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Author Topic: Suggested Homeschool Model Legislation  (Read 7388 times)

skw

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Suggested Homeschool Model Legislation
« on: October 10, 2003, 12:40:29 pm »

http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp
This is a nice page that links to, and summarizes, the homeschool laws in various states.  You will notice that states are colorcoded as Green/Yellow/Orange/Red.

An initial goal should be to move New Hampshire from Orange to Green.  The description of the Green category is: "States requiring no notice: No state requirement for parents to initiate any contact" (to begin homeschooling).

You will notice that there are 9 states that are currently rated as green  by HSLDA.  
Idaho, Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey.

Having read through all of the summaries, I would have to say that I like Alaska the best.  You teach your own children.  The burden of proof is on the government if they want to try to prove that your children are not receiving an education.  No specific subjects are required, and no record keeping is required.

The other states have some combination of:
- various required subjects,
- required attendance, in hours or days,
- required record keeping.

Any of the 9 would be an improvement over the current NH law, but Alaska's looks the best to me.  I would suggest that you use that as the starting point.  Another option would be to have an HSLDA member contact HSLDA and ask for assistance in crafting some replacement legislation.  I bet HSLDA would be glad to help, especially if the request come from a dues paying member.

Scott King Walker
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thewaka

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Re:Suggested Homeschool Model Legislation
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2003, 09:30:57 pm »

skw, DH and I were discussing this tonight. I would love AK HSing laws. But I think our first step needs to be finding out the history (especially the last few years) of HSing in NH. For instance:

1. When were the current laws written and how did the debate go? What did they ask for? Was anything worse proposed? Is anyone who was against HSing still in office?

2. Has an attempt been made to lessen the current regulations? When? How did that go? Who was the opposition?

3. How does the legislative process work? Which committee gets the bill first? Who is willing to sponsor? Do we need to "unelect" someone first?

Last year, HSing groups in PA tried to get the law changed. Ours is similar to NH, but harsher. We weren't asking for AK style (or any green state). We were willing to compromise. The real problem? The head of the house education committee was very much against the changes. The result? They tabled it. Never even got voted on. The sponsors agreed to this b/c it looked like it would pass, but only b/c the chair was having nasty amendments added on (making it possibly worse than it is now). We will be back again, but it was a devasting defeat. Even some HSers were against the change! (long story) So we need lots of info before going into this.

I have been looking around for this kind of info, but no luck yet. We will really need HSing FSPers in NH to lead this battle. I am not there and don't expect to be for several years. Compulsory education doesn't start until age 8 in PA (the only bright point), so we plan to avoid that until our oldest turns 8 in 4 years. If we move sooner, we have to deal with slightly less harsh laws, but sooner. Ugh!

Diana
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skw

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Re:Suggested Homeschool Model Legislation
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2003, 11:39:18 am »

...
I am a little leary of HSLDA. As far as I know, and I could be wrong, they are an organization of lawyers and offer a testing service. I see these things as being a potential conflict with helping reduce the requirements on homeschoolers. Lawyers want more laws for more law cases and wouldn't you want more testing required if you offered a testing service? I'm sure they have helped some people and helped with some laws.

But I do know that they have introduced some federal legislation that there is much controversy about. First of all, there is no constitutional right to legislate education at all at the federal level. Secondly, inserting the word "homeschool" into legislation is risky. It means that homeschoolers have to be defined. And this definition can be modified in the future. Better to have no federal legislation mentioning homeschooling at all.

Also, in CT, I think it was in the 80's, there was an effort to introduce some pretty nasty homeschool laws. This was well before my homeschool days but I hear that tons of people swarmed the capitol and HSLDA came in at the last minute and was trying to cut some kind of a deal with the legislature. But, they were not representing the people of CT!

Also, HSLDA is a christian based organization and therefore does not represent all homeschoolers. No organization can as homeschoolers are a very diverse group.


I know some of the HSLDA folks personally, so I will try to clarify.  HSLDA is a Christian organization, run by Christians.  That doesn't mean it is run only *for* Christians.  They defend the rights of all parents to direct the education and upbringing of their own children.  By that, I mean that they advocate legislation (that they feel will benefit "all") and they provide homschooling-related legal services to members.  On occasion they provide free legal services to non-members if they feel it is an important "precedent setting" case.  

There is no statement of faith required to join HSLDA.  The only question is whether *you* are willing to associate with Christians.  "Freedom of association" implies the freedom not to associate.  No one is forcing you to join.

To the best of my knowledge, HSLDA does not offer a testing service.  I do know that they work hard against "government mandated" testing at all levels.  Testing, in itself, is not bad, but parents need to be the ones to decide when, how, and what to test.

Just because the organization employs several lawyers (a fraction of their staff, let me assure you) does not mean that they are evil.  The government has a lot more lawyers than HSLDA does.  The HSLDA lawyers will have plenty of work to do for a long time to come without making work by complicating state laws.  

At the national level, I believe what you are referring to is the "Homeschool Non Discrimination Act", or HONDA.  The goal is to fix federal legislation that already affects homeschoolers.  For example:

When a federal law prevents school districts from sharing information about students, homeschoolers should also be protected.  (This one really galls me!)   School districts can force homeschoolers in many areas to provide information, but that information is NOT PROTECTED if those students have never been enrolled in that public school district.  (You can imagine who would want, and has already gotten via FOIA laws, this non-protected homeschooler information.)  

