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Raised House Bill 5535: New Restrictive Home Schooling Requirements
Raised House Bill 5535 would have changed Connecticut from one of the least restrictive states for home schooling to one of the most restrictive. Raised H.B. 5535 would have done do away with the favorable guidelines under which home educators have operated since 1990 and impose burdensome statutory requirements on parents.
This bill officially died on Friday, March 22, 2002, when it missed the deadline for receiving a favorable vote.
Home schoolers had reached an agreement with Representative Cameron Staples on Raised House Bill 5535 that ended all action on the bill this session.
Committee Co-Chair Representative Staples expressed his desire that more home schooling families follow the voluntary guidelines adopted by the state department of education. Home school leaders agreed to recommend compliance with the guidelines to their support group members. In return, Representative Staples withdrew his support for H.B. 5535, allowing the bill to die quietly in the committee without a vote.
The guidelines stipulate that parents provide notice to the local school district of their intent to conduct home instruction and a portfolio review at the end of the school year. HSLDA was involved in the development of the guidelines by the state department of education in 1990 and has always recommended that our member families follow them. According to Representative Staples, increased voluntary compliance with the guidelines would likely ward off any efforts in the future to pass restrictive legislation.
This bill would create the following new restrictions on home instruction programs in Connecticut:
- An annual notice of intent to home school must be filed with the superintendent of schools within 10 days after the start of instruction.
- The notice must include the name of the person providing instruction and proof that the instructor has a high school diploma or its equivalent, a description of the subjects to be taught and the materials to be used, a schedule of days of instruction that consists of a minimum 900 hours per calendar year and the scheduling of an independent method of assessment of the child's academic performance, as approved by the commissioner of education.
- The superintendent must evaluate the notice for completeness and maintain the notice as part of the school district 's permanent records.
- The superintendent must review the results of an independent method of assessment of the child's academic performance or conduct a portfolio session with the parent. A portfolio session must display evidence of compliance with the instruction program described in the notice of intent.
- The superintendent must send a letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, to any parent filing an incomplete notice or to any parent failing to file a required notice. Any child whose parent fails to comply with the notice requirements or any other provisions of the new law will be considered truant.
- Each school district would be required to annually report the number of home schoolers to the Connecticut Department of Education.
HSLDA opposed this bill.
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3/20/2002 Connecticut--Good News on H.B.5535