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Michigan NewsMichigan’s superintendent proposes major changes citing “the safety of all students”

Michigan’s superintendent proposes major changes citing “the safety of all students”

Michigan – Michigan is among 11 states where it’s not mandatory for homeschooled students to be officially recognized by the state’s education department. State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice wants to change this. He recently sent a letter to lawmakers in Lansing, proposing new rules with legislative support.

Michigan lawmaker proposes changed that would force homeschooled students to be officially recognized by the state's education department

All Michigan children would fall into one of four groups

Under the proposed changes, every child in Michigan would fall into one of four groups as described by the state’s education department. Homeschooling is one of these groups. Dr. Rice aims to have lawmakers establish rules for registering children in the state’s education system. Currently, public schools keep records of all attending students.

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“This is just about providing safety for children across the state of Michigan and making sure that all children are accounted for,” says Dr. Pamela Pugh, who is the president of the Michigan State Board of Education.

According to the letter Dr. Rice says “for the safety of all students, it is important to enroll students in the following four buckets:

  • Public schools
  • Private schools
  • Parochial schools
  • Home schools

Dr. Pugh expresses concern for the safety of children, acknowledging that homeschooling can be safe, but emphasizing the need to ensure children are indeed in a secure environment.

Democratic State Representative Matt Koleszar called for changes in December last year

In December, Democratic State Representative Matt Koleszar proposed on social media site X the idea of a registration system. This came after Attorney General Dana Nessel charged two couples with alleged abuse of their foster children, who were homeschooled.

Michael Van Beek, Director of Research at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, critiques this approach. He argues that abusive parents are likely to avoid registering their children, defeating the purpose of such a registry. Van Beek notes that previous discussions about a homeschool registry in Lansing didn’t progress. He believes it unfairly burdens law-abiding homeschooling families and wrongly implies they might harm their children.

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Currently, reporting a homeschooled student is optional, except when the student seeks special education services from public or intermediate school districts.