Alerts-2004

Dec. 4, 2005:Homeschoolers Taking Correspondence Courses

On Saturday, Dec 4th, the State Board of Education met and had a hearing for the Correspondence Course language. Many things happened which we will outline in this email…to see the documents, you may always refer to our website NevadaHomeschoolNetwork.com and click on Alerts.

The Board needed to change two sections to accommodate homeschooled children who have taken correspondence courses. The first, NAC 389.680 is a public school section, and it needed to be changed to require districts to accept correspondence courses accredited by certain agencies. Districts still “may” accept courses, as in the past, that have been accredited by agencies not listed. This affects all private, public and homeschooled children in the state.

A second change was then made in NAC 392, the homeschool regulation section. This specified that if a homeschooled child took a correspondence course in accordance with NAC 389.680, those credits must be accepted by the public high school. Credits earned by children entering private schools will be governed by 394.080, and children entering middle schools will be governed by 389.445.

In more detail:

1) NAC 389.680 Credit for Correspondence Courses, was changed. The changes are now more in line with other states and are very good changes for homeschoolers. In essence, new wording was added to the existing wording “the school district MAY grant a pupil credit toward graduation from high school…”. It now continues to say, “A school district WILL accept credit….if the course is provided and credits are issued by a secondary educational institution which is approved by one of the following national or regional accrediting associations …” then lists the Big 7 associations, “and the course is equivalent to a course offered in a regular program in the school district.” What we were trying to do was make sure homeschool parents understood what “must” be accepted and what “may” be accepted, from the get-go, if wanting to enroll a child later in public high school. The school districts were also concerned that the wording not allow 20 credits in basket weaving (as an example) be accepted straight across the board for credit towards graduation. We think the wording used is a wonderful combination and clarifies everything for everyone.

2) In our Homeschool NAC 392, we felt there was reason to include language referencing the acceptance of correspondence course credits by schools. The Dept of Ed submitted language, which was accepted by both Advisory Councils to speak to this issue, and has been temporarily assigned a number of NAC 392.041. In preparing for this meeting NHN Officers realized some clarification was needed and requested that the words “If a previously homeschooled child enrolls in a public or private school,” be added to the beginning of “Correspondence programs used by homeschooled pupils will be accepted by public schools and private schools pursuant to the requirements of NAC 389.680 or, NAC 394.080, or NAC 389.445, as applicable.” This wording was accepted by the Board.

3) Lastly, a little housecleaning was needed in the NAC changes adopted by the State Board of Education in October. We had originally requested that all language in 392.011 (1) defining “approved correspondence program” be deleted, but when the motion was made to approve the proposed changes this definition was left in. Since that phrase is no longer used in the homeschool regulations, the Advisory Councils requested its removal, and the Board agreed.

Now that so much great work has been accomplished before the State Board of Education, we can rest easy for awhile and just work on legislative issues. We do encourage you to keep updated as we do have some BDRs to push through and some to fight down! We’ll let you know when and where to appear to help us fight for our rights!

December 3, 2004, NIAA Sports Update

Today the NIAA heard the agenda item pertaining to homeschoolers playing on private school sports. Kimberlie King-Patraw (representing the Southern Nevada Homeschool Advisory Council) and myself (representing NHN) attended and spoke on this topic. Eventually they tabled this discussion until March, as we asked, for more time to research.

The NIAA board is responsible for high school sports in Nevada. Like many, they are not very knowledgeable, as a whole, on the homeschooling laws and regulations. While we will take this opportunity to educate them on homeschooling, the signals sent and the words they used indicate that the topic of homeschoolers playing on sports teams is not warmly received. We have already “forced their hand” if you will, by pushing through a law saying we must be allowed play on public school sports teams. Now the issue of homeschoolers playing on a private school team that belongs to the NIAA has come up.

We need input from the community, from private schools and from homeschoolers, as to whether this is an issue that even needs to be fought. We will also be looking to other states that do allow homeschoolers to play and see what their decisions are regarding private schools.

Some areas of concern that we will need to address in wording, if we feel the need to fight for this, are:

1)Recruiting issues…there needs to be something in place so that private schools don’t shop for the best player.

2)Fees..currently homeschooled children are assessed a $100 per sports fee to play at the local public school. If we are allowed to play for a private school, should there be an established fee?

3)Homeschoolers (having a valid Notification of Intent to Homeschool form filed) taking college classes full time or part time… Who is considered college, who is considered a homeschooled student? Should a line be drawn, and if so, where is that line drawn?

