the well-being and education of a child more than that child’s parent – every parent cares about their child. No parent who has had the heart-breaking experience of trying but being unable to help their child learn and grow academically could agree that no accountability for home school parents exists under SB 39. Additionally, the fact that not every home school experience is perfect – just as no public school experience is perfect – is insufficient reason to fail to enact good education policy.
We encourage you to support SB 39. Thank you.
Director of Policy
Director of Public Affairs