Parents of homeschooled students are bristling at a pending bill in the Michigan legislature that would require families to register with the local school district, according to The Detroit News. Backers say the bill is the best way to calculate the number of students being educated in the state. Critics see it as a slippery slope towards more state involvement and regulations for homeschooling.
Homeschooling is one the rise nationally. The Home School Legal Defense Fund Association told The Detroit News that the number of students being educated at home rose from 1.1 million to 2 million since 2003.
The reasons that parents are pulling students from traditional schools are also changing. Homeschooling has often been associated with religious families, but experts in Michigan are seeing a rise in homeschooled students who have special learning needs, are academically or athletically gifted, suffer from health problems, or just don’t fit the mold of traditional public schools.
Kimberly Fannelli, who homeschools two daughters with celiac disease, told The Detroit News, “it’s scary because their health is in someone else’s hands. At the school they were at they were doing everything they could, but there’s only so much you can do.”