While NHN remains dedicated to fighting for the least restrictions possible for homeschooling, we have to weigh whether this will be good for a few and harm the many or not. Public school administrators (which the NIAA control board mostly consists of) clearly see sports as an opportunity to try to force more restrictions onto all homeschoolers. Further, NHN Officers are already overworked, and if it is decided that we should fight for this right, we will need an involved person to be the “chair” of this sports committee.

Please weigh in with your experiences, your opinions and your willingness to be the spokesperson for this position. We are looking for specific reasons why a family would choose to play on a private school team, or not, and experiences therein. Please email briansmom99@yahoo.com

Oct 23th, 2004

Dear Nevada Homeschool Families and Supporters,

On behalf of the Nevada Home School Advisory Councils, Nevada Homeschool Network, and the great majority of homeschool organizations and leaders, I am happy to report that the State Board of Education unanimously passed the new homeschool regulations that we’ve been working towards for a year and a half!

We will continue working with the State Department of Education, and with as many local Districts as we can, to inform them of what the changes are and how it affects homeschoolers.

The most significant change is that you won’t have to choose from 4 different “methods” of homeschooling each year on the Notification of Intent to Homeschool form. Instead, as the parent, you only need to sign that you’re taking responsibility for the education of your child, and you can then use any method needed to meet your child’s educational needs. This could be yourself as the teacher, or a correspondence course, a co-op, a licensed teacher, etc..

Also, the Notification of Intent to Homeschool form will become simpler after you’ve homeschooled in any one district in consecutive years. The first year will require educational goals or a list of instructional materials, just like in current forms. In following years those areas won’t need to be filled out.

Over the years, many homeschoolers have been burdened by well-intentioned school officials (I’m trying to be diplomatic!) who have either misinformed homeschoolers about what is required to homeschool, or have passed restrictive policies to discourage or stop homeschooling. These new regulations prohibit a dissemination of false information, and also forbids the passing of policies that are more restrictive than existing state regulations or law.

As significant as the positive features of these new regulations are, we were able to avoid a negative amendment by Clark County School District that would have required parental identification and proof of your relationship to your child when you first submit your Notification of Intent to Homeschool form. Besides the restrictive nature of this request, especially since it’s not required in public or private schools, there is Federal case law indicating possible violations of Constitutional freedoms. Furthermore, our own State laws don’t require this, so a regulation can’t be adopted that doesn’t have a law as its basis. The State Board quickly followed our reasoning and dismissed the CCSD request.

Lastly, the Department of Education worked diligently earlier in the day to get language adopted that would require a local school to accept correspondence course credits if the correspondence school has certain accreditations. Although they were unsuccessful, much agreement was reached and it was agreed to revisit this soon. Homeschool leaders fully support this, and we will have a place at the table when further work is done on this.

Barbara Myers and Theresa Malone, both State Board of Education members, have served on the northern and southern advisory councils in the past years while this regulation change was being formed. We will miss Theresa as she is moving off the State Board into other areas, and Barbara is up for reelection this November. Both of these members have our deep gratitude for their patience, time and wisdom, and if Barbara is successful in her reelection we hope that she can continue to serve the homeschooling community with us.

The Department of Education will be working on a new Notification of Intent to Homeschool form as well as getting the new regulations into a form that can be sent to homeschoolers and local districts. As these items become available we will be sure to get them out to you. Meanwhile, a preliminary copy of our new homeschooling regulations can be viewed here: New Homeschool Regulations .

Sincerely,

Frank Schnorbus (N. Nev Home School Advisory Council, Pres.)

Kime King Patraw ( S. Nev Home School Advisory Council, Pres.)

Elissa Wahl (S. Nev Home School Advisory Council, and NHN Chair)

Barbara Dragon (N. Nev Home School Advisory Council, VP)

October State Board of Education Meeting

On Saturday Oct 23rd the SBOE will hear and hopefully vote on the Proposed NAC Changes.

WHEN: Saturday, October 23, 2004

TIME: 2:00 p.m.

PLACE: Dept. of Education Offices in Carson City , 700 East Fifth Street, Carson City, Nevada 89701

Who should attend: All homeschooling parents concerned with over-regulation by the state. Well-behaved children are welcome. The State Board is always happy to see our children and our dedication to their upbringing and education.

There is opposition to the proposed changes from “consultants” who charge for their services and who believe new homeschoolers should be required by the state to use consultants. We believe that new homeschoolers will continue to use experienced homeschoolers to help them get started and that it is an unnecessary burden to require they have someone sign their paperwork. Only one other state has a consultant requirement so Nevada is clearly “over-regulating” new homeschoolers.

