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Arkansas case prompts look at home schooling

LITTLE ROCK (AP) � The death of a 10-year-old girl in a house fire � while chained to her bed � has some legislators and educators questioning whether Arkansas� home schooling law ensures children obtain a quality education.

Molly Holt, whose home caught fire Nov. 9, couldn�t read or write and had special needs because of behavioral problems. Under Arkansas law, her mother, Teresa Dick, was able to take the girl out of the Clarksville public schools to home school Molly after the girl finished the first grade.

Molly�s mother didn�t have to have any particular qualifications to teach her daughter, didn�t have to have any training in special education, and didn�t have to report on Molly�s progress.

While recognizing that Molly�s case is extreme, some legislators and educators say it ties in with their concerns that Arkansas� home schooling law doesn�t do enough to guarantee a proper education.

�I think the whole issue of the safety of children is one that we�ve got to address whether they are at home or at school,� says Rep. Linda Pondexter Chesterfield, D-Little Rock. �Sometimes the school is the last fortress, if you will, for the child. But the schools don�t always do their jobs and the parents don�t always do theirs.� Read more…

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