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November 14, 2002
Maryland Board of Education Tries to Change Homeschool Regulations

Common sense and general civility would dictate that if a governmental entity wants to change rules, the first thing it should do is communicate with those who would be affected by the changes. Unfortunately, the Maryland State Department of Education (MDOE) has begun the process for changing homeschool regulations without consulting home school organizations.

The MDOE has proposed a rule that would require that the assurance of consent notice be filed every year. Currently, a notice is filed only once, at the beginning of the home school program. This change would cause a tremendous increase in unnecessary paperwork for home school families. It would also increase the cost of administering the law, which would be borne by all taxpayers.

HSLDA has notified the MDOE that we will not accept the legitimacy of a rule drafted before receiving the input of home school organizations.

We have given the MDOE two recommendations: first, withdraw the proposed rule (as Maryland State Government Code sec.10-116 allows); and second, appoint a task force composed of representatives of homeschool organizations and others for the purpose of looking at the issues. Open, honest communication must precede any effort to change the regulations.

We hope and pray that officials will demonstrate respect for homeschool families and honor these recommendations.

HSLDA believes the Maryland Board of Education may vote on this proposed regulation at its December 3 meeting. We need help from the homeschoolers of Maryland to see that this change is not implemented. We have until November 19 to influence the Board's decision through written comments. Please write to the Board by that date and explain how you feel about the potential regulation change.

Address your letter to Maryland State Department of Education, 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2595. Fax it to (410) 333-8148 or email it to llinde@msde.state.md.us, or send it by mail to the address above.

Please ask other homeschoolers you know to write also.

For more information on this proposed regulation change visit:
http://www.hslda.org/Legislation/State/md/2002/MDDOERegs/default.asp

The full text of the proposed regulation may be found at:
https://constmail.gov.state.md.us/comar/dsd_web/mdregister_web/mdregister.htm
(scroll down and click on the link "Volume 29, Issue 21, October 18, 2002," then plug "home instruction" into search box).