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1/21/2005 12:45:48 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
North Dakota--Report on Homeschool Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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January 21, 2005


North Dakota--Report on Homeschool Bill


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Thanks to all of you who called legislators and attended the hearing
of the House Education Committee this past Monday on House Bill 1265.
Homeschooling families filled the hearing room at the State Capitol to
show support for this important legislation. Testimony from several
witnesses was offered both in support and opposition to the bill. Many
thanks to the homeschool leaders and parents who testified about how
current law hinders or prohibits them from doing what is best for
their children.

I testified that the current restrictions on homeschoolers are
unnecessary as indicated by the most recent studies. I also pointed
out to the Committee that North Dakota is the only state in the nation
requiring the monitoring of parents by certified teachers and
prohibiting parents from homeschooling their developmentally disabled
children. Finally, I expressed HSLDA's opinion that the current law
regarding developmentally disabled children is in violation of the
fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children
under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

After the hearing, the Committee discussed the bill and decided to
appoint a subcommittee to consider amendments to the bill. This
indicates that the Committee is not inclined to pass the bill in its
present form but may be willing to pass an amended version.
Unfortunately, what the Committee is willing to pass may not be
acceptable to homeschoolers.

As written, this bill would eliminate all monitoring of homeschooling
parents by state-certified teachers. The requirement that the home
education program be conducted in the home would be deleted.
Additionally, the law would be changed to permit parents to homeschool
children who have developmental disabilities, such as Down's syndrome.
These changes in the law would place North Dakota more in line with
the homeschooling laws of other states.

Legislators still need to hear from you on this bill. A letter is the
most effective means of communication, but e-mails and calls will also
help. Letters may be addressed to members of the House of
Representatives as follows:

[Name of Representative]
Legislative Assembly
State Capitol 600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505


REQUESTED ACTION:

1. Please contact as many members of the House Education Committee as
possible and your own state representative with this message:

"Please vote for House Bill 1265. This bill would bring the homeschool
law of North Dakota more in line with other states by removing
unnecessary restrictions on parents. It would permit parents with a
high school diploma or GED to homeschool their children without being
monitored every week by a state-certified teacher. Additionally,
parents would not be confined to their home in providing the
instruction. It would also allow parents to homeschool their
developmentally disabled children, as every other state permits."

It is not necessary for you to contact the two sponsors of the bill
serving on the House Education Committee: Representative Margaret
Sitte and Representative Lisa Meier. Members of the committee are as
follows:

RaeAnn G. Kelsch (R) - Chairman
(701) 220-0003
rkelsch@state.nd.us

Dennis Johnson (R) - V. Chairman
(701) 739-9328
djohnson@state.nd.us

C.B. Haas (R)
(701) 974-3738
chaas@state.nd.us

Lyle Hanson (D)
(701) 251-1654
lhanson@state.nd.us

Kathy Hawken (R)
(701) 293-5483
khawken@state.nd.us

Gil Herbel (R)
(701) 352-2294
gherbel@state.nd.us

Stacey Horter (R)
(701) 791-2962
shorter@state.nd.us

Bob Hunskor (D)
(701) 272-6283
bhunskor@state.nd.us

Lisa Meier (R)
(701) 255-4166
lmeier@state.nd.us

Phillip Mueller (D)
(701) 435-2737
pmueller@state.nd.us

Mike Norland (R)
(701) 770-1657
mnorland@state.nd.us

Margaret Sitte (R)
(701) 255-4885
msitte@state.nd.us

Dorvan Solberg (D)
(701) 568-3614
dsolberg@state.nd.us

John Wall (R)
(701) 642-2103
jwall@state.nd.us

You can find the name and telephone number of your state
representative by using HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2033

2. Please forward this e-mail to every homeschooling family you know
who is not a member of HSLDA and urge them to contact members of the
committee and their own state representative.


BACKGROUND

North Dakota is unique in two respects regarding its homeschool law.
First, it is the only state in the nation requiring parents with a
high school diploma or a GED to be monitored by a state-certified
teacher. Second, it is the only state in the nation prohibiting the
homeschooling of children with developmental disabilities, except for
children with autism. Autistic children in North Dakota may be
homeschooled under very restrictive conditions.

Forty-one states do not require homeschooling parents to have a high
school diploma or GED. Nine states, including North Dakota, require
the diploma or GED, but only North Dakota requires weekly monitoring
by a state-certified teacher. Most noteworthy, every study conducted
thus far on homeschooling has found that the formal education level of
teaching parents makes no significant difference in the performance of
their children on standardized tests. These students score on average
15-30 points higher than their public school counterparts.

HSLDA has long taken the position that North Dakota's law prohibiting
the homeschooling of developmentally disabled children is
unconstitutional. We believe this law violates the fundamental right
of parents to direct the education of their children as guaranteed by
the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We are
eager to challenge this law in court if the North Dakota Legislature
fails to provide relief from this overly restrictive law. However, it
would be much easier on the affected families if the Legislature would
simply fix the law.

From an educational standpoint, there can be little question that the
one-on-one attention given to a developmentally disabled child by a
parent is more effective than a classroom setting. This has been
confirmed in two studies by Steven F. Duvall, P.h. D., a Kansas school
psychologist, who found that there are higher rates of time in
homeschooling where the student is "academically engaged" and
consequently greater academic gains were made by homeschool students
who have learning disabilities.

To view a copy of the text of House Bill 1265, go to
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2034

Please call now!


Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel
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-> Can you look at the clouds and tell the direction of the wind?

An interesting phenomenon of wind is that it can blow in multiple
directions at the same time, at different heights from the ground.
But usually there is a prevailing wind. HSLDA watches the gusts
and monitors the prevailing trends of change in the legal climate
of home education. So no matter which way the wind is blowing,
we're there to protect your family.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1938

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