I’m starting to think that education is the new ethanol: there’s always some legislative tool on hand to try to give the gravy train just a little bit more acceleration.
This year’s bludgeon is Senator Jim Wilson (D-Tahlequah), who ran against Dan Boren in the OK 2 primary last year, presumably outraged by Boren’s insufficient leftishness. His instructions this year: do something about those damned homeschoolers.
Both SB 393 and SB 394 are nominally about “school attendance,” though all 393 does is delete the existing homeschool exemption from truancy laws, and 394 requires that parents of homeschoolers report to their local districts, once at the beginning of the school year, and once every semester after that to report on “academic progress.” (Text in Rich Text Format for any Oklahoma senate bill can be had here.)
I must point out that this isn’t some nifty new idea cooked up in the back room of the OEA: last year Mary Easley (D-Tulsa) introduced a bill very much like Wilson’s SB 394, prompting Brandon Dutcher to respond:
I happened to notice some empty parking lots at an Edmond public school this morning as I was driving in to work. Apparently the public schools are closed today due to inclement weather. So I was thinking you might want to consider a friendly amendment to your bill: If ever the public schools would like to notify me that they are not educating children on a given day, they could contact me at my office. It’s best not to call our home phone, as my wife is busy teaching during the day and doesn’t like to answer the phone.
Nor is this restricted to Oklahoma, either: Senator Edward D. Maloney (D-Chicago) has introduced a bill in the Illinois legislature which would require all students not in the public-school systems to register with the State Board of Education.
And none of this is a surprise, after all: if government is willing to compel you to spend money for questionable schools, it’s certainly willing to compel you to spend money for questionable fuel and questionable health-care coverage.