The Home School Court Report
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 3
- disclaimer -
May / June 2003


FEATURES
A season to encourage

Burnt toast & sticky cards

A letter to my parents

The spiritual power of a mother
National Center hosts 2003 Summit
Farris addresses social workers

DEPARTMENTS
Along the way

Homeschool litigation: preparing the way
Freedom Watch

What's ahead in 2003?
From the heart
Across the states
Active Cases
Members only
About Campus
President's page

Good judges make good decisions

ET AL.

Prayer & Praise

a contrario sensu (on the other hand)

HSLDA legal contacts for November/December 2002



  LEGAL/LEGISLATIVE UPDATES  



ACROSS THE STATES

AR · CA · FL · IL · IN · KY · LA · MD · MO · MT · ND · NM · NY · OH · OK · OR · TN · TX · VA · WY

NEW YORK

Homeschool bills reintroduced

On February 19, 2003, legislation was introduced in New York that would eliminate the most burdensome restrictions of the law governing home instruction programs since 1988. If this legislation is enacted, parents would no longer be subject to the regulatory provisions of 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.

The Senate version of the bill is Senate Bill 2060, introduced by Senator John Kuhl. Senator Kuhl was the primary sponsor of identical legislation last year, which passed the Senate Education Committee but was not considered by the full Senate before the end of the legislative session.

The Assembly version of the bill, Assembly Bill 4598, contains the same language as Senate Bill 2060. It was introduced by Members of Assembly Harvey Weisenberg, Nancy Calhoun, Gary Finch, Brian Kolb, Daniel O'Connell, and Bob Oaks. It also has 12 other cosponsors in the Assembly.

S.B. 2060 and A.B. 4598 would make the following changes in the current law:

>>eliminate the requirement of an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP);
>>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 NYS Education Department test or another approved test;
>>eliminate the requirement that the local superintendent consent 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 legislation is enacted, it will not only relieve parents and public school officials of time-consuming administrative tasks, it will also significantly increase the freedom of home educators in New York to direct the education of their children. New York has the potential through this legislation to go from the state with the most restrictive home school law in the nation to a state with one of the most favorable laws for home educators. Parents would only 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.

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 these bills.

To get the name and telephone number of your senator and assemblyman, use HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox.

Dewitt T. Black

Bureaucratic blunder

In November, a hasty procedural mistake by Suffolk County School District nearly led to a full-blown social services investigation of a Home School Legal Defense Association member family.

Last September, Mrs. Saputo sent her Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) to Suffolk County, carefully keeping her return receipt. Later that fall, the school district apparently misplaced the Saputos' IHIP, and a district official left a message on the Saputos' answering machine. When the family did not call back within 24 hours, the official referred the matter to the Suffolk County Department of Social Services (DSS).

The Saputos asked HSLDA for assistance. We immediately contacted the DSS agent and discovered the story of the missing IHIP. In spite of being told that this was a bureaucratic blunder, social services insisted on attempting to enter the home and interview the children.

Finally, after HSLDA faxed a letter to social services, again explaining the district's error and refusing to allow the interrogation or entrance into the home, DSS dropped the educational neglect allegation.

Christopher J. Klicka