What are the real issues behind a recent Tulsa news report against homeschooling in Oklahoma?

On February 17, 2014, news reporter Breanne Palmerini of KJRH Tulsa, gave a slanderous report on homeschooling in Oklahoma based on some children who appear to be school-aged and unsupervised during school hours near some Section-8 housing (61st and Peoria) in Tulsa. The gist of Palmerini’s report is that these Oklahoma children are not being educated at all, and homeschooling is to blame.

Providing absolutely no proof, Palmerini claims that these Tulsa children call themselves homeschoolers in order to dodge truancy laws. Her report recklessly proposes stricter laws over all Oklahoma homeschoolers as a remedy to assure an education for these neglected children. The “experts” called on in Palmerini’s report include one poorly spoken ex home-school teacher turned Section-8 property manager, one government employed psychologist, and one neglected teen with his GED. Just six days earlier Palmarini could have researched this issue by directly addressing Oklahoma lawmakers and over one thousand Oklahoma homeschoolers who meet annually at Oklahoma’s Capitol to support the right of Oklahomans to home-school. The only “source” Palmarini cited in her report was a single website which she credits with her data on the number of homeschoolers in Oklahoma. Here is that website, http://www.homeschooling.org/, it is nothing more than an ad link.

Palmerini claims in her report that there are “no testing, no requirements, and no diplomas” for Oklahoma homeschoolers. What she actually means is that there are no state mandated tests or requirements and no state certified diplomas for homeschoolers, which is also true of many private schools in Oklahoma. Palmerini’s report falsely claims that no laws whatsoever apply to folks in Oklahoma who call themselves “homeschoolers” and yet neglect their children. At one point, her interviewee claims that “DHS cannot even enter the home” of a so-called homeschooler. This is also preposterously untrue.

The truth of the matter is that Oklahoma has very clear laws protecting the rights of parents to educate their own children. Oklahoma truancy laws do apply to all Oklahoma children no matter what type of education they are receiving. Oklahoma case law requires mandatory school days for all children. DHS certainly can enter any home where there is reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect of a child. In other words, Oklahoma already has laws in place to protect neglected children. And, Palmerini’s entire report is based on lies.

This ridiculous leap from a group of neglected children near crime riddled Fairmont Terrace Section-8 apartments, to stricter laws governing all homeschooling families in Oklahoma, is so preposterous and so poorly supported that one can only suspect that it may be a pathetic effort to create a sympathetic ear for some group who has an agenda to limit or eliminate homeschooling altogether.

The danger in this report is that it does exactly what propaganda is designed to do. It steers the opinion of the populace in a direction to agree to allow fewer freedoms to parents, educators, and ultimately all Oklahomans. Unfortunately, most viewers of a five minute propaganda report, where neglected children are used for sensationalism, do not take the time to research existing Oklahoma laws that protect Oklahoma’s children from neglect. They do not have the time to discover that some parents in this dangerous neighborhood choose to keep their children at home because there are no buses provided to the local elementary school and it is not safe for their children to walk there. They do not know that many children in Oklahoma receive state funded online “homeschooling” which is nothing more than another horribly inadequate public education masquerading as a home-school education and scandalizing and discrediting homeschoolers everywhere.

Viewers also do not consider that any legislation limiting the rights of home-schools, would most certainly limit the rights of all other private schools in Oklahoma. And, it never dawns on them, that when the state is the only entity permitted to educate our children, we are no longer a free society.

It seems that Breanne Palmerini and the management at KJRH have some incentive to use their public influence to restrict the freedoms of Oklahomans. They are deceitfully and unscrupulously attempting to package this political propaganda as a way to save neglected children.

It should be noted that the media in Oklahoma is untested and unregulated by the state. No one is allowed to enter a news station and investigate whether their reporting is honest, accurate, or simply politically motivated and politically funded propaganda. In fact, there are no laws whatsoever governing the actions of the media no matter how they might damage the future of Oklahomans.

I hope all freedom loving Oklahomans will see through KJRH and take a direct stand against their biased reporting.

To let KJRH know how you feel about their propaganda reporting leave a comment on their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/kjrhtv

For more information on laws governing homeschooling in Oklahoma follow this link: http://www.ochec.com/Categories.aspx?Id=Current_Issues

To see Breanne Palmarini’s propaganda report mentioned above:
http://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/investigations/hiding-behind-home-schooling-the-reason-some-oklahoma-children-are-missing-out-on-an-education

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27 thoughts on “What are the real issues behind a recent Tulsa news report against homeschooling in Oklahoma?

  1. Well said! That article was riddled with unsubstantiated claims and no real reporting was done. As a former journalist, I’m disgusted by what passes for news reporting these days, and what’s worse is that because of the sharing power of the Internet & social media, poorly reported & sensationalized articles like the one in question continue to live on & on with all their holes and unsubstantiated claims left unaddressed. Thank you for addressing all the issues with this story point by point!

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  2. I like that the focus is on homeschooling and the lack of being educated and not the high schools (Berryhill, in particular, the one I attend where I am learning absolutely nothing aside from math in English, and even the English needs to be pushed quite a bit more) who create an entire guise to cover the shortfall of a real education. The worst part is that no one will believe a few students who actually want to learn and do not appreciate the significant lack of effort to graduate that all of the other students seem to enjoy. My education is a joke and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it.

