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NCHE’s Plans

For those that want to know what NCHE is planning WRT proposed NC homeschool statute changes:

“Dear NCHE member,
This purpose of this communication is to inform you of the actions of the NCHE legislative committee, operating with the board’s approval. These on-goings can be understood in terms of three phases.
Phase 1–Research

In November, due to the election results, the NCHE board of directors authorized the legislative committee to explore the possibility of changing the homeschool statute to make it clear that homeschool students can participate in co-ops and outside classes where core academic instruction is given. Since that time, NCHE has published an article, “Homeschooling and Outside Classes” in the winter issue of the GREENHOUSE and posted the article on the GREENHOUSE website. In early January, we visited the legislators’ offices in Raleigh to distribute 170 homeschool information packets and to inform them of the upcoming Capital Fest day, March 12. In addition, we have been talking with NC lawyers, HSLDA, legislators and homeschoolers to get input about a possible change to our homeschool law. Meetings were organized across the state, and they were publicized via E-brief, the NCHE Facebook page, and communications to other state groups such as HA-NC and NCCHE. These meetings were to explain the reasons we were considering a change to the law and the risks involved, and to provide an opportunity for homeschoolers to voice their opinion. We also invited homeschoolers to send emails or to call and give us their opinions.

We have heard from homeschoolers who are for the idea and those who are against the idea, but the majority approves our efforts. Due to the encouragement we have received from homeschoolers and legislators and the input we have received from NC lawyers and HSLDA, we decided to take it to the next phase.

Phase 2—Get Sponsors

In a called meeting on January 29, NCHE passed the following motion:

“That NCHE pursue changing the definition of homeschool in the current law to make it more clear that homeschooled students can participate in co-ops and outside classes. Prior to submitting a bill, the proposed change will be ratified by the board of directors at a future date.”

In this phase, we will be seeking legislators who will be sponsors and co-sponsors of the bills we would like to submit for passage. We will be promoting the definition of homeschool as follows:

“Home school” means a nonpublic school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household, or from other persons or sources selected by any of the foregoing.

Our goal will be to line up sponsors and co-sponsors and reach agreement on any language changes they want to make. We want to get firm commitments from influential legislators–ones who have the influence to shepherd bills through the house and the senate without changes to the wording, unless we approve those word changes. If we are unable to get those firm commitments, we will stop the effort to get our law changed, and we will not submit a bill.

During this phase we will try to keep you informed of our progress. We will continue to schedule meetings across the state and send E-brief updates.

Phase 3—Submit bills (only with board approval)
If the legislative committee is able to get firm commitments from key legislators and a good number co-sponsors, and we are confident that we have the support we need to get our bills through intact, we will report back to the board of directors in a called meeting. The board will then decide whether or not to submit bills in the house and the senate.

If you have any questions about what we are doing or how we are proceeding, please contact me or any board member. We will be happy to talk with you.

Visit our website: NCHE.com

Spencer Mason
Legislative Vice President,
North Carolinians for Home Education
Home (704) 541-5145
Mobile (704) 661-6299
LegislativeVP@nche.com”

Interview with Rod Helder, regarding NC homeschool statutes

Hi everyone,
I called and spoke with Rod Helder today. I have written up the conversation, and it follows.
Teri Kuiper

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Phone meeting between Teri Kuiper and Rod Helder, retired

