Home school victory in legislature
This past legislative season saw an intense battle over home school freedoms in West Virginia: the only state that requires parents to have four years more education than their home schooled children.
Last year, the united efforts of home schoolers statewide resulted in the passage of Senate Bill 189 which waived the restrictive four-year requirement for the present school year. Early in the summer of 2000, Home School Legal Defense Association and Christian Home Educators of West Virginia (CHEWV) geared up for a battle to remove the four-year requirement permanently.
On February 27, 2001, we first alerted our members to House Bill 2595, which was introduced in the House Education Committee after months of laborious negotiations between legislators and home school leaders. March and April saw a flurry of activity concerning this bill. On many occasions, home schoolers were called upon to attend committee hearings, to make phone calls, and to personally lobby their representatives and senators. John Carey, Legislative Liaison for CHEWV, personally attended countless meetings and worked tirelessly in this effort.
On March 5, H.B. 2595 passed the House by an overwhelming majority. The bill went from there to the Senate where the educational establishment mounted intense opposition. Numerous attempts to amend the bill into a version which would be detrimental to home schoolers failed. Within hours of the end of the session, the senate passed a slimmed-down version, extending the four-year requirement waiver through 2003. Governor Bob Wise signed the bill on May 2. The additional two years provide home schoolers with more time to work for a permanent end to this unnecessarily restrictive requirement. — Scott A. Woodruff