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This bill treats every homeschool parent like a child abuser by requiring them to give their school system documentation of a medical exam every year for every homeschooled child.
It would also require parents to submit each child’s name, birth date, and homeschool instructor’s name every year by August 1. The bill says a mandatory portfolio is due June 30 and is “not limited” to the examples listed in the bill text (assessments, books used, worksheets, workbooks, and writing samples). What bureaucrats can require in a child’s portfolio is therefore virtually unlimited.
The bill gives the State Board of Education power to dictate all details of how these requirements would be enforced. Through regulations they adopt, state bureaucrats who are not held accountable through elections would have dramatic new power to control—and even define—homeschooling.
This bill would turn New Jersey’s current sensible legal framework into a morass of regulations and burdensome red tape. With three filings every year for each of the state’s approximately 42,000 homeschooled children, taxpayers would end up paying the cost of filing, processing, checking, responding to, and storing about 120,000 sets of paperwork each year. Taxes will inevitably go up to pay for it.
The media carried reports recently about the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) failing to protect an allegedly homeschooled child in danger—with tragic results. In effect, S3105 punishes parents for the failures of DYFS.
Your freedom to homeschool your children may be at stake. We urge the homeschool community to send a unified message of opposition to this bill.
11/21/2011 (Senate) Introduced, Referred to Senate Education Committee
This bill failed to pass before the legislative session expired and is now dead. However, an identical bill (S 791) has been re-introduced by Weinberg.
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Education Network of Christian Homeschoolers of New Jersey (ENOCH), Catholic Homeschoolers of New Jersey (CHNJ), and New Jersey Homeschool Association (NJHA), and others, are united as a task force in opposing S3105.
DYFS had numerous contacts with the family of the abused girl who was in the news last summer. A fresh report was called in just a few days before she died. DYFS did virtually nothing about the report and closed it. Fix DYFS. That’s where the problem is.
Complicated rules always foster needless conflicts, and this would become an everyday occurrence. After the state board adopts regulations, local school systems would adopt their own requirements, creating an additional layer of red tape.
New Jersey would overnight have one of the worst homeschool laws in the nation. The New Jersey tax base and overall economy could suffer as homeschool families avoid (or leave) the state.
The outstanding academic achievements of homeschool students has been documented by many studies. Homeschoolers typically score 30 percentile points above others on standardized tests. Since homeschoolers score the same in states with heavy regulation and states with light regulation, adding new regulations is highly unlikely to help academic performance (source: Dr. Brian Ray, “Home Schooling Achievement,” 1997).
Thank you for standing with us for freedom!
| Other Resources|
E-lert November 16, 2011: Stop State-Mandated Annual Medical Exams and Portfolios for Homeschoolers
E-lert November 28, 2011: Stop State-Mandated Annual Medical Exams and Portfolios for Homeschoolers
E-lert November 29, 2011: Corrected Phone Number for Senator Thomas Kean
E-lert December 6, 2011: House Bill Increases Legislative Threat
E-lert December 8, 2011: Calls No Longer Needed on Huttle-Weinberg Bills