Alaska has some of the most lax home-schooling laws in the nation, according to a report in Sunday's Daily News. Home schooling can be a highly effective option for educated, motivated parents who have the time and expertise to handle such a profound responsibility. However, our home-schooling laws are so lax, parents don't even have to notify the state that they have a school-age child whom they are educating at home, let alone show that their children are actually learning anything.
That needs to change. These gaps in the law make it too easy for irresponsible parents like Papa Pilgrim to evade the compulsory schooling law and raise their children in ignorance.
Reform has to start with the most basic change: Requiring parents to let the state know when they are home schooling a child. As part of the process, the state could supply the parents with information about home-school support programs offered by various Alaska school districts. Parents may not be aware of those programs, which offer money for home-school educational activities and materials, such as computers.
Most fundamentally, the state needs to know whether the home-schooled children are actually getting an education. Alaska school superintendents routinely report that their districts enroll formerly home-schooled students who are far behind academically.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.