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7/6/2007 3:17:19 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Mississippi: Legislative Wrap-Up

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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July 5, 2007

Mississippi--Legislative Wrap-Up

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

The Mississippi Legislature adjourned for the year on May 11, 2007.
HSLDA tracked a large number of bills during the 2007 session that, if
passed would have affected the rights of parents who educate their
children at home.

Senate Bill 2380, introduced by Senator Sampson Jackson (32nd Senate
District ), would have authorized the state board of education to
establish "student testing proficiency standards for promotion to
grade levels for students in home instruction programs which are
equivalent to requirements applicable to public school students." If
this legislation had been enacted, parents would have no longer been
able to determine grade placement of their children being
homeschooled. Due to the effective lobbying efforts of the Mississippi
Home Educators Association, this bill died in committee.

The Legislature also recognized constitutional protections for all
Mississippi families. On March 14, 2007, Governor Haley Barbour signed
into law House Bill 1121, which requires social workers to inform an
individual being investigated for child abuse or neglect of the
specific allegations against the individual. This partially complies
with the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)
which requires states to adopt and implement measures for protecting
families during the child investigative process. First, child
protective services workers must be trained in their duty to protect
the statutory and constitutional rights of those they are
investigating. Second, child protective services personnel must advise
individuals being investigated for child abuse and neglect of the
complaint or allegation made against them. Mississippi's enactment of
House Bill 1121 complies with the second of these requirements.
Additional legislation will be needed to achieve full compliance.

House Bill 698 and Senate Bill 2626 were companion bills that would
have permitted school districts to enroll home school students as
dual-enrollment students so they could participate in both academic
and extracurricular activities, while House Bill 174 would have
entitled homeschool students to participate in extracurricular
activities at the public school. HSLDA took a neutral position on
these bills, all of which died in committee.

House Bill 1458 was a tax credit bill for education expenses for all
students, including home school students. While the concept of tax
credits is favorable to home schooling families, Section 19 of this
bill would have required academic evaluations of homeschool students.
The evaluations would have been conducted using "appropriate
analytical and behavioral science methodologies." Additionally, they
would compute the relative efficiency of public and home schools and a
comparison of acceptance rates into college, "while adjusting or
controlling for student and family background." This bill was opposed
as introduced, considering the academic and personal evaluations of
home school students and their families. If these objectionable
provisions had been deleted, then this tax credit bill could have been
supported. It did not go anywhere.

In addition to these bills, HSLDA tracked numerous measures designed
to increase governmental control over education. House Bills 505, 831,
and 970 and Senate Bills 2096, 2232, 2326, 2327, and 2393 would have
expanded the compulsory attendance ages in Mississippi. They all died
in committee.

We are grateful for your vigilance and involvement to support parental
rights in Mississippi and keep your ability to homeschool your
children free from unreasonable governmental interference.

For more information regarding legislation affecting your right to
homeschool in Mississippi, please visit our web site at
http://www.hslda.org/MS

Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
Senior Counsel

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