American FlagHaving a bit of a decision to make this evening on one of the positions on my local political ballot here in Indiana. It’s for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. The choices are:

Here’s the challenge this evening. I have a number of friends that are educators and a few them may have their positions eliminated if Bennett is elected because he has stated that one of his budget cutting measures would be to eliminate fine arts instruction from schools. Glenda Ritz on the other hand has stated that she is probably interested in implementing new, additional policies on homeschooling for the state of Indiana.

Honestly, I’m not necessarily opposed to Indiana increasing some of the oversight of homeschoolers in our state. As Ritz stated, I believe homeschooling probably is being abused by families in our state and I believe that that is a disservice to those children affected as well as society as a whole if these children are not educated appropriately. I’ll withhold the entire debate of what it means to be “educated” for another post. However, the more appropriate action in this case is probably not more or additional policies, but to just enforce those that are already in place in the state.

This statement was agreed on by the HSLDA in a recent article:

First, homeschooling is regulated in Indiana. There are several code provisions and Indiana case law that applies to anyone who want to teach their children at home. If, and I mean “if,” this situation Ms. Ritz mentioned is actually happening, these provisions of Indiana law can be applied to ensure that children are being educated.

For instance, local attendance officers can bring a case to enforce the compulsory school attendance provisions of Indiana law. They can also serve notice on any parent whose child is out of school illegally. Parents who are convicted of failure to send a child to school can be imprisoned up to 180 days and fined up to $1,000 dollars.

In Indiana a parent conducting a homeschool program is legally recognized as operating a nonpublic school. Among other things, they must maintain certain records to provide evidence that their child is legally attending their homeschool program and receiving instruction that is equivalent to that given in the public schools. Homeschoolers in Indiana don’t need any further regulation.

As with many of my other political arguments. In general, we don’t need MORE regulation. We need enforcement of EXISTING policies and regulations. It still astonishes me when people think a new law will somehow be the one a criminal (or someone not interested in obeying laws) will agree to not break.

But, does that mean I vote for Bennett? Not necessarily. I absolutely believe that fine arts programs are important in schools. I believe there are plenty of other areas to cut funding in, or perhaps the better solution is to change how resources are made available and established for schools and educators. I don’t want my friends to be out of jobs either. Where’s the balance?

In the end, there’s no guarantee that Ritz won’t cut programs that will impact the careers of my friends. And, no guarantee that Bennett won’t go along with initiating some additional regulations that will impact homeschooling families like myself as well.

I believe it’s important that the freedom to homeschool isn’t abused. I also believe that even though we’re homeschooling our children, it’s important that I’m aware and involved with what’s happening in public schools as well. I understand that homeschooling is not the best option for everyone just as public schools aren’t the best option for everyone. I know I haven’t talked to a single teacher friend yet that’s in support of Bennett. That’s got to say something.