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5/30/2008 3:49:47 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
D.C.--Calls Needed to Stop Unnecessary Regulation of Homeschoolers

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 30, 2008

District of Columbia--Calls Needed to Stop Unnecessary Regulation of
Homeschoolers

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Calls are needed immediately to stop what would be one of the most
onerous changes to homeschool regulations anywhere.

The District of Columbia is poised to enact restrictive homeschool
regulations. One particularly onerous provision in Section 5208 gives
the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) the discretion to
terminate a homeschool program. The section then requires that
parents re-enroll their children in a public or private school at the
discretion of the OSSE. This approach fails to duly respect a
parent's fundamental right to educate their children and gives the
government too much authority and discretion.

Even if you do not live in the District of Columbia, we are asking you
to call because the federal government has jurisdiction over the city
and HSLDA has exhausted all our behind-the-scenes efforts to seek
reasonable accommodations for homeschoolers in D.C.

If we do not act collectively as a homeschool community, these
regulations will go into effect and severely restrict homeschool
freedom for District homeschoolers and potentially set a damaging
precedent.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Please call the people listed below and express your opposition in
your own words. Be concise and courteous. Here is an example:

"If enacted, the proposed D.C. homeschooling regulations would be
among the most onerous in the country. They give too much discretion
and authority to education officials to determine whether a family may
homeschool. We support the D.C. homeschoolers' request that the OSSE
and other education officials continue to work to improve the
regulations, in ways such as removing the high school diploma
requirement, increasing assessment options (if indeed any are needed),
and providing for real due process in the event of a dispute between
homeschoolers and education officials."

The regulations should not be passed in their current form. Please
ask the OSSE to go back and work with homeschoolers to improve them.

For an analysis of the proposed DC regulations, see
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5185


Office of the Mayor

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty
Phone: (202) 727-2980
Email webpage: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5186

Victor Reinoso, Deputy Mayor for Education
Phone: (202) 727-3636
Email: victor.reinoso@dc.gov


Office of the State Superintendent

Deborah A. Gist, State Superintendent of Education
Phone: (202) 727-6436
Email: Deborah.gist@dc.gov

Fonda Sutton, Director of Policy, Research and Analysis
Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Phone: (202) 727-9882
Email: fonda.sutton@dc.gov


DC State Board of Education: (202) 442-4289
Robert Bobb
Elected Board Member
Term Expires December 2008
Email: Robert.Bobb@dc.gov
William Lockridge, Elected Board Member
District 4 Member (Wards 7 & 8)
Term Expires December 2008
Email: William.Lockridge@dc.gov
Lisa Raymond, Elected Board Member
District 3 Member (Wards 5 & 6)
Term Expires December 2008
Email: Lisa.Raymond@dc.gov
Laura Slover, Appointed Board Member
Email: Laura.Slover@dc.gov
Ted Trabue, Appointed Board Member
Term Expires December 2008
Email: Ted.Trabue@dc.gov
Sekou Biddle, Elected Board Member
District 2, Wards 3 & 4
Email: Sekou.biddle@dc.gov
Mary Lord, Elected Board Member
District 1 (Wards 1 & 2)
Email: Mary.lord@dc.gov

BACKGROUND:

1. Responding to the Banita Jacks case, the District of Columbia
embarked on a crackdown of homeschoolers. D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty
publicly promised to regulate homeschooling. See
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5187 .

2. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has
authority to propose regulations and did work with HSLDA and other
D.C. homeschoolers. They agreed to include certain language and
provisions. However, the published regulations fail to deliver on
assurances and promises that were given to D.C. homeschoolers.

3. Numerous homeschool families have testified before the State Board
of Education (SBOE) and received high praise from Board members. The
State Board has authority to approve the proposed regulations. In its
hearing, the State Board was interested and seemed receptive to
finding a solution that dealt fairly with homeschoolers. We want them
to direct the OSSE to go back and work with homeschoolers to improve
the regulations further.

4. Current D.C. regulations call for parents to simply notify the
District that they are homeschooling. We support this approach as an
excellent way to solve the current impasse.

Thank you for standing with us for homeschooling freedom!

Sincerely,


Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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