With no evidence of a problem, Rep. Woodrow Stanley, D-Flint, wants to track homeschooled students for truancy
A Flint State Representative whose district has conventional public schools that have among the highest absentee rates in the state has introduced legislation that would mandate parents who homeschool their children be required to report attendance to the state.
Rep. Woodrow Stanley, D-Flint, said in a press release that “there are a growing number of kids becoming truant” in homeschools.
“Kids must be in school in order to learn,” Rep. Stanley said in a press release. “This bill requires parents to report their child’s attendance records, giving homeschools the same standards as public schools. Passing this bill is a no-brainer, it’s necessary for Michigan students.”
Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, questioned how Rep. Stanley could know truancy is growing in homeschools since the state doesn’t require registration of homeschool students or that such records be kept.
“There’s more evidence that truancy is a problem in the public school system than there is among homeschoolers,” Van Beek said. “There is evidence to suggest this is a problem for public schools in Flint.”
The City of Flint Public School’s attendance rate was 91.8 percent in 2009-10, which ranks 529th out of 550 districts. Flint Beecher district’s attendance rate was 91 percent in 2009-10, which was 535th out of 550 districts.
Rep. Stanley’s office didn’t respond to questions sent in an email.
There is an estimated 45,000 children being homeschooled in Michigan if the state has the same percentage of homeschooled children as the 3 percent national average.
“Public education is a service that the state offers to people, just like bus transportation,” said Karen Braun, a Canton woman who has homeschooled her six children. “I am not required to report my daily driving attendance to the MDOT. I should not be required to report my school attendance to the state schools. The state and those in the schools work for the parents, not the other way around. The state schools are accountable to the taxpayers but taxpayers (including homeschool taxpayers) are not accountable to the state schools. The taxpayer is the boss and the state is the employee. Understand that and Rep. Stanley will understand why this legislation is absurd.”