Victory in Hawaii
Hawaii used to be one of the more difficult states in which to home school because the Department of Education regulations required that the home school teacher have a bachelor’s degree and that the curriculum be approved, among other monitoring requirements. However, in July of 1988, the regulations were amended in order to preserve the constitutional right of parents to educate their children. Attorney Michael Farris of HSLDA met with officials and submitted suggestions and revisions on proposed regulations to the Department of Education contributing to the adoption of these new regulations. The home school leaders in Hawaii presented a united front and worked tirelessly to achieve passage of these regulations.
These new regulations [Compulsory Attendance Expectations Regulations §4140.2(D)] remove all qualifications and approval requirements. “For the purpose of these home schooling regulations, parents teaching their children at home shall be deemed qualified instructors. §4140.2(D)(2). ”. . . For home schooling . . . permission to be exempt is not necessary.” §4140.2 Furthermore, the new regulations emphasize in their preamble, “the regulations which have been developed to implement the compulsory attendance law are not intended to violate the rights and convictions of parents to home school their children”
Under §4140.2(D), home school parents must submit to the local school principal, a notice of intent to home educate their children. “The purpose of the notification is to allow the Department to assist the parents in their educational efforts.” The notice of intent must include the names, ages, and grade levels of the children and the parents’ signature. The regulations carefully state that “the notice of intent is for recordkeeping purposes and to protect families from unfounded accusations of educational neglect or truancy.”
Furthermore, the home school parents must keep a record of the “planned curriculum” for the children which “should” include: 1) the number of hours of instruction (which should average 3 hours per day), 2) the subject areas to be covered (the regulations list several subjects which “may”be included and state that “curriculum areas are subject to interpretation by the parents”), 3) the method used to determine mastery of materials and 4) a list of textbooks or other instructional materials.
Lastly, the parents must submit “an annual report of a child’s progress” using one of the following methods: 1) a score on a nationally-normed standardized achievement test; 2) “progress on a nationally-normed standardized achievement test that is equivalent to one grade level per calendar year (even if the overall achievement falls short of grade level standards).” This option provides for special education children or children who are “late starters;” 3) a written evaluation by a certified teacher that demonstrates that the child has advanced commensurate with his abilities; 4) or a narrative assessment which includes the child’s grades, representative tests, and assignments. Additionally, for grades 3, 6, 8, and 10, a child must be tested in accordance with the Statewide Testing Program in the public schools or the parents can choose to have their child privately tested using the comparative test. The results of this test can be submitted under the “narrative assessment” option for the &ldqu;annual report of the child’s progress.”
These regulations comprise the best regulations, in terms of parental rights, that any State Department of Education has passed regarding home schooling. Throughout the regulations, the parents are given the primary authority to determine their own curriculum, teaching methods, qualifications, and annual evaluation. Praise the Lord for this significant victory for home schoolers in Hawaii.