HSLDA News
January 28, 2002

Kentucky's Proposed Regulations Gain Support

Representative Barbara Ann Colter has once again introduced a bill to dramatically increase the regulations home schoolers face in Kentucky. Home School Legal Defense Association, Christian Home Educators of Kentucky, and Kentucky Home Educators Association are united in vigorously opposing any changes.

House Bill (H.B.) 54 would make significant changes in Kentucky law, including annual testing and a home visit from the local truancy officer. (Click here for more information on the bill.)

Although Rep. Colter's efforts have not gotten very far in previous years, there seem to be people who are agitating in favor of H.B. 54 this year.

Here, for example, is the text of a letter that was handed out at an Adair County Chamber of Commerce meeting:

We need your help now! And please tell others.

The Adair County Social Action Committee, sponsored by Catholic Charities, needs your help in the form of advocacy for the education of all children. Local members are [names deleted].

Every child has the right to a good education. You may be shocked to learn that Kentucky has essentially NO regulation of home schooling. Parents simply turn in the name, age and address of each student. There are no teacher qualifications, no progress reports, no curriculum guidelines, no testing of students and no contact or oversight by public school officials.

We are not opposed to home schooling. Many families do a great job with their children. Of concern are those parents who are either incapable of educating their children or simply won't make the effort. We believe some parents home school their children to avoid dealing with truancy, delinquency and learning problems or to conceal evidence of child neglect and abuse.

Adair County now has 146 students in home schools. The number grows each year.

Rep. Barbara Colter has filed House Bill 161 [now H.B. 54], which would make several much needed changes to Kentucky law as it relates to home schoolers.

Please help by contacting our legislators in Frankfort IMMEDIATELY. Home school associations have powerful lobbyists and strong legal defense representation. Many legislators are reluctant to take a stand on this issue.

SUMMARY OF BILL:

House Bill BR 161 [now H.B. 54]

Author: Rep. Barbara Colter

This bill would make much needed changes in Kentucky law as it relates to home schooling. The following changes are proposed:

  • Home schools, nonpublic schools, and private schools would be given separate legal definitions.

  • A declaration of intent to home school must be done two weeks before the home school starts instead of an enrollment report within two weeks after the start of the school year.

  • Instead of only reporting the name, age, and address of each student as present law requires, the parent must submit the following: name, age, and grade level of students; address; proposed calendar; proposed hours of instruction; name of teacher; and teacher's educational level.

  • Parents must have a high school diploma or GED.

  • The home study program must submit scholarship and attendance reports to the director of pupil personnel.

  • Scholarship reports are defined as "including, but not limited to, a traditional report card, a portfolio of exemplary work, a narrative assessment, or other forms of assessment. Reports shall be summarized or tabulated in planned intervals throughout the year or at the same interval as the grading period of the local public school."

  • Directors of pupil personnel are encouraged to make at least one home visit per year, although this must be with the consent of the home schooler.

  • Students must take an annual norm-referenced test either under the supervision of the public school or at the parents' expense.

In Kentucky, EDUCATION PAYS! Let there be "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND."

Many Catholic home schooling families immediately contacted Catholic Charities to find out whether that organization is trying to take away family freedoms. Steve Bogus, Executive Director of Catholic Charities USA (Louisville), has confirmed that Catholic Charities has not taken any position on H.B. 54, nor, to the best of his knowledge, has the Catholic Conference of Kentucky.

Through one misleading letter, the Adair County Social Action Committee has created the false impression that the Roman Catholic Church favors the regulation of home schoolers. This creates both a risk and an opportunity for the home schooling community-we must correct this false impression without alienating the state legislature.

HSLDA will be closely monitoring H.B. 54. Please keep checking our State Action Map at http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/default.asp for information on this and other measures that may impact home school freedom.