CNN reports that due to the general confusion (to the point of malign incompetence) regarding schooling of Katrina evacuees (including difficulties in admission and school systems often being unwilling to assist Katrina evacuee children), many are resorting to homeschooling programs:
I would not be nearly as worried about this development were it not for the following:
a) In many states, especially the Southeast US, homeschooling groups (especially homeschool support groups) are dominated by dominionist groups pushing Christian Reconstructionist curricula. Also, the major group lobbying for homeschooling is explicitly dominionist and promotes *other* dominionist agendas (to the point homeschoolers not into the whole dominionist movement have expressed concern). And yes, the dominionist HSLDA is now explicitly targeting Katrina evacuees who are not only new to homeschooling in general but are not aware that HSLDA is a dominionist group.
In a brief perusal of homeschool support groups in Louisiana (per Louisiana Home Education) it appears that the majority of homeschool support groups in Baton Rouge are sectarian (one being associated with the Latter-Day Saints, one blatantly dominionist, one Catholic, one in stages of formation, and only one that is explicitly nonsectarian). The situation is nearly as bad in New Orleans' metro area itself where there are two nonsectarian groups listed and nearly *all* the other groups are dominionist. In souther Baton Rouge, most of the groups are sectarian, the majority being hard dominionist (requiring statements of faith to join). In some parts of Louisiana, no non-sectarian options are available (the Charlotte Mason method listed is a Christian homeschool program).
I have written a report as well tying into how heavily dominionist groups are dominating homeschool programs and what exactly is being taught in dominionist homeschool curricula--a subject I'll touch more on in the next section.
b) In many (if not most) states, homeschool curricula have minimal standards to follow. (Louisiana is--surprising--actually one of the *stricter* states in that the homeschool curriculum must be as strictly educational as the public school curriculum; see here. Most states that Katrina and Rita evacuees have been sent to--including, notably, Texas--are nowhere near as strict regarding educational content.)
This is extremely problematic, as (based on Louisiana's requirements, as well as requirements for some university systems--notably the University of California) the three most commonly promoted homeschool curricula--A Beka, Bob Jones University, and Accelerated Christian Education--are all dominionist, and the first two have actually been ruled in total by the University of California to be educationally unfit for purposes of admission to the university.
This is because the three curricula in question are so slanted--even in not-obviously-religious subjects as maths and English grammar--towards a dominionist viewpoint that they are less useful as curriculum for education and are better described as indoctrination materials.
Rethinking Schools, in their report on voucher initiatives by dominionist groups, has written two good articles detailing problems with the curricula; I have written a two-part series specifically detailing the problems with A Beka's curriculum (regarded, rightly or wrongly, as probably the "mildest" of the dominionist curriculum programs).
c) Dominionist-friendly legislators are doing what they can to essentially force Katrina and Rita evacuees into "separate and unequal" education via vouchers and forcing them to homeschool. The Secretary of Education as well as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas are attempting to push through a suspension of a federal law that requires states to admit homeless children to public schools.
The solitary alternatives being offered are tax dollars for vouchers and churches.
Again, Rethinking Schools' excellent report on the problems with voucher programs explains this far more in detail why this is, in general, a Bad Idea; Texas Freedom Network also has excellent info on the subject (and also important backgrounder on whom is pushing vouchers in Texas--important, as the bill that would essentially force Katrina evacuee kids to use of vouchers or homeschooling is being pushed by a senator from Texas).
ADDENDUM FOR HURRICANE FEMA:
I should note that I am not wholescale condemning homeschooling entirely. I do realise that there are legitimate cases for homeschooling (subpar education in a public school system, for starters, or persons with learning styles that are not met in public schools).
My concern is not with homeschooling in general, but with a specific subset in the homeschool community that--in many areas, especially in the Southeast and Midwest US--has essentially hijacked most of the existing support groups for homeschooling, and is using homeschooling to promote a very specific agenda (that of converting the United States to a religious theocracy and that the US was intended as a dominionist religious theocracy where even non-dominionist Christian denominations would not be welcome).
Many of the groups that have hijacked homeschooling support forums and groups in these states (much to the consternation of people who have legitimate, secular reasons for homeschooling and may wish info on "unschooling" or open-learning homeschooling) are themselves linked to some of the same groups that are pushing things like "Operation Blessing" and "Dream Center" which are only offering help "with strings attached".
In some states, it is *very* difficult--even if you ARE familiar with homeschooling and have considered it for a while, done the research, etc.--to even *find* support groups for homeschooling that are not explicitly dominionist or Christian Reconstructionist.
In other words, my concern is far less about the fact the kids are being homeschooled (in some cases here, they really dont have a choice) but that dominionist groups are targeting folks who are essentially newbies to the whole idea of homeschooling.