Colorado’s Restrictive Regulations Challenged
HSLDA recently contributed to efforts to change Colorado’s homeschooling laws by hiring attorneys John Eidsmoe and Bill Moritz to write a legal opinion analyzing Colorado’s current laws.
Colorado’s compulsory attendance law requires that a homeschool must either use a certified teacher or use “an established system of home study approved by the state board." Many homeschoolers do not use a certified teacher because it violates their religious beliefs. Also, many parents do not want state approval of their home study systems, or do not seek approval of their own homeschool program because of administrative hassles in the past.
Because of this kind of friction between homeschoolers and public school authorities, HSLDA hired attorneys John Eidsmoe and Bill Moritz to analyze the Colorado law. Eidsmoe is a noted national authority on homeschooling and a professor at the law school at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. Eidsmoe helped win the homeschooling victory before the Minnesota Supreme Court last summer.
Eidsmoe and Moritz questioned whether the state board has any authority over homeschooling at all. They stated in their legal opinion that the Colorado constitution only gives the state board of education authority over public education, not non-public education. As a result, they assert that the Colorado approval requirement for homeschools is “an unlawful delegation of legislative authority.”
The legal opinion continues by showing that the legislative guidelines for homeschools are not “narrowly drawn, reasonable and definite” as required by the U.S. Supreme Court for all legislation dealing with fundamental rights (such as the right of parents to direct the education of their children). Eidsmoe and Moritz, in addition, found that the compulsory attendance law, as it applies to homeschooling, is unconstitutionally void for vagueness. The statute is vague because it does not define “an established system of home study” or set any specific guidelines for homeschoolers to follow.
Also, the attorneys argue that the administrative regulations passed by the state board not only exceed the scope of the legislature’s delegated authority, but they are so extensive that they force the homeschool to conform to the standards of the public schools. This has the effect of eradicating the distinction between public and non-public schools. In addition, the state has become “excessively entangled” in the day-to-day operation of the homeschools.
Eidsmoe and Moritz, acting on behalf of HSLDA, have submitted their opinion to the attorney general and various legislators. A new homeschool bill is also in the process of being introduced into the education committee.