March 15, 2001

Louisiana Legislature Tries to Shut a Door on Home Schoolers

For immediate release
March 15, 2001
Contact: Rich Jefferson
(540) 338-8663 or media@hslda.org

BATON ROUGE - On Monday, home schoolers in Louisiana came under a new attack from the state legislature. Senator Gerald Theunissen introduced a bill threatening to remove a home school option used by a significant number of home schooling families.

Under current Louisiana law, parents may choose one of two options. First, they can apply to the state board of education annually for approval of their home study program. This requires filing information about their curriculum, work samples, and/or test scores every year.

Instead of this, many parents choose the second option: filing as a private school. Under this option, parents need only report the total number of students attending the private school. Therefore, they do not need to give nearly as much information to the state about their program, their family, or their children.

Senator Theunissen's bill would eliminate the option of filing as a private school. If this bill becomes law, every home schooling parent in Louisiana would have to apply annually for approval.

HSLDA believes that freedom for parents is best served by having multiple options available. If this bill passes in Louisiana, parents will no longer be free to operate their home school as a private school. This bill would place all home schoolers under the "approval" law.

In many states-from California to Kentucky-home schools operate as private schools. Because private schools are generally quite unregulated, home schoolers in these states enjoy the benefits of a great deal of freedom from government oversight. However, Louisiana's experience shows how quickly this freedom can be challenged.

For information on how you can help defeat this proposal to outlaw Louisiana's private school option for home schoolers, see HSLDA's recent e-lert.

Experienced home schoolers are well aware of the need to keep an eye on their state legislatures for the first sign of trouble. New home schoolers soon find out that the price of liberty is still eternal vigilance. HSLDA's website is an easy way to keep track of state legislation that might affect your family, and our e-lert service provides notification by e-mail of legislation that requires immediate action. (If you are not currently on HSLDA's E-lert list, HSLDA members can subscribe to our e-lert service at http://members.hslda.org/elert/default.asp, or by calling our office at 540.338.5600.)

When home schoolers work together, legislatures listen. We have already seen remarkable victories this year in a number of states, such as Maine (http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/hslda/200102280.asp), West Virginia (http://www.hslda.org/legislation/state/wv/2001/wvhb2595/default.asp), and New Mexico (http://www.hslda.org/legislation/state/nm/2001/nmsb374/20010313102325.asp). We encourage every home school family to join and support your state organization in order to be ready for legislation whenever it comes. Click here (http://www.hslda.org/orgs/default.asp) to find your state organization.