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6/22/2004 4:13:06 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New York--Final Push For Homeschool Freedom--Session is Ending!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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June 22, 2004


New York--Final Push For Homeschool Freedom--Session is Ending!


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

The New York Legislature is scheduled to close this week and we need
everyone to call Assemblyman Steven Sanders and Sheldon Silver! This
is possibly our last chance to get Assembly Bill 4598, the Homeschool
Freedom Bill, and Assembly Bill 11538, regarding the college issue in
New York, passed this session.

Please help send the message loud and clear to Assemblyman Sanders and
Silver that homeschoolers will not rest until these issues are brought
to a vote! These two men are able to bring these bills to a vote.
Please call again even if you have called in the last few days.

With God, all things are possible! (Matthew 19:26) Please call now!


REQUESTED ACTION

1) Please contact both Assemblyman Steven Sanders, the Chairman of the
Assembly Education Committee, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and
strongly urge them to support AB 4598 and AB 11538. You can use the
following messages:

AB 4598- Homeschool Freedom Bill
"Please bring Assembly Bill 4598 for a vote. This bill will relieve
public school officials and homeschooling parents from burdensome and
costly administrative tasks. Home educators have earned the right to
regulatory relief after demonstrating their overwhelming success under
the current law for the past 15 years. This bill must be passed. We
need relief."

AB 11538- Homeschoolers and College
"Please bring Assembly Bill 11538 for a vote. This bill is needed to
help future homeschool graduates enter a New York college or
university. The current regulations discriminate against students with
a homeschool diploma and require them to obtain a GED certificate or
statement from the school district verifying that the homeschool
program is equivalent to the public school program. Please act to
ensure that homeschool graduates are not discriminated against and
pass AB 11538."

You can also tell both Assemblymen that homeschooling families will
not give up on these issues until they are passed, even if it means
calling all next session!

Assemblyman Steven Sanders - Assembly Education Committee Chairman
(518) 455-5506

Assemblyman Sheldon Silver - Assembly Speaker
(518) 455-3791


Reasons We Support These Bills

Assembly Bill 4598 would make the following changes in the current
law:

- eliminate the requirement of an Individualized Home Instruction Plan
(IHIP);

- eliminate the requirement of quarterly reports;

- eliminate required subjects at all grade levels;

- permit the alternative method of evaluation (instead of standardized
testing) every year;

- permit parents who wish to test their children to choose any
nationally-normed standardized achievement test, in addition to a
State Education Department test or another approved test;

- eliminate the requirement that the local superintendent consent to
the person who administers a standardized achievement test or who
conducts the alternative method of evaluation;

- lower the minimum standardized test score from above the 33rd
percentile to above the 23rd percentile; and

- eliminate the provision for home visits while a home instruction
program is on probation.


Assembly Bill 11538 would:

1) Create an option for parents to have their children receive a
letter of compliance and a certificate of completion for high school.
A family desiring to follow this option would simply need to submit a
notice of intent for each year their child is in high school. While
this notice of intent would include the list of subjects to be taught
and the textbooks or plan of instruction to be followed for that year,
no Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) or quarterly reports
would need to be filed. At the end of the year the family would file
an annual report with the school district consisting of a transcript,
attendance records and a report consisting of the results of a
nationally normed standardized achievement test as determined by the
parent and administered consistent with the test publisher, or
the results of the alternative annual assessment, such as a portfolio
of the child's work or evaluation by a private or public school
teacher indicating the child is progressing according to his ability.

2) Prohibit the Commissioner from requiring pupils who have completed
the requirements of a homeschool education or a non-public school
program to obtain or submit proof of having obtained a general
education development (GED) certificate or any accredited diploma.


BACKGROUND

If the Homeschool Freedom Bill is enacted into law, it will not only
relieve parents and public school officials of time-consuming
administrative tasks, it will significantly increase the freedom of
home educators in New York to direct the education of their children.
New York has the potential through this legislation to go from the
state with the most restrictive homeschool law in the nation to a
state with one of the most favorable laws for home educators.

Passage of Assembly Bill 4598 will virtually eliminate all of the
legal problems for homeschooling families in your state. While all of
us would prefer a law completely exempting students receiving home
instruction from the compulsory attendance requirements, it is not
politically feasible at this time. HSLDA's goal continues to be the
repeal of all compulsory attendance laws, but in the meantime we will
support efforts to increase freedom for homeschoolers. We believe this
legislation would make great strides toward our ultimate goal, so we
wholeheartedly support these bills and ask that you do so as well.

Beginning in the 2002-03 school year, homeschoolers began experiencing
an increase in discrimination due to the implementation of a
previously dormant New York State Education Department policy. This
policy is preventing colleges from recognizing a 9-12 grade homeschool
education as being sufficient to enroll in either a State University
of New York or community college.

This unexpected change in college policy has interrupted many
homeschool graduates' plans for college and has even kept homeschool
graduates in college from graduating. Passage of Assembly Bill 11538
would solve this problem.


Sincerely,

Thomas J. Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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