North Dakota Controversy Brewing
After many years of court cases and persecution, the home schoolers of North Dakota and HSLDA achieved positive legislative change last year with the passage of H.B. 1421. Home school parents, for the first time could home school without a teaching certificate, provided they passed a test. Thus far, all home school mothers who have taken the test, except one, have passed the test. For the most part, home schoolers have operated without incident this year under the new law.
Unfortunately, the North Dakota Board of Education could not leave home schoolers alone for very long. Proposed regulations have been drafted by the Board which would greatly restrict home schoolers and cause a repeat of much of the previous legal conflict.
On March 23, Greg Aloia a university professor from New York and expert in special education, Chris Klicka of HSLDA, Greg Lange, a home school attorney from Hazen, and Clinton Birst, president of the North Dakota Home School Association, testified before the Department of Public Instruction. Several other home school parents also testified.
Chris Klicka testified on the unconstitutionality of the proposed regulations and offered key amendments which would protect the right of home schoolers to freely operate. Klicka especially criticized the attempt by the Board to exceed their statutory authority and subject all home schoolers to the subjective approval authority of the local superintendents. He also explained that the proposed regulations violated the constitutional right of parents of special education children to choose private education rather than public education services for their children. He warned of increased legal controversy if the regulations were not altered.
Greg Lange provided additional amendments drafted by himself and Klicka which would further improve the proposed regulations.
Greg Aloia, testified as to the educational ramifications of the proposed regulations. He demonstrated how the home school children, especially handicapped children, would be harmed if the proposed regulations were enacted. Aloia gave the Board expert insight into the success of home schooling and offered several amendments to define various vague educational terms in the regulations.
Clinton Birst presented a powerful message to the Board asking them to trust the home schoolers. He explained that the regulations can only be successful if they have “a built in premise of the integrity of the parents.” He told them that home schoolers know home schooling best and best understand the needs of their children. He recommended that the Board adopt the amendments proposed by Lange and Klicka.
At the time of this printing, no word has been received from the Board as to the status of the proposed regulations.
In order to receive the latest information on the regulations contact Clinton Birst, North Dakota Home School Association, P.O. Box 539, Turtle Lake, ND 58575, (701)448-8183. HSLDA also recommends that N.D. home schoolers get on NDHSA's mailing list.