Thursday, April 19, 2007

Homeschoolers: Sharing A Letter That I Received

You'll never believe this.. or maybe you would.. and maybe you should.

I received a letter from the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence. It was sent to me signed by Julia Peterson, Special Projects Co-Ordinator.

It said this:

I am writing to tell you about a new program that will help your members increase their instructional skills and improve their children's reading abilities.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and based on recommendations by the National Reading Panel, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence has developed the reading professional program certificate, ideal for homeschool educators who want to master the theory and effective practices of reading instruction.

The American Board's comprehensive reading professional certificate program includes:
- A self assessment
- An individualized learning plan developed in collaboration with an experienced teacher
- An ABC's of Reading Instruction CD-ROM with six modules of reading acquisition and instruction
- An ABC's of reading Supplemental Study Booklet which includes activities, suggestions for classroom reading games and additional study materials
- Testing at any Pearson Vue Testing Center

We would like to establish a partnership with your organization to better provide home educators with an all inclusive reading instruction program. We are able to provide you with free materials and information for your website. Please return the enclosed response card if you are interested in receiving a complimentary copy of our ABC's of reading Instruction CD-ROM. To learn more about the American Boards' reading endorsement, please visit or contact me at 202-263-8301 or I look forward to working with you.

So are you nauseous yet??
First of all, I wondered how they got my name and address, as the envelope was made out to Judy Aron, West Hartford Homeschoolers. Second, I have a fundamental distaste for this organization seeking to "credentialize" homeschool parents. As if we cannot teach our children to read without their help and guidance and "experience".

Give me a break.

Why would I, or any homeschooling parent, want to have a "partnership" with these people? It seems they are preying upon the doubts of homeschool parents who may not think themselves capable of teaching their own children to read.. as if it were rocket science! More interestingly, this initiative is funded by the US Dept. of Education.. does that offer a hint? Looks like they are targeting homeschool parents. Are you a bit concerned yet?

Oh and by the way - their website says this:
The program fee for the reading endorsement is $250. Enroll today in the ABCTE reading certificate program by visiting MyPass. The reading certificate program is recognized as a route to the State reading endorsement for current teachers in Idaho (K-6) and in Florida for elementary teachers (K-6) and special education teachers (K-12).
If you don't think that at some point homeschool parents will be mandated to get this type of certification, then think again. These programs are being put in place. They are being funded by our government, the same government that gave us No Child Left Behind. Homeschool parents - this letter may be an invitation now, but you are peering into the future of what will be required.

There is no better reason to remain mindful of the potential of losing our current freedoms, and rejecting these types of programs outright.


Dy said...

If you don't think that at some point homeschool parents will be mandated to get this type of certification, then think again.

That was my first thought. So much of what is mandated now, in every aspect of our dealings and lives, began as a voluntary program, or a small outreach. Name it what you will, but it is ultimately control.

My second thought is, "Free? Isn't this taxpayer funded?" Don't the education departments generally cry "lack of funds" when they want more tax dollars? But they can offer these "free" programs to certify homeschoolers? Mmm, I think it's time for an audit!

Thanks for the heads up!

Tamara said...

Creepy. What your post underscores is that homeschoolers must always remember that we don't need permission or validation or accreditation from the government to teach our kids.

Such efforts on the part of the gov't to regulate our behavior (done under the guise of protecting the children's welfare) almost always lead to a curtailment of our freedoms.

Irdial said...

The first thing home schoolers have to realize is that registration is the crack into which their crowbar enters. Registration is the tool from which all control flows. This is why in the UK people are so against the idea of it. There are no requirements to register as a home schooler, and you are free to teach what you want without interference.

Obviously the busybodies here are keen to destroy all of that.

They got your mailing address (I suspect) because you are on a database somewhere. It is simple to correlate a name to an address, and by writing a blog where the posts are tagged with 'home schooling' it is easy to compile a list of authors names and then get their addresses from one of the many services that can do this.

