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New York

August 10, 2005

Legislative Wrap-up

The New York regular legislative session has ended for this year. We are thankful that no legislation that would have negatively impacted homeschool families passed this session.

This year, Home School Legal Defense Association followed several bills that could have affected homeschool families in New York.

Senate Bill 83, and its companion, Assembly Bill 5008, was one of the harmful pieces of legislation that HSLDA monitored closely. If passed, these bills would have required any person under age 18 to have a "certificate of good attendance" in school in order to have a driver's license or learner's permit. Thankfully, neither of these bills made any progress after being introduced.

Fortunately, the legislature did not restrict the rights of New York families to teach their own children. However, homeschoolers did not see any gains in the legislature either.

The Home School Freedom Bill, Senate Bill 3641, was advanced to the third reading in the Senate again this year. However, it was amended on the Senate floor to keep the composite score above the 33rd percentile. We were seeking to lower it to the 23rd percentile which is the beginning of the "average" range of a standardized achievement test.

Senate Bill 3641 was also amended to only permit a New York certified teacher or a homeschool peer group review panel to conduct the alternative written narrative evaluation. While two parents could have made up the peer group review panel, we did not believe this amendment would be in the best interest of all homeschool families in New York.

Since these amendments no longer made the bill acceptable to Loving Education At Home (LEAH) and HSLDA we instructed the sponsor to remove it from the active calendar. This prevented a vote on the bill.

HSLDA continues to work with LEAH in pursuing freedom for homeschool families in New York. While the New York legislature has been called the most "dysfunctional" legislature in the country, by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law, we are confident that through prayer and perseverance freedom for homeschool families will ultimately prevail.