Who’s the Authority Anyway?

How do we know “you homeschoolers” are official? Who oversees you? Who’s the authority that holds you accountable anyway?

These are the questions I often hear from school officials. Sometimes I hear homeschoolers saying similar things. I believe these questions are missing the foundational concept about education–and who is the authority over it anyway?

Are Schools the Authority?

The schools would like us to believe they own the rights to education. There’s an elaborate system of accreditation and policies and procedures. And we are conditioned to go along with that system, because it’s been around for so long.

It’s part of the culture now. Kids go to school. That’s just how it is.

Except that the policies set *for* the public education system are set *by* the school officials.  They set these policies so the parents can see what the schools are doing with the student’s time. And so the community can see what their tax monies are going toward. The schools actually answer to the parents and the community with the policies.

So, I find it odd that when the parent takes back the responsibility for education. The school officials may argue with the parent about homeschooling when the student withdraws from the school. Then, if the student returns later, the school officials think the parent answers to them for what learning has been done during that time.

But, the child does not belong to the state. Yet.

What About the Community?

One time when I was talking to Molly Spearman (our state superintendent), I told her that the child does not belong to the state. The parents are ultimately responsible for their child’s education. She said,”But, we still answer to the community.”

This is another common notion. That education belongs to the community. Because the goal of education is productive citizens, right?

But, the real accountability to the community comes when there is funding from tax dollars. It’s called transparency in education. Where the money goes and what is it used for? The community deserves to know that.

Except that homeschoolers in South Carolina don’t get any funding. This is one of the reasons that homeschoolers resist taking tax breaks and government funding. Because the idea that money means more strings attached.

But, I say, proving the quality of education should really not be our “worry”. We should all strive for an excellent education. 

My concern is that more oversight policies mean it will cost more money. It actually costs all of us in the community more money to increase the oversight. Whoever implements the oversight process has to be paid. That does not happen for free.

South Carolina already has privately run accountability associations. The association directors do an amazing job promoting a high standard of quality education.

READ MORE–> about the documentation and services of our associations. 

So, Who’s the Authority?

Ultimately, the parent has to live with the individual outcome of the education system. It’s still up to the parent to advocate for the child no matter which educational setting they chose: public, private or home school.

The parents of public and private school students still make sure the homework is done. They hire tutors if the student is struggling. They advocate in the best interest of the child all along the way.

Parents may utilize the educational service and program at a public or private school. Or they may choose to DIY their child’s education at home.

It’s the parent who is the responsible party. The authority.

That’s the way the South Carolina homeschool laws are written. The parent has the right and the responsibility to educate their own children. AND Accountability associations of 50 members (or more) hold each other up to the standards and requirements of the law.

Individually and collectively, we-the-parents are the authority. We hold ourselves and each other accountable. That’s who’s the authority.

Who do you think is the authority?
Tell me in the comments

Read more about Minimum Standards of the LawAre minimum standards of law enough? Maybe you've encountered this question...or maybe even wondered this about yourself. Can this really be enough?

About Kim Andrysczyk

Homeschool veteran, Association Director, coffee addict, sarcasm expert, and accidental blogger. I'm here to encourage you thru the tough times and inspire you toward excellence. If I can make it, so can you!


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