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7/6/2007 3:19:59 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
North Dakota: Legislative Wrap-Up

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

North Dakota--Legislative Wrap-Up

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

The North Dakota Legislative Assembly adjourned for the year on April
25, 2007. HSLDA tracked a number of bills during the 2007 session
affecting the rights of parents who educate their children at home.

In a bizarre series of events, Senate Bill 2371, which started off as
a good bill, then was amended by the Senate Education Committee to
become a bad bill, then amended again to become a good bill as it
passed the full Senate, became a bad bill again and was finally voted
down in the House of Representatives on March 16, 2007.

As originally introduced, Senate Bill 2371 would have changed the law
to permit grandparents and foster parents to homeschool, to clarify
that homeschool students only have to take the basic battery of
standardized tests, and to permit parents to choose a test that was
not nationally normed. As amended by the House Education Committee,
the bill would not have even permitted grandparents to homeschool and
would have added the following restrictions to state law:

* Required monitoring of parents by a certified teacher to continue
beyond two years if a student scored below grade level or below the
50th percentile in any subject;
* Imposed monitoring for one year on any family at the family's
expense if the superintendent of public instruction determined that
the family had violated any provision of the homeschool law;
* Required testing in grades 3, 4, 6, 8, and 11 with the state
assessment or with a nationally normed standardized achievement test;
* Required the parent choosing a standardized achievement test to pay
for the cost of having the test administered in all cases; and
* If a remediation plan were implemented because of a low test score,
the student would have to continue to be evaluated for progress by the
superintendent until the student scored "above the lowest achievement
level on every subject tested on the state achievement assessment, a
score at or above the thirtieth percentile on every subject tested on
a nationally normed standardized achievement test" or a score
demonstrating one year of academic progress.

This was a disappointing experience for home educators in North Dakota
who were seeking only minor improvements in the current law. It points
out that proposed legislation can go in any direction before its final
outcome. Had it not been for the outcry of homeschoolers objecting to
the unfavorable amendments, North Dakota could have gotten an even
worse law than it has now.

Senate Bill 2184 would have raised North Dakota's compulsory
attendance age from 16 to 18. If this bill had passed, home educators
would have had to comply with North Dakota's burdensome homeschool law
for an additional two years. Due to opposition from homeschoolers,
this bill failed to pass the Senate Education Committee. Attempts to
pass the bill through the full Senate were unsuccessful, as the bill
failed to pass by a three to one margin.

Senate Bill 2414 would have provided a tax credit of $1,000 for each
child receiving home education. This bill failed to pass out of the
Senate Finance and Taxation Committee.

As originally introduced, Senate Bill 2309 would have prohibited any
North Dakota student from graduating from high school or being
admitted to college without completing a college preparatory
curriculum. Due in large measure to the outcry of homeschoolers, this
bill was amended to simply increase the number of units required for
graduation. This bill was signed into law by the governor on May 4,
2007.

House Bill 1136, signed into law on April 12, 2007, added pneumococcal
disease, meningococcal disease, rotovirus, and hepatitis A to the list
of diseases for which immunizations are required for school children,
including students receiving home instruction. Parents must obtain a
certification from a licensed physician or representative from the
state department of health that the child has received the required
immunizations. This certification is then filed by the parent with the
local school district. Fortunately, state law still provides for
medical, religious, philosophical, and moral exemptions from the
immunizations.

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

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

Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
Senior Counsel

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-> You can only do so much...

No one can be everywhere at once. And you can't be at home,
teaching your children, while monitoring your state's legislature.
Through electronic legislative services, HSLDA is monitoring state
legislation for you -- watching and listening carefully for any
proposed laws that could erode your right to homeschool.
Join HSLDA today-we'll watch out for your future.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1942

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