It's About the Money

This is the story of a family that is homeschooling…by default.  It’s an unbelievable story reported by the Chicago Tribune.  Here’s a brief synopsis.


Sebastian is a six-year-old first grader who lives with his single, divorced mother in Homewood, IL, a suburb of Chicago.  His mother, who has legal custody of Sebastian, is a neonatal transport nurse who works 12-hour nightshifts several times a week.  On the nights when his mother works, Sebastian sleeps at his grandmother’s house in another suburb.  Then in the morning, either his father or his grandmother drive him to school, or on occassion, to the bus stop near his house in Homewood. 


According to district officials, Sebastian told "someone at school that he doesn’t live in town, he just comes to school here".  After an investigation which began back in October, and evidently did not involve questioning the boy’s parents, the district removed Sebastian from school on December 10th.  He has not been allowed to return.  Authorities in Beecher, IL, where Sebastian’s dad lives, will not allow Sebastian to attend school there, because his dad is not the "residential parent".  And Homewood WILL NOT back down.  Never mind the fact that Sebastian spends the majority of his nights at home with his mother in a Homewood house owned by his tax-paying great-grandmother.  Never mind that the reason he doesn’t sleep in Homewood every night is that his mother is a hard-working single mother.  Never mind that the Illinois State Board of Education bases residency on the parent who has legal custody.  Never mind logic. 


So Sebastian is being homeschooled while his parents try to force his school district to give him an education. 




If this was just an individual case, it would be just that, an unbelievable story. 


But this story is important for a much bigger reason.  In fact, Homewood’s seemingly illogical stand is somewhat justified.  Parents all over the country are violating residency rules and attempting to cheat their way into good schools and school districts.  Homewood alone removes 20-25 "border jumpers" from their schools each year.  In this case the parents weren’t cheating.  Sebastian should be a student at Willow School in Homewood.  But he got caught in the big net created to catch kids whose parents are just trying to get them a decent education.


Sebastian’s misfortune simply highlights one of the biggest flaws in our government-run school system.  And one of the reasons that MANY Americans homeschool!


Parents want their kids to receive a good education.  That’s not too much to ask of a system that gobbles up millions of our tax dollars every year, is it?  But as illogical as it may seem, in a consumer-driven economy which thrives on competition, when it comes to the education of our children, we quietly accept mediocrity without demanding something better.  Parents watch helplessly, year after year, as inept administrators and educators take their hard-earned money, and with it, completely fail their children. It’s ridiculous. 


The solution is a simple one.  Give parents a choice.  Let schools (and businesses that cater to homeschoolers) compete for our tax dollars.  Instead of forcing the child to follow the tax dollars, let’s let the tax dollars, in the form of vouchers, follow the child.  Bad schools will die for lack of business, just like a store with bad management or a restaurant with lousy service inevitably dies.  And a school that consistently serves its customers well, will not only survive, but will thrive.  Kids will be the big winners.  Sounds logical doesn’t it? 


So why do educators, and the politicians who they support, consistently, and loudly, block legislation that would bring competition to our nation’s schools? 


It’s simple. 


It’s ALL about the money.



13 responses

  1. Government is not the place for kids. Stupid schools.

    Okay venting done. I personally don't think vouchers are the answer either, unless we rethink how schools get money in the first place since land owners and not parents pay for public education.

  2. Totally ridiculous. Well said.

    And, yes, I became aware of the controversy over my Bears post. I chose to remain unbiased and almost silent. =)

  3. actually yesterday was the first time I had seen that movie all the way through. Sir had seen it many times apparently. Mostly my husband quotes in a singing falsetto (sp?)… you know the line I'm referring to? He can be rather silly – and he's been more silly more often since his transplant. Ah sweet mystery of life at last I found you….. who knew it was in the pancreas!

  4. We knew nothing about homeschooling when the 18-yr old was in public school. When she was in 1st grade she got kicked out because we had moved 2 whole blocks which put us in another school district. I checked out the school and that was when we learned about private college prep schools and put her there. Quickly. All the way till 5th grade when we finally learned of homeschooling!

  5. Very interesting article….I am glad at this point I have no connections to our not-so-great school district….although the city school system here is very good and you can put your name on the waiting list and pay tuition to go there if you get picked

  6. I would give this a thumbs up on StumbleUpon, but I can't because my computer's still broken. Sorry mom! This is a really interesting article though!!

  7. Our schools might change the way they treat our children when they stop looking at our children as $$. That will take a mountain of legislative action in fifty states. The voucher system would help solve that problem.

  8. That is so ridiculous. Gov't-run institutions don't have the habit of operating upon common sense. I hope his parents decide jointly to homeschool him.
    Thanks for your prayers and encouragement yesterday! Holly

  9. Interesting how teacher's unions claim to be for the child, yet oppose vouchers.
    Teachers will be teaching regardless of whether bad schools get shut down or get revamped- the number of children in public schools is not going to suddenly be significantly impacted by homeschoolers.
    But *as* a homeschooler, I oppose the idea of vouchers for homeschooling parents or for businesses supplying homeschoolers.
    I cherish my intellectual freedom to educate my child.
    If vouchers become available to parents, more laws will have to go into place to protect children from parents who choose to homeschool just to get the voucher money.
    I don't need supervision of my childrearing nor my homeschooling just because there's bound to be a few misusing the system , and yet- that's the waiting outcome if homeschoolers fight for vouchers.
    I'm all for the money following the child whether to a public or private school of the parent's choice however.

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