Under Gary Stanislawski's Senate Bill 244, virtual students who don’t log on to their program at least once a day for five days during a seven-day week would be marked absent. The schools would be required to submit to the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board a report when a student accumulates 10 absences.
Oklahoma Watch wrote an extensive report of the bill and interviewed Stanislawski. But some glaring questions go unanswered.
This bill harkens back to the days when former Sen. Jim Wilson (a Tahlequah Democrat), would threaten to put homeschool kids in jail if they are seen unattended at the park on days when public schools decide that it's a school day. The families who conduct school days in June & July would not get to apply those days in place of days in November or February. Families who take spring break during a different week of March, would also be truants.
I guess Stanislawski's bill serves to prove that Epic One On One will not be allowed to work like a homeschool. Recently, Stanislawski pushed legislation which made the Oklahoma Legislature and their Board of Virtual Schools the sponsor of Epic as a charter school, rather than a local school district. So the responsibility for policy now rests squarely upon Senate Education Chairman Stanislawski and other legislative leaders.
Many homeschool leaders warned Oklahoma families not to view a state-run curriculum as a traditional homeschool process. They are now saying; "We told you so." I disagreed with them 6 years ago, but bills like SB244 now prove I was wrong to dismiss the warning.
I don't believe Sen. Stanislawski is being deliberately harmful to the more than 40,000 home-educated students and their parents. I just think this former Jenks school board member has a mindset which doesn't comprehend the homeschoolers' needs for flexibility in format. How about waiting until we see a widespread failure of home educating, before we declare an emergency, as Stanislawski has declared.
I urge the legislature to stop this effort to restrict the families who educate their children at home. This bill could result in many home educating parents going to criminal court and facing some very adversarial district attorneys' charges.
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...