In addition, the proposed regulations will only require first-time homeschoolers to list their goals or textbooks. Each consecutive year after that you will simply sign a statement saying you assume full responsibility to assure that your child will receive equivalent instruction. The proposed changes give parents more FREEDOM and total control in deciding what educational method is best for their child.

And lastly, Clark County School District is seeking a regulation requiring all new homeschool parents to show a photo id when they turn in their paperwork. NHN Officers and homeschool representatives oppose this language and HSLDA attorneys indicate there are many Federal constitutional problems with it. The Northern HS Advisory Council voted to oppose any parental ID request due to potential legal issues, and because it is not required by law or regulation for either public or private school parents.

Important Documents to Read:

NAC 392 Proposed Changes (as Posted by the Dept of Ed)
Synopsis of Amendments

NAC Proposed Changes with Amendments

HSLDA Position Paper on Clark County School District ID Issue
Appendix to this paper

7/10/04: Update on the State Board of EducationWorkshop

As you may be aware, both the northern and the southern homeschool Advisory Councils (who advise the State Board of Education on homeschool issues) unanimously endorsed these proposed changes to the NACs (regulations) governing homeschooling in Nevada.
To view the proposed language, go to: NAC 392 LineOut

These changes have been “in the works” for over a year. A joint meeting of the Advisory Councils in June 2003 was followed by separate meetings of both councils in May of 2004. Many hours of work, including several meetings and phone calls with local school districts, went into this.

The State Board appeared to be receptive to our proposal, and asked several pertinent and probing questions. We feel that we were able to answer everything openly to their satisfaction.

As may be expected, though, not all went according to plan. We will be working to address these items through the advisory councils. The north meets on August 18th in Carson City, and the south meets on August 26th in Las Vegas. Everything should be done by the time of the public hearing at the September meeting of the State Board of Education that is planned for September.

Items that came up were:

1) A couple of months ago Clark County requested, then withdrew, a request to include wording that would require parental identification and proof of connection to the child be exempted. The exact wording was:
“Proof of the identity of the parent, consisting of a state or federally issued photographic identification card or some other document, sufficient to establish the parent’s identity and evidence of their connection to the child being exempted, which shall not be photocopied or kept on file by the school District.”
While this wording was withdrawn in May, Clark has notified the Board that they will be submitting language to this effect before the September public hearing. The concern on the part of the Districts (Washoe County testified that they’d like to see this too) is that a non-custodial parent or other adult (kidnap situation) might try to withdraw the child from public school to homeschool the child. The concerns on the part of homeschoolers with this language are many, and include:

a) This is not a requirement for either public or private schooled children, and homeschoolers are being unfairly (and illegally) singled out.
b) A piece of paper does not prove either identity or custodianship. DNA testing is about the only foolproof way of proving parentship. Are we going there?
c) Criminal acts are the jurisdiction of the police, and in the case of children and families it is the jurisdiction of Social Services. The educational establishment (private, public and homeschools) should not be used as a police agency. If a district suspects foul play, there are procedures in place for the appropriate agency to be notified since school employees are “required reporters”.
d) People who are committing an illegal act usually don’t register the child anywhere, but instead are “underground”.
e) etc…etc…
At the Workshop, we asked the Board to delay action on this issue since it such an emotional and potentially legal issue. As homeschoolers, we are prepared to address this area, but we’d like to proceed forward with the other, less controversial, regulation changes. We did not get this assurance, but the Board is aware of our concern, and has promised to work with us.

2) Washoe County has indicated, though not in testimony to the Board, that they would oppose certain portions of our requested changes.
a) In Section 4 #2, in addition to the name and address of the parent(s) of the child, Washoe also wants the address where the child resides. This does not appear to be an unreasonable request.
b) In Section 5 #3, Washoe objects to the language, in reference to proof of identity of the child (ie a birth certificate), that says, “…which shall not be photocopied or kept on file by the school district.” Washoe wants it to say, “…which may be photocopied or kept on file by…” Apparently Washoe County School District requires a photocopy for each of their public school children, even though it plainly says on Washoe County District Health Department birth certificates “Warning: It is illegal to alter or copy this document”. Most districts only require that you bring it in for them to see.
c) In Section 6 #4, Washoe opposes the language that says, “Any policy pertaining to homeschooling or homeschooled children adopted by a board of trustees, a district administration or a public school administration shall not be more restrictive than the statutes and regulations that govern homeschooling.” It is the State Board of Education that adopts regulations regarding homeschooling in Nevada, and the local boards of trustees are entrusted to make policy regarding the local public schools. Washoe is concerned that they won’t be able to make policy regarding a child who was homeschooled who is now entering into a public school. Since the language clearly indicates homeschooling or homeschooled children, we don’t think any change should be necessary since that child would be now be classified a public schooled child and the same rules that apply to an ex-private schooled or ex-out-of-state schooled child would now apply.

