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Home-school testing unfair

Utah's superintendent of public schools wants to ensure that home-schooled children are being educated properly by yearly tests. Why are home-schoolers, with children now numbering an estimated 25,000 in the state, protesting?

Home-schooled children learn when they are ready, not on a regimented schedule, and they may have attitudes or beliefs that are different from the secular ideas now being pushed in public schools. Private and home schools obtain far better long-term results than public schools, but each child has a different field of knowledge at any given time - so what would be on the test?We need to know the reasons why so many parents are pulling their children out of public school in the first place. They are worried about safety, social environment, bias and texts and curricula, "new" values replacing traditional beliefs, emphasis on psychological and attitudinal training rather than academic achievement. They fear an all-powerful government dictating curriculum and job choice. They don't like teachers and school psychologists pressuring them to put their children on Ritalin or Prozac. They don't want Medicaid-funded, school-based clinics like they already have in Pennsylvania, where 30 sixth-grade girls were herded into a locked room for genital exams -- without parental notification (the excuse was to uncover possible sexual abuse).

When abuse or neglect is found, it should be remedied, but requiring all families to "check in" with the government each year, just in case they are criminal, is constitutionally invalid. Our government was established to serve and protect, not to dictate. If the state wants to offer free testing on a voluntary basis, they will get a better response; forcing all to be tested is a technique used in non-democratic countries, where government pushes its agenda on the children to train compliant citizens.

Ruth Lehenbauer

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