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Home-schoolers should not have to fill out forms

Editor: I don't live in the area, but have noticed that Lee/Ogle County Regional Superintendent Amy Clemens' press release and clarification letter to the editor on Sept. 2 asking for registration forms from home-schoolers was not unusual from Illinois Regional Offices of Education. It's sad, as noted by Elizabeth Milne's letter to the editor on Aug. 26, that home-schoolers might consider hiring lawyers just to home school. That prospect for an inherent legal right to educate children at home shouldn't be necessary to educate our children at home. Why are home-schoolers "encouraged" to fill out long, invasive forms with Ms. Clemens' office? We're not obligated to do this. Granted, if there is compelling evidence that children are not being provided instruction commensurate to the public schools at their grade level, then the issue can be pursued. But that is only if there is compelling evidence and not just because our families choose to educate their children at home. Surely, Ms. Clemens knows that an anonymous "concerned citizen" calling her office can have unfortunate agendas that have nothing to do with a home-schooled child's education. Home-schoolers don't need an invitation from the regional office to participate in the "home-school spelling bee." Even so, it's wonderful that there was a sense of community pride for the home-schooler who went to the national spelling bee. Was clarification also sent to other local media that printed the same press release? Instead of chasing down information on all home-schoolers who have left the system, why not attend to the business within the scope of the regional office? Taxpayers would surely appreciate that focus, as well. One has to wonder what would be done with information that isn't required, but yet actively sought by regional offices of education and school districts. These are law-abiding families, and the potential harm is distressing. Susan Ryan, Farmer City

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