Jonathan Zimmerman: Homeschoolers Have to be MonitoredRoundup: Historians' Take
Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of history and education at New York University and the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory" (Yale University Press). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under Pennsylvania law, I have to get my family's cars inspected every year. I can't say I enjoy it - especially when my mechanic finds my aging minivan needs an expensive repair - but I accept it. We all share the same roads, so we need to make sure our cars don't endanger other drivers.
So why are some Americans allowed to educate their children without any government inspection at all?
That's the question brewing in New Jersey, where the death of a homeschooled child prompted a recent proposal to mandate annual medical examinations of kids who are educated at home. The measure would also require homeschooling families to submit portfolios of their children's work to demonstrate that they are actually learning.
That's all as it should be. Like our cars, our children don't exist in a vacuum. They're going to drive the same roads and live in the same society as we do. So we all share an interest in what they study, absorb, and know....
Don't think the homeschoolers are all crunchy hippies or conservative, white evangelicals, either. Their ranks include Muslims, Jews, and Catholics, as well as blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. They also include well-to-do families who hire high-priced tutors, with annual fees rivaling the cost of tony private schools.
But in New Jersey and 10 other states, we really don't know what they're up to. And we should....
comments powered by Disqus
- Trump Angled for Soviet Posting In the 1980s
- Places That Are Actually Worth Visiting
- JFK’s last birthday: Gifts, champagne and wandering hands on the presidential yacht
- Bozeman schools prefer kids in class on MLK Day
- Universities across the country are facing up to their past association with slavery
- Historian David Kaiser says the most exciting day of his life was JFK’s election
- Michael Bliss, Historian Who Dispelled Myths of Insulin’s Discovery, Dies at 76
- Jill Lepore: Americans Aren't Just Divided Politically, They're Divided Over History Too
- AHA joins protest of Trump’s plan for drastic cuts to the NEH
- Diane Ravitch says the Democrats paved the way for the education secretary's efforts to privatize our public schools