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June 13, 2008

Controversy Over Proposed Homeschool Regulations Captures Media Attention

Thanks to the thousands of calls and emails from homeschoolers around the country to D.C. State Board of Education (SBOE) members and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), the D.C.-area media is paying attention to the District’s proposed homeschooling regulations.

Two months after the initial proposed draft was released, an official draft of the regulations was published in the (May 2) D.C. Register and posted for public comment. Though the second draft was an improvement over the first proposed draft, it still contained significantly restrictive requirements. After HSLDA and D.C. homeschool leaders had exhausted most of their resources, HSLDA emailed a request to its national readership, asking for comments. Thousands of families responded with calls and emails to the mayor, SBOE, and OSSE, signaling to D.C. officials that when it comes to their parental rights and educational freedom, homeschoolers are a force with which to be reckoned.

Mike Donnelly, HSLDA Staff Attorney responsible for member affairs in the District of Columbia, has spearheaded the effort to preserve homeschooling freedom in D.C. In addition to coordinating strategies with D.C. homeschool leaders, including D.C. Home Educators Association President Ethan Reedy and Bolling Area Home Educators President Cyndi Henderson, he has consistently met and communicated with SBOE members and OSSE staff, submitted written and verbal testimony, and participated in numerous radio interviews on the situation.

Because of the combined efforts of HSLDA, D.C. homeschoolers, and homeschooling families throughout the United States, the OSSE is making changes to the regulations and is expected to hold another public comment period. This is a breakthrough because the regulations have for some time been scheduled for a vote at the SBOE June 18 Public Meeting. This additional time will allow homeschoolers and other interested parties to continue influencing the drafting process so that the regulations provide parents with maximum freedom to privately home educate their children in the District of Columbia.

This effort is also important because it demonstrates that homeschoolers are capable of significantly influencing policymakers. It is important that no jurisdiction in the United States be permitted to further burden parents with overly intrusive, vague or restrictive rules. As homeschoolers work together faithfully, they can trust providence for protection and success. HSLDA is grateful for the efforts of all homeschoolers and others who have been instrumental in preventing the hurried enactment of potentially harmful regulations.

HSLDA is determined to stand for the freedom of homeschoolers in the District and to exert maximum effort to ensure that the proposed regulations respect the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children.

 Other Resources

For more information, visit HSLDA’s District of Columbia homepage and the websites listed below: