Homeschool funding grants

Representative Brian Liss’ bill (HB 1215) to provide $275 to parents or guardians of children who are homeschooled in South Dakota is a good idea. These families already pay taxes in the school district, yet currently bear the costs of their children’s education. In addition, one parent usually gives up an income because of the educational responsibilities. It seems reasonable that some of the money collected by the state could come back to the parents to help pay costs.

20 Replies to “Homeschool funding grants”

  1. caheidelberger

    It seems to be creating a very small special class favored for state funding. Why no grant to private school parents? Why no grants for supplemental education like music lessons or tutoring or SAT prep? Why home school singled out for special recognition as worthy of state funds? And why no benchmarks for performance as Governor Daugaard expects of regular teachers? By Daugaard’s logic, shouldn’t these home school parents have to show some improvement before we hand them any money? We can’t throw more money at these folks without expecting better performance, can we? And shouldn’t the grants go only to the top 20% of home school parents, just to encourage them to to better?

    1. Anonymous

      Does Liss need to follow Daugaard’s rules Cory? Daugaard is wrong on many of the three issues he proposed. Liss is right on this one.

      I’m all for voutures to the school kids and parents.

  2. Anonymous

    I love how Heidelberger gets all wound up like a top that he starts to sputter out at the end… “to to better?”… Keep sputtering Cory but I do agree with you that Daugaard’s proposal is flawed.

    No to merrit pay, No to paying math and science teachers more (let the school districts decide what is needed), yes to ending tenure.

  3. grudznick

    I will remain calm and wait for my young friend Steve to weigh in. There are a lot wiser minds on these education issues than Mr. Hiedleberger or even this Mr. Liss. I’m just saying.

  4. Cefil

    As an experienced homeschooler (we successfully homeschooled our 2 kids from k – 12) I appreciate the intention behind this bill (assuming the intention is to support homeschooling) but I do not agree with the bill itself. We *must* (to coin a phrase) Just Say No to tempting government handouts. There will inevitably be strings attached, and we become part of the problem. We become moochers. (Read “A Nation of Moochers” by Charles J. Sykes.)

    1. home school

      I homeschool and I don’t want the government setting guidlines for me but I do think it is time for parents to recieve some type of an expemption from a portion of taxes or else a small amount to cover materials.

      Also you’re not a “moocher” if you pay taxes to the school district while educating your own kids at home.

  5. troy jones

    Idea: Rather than this direct assistance, maybe the school district could approve certain text books which the district then makes available free to home school families.

    In addition to saving the money for books, the school district probably would be able to get volume discounts.

    1. Anonymous

      This maybe is a good idea, but wouldn’t the homeschoolers then have books that espouse many of the ideas or spins, such as man caused global warming, that they don’t necessarily agree with? Also with the push for laptops, at least in Watertown, we were told that books wouldn’t be needed. So the volume discount might not be there.

  6. Public School Mom

    I don’t agree with this at all. Sure they pay taxes but they have chosen to homeschool, they have decided the public schools aren’t good enough for their kids and yet they want them to participate int he public school extra curricular activities. Hmm, won’t those horrible public school kids and policies rub off on them during those activities?? And now pay them for keeping their kids at home–I don’t think so.

    1. Tina

      You seem to have a common misunderstanding of homeschooling. Many kids are not homeschooled because their parents are anti other kids or anti public school. Some suffer from health related problems or perhaps it is just they way a family chooses to educate their children.

      I know many homeschooled families and they have great kids and they often play with other kids or in sports with others. It’s not an anti public school to homeschool thing.

  7. PNR

    Here’s an idea – get rid of standards and replace them with a common set of metrics. These metrics would measure a school on several criteria – academic performance, diversity, post-high school performance of graduates, athletics, learning environment, etc. We don’t say where a school has to BE on those scales, but just publish where it IS. Then we let parents decide where to send their kids and have the money follow the kid. Some may want a school that’s got high ranks in two or three of those criteria and low ranks in others – let them know what’s what and then let them decide.

    Let’s move the government away from dictating to citizens what they must do and towards ensuring citizens are properly informed when they decide for themselves.

    But this $275 to homeschoolers is a dumb idea. Why not just cut property taxes by that much?

  8. caheidelberger

    Cefil’s right: watch out for those strings! You take taxpayer money, you answer to the taxpayers.

    It’s perfectly reasonable that we examine Liss’s proposal from Governor Daugaard’s perspective. Why should we throw more money at the home school system? What return will we get for that money? Or are you guys telling me that sometimes it’s o.k. to throw more money at teachers without expecting better results, just because we aren’t giving those teachers enough support for the work they’re already doing?

  9. caheidelberger

    PNR: we don’t cut taxes that much because we all have an obligation to support public schools, even if we don’t avail ourselves directly and daily of their services. Free universal education makes our civil society possible. Those taxes are the price you pay for civilization, whether you have one public school kids, ten home school kids, or no kids of your own.

    1. springer

      No one is disputing free universal education. A voucher system would still be free (well, nothing is free, it’s our taxes given back to us) public education; people would just have the right to get that “free” public education at an institution of their choosing for their particular child.

    2. PNR

      caheidelberger – It’s hard to say that “free universal education makes our civil society possible” when that civil society was founded at a time that free universal education didn’t exist (nor did it exist in many states for several decades afterwards).

      Beyond that, you misunderstand me. The proposal is essentially to give homeschoolers a property tax rebate of $275. Why not give everybody that tax rebate, then (i.e., cut taxes by that amount)? Simpler. Fairer. But if we’re not going to do it for everyone, then we don’t need to do it for some, regardless of which “some” is the current favorite.

      The counter-proposal is to allow the money to follow the student, regardless of where the parents chooses to send their child(ren), but to set up a measuring system that adequately informs the parents as they make their decision. Still universal, still paid for by taxpayers.

  10. Anonymous

    Why not provide the same amount to all the private religious schools as well? The same logic would seem to apply.