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Amended Homeschool Bill Passes Legislature
Homeschooling families in North Dakota did not get all they asked for in the original version of House Bill 1265, but the amended version passed by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly was still an improvement over prior law. As originally drafted, House Bill 1265 would have removed the requirement that a homeschooling parent with a high school diploma or GED be monitored for two years by a state-certified teacher. Additionally, the definition of "home education" would have been changed to delete the requirement that the program be conducted only in the child's home. Both of these proposals were stricken by the House Education Committee after a hearing on January 18, 2005, attended by many homeschooling families. Testifying at this hearing were attorney Dewitt Black of Home School Legal Defense Association, along with North Dakota homeschool leaders. The Committee preserved the provision in the bill permitting parents of children with developmental disabilities to homeschool them. The old law denied this right to parents except for those whose children suffered from autism. North Dakota was the only state in the nation with such a restrictive law.
North Dakota remains the only state in the nation requiring parents with a high school diploma or GED to be monitored by a state-certified teacher. Forty-one states do not require homeschooling parents to even have a high school diploma or GED. Studies conducted on homeschooling have concluded that there is little statistical difference between the academic performance of children whose parents have not finished high school and those who have a college education. HSLDA will continue to work with the homeschoolers of North Dakota to remove this intrusive and unnecessary monitoring of parents by state-certified teachers.
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