Originally Sent: 3/11/2015

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Critical Action on HB 2793: Contact Your Senator!

Homeschooling in West Virginia.

Call Your Senator!

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

March 11, 2015

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

HB 2793, the Homeschool Modernization Law, is at a crucial moment in the Senate! We need every homeschooling family to email and call your senator and ask him to vote for HB 2793 on Third Reading in the Senate. This vote will take place tomorrow, March 12. If possible come be present in the Senate gallery for the third reading. This bill passed the House unanimously, with all Republicans and Democrats voting in favor of it.

Although HSLDA opposes the current language that requires homeschooling families to continue to be regulated and overseen by county superintendents every year, we believe that this issue could be addressed in a conference committee. Unfortunately, opponents of the bill, even as amended, complain that because a few children might “fall through the cracks,” they want every homeschooling family to be overseen by a state education system that ranks 47th in the country. What they really mean is that they don’t trust parents to make good decisions about educating their children.

But annual reporting simply does not practically address the “problem” opponents are trying to solve. So opponents are requiring every homeschool family to submit because of the risk that a small few will abuse their privilege. This places an unnecessary administrative burden on families and also superintendents who have to maintain all the paperwork just because of the "concern" that a few people won't do well. This assumes that parents are essentially guilty of neglect until they prove otherwise. This is not how a free country operates.

Parents have the fundamental right to direct the education of their children. Government should only interfere if it is necessary—and annual reporting is not necessary. The experience of 37 other states in the country shows that homeschooling families need not report assessments to government authorities. West Virginia homeschoolers deserve to be treated with the same respect accorded others.

HB 2793 as originally written and passed unanimously by the House requires that parents assure they will teach their children and assess them regularly. In a free society, citizens can and should be trusted to follow the law. A few neglectful families do not justify imposing a significant burden on the many thousands of families who represent the average homeschooling family.

Research shows that the average homeschooling family produces exceptional results. And research also shows that there is no correlation between greater regulation and greater academic outcomes or that using homeschooling regulations leads to greater detection of educational neglect. Current laws that provide for reporting of abuse and neglect are adequate to protect children at risk.

We need you to contact your senator immediately and urge support for HB 2793.

Action Requested

We need every homeschooling family in West Virginia to call and email their senator and if possible be present in the Senate gallery tomorrow morning for the third reading.

Please give your senator the following message in your own words.

"I am asking you to support HB 2793. HB 2793 is a positive piece of legislation that updates West Virginia's 30-year-old homeschool law. It passed the House unanimously, with all Republicans and Democrats voting in favor of it. Homeschool regulation has been modified in at least a dozen states in the last ten years, and HB 2793 takes the same approach to remove unnecessary and burdensome regulations. Opponents want to require parents to submit to oversight from a state education system that is ranked 47th in the country. That is not acceptable.

I also oppose requiring parents to have to submit every year to the superintendent’s oversight—thirty-seven states do not require parents to submit an assessment of any kind to government authorities, including California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Utah, among others. Eleven states require no contact of any kind between government authorities and parents, including Texas, Illinois, Connecticut, and New Jersey. And we West Virginia homeschoolers deserve the same respect that is given to the fundamental right of parents to educate their children in these other states.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that parents have a fundamental right to direct their children’s education, and that fit parents are assumed to act in the best interests of their child. In a free society, citizens can and should be trusted to follow the law. The Senate has voted to recognize the 2nd Amendment right to carry a gun without a permit and to drink raw milk. If citizens can make these decisions, they can also decide whether or not to homeschool.

The proposed bill provides adequate safeguards to detect, investigate, and protect children in the rare cases where a parent may not be actually homeschooling. Under the proposed law, a superintendent can seek an order from the circuit court denying homeschooling if he has probable cause. And the law already allows the government to respond to, investigate, and act upon allegations of abuse or neglect.

The vast majority of homeschooling families follow the law, save the state millions of dollars, and do an excellent job. We should not be subject to unnecessary government intrusion such as annual oversight and excessive reporting.”

You can find your senator here.

For additional information on HB 2793, please visit our bill page.

Thank you for fighting to improve homeschooling in West Virginia!

Montani Semper Liberi!

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 >>

• • • •

Extreme makeovers are for extreme circumstances...

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