A new bill related to homeschooling suddenly emerged this week at the WV State Legislature. HB 3408 was introduced in the House of Delegates on Monday and was quickly approved by the House Education Committee on Wednesday. The bill’s primary purpose is to consolidate the requirements for all students receiving instruction at home – in other words enumerates the same requirements for traditional homeschoolers and HOPE scholarship students with IIPs.
When the HOPE Scholarship went through the legislature in 2021, CHEWV diligently worked to insure that the requirements for HOPE scholarship students were kept separate from students who did not receive government funding for their schooling. Our concern was/is that when lumped together with students who are receiving government funding, more burdensome requirements would be foisted on homeschoolers.
HB3408 may be well intended, but it has numerous problems that stem from merging requirements for different home-based education options into one single section of law.
A separate, more worrisome problem with HB3408 is that it applies the current “Option 1” requirements (designed for students who have board-approved teachers come to their home) to all students educated at home. As it is written, HB3408:
- Specifies that instruction “shall be in the home of the child…or other place approved by the county board.” (a)(1)
- Specifies minimum number of hours of instruction per day and the number of days per year of instruction. Elementary students would need to have a minimum of 180 days of instruction containing 315 minutes of instruction per day. (a)(1)
- Contains language that implies that county boards can deny a family’s “request” to homeschool. (a)(2)
- Requires that persons providing instruction are “in the judgment of the county superintendent and county board” “qualified to give instruction in subjects required to be taught in public elementary schools in the state.” (a)(3)
- Requires that instructors provide, at the request of the county board, information related to “attendance, instruction, and progress.” (a)(4)
- Directs the state board of education to “develop guidelines for the home schooling of special education students.” (a)(5)
Since the bill has passed out of committee, its next stop will be the full House of Delegates for a vote.
While we aren’t currently advising legislator contact, we do call for fervent prayer. Please also watch for upcoming CHEWV Legislative Alerts. Action may or may not be necessary in the next day or so. We will keep you posted.