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August 19, 2005

Senate Bill 165: Bill Threatens Homeschool Freedom!

Author:
Printed according to Senate Rules by order of the President of the Senate, Peter Courtney, at the request of Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo.

Summary:
Since the Oregon Legislature Adjourned Sine Die on August 5, 2005 this bill is dead.

Senate Bill 165 would have made two substantial changes to the current law. First, anyone teaching their children at home would have had to annually notify the Education Service District (ESD). Current law only requires a resident to give notice to the ESD once.

Second, under SB 165 the standardized achievement tests required in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 would have been required to be submitted to the ESD. Currently, you are only required to submit test scores if they are requested by the ESD.

Status:

01/10/2005(S) Referred to Education & Workforce.
08/05/2005(S) In Committee upon adjournment.

The Legislature Adjourned Sine Die on August 5, 2005 so bill is now dead.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

Senate Bill 165 was introduced by the Senate President at the request of the Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo. However, the bill itself states that it was introduced "in conformance with pre-session filing rules, indicating neither advocacy nor opposition on the part of the President." There were no other sponsors of the bill. In light of these facts no action is necessary at this time.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposed this bill.

Background
On May 19, 2004, the Oregon Interim Education Committee held a hearing to consider whether to add to the current requirements for homeschooling families in several different areas. The hearing was held at the request of a truant officer from the Springfield School District who believes that there are many homeschooling families in Oregon who are simply putting their name on a notice of intent form with no real intent to educate their children.

The truant officer was reported to have stated that he believes that nearly 30-50% of homeschooling families in his district are not educating their children. He has provided no evidence to support these wild claims. The vast majority of families homeschooling their children are doing so, not out of laziness as the truant officer suggests, but out of a desire to train their children to be contributing members of society and for the Kingdom of God.

These changes to homeschool freedoms in Oregon represent a troubling step in the wrong direction.

TOriginating from Oregon, the U.S. Supreme Court case Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 1076, has had a profound impact on the freedom and liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. As guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court clearly recognized the "right, coupled with the high duty" of parents to direct and prepare their child in educational matters. Homeschool parents in Oregon are fulfilling their God-given responsibility to ensure the very best for their children by teaching them at home.

HSLDA and OCEANetwork will continue to work to defeat any attempt to remove the current freedom parents have in teaching their children at home. OCEANetwork will attempt to introduce the "Complete Homeschool Freedom" bill in the next few days. This bill would remove homeschools from any government oversight and put them on the level of private schools, which are already free.

 Other Resources

Jan-12-2005 — Oregon--Bill Threatens Homeschool Freedom!