Home school legislation progressing
Last year Senator John R. Kuhl, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, introduced Senate Bill 4767, which would eliminate the most burdensome restrictions of the law governing home instruction programs since 1988. Parents would no longer be subject to the regulatory provisions of §100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee on March 7, 2002, and will now move to the full Senate, where a vote is expected at any time. (It passed the Senate Education Committee last year, but another vote was required for 2002.)
S.B. 4767 would make the following changes in the current law: eliminate the Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) requirement;
eliminate the requirement of quarterly reports;
eliminate required subjects at all grade levels;
permit the alternative method of evaluation (instead of standardized testing) every year;
permit parents who wish to test their children to choose any nationally-normed standardized achievement test, in addition to a state department of education test or another approved test;
eliminate the consent requirement of the local superintendent to the person who administers a standardized achievement test or who conducts the alternative method of evaluation;
lower the minimum standardized test score from above the 33rd percentile to above the 23rd percentile; and
eliminate the provision for home visits while a home instruction program is on probation.
If this bill is enacted, it will not only relieve parents and public school officials of time-consuming administrative tasks, but it will also significantly increase the freedom of home educators in New York to direct the education of their children. Parents would simply have to notify their local school district of their decision to provide a home instruction program for their children and then submit an annual assessment at the end of the school year.
Through this legislation, New York could go from being the state with the most restrictive home school law in the nation to a state with one of the most favorable laws. Home School Legal Defense Association strongly supports this legislation and urges freedom-loving parents across the state to contact their legislators to express their support of Senator Kuhl's bill.
- Dewitt T. Black