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4/29/2004 5:51:43 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Louisiana--Working for Freedom in Louisiana

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 29, 2004


Louisiana--Working for Freedom in Louisiana


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Louisiana homeschoolers have expressed increasing concern over a
number of actions by the State Department of Education. In a recent
meeting with Cecil Picard, Louisiana's Superintendent of Education,
homeschool leaders managed to express those concerns and seek
constructive changes. Beryl Amedee, of Christian Home Educators
Fellowship (CHEF), has been working closely with HSLDA to resolve
matters.

Representative Gary Beard called a "summit meeting" to resolve home
education issues at the Capitol. On Monday, April 19, thirteen
individuals met, including Representative Beard and four other
representatives, two officials from the Department of Education, a
member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, various
home educators, and other pro-family activists. The status of home-
based private schools was a major topic of concern. The Department
of Education has referred to private schools in the home as "non-
approved home study programs." The homeschoolers explained that the
Department's name change for these private schools had created
significant problems. In addition, the meeting discussed the
eligibility of homeschoolers for Tuition Opportunity Program for
Students (TOPS) funding, and the Department of Education's embargo of
the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). The Department of Education
argued that Riverside Publishing, which produces the ITBS, had
refused to provide tests to Louisiana, but Riverside Publishing had
told homeschoolers that it was the Department of Education policy
that had caused the problem.

On Thursday, April 22, homeschoolers had a follow up meeting with
Superintendent Cecil Picard in his office. Beryl Amedee and Kathryn
Goppelt have summarized that meeting in a letter to the
superintendent
( http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=1498 [requires Adobe Acrobat])
They report that the Department of Education website will no longer
refer to "non-approved home study programs," and the "Non-Approved
Home Study Registration Form" will no longer be utilized. In
addition, the Department of Education will request that Riverside
Publishing make at least one form of the ITBS available to private
and homeschool students in Louisiana this fall (
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=1499 ). In another development,
legislation to equalize ACT scores for homeschoolers so that they are
no longer discriminated against has been introduced by
Representatives Beard and Scalise. We are encouraging our member
families to contact their elected representatives to support H.B.
1503


By working hard and working together, Louisiana's homeschool leaders
have gained the attention of the education establishment. We will
keep Louisiana homeschoolers informed as these efforts continue.
Please be ready to contact your legislators in order to finish what
these homeschool heroes have begun!


Sincerely,

Scott Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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