The Utah Senate approved a measure on Monday to exempt homeschool parents from state regulations. Sen. Aaron Osmond says the state doesn’t have a way to punish homeschoolers who don’t follow the state mandated curriculum, so SB 39 won’t change much.
“Right now we don’t have an enforcement mechnanism to ensure parents are following the curriculum and observing school hours,” says Osmond. “Homeschool parents feel it’s unfair for them to follow that curriculum, and there’s some uneasiness about the Utah Core and what they will have to teach in their home.”
Sen. Jim Dabakis voted against the bill, saying parents may have the best intentions, but that doesn’t always translate.
“In a world full of ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ parents, this would be a good thing,” said Dabakis. “Unfortunately there are a lot of parents that aren’t Ozzie and Harriet and I worry that someone needs to make sure those kids are taken care of. I worry, without accountability by the state, these kids will be lost in the mire.”
Dabakis’ concerns brought a sharp rebuke from Sen. Deidre Henderson.
“When the good Senator from Salt Lake says someone needs to take care of these kids, I think that ‘someone’ he’s referring to is the government. I take issue with that. Parents should be responsible for their kids.”
The bill passed the Senate 22-5 and moves to the House.