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alienlovechild

Home-school is so popular, some are getting suspicious

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Philippines
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More than 22,620 Texas secondary students who stopped showing up for class in 2008 were excluded from the state's dropout statistics because administrators said they were being home-schooled, according to Texas Education Agency figures.

But that's where the scrutiny of this growing population seems to end, leaving some experts convinced that schools are disguising thousands of middle and high school dropouts in this hands-off category.

While home-schooling's popularity has increased, the rate of growth concentrated in Texas' high school population is off the chart: It's nearly tripled in the last decade, including a 24 percent jump in a single year.

“That's just ridiculous,” said Brian D. Ray, founder of the National Home Education Research Institute. “It doesn't sound very believable.”

Texas' lax documentation and hands-off practices make it impossible to know how many of these students are actually being taught at home. It also opens the door to abuse of the designation, which could help school districts avoid the sanctions that come with high dropout rates, experts said.

“This is just a bad practice on the part of these schools,” said Robert Sanborn, CEO of Children at Risk, a Houston advocacy group. “Schools are beginning to use the home-schooling designation as a way to encourage students to leave or indeed for some school districts to looks like they have fewer dropouts.”

In some states, parents are required to file sworn affidavits when they withdraw their children. Many states also require families to submit curriculum, attendance records or test scores when they opt to home-school.

In Texas, the Texas Education Agency requires a “signed statement from a parent/guardian or qualified student” or “documentation of an oral statement by the parent/guardian or qualified student made within 10 days of the time the student quits attending school in the district, signed and dated by an authorized representative of the district” noting that they intend to attend home-school.

A 2008 audit of one of the Houston-area districts with the highest number of home-schooled high schoolers — Clear Creek ISD — concluded that only 167 of the 276 students had sufficient documentation from parents to meet the state's definition. Information was lacking in the other 109 cases.

Instead of asking parents to fill in the blank on why their child is leaving, the form now asks parents to check a specific box. The reasons more closely align with the state's codes, leaving less up to the interpretation of school employees, she said.

TEA spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson said electronic monitoring is triggered when districts report unusually high numbers in a certain category. She said she didn't know of any district that had been sanctioned for abusing the home-school withdrawal code.

Other districts defy the typical demographics of home-schooling. The U.S. Department of Education found that roughly 77 percent of home-schoolers are Anglo. Most are also the children of college educated, middle class parents. More than one-third of parents cited providing “religious or moral instruction” as the primary reason for their decision to home-school.

Alief's 4,150-student Elsik High — a school where 95 percent of students are minorities and 70 percent are poor — had 65 students leave in 2008 to be home-schooled. Houston CAN Academy, a public charter school, reports that 93 of its mostly poor, minority students left to be home-schooled. That's roughly 20 percent of the school's enrollment.

Yet, a review of Houston-area figures shows that home-school withdrawal rates remain minuscule at middle schools in the region, raising a red flag among experts. If withdrawals were increasing for religious reasons, that should be apparent across grade levels, Ray said.

The Texas Home School Coalition estimates that more than 300,000 Texas children are home-schooled, with an annual growth rate around 7 percent since the mid-1990s. Leaders also estimate that between 2 and 3 percent of all Texas students are educated at home.

Once families withdraw from public school, there is no follow-up.

“It's parental choice,” the TEA's Culbertson said.

Even the state's biggest proponents of home-schooling admit that the structure is vulnerable to fraud.

“That seems to me to be a loophole,” said Tim Lambert, president of the Texas Home School Coalition.

The problem is not among legitimate home-schoolers, but among public school officials trying to run off problem students, Lambert said.

“We call it dumping,” he explained. Some advocates complain that Spanish-speaking and special-needs student are especially vulnerable to being pushed out of public schools.

But advocates adamantly resist any efforts to tighten regulations on home-schoolers. The best answer, Lambert said, is to tighten the regulations on public schools who mark these so-called “leaver codes” when students withdraw.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6999109.html


David & Lalai

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“We call it dumping,” he explained. Some advocates complain that Spanish-speaking and special-needs student are especially vulnerable to being pushed out of public schools.

It was both interesting and ridiculous to hear that thanks to some with x political views, schools here in VA do not mandate teaching English to Spanish kids. Apparently they don't want to push American culture onto them. That is regardless of the fact that a number of these kids were actually born here.

Therefore, what do people think these kids are going to do? How can anyone get through middle school let alone go to college when they don't speak English? This is just another example of a certain ideologies actions having negative consequences; which they conveniently ignore.


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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Philippines
Timeline

We call it dumping, he explained. Some advocates complain that Spanish-speaking and special-needs student are especially vulnerable to being pushed out of public schools.

It was both interesting and ridiculous to hear that thanks to some with x political views, schools here in VA do not mandate teaching English to Spanish kids. Apparently they don't want to push American culture onto them. That is regardless of the fact that a number of these kids were actually born here.

Therefore, what do people think these kids are going to do? How can anyone get through middle school let alone go to college when they don't speak English? This is just another example of a certain ideologies actions having negative consequences; which they conveniently ignore.

I don't buy the "dumping" by schools angle as it's hard to kick out kids out of school fearing a lawsuit and charges of racial discrimination. Dumping special needs kids is an ADA violation and not many schools want to get hit with lawsuits.

Edited by alienlovechild

David & Lalai

th_ourweddingscrapbook-1.jpg

aneska1-3-1-1.gif

Greencard Received Date: July 3, 2009

Lifting of Conditions : March 18, 2011

I-751 Application Sent: April 23, 2011

Biometrics: June 9, 2011

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