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3/5/2003 4:57:30 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
West Virginia--Calls Needed Immediately to Stop Major Restrictions on Homeschooling

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 5, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Senate Bill 181 began with the noble purpose of removing the archaic
4-year rule, but the House Education Committee transformed it into a
serious threat to homeschool liberty.

Tomorrow (March 6, 2003) sometime after 11:00 AM, however, we
anticipate that Delegate Williams will offer a floor amendment that,
if adopted, will return SB 181 to the version the senate passed.
HSLDA and Christian Home Educators of West Virginia support the
version that passed the Senate because it would bring positive
changes to the homeschool law, including removal of the 4-year rule.

The legislative session ends this Saturday. Your help is vital and
time is short!

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Please call your delegate TODAY OR TOMORROW and ask him to support
Delegate Williams' floor amendment to SB 181, and if the amendment
passes, to support the bill. Your message may be as simple as,

"Please support Delegate Williams' floor amendment to SB 181, and if
it passes, support the bill. Without the amendment, please oppose
the bill, because it would take away many important freedoms and give
bureaucrats arbitrary power over families."

We cannot accept mere changes to the House Education Committee
version. It creates so many problems it must be replaced with the
Senate version.

2. You can go to our website at www.hslda.org/toolbox and enter your
zip code to find the name and contact information for your delegate.
You can also call 304-340-3200 and the house switchboard can connect
you with your delegate.

3. Come to the state capitol tomorrow and visit with your delegate.
Call your delegate and make an appointment and talk to him face to
face to help him understand the importance of this issue. Even if
you cannot get an appointment, come to the capitol so you can be
present in the House gallery when any vote is taken on the bill. The
presence of citizens will help the delegates remember their
responsibility to their constituents. A gallery full of respectful
homeschool families would be a tremendous help!

4. Pass this email on to every homeschool family and every person you
know who respects individual rights. Ask them to join in the fight
for homeschool freedom.


REASONS WE OPPOSE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE VERSION OF SB 181

1. Board Gets Near-Unbridled Power Over Homeschooling

After a two-year transition period, homeschooling must be "...in
accordance with the standards established by the state board." 18-8-
1(c)(3). The board is given power to set standards for assessments,
and for EVERY OTHER ASPECT of home education (see 18-8-1(c)(3)(i-
iv)). Exemption B(b), under the protection of which homeschoolers
have safely educated their children for 15 years, could become
unrecognizable under a tidal wave of new restrictions.

2. Board Gets Power to Deny Homeschooling for Any "Good and
Reasonable" Reason

Under current law, a local school board can approve or reject a
request to homeschool under exemption B(a), but has no such power if
a family files a notice under exemption B(b). Once the family files,
they can homeschool. It is that simple.

Under the House Education Committee version, ALL homeschoolers,
including those under B(b), must "apply" and "request" to home
school, and the local board can deny the request for any reason
whatsoever, as long as the reason is "good and reasonable" (18-8-
1(c), last sentence). We anticipate that many homeschool families
would find their "requests" routinely denied since some county boards
may believe homeschooling is always inferior to public education.

3. Board Gets Power to Mandate Homeschool Subjects

Homeschool families must now assess their children in five specified
subjects: math, science, social studies, language, and reading. The
House Education Committee version, however, requires homeschool
families to assess their children in all subjects that are tested
under the West Virginia statewide assessment program. 18-8-
1(c)(2)(D)(i) and (iii).

Whenever the state board (under its power in section18-2E-4) might
decide to add a new subject to be tested, homeschoolers would
automatically be required to assess in that area. Public education
leaders are notorious for following fads. Whatever subject might
become faddish in the future (for example, diversity sensitivity or
reproductive health education) could be added to the West Virginia
assessment program by a simple action of the state board, and
homeschool families would automatically be required to assess in that
area. This would give an unprecedented degree of control to state
officials over how and what parents teach their children.

4. Board Gets Power to Limit Location of Home Instruction

Homeschoolers operating under Exemption B(b) may now instruct their
children anywhere they choose. The House Education Committee
version, however, forces families to teach their children at home or
"some other place approved by the county board." Homeschoolers who
take their children to piano lessons, the library, a co-op meeting,
or the house of a friend for instruction could be forced to seek
prior approval of that specific location from the county board.

Thank you for standing with us as we fight to protect the freedom to
homeschool in West Virginia.

Very truly yours,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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