No matter where we look, we can see that state legislators are trying very hard to push their way in to our homes. Bills are being disguised as non-threatening, and presented as beneficial to all students. The truth however is that said bills are targeting the homeschool community, with unprecedented prejudice.
Don’t believe me?
Just take a look at the three bills we’ve looked at so far, and add HB 574, to that lot.
HB 574 The Instruction Remediation Plan
For the record, this is not the official name of the bill. This is simply how I refer to it, since this is it’s intention.
From the Kentucky Legislature website:
AN ACT relating to homeschools.
Create a new section of KRS Chapter 159 to require parents of homeschool students to submit an affidavit attesting a homeschool student received 1,062 hours of instruction and a portfolio of student work to the Kentucky Department of Education annually; require the Kentucky Department of Education to review the portfolio to determine whether the student has achieved adequate academic growth; require implementation of a remediation plan if a student has not achieved adequate academic growth; establish an administrative procedure for terminating a student’s enrollment in a homeschool if the student has not achieved adequate academic growth after 24 months on the remediation plan; prohibit the enrollment of a habitual truant in a homeschool without approval of written curricula by the Kentucky Department of Education; permit the Kentucky Department of Education to promulgate necessary regulations.
Short and sweet? I think not.
HB 574 Originates from a complete lack of understanding of homeschooling.
One of the biggest misconceptions of non-homeschooling community, is that learning takes place between 8AM and 3PM, or 7AM and 5PM, or whatever it may be. We, however know that learning never ends.
My girls for example, had a full hour of science instruction this morning, which was followed by three math lessons, 45 minutes of world geography, an hour of reading, an hour of home economics, and an hour of U.S. government, as we discussed bills like HB 574.
After all the curriculum, and audio books were put away, one learned a valuable lesson in budgeting, as she shopped for a prom dress. Another one helped her younger cousin with math, and my other two girls taught another cousin the alphabet. Later this afternoon, all of them will learn to cook a new dish, and will even take up some sewing as we make costumes for their upcoming play.
Bill HB 574 would require parents to attest their children received 1,062 hours on instruction per school year. Today alone, my girls will have received 10 hours of supervised instruction each. They will continue to learn even more on their own as the day progresses.
Should public school parents be required to log the amount of hours their children learn?
The lack of understanding of homeschooling does not simply end there.
Many homeschool parents choose this path, to provide their children with a personalized education. Furthermore per the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), three of the top 5 reasons why parents choose to homeschool have to do with academics and learning style:
Number 2: Dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools.
Number 4: Child has a physical or mental health problem.
Number 5: Child has other special needs.
Bill 574 would require portfolios to determine “adequate academic growth“.
Whose perception of adequacy would the remedial plan be based on?
Termination Homeschool Enrollment if Growth is Not Adequate
Perhaps the most damaging demand of this bill, is the implementation of a remedial plan. The state would claim a right to “terminate a student’s enrollment in a homeschool if the student has not achieved adequate academic growth after 24 months on the remediation plan”. The working of what comes next on this bill is also crucial:
prohibit the enrollment of a habitual truant in a homeschool without approval of written curricula by the Kentucky Department of Education; permit the Kentucky Department of Education to promulgate necessary regulations.
Here is where school choice, and homeschool freedom, would be clearly violated by state officials.
How can you step up and take action against HB 574?
The committee hearing for this Bill will take place on April 25th. Here are some action steps you can take today. Don’t wait for someone else to make the call, don’t wait for someone else to write the letter. Most importantly, don’t wait, take these steps now.
- Visit the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) Legislation Action Center and read the history about this bill. There, you’ll find pre-written letters you can send to Representative Harris and the Kentucky House of Representatives.
- Share this information with the homeschool community, as well as with friends, family and neighbors who are willing to stand for our homeschool freedoms.
- Contact your state legislators, even if you do not reside in the state of Kentucky. Similar bills could come and affect your state. Make your voice heard today.
- Stay up to date with homeschool law. The only way to fight bills like this one is by staying informed.
- Support organizations like HSLDA. These organizations fight daily to protect our homeschool freedoms.
- Reach out to the KY Rep. Chris Harris @RepHarrisKY via Twitter, and make your position known.
Check out the rest of the series, by clicking on the image below.