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7/6/2007 3:31:28 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Arkansas: Legislative Wrap-Up

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

Arkansas--Legislative Wrap-Up

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

The Arkansas General Assembly adjourned for the year on May 1, 2007.
HSLDA tracked several bills during the 2007 session affecting the
rights of parents who educate their children at home.

Most notable was House Bill 2394. This bill changes the definition of
a "home school" in Arkansas, and was signed into law on April 2, 2007,
by Governor Mike Beebe. Prior law defined this term as "a school
primarily conducted by parents or legal guardians for their own
children." The new definition for a home school is "a school provided
by a parent or legal guardian for his or her own child." The new
definition takes into consideration that a single custodial parent or
guardian may elect to provide home instruction without raising the
question of whether both parents must agree on this educational option
for their child. Additionally, the amended definition indicates that a
parent or guardian has more flexibility to obtain the services of
other individuals in conducting the instruction. The parent or
guardian does not have to be the person primarily doing the teaching.

If passed, House Bill 2714 would have required a parent or guardian to
have a high school diploma or GED before providing a homeschool
education to a child or ward. Fortunately, this bill failed to advance
beyond the House Education Committee prior to adjournment. It is
notable that only nine states have this requirement in their
homeschool law. Studies conducted on homeschooling have concluded that
there is little statistical difference between the academic
performance of children whose parents have not finished high school
and those who have a college education. HSLDA is unaware of any
problem in Arkansas this proposed law would have fixed.

House Bill 2608 was a tax credit bill for educational expenses,
including those associated with homeschooling. Unfortunately, this
bill did not pass.

Another bill affecting homeschoolers was House Bill 2810, which would
have permitted these students to participate in extracurricular
activities at public school. This bill died in the House Education
Committee.

Other bills tracked by HSLDA were Senate Bill 841, creating
government-funded distance learning education programs, and House Bill
1157, regarding step-grandparent visitation rights. HSLDA opposed both
of these bills and is pleased to report that neither was passed into
law.

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

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

Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
Senior Counsel

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Home School Legal Defense Association
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