Mr. Helder graciously agreed to speak with me from his home. He is incredibly knowledgeable and spoke at length about the history of homeschooling with regard to its legalization. I was not able to keep up with him as I wrote. Therefore, I have used quotation marks only on direct quotations or portions of quotations, which I was able to write down quickly enough. Anything not in quotations is my wording, from my notes, trying to convey as accurately as possible, our conversation today.
Early on, the law was interpreted more conservatively by the DNPE. Mr. Helder said that due to tremendous input from homeschoolers, about five years ago he went to the Attorney General and asked if NC statute wording allowed wiggle room to have a way to be interpreted more loosely. The Attorney General agreed, and strongly advised liberal use of the word “supplemental” in the guidelines that were written as a result.
Those words can be found on the DNPE website.
The original wording of the homeschool statute included this wording, written by Mr. Helder: “…from and under the direct supervision of the parent…” in regard to directing the education of the students. NCHE fought the wording, and changed it to what it is now: “Home school means a nonpublic school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household.” Mr. Helder told me that he was in attendance when NCHE fought to change the wording. He said later in the conversation that Mr. Mason argued against the inclusion of the word “from,” and that now he is surprised that Mr. Mason is still using that word. Mr. Helder also said he is surprised that NCHE is tampering with this, as “nothing is perfect, but we have a pretty good law.” Mr. Helder “doesn’t think this is a wise move”… and it would be…”intentionally risking throwing away what we already have.”
I read Spencer Mason’s public assertion to Mr. Helder, copied here from the NCHE Facebook page: (https://www.facebook.com/nche1984/posts/10151409011756609)
“A mom was talking with Rod Helder, DNPE director, a few years ago, and she told him that her son was in a dual enrollment calculus class at NC State. Rod told her to close her school because she was not in compliance with the law. With a homeschool closed a student could not get a diploma that DNPE will recognize.”
Mr. Helder stated clearly and for the record that DNPE has NEVER closed a homeschool. Mr. Helder refuted this, easily. The DNPE does not have the authority to close ANY homeschool, and has never closed a homeschool. Furthermore, the DNPE has no control over diplomas. Furthermore, diplomas are not required anywhere. It is the transcript that is the legal document. The DNPE is only a monitor, and it does not have the ability or the authority to enforce the law. Law enforcement falls to the public school superintendents, who CAN prosecute a homeschool that is operating outside of the statutes. It is up to the homeschool administrator to close the homeschool when they are not in compliance with the statutes.
Mr. Helder went on to say, in regard to the calculus student, that it was indeed possible that he may have suggested that the homeschool be closed for the specific reasons that compulsory education in North Carolina ends at age 16, and the age requirement for dual enrollment was 16. Again, neither Mr. Helder nor the DNPE has authority to close a homeschool.
Regarding the statement over on the NCHE Facebook page by a member who claims personal knowledge of a homeschool co-op being closed down for offering Spanish, the same response applies.
Mr. Helder stated for the record that the DNPE has NEVER closed down a homeschool, never closed down a co-op, and never closed down a 4-H group. They all fall under the term “supplemental” which is clearly stated as being acceptable on the DNPE website.
Regarding tutors being legal: As long as tutors are “tutoring” (rather than replacing, is what he meant), the Attorney General agreed to broaden the definition to allow parents to teach up to a certain point, such as calculus, and then a tutor can be employed for supplemental teaching. The word supplemental was highlighted by the Attorney General.

NHELD response concerning the proposed NC homeschool statute changes sought by NCHE

This is Deborah Stevenson’s response, she is a lawyer with NHELD:

“Haven’t looked at your laws in a while, but off the top of my head – check to see the exact language. Our statute says parents “shall instruct or cause the child to be instructed”. That allows the parent to direct the instruction in any manner, including hiring tutors, enrolling in coop classes, etc. If there is any leeway in the existing statute where it could be interpreted that way, that would be the first choice. Next, one can always make an argument that just because it’s not included in the statute, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. In other words, the legislature knows how to exclude things, and they didn’t, so they must have realized it could be included. Those kind of arguments allow you to use existing law
rather than changing it. To fortify your argument, conduct research into the legislative history, if you haven’t already. Legislative history is simply the recorded comments of legislators at public hearings on the bill before it became a law, and comments during debate in committees and on the floor of the house and senate. Perhaps this point was argued before the law took effect and the rationale for leaving text as it is may have been articulated clearly. It could work in your favor, or not. If it does, that’s a strong argument because when judges have to interpret what the law means, that’s a primary way that they do it, or at least should do it.

They determine legislative intent in that manner by quoting legislators comments before it became law. If you don’t know how to do the research, the state library, or the local law library, has reference librarians who are used to doing this sort of thing. Sometimes they will do it by phone as well and send you the information. It’s worth doing anyway, if you
haven’t. You may be surprised what you can learn that may be helpful in the future. Don’t just look at current information – trace the debate back to the very beginning. Over time, the legislators’ thoughts on the subject may have changed substantially. Usually, most laws have been amended through time and at each occurrence you may find more comment and debate.

I would ask the other homeschoolers to hold off on proposing any changes in the law until you have all the research completed. They might not need to actually ask for a change in the law if you bring to the attention of the appropriate people the legislative history.

If you need to change the law, I would suggest some language as in the CT statute – parents still instruct, or cause the child to be instructed. That covers most everything.

Let me know if you have any further questions as you progress.
Deb.

NCHE to consider proposing change to NC homeschool statute

The following email was sent to the HA-NC board of directors. It comes from NCHE. I am posting it to bring awareness and foster discussion and consideration of any potential impact it may have for North Carolina homeschoolers. I urge you to share and discuss with any other homeschool lists you may be on.

