No Shadow for HB 4175

by | Feb 3, 2016 | News

Homeschool Modernization Passes House—Please Take Action to Advance Freedom!

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Today the West Virginia House voted to modernize West Virginia’s homeschool law with the passage of H.B. 4175. Delegates overwhelmingly favored updating the archaic current law, voting 80-18 to support modernization. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Thank you for contacting legislators and urging their support of homeschool modernization! To read the bill as passed, please go here.

We thank, and encourage you to also thank, those legislators voting in favor of H.B. 4175, especially Chairman Espinosa and Lead Sponsors Delegates Kurcaba and Faircloth. Their contact information is below:

Chairman Espinosa
304-340-3130
paul.espinosa@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Kurcaba
304-340-3173
brian.kurcaba@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Faircloth
304-340-3147
larry.faircloth@wvhouse.gov

Here is a link to the roll call vote showing which delegates trust parents and support homeschooling in West Virginia. You can also find contact information for your delegate here.

Action Requested

I am also asking you to contact members of the Senate Education Committee and ask them to pass H.B. 4175 without amendment. Here are their email addresses: dave.sypolt@wvsenate.gov; donnaboley@suddenlink.net; bob.beach@wvsenate.gov; Mitch.Carmichael@wvsenate.gov; sue.cline@wvsenate.gov; robert.karnes@wvsenate.gov; william.laird@wvsenate.gov; mike.hall@wvsenate.gov; robert.plymale@wvsenate.gov; mike.romano@wvsenate.gov; ron.stollings@wvsenate.gov; drtomtakubo@gmail.com; charles.trump@wvsenate.gov; john.unger@wvsenate.gov

Please send them this message in your own words:

Dear Senator,

I asking you to pass H.B. 4175 out of the Education Committee without further amendment. H.B. 4175 makes common-sense reforms to West Virginia’s antiquated homeschool law by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy faced by families as well as school districts. Homeschooling parents have demonstrated that they are able to produce exceptional academic and social results without state oversight. More than a dozen other states have passed similar legislation recognizing home education achievement over the past 30 years.

As a parent it is my responsibility to decide how my children are educated. H.B. 4175 was amended to address reporting requirements and should be passed without further amendment. West Virginia parents can and should be trusted to make educational decisions for their children without intrusive or unwarranted bureaucratic obstacles. H.B. 4175 is step in that direction.

Please vote for H.B. 4175. Thank you for your service to the families of West Virginia.

Last year Senator Romano was able to amend the bill to reinsert annual reporting. He also supported reinserting the diploma language. Although I am disappointed that the House of Delegates placed ongoing and unnecessary reporting requirements, four submissions over the course of a student’s career is more than sufficient to meet any concerns Senator Romano might reasonably have. The fact is that fewer than 20 states require parents to conduct assessments and even fewer require that the results be submitted to authorities. Even fewer require annual submissions. A number of states that do require submissions take a similar approach by not requiring that the assessment results by submitted annually.

Background

H.B. 4175 modernizes West Virginia’s homeschool law and brings it more in line with the trend in homeschooling regulation in the past decade. Over a dozen states have made common-sense reforms to remove unnecessary and unwarranted burdens from parents who choose home education for their children.

The bill reduces bureaucracy by requiring a one-time notification and submission of test results four times over the course of a student’s career. The law clarifies that testing may be administered by anyone qualified by the test publisher and does not exclude the child’s primary instructor from administering the tests (e.g. the student’s parent in most cases).

The bill also clarifies a common misunderstanding that children who are starting home education, as long as they have filed the proper paperwork, are not “truant”—nor are they status offenders under the abuse and neglect code. The bill thus reduces the amount of paperwork that must be submitted to the school district.

Parents who are unable to provide evidence of their high school diploma or GED (either because they lost it or because they were homeschooled and were never issued one) would not be prohibited from home education.

I am also very pleased that the law would remove the unconstitutional 14-day waiting period that has been a significant barrier for parents seeking to start homeschooling—especially when there are problems with the school their child is attending. No parent should have to wait 14 days to exercise their constitutional rights to homeschool.

Standing with you for Liberty,

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
Staff Attorney

P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support for our work enables us to defend individual families and protect homeschooling freedom for all.

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