PA Snares Parents in Pod Bureaucracy
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
Some Pennsylvania parents looking for alternatives to educate their children have turned to so-called “learning pods” – small groups led by a tutor. Parents bear the costs, kids get their lessons. It’s not homeschooling, nor is it public education. Rather, it’s an innovation to fit specific needs for specific groups of kids.
And the state of Pennsylvania doesn’t seem to like it one bit.
According to Lenore Skenazy, the state is requiring parents who form education pods to comply with a raft of COVD-19 regulations as if the pods were, in effect, full-fledged public schools:
…families with kids attending public school cannot form a learning pod of six or more unrelated students unless the parents do all of the following:
- Develop a COVID-19 health and safety plan that aligns with state and CDC guidelines.
- Develop an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency.
- Check with local zoning ordinances in case residential childcare is prohibited.
- Ensure that every space where the pod gathers has a functional fire detection system.
- Ensure compliance with child protective services, and make sure anyone working with or supervising children undergoes a background check.
- Make clear to all adults in the pod who supervise children that they are mandatory child abuse reporters and must alert the authorities if they suspect anything is amiss.
- Fill out the department’s online forms, which state that in the event of an investigation, parents must “provide access to DHS personnel who arrive at the service location and present a Commonwealth-issued ID badge.”
These hurdles might be intended to ensure everyone’s health. But, Skenazy notes, the rules “apply only to learning pods,” and no one else.
There may be a work-around to this bureaucratic overkill. Skenazy says parents may “claim to be party people who are just inviting six to 12 kids over for fun and snacks. If they happen to learn some algebra along the way, so be it.”
Image Credit: By Governor Tom Wolf from Harrisburg, PA [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons