I didn’t realize that Chris Klicka/HSLDA spoke at the school board hearing on new and invasive DC homeschool regs. Didn’t think about it much actually, but it is just a hop, skip and jump from their Virginia digs.
I ran into this today in Catholic Online as I was avoiding pulling weeds in my garden. It appears to be from HSLDA and written by Chris Klicka:
HSLDA Attorneys’ Defense of Parents Before the D.C. School Board 8/2/2008
WASHINGTON, DC (HSLDA) – For the last 23 years I have worked as Senior Counsel at the Home School Legal Defense
Association. When I began in 1985 it was only legal to homeschool in about five states.
Is that true? IL, TX, CO, VA, OK, CT, CA…that’s at least seven states that I thought had the natural right to homeschool in their states before 1985. What other states? I thought the exception would be those that did not allow homeschooling (if there were any), rather than 45 states before 1985. Just because it’s not specified in a law doesn’t cause us to be breaking a law practicing our natural rights. Otherwise, we could be in prison for not being within Farmer Bob’s weeding specifications. Continuing from Mr. Klicka:
However, after many court cases and legislative battles, we were able to win the right to homeschool throughout the United States.As a result, I am very acquainted with the homeschool laws and cases in the 50 states,and I know what works and what does not.
If Mr. Klicka is very acquainted with Illinois homeschool law (we don’t have one), then why don’t they change the IL legal analysis on the HSLDA site? I understand that the IL Christian Home Education group asked them nicely to take out the 176 days regarding Required Days of Instruction. There’s more questions I have about the analysis, but I’ll stop with that today.
There were 2 requests from HSLDA regarding DC’s new (and did I mention, invasive) homeschool law. The first was to amend language so that there wasn’t an "arbitrary discretionary power to require anything it wants on the form". The form being homeschool notification, as I read it. There was also acknowledgment that " Virginia does not require a state form and Maryland dictates what is on the form in order to avoid vagueness". No form is a good place to start.
The 2nd request is what got my rapt attention.
2. Section 5205.1 requires parents to maintain a portfolio of homeschooling materials, which is not a problem. Such a requirement is common in other states,however, what is not common is that the current proposed D.C. Regulations require that this portfolio be “made available for review by the OSSE upon written request.”
A law requiring parents to maintain a portfolio of homeschooling materials is a problem. I found the narrow directive from the DC board, with HSLDA approval, that a portfolio is necessary isn’t a blasé affair. Other wording, in this carefully written HSLDA document would have been preferable in my book.
Whether it is common in other states is irrelevant in order to protect homeschooling freedoms. Ohio, for instance, requires a portfolio of sorts, with an outline of the current year’s intended curriculum, along with an annual list of textbooks, correspondence courses, commercial curricula, or other basic teaching materials that the parent intends to use for home education.
On the other hand and with the wish that all other states had this type of family freedom, Illinois has no portfolio requirements for homeschoolers. IL homeschoolers have proven educational success records. I would hope that would be a status quo to maintain for homeschooling freedoms. Then, those who keep tidy portfolios, along with the many who do not keep portfolios of their children’s work except on their refrigerator (in a handmade seashell frame from vacation Bible school) will all be on the same level of family accountability. Maybe I’m wrong, but I surely like the way we can solely focus on our children learning, rather than who from, how and where they learn.
Now, I’m back to weeding with a vengeance.