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SB 761-A: Favorable Revisions to Homeschool Law
Senator Bruce Starr
In a major disappointment to home educators in Oregon, on June 16, 2003, Governor Ted Kulongoski vetoed legislation that would have removed unnecessary state oversight of homeschools. Senate Bill 761 had passed both the Oregon Senate and House of Representatives by healthy margins.
Many thanks to all of you who were faithful to write, e-mail, and call your state legislators. We are encouraged by the great progress made during this legislative session and believe the foundation has been laid for enactment of a bill in the future.
Introduced February 17, 2003 and referred to the Education Committee.
Hearing was held on April 3, 2003,
Education Committee voted to pass the bill on April 8, 2003.
The full Senate voted to pass the bill 20-9 on April 15, 2003.
The House Education Committee voted 5-2 in favor of the bill on May 2, 2003.
The full House voted 34-25 in favor for the bill on May 29, 2003.
The full Senate voted 21-9 in favor of the amended bill on June 3, 2003.
Governor Ted Kulongski vetoed the bill on June 16, 2003.
Reasons We Supported This Legislation:
Senate Bill 761 would have made the following changes in the current law:
- expanded the educational options for homeschoolers by providing that a child may be educated by the parent or legal guardian or "at the direction of" a parent or legal guardian, thereby permitting parents or guardians to appoint someone else to conduct some or all of the instruction;
- repealed the requirement that parents notify the public school officials of their decision to homeschool;
- repealed the testing requirements of the homeschool law, except for students participating in interscholastic activities at a public school; and
- removed the requirement that the education service district or school district determine that a child under 18 is being homeschooled in order to get a driver's license.
Oregon first enacted a homeschool law in 1985, approximately 18 years ago. Since that time, numerous efforts have been made to enact amendments providing more freedom to parents. The most recent change in the law occurred in 1999 when significant progress was made in reducing state oversight of homeschooling. Senate Bill 761-A represented a continuation of legislative efforts to gain more freedom for parents.
If Senate Bill 761 had been enacted, Oregon would have joined a growing majority of states requiring no standardized testing of homeschooled students. Further, public school officials would have had no record of children being homeschooled, because parents would not have been required to even notify public school officials of their decision to conduct home instruction. Oregon had the potential through this legislation to go from a state with a good homeschool law to a state with a great homeschool law.
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