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4/23/2008 10:48:46 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
D.C.--Task Force Makes Some Progress with OSSE, but Challenges Remain

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 23, 2008

District of Columbia--Task Force Makes
Some Progress with OSSE, but Challenges Remain

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

In our last update, we told you about the subcommittee that was
appointed to draft new proposed homeschooling regulations. Recently,
the subcommittee met with the Office of the State Superintendent of
Education (OSSE) to discuss the subcommittee's suggestions.

On a positive note, all parties have agreed that some of the
regulation's most intrusive provisions--home visits, strict attendance
requirements, and submission of medical records--will not appear in
the final draft. It was also agreed that the regulation should
include a statement about parental rights and the District of
Columbia's limited power.

Unfortunately, however, there are still several points of contention.
The OSSE continues to insist that a high school diploma or its
equivalent must be the minimum requirement for parent instructors.
The OSSE also wants to require automatic submission of annual
assessments, but the subcommittee feels that while performing annual
assessments is acceptable, they should only be handed in upon probable
cause that the children are not being educated. Fundamentally, the
OSSE seems unwilling to concede that fit parents must be presumed to
be acting in their children's best interests, and that a parent's
right to educate his or her own child is inherent.

Both parties are still exploring the possibility of allowing an
"umbrella group" option in which parents would be accountable to a
private group for their children's education. If this provision is
not added now, it may be phased in at a future date.

The OSSE is still eager to finish its proposed regulations and plans
to publish a draft by May 2. When the draft has been published, the
public will have 30 days to comment on the regulations, and if the
OSSE makes significant changes, the public comment period may be
extended. At the end of all public comment periods, the Board of
Education will vote on the new regulations.

The OSSE does not plan to meet with the task force again before it
publishes the regulations, and it has stated that to comply with all
ethics and legal requirements, it must produce its own draft. At this
time, no action is needed, but we are asking you to be prepared to
comment on the proposed regulations as soon as they are published. It
will take teamwork to preserve D.C. homeschooling freedom!

If you have any questions regarding this process, please do not
hesitate to contact our office at legaldc@hslda.org .

Thank you for your support of homeschooling freedom in the District of
Columbia!


Sincerely,

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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