Originally Sent: 6/20/2013

From the HSLDA e-lert service…
Home School Legal Defense Association

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Call Now to Protect Right to Take Public School Classes

Homeschooling in Wisconsin

Help support equal treatment for homeschoolers.



Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschooled their children.
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Dear Wisconsin HSLDA Members and Friends:

Calls are needed right away to protect the right of homeschool students who so desire to take classes at a public school. Currently, Wisconsin Statute §118.145(4) gives homeschool students (and private school students) the right to take up to two public high school classes. The student must be qualified to attend the school itself, and there must be room in the classroom, but there are no other restrictions.

Section 1828 of AB 40 (the budget bill) now pending in the Wisconsin Legislature would give public schools unlimited discretionary power to exclude homeschoolers. It would, in effect, convert a homeschooler’s right to take public high school classes into a privilege to be granted only when the whims of the school district are satisfied. The bill achieves this by giving school districts new unlimited power to set admissions requirements for homeschoolers each individual course.

This provision is also a glaring example of discrimination. Section 1828 allows private school students to keep exactly the same right to public high school classes they have always had under Wisconsin Statute §118.145(4)!

Action Requested

Please call your Wisconsin state senator and representative, and the governor’s office. Your message can be as simple as: “Please remove Section 1828 from AB 40. It gives unlimited power to public schools to turn homeschool students away from public high school classes. It discriminates against homeschool students and it’s an invitation to arbitrary action.”

Use this link to find your state senator and representative, and their contact information.

To contact the governor, for email: govgeneral@wisconsin.gov. For phone calls: Office of Governor Scott Walker, (608) 266-1212

Background

There is a wide variety of opinion within the homeschool community as to the wisdom and desirability of participating in public school classes or other activities. HSLDA takes no position on creating new rights to access public school programs.

However, when that right already exists, HSLDA firmly believes it should be protected. For example, when a public school in Iowa violated a homeschool student’s right to take low-cost college classes through a public school program, HSLDA filed suit and won a victory for the family that benefitted all homeschoolers. When the right to take low-cost college classes was threatened in Maine, HSLDA drafted a bill to protect access, and that bill is making excellent progress.

When homeschool students in Idaho were told they could not play on public school teams—to which they were clearly entitled under law—HSLDA intervened and pushed the offending public school system to let the homeschool kids play on the team. When the right to obtain free, voluntary testing through the local public school was threatened in Iowa, HSLDA worked to obtain passage of a bill protecting the right.

HSLDA’s opposition to Section 1828 of AB 40 is fully in line with our belief that existing rights to access public school programs should be protected for the sake of those who wish to take advantage of them.

Section 1828 of AB 40 would create one possible benefit: it would place public elementary school classes within the potential reach of homeschool families. However, access would be subject to the unlimited power of the public school to determine who is qualified to take each course. This makes the actual ability to access an elementary school course highly doubtful. This questionable benefit is not worth the trade-off.

There is some concern that a different provision in AB 40 which allows a tax deduction for tuition paid to private schools would adversely impact homeschoolers. Wisconsin law is very clear that a homeschool program is not a “school.” Wisconsin law never refers to homeschooling as a “school”, but only as a “home-based private educational program” or a “home-based educational program.” HSLDA has previously been involved in federal appellate litigation that centered on what is and what is not a “school.” We are familiar with the issue and its importance and its impact.

It is highly unlikely that creation of a tax deduction for tuition paid to a private school would have any impact at all on homeschool programs. We are therefore not asking families to call to oppose the private school tuition tax deduction provision. It could even benefit families who homeschool some of their children but enroll others in a private school.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely Yours,
Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.,
Senior Counsel, HSLDA

P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>

• • • •

Remember the Last Time You Wrote a Term Paper?

Research can be grueling—digging through archives, wading through articles, conducting interviews. But if it’s related to homeschooling, you can relax a little. There’s a good chance that you’ll find what you’re looking for in HSLDA’s bimonthly Home School Court Report. Providing in-depth, insightful articles on much of what affects the world of homeschoolers, the Court Report is a must-read for the serious homeschooler. This publication is provided free to each HSLDA member.

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