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Sen. Osmond introduces 3 bills to end compulsory education

Published: Monday, Dec. 2 2013 6:30 p.m. MST

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Salt Lake City, UT

I am concerned that there is a fundamental lack of responsibility, unless periodic, perhaps yearly, examinations are given to home-school students. Home-school students should have the option to attend special after school classes such as instrumental, or choral music classes in the elementary grades. Secondary schools would be problematic for home-schoolers.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

I have a relative who home-schools her child here in Utah. He is nine years and still can't read, and I mean can't read at all. These people are creating a future welfare problem and there needs to be some kind of accountability on homeschoolers.

Louisville, KY

Senator Osmond seems intent on making public education less public and (potentially) less educational.

The concept of proficiency testing has merit, but private colleges have used that to give credit where it was not really due. We need to use that tool sparingly and with some caution.

As to home schooling. I have known several home schoolers. Only a few seemed competent to teach the subjects. I have seen kids who were not able to do much math or not able to read (at age 8-9) yet they were getting no intervention as the parent just thought they were late bloomers.

Teaching is like any other profession. It takes education and/or experience to be good at it and not everyone who tries it will be proficient (just like everyone is not an accountant or an artist).

To believe that every mom or dad who wants their kid home schooled is up to the task or that curriculum (no matter how good) can provide what a good teacher can is simply naive.

Salt Lake City, UT

I support some accountability measures for parents along with teachers and students. Right now it seems that the load is on the teachers. I have students who are frequently absent as well as those who move in right before big tests - they can't pass the tests, so I am considered to be at fault. If parents do not send their kids to school, don't follow through with homework, don't come to conferences, etc., they should lose their income tax exemption for the child. Or at least, they should have to pay the costs of remediation.

Northern Utah, UT

As a public school parent and teacher, I can see both sides of the argument. Bravo to Sen. Osmond who is trying to do something! As a teacher, I struggle daily with students with behavior problems beyond their control. Plus due to federal mandates, when I see a student struggle, I have wait until a student is 2 grade levels behind their peers before they can be considered for testing for resource services. So when students struggle, I end up dealing in the end with more behavior problems or disengagement. In a Title 1 school I have seen both ends of the spectrum. Parents who care deeply, but don't know how to help their kids, parents involved in so much of their own drama they have no time for their children, and parents who simply don't care and just need a safe place for their kid to "hang". If you are going to have children you should not expect a handout...and this should also include public education. It is so unfair to well behaved children with engaged parents who constantly have to wait for their peers who lack motivation, discipline, and have parents who treat school as a daycare!

Taylorsville, 00

FTA "A Parents Bill of Rights would be created, affirming a parent's power to have their child repeat a grade or test out of subjects for credit. But students who fail to achieve academic proficiency would be required to participate in remediation, the cost of which would be charged in full or in part to their parents."

One thing not addressed here, is concerning those students that are slow because of physical or mental issues. Are they or their parents instantly punished under this 'proposal'? In addition: Is public education now considered 'a government handout' that makes us part of Romney's 47 percent? Before trying to dismantle public education, go live in areas where a majority of the population has no access to education, then compare the resultant state and consider how the U.S. could prevent becoming a third world country without universal education.

Mcallen, TX


Our country has:

* high poverty & welfare.
* high unemployment
* half its people depending on government to feed them.
* high crime rate.

Looking at the evidence.

What does this say about our government controlled schools?

Las Vegas, NV

@ Worf:

"What does this say about our government controlled schools?"

You question should be: What does this say about the PARENTS of these failing students that are causing high poverty & welfare, high unemployment, and high crime rates?

You are blaming one aspect of society for the downfall of it's citizens. The blame should be on the parents!

Sen. Osmond is right to try to get parents involved in the education of their children. Too many kids are in schools only because they are required to be. They don't care about high stakes testing, grades, etc. and neither do their parents (or rather 'parent').

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

We need more and better parental involvement in education but at the heart of this is the premise of free and fair education for all. We must maintain this if we hope to keep up with the rest of the developed world. We cannot just cast aside the non-performers and hope things will turn out right.

I applaud Mr Osmond for his efforts to better education but we need a more comprehensive look at this. Education must maintain a public focus or our country will be in deep trouble in the future. Education cannot become a haves vs have-nots scenario.

Murray, UT

Is there any language in these bills to require employers to offer employees time off (paid or unpaid) to attend the required parent teacher meetings?

Durham, NC

"The concept of proficiency testing has merit, but private colleges have used that to give credit where it was not really due. We need to use that tool sparingly and with some caution."

