Read this article and make a few phone calls tomorrow in between Math and Reading! Don’t take your homeschool freedoms for granted. This call may be one of the most important learning experiences that you AND your kids have at home tomorrow!
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
Calls are needed immediately to stop what would be one of the most onerous changes to homeschool regulations anywhere.
The District of Columbia is poised to enact restrictive homeschool regulations. One particularly onerous provision in Section 5208 gives the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) the discretion to terminate a homeschool program. The section then requires that parents re-enroll their children in a public or private school at the discretion of the OSSE. This approach fails to duly respect a parent’s fundamental right to educate their children and gives the government too much authority and discretion.
Even if you do not live in the District of Columbia, we are asking you to call because the federal government has jurisdiction over the city and HSLDA has exhausted all our behind-the-scenes efforts to seek reasonable accommodations for homeschoolers in D.C.
If we do not act collectively as a homeschool community, these regulations will go into effect and severely restrict homeschool freedom for District homeschoolers and potentially set a damaging precedent.
Please call the people listed below and express your opposition in your own words. Be concise and courteous. Here is an example:
“If enacted, the proposed D.C. homeschooling regulations would be among the most onerous in the country. They give too much discretion and authority to education officials to determine whether a family may homeschool. We support the D.C. homeschoolers’ request that the OSSE and other education officials continue to work to improve the regulations, in ways such as removing the high school diploma requirement, increasing assessment options (if indeed any are needed), and providing for real due process in the event of a dispute between homeschoolers and education officials.”
The regulations should not be passed in their current form. Please ask the OSSE to go back and work with homeschoolers to improve them.
Office of the Mayor
Office of the State Superintendent
D.C. State Board of Education
1. Responding to the Banita Jacks case, the District of Columbia embarked on a crackdown of homeschoolers. D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty publicly promised to regulate homeschooling. Read “Tragedy Prompts Calls for Heightened Scrutiny of Homeschoolers.”
2. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has authority to propose regulations and did work with HSLDA and other D.C. homeschoolers. They agreed to include certain language and provisions. However, the published regulations fail to deliver on assurances and promises that were given to D.C. homeschoolers.
3. Numerous homeschool families have testified before the State Board of Education (SBOE) and received high praise from Board members. The State Board has authority to approve the proposed regulations. In its hearing, the State Board was interested and seemed receptive to finding a solution that dealt fairly with homeschoolers. We want them to direct the OSSE to go back and work with homeschoolers to improve the regulations further.
4. Current D.C. regulations call for parents to simply notify the District that they are homeschooling. We support this approach as an excellent way to solve the current impasse.
Thank you for standing with us for homeschooling freedom!
Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney