December 12, 2006

Senate Bill 1023: An Act Revising the Home Instruction Statute

Senators Browne, Vance, Orie, Piccola, Wenger, Rafferty, Regola, Pileggi, Greenleaf, and Wonderling.

This was a companion bill to Section 2 of House Bill 280.

Senate Bill 1023 would have removed superintendents from reviewing portfolios in home education programs to determine whether the student is receiving an appropriate education. Instead, the parent would submit to the superintendent a written evaluation from a qualified evaluator.

This bill would also have provided for an administrative procedure to resolve questions about the parent's compliance with the laws.

11/22/2005Introduced and referred to Senate Education Committee.
11/28/2006 This bill died when the Legislature adjourned.

HSLDA's Position:
None at this time.

Action Requested:
1. Please call or write (both would be better) Senator James Rhoades, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, with this message:

    "Please support Senate Bill 1023 which would improve the homeschool law of Pennsylvania. It would remove the unnecessary double evaluation of home education programs and streamline administrative procedures for both school districts and parents."

The contact information for Senator Rhoades is as follows:

Senator James Rhoades
Chairman, Senate Education Committee
Senate Box 203029
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3029
(717) 787-2637

2. Please forward this email to other homeschooling families who are not members of HSLDA and ask them to contact Senator Rhoades as well.

Reasons to Support Senate Bill 1023:

  • Senate Bill 1023 would do the following:
  • Eliminate the public school superintendent's review of portfolios;
  • Require superintendents to accept an evaluator's determination that an appropriate education is occurring in the home education program;
  • Provide for an administrative procedure to resolve any claim by the superintendent that the parent has failed to comply with any aspect of the homeschool law;
  • Ensure that the home education program may continue during the time of any appeal of an adverse ruling by a hearing examiner.

In 1998 the General Assembly of Pennsylvania enacted a new home education statute, Section 13-1327.1 of the Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated. This legislation was prompted by a federal court decision that same year declaring the compulsory school attendance statute unconstitutional for vagueness. HSLDA represented the plaintiff in that case challenging the constitutionality of the state law. The compulsory attendance law, Section. 13-1327, permitted home schooling by a "properly qualified" private tutor if the instruction was "satisfactory" to the local public school superintendent. With 501 school districts in Pennsylvania, each with its own standards for who was properly qualified to teach and what was considered satisfactory instruction, there was no objective standard parents could rely upon in complying with state law.

By enacting the home education statute in 1988, the General Assembly addressed the vagueness issues of the compulsory attendance statute, but Pennsylvania also became one of the most highly regulated states in the nation. Only New York, which also adopted its home instruction law in 1988, has more state oversight of home education than Pennsylvania.

After 17 years of demonstrating success under an unnecessarily restrictive law, home educators in Pennsylvania have earned the right to less state oversight.

If you have any questions or concerns about what this bill would do, please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information.

 Other Resources

Feb.-2-2006—Pennsylvania—Calls Needed to Senator Rhoades

Bill Text   (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Bill History