3) Kent and Gina Anderson, a couple from HSU (a homeschool group in the Las Vegas area), who provide consulting services for a fee, presented proposed changes to our proposal document that would (among other things) keep at least some of the “consultant” verbiage in the regulations. Their position is that by reducing the four current ways to homeschool in Nevada (parent, parent with a consultant, correspondence course, licensed teacher) to just the parent, that freedoms are being taken away from Nevada homeschoolers. Our position is that the parent, who is untimately responsible for the education of their child, may use any method including a consultant, a correspondence course, a licensed teacher, a co-op, or any other method needed to educate their child, and that this increases freedoms for Nevada homeschoolers. It also helps to clearly define the lines of responsibility when homeschooling.
The Board listened to their request and had many questions. It appeared to many of us that the Board as a whole does not think that options are being taken away from homeschoolers, and instead agree with us that more options are being provided to homeschoolers.
The Andersons have not participated in any of the debate regarding these regulation changes at the advisory council meetings. Since Mr. Anderson was the President, and Mrs. Anderson was the Vice President, of the southern advisory council at one point in time, both are fully aware of the function of these public entities. Both have since resigned. The proposed regulation changes were discussed at the southern advisory council meetings (June 2003 and May 2004), and the HSU representative on the southern council voted in favor of them. Furthermore, it is a concern of many that the financial interest that the Andersons have in their consulting business may be a motive for their requests.

At the end of the Workshop the Andersons, and any others that have ideas, concerns, or proposed changes, were invited to attend the advisory council meetings in August. Although this is not mandatory to get your ideas presented to the State Board, it does follow the process that the State Board set up back in 1990 to facilitate these types of requests.

We very much appreciate the support that several people gave by showing up at the meeting, including Brandy Evens from Fallon, Randy & Brenda Tobey from north of Reno, Carl Lucas and his son from Lovelock, and others. Many of these folks had to drive 1.5 to 2 hours each direction.

If you have thoughts or comments on these proceedings, feel free to reply to FandR@semp.net , Kime King-Patraw (Southern Advisory Council, President) at KSKids7@earthlink.net or to Elissa Wahl (NHN Chair) at Briansmom99@yahoo.com

Newest NACs

After listening to homeschoolers and school districts throughout the state, we have compiled new documents to go before the State Board of Education. The documents can be found here:
Line-Out Version 5.12.04
Clean Version 5.12.04

Intent Form 5.12.04 (follows along with proposed NAC changes)
FAQ 5.12.04 Something that support groups, Dept of Ed and School Districts can hand out about homeschooling.

We encourage you to read these and then come show support at the upcoming State Board of Education Meeting, Friday July 9th, 1:30pm. The meeting will be held in Carson City, Dept of Education, State Board Conference Room, 700 East Fifth St.

These proposed changes do:

1) Now that there is a legal definition of homeschooling in the NRS, we are removing the “exempt from compulsory attendance” language and substituting the appropriate “homeschool” term. We’ve done this throughout the document. Section 3, #1, still includes old language to tie it in with the new.

2) Added Section 2, #3, to clarify that as long as a notification of intent form meets the requirements, it doesn’t have to be the “state form” that is published by the Dept of Education.

3) Currently the notification of intent must include biographical information, plus the educational plan for that year which includes the proposed educational goals or the instructional materials to be used. After conferring with some of the districts, it was determined that while the educational plan may be useful for first time homeschoolers, it is tedious and redundant for veteran homeschoolers, and is not needed by the districts. Therefore, the intent form has been simplified to be only the biographical information for each homeschooled child (a “subsequent” notification of intent form). An educational plan is still required for first timers, for those who have just moved into a new district, and those who have restarted homeschooling after another type of schooling (an “initial” notification of intent form).

4) contact phone number, if available, has been added to the notification of intent form. The name and city of the most recent Nevada public school attended within the previous year, if applicable, has been added to the initial notification of intent form. Both of these were requested by the districts. New homeschoolers will also be required to have read and understood the homeschool regulations. There is also a new option on both the initial and the subsequent forms for parents to sign a privacy statement regarding directory information.

5) Currently there are four ways to homeschool in Nevada:
The parent, the parent with a consultant, a licensed teacher, and a correspondence course.
This document would change this to a single option – the parent.
The parent must now sign a statement accepting responsibility for the education of their child, although they can still use these other educational methods (correspondence, consultant or tutors, licensed teachers, etc). This is an effort to clearly define responsibility.

