February 18, 2014

HSLDA to U.S. Department of Education: Leave Homeschoolers Alone!

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Federal Relations Director

Will Estrada has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. As the oldest of eight kids, and a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate, he has a passion for protecting homeschool freedom. Read more >>

On December 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education released a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding migratory students. This is not uncommon, as the Department of Education has worked with state public schools for many years to provide assistance to children of migratory workers (these are often workers who travel to different farms to harvest fruits and vegetables).

But what immediately drew HSLDA’s attention and concern was the Department of Education’s assertion that these new regulations would apply to migratory students who are homeschooled. The proposed regulations are an attempt by the Department of Education to assist school districts in keeping records on migratory students as they move from school district to school district.

However, the proposed regulations also said this:

“This [data collection] would include not only pre-school and K-12 migratory children enrolled in public schools, but also those who are home-schooled or enrolled in non-public schools because, as they migrate, these home-schooled or non-public school children may move into and out of public schools, where their private school or home-school records would be needed for enrollment and placement purposes.”

Lack of Authority

HSLDA strongly opposes this attempt to include homeschooled children within the scope of public school data collection. Furthermore, the Department of Education has absolutely no legal authority to mandate such data collection, or even to control any homeschoolers at all. HSLDA worked with Congress in 2001 to include an amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act which specifically stated that the federal government had no authority over homeschools or private schools that do not receive federal funds.

What is also perplexing about the Department’s current proposal is that it asserts the regulations would apply to migratory students who are homeschooled, but nothing in the actual regulations even mentions homeschoolers.

HSLDA has submitted a public letter to Department of Education officials reminding them of the law and letting them know that their proposed regulation must be rewritten to protect the data of homeschool students of migratory workers. You may read our letter here.

Make Your Voice Heard

In addition, we encourage you to file a public comment of your own urging the Department of Education to rewrite this proposed regulation to leave homeschoolers alone. The deadline to file a public comment is February 25. Please note that you must include your name, which along with the comment will be made public.

We encourage you to comment in your own words, or you can use the suggestion below:

“As a homeschool parent, I am very concerned by the Department of Education’s assertion that it can authorize public schools to collect and store the data of homeschool students who are the children of migratory workers. The Department has no legal authority to do this, and the proposed regulations actually violate current U.S. law. I urge the Department of Education to rewrite this proposed regulation to protect the privacy of homeschool and private school children who are considered migratory students.”

Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of homeschooling. Once the federal government feels that it can start to control even a few homeschool families, it is only a matter of time before they try to take more liberties with our freedom. You can rest assured that your HSLDA will not let that happen.

Protect Your Family

If you aren’t yet a member of HSLDA, consider joining today! HSLDA’s work benefits homeschooolers in the United States and around the world. We invite you to participate in our ministry to the homeschool community.
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