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October 17, 2002

Nevada State Board Holds Workshop on Proposed Regulations

From HSLDA Attorney Scott Somerville:

For weeks now, homeschoolers have worked night and day to come up with new regulations. Last week, I flew to Nevada to meet with leaders, local homeschoolers, and school officials in Reno, Carson City, and Las Vegas. After meeting with as many people as possible, I wrote up a rough draft of proposed changes designed to consolidate the concerns of homeschoolers in the North and South. That draft was reviewed and revised over the weekend, and is still being worked on by homeschool leaders. The primary goal of the draft regulations is to free Nevada homeschoolers from the Content and Performance Standards and eliminate the current requirement that families submit a calendar of proposed days consisting of a particular number of required minutes.

On October 19, the Nevada State Board of Education will hold a "workshop" to revise the homeschool regulations. HSLDA Attorney Darren Jones will be flying to Las Vegas to testify in favor of freedom. If you are near Las Vegas, please either come to the

workshop or babysit so that someone else may attend!

Nevada homeschoolers have worked hard to try to come up with a single set of proposals that the State Board of Education could pass that will solve the very different problems that families face in the different parts of Nevada. We will be explaining our recommendations to the Board with the following "Explanation of Proposed Changes."

EXPLANATION OF PROPOSED CHANGES

Content and Performance Standards:

(1) Our primary concern is to eliminate the reference to content and performance standards. The current reference is an unintended consequence of a legislative change to a statute governing the public schools. We therefore propose to have the regulations directly specify the "kind" and "amount" of instruction approved by the State Board of Education, instead of referring to statutes that may be changed.

Distinguishing Between Types of Equivalent Instruction:

(2) As we met to discuss other problems with the current law, we discovered that homeschoolers are just one facet of a growing set of educational options outside the public schools. We propose to differentiate the various forms of equivalent instruction outside the public schools. This will enable the State Board to write regulations

for the specific needs of specific forms of education.

(3) As we began to separate out the different forms of equivalent instruction outside the public schools, we discovered that the existing homeschool regulations have been patched and amended so many times that it is hard to tell exactly what they mean in some cases and it is difficult to make even small changes without multiple amendments. We have chosen to rewrite some sections for the sake of clarity and simplicity.

Identification and Information Issues:

(4) We propose to simplify the regulations and ensure student safety by creating one new section governing student identification. School districts must not allow non-custodial parents to use these regulations to remove a child from public school premises. A new

section on child identification will give school districts the protection they need from potential liability without unnecessary intrusions upon family privacy.

(5) We propose to add a new section governing information to be provided to parents. School districts routinely inform parents about various matters that are required by state or federal law, such as educational privacy rights, etc. By adding one new section, the State Board can ensure that school districts provide homeschoolers with the information they need.

Encouraging Compliance:

We have discovered a significant gap between what the regulations require and what successful educators are doing outside the public schools. This discrepancy has induced some people to file misleading paperwork while others file no paperwork at all. We believe the State Board can encourage more compliance with the regulations by adjusting

the regulations to better fit the realities of equivalent instruction outside the public schools.

(6) Most homeschoolers who refuse to file the paperwork required by current law do so because they do not actually teach the number of minutes per day that are specified in NAC 387.131, and they refuse to lie on their notice of intent form. This Board allows public school teachers who provide homebound instruction to count one hour of one-

on-one instruction as the equivalent of a "school day." NAC 387.286(2). We ask the Board to eliminate the minutes requirement. This will increase compliance with the law without significantly reducing the amount of instruction.

(7) Some parents are unable to teach their own children in their own homes, but have family members, church members, or other friends who are willing to help teach their children. This practice is not technically permitted under current law, but is still very common. We ask the Board to remove any barriers that unnecessarily prevent volunteers from helping to educate children.

END OF "EXPLANATION OF PROPOSED CHANGES"

Nevada homeschoolers should not be subject to Content and Performance Standards that were designed for the public schools, nor should they be required to keep a calendar of instruction or teach the same number of minutes that classroom teachers do. The proposed regulations make these and other useful changes. Let us know if you see any problems with the current draft, so that we can make it better. Let's rally on Saturday to move homeschool freedom forward!

 Other Resources

Nevada Board of Education Meets With Homeschoolers 11/5/2002

Update on Curriculum Approval Regulations 8/21/2002

Nevada Alert: Department of Education Pushing for Curriculum Approval of Home Schoolers 8/9/2002