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2/27/2003 5:16:14 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maryland--Board Retreats from Plan to Require Annual Notice of Consent

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 27, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

On February 25, the Maryland Board of Education voted to retreat from
its plan to force families to file a notice of consent form every
year. It will however, move forward with other, less drastic changes
to the homeschool regulations. A summary of the changes the board
will pursue:

1. Every year (after the year in which the family files the one-time
assurance of consent), the family must notify the supervising non-
public institution or the local superintendent as to whether the
child will continue in a home instruction program. This can be done
in person, by a phone call or letter, or any other method.

2. If parents who are operating under county supervision decide to
switch to operating under a non-public institution, they must notify
the local superintendent.

3. If parents who are operating under a non-public institution decide
to switch to operating under either a different non-public
institution or under the supervision of the local superintendent, the
parents must notify their current non-public institution.

4. If you are operating a non-public institution that supervises the
instruction of homeschoolers, the following summarized changes apply:

a. Each year you must tell the local superintendent the names of the
homeschool students whose instruction will commence, continue, or be
discontinued, under your organization's supervision;

b. You must notify the local superintendent if your organization's
instructional supervision for a particular homeschooled student
ceases during the year.

We will place a link to the actual text of the proposed new
regulations on our website soon.

The Department of Education will formally publish the proposed
changes in the coming weeks and will invite the public to offer
comments, after which we anticipate it will put the proposed rules
into effect.

BACKGROUND

After the Department of Education threatened to adopt a rule
requiring that every homeschool family file a notice of consent every
year, hundreds of homeschoolers protested. As a result, the
Department agreed to slow down and discuss the issues with homeschool
representatives.

The Department invited six homeschool representatives to attend two
meetings with several local and state public education
representatives. A majority of those attending the meetings
ultimately decided to recommend that the Board of Education adopt the
changes above.

HSLDA is never in favor of imposing greater restrictions on
homeschool families. The new rules clearly do that, although the
burden would have been greater had we not moved the Department to
retreat from its original demand. We believe the proposed
regulations, however, are the best possible outcome for the near
term.

During the meetings, the Department agreed to make important changes
to the state notice of intent form. The form will be labeled as
"Confidential" and will no longer ask for the date of birth, but only
month and year of birth, of the student. The title of the form will
change from "Home Schooling Registration" to "Home Schooling Notice."
The old form requested the race of the child, but the new form will
clarify that this is optional. The form will indicate that the
parent has the option of providing a telephone number or email
address as an alternative method of communication.

If these changes are actually implemented, the form will be highly
consistent with regulations and state law. We will review the new
form when it is available to verify that the changes that were agreed
to have actually been incorporated.

Thank you for all you did--your calls, letters, attendance at the
meeting in December--to help protect homeschool freedom in Maryland.

Very truly yours,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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