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10/20/2008 5:10:57 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Mexico--Immediate Action Needed for Obtaining Homeschoolers' Drivers Permit

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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October 20, 2008

New Mexico--Immediate Action Needed for
Obtaining Homeschoolers' Drivers Permit

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division ("MVD") has proposed changes to
the state's administrative code, which require all minor applicants
for a driver's permit to provide certification of "near proficiency"
in math and reading and 90% school attendance during 9th grade.
"Proficiency" is to be determined by the scores of an 8th grade public
school test or "alternative test." The new rule also requires parents
to "consent for the release of any educational information to the
director."

Failure to certify either will result in a six-month delay in
obtaining the permit, and failure to certify in both will cause a
12-month delay. The new rule would go into effect for applications
submitted after September 1, 2011.

The MVD is proposing this new rule to motivate students to attend
school and to become "near-proficient" in reading and math. A
driver's permit is the reward for doing so.

However, this rule causes obvious problems for homeschoolers and
private schools.

First, homeschool and private school teachers do not need help
motivating their own students. Second, students' right to privacy is
violated by the requirement to allow access to school records. Third,
imposing academic proficiency standards infringes upon private
educators' freedom to individually tailor their curriculum and
teaching methods. Fourth, attaching the right to drive to
state-determined academic standards restricts a parent's right to
determine when his or her child has earned the privilege of driving
(subject to driver education and testing).

HSLDA and Christian Association of Parent Educators-NM (CAPE) are
proposing that homeschool and private school administrators be able to
certify with their signatures that their children have 90% attendance
in 9th grade and that their students are proficient in math and
reading on a form that does not include access to private records.

CAPE has contacted nonpublic schools in New Mexico asking them to join
home educators in advocating this.

A public hearing on the proposed rule will be held on Wednesday,
October 22, 2008, at 9:30 a.m.


ACTION REQUESTED

1. Submit written comments about this rule change to the Director of
Tax Policy on or before October 22, 2008. Ask the Director to replace
the current proposed language referring to homeschoolers with the
following:

"Self-certification: Homeschool operators, i.e. parents or guardians,
and private schools administrators will certify 90% attendance and an
assessment-based academic proficiency with their signatures on a
unique non-public certification form that will not include access to
private records, or require PED-approved assessments."

You may hand-deliver your comments if you are attending the hearing or
email them to CAPE who will then print and submit them at the hearing.


If you will be attending the hearing, you may hand-deliver your
comments.

Written comments on the proposals should be submitted to the Taxation
and Revenue Department, Director of Tax Policy, Post Office Box 630,
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-0630 on or before October 22, 2008.

If you are unable to attend the hearing and cannot ensure that your
mail reaches Santa Fe by October 22, CAPE will print and hand-deliver
your written comments. Simply email your comments to CAPE at
info@cape-nm.org before 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21st.

2. If you are able, attend the public hearing on Wednesday, October
22, 2008, at 9:30 a.m. in the Secretary's Conference Room No.
3002/3137 of the Taxation and Revenue Department, Joseph M. Montoya
Building, 1100 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Auxiliary aids
and accessible copies of the proposals are available upon request;
contact (505) 827-0928.

You may testify verbally or in writing at the hearing, or go to simply
listen and pray.

3. Forward this email to everyone who is involved in private or home
education, and encourage them to get involved.

Thank you for your support of homeschooling freedom in New Mexico!

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel


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