March 22, 2007

Homeschool Freedom Bill is Introduced

In Nevada, homeschoolers are excited by S.B. 404, a homeschool bill that has been introduced by Senator Maurice E. Washington, chairman of the Committee on Human Resources and Education. This bill would eliminate nearly all of the current regulation homeschoolers face in Nevada.

The bill was written by Frank Schnorbus and Barbara Dragon, who are homeschool leaders and parents in Nevada. They worked closely with Home School Legal Defense Association Attorney Chris Klicka to develop the best language.

The bill states that parents who wish to homeschool their children must file a notice of intent with the superintendent of public instruction within 30 days of beginning the homeschool. The parent must use a form developed by the department of education that includes only the name, age, and gender of the child; the name and address of the parents filing the notice; a statement signed by the parents declaring that they assume full responsibility for the education of their child; and an optional statement that the parents may sign, which would “expressly prohibit the release of any information contained in this document (the notice of intent).”

Only upon written request could the superintendent then provide a copy of the signed notice to the local school district.

That is all the new law will require! This will make Nevada one of the best states in the country for homeschooling, if the bill is passed as expected.

Furthermore, the new bill states that, “a school organization may not discriminate in any manner against a child who is homeschooled.” Also, the bill states that school districts shall allow homeschoolers to participate in all college entrance exams offered in the state, including the SAT and the ACT and the National Merit Scholarship qualifying test.

Lastly, a religious freedom act that Klicka advocated and that was introduced this year was added in part to the end of the homeschool law. This section of the bill states, “no regulation or policy of the state board or any school district may infringe upon the right of parents to educate his child based on religious preference, unless it is essential to further compelling governmental interest and the least restrictive means to further that governmental interest.”

If this passes, this will be the first homeschool law with this religious freedom protection.

We are very thankful for this opportunity and know that the Nevada homeschoolers plan to work hard to try to get this bill passed by the end of the session.