Committee Hears Bill that Would List Homeschools
by Mike Smith • April 25, 2018
The day has finally arrived for California legislators to hear testimony on a bill that poses concerns about the regulation of private homeschools and the privacy of homeschool families.
The Assembly Education Committee is scheduled to consider Assembly Bill 2756 today at 1:30 p.m. (Pacific Time). HSLDA Staff Attorney Darren Jones is flying there to explain why we stand with the homeschool community in opposing the bill.
Authored by Assembly Member Jose Medina in response to the Turpin abuse case, AB 2756 originally called for local fire marshals to inspect the homes of homeschooling families every year.
After being inundated with emails, phone calls, letters, and personal visits, he dropped this provision from the bill. But AB 2756 would still order the California Department of Education to collect additional data on homeschooling, and to make public a list of all private schools that have fewer than six students.
Filing an annual affidavit to establish a private school is the way most homeschooling families in California comply with compulsory attendance laws. Currently, information on schools that enroll fewer than six students is not published.
If that changes, a great many families’ information could be exposed to public scrutiny. More than 22,000 families register private schools with fewer than six students. By our count, over 100,000 homeschooling children could be negatively impacted if AB 2756 passes.
Standing for Freedom
We stand with homeschooling families in voicing our concern that such a list could be exploited, either by the state or private entities.
The fact is, AB 2756 is unnecessary. It is based on a false premise—that homeschool parents need additional government oversight to reduce the risk that they will abuse their children.
But two recent studies have come to the opposite conclusion. One study of private homeschooling concluded that the frequency of abuse and neglect in states where there is very little oversight is not greater than it is in highly regulated states. The other researcher concluded that privately homeschooled students have 40% fewer fatalities than the national average.
At this point, the fate of AB 2756 remains uncertain. If a majority of the seven-member committee votes against the bill, it should be dead; if they approve it, it will probably go to the Appropriations Committee for another hearing.
We will keep you informed about what the committee decides, and whether further action is needed. For more information, you can visit HSLDA’s legislative action center here.