Friday, May 25, 2007

CT Pandemic Legislation - Is It Anti-Homeschool?

In the wake of Katrina many people turned to homeschooling to educate their kids.. and some never went back to the government schools..
It looks like CT wants to prevent that from happening.. especially as people are worried about things like a flu pandemic.
Neither rain or snow or pandemic, no matter what emergency arises you must still "do school" as the administrators demand it to be done. Seems to me they don't want parents to make their own educational choices in a crisis, but instead will promote doing government school at home, or some other remote location. I think logging into some remote site in order for junior to complete worksheets and "word-finds" might be somewhat low on people's "to do" list when they are fighting for survival. Also, do they honestly think people will have electricity to get their lessons on the Internet or cable TV? But I guess this type of legislation makes the legislature "feel good".

Here is the bill and it is wending it's way through our CT legislature.

It says this:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) The Department of Education, in consultation with Departments of Public Health, Information Technology and Public Utility Control, shall study and make recommendations for developing a plan to provide instruction and other educational services on a remote basis to students in grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive, in the event of school closings or mass student or teacher absences due to a pandemic or other crisis in the state. The study shall:

(1) Assess how the state's current emergency plans address instructional issues, including the role of state and local education officials in those plans;

(2) Analyze alternative systems for delivering remote instruction to students outside of school facilities, such as through the Internet or broadcast or cable television, along with the technical and infrastructure requirements for each delivery system;

(3) Evaluate the educational issues raised by remote instruction, including the type and duration of the instruction, the state and local agencies and educational personnel involved, the curriculum to be used, the suitability of existing public or private on-line or broadcast educational programs, how students and teachers would interact and how students' work would be evaluated; and

(4) Estimate the cost of providing remote instruction during a pandemic or other crisis and identify sources of funding for planning for and delivering such services.

(b) Not later than February 6, 2008, the Department of Education shall, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, report its findings in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section and any recommendations for legislation to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education.
These State agencies simply must have a plan to maintain control over kids' education even during a crisis. Can't have these kids turn to homeschooling in an emergency.. they might not ever go back when things return to normal.

By the way .. homeschooling families did an incredible job pitching in with relief efforts.. kudos to them all! and thanks to Ann Zeise for posting the relief efforts on her website. Even if it is a bit of old news, it's nice to see how many programs were established to help Katrina victims.

Your thoughts on the issue?