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2/5/2003 2:05:18 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Wyoming--More Calls Needed to Stop the Illegal Testing of Homeschoolers

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 5, 2002

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Senator Kathryn Sessions has taken her case for homeschool regulation
to the media. Instead of withdrawing her bill, she has redoubled her
efforts to get it past. In the Casper Star Tribune, she insists that
the federal No Child Left Behind Act only exempts homeschool students
from taking the national assessment of educational progress. She
claims that the U. S. Department of Education officials in Denver
agree with her, and sent a letter to her fellow senators to make her
case.

HSLDA is confident that the Unites States Department of Education
will agree with the homeschoolers in this escalating controversy, but
it is critical that Wyoming citizens speak to their own legislators
now. While it is helpful to have a federal law to protect us, our
liberties ultimately depend on God's blessings and our efforts. We
must act now!

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call the voter hotline at 866-996-8683. Ask the operator to
give this message to your Senator, "Please support homeschool freedom
and vote against SF 110, which violates the federal No Child Left
Behind Act and will create unnecessary and costly burdens on
parents." The operator may ask what county the caller is from.

You can find out who your senator is by using our legislative toolbox
at:
www.hslda.org/toolbox

BACKGROUND

The No Child Left Behind Act requires each state to "demonstrate that
the State has adopted challenging academic content standards and
challenging student academic achievement standards that will be used
by the state, its local educational agencies, and its schools." 20
U.S.C. sec.6311(b)(1)(A). The federal law then says, "The academic
standards required by subparagraph (A) shall be the same academic
standards that the State applies to all schools and children in the
State." This federal law would seem to require private schools and
homeschools to meet the same content and performance standards as
public schools.

For this reason, HSLDA asked for clear and specific protections for
homeschoolers. Congress responded by including in the bill Section
7886, which says, "Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to
affect any private school that does not receive funds or services
under this chapter, nor shall any student who attends a private
school that does not receive funds or services under this chapter be
required to participate in any assessment referenced in this
chapter." 20 U.S.C. sec.7886(a). Homeschools are expressly protected
under the next subsection, which states, "Nothing in this chapter
shall be construed to affect a homeschool, whether or not a
homeschool is treated as a homeschool or a private school under state
law, nor shall any student schooled at home be required to
participate in any assessment referenced in this chapter."

The state content and performance assessments required by 20 U.S.C.
sec.6311(b) are part of chapter 70 of the No Child Left Behind Act.
This reference to the state content and performance standards is
sufficient to protect homeschoolers under the terms of 20 U.S.C.
sec.7886(b). There is no question that Wyoming is developing new
content and performance standards to bring it into compliance with
federal law. Senator Sessions' efforts to force homeschoolers to take
these new tests violate our constitutional liberties and federal law.

For more information on this bill visit our web page at:
http://www.hslda.org/Legislation/State/wy/2003/wysf110/default.asp

By working hard, fast, and together, Wyoming homeschoolers should be
able to persuade their elected representatives to "just say no" to
new homeschool regulations. We encourage all homeschoolers and
friends of educational freedom to urge their legislator to oppose SF
110.

Very truly yours,

Scott W. Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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