Thursday, May 29, 2008

Calls Needed to Stop Unnecessary Regulation of D.C. Homeschoolers

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Calls are needed immediately to stop what would be one of the most onerous changes to homeschool regulations anywhere.

The District of Columbia is poised to enact restrictive homeschool regulations. One particularly onerous provision in Section 5208 gives the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) the discretion to terminate a homeschool program. The section then requires that parents re-enroll their children in a public or private school at the discretion of the OSSE. This approach fails to duly respect a parent's fundamental right to educate their children and gives the government too much authority and discretion.

Even if you do not live in the District of Columbia, we are asking you to call because the federal government has jurisdiction over the city and HSLDA has exhausted all our behind-the-scenes efforts to seek reasonable accommodations for homeschoolers in D.C.

If we do not act collectively as a homeschool community, these regulations will go into effect and severely restrict homeschool freedom for District homeschoolers and potentially set a damaging precedent.

Please call the people listed below and express your opposition in your own words. Be concise and courteous. Here is an example:

“If enacted, the proposed D.C. homeschooling regulations would be among the most onerous in the country. They give too much discretion and authority to education officials to determine whether a family may homeschool. We support the D.C. homeschoolers’ request that the OSSE and other education officials continue to work to improve the regulations, in ways such as removing the high school diploma requirement, increasing assessment options (if indeed any are needed), and providing for real due process in the event of a dispute between homeschoolers and education officials.”

The regulations should not be passed in their current form. Please ask the OSSE to go back and work with homeschoolers to improve them. Read an analysis of the proposed D.C. regulations >>

Office of the Mayor
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty

Phone: (202) 727-2980 Email webpage >>

Victor Reinoso, Deputy Mayor for Education
Phone: (202) 727-3636 Email:

Office of the State Superintendent
Deborah A. Gist, State Superintendent of Education

Phone: (202) 727-6436 Email:

Fonda Sutton,
Director of Policy, Research and Analysis Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Phone: (202) 727-9882 Email:

D.C. State Board of Education
Phone: (202) 442-4289

Robert Bobb
Elected Board Member; Term Expires December 2008

William Lockridge
Elected Board MemberDistrict 4 Member, Wards 7 & 8;
Term Expires December 2008

Lisa Raymond
Elected Board MemberDistrict 3 Member, Wards 5 & 6;
Term Expires December 2008

Laura Slover
Appointed Board Member

Ted Trabue
Appointed Board Member;
Term Expires December 2008

Sekou Biddle
Elected Board Member District 2, Wards 3 & 4

Mary Lord
Elected Board Member District 1, Wards 1 & 2

1. Responding to the Banita Jacks case, the District of Columbia embarked on a crackdown of homeschoolers. D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty publicly promised to regulate homeschooling. Read “Tragedy Prompts Calls for Heightened Scrutiny of Homeschoolers.”

2. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has authority to propose regulations and did work with HSLDA and other D.C. homeschoolers. They agreed to include certain language and provisions. However, the published regulations fail to deliver on assurances and promises that were given to D.C. homeschoolers.

3. Numerous homeschool families have testified before the State Board of Education (SBOE) and received high praise from Board members. The State Board has authority to approve the proposed regulations. In its hearing, the State Board was interested and seemed receptive to finding a solution that dealt fairly with homeschoolers. We want them to direct the OSSE to go back and work with homeschoolers to improve the regulations further.

4. Current D.C. regulations call for parents to simply notify the District that they are homeschooling. We support this approach as an excellent way to solve the current impasse.

Thank you for standing with us for homeschooling freedom!

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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