Activists Seek to Increase Government Scrutiny Over Homeschool Families

As homeschooling becomes more and more acceptable as a viable alternative to public education, it's unsurprising that some are concerned about homeschooling. For example, are students actually being taught? What are they being taught?

Many people can understand the concerns, even if everyone doesn't. What is troubling is that now a couple of activists—who claim to be Republicans, by the way—are pushing for more oversight over homeschool families.

This is part of the volunteer work Hunt and Green do. They do it for those in need and for themselves, channeling the hurt and anger over their pasts into advocacy.

Hunt and Green are members of a loose network of Washington-area home-schooled adults who are leading a quiet insurgency against what they say are the worst elements of home schooling, from educational neglect to physical and sexual abuse, to debilitating social alienation. Their efforts are scattered and their experiences varied, but a passion for change is what connects them.

Even some who say they’re glad they were home-schooled — people such as Daniel Silver, a 29-year-old Woodbridge, Va., college student — see room for improvement. It was Silver who alerted Green to Hertzler’s situation.

The regulation advocates want stronger oversight, methods to monitor the quality of the education and ways to protect children from the dangers that can unfold behind a family’s closed doors.

This was spurred by a young woman whose fundamentalist Christian parents took away her laptop and cell phone after the woman refused to bow to their wishes regarding higher education. The parents claimed they felt her going to college wasn't part of God's plan for her life.

Unfortunately, this effort is a very slippery slope, and one would think Republicans—you know, members of the party for smaller, less intrusive government—would understand that. After all, what behavior is off limits?

While no one believes physical or sexual abuse is acceptable—no one sane, at least—and neglect is also off the table, what Hertzler reported sounds nothing like any of that. Instead, it sounds like parenting according to the parents' own principles.

And this is where we start to see the slippery slope. The original article presents Hertzler's laptop and cell phone being taken away as some sort of heinous effort to sever her from the rest of the world, but what was the context?  Was it an effort to sever her ties with the outside world, or was it a temporary measure used to punish a disrespectful child?

After all, we only have one side of the story here.

Yet that side of the story is presented like the poster child for why more oversight is needed, but that leads one to ask where the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior will be drawn.  It sounds like these two activists want it drawn in a completely different place than most of us would.