That actually takes some work. What makes their job infinitely easier is when people voluntarily register themselves, or willingly give up their data for a little convenience.

The rule is always give a false name if you are not required to give a real one. Never register. The fact of the matter is, they cannot get everyone, and what happens is that over time, your case is just dropped because they are all too busy trying to dig themselves out from under the mountain of bureaucratic work caused by the avalanche of bad legislation introduced by the control addicts. The collapse of these systems is inevitable if people simply just ignore them.

'Unregistration' Its the future for all free people!

Anonymous said...

Astounding. I've successfully helped three children to complete literacy without government help, thankyouverymuch. Also, if the materials lack the McGuffey Readers and Speller, I'm not interested.

Seriously, haven't a huge percentage of homeschoolers pulled their children from school 'because' the child did not learn to read at school?

We should be sending homeschooling parents to teach successful methods to schoolteachers.

I don't believe my children will be able to legally homeschool their children. I agree that they are trying to woo us now, with the intent of using force later if necessary.

andrewrcampanella said...

As one of the people who helped write this letter and promote the ABCs of Reading instruction program, I want to add a piece of information to the mix. As a disclaimer, it is ABCTE's unwritten policy not to blog, but now that I've left my post there, I can respond. First, ABCTE's letter was in response to inquiries from the many homeschool parents who contacted the organization asking for access to resources they could use for reading instructional purposes. As you know, there are a lot of resources out there- but not many that are based on SBRR- Scientifically Based Reading Research. This is truly a good product- its inexpensive and helpful. You are right that nothing is FREE and I should have chosen my wording better. Taxpayers did fund ABCTE and thus, the program, but this was truly a good faith effort to help, not a backchannel method of credentialling homeschool teachers. Again, I am only writing this as a private citizen, as I'm no longer with ABCTE. But please give them a fair shake, as they were just trying to help. -Andrew Campanella

Judy Aron said...

Andrew Campanella -
Thanks for your response.
As they say: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Homeschoolers do not need credentials, and the majority of us DO in fact see this as a back door way towards that end.

Too many times I have seen voluntary programs that were "just trying to help" turn into mandatory programs. I have seen enough legislation in my lifetime purported to "help people" when in fact the underlying agenda is to lessen their rights and freedoms to choose.

In this instance I will have to say - thanks but no thanks.

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

Yes, thanks but no thanks. Even if I *DID* want to do this program, it is awfully costly and time exhaustive. Do they not realize we spend a great deal of our time teaching our children already?

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest problems I see here is in the comment written by the letter's author stating that the letter was written "in response to inquiries from the many homeschooling parents who contacted the organization asking for access to resources" If parents want to be free from government control of their children's educations then they need to take responsibility for those educations and stop asking the government to help.

Trivium Academy said...

Things that are glaring to me:

"- Testing at any Pearson Vue Testing Center"

"Funded by the U.S. Department of Education"

"reading professional program certificate" which isn't capitalized as "the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence" is, which signifies to me that this "certificate" wouldn't give you anything you don't already have.

Why can't the government come up with something more useful than trying to teach teachers that are successful? I wouldn't mind free legal services because we homeschool, or how about a discount for healthcare costs? How about a tax return for educational receipts?

Anybody with a computer can teach their children to read with "Scientifically Based reading Research". That has always struck me as funny, if the words "Scientically Based" wasn't in there, would you wonder if it was "scientifically based?"

What are you trying to convince us of? My first grader reading on a fourth grade level is doing well with an uncertified reading certificate.

: ) Jessica

Trivium Academy said...

Sorry Judy, the "what are you trying to convince us of" wasn't directed at you. : )

Redbud said...

Some of the most feared words: "I am from the government and I am here to help you." No, thanks!

Perhaps this underscores the need for the more experienced homeschoolers to encourage and support those new to homeschooling so they don't feel the need to approach the government for help. OTOH, they ought to know better. I assume they left the government schools for, among many reasons, their educational shortcomings.