6) Because the Legislature sets the laws and the State Board of Education is the governing authority in setting regulations for homeschooling in Nevada, two sections were added to help clarify this.
In Section 6, #3, no information that is more restrictive than the statutes or regulations may be distributed by the Dept of Education, a board of trustees, a district administration, or a public school administration. Similarly, in Section 6, #4, no policy may be adopted that is more restrictive than the statutes or regulations by a board of trustees, a district administration, or a public school administration. While this has not been a problem in a great majority of cases, it has been a problem in others, so stating it clearly should help prevent misunderstandings.

7) New definitions are included, including a definition for “parent” that is more consistent with existing public school definitions. Those are the major items; minor items and word changes to accomodate the above are also included.

March 7, 2004

The legal rights that Nevada homeschoolers gained in the 1999 and 2003 legislative sessions are being seriously threatened, and we are taking legal action to get it stopped before it goes too much further. Please read below and then consider a donation to cover the legal expenses. We are depending entirely on donations.

Specifically the law now provides that homeschoolers shall be allowed to participate in classes and extracurricular activities in the local public school, with only a couple of exceptions provided by the law. A policy has been circulated among all of the school district administrations in the state that effectively reverses this: this policy would not allow homeschool participation, with only a few exceptions.

Although a high percentage of homeschoolers choose not to partake of services that may be provided by their local public school, this is a serious threat to education in general. It is widely acknowledged that homeschooling has become more mainstream, and many people who homeschool today are not “against” the public school system per se. These folks often choose to homeschool for a short period of one to two years to get their child past a certain “phase” and up to par in certain subjects. Other folks want their child to participate in drama, or calculus, or attend a Valentine’s dance.

This attempt to isolate homeschoolers is based on fear and misunderstanding. Some (not all) public school administrators fear any threat to their monopoly grip on education, particularly successful educational models such as homeschooling. Their quip that homeschoolers have “opted out of the system” displays a complete (and sometimes intentional) misunderstanding. We are part of the educational system, and we have laws and regulations governing us. The local district gains (not loses) money when we homeschool because they get local tax money for which they have to pay no overhead. Furthermore, under Nevada law, the local district gets reimbursed by the State for any class a homeschooler takes, even though that child isn’t in the “official count” for that year.

The administration in little Lyon County (169 homeschoolers in the whole county this year) has chosen to carry the flag against homeschoolers statewide in this matter. In the February meeting of the state’s Superintendents (not a public meeting since they’re not elected officials), Lyon superintendent Mr. Nat Lommori volunteered to write a policy to “deal with this emerging group”. In private meetings and in public meetings we have offered and asked to be part of the drafting of this policy, but have been refused. Numerous times we have asked to review the policy before it went out, and were told that they would send it to us. None of this happened. Instead, Lyon has done two things: 1) this illegal policy proposal has been sent to all districts for “review” so that local school administrations might present it to their boards for adoption, and 2) in violation of open meeting laws, the Lyon district has been skirting homeschool opposition by not posting their agendas. In spite of all of our requests, we found out hours before the February 24 meeting that this policy, that we hadn’t even seen yet, was on the agenda. The board passed this “first reading”.

The Lyon school board is having a meeting this Tuesday (March 9, 2004) in Yerington. We can’t find the agenda in any library or post office, but the local paper (whose publisher is an ex-school board member and friend of Mr. Lommori’s) in an article says this policy is on the agenda for a “second reading”. We need as many homeschoolers as possible from anywhere in the state to show up – this is a statewide threat.
Tuesday, March 9, 2004 6:30PM
Yerington High School
114 Pearl Street, Yerington
775-463-6822

Lastly, we are obtaining the services of attorneys and we desperately need donations to cover
the costs. Please send what you can and mark it “legal costs” to our treasurer:
NHN, c/o Lauriann Bradford, 3745 Edison Ave, LV NV 89121 , or donations can be accepted via PayPal
(click on the button at the bottom of this page).

January, 2004 : Exclusion of enrolled students in field trips

We were notified that a Middle School principal in Clark County had vetoed homeschooled students participation in a class trip to DisneyLand. We clarified with the principal the laws regarding homeschool participation in public school classes and involved the Nevada Dept of Education who promptly issued a memo to all NV schools further clarifying that there is no exclusion of enrolled students in field trips due to their homechool status. We are pleased that this issue was resolved quickly and to the satisfaction of the parents/students involved.

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