HB 230/SB 189 Update

6 Apr 2013

In our last E-brief, we asked homeschool supporters to contact their senator, if he/she serves on the Committee on Education/Higher Education, and ask him/her to support HB 230/SB 189. If you have not already contacted your senator, please do so and also ask that HB 230 be put on the committee’s calendar.

How You Can Help

Follow this link to see if your senator in on the Senate Committee on Education/Higher Education. You can get committee member contact information by following the links on the page.

What Is Happening with the Bills?

As we have already reported, on March 20, HB 230, Amend Law Defining Home Schools, was passed by the NC House of Representatives with a unanimous vote and crossed over to the NC Senate. On March 21, HB 230 passed its first reading in the Senate and was referred to the Senate Committee on Education/Higher Education.

Since that time, both HB 230 and SB 189 (companion bills) have been in the Senate Committee on Education/Higher Education waiting to be debated. The NCHE legislative committee has been concentrating efforts on members of that committee with phone calls and face-to-face meetings in Raleigh. We have had the opportunity to meet with most of the senators who are members of that committee, and the meetings have been very encouraging. Several senators have said they think the bill will easily pass the Senate with no changes to the wording. Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed support.

I had a conversation with one Senator who wishes to know more about two-family homeschools and how they operate. If you are a part of or know of a two-family homeschool, can you please get in touch with me? It would be a great help.

We have asked several senators why our bills have not moved in the committee, and we have received the same answer. They speculate that the committee may not debate the bill until after the May 16 crossover date because of the large number of bills that they want to get passed (over 700 bills). Bills that are not passed by the House of Representatives or the Senate by May 16 are dead and can’t be considered in the remainder of the Regular Session of the 2013-2014 biennium of the NC General Assembly. After May 16, they will begin to work on the bills, such as ours, that have already crossed over.

Questions Asked about the Bill

(These are two common questions that we hear. If you have others, let me know, and we will get them answered.)

How does the bill allow for a co-op gathering of more than two families?
A. The intent of the bill was to give homeschools more freedom to choose what is best for their children and their families without taking away any freedoms we already enjoy. The bill reads, “Home school” means a nonpublic school consisting of the children of not more than two families or households, where the parents or legal guardians or members of either household determine the scope and sequence of academic instruction, provide academic instruction and determine additional sources of academic instruction. The bill, if it becomes law, will still allow two families to establish a single homeschool. Once established, this two family homeschool will function as any other homeschool. The last phrase of the bill, “determine additional sources of academic instruction,” gives the homeschool teacher the authority to select any number of additional sources of academic instruction for their children. These sources may include, but are not limited to, the following: a tutor to provide foundational instruction in core subjects, meeting together with other homeschools in a co-op, a dual enrollment college course that is not included in “Career and College Promise.”

Would this bill require homeschoolers to keep a record of their scope and sequence in case the authorities ask to see a copy?
A.  No. Adding the phrase authorizing the homeschool teacher to “determine the scope and sequence of academic instruction” makes it clear that it is the parent, not the state, that determines what their children learn and when they learn it. The bill will not change the requirements exclusive portion of the homeschool law that says, “No school which complies with this Part shall be subject to any other provision of law relating to education except requirements of law respecting immunization.” Our current law requires that homeschools maintain only immunization, attendance and standardized test records. The law will not allow authorities to ask for scope and sequence record