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New Mexico

February 10, 2003

New Mexico Department of Education Seeks Too Much Information

As many of you remember, the Christian Association of Parent Educators of New Mexico (CAPE-NM) worked hard last spring to come to an agreement with the New Mexico Department of Education regarding the state's homeschool policies. The state Department of Education has a "homeschool database" which includes the name and birth date of each homeschooled child, even though state law no longer requires parents to send in this information. Dr. Michael Kaplan, Director of the Alternative Education Unit, has taken the position that failure to include student name and date of birth information will result in the rejection of the notice of intent form.

Last fall, several HSLDA member families received letters from the Department of Education, warning them that they would be reported to their local school district for truancy enforcement unless they provided additional information. HSLDA was able to help these families and no district actually prosecuted any HSLDA members. Now, the Department has begun to send out new notices to a larger group of families. The Department's letter states, "Failure to return this information will result in our notification to the school district that you are NOT in compliance with the Compulsory School Attendance Act."

To date, HSLDA has been able to explain to each local school district that the Department has no authority to reject a notice of intent that provides all the information required by law. Since state law does not require parents to provide the student name or date of birth, we are happy to help local school districts understand that a valid notice of intent does not need student name or date of birth information. If you have received a letter from the Department of Education, or know someone else who has, please contact us at legale@hslda.org.

It only takes one bad precedent to harm all homeschoolers, but by working hard and working together, homeschoolers can preserve the blessings of liberty.

For more background information on this matter visit our web site at:
www.hslda.org/courtreport/v18n3/v18n3nm.asp
www.hslda.org/courtreport/v18n5/v18n5nm.asp