To the Editor:
There is a bill in the Iowa House that would bypass the Department of Education to independently accredit home school curriculum. Home schoolers want the ability to chose more advanced curriculum. The Department of Education has long established Gifted and Talented programs. Unfortunately, budget cuts have all but eliminated Gifted and Talented programs in small school districts. So it should not preclude the Department of Education from examining advanced courses of study. The Department has the ability to decide to accredit any course or not.
When I taught Middle School Social Studies, I had to match Standards and Benchmarks with each lesson that I taught.
Home schooled students should also be held to the same standards as well as meet benchmarks with others their age. My classroom was monitored as well as evaluated three times a year by an administrator. The least a parent who home schools should do is to be accountable twice a year to the local school district. Stricter standards should be met instead of looser standards.
Iowa should have one K-12 accrediting agency, and it should be the Department of Education. The education of all of Iowa’s children is too important to leave it to curriculum programs that may not meet the state standards and benchmarks in reading, math, science and social studies.
Julie Stewart Ziesman