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9/6/2011 4:12:22 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Rhode Island--Call to Action: North Providence Enforces Highly Restrictive Policy

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Rhode Island--Call to Action: North Providence Enforces Highly
Restrictive Policy

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Last fall--without even talking to the people whose lives it would
impact--the North Providence school committee adopted a highly
restrictive homeschool policy in the state of Rhode Island. It is an
immediate threat to your freedom to homeschool your children.

Some towns have bad policies, but they cause little harm because they
are not enforced. But North Providence has chosen to enforce its
terrible policy. It recently rejected one family's homeschool plan and
demanded that they resubmit and comply with their policy. It may have
rejected others, as well.

ACTION REQUESTED

If you live in North Providence and are willing to help work to make
major changes to the current policy, please contact HSLDA right away
(whether or not you are an HSLDA member.) We want to know who is
willing to be on the team to restore freedom!

Please pass this on to all other North Providence homeschoolers!

If you are a member of HSLDA and your family's homeschool program is
rejected, let us know immediately.

SIGNIFICANT PROBLEMS WITH NORTH PROVIDENCE POLICY

> It demands how many minutes will be spent on every subject.

> It forces parent to sign an "agreement" to submit standardized
testing.

> It demands the following information about all instructors:
relationship to student, educational background, teaching experience,
and location of instruction.

> It requires that a homeschool program be "comparable" to a public
school education.

> It requires that the curriculum be "substantially equal" to the
public school curriculum.

> It demands the reasons for the homeschool request.

> It requires that the homeschool program comply with "applicable
Federal statutory and regulatory requirements." (There are no federal
requirements.)

> It requires a homeschool program to comply with "applicable state
regulatory requirements." (There are no state homeschool
regulations.)

> It requires instruction for a period substantially equal to public
schools (in minutes per subject).

> It requires "detailed" quarterly reports (or the superintendent can
demand "actual test results").

> It demands that children be put in public school until homeschooling
is approved.

> It demands that attendance reports include "times of attendance"
(i.e., minutes).

> It demands educational levels in all subjects, and how the level was
determined.

> It demands that the family "describe instructional approaches."

> The agreement that is demanded insists that parents maintain a
sample portfolio for each subject, a list of books read, a list of
field trips.

> The agreement seems to demand a meeting with school department
staff.

> It demonstrates an overall attitude that homeschooling belongs to
the public school system: "The North Providence School Department in
its desire to assist parents in the development of educational
programs for their children will make every effort to work with
parents ... the following agreement has been devised to assist the
parties in the successful implementation of a home schooling program."
It gives the superintendent power to approve homeschooling "with
modifications"--which suggests the superintendent, not the family, is
in charge of the homeschool program.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

When working to correct a bad local policy, the best question to ask
is: "What would be a good homeschool policy?" This question will tend
to move discussions in a positive direction.

The problem with raising the question: "What policy is legal?" is that
it tends to push discussions toward a policy that is just as bad as
possible without actually violating the law. And Rhode Island law is
so vague that quite a variety of policies that are hostile to freedom,
burdensome and choked with red tape might still be held to be "legal."

Some aspects of the current North Providence policy are likely outside
the bounds of state law. But trying to attack the policy as being
illegal will probably not produce a good result. For best results, we
need to push this question: "What would be a good policy?"

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1108

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