Originally Sent: 3/4/2015

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Action needed TONIGHT

Homeschooling in West Virginia.

Call members of the Senate Education Committee.



HSLDA staff attorney Mike Donnelly helps protect homeschool freedom in your community.
Read more >>

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

West Virginia House Bill 2793, sponsored by delegates Kurcaba, Statler, Ellington, Pasdon, Cooper, Ambler, and Kelly, passed the House this past weekend. It will be heard in the Senate Education Committee tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., and I will be there.

Senators Karnes and Boley on the Senate Education Committee are currently sponsors of SB 444, a similar bill to improve homeschooling in West Virginia. We need you to contact senators on the Education Committee tonight and urge them to support this important bill to modernize West Virginia homeschool law.

HB 2793 will be heard in the Senate Education Committee tomorrow. Please take a moment right now to contact members of the committee as requested.

Action Requested

For HB 2793 please give Senate Education Committee members the following message in your own words. Consider sharing your own positive experiences with home education and other ideas about the bill.

“House Bill 2793 passed the House of Delegates last week after unanimously passing the House Education Committee. Please pass House Bill 2793 without amendment. HB 2793 modernizes West Virginia’s homeschool law, creating an appropriate balance between homeschooling parents and the government. West Virginia’s law was written 30 years ago when homeschooling was unknown.  It was burdensome then, and it is time to change it. Please hear HB 2793 and pass it without amendment. Thank you for your service to the families of West Virginia.”

You can contact members of the Senate Education Committee using the following information:

Dave Sypolt, Chair (R - Preston, 14)
(304) 357-7914 dave.sypolt@wvsenate.gov

Donna J. Boley, Vice-Chair (R - Pleasants, 03)
(304) 357-7905 donnaboley@suddenlink.net

Robert D. Beach (D - Monongalia, 13)
(304) 357-7919 bob.beach@wvsenate.gov

William R. Laird IV (D - Fayette, 10)
(304) 357-7849 william.laird@wvsenate.gov

Robert H. Plymale (D - Wayne, 05)
(304) 357-7937 robert.plymale@wvsenate.gov

Mike Romano (D - Harrison, 12)
(304) 357-7904 mike.romano@wvsenate.gov

Ron Stollings (D - Boone, 07)
(304) 357-7939 ron.stollings@frontier.com

John R. Unger II (D - Berkeley, 16)
(304) 357-7933 john.unger@wvsenate.gov

Mitch Carmichael (R - Jackson, 04)
(304) 357-7855 Mitch.Carmichael@wvsenate.gov

Daniel J. Hall (R - Wyoming, 09)
(304) 357-7807 daniel.hall@wvsenate.gov

Robert L. Karnes (R - Upshur, 11)
(304) 357-7906 robert.karnes@wvsenate.gov

Mike Hall (R - Putnam, 04)
(304) 357-7901 mike.hall@wvsenate.gov

Tom Takubo (R - Kanawha, 17)
(304) 357-7990 drtomtakubo@gmail.com

Charles S. Trump (R - Morgan, 15)
(304) 357-7980 charles.trump@wvsenate.gov

Background

West Virginia homeschool law is in need of modernization.  The changes being made are reasonable and properly reflect that parents, not the government, are responsible for the education of their children.  The right of parents to educate their children is a fundamental constitutional right and although the state may have reasonable regulations, the West Virginia homeschool law is unreasonable.

The law contains a waiting period of 10 days before parents can legally homeschool, opening them up to truancy and serious civil litigation that can result in the removal of their children. 

The law requires unnecessary annual contact between the superintendent and parents.  A single notice of intent informing the superintendent of a parent’s choice to home educate and assurance that the parent will teach and assess the child annually is sufficient. 

The current law reflects a mistrust of parents that is unacceptable in a free society; for example, no other state prohibits parents from administering a test if they are otherwise qualified to do so.  A parent as the instructor shouldn’t be treated differently than other instructors in West Virginia who administer tests to their students. 

The law requires a homeschooled student to score above the mean on tests.  This is an unreasonable standard and is the highest of any state in the country.  No state has such an unreasonably high standard.  Ohio has a cut off of 23%, Minnesota 30% and Colorado 13%.

The law requires parents have a high school diploma.  Only nine other states require a parent have a high school diploma.  Research has shown that there is no significant correlation between parents’ education credentials and the performance of their children on tests.  Furthermore, there are many parents who are homeschool graduates who don’t have a public school diploma.  Parents who were themselves homeschooled should be able to homeschool their own children.  Research and experience show that parents who homeschool, regardless of whether they have a high school diploma, produce good academic and social outcomes.

The current law allows superintendent, judges, attendance officers and social workers to use status offender and truancy laws to prevent parents from homeschooling.  The bill clarifies that judges and other authorities in West Virginia may not use status offender or truancy laws to keep parents from homeschooling.

HB 2793 is a recognition of the proper balance between parents and the state and recognizes that in a free society parents can and should be trusted to care for and education their children.  The law contains sufficient safeguards to guard against the rare exceptions where a parent isn’t educating a child.  Parents must continue to assess their children and maintain copies of the assessment.  Parents must assure the county board that they will teach the required subjects and that they will assess their children and take remedial measures if a child fails to make appropriate progress.

Thank you for fighting to improve homeschooling in West Virginia!

Sincerely,

Mike Donnelly

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
Staff Attorney

P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>

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