Originally Sent: 7/13/2015

From the HSLDA e-lert service…
Home School Legal Defense Association

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Governor Signs Two HSLDA-Initiated Laws and Sports Access Measure

Homeschooling in Wisconsin.

Thanks for defending homeschool freedom!



Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschooled their children.
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Dear HSLDA members and friends in Wisconsin:

We are very happy to report that yesterday Governor Walker signed two HSLDA legislative initiatives into law that will help homeschool families. Furthermore, since the governor signed the sports access language (the “Tebow” bill), you can count on HSLDA to defend your new right to participate in public school sports if you wish to exercise it.

1st HSLDA LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE:

Ending Discrimination in Technical College Access

A 14-year-old homeschool student wanted to take a 10:30 a.m. sign language class at a local technical college, but she was told she could not. A 15-year-old homeschool student wanted to take a motorcycle repair class at a technical college.  He was also turned away.

When the families asked HSDLA for help, we discovered that the reason both students were rejected was the same. Wisconsin Statute 38.22(1s)(d) says that a student under age 16 cannot attend any technical college class if the public schools happen to be in session at the time.

HSLDA began working to change this discriminatory law. We contacted Wisconsin Christian Home Educators Association (Wisconsin CHEA), and they supported the idea. We drafted language for a bill that would give homeschoolers fair access.  We communicated with a lawmaker who was willing to work to make the bill become law. He reached out to representatives of technical colleges, and they were open to the idea.

The language was added to this year’s budget bill.  Both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature approved the bill, and Governor Walker signed it on Sunday. (For the exact language of the measure, see page 282, section 1334m.

It is now the law of Wisconsin that a student in a home-based private educational program is not prohibited from taking classes at a technical college merely because the desired class meets during public school hours. A full list of statutory requirements for admission to a technical college can be found here.

2nd HSLDA LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE:

Ending Diploma Discrimination for Teacher’s Aides

A homeschool graduate lost her job after the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) called her employer—a private school participating in the Private School Choice (PSC) program. The school had hired her as a teacher’s aide, but the DPI told school administrators that her homeschool diploma was not good enough. The DPI told them that the school could lose its PSC funding if they did not terminate her employment (unless she obtained a GED). Although the school really wanted to keep her, they felt they had no choice but to not renew her contract. The school and the graduate asked HSLDA for help.

HSLDA contacted Wisconsin CHEA and developed language for a bill to prevent the DPI from making other homeschool graduates lose their jobs.  We brought the issue to the attention of a lawmaker who agreed that the discrimination should end and he consented to sponsor the measure. With homeschoolers making many phone calls in support, the measure won the approval of both houses of the legislature.

The DPI, however, fought to keep its power to freeze homeschool graduates out of the teacher’s aide job. Superintendent Evers wrote Governor Walker asking him to veto the measure.  As if unaware of the many studies that show the tremendous academic strength of homeschooling, Evers claimed that letting homeschool graduates work as aides would “relax the standards.”  Homeschool programs follow exactly the same academic mandates the legislature has placed on private schools. Not persuaded by Evers’ groundless argument, and with many homeschool parents calling in to support the measure, the governor signed the bill.

It is now the law of Wisconsin that a private school in the PCP program is permitted to hire a teacher’s aide who “has been granted a high school diploma by the administrator of a home-based private educational program.” See page 493 section 3355r, and page 497 section 3382r for the exact text of the measure.

Sports Access

Wisconsin now joins the ranks of the many other states which give homeschool students a right to try out for public school sports teams. If you encounter a difficulty with your school district as you seek to exercise this new right, give HSLDA a call. The new law applies to extracurricular activities in addition to athletics.

Now it is legal.  But whether it is wise for a particular student to play on a public school sports team—with its many potential impacts on the student’s life and family—is an issue of gravity for parents to prayerfully consider.

For the exact language of the measure, see bill section 3245t on page 471 (the language in red was vetoed).

A Time for Thanks

Thank you for your phone calls. You made a difference! And thanks to the many others who played other vital roles in these endeavors.

We especially appreciate the work of Wisconsin CHEA for their highly effective partnership and support.  Their e-lerts helped generate hundreds of crucial phone calls.

Wisconsin CHEA has worked tirelessly for 25 years to protect homeschool freedom in Wisconsin. They have been a “face” for homeschooling in dealings with the media and lawmakers.  They have provided support to literally thousands of families—without charging a fee. If you appreciate what Wisconsin CHEA has done, please prayerfully consider a generous donation so the necessary resources will be available to continue this vital work. 

Donations may be sent to Wisconsin CHEA, PO Box 320458, Franklin, WI 53132.

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.,
Senior Counsel,
Home School Legal Defense Association

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 to recommend us as we defend the rights of homeschooling families? Join now >>

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