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(Non-HSLDA cases are marked with an “ * ”)

January 7 — California: In the Calabretta civil rights case, a federal judge ruled that social workers and police officers who enter a family home to investigate child abuse without a warrant or proper evidence of an emergency violate the Fourth Amendment rights of the family. On appeal the social worker and officer will attempt to convince a jury that their entry was freely consented to and was not the result of coercion, trickery, or duress.

January 23 — Illinois: Governor Jim Edgar signed a bill abolishing the Illinois State Board of Education’s power to control private schools, including home schools.

February 14 — Georgia: State representative Carolyn F. Hugley introduced House Bill 586, which would change Georgia’s home school law from one of the best to one of the most oppressive in the country. Alerted by HSLDA, Georgia home schoolers delivered an estimated 8,000 calls to the legislature, effectively tabling the legislation and sending it to a study committee.

February 28 — California: In Robert and Maria Kennedy v. Doonan, et al., a federal judge ruled that police officers violated the Fourth Amendment when they forced entry into the Kennedy home without a warrant to investigate a child abuse allegation on August 19, 1995. The only issue remaining was what amount these officials should pay the Kennedys.

March 5 — Washington, DC: In a press conference, HSLDA and the National Home Education Research Institute released the largest and most comprehensive home school research study to date, Home Education Across the United States.

March 7 — Arkansas: Governor Mike Huckabee signed House Bill 1157, now Act 400, which revolutionized the home school law, transforming Arkansas from one of the worst to one of the best states for home schoolers.

March — Maryland: A coalition of concerned parents, the Maryland Association of Christian Home Educators, the Christian Home Educators Network, and the American Civil Liberties Union joined forces to defeat House Bill 486, a statewide daytime curfew bill.

April 3 — North Dakota: The efforts of the North Dakota Home School Association were rewarded when Governor Edward T. Schafer signed House Bill 1368, which significantly improved the 1989 home school statutes. Later that week, two more pro-home education laws were enacted. One made it easier for home schooled high schoolers to obtain diplomas, and the other allowed parents to teach their autistic children.

April 9 — Wisconsin: Alerted by HSLDA and Wisconsin Christian Home Educator’s Association, home schoolers rallied at the state capitol to oppose Senate Bill 106, which would have outlawed home schooling for children who were found “truant” or “in need of services.” In response, the senate shelved the bill indefinitely.

April 7 — New Jersey: Governor Christine Todd Whitman signed Senate Bill 608, which required the Division of Youth and Family Services to expunge records regarding unfounded child abuse or neglect allegations.

April 15 — Virginia: HSLDA launched its web site as a resource for home schooling information and legislative updates.

April 16 — Florida: Jason Taylor became the first home school graduate to play in the National Football League when he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins.

April — Minnesota: Alerted by HSLDA, Minnesota home schoolers let their legislators know they adamantly opposed House File 1932, which would have extended public school testing requirements to private and home schools. Because of this opposition from home schoolers, H.F. 1932 died in committee.

April — New Hampshire: Because of the courageous efforts of State Senator David Wheeler and New Hampshire home schoolers, House Bill 211 was sent back to committee for further study. The bill would have defined “isolating” as a form of child abuse in a way which social workers could apply to home schooling families.

April 22 — Oklahoma: The state supreme court upheld Lynn Martin’s right to direct the education of her children despite her ex-husband’s challenge to her custody in Lynn Stephen (now Martin) v. Mark Stephen. Reversing the trial court’s decision that her children attend traditional school, the supreme court reaffirmed the custodial parent’s right to direct the education of her children without court intervention unless there is evidence of harm to the children. HSLDA filed an amicus brief supporting Mrs. Martin.*

April 23 — Washington: The state senate adopted Senate Resolution 1997-8652, recognizing and honoring home schoolers in Washington for their achievement and contribution to education.

April 28 — California: HSLDA filed a lawsuit on behalf of four Monrovia families, asserting that the city’s daytime curfew is unconstitutional and preempted by existing state truancy laws. Children in these families have been repeatedly stopped and questioned while on legitimate errands or en route to or from supplemental classes outside their homes.

April 29 — Washington, DC: Home schoolers’ right to privacy remained intact when the House passed H.R. 1048. Based on information provided by home schoolers, the House Ways and Means Committee removed language from H.R. 1048 which would have required expanded use of social security numbers by states and the federal government for all individuals applying for drivers, business, marriage, and other licenses.

May 8 — Washington, DC: The right of home schooled children to freedom of movement escaped unscathed when Congress passed H.R. 3, the Juvenile Crime Control Act of 1997, having deleted federal funding for daytime curfews in response to pressure from home schoolers. The Senate also stripped daytime curfew funding from its juvenile crime bills, S. 3 and S. 10.

