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September 24, 2004

Silver Lining in Nebraska Law LB 868

The Nebraska Department of Education is still struggling to make sense of LB 868, a new law affecting home education. While HSLDA opposed some provisions in this law, we were aware that it also contained some excellent provisions for homeschoolers. In particular, this statute explicitly allows homeschool parents to graduate their children upon completion of their homeschool program.

The Department of Education refers to this provision as a "loophole," but homeschoolers disagree. This provision was added to the original bill in an effort to keep it from harming our families. Scott Summers, a Department of Education attorney, tried to persuade the Senate to remove this provision but soon discovered that the Senators did not want it changed.

What the Department may not realize is that Senator Pam Redfield, who sponsored LB 868, was determined to protect parental rights in any legislation she enacted. That is why she was careful to clarify that homeschoolers can set their own graduation requirements. This will be a big help for some families. According to one recent study, one out of four homeschoolers are a grade or more ahead of their peers. This means that a surprising number of homeschoolers finish their high school studies before they turn 18. LB 868 expands opportunities for homeschoolers. In the past, these students have encountered barriers to progress. Those problems are now over.