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September 13, 2010

Homeschooling is Truancy and Educational Neglect?

A truancy summit was held recently in Montezuma County, sponsored by various policy organizations including Southwest Colorado Prevention Policy Network, the School Community Youth Prevention Coalition, the Colorado Department of Social Services, and the Montelores Early Childhood Council, to name a few. An HSLDA member and homeschooling mom also attended after hearing that the agenda would include a discussion of homeschooling. The Cortez Journal reported it as upcoming.

At the summit, our member became increasingly concerned. The discussions focused on how home education programs relate to habitual truancy and educational neglect, implying that Colorado homeschoolers should be under stricter regulation to avoid truancy problems. These implications stemmed from the observations by attendees that many students, after being caught as truant, claim to be “homeschooled.” Due to this issue, the leaders at the summit created an agenda item regarding “the need to further understand homeschool laws.” The follow-up article can be read online.

After discussing what occurred at the summit with our member who had attended it, HSLDA Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly sent a letter to all the policy organizations that sponsored the truancy summit.

The letter refuted the “concerns” that these policy organizations expressed regarding truancy and homeschoolers by explaining that homeschooling is not educational neglect, but rather, a mainstream and highly effective form of education. Donnelly also pointed out evidence that shows stricter homeschool regulations do not prevent truancy in public schools. His letter explained in detail Colorado homeschooling law in order to address the apparent ignorance of those who attended the summit and their desire to “further understand homeschool laws.”

We hope this letter has helped address the “misunderstandings” of the sponsors of the truancy summit. We are pleased to work with Colorado homeschoolers who are vigorous freedom fighters. We will be watching closely for any proposed policy change that might affect Colorado homeschooling.