To: Rep. McKell, M.,
Subject: 1SB39 - Home School Amendments
Esteemed Representatives of the Education Committee and Mr. McKell from District 66,
I am writing you concerning 1SB39. I urge you to vote in support of this bill.
My wife and I homeschool our children (7 in all) and fully support the changes in that bill. Our children have not only learned and are learning to read, write, calculate, and create but they have taught each other in their enthusiasm and joy in learning.
Changes proposed in 1SB39 support several realities in home education. For example, the state's curriculum sequence does not work well on the small scale with one or two teachers and many ages (see the Senate's debates for a great example of a family trip, but it also is evident in day-to-day instruction). We find it cumbersome under the current law to ensure that we follow the curriculum when some ages should be learning one thing and others another, when opportunities and family structure supports a different approach with equal exposure and coverage over the long term.
Another example of reality in home education is that children often can cover a subject more quickly with the one-on-one contact and support received in the home. The state's mandate to educate for the same number of hours is unrealistic and unneeded because of the intimate learning environment.
I do appreciate the many dedicated, loving, caring teachers that put their hearts and souls into their work in this great state. I do appreciate also the freedom to select curricula and responsibility to educate our children as we put everything we are and have into their upbringing.
Opponents of 1SB39 have good desires for the welfare of children, but two realities exist that trump government oversight:
1. Utah law and Natural Rights have long established that parents are accountable to the Creator for how they raise their children and for a teacher--regardless of their concern and love for a student--to feel they are equal to parents in responsibility for a child's upbringing is a distorted societal view.
2. The current law is not being enforced and, indeed, is unenforceable without a large bureaucracy, cost, and intrusion on the rights of parents and privacy of the home. Government oversight does not, cannot, and needs not ensure the success of every student under every teacher in its purview, and much less with home school.
If a parent abrogates their responsibility to teach their children, we can trust that it will catch up with them in other, more enforceable, ways--for surely the underlying problem will be manifest.
Home education is validated in many studies and real experience, and we as a free and responsible people need to acknowledge this reality and legislatively ease the burdens of our home educating families.
Thank you for reading and considering my thoughts and for voting in favor of 1SB39.
Thank you for your service in the Legislature and your work with education in the Great State of Utah.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss this any further.
Bart Palmer, PhD.