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Nanny State Spanked by Homeschooling Parents in Illinois

February 28, 2011

As the elected officials of the Senate Education Committee gaveled to order their hearing regarding SB136, a bill that would mandate the registration of homeschooled children with state bureaucrats, a gathering of an estimated 4000 homeschoolers filled the room to capacity and overflowed into the Capitol.

The belief that Thomas Jefferson held that parents are the rightful protectors of their children’s education came to life in the sanctuary of the nanny state, and in a moving moment the homeschoolers sang the National Anthem, as well as America the Beautiful, God Bless America, and Amazing Grace.

As one homeschooling mom put it, “This is not a rally.  This is not a protest of any kind.  We’re just all here in favor of homeschooling and opposed to Senate Bill 136.”  Uncertain as to the State’s concern she said, “Almost all of the homeschoolers I’ve ever met have been very conscientious and provide their children with more than the seven hour school day.  We have endeavored to ensure that every thing our kids do, basically, is of an educational nature.”  If only the same could be said of our failing public schools.

Senator Sam McCann (R) stated, “I think the biggest problem that most of these folks have with it, and that I have with it, the reason that I couldn’t support this bill is that it simply calls for registration of homeschoolers and then it gives all the rules and regulation authority to the State Board of Education. And I think that the folks here are afraid of what state government and the bureaucracy attached to state government might turn a simple registration bill in to.”

Apparently Senator McCann’s concerns were well founded, since during the testimony an exchange between Senator David Luechtefeld (R) and Truancy Officer Bill Reynolds revealed this [Emphasis mine]:

Senator Luechtefeld: “And then you would go to their home and check on them since they’re registered?”

Truancy Officer:  “I would go to the home and offer my help.”

Senator Luechtefeld: “But you don’t know they need help. You said you’ve not seen them and no one’s reported them.”

Truancy Officer:  “But if they register, then I have, I think I have the obligation to see if I can help because…”

Senator Luechtefeld: “So are you going to go into any…person who registers, will you be going then into the home and go by and say ‘Can I help?’”

Truancy Officer: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Luechtefeld: “Of even the people who are doing the really good job? Because you don’t know ahead of time which one…”

Truancy Officer: “That’s exactly right. And I’ll know…very quickly as I knock on the door; the ones that are doing a great job won’t let me go. They’ll want me to come in. The ones that say ‘We don’t want you around,’ well then I need to take other actions.”

Senator Luechtefeld: “I guess I don’t see…how this changes things other than the fact that they’re registered.”

Truancy Officer: “It gives me the names and the opportunity.”

Ronald Reagan had a famous quote, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Mr. Bill did it in eight.

While Senator Maloney wisely tabled the bill, we should remain vigilant.  Of one thing I am certain, as long as citizens care as much as these homeschoolers did in confronting our overreaching bureaucrats, the Republic may yet endure.

Copyright 2011 Julie Schmidt.

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