By AlaskaWatchman.com

I hesitate to rejoice over the news that the State of Alaska will reimburse families for the cost of private and homeschool education, since I don’t believe it’s healthy for a society when families are dependent upon the state to pay for their children’s education.

I believe we should get back our property taxes that currently fund the public school system, and then each family can decide what to do with its own money.

I’ve seen some good come from charter schools in Christian families, but I’ve also seen negatives, such as parents pulling their kids out of church activities and responsibilities in order to participate in sports, etc., to “use up” their allotment money, because there’s pressure to use the entire amount so that the charter school can ask for that full amount again the following year. Also, parents can lose perspective on how much their children’s activities actually cost and whether or not the price is just, when someone else is paying for them. Lastly, homeschooling families can get caught up in so many extracurricular activities that they lose sight of the importance of spending time together as a family, and their relationships can suffer. There is less of a chance of these things happening when parents have to slow down and consider whether or not THEY can actually afford the extracurriculars.

I’ve always regarded our (now) growing dependence upon the state for the funds to educate our kids with alarm and concern.

Furthermore, we know very well that the bad actors in our state and nation who want to corrupt our children are not going to let this seemingly sweet deal stand without finding their way in somehow, whether under our current elected reps or the next batch. When it comes to private schools, it may initially seem like a boon to enjoy a raft of new students enrolled, but when the bad actors get us hooked and then dig in their claws (“you’re taking money from the state, so you must comply with the state’s regulations regarding x, y, and z”), what will happen when the private school must say, “No, we cannot comply, we will no longer accept your funds in order to maintain our independence”? Then, the whole raft of families will hit a wall, realizing that they can’t afford their children’s private educations without state assistance and, “oh my, would it really cost me THAT MUCH to pay for their schooling ourselves?!” Again, we lose sight of the real value of things when someone else is paying for them.

You might argue that it’s really just “our money,” but is it really? Can anyone accurately track the money trail to prove that I’m entitled to approximately $40,000 in state funds because I have 8 kids that I want to put in private school? I certainly can’t!

Perhaps some will see this as an opportunity to be as wise as servants, innocent as doves, but to me it smells like a big, juicy carrot on a stick. I simply don’t believe it’s healthy for a society to have families completely dependent upon state funds to educate their children at home, or in private schools.

I was homeschooled as the 8th of 14 kids growing up in WI, and my parents homeschooled ten of us through high school on a single income, without state assistance or charter school money. My father was a private businessman, not a millionaire, but he and my mom made sacrifices in order to spend their hard-earned money on the things that were really important to them.

I have been homeschooling my kids for several years without a charter school and have sent one to a private school without state assistance, and I believe my family is stronger for the sacrifices we make for the education we pursue for our children. -And I am not a millionaire.

I honestly can’t think of a fellow homeschooling mom who’s gone through her homeschooling years here in Alaska without the assistance of a charter school, and I know many have navigated them with great success and raised great kids and maintained a strong family. However, I’ve always regarded our (now) growing dependence upon the state for the funds to educate our kids with alarm and concern.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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Theresa Bird
Theresa Bird is a wife and homeschooling mother of eight. She earned her BA in Philosophy at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, NH. She lives in Anchorage. Five of her children were born at home under the professional care of Alaskan midwives. Two were born in an Alaskan hospital with a midwife present, and one was born at home under a midwife’s care in another state.


2 Comments

  • J W says:

    Interesting article! It’s perspective I don’t hear much, for sure.
    Perhaps some will see this as an opportunity to be as wise as servants, innocent as doves
    I don’t think it even rises to that level. It’s just free money, and I wish and hope conservatives take it and use it for good. The State won’t use it for good, that’s for sure.
    …to me it smells like a big, juicy carrot on a stick. I simply don’t believe it’s healthy for a society to have families completely dependent upon state…
    I don’t understand this line of thinking at all. Nobody “needs” money to educate, but are no more “dependent” than before the programs were offered. It’s a strange person who would get “addicted” to education money. But if one is so weak-minded/weak-willed to be worried about it, why not just pocket all one’s savings from the programs for a rainy day when the programs go away? It doesn’t take us any money to homeschool, just paper and pencil and a library, so these programs are just gravy & I hope and encourage all HS parents to take whatever money you can pry out of the system as you save the State 20% over public school costs plus help make your voice heard with your allotment choices. It’s just like the PFD, it’s free money, and if you don’t take it the State will spend it for things you most likely won’t approve of :-).

  • Lara Weisensel says:

    Thank you, Mrs Bird, for this opinion piece. It is very timely! Our family has been wrestling with the free indoctrination, I mean free education that is offered to our children who are Alaska Scholars and earn the Alaska Performance Scholarship as well. I believe we have wisely chosen to forgo the state funded Alaska University education for one that is truly a higher education. Public money does come at a cost. Even baby steps away from government programs and government funding is liberating. I hope many more will take baby steps, no matter how small.