Homeschooling and Personal Liberty

I received several emails today from some of the homeschool groups I am a part of informing me that a bill has been introduced to our state House of Representatives that would change the regulations for homeschoolers in our state.

Our state has been one of the least restrictive for homeschoolers.  We have three options for homeschooling:
Option 1- Report through the local school district.
Option 2- Report through SCAIHS- a state wide “umbrella” group that keeps track of paperwork, test scores, lesson plans, etc. for the parent.
Option 3- Be a member of a small, local group.  These “accountability groups” require a statement showing what we are teaching, documenting that we have a high school diploma on file, and stating that we are keeping plans and records for our children. Under this third option we are not required to have our students take standardized tests, and the groups do not report names, only numbers, to the state.
We homeschool through option 3.

Today we received this notice:
On Tuesday, February 5th, Representatives Brannan, Anthony, Horne and Jefferson introduced H3478 in the SC House of Representatives. This bill would require ALL home schoolers to take state approved standardized tests, would require SCAIHS and all third option groups to report NAMES, not numbers, to the Department of Education each year and would eliminate ALL third option groups effective July 1, 2014. The bill is currently in the House Committee on Education & Public Works. If this is a bill that you think should not be passed (!!) please call your representative and let him/her know. Please be polite and calm. You can read the bill for yourself at H3478 . If you have any questions, you may call or email the SCHEA office.

Regardless of how homeschoolers choose to report information or whether or not they choose to test yearly, this is a violation of personal liberty.  Homeschoolers as a group have chosen to move out from under the auspices of state education. To be required to test, to be required to submit our names to the state each year takes away that personal liberty.

I plan to contact our representative, and I will be following the progress of this bill closely. Our personal liberties are threatened by this. I hope that even non homeschoolers will realize that and will express their concerns to the legislators.

I will keep you posted.

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