Email to HA-NC starts here:

It is my desire for HA-NC and NCHE to work together on this project. I believe that if both organizations speak with one voice we will be more effective. I have spoken with a few legislators and they have indicated that we will have the best chance of success if we keep it simple and if we get a bill introduced early in the legislative session. It is our goal to get a sponsor and have a bill introduced early in February, which doesn’t give us much time. So far, I have set up meetings in Wilmington, Raleigh, Kernersville and Charlotte to get input from homeschoolers. I am working on getting a meeting in the western part of the state.

Here is the current definition of a homeschool in the NC law:
(a) “Home school” means a nonpublic school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household.
We are open to suggestions, but here are two possible changes:
(1) “Homeschool” means a nonpublic school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households have their academic instruction taught by or provided for by their parents or legal guardians.

(2) “Homeschool” means a nonpublic school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households have their academic instruction taught by or directed by their parents or legal guardians.

Visit our website: NCHE.com

Spencer Mason
Legislative Vice President,
North Carolinians for Home Education

The Tebow Bill in Alabama

“It is widely speculated that the Tim Tebow Bill will be reintroduced in the next regular session of the Alabama Legislature. The Tim Tebow Bill, modeled after a Florida bill, will allow home-schooled pupils to participate in public schools’ athletics and other extra-curricular activities….”
For the full article please visit:  http://www.annistonstar.com/view/full_story/15157864/article-The-Tebow-Bill-in-Alabama?instance=home_opinion

Response from Deborah Stevenson, lawyer with National Home Education Legal Defense

HA-NC : “In NC there are a couple of bills being considered this session. One in the NC Senate and one in the NC House, both really the same. The bills
outline means for homeschool (and other non public school) kids to have access to public school sports. Homeschoolers would have to comply with the same rules, conduct, grades etc.

Would this give the local public schools or the federal government (since public schools receive federal funding) any way to have control over homeschoolers. ”

Deborah Stevenson: “The short answer is yes. One of the rules usually is that the child has to maintain a certain grade point average in order to be on the team. That inevitably leads to the comment that the officials in the school must have proof that the homeschooled child is receiving that grade point. How they determine that becomes the next question. The school official likely will ask to see the curriculum, testing, work, grades, etc. of the child in order to show that the homeschooled child is receiving that grade. The
official also likely may claim that even though the homeschooled child may have received the same grade, the child was not completing the same work/curriculum as the child in the public school. Arguments ensue. Ultimately, the school and/or legislators may give the school officials more authority to “regulate” the curriculum and/or grades of the homeschooled child, ostensibly to make it “fair” for the other public school children who have to meet those requirements. It is a slippery slope. That’s why we, in Connecticut, years ago abandoned any effort to have any connection for homeschooled children with the public school system. You give them an inch, they take a mile.  Sometimes, parents need to make difficult choices – is it better for the child to homeschool, or enroll in the public school in order to do sports.  That’s just part of reality.
Deborah.”

Funds for Access to High School Sports.

“Power to Adopt Eligibility Rules for Interscholastic Athletic Competition. – The State Board of Education may adopt rules governing interscholastic athletic activities conducted by local boards of education, including eligibility for student participation. Students attending home schools or other nonpublic schools shall be permitted to participate in interscholastic athletic activities in accordance with the requirements of G.S. 115C‑566.1; students attending charter schools shall be permitted to participate in interscholastic athletic activities in accordance with the requirements of G.S. 115C‑238.29L. The State Board of Education may authorize a designated organization to apply and enforce the Board’s rules governing participation in interscholastic athletic activities at the high school level.”…”

For the complete text of this bill please visit:  http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2009/Bills/Senate/HTML/S1410v0.html

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION DRHJR70554-LB-360

 

 

1 A JOINT RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE EDUCATION

2 OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE TO STUDY THE ISSUE OF LOWERING THE

3 MAXIMUM AGE OF INITIAL ENROLLMENT IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS FROM

4 AGE SEVEN TO AGE SIX.

5 Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

6

 

SECTION 1.

The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee is directed to

7 study whether the maximum initial age for enrollment in the public schools shall be lowered

8 from age seven to age six.

9

 

SECTION 2.

The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee shall report its

10 findings and recommendations to the 2011 Regular Session of the General Assembly before it

11 convenes.

12

SECTION 3. This resolution is effective upon ratification.

http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/House/PDF/H1948v0.pdf

Home School Funding Debate in State Legislature

“By Mark Geary, Reporter

By Mark Geary

EASTERN IOWA – A debate is brewing in the Iowa Legislature about how money earmarked for home-schooling should be spent.

Iowa’s Department of Education wants lawmakers to hold home school assistance programs more accountable and limit where those programs can use taxpayer dollars.

Home school assistance programs give students and parents access to certified teachers, materials and even some classes. Funding for those kinds of activities would remain the same. ….”

For the complete article please visit:  http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/83310117.html