The Home School Court Report
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Compulsory Education Laws: The Dialogue Reopens

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North Dakota

State Law Revisions Planned

The North Dakota Legislative Assembly Education Services Committee is still considering draft changes to existing home school law. As reported in the January/February 2000 Court Report, Home School Legal Defense Association had expressed objections to proposed changes which would describe the parent as “providing” a home education program instead of “supervising” it. The monitor in the home education program was characterized as the individual “providing supervision” instead of the parent. The fourth and latest draft of the changes restores the original language, clarifying that the parent supervises and the monitor simply monitors the program and reports the child’s progress to the local superintendent.

The modification of the law would change the grades at which home educated students are given standardized testing. Current law requires testing at grades 3, 4, 6, 8, and 11. Under the proposed legislation, testing would occur in grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 to coincide with testing in the public schools. The draft also eliminates any reference to the third grade as the time for completion of monitoring, simply leaving the monitoring time at two years unless the child scores below the fiftieth percentile on a required standardized achievement test.

This most recent draft clarifies two important areas: (1) It fixes changes which would have created confusion about the local school district’s obligation to provide and pay for a monitor, and (2) It spells out requirements for selection, cost, and administration of standardized tests, which are difficult to understand in the current law.

The North Dakota Home School Association has been actively involved in this legislative process, providing comments and proposed language to legislation drafters. Changes are expected to be finalized and passed during the 2001 legislative session. — Dewitt T. Black