Maryland Delegate Sheila Ruth pushes legislation for plan
Lawmakers in Maryland are pushing a new plan to establish a worrying “advisory council” that will be tasked with monitoring homeschool families.
Across the country, increasing numbers of parents are choosing homeschooling over fears their children are being indoctrinated with far-left ideology in the regular education system.
Local government authorities now appear to be responding by attempting to control people trying to maintain their independence.
Maryland Delegate Sheila Ruth, a Baltimore County Democrat, recently proposed legislation in the Maryland House of Delegates that would create an “advisory council” to watch over and gather data on homeschool families.
The 16-seat council would be staffed by four political appointees, four government officials, and eight members of the homeschool community, according to The Daily Signal.
It would “gather information on the needs of homeschool parents and homeschool umbrella schools,” and would effectively sweep homeschool parents under the wing of a government agency.
This is precisely the sort of thing many homeschool parents wanted to avoid when they chose that path for their children in the first place.
Bethany Mandel, a conservative writer and homeschool mother living in Maryland, raised the alarm about this legislation and called out Ruth on Twitter.
Hi @SheilaRuthD44B – Maryland homeschool mom here. Just saw HB832 to create a “homeschool advisory council.” Extremely troubled by its contents, and request that you withdraw it from consideration. Will be alerting my wide local homeschool network to contact you to ask the same.
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) February 6, 2022
In a message to The Daily Signal, Mandel explained why the legislation is so troubling.
The advisory council—whatever its current stated intent—could easily be used to browbeat homeschool families.
“They’ll pass more restrictive rules on us and say, ‘It was suggested by homeschooling families themselves! We have a council!’ (That they chose.),” Mandel wrote.
The Home School Legal Defense Association, a legal support group for homeschoolers based in neighboring Virginia, also warned about the potential for abuse by the proposed advisory board.
“This bill would create a quasi-official source for information on homeschooling, which would, in turn, minimize the effectiveness of grassroots homeschool groups and individual advocates,” HSLDA noted in a statement.
Homeschooling has thrived for decades without government assistance. Instead of creating a new bureaucratic entity to gather information on the needs of homeschool programs, HSLDA encourages government entities and actors to respect homeschooling programs by preserving liberty and avoiding unnecessary regulation.
The legislation was so worrisome that a group of members of the Maryland General Assembly called for the bill to be withdrawn.
Thank you for leading the charge against this potential assault on our homeschool rights here in Maryland @DeepRedMaryland. Thankful for the delegates who signed onto this rare letter in the House of Delegates asking @SheilaRuthD44B to withdraw her bill. pic.twitter.com/ONwXMvBx3B
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) February 10, 2022
The letter said that the advisory board would put an enormous amount of power in the hands “of just a few partisan political appointees” and that a 16-person advisory panel in no way could represent the diverse opinions of homeschool families in Maryland.
A Change.org petition calling on Ruth to withdraw HB 832 is seeking 2,500 signatures, and as of this writing, it has garnered nearly 1,700.
As troubling as the legislation is, it’s not happening in a vacuum.
Another piece of legislation, introduced in January, demonstrates the radical plans in store for the state’s public schools. House Bill 352 aims to create an American Studies and Social Equity Standards Advisory Board.
The purpose of the bill would be to redirect examinations of history in schools to be framed around race and ethnicity.
It essentially would mandate a laundry list of diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements for public schools in the state. One of the bill’s sponsors said it wasn’t “a critical race theory bill,” which is almost laughable. This legislation uses almost every buzzword imaginable related to critical race theory, just without literally saying “critical race theory.”
Clearly, Maryland legislators think their constituents are stupid.
Just as bad, evidence suggests that they will leave no stone unturned to bring leftist indoctrination to every K-12 public school student in the state.
It isn’t just happening at the state level.
Maryland’s largest school district, Montgomery County Public Schools, is going through an “Antiracist System Audit.” The interim superintendent, Monifa McKnight, recently released an update, announcing that Montgomery County school curriculums will now all flow “through an antiracist lens,” especially in social studies.
This comes from the Montgomery County Public Schools website:
This summer, a cross-office team was charged with creating a long-term plan to transform curriculum and develop interconnected and interdisciplinary learning experiences for students, PreK-12 that strengthens students’ sense of racial, ethnic, and tribal identities, helps students understand and resist systems of oppression, and empowers students to see themselves as change agents.
What this is effectively announcing is that the public schools are for the revolution, one based on racial essentialism, and they will be indoctrinating your kids to be loyal foot soldiers in the cause.
Oh, but weren’t we informed by left-wing media commentators that critical race theory isn’t in schools, and that it’s just a figment of our imaginations?
The fact is, this sort of pedagogy is being introduced and enforced around the country. The left-wing media can spin and twist and try to deny it, but parents are catching on to this being the reality.
That matters very much when considering Maryland’s proposed homeschool advisory board. Given the transformation of institutions—especially public schools—into engines of wokeness, it’s not hard to see how malicious such a governmental board could become.
An agency constructed to “gather information” and staffed by political appointees could quickly turn into a governmental hammer to bludgeon homeschool parents into looping their children into the cult of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
It should be no surprise that this effort comes as parents around the country have begun to protest the curriculums and policies of public schools, both for their embrace of critical race theory—or whatever they want to call its associated ideas—and absurdly restrictive COVID-19 policies.
The left’s attitude is that they have an inherent right to indoctrinate your children. Any attempt to stop them from doing so, from within the public school system or from without, is treated as illegitimate.
That’s why what’s happening in Maryland is so concerning and a sign of things to come.
They want you and your family to comply with the cultural revolution that’s sweeping our institutions. They won’t let you go. They don’t want you to have a choice until all your choices are the same.