Home School Bills Could Affect Parents' Rights

Sunday, January 25th 2009, 11:10 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Education will be a hot topic in the upcoming legislative session, especially when it comes to home schooling.

Two bills introduced in the state senate call for more accountability of home school students and what they're learning. But opponents to the measures said lawmakers are interfering with parental rights.

Jonne McKee home schooled all three of her sons, and her decision to do so was personal.

"I had the opportunity to teach them and train them in a manner that I wanted them to learn and think and be and do and not somebody else," McKee said.

And she feels she did a good job. All three of her sons are now in college.

"The benefit of homeschooling is able to proceed according to the need of the child, not at the dictate of the public school system," McKee said.

But two bills in the upcoming legislative session aim to put more state oversight on homeschooling.

Senate Bill 472 calls for home school parents to report the "student's academic progress at the end of each semester of the school year."

Senate Bill 308 deals with truancy. It gives school officials or police the right to detain a student who is away from the home during school hours. Bill 308 is sponsored by Senator Jim Wilson.

"All my purpose is to keep people from using the homeschooling excuse to avoid sending their kids to school," Senator Wilson said.

The bills are aimed at preventing abuses in homeschooling. Senator Steve Russell home schools his children but opposes both measures.

"There are a variety of reasons of why people home school. But that's a parent's choice. It's not the government's choice and the government needs to stay out of that business," Senator Russell said.

Opponents said the bills infringe too much on parent's right to educate their children.

"I just believe that the parental right would be violated according to the state constitution if these bills were enacted," McKee said.