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8/17/2012 4:45:55 PM
Peter Kamakawiwoole--HSLDA
Vermont: Action Needed to Fight Commissioner's New Homeschool Policy

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Vermont: Action Needed to Fight Commissioner's New Homeschool Policy

Dear Vermont Members and Friends of HSLDA:

You will recall that on July 23, the Vermont Commissioner of Education
sent out a memorandum http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=15481 to
homeschoolers, which would dramatically and unilaterally alter the
homeschool enrollment process. HSLDA strongly opposes this new
policy, which constitutes a blatant attempt to rewrite Vermont's
homeschool notice requirements.

Last week, HSLDA communicated its objections
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=15486 to the commissioner's office,
which had also received a detailed open letter
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=15482 from homeschooling father and
attorney Kevin Kite, explaining in great detail the legal deficiencies
of the policy. Despite these overtures, the commissioner's response
to HSLDA http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=15483 made it very clear
that he has no intention of retracting his policy. Unfortunately,
this response was not surprising, and HSLDA has been working
tirelessly with homeschool leaders in Vermont to determine how best to
convey our objections to this policy.

The time has come to voice those objections. Your action is needed to
send a strong message to the commissioner that his policy is
inconsistent with Vermont's home study statute.

The Vermont Department of Education is holding its regular monthly
meeting this coming Tuesday, August 21. According to the published
agenda http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=15484 for this meeting,
which was just released this morning, the meeting will be held at
Stowe High School Auditorium, starting at 9:15 a.m. I will be flying
to Vermont next week to voice our objection to this policy, and
strongly encourage you to attend as well. A strong showing by
homeschoolers will show the board that there is serious opposition to
the commissioner's new policy.

Because we do not want to stonewall or sabotage the department's
meeting, oral comments are not necessary at this time, but written
comments can be submitted to the board. We are hoping that this
initial appearance will result in additional forums with the
commissioner, where your oral comments would be greatly desired.

For more details about this event, and how you can voice your
objections at this meeting, please see this message
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=15485 from Retta Dunlap.

Please stand with us for homeschool freedom on August 21.

BACKGROUND

On July 23, the Vermont Commissioner of Education issued a memorandum
to homeschoolers, laying out the Department of Education's new policy
regarding homeschool enrollment notices. In particular, the policy
implements a new "Labor Day" deadline for returning homeschoolers to
submit their enrollment notices. Once this deadline passes, the
department will only accept a homeschool notice for the current school
year if the student has (1) moved into Vermont from out of state, (2)
turned 6 during the school year, or (3) transferred into a homeschool
from a Vermont public school, approved or recognized independent
school, or other approved education program. Once March 1 arrives,
the department will "no longer accept enrollment notices . . . for the
school year in progress." No exceptions.

HSLDA strongly opposes this new policy, which constitutes a blatant
attempt to introduce requirements which are entirely foreign to
Vermont's homeschool law. While this memorandum does not change
Vermont's homeschooling law, it does have the potential to
dramatically alter how the DOE handles homeschool notices in the
future. The new policy implements strict, absolute deadlines for
homeschoolers, which will open the door to the department to deny
families the right to homeschool based solely on missing a "deadline."

As long as this policy remains in force, families who wish to avoid
any confrontation with the department should plan on submitting their
homeschool enrollment notices no later than this coming Labor Day,
September 3. Having said that, HSLDA strongly believes that this
policy is inconsistent with Vermont's homeschool law, and usurps the
legislature's sole prerogative to make law. Families who submit their
paperwork after Labor Day should contact HSLDA immediately if they
receive any resistance from the Department.

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Plan to attend the upcoming meeting of the Vermont Board of
Education on Tuesday, August 21, at 9:15 a.m. The meeting will be
held at Stowe High School Auditorium, 413 Barrows Road, Stowe, VT. We
anticipate that it will last until around 10:30 a.m., although that
will depend on the number and extent of public comments.

2. Oral comments are not needed at this meeting, but written comments
can be submitted to the Board.

3. If you are planning to attend, please email Retta Dunlap at
mountainfoldvt@gmail.com.
If you are unable to attend, please pray for the success of this
meeting, specifically that our objections would be clear, well-made,
well-received, and open up an opportunity to resolve this issue.

Sincerely,

Peter K. Kamakawiwoole, Jr.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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-> Is customer service an art or a science?

For us, good customer service is both an art and a science
-it should appeal to our members and be effective. Consider what
our members say about us:

The freedom HSLDA allows me to have as I homeschool is wonderful!
They handle the law and I get to dedicate the time to my daughter.
- National City, CA

HSLDA members since 1993, our membership is just as important to
us as our children's curriculum. Thank you HSLDA for all you do on
our behalf! - West Valley, NY

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1941

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