This begs the question of what the purpose of an education is. In my book, it is to provide proficiency in a given subject. If that knowledge was gained either through living in another place and learning the language that way, or an engineering skill learned by actually working in the field - why would book or in class leaning trump that? I know a lot of people more proficient in Spanish that their learning happened via immersion in the language can speak it much better than people who spent years in school "learning" it.

I don't discount classroom learning - but it is by far not the only, or the best way to learn many subjects.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "1covey" home school students are supposed to have access to before and after school programs, and can spend part of the day being home schooled, and part of the day at the public school. For Jr. High and Highschool students some homeschoolers have english, math, and history at home, then spend half of their day at the public school for electives and science.

What needs to be done is for the state to figure out a way to reimburse parents for each home schooled child, since it saves the state money.

To "Kings Court" and "Semi-Strong" what you have seen is the exception. Home schooled kids typically do better in college and on standardized tests than their public school peers. See "Home-school students do well first time in college" in the DN.

Logan, UT

No bad students, only bad teachers.

Bountiful, UT

Under his bill I would be forced to attend parent teacher conferences? I don't like this. I don't think such conferences are always needed. When my child is doing well it isn't necessary.

Parents who have under performing kids would have to pay for this themselves? Too often such kids have the type of parents that can't afford this. Those kind of parents typically don't have much education and have to work 1 1/2 or 2 jobs.

Before such measures are imposed on the entire state, why not impose them on Sen Osmonds district as a test case and see how it works out?

Layton, UT

I think the unintended consequence of something like this would be to drive the underachieving students into homeschooling situations, to avoid the extra expenses. State Welfare would probably increase as well, to accomodate unemployed parents, though in many cases homeschooled kids don't actually learn from their parents during the school day.

Of course if the underachievers all left the system, there would be a short-term gain in academic proficiency, but there will always be underachievers. That's what happens when you rank people by percentages... there will always be someone who scores lower than the average... in fact half the class...

I just think it would have a poor effect. I also think that every kid has a period of their educational experience where they get a poor teacher. In this system there's no accountability given to teachers, since the focus is on parents. Not sure I agree with that either.

I don't see a lot of deep thought put into this change, it seems more a reaction based upon unproven ideaology.

Boise, ID

Good policy is built on the norms not the abnormal. There will always be fringe examples where special attention is needed. It is part of the human condition. It is immutable. For those who suggest otherwise I ask them to provide an example where I am wrong. The bottom line is we make the best policies by providing for the broadest possible circumstances bounded by only safety and cost. Situations that fall outside the boundaries are best handled on a case-by-case basis. Ergo, in education, home schooling is a viable alternative as long as students stay up with their public school contemporaries. If a parent is unable to teach for whatever reason then, on a case-by-case basis, the student should be placed where he or she can learn. The state is well within its rights to demand every child be given the opportunity to become educated.

Kaysville, UT

Sen. Osmond wnats to make all these changes, however he seems to have not paid attention to our math and science scores. We are not even in the ranking and what Sen. osmond wants to do is dum us down even more. Why is he not focusing on improving the Public School System. I'm sure that Hong Kong and Korea do not have the same focus as Sen. Osmond yet they are doing very well.

Louisville, KY


First, sorry. I meant to say for profit colleges.

Second, agreed that education is to provide proficiency. Just as time in the classroom can be abused to be confused with proficiency so too can proficiency testing be abused to mean an absolute minimal exposure (just enough for credit). It could be used as a way to save money by saying the kid is sufficiently educated when that is not accurate.


Maybe. But I have seen it in two distinct regions of the country. Don't get me wrong. Some of the kids do okay. But many get tossed into the public system after several years of parental failure and then have to play catch-up. If you were monitoring their struggles, you might ascribe them (incorrectly) to the public school. In more than one case I have seen, the TV seemed to be the primary "learning" tool.

I think home schooling can work. But parents need to be vetted and the kids regularly tested to see that they are learning. Also, the best ones I have seen are in small groups where the parents share the load (one teaches science, another English, etc.).

Mcallen, TX

@apocalypse & Johnny Triumph:

You two, are not hitting the nail on the head!

The parents you are talking about, attended to the same government controlled schools as their children!

If you want to be enlightened. Visit a third, or fourth grade classroom, and witness how basic math is being taught. See how much of science classes are on the negative effects of man on the environment. Then there's history, and reading. Do you see strong, or weak, patriotism in our country?

Big Momma
St. George, UT

I don't understand how they can compare countries in the first place. In China, they only test a small portion of school age children. All of ours are tested and the results aren't too far apart. You can't even do a fair comparison because of this. It is the same for many of the other countries people try and compare us to. We test ALL of our school age students when they test only the ones who have passed tests to continue in school. I want to know why, when America has led the world in inventions and creativity,they want to change us to be more like other countries? Why are we trying to throw away a system that has made America the most advanced nation on the planet?

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