When a federal agency has an education requirement, like "high school diploma", homeschoolers should be treated like others.  If a homeschooler *wants* to work for the government or the military, they should be allowed to.  Improving the government means that some good people -- possibly even FSP members -- may at some point need to be employed by the government.

I don't know the particular history of every incident in which HSLDA has worked well with, or not worked well with, other homeschoolers in fighting particular legislation.  I won't even try to defend them from that, because I am sure that they have messed up somewhere.  But...  I will say that the organization is competant, well-intentioned, solidly opposed to government interference in education, and should be considered an ally when FSP members are fighting for educational reform.

For example... the HSLDA NH page speaks against Voucher legislation for New Hampshire, because HSLDA knows that government money always comes with government strings -- either now or later.  (Many less visionary educational reformers are in favor of such vouchers.)

For another example... HSLDA helped to found Patrick Henry College.  The college has a religious mission that some here will not agree with, but it is firmly against government handouts. So much so that the college will not take any government money either directly or indirectly.  The Patrick Henry College example should be inspiring to us all.
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Tracy Saboe

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Re:Suggested Homeschool Model Legislation
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2003, 07:11:29 pm »

The only thing about the HSLDA, is there federal bills they lobied for.

It goes against the Constitutional principles of federalize for one, but on a more practical level, the Fed shouldn't have any laws about schooling whatsoever in the first place. It's not one of thenumerated functions of the Fed. So what needs to be done is get education laws off the books. Not make more.

But on State levels I think it does good things.

Tracy
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GodBlessTexas

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Re:Suggested Homeschool Model Legislation
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2003, 10:16:21 pm »

Quote
Having read through all of the summaries, I would have to say that I like Alaska the best.  You teach your own children.  The burden of proof is on the government if they want to try to prove that your children are not receiving an education.  No specific subjects are required, and no record keeping is required.

The other states have some combination of:
- various required subjects,
- required attendance, in hours or days,
- required record keeping.

A clarification on Texas law.

Texas law makes any home school a private school, and therefore untouchable by the government.  They cannot legally set policy or curriculum guidelines for private schools.  

Texas requires no formal notice to the school district if you decide to homeschool your children.  If you remove them from a public school in which they are already enrolled, there is no formal notification required, but the Texas Home School Coalition suggests that a simple letter stating "I'm removing my children to home school" should be sent to the school to avoid them sending and attendance officer to your door.

Texas states they require a curriculum that teaches reading, spelling, grammar, mathmatics and a study of good citizenship.  However there's no method for them to enforce that requirement since a home school is a private school.

Texas requires no set or minimum school hours, nor set amount of days a child must be in school per school year.  Graduating criteria is also determined by the parents and there is no age restriction on graduation.  My daughter just tore through kindergarten in less than 4 months and is starting 1st grade after Christmas.

Texas requires no annual standardized testing or record keeping.

Admission to Texas public universities for home school students requires no GED test, but they do require similar standardized test scores (SAT/ACT) as their public school counterparts.

However, I have no problem with Alaska's home school model, though I like the designation of a home school as a private school in Texas.  

The draconian homeschooling laws in NH will be the one thing that keeps my family from moving there because we will not subject our children to the oversight of the very educational system we are trying to get away from.  We keep our children out of public schools because we believe they're not doing a good enough job, not just in curriculum and values, but also in the way they try and teach.  Both of my children learn differently and have their own quirks, and that means we have to teach them differently.

Remember the Alamo, and God Bless Texas...
« Last Edit: November 19, 2003, 10:24:46 pm by GodBlessTexas »
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creaganlios

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Re: Suggested Homeschool Model Legislation
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2010, 07:23:56 am »

DH and I have gone round and round (and round and round and ....) on another list about the best approach, but since the issue has been raised here now, I'll weigh in. 

(By way of introduction, I have home educated 5 of my 6 children (two all the way through high school, and they are currently in college).  I have also worked as a private consultant with over 200 children in New England and New York with learning inefficiencies, was a regular speaker on the homeschool convention circuit in the 90s, and have served as an 'expert' witness for parents running into trouble with state authorities.  I was an active member of CHENH and LAMP in the Monadnocks).

I do not believe that NH will move from its current mindset to a no-notice structure in the near future.  It is my strong belief that making two CLEAR changes to current law would significantly improve the legal climate here in NH:

1) CLEARLY state that "notification" does *not* require (or even 'permit') Approval.  In addition, turn it into a protection for parents: state, by legislation, that sumission of notification creates the presumption of compliance, and shift the burden of proof of truancy or eduicational neglect to the state.

2) Current law requires an annual evaluation that demonstrates progress.  The State Dept of Education has suggested strengthening that to require progress in all 13 required subjects, each year (which is ridiculous).  I suggest a step in the opposite direction: require parents in their notification form to state *how* they will gauge progress, but make it clear they do not have to sumit the results or evidence of that progress.  In other words, parents choose a method/process, but need not provide proof/results.

This is not 'perfect liberty,' but based on my experience with parents around the state, I think this is a legislatively achievable approach that will increase parental choice and liberty.
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