May 15 — California: The City of Covina agreed to pay Robert and Maria Kennedy $56,000 in an out-of-court settlement agreement. This settlement followed a February 28 ruling by a federal judge that Covina police officers violated the Kennedy’s constitutional rights when they forced entry into their home on August 19, 1995.

May 16 — Washington, DC: After asking home schoolers to analyze the Employment Training and Literacy Act, H.R. 1385, the House of Representatives passed the bill with amendments protecting home school students from being forced to comply with any of the requirements of the bill.

May 28 — California: The first statewide daytime curfew bill was put on hold until 1998 because of the combined efforts of California home schoolers, Family Protection Ministries, and HSLDA.

May and June — Ohio: Daytime curfew ordinances in Forest Park, Hamilton, and Lima were defeated thanks to the diligent efforts of local home school families.

June 4 — Alaska: Governor Tony Knowles signed S.B. 134, a bill which gives Alaska the best home school law in the nation. The new law simply created an exemption to the compulsory attendance law “if a child is being educated in the child’s home by a parent or legal guardian.”

June 17 — Washington, DC: Congressman Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) introduced the American Sovereignty Amendment, H.J.R. 83. Drafted by HSLDA, this amendment would protect Americans’ domestic policy and constitutional rights from dangerous treaties such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

June 25 — Washington, DC: The U.S. Supreme Court held the RFRA unconstitutional and claimed for itself the sole authority to interpret the Constitution for American citizens. Members of the former RFRA coalition discussed the possibility of a constitutional amendment to secure the right of religious freedom.

June 26 — Minnesota: During a special session of the state legislature, the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators succeeded in obtaining a $1,000 per year tax credit for home school families on state income taxes.

July 11 — California: The Department of Social Services agreed to an out-of-court settlement with Robert and Maria Kennedy. The DSS will pay the Kennedys $20,000 and destroy the August 19, 1995, child abuse investigation file. This settlement followed a May 15 agreement with the City of Covina and a February 28 ruling by a federal judge that Covina police officers violated the Kennedy’s constitutional rights when they forced entry into the family’s home in August 1995.

July 16 — Delaware: Governor Thomas R. Carper signed legislation which for the first time expressly recognizes home schools as an option for complying with the compulsory attendance law.

July 26 — Washington, DC: The Perkins Vocational Education and Applied Technology Act, H.R. 1853, passed the House after congressional staffers asked the National Center for Home Education for revisions similar to those made on H.R. 1385. In addition, all references to questionable language such as “mastery certificates,” “skill standards,” and “all students” were removed.

August — Minnesota: A new notification form developed by the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators helped simplify the notification process for home schoolers across the state.

August 5 — Washington, DC: President Clinton signed a new $500 per child tax credit as part of a budget bill. Contributing to passage of this legislation were many home schoolers who wrote their congressmen and senators and HSLDA staff who lobbied Congress in support of this family-friendly measure.

August 21 — Kentucky: The “Best Practice Document” was released. A joint effort of Christian Home Educators of Kentucky, Kentucky Home Education Association, and the state director of pupil personnel, this document helped bring about more uniformity in the application of the Kentucky private school law.

September — Vermont: In a first-of-its-kind case, the Mueller family was officially granted a religious exemption from the enrollment notice requirement.

September 2 — Wisconsin: When one home school family took a courageous stand against a proposed daytime curfew ordinance, the Augusta City Council and mayor listened to their concerns and dropped all plans to enact a curfew.

September 12 — North Carolina: The board of governors of the University of North Carolina adopted a new policy to eliminate discrimination against nonpublic students desiring to gain admission to state universities. Representatives from North Carolinians for Home Education played a significant role in the policy drafting process.

September 29 — Virginia: Home schoolers took advantage of an opportunity to give input into the redrafting of a Virginia Child Protective Services policy. Under the new CPS regulations, social workers must advise families at the door of their right to refuse entry. Anonymous tips will no longer be treated as sufficient evidence for a “finding” of child abuse.

October 3-4 — Virginia: HSLDA sponsored the first annual National Home School Debate Tournament.

October 6 — Indiana: The Indiana State Department of Education made a landmark policy decision to refer all incoming questions about home schooling to experts in the area —the Indiana Association of Home Educators.

October 25 — Nevada: In an amazing turn of events, the Nevada state board of education voted to completely do away with the state standardized testing requirement for home school students. Many home schoolers and an HSLDA attorney testified on behalf of the importance of deleting the requirement.

November 7 — Washington, DC: The House, by 352 to 65, and the Senate, by 91 to 4, passed the Labor/HHS/Appropriations Bill which included Congressman Bill Goodling’s amendment to prohibit funding for federal national testing. Kept up to date on the status of the battle by over a dozen HSLDA fax alerts, home schoolers across the nation had been bombarding Congress over several months with calls and letters opposing President Clinton’s unauthorized plans to develop and implement a national reading and math test for fourth and eighth graders.

Now read about the year 1998.