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  3. As a former private school teacher of 20 years I knew many homeschoolers that used our same curriculum which was at least a year ahead of the public school curriculums…. That article is like saying ALL schools are inadequate because they all have failures and dropouts. Ridiculous to focus on only one negative aspect and ignore the other 98% of the story. Apparently KJRH need a “truth editor”!

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  4. Is this reporter suggesting that parents who raise kids that drop out of school are in cahoots with the district to improve their AYP by claiming to home school? The article is an obvious over-simplification of the problems of that part of Tulsa or anywhere in OK where crime, gangs and drugs are problems. It is not the fault of homeschooling parents who make it easier for inattentive patents to go unchecked. It seems like someone wants to set up a premise on which to base the extreme regulation or abolishment of homeschooling, at least as it now exists.

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    • I am a former public school teacher, now homeschooling own my sons because I KNOW what goes on in public schools AND do not trust the one shot my children have at their education to basically the government. There are many, many other former teachers ahead of me who are homeschooling and even more who aspire to do the same.

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  5. It is our duty to do what is best for the children! Teacher with home schooling and no college? You tell me will it work? I think this is silly fly cross country with a home schooled pilot? Elaborate on who will fill the jobs now available for PHD”S and MD’s? If you are a teacher fine its your choice but unless you are where would you start to teach a child on a full time basis?

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    • Anonymous, neither of my parents have a 4-year degree and they managed to homeschool me quite effectively. I have three college degrees and work as a Sign Language interpreter. My education was far better than what I see happening in public schools. This is not to say all public schools or teachers are terrible. I also went to public school until I started 5th grade. My parents pulled me and my sister when it became obvious that the school was horrible. You obviously have no idea how many people are homeschooled and what we are capable of. Yes, there are bad apples. Of course, those are the ones that end up on television. Many colleges actively recruit homeschoolers because of better academics and work ethic.

      Please don’t make disparaging remarks about homeschooling without knowing the facts.

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    • Anonymous, any student who completes a Doctor of Philosophy or Medical Degree will fill those positions, regardless of whether or not they were homeschooled.

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  6. I spoke with various Tulsa Public School officials about the legalities of home school before our family started. They were kind, supportive and much to my surprise, enthusiastic about our decision. One administrator confided that if she didn’t have to work she would homeschool her own children, telling me that she had friends who were doing so with amazing results. Amazing is an understatement. After almost 3 years at it, my 4th and 6th grader both officially Iowa tested at college plus levels.

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  11. In third through ninth grade, students that are homeschooled score on average, at or below the 50th percentile in mathematics. That’s bad, really bad. This shows that the necessary material in math isn’t being taught as well as it should. Homeschool supporters can flash all of their high scores in specific subjects, but when it comes down to it, they’re usually missing some of the knowledge they need to have a successful life. What’s wrong with having check ups to make sure that the homeschool teaching is doing what it should do, providing a desired healthy environment and getting a good education. Don’t you want what’s best for the kid? Is it that much to ask to have these regulations, to just ensure that your homeschooling is as efficient as it seems? So it’s not possible that some families use this lax form of regulations to drop out of school, wake up and look around, the real world isn’t going to give your kids anything, so why not educate the kids in the right way, not the way the homeschool teacher thinks, but they way the society shapes and molds the education to be what it is. Can’t you show the state that your methods in homeschooling are good, and that their decisions on allowing this in the first place were good ones. It’s just lazy if you ask me, unless you don’t think your kids can perform up to par with the kids in public and private schools. You homeschool supporters are blinded by your own desires, and can’t see the big picture, the future of your children that you love and care for so much.

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    • Trevor,
      Where are you getting these statistics on the math skills of homeschoolers? Your entire argument is based on statistics that you pulled out of your ***.
      Since when are high, or even passing math scores, necessary for a, “successful life?”

      Educating our children is a power given to the states not the federal government. Unfortunately the states have done a poor job of educating our children on the function of government in a republic.

      Your idea sir, has consequences. What you are suggesting is that the state come into a home and evaluate the teaching and parenting of every parent. Because every parent on earth, teaches their children, (we should hope).
      Once you have given the state permission to evaluate a parents ability to teach, you have in essence, given the state the power to evaluate and approve or disapprove of what and how you teach your own children as well.

      What criteria are you going to place on home schooling families?
      Is it just their math ability? How do you feel about their religious teachings? What do you think of what books they are reading? Do you think that they need more exposure to your experienced brand of culture? Do you think that all children should learn to perform basic auto mechanics? Perform surgery? Operate heavy machinery? What are YOUR priorities for OTHER PEOPLES children/families? Are you willing for your own children to be subjected to the priorities that other people choose for them?

      If you sir, have a child who does not perform well in math, are you willing to let the government come into your home and fine you? Would you trust the government (or in this case typically a social worker who is making about 30,000 a year and managing 500 other children at the same time) to tell you what should be done for your child and impose an education plan on your child that you must follow? Would you vote to allow the government to take your child away and to put them into a “Better” academic institution so that their math scores will improve? Is your child unique sir? Or is it just a number that needs to be managed by the state?

      What if no homeschoolers ever learn to count all the way to 50?

      One short sighted objection to this, is that you forsee having to support these children with your tax money.

      I propose that you refuse to do so, under any circumstance, do not let the government fine you and tax you because your neighbor has been irresponsible. But do not suggest that the government limit their freedoms, once you do that, you have given the government the power to come into your home and make choices for you and your children. And then you are no longer free.

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