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North Dakota

April 1, 2005

House Bill 1265: An Act Amending the Homeschool Statute

Author:
Representatives Sitte, Grande, Kempenich, and L. Meier

Summary:
This bill made major improvements to the homeschool law. It (1) permits home education of children with developmental disabilities, (2) eliminates all monitoring of homeschooling parents by state-certified teachers, and (3) requires that parents have only a high school diploma or GED in order to conduct home instruction.

Status:

01/10/2005Introduced and referred to House Education Committee
01/18/2005Committee Hearing
01/26/2005Passed House
02/01/2005Received by Senate
02/07/2005Referred to Senate Education Committee
03/01/2005Senate Education Committee Hearing
03/08/2005"Do Pass" Recommendation from Senate Education Committee
03/16/2005Returned to House
03/18/2005Signed by Speaker
03/21/2005Signed by President
03/22/2005Signed by Governor
03/23/2005Sent to Governor

Action Requested:
None. Bill Signed into law.

HSLDA's Position:
This bill should be supported

Background:
North Dakota is unique in two respects regarding its homeschool law. First, it is the only state in the nation requiring parents with a high school diploma or a GED to be monitored by a state-certified teacher. Second, it is the only state in the nation prohibiting the homeschooling of children with developmental disabilities, except for children with autism. Autistic children in North Dakota may be homeschooled under very restrictive conditions.

Forty-one states do not require homeschooling parents to have a high school diploma or GED. Nine states, including North Dakota, require the diploma or GED, but only North Dakota requires weekly monitoring by a state-certified teacher. Most noteworthy, every study conducted thus far on homeschooling has found that the formal education level of teaching parents makes no significant difference in the performance of their children on standardized tests. These students score on average 15-30 points higher than their public school counterparts.

HSLDA has long taken the position that North Dakota's law prohibiting the homeschooling of developmentally disabled children is unconstitutional. We believe this law violates the fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We are eager to challenge this law in court if the North Dakota Legislature fails to provide relief from this overly restrictive law. However, it would be much easier on the affected families if the Legislature would simply fix the law.

From an educational standpoint, there can be little question that the one-on-one attention given to a developmentally disabled child by a parent is more effective than a classroom setting. This has been confirmed in two studies by Steven F. Duvall, P.h. D., a Kansas school psychologist, who found that there are higher rates of time in homeschooling where the student is "academically engaged" and consequently greater academic gains were made by homeschool students who have learning disabilities.

 Other Resources

Apr-05-2005 — North Dakota--Favorable Legislation Signed by Governor

Mar-10-2005 — North Dakota--Calls Needed - House Bill 1265 in Senate

Feb-28-2005 — Title Correction--Calls Needed - To allow Developmentally Disabled Children to be Homeschooled

Feb-28-2005 — North Dakota--Calls Needed - To allow Special Needs Children to be Homeschooled

Feb-01-2005 — North Dakota - House Bill 1265 Passes House - Calls Still Needed

Jan-27-2005 — North Dakota--Calls Needed to Pass Positive Homeschool Legislation

Jan-21-2005 — North Dakota--Report on Homeschool Bill

Jan-14-2005 — North Dakota - Calls Needed to House Education Committee

Bill Text

Bill History