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Pennsylvania

November 18, 2002

Pennsylvania Homeschool Legislation Effectively Dead for 2002

The House Education Committee met yesterday, November 13, 2002, to consider H.B. 2560. Both Representative Sam Rohrer, the sponsor of the bill, and Representative Fred McIllhattan urged the Committee members to vote for the bill. However, the Chairman of the Committee, Representative Jess Stairs, offered an amendment requiring a year-end evaluation and removing the clause in the bill ensuring that homeschool graduates were given the same rights, benefits, and privileges as all other high school graduates. The amendment would have also required a certified teacher, with at least three years of experience and Department of Education approval, to conduct the evaluations. These evaluators would have been required to send their evaluations directly to the Department of Education. Unfortunately, the Committee adopted Chairman Stairs' amendment.

After the amendment passed, Representative Rohrer moved to table the bill to prevent these unfavorable amendments from passing out of the House Education Committee. The Committee then voted in favor of tabling the bill, meaning that H.B. 2560 is effectively dead for this legislative session. In any case, we would not have supported the bill as amended due to Representative Stairs' restrictive amendment.

It is likely that a new bill will be introduced in the upcoming legislative session next year. At this point, we do not know whether it will contain the same language as H.B. 2560 or some different provisions.

If you have any questions or concerns about what this bill would do, please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information. Or you can visit our web site at:
http://www.hslda.org/legislation/state/PA/2002/PAHB2560/default.asp

It is extremely unfortunate that we lost this battle to make homeschooling easier in Pennsylvania. Many of you worked long and hard over the last year to support H.B. 2560, and we thank you very much for your labors. Please don't be discouraged. It is our hope that this year's effort will lay the groundwork for legislative victory in the 2003 legislative session.