2005 Homeschool Legislation Update

Last Updated: March 31, 2005

Note: I take a rather broad view of "homeschool" legislation, not everything you will find listed here would actually be considered as homeschool related, some of the legislation I've highlighted would be of concern to families in general.

California - AB 470:

Mental health assessment and services for children.

This bill would require county mental health agencies to provide a mental health assessment and all necessary mental health services for children whose families are recipients of prescribed general assistance benefits, or who are ward or dependent children of the court.

Status: Hearing has been cancelled at the request of the author.

I was informed today that this bill will convert to a 2-year bill. We can expect to see no further action on this bill this year.

States Seek to Impose Assessments on Homeschoolers

In violation of a federal provision in the No Child Left Behind Act, which forbids states from requiring home educators to submit to state assessment testing, both New Mexico and South Dakota have submitted bills which would force homeschooling students to submit to the standardized testing requirements by the public schools or under the supervision of a certified teacher.

New Mexico - HB 158:

Homeschool Student Testing Requirements

This bill requires home school students to take required standards-based academic performance tests; allowing the public education department to require home school students who do not demonstrate adequate yearly progress to attend a public or private school.

South Dakota - SB 11:

Homeschool Student Testing Requirements

An Act to require that all standardized achievement tests be monitored and that sanctions be imposed when unsatisfactory academic progress is identified. No individual may instruct more than twenty-two children. All instructions shall be given so as to lead to a mastery of the English language. Children receiving alternative instruction who are in grades two, four, eight, and eleven shall take a nationally standardized achievement test

New Jersey

A 1918: Requires testing and medical examinations of home-schooled children.

2005 has seen the reintroduction of a bill aimed to give the New Jersey Board of Education unrestricted control and the ability to impose new regulations on homeschoolers state-wide. This bill was introduced and soundly defeated in 2004. Under the proposed legislation homeschoolers could be forced to submit to standardized testing based on public school curriculum and to relinquish private medical information to public school facilitators.

A 1260: Requires school districts to notify DYFS of pupil absences.

If any child enrolled in a school district has an unexcused absence from school for five consecutive days, the attendance officer notify the district superintendent of the absence, who shall then notify the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Human Services for its determination of whether the division is or has been involved with the child and whether action, is warranted.

A 540: Permits home-schooled students to participate in the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program.

This bill permits home-schooled students to participate in the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program and apply for enrollment in grades 1 through 10 in a school of the choice school district. Under the current statute, in order to participate, a student must be enrolled at the time of application in grades K through 9 in a school of the sending district and have attended school in that sending district for at least one full year immediately preceding enrollment in the choice district.