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10/17/2002 5:23:08 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Nevada: State Board holds workshop on proposed regulations

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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October 17, 2002


Dear Nevada HSLDA Members and Friends:

For weeks now, homeschoolers have worked night and day to come up
with new regulations. Last week, I flew to Nevada to meet with
leaders, local homeschoolers, and school officials in Reno, Carson
City, and Las Vegas. After meeting with as many people as possible, I
wrote up a rough draft of proposed changes designed to consolidate
the concerns of homeschoolers in the North and South. That draft was
reviewed and revised over the weekend, and is still being worked on
by homeschool leaders. The primary goal of the draft regulations is
to free Nevada homeschoolers from the Content and Performance
Standards and eliminate the current requirement that families submit
a calendar of proposed days consisting of a particular number of
required minutes.

On October 19, the Nevada State Board of Education will hold a
"workshop" to revise the homeschool regulations. HSLDA Attorney
Darren Jones will be flying to Las Vegas to testify in favor of
freedom. If you are near Las Vegas, please either come to the
workshop or babysit so that someone else may attend!

ACTION REQUESTED

(1) Read through the "Explanation of Proposed Changes" below. (We
will be giving this to the State Board of Education to explain why
they should adopt the regulations we have drafted.) Be ready to tell
your legislators why homeschoolers deserve more freedom.

(2) Read the draft legislation on the HSLDA website, at:

http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/NV/proposedregulations.pdf

(3) Show your support for homeschooling by attending the State Board
of Education workshop on Saturday, Oct. 19, in Las Vegas, or by
videoconference in Carson City. The meeting is open to the public and
will be held in the Department of Education Building, 1820 East
Sahara, Las Vegas, in the Board Room. The videoconference in Carson
City will be in Room 101 at the Department of Education Building at
700 E. 5th Street. The workshop starts at 10:30, and is scheduled to
begin addressing homeschool regulations at 10:40 am. Bring your well-
behaved children (please find a babysitter for fussy babies!) and
wear red, white, and blue for freedom!

BACKGROUND

Nevada homeschoolers have worked hard to try to come up with a single
set of proposals that the State Board of Education could pass that
will solve the very different problems that families face in the
different parts of Nevada. We will be explaining our recommendations
to the Board with the following "Explanation of Proposed Changes."

EXPLANATION OF PROPOSED CHANGES

Content and Performance Standards:

(1) Our primary concern is to eliminate the reference to content and
performance standards. The current reference is an unintended
consequence of a legislative change to a statute governing the public
schools. We therefore propose to have the regulations directly
specify the "kind" and "amount" of instruction approved by the State
Board of Education, instead of referring to statutes that may be
changed.

Distinguishing Between Types of Equivalent Instruction:

(2) As we met to discuss other problems with the current law, we
discovered that homeschoolers are just one facet of a growing set of
educational options outside the public schools. We propose to
differentiate the various forms of equivalent instruction outside the
public schools. This will enable the State Board to write regulations
for the specific needs of specific forms of education.

(3) As we began to separate out the different forms of equivalent
instruction outside the public schools, we discovered that the
existing homeschool regulations have been patched and amended so many
times that it is hard to tell exactly what they mean in some cases
and it is difficult to make even small changes without multiple
amendments. We have chosen to rewrite some sections for the sake of
clarity and simplicity.

Identification and Information Issues:

(4) We propose to simplify the regulations and ensure student safety
by creating one new section governing student identification. School
districts must not allow non-custodial parents to use these
regulations to remove a child from public school premises. A new
section on child identification will give school districts the
protection they need from potential liability without unnecessary
intrusions upon family privacy.

(5) We propose to add a new section governing information to be
provided to parents. School districts routinely inform parents about
various matters that are required by state or federal law, such as
educational privacy rights, etc. By adding one new section, the State
Board can ensure that school districts provide homeschoolers with the
information they need.

Encouraging Compliance:

We have discovered a significant gap between what the regulations
require and what successful educators are doing outside the public
schools. This discrepancy has induced some people to file misleading
paperwork while others file no paperwork at all. We believe the State
Board can encourage more compliance with the regulations by adjusting
the regulations to better fit the realities of equivalent instruction
outside the public schools.

(6) Most homeschoolers who refuse to file the paperwork required by
current law do so because they do not actually teach the number of
minutes per day that are specified in NAC 387.131, and they refuse to
lie on their notice of intent form. This Board allows public school
teachers who provide homebound instruction to count one hour of one-
on-one instruction as the equivalent of a "school day." NAC
387.286(2). We ask the Board to eliminate the minutes requirement.
This will increase compliance with the law without significantly
reducing the amount of instruction.

(7) Some parents are unable to teach their own children in their own
homes, but have family members, church members, or other friends who
are willing to help teach their children. This practice is not
technically permitted under current law, but is still very common. We
ask the Board to remove any barriers that unnecessarily prevent
volunteers from helping to educate children.

END OF "EXPLANATION OF PROPOSED CHANGES"

CONCLUSION

Nevada homeschoolers should not be subject to Content and Performance
Standards that were designed for the public schools, nor should they
be required to keep a calendar of instruction or teach the same
number of minutes that classroom teachers do. The proposed
regulations make these and other useful changes. Let us know if you
see any problems with the current draft, so that we can make it
better. Let's rally on Saturday to move homeschool freedom forward!

For Freedom,

Scott Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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