Shawn Hornbeck, thankfully, was finally retrieved from a predator after four years of captivity. Michael Devlin was able to commit this - and undoubtedly others - because Missouri is soft on Homeschooling.
Check it out for yourself - Missouri requires no qualifications for homeschoolers to teach, they don't have to tell anyone that they ARE homeschooling, they don't have to report to anyone while homeschooling, they don't have to get tested or in any other way prove that their child actually learned what they said they learned and while they are required to keep records, there is NO requirement to let ANYONE see them (so there is no way of knowing they are actually complying with this without a court order)!
Shawn Hornbeck's plight - and undoubtedly the plight of others - can be avoided with a few simple requirements.
- Require notification of intent to homeschool.
- Require a license to teach homeschool to be prominently displayed - much like that required by restaurants.
- Licence should only be issued on proof of residency, proper vaccination of children, good standing with local board of education and of course identification of all members involved - e.g. drivers license and ssn for educators, birth certificate and ssn for children.
- Require a B.A minimum qualification for teaching. A teaching certificate would be preferable, of course.
- Require a psychological evaluation of both the educator and any children involved.
- Require a criminal background check for the educator.
- Require all homeschoolers to be visited by the same people who visit foster homes.
- These same visits should include time AWAY from the "parent" so the child is less likely to be intimidated by threats of violence or other abuse.
- Require unannounced inspections as well.
- Require annual academic testing of any homeschooled child. Public schooled children are tested, why not homeschooled?
- Require notification of authorities of any changes of status such as moving, job change, deaths, births or other life changing events that might affect the homeschool.
- Make these requirements federal to prevent "escape" to less stringent cities or states.