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  • Writer's pictureJanice Park

Homeschool Allotments: My Personal Journey



With the recent Superior Court ruling that homeschool allotments are unconstitutional, I wanted to take a moment to share my personal experience and explain why I believe this ruling is on point and highlights longstanding abuses within our educational system.


I have faced the challenge of having a child with special needs that the school district could not accommodate.


When my youngest daughter, who is both gifted and has a learning disability, was enrolled at Romig in 2000, it quickly became apparent that she would not succeed in a class of 36 students without a teacher's aide or sufficient time to accommodate her learning disability.


Although my family could not afford private school, we managed by donating labor in trade and taking on extra work to pay for my daughter’s education at Holy Rosary for four years. This decision was not based on religious ideology but was made solely to ensure she received the necessary support in smaller classes of only 12 to 14 students, allowing her to complete her work and graduate.


This situation imposed a hardship on my family; however, I never expected anyone else to sacrifice or bear the responsibility for financing my child's education.


While ADA accommodations for disabilities—both mental and physical—are required by law and may be funded with public monies, religious accommodations cannot be.


I find it hard to believe that the majority of families who have used the homeschooling program as a slush fund had an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or faced extreme financial hardships that would justify depriving the public school system of the tax dollars needed to support our struggling children.


The funds available for public education, like other resources in Alaska, are limited, and both the legislature and State are obligated to use them for the greatest benefit of all Alaskans, not just those who navigate the system to their advantage.


While my opponent, who voted against the curriculum for child mental health proposed by Sen. Gray-Jackson and the tax bill designed to keep tobacco away from our children, remains silent on the issue of homeschool allotments, I am hopeful that the decision will be upheld, and that the legislature will soon address the issues raised in the Superior Court's findings.


Janice

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