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10/24/2008 4:28:44 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Mexico--Urgent Action Still Needed to Stop

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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October 24, 2008

New Mexico--Urgent Action Still Needed
to Stop "Backdoor" Homeschool Restriction

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

We still have time to stop a proposed regulation which will require
homeschoolers seeking driver permits to be academically tested!

Yesterday, the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department (under which
the Motor Vehicle Division falls) conducted a hearing on the proposed
changes to the requirements for obtaining a driver's permit.

Christian Association of Parent Educators (CAPE) representatives
Eugene Like, Susan Tsyitee, and Ramon and Betty Martinez testified at
the hearing to advocate for homeschoolers and persuaded the Department
to extend the public comment period to next Friday, October 31.

The general counsel of the New Mexico Public Education Department
(PED) representative attended the hearing to argue for the change,
which the PED believes will help improve public school academics and
attendance. Because homeschoolers have earned the right to regulate
themselves, the proposed regulation should be amended in order to
preserve homeschool freedom.

We are working closely with CAPE to launch this next strike in order
to stop this "backdoor" erosion of our homeschooling freedoms.

ACTION REQUESTED

1. From Monday, Oct. 27 through Friday, Oct. 31, email the
Taxation and Revenue Department at john.griego1@state.nm.us to ask
that the following language replace the current language addressing
homeschoolers:

"Self-certification: Home school 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."

Copy your email to CAPE at info@cape-nm.org so that they can track the
comments being submitted.

2. Since he has final authority over the Taxation and Revenue
Department, we urge you to call Governor Bill Richardson at (505)
476-2200 and give him this message: "Please ask the Taxation and
Revenue Department to adopt the homeschool amendment to the proposed
driver permit regulation in order to allow them to self-certify their
student's academic standing and preserve their freedom."

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


BACKGROUND

The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division ("MVD"), through the New Mexico
Taxation and Revenue Department, has proposed changes to the state's
administrative code to require 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
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 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.

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

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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