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August 4, 2003

Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act Introduced in Senate

On Friday August 1, Senator Larry Craig (ID) along with original co-sponsor Senator George Allen (VA) introduced the Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act (HONDA) in the United States Senate. "We are grateful to Senator Craig for his work on this legislation," said the National Center for Home Education's (NCHE) Director Tom Washburne. "This bill expressly states that the federal government may not control homeschools. It fixes several areas of federal law that have impacted homeschools for many years."

Home School Legal Defense Association has joined forces with Senator Craig and U.S. Representative Marylyn Musgrave in the effort to pass this bill. Congresswoman Musgrave, a former homeschool mom, introduced the House version (H.R. 2732) on July 15 and accumulated over 41 cosponsors before the House adjourned for recess on July 25.

HONDA fixes several oversights in federal law related to homeschooling.

  • HONDA will clear up confusion over whether colleges can accept homeschool graduates who are younger than the state mandated compulsory attendance age.

  • HONDA will clarify that local school officials are not required to investigate homeschoolers with special needs children if those homeschoolers are not receiving federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) funds.

  • HONDA will repair the existing Education Savings Accounts—which now limits the participation of homeschoolers to those few states where homeschools are considered private schools by state law. Currently, only 18 states recognize homeschools as private schools.

  • HONDA will give privacy protections to the records of homeschoolers held by public schools.

  • HONDA will ease the restrictive labor laws for homeschoolers between the ages 14-16 by extending periods of permissible employment. Currently, homeschooled students cannot work during normal school hours.

HONDA is a strong indication that Congress values homeschooling. "The introduction of HONDA to remove hurdles confronted by homeschoolers indicates that Congress puts tremendous confidence in the role homeschooling is playing in educating America's youth," said Caleb Kershner, NCHE's Manager of Federal Policy and Research. "It demonstrates that they understand that reform comes through freedom, not just the status quo."

With both the Senate and House of Representatives on recess until September, HSLDA will be working during August to educate congressional offices on the importance of this bill. HSLDA urges all homeschoolers to call or write their U.S. Senators and Representative in support of HONDA, or visit them in their home district over the next month.

The National Center for Home Education is a division of the Home School Legal Defense Association.

 Other Resources

More Background on HONDA