Inaccurate Testimony in Indiana – NHN Responds

When the Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) heard that damaging testimony about homeschool freedom in their state had been given during a meeting of the Indiana Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights on February 17, 2016, they became alarmed.  The topic for the meeting was, “Indiana School to Prison Pipeline”.  Several participants discussed the “lack” of governmental control over homeschooling in Indiana because apparently public school principals have been marking expelled students as “transferred to home schooling” when in reality they are not being homeschooled and appear to be “lost”.

IAHE obtained a copy of the hearing from the US Commission on Civil Rights to read the statements made.  They are concerned by the call of some of those participating in the meeting for the Indiana Legislature to begin “regulating” homeschooling in the state.  After reading the minutes of the meeting it became clear that most in attendance do not understand that responsible parents CHOOSE to homeschool their children.  Further, it appears that some in the Indiana public school system seem to be taking advantage of the homeschool freedom that Hoosiers enjoy and simply “dump” their burdensome public school students by “transferring them to home schooling” in their records.  IAHE has responded to the issues raised on their blog and will be attending future meetings to correct the misconceptions of home schooling in Indiana.

IAHE notified NHN that testimony was given by a committee member, Ms. Leslie Hiner (Friedman Foundation), who incorrectly stated there is a “homeschool expert” in Nevada to whom the public schools refer expelled students for counseling about homeschooling.  She also said the homeschool community and the public school system are in “partnership” on the issue of advising parents of expelled students. While it may have been Ms. Hiner’s intent to be helpful, her statements were filled with assumptions and incorrect information.  Although NV school districts may refer parents of expelled students to NHN or a homeschool group in the local community, the goal of NHN (and most homeschool groups) would be to educate parents on the responsibility that comes with CHOOSING to homeschool a child and to help these parents decide if homeschooling is a suitable option for their child.

NHN submitted a letter of response (2016. NHN response to Indiana Advisory Comm. testimony) for IAHE to use to clarify how we assist these parents in finding the best educational option for their child.  We also submitted that letter directly to the committee for the record.  IAHE Action’s School to Prison Pipeline Response – Part 5 includes Ms. Hiner’s comments and NHN’s refutation of her comments.

NHN actually dealt with many of the problems, discussed in the Indiana hearing, over 10 years ago here in Nevada. Prior to 2005, the only option available to parents of expelled students was to enroll the child in a private school or to homeschool them.  But for many of those parents, neither option was practical. So NHN worked with NV charter schools and the NV-DOE during the 2005 NV Legislative Session to find more options for these families.  SB 367 (see “As Enrolled”) opened up charter schools (both brick & mortar and virtual), as well as public school independent study and distance education options to these students under certain circumstances.

Homeschooling is an education option that is appropriate for some families and the right to homeschool without government oversight is a liberty that NHN has advocated for since 2002.  NHN is grateful for an excellent network of state homeschool associations as we work together to protect homeschool freedom in all 50 states.

Tired Homeschool Meme

Though it has been deflated too many times to count, the tired homeschool meme of the poorly socialized, depressed, awkward child continues.  A HSLDA member was the most recent victim.

“when the social worker stopped by this afternoon I asked her what the accusations are, and she said: ‘Well, it looks like we’ve got a report here of unsocialized homeschoolers.’”

I know if a social worker were to show up at my door that I, as a member of HSLDA, can call a specialist who can guide me through dangerous waters. That is worth many times the dues we pay each year. NHN works closely with HSLDA throughout the year and are extremely grateful for their help. If you join NHN you even get a discount on your HSLDA membership.

Read the full article

Hear Dr. Brian Ray speak about the ESA program

UPDATE 11/20/15: A big thank you to Dr. Ray. He gave an entertaining and, most importantly, very informative presentation. Those that did not have the opportunity to come can watch the archived video of the presentation, which should be available shortly.

What is the Educational Savings Account (ESA) program, and  Should you consider it for your child?


  • Thursday, November 19, 2015

    7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

  • The Plaza Hotel, 801 S. Carson St, Carson City
  • REGISTER to attend (free)

Hear Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute explore these questions as he talks about the concept of state-run “education at home” programs that foot the bill to “help” you educate your children.  Is this legal option the same as homeschooling, and how does it compare to other educational options?  Dr. Ray will challenge you to consider the importance of who has authority over what is taught to the minds and hearts of your children.


Special to Nevada parents, Dr. Ray will combine items from three of his seminar sessions, “Are You About to be Co-Opted?, When a Free Lunch Isn’t Free, and What Makes You Think You Can Teach Your Own?”  Are we being superior, or inadequate, if we don’t teach our children the same values and curriculum as the state institutions?


Dr. Ray is convinced that these are some of the most urgent issues that homeschoolers will grapple with during the next several years.

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Separating School and State

Sponsored by Nevada Homeschool Network (NHN) and National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI)

Brian D. Ray, Ph.D. founded the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) as a 501(c) 3 non-profit research organization and is president of the institute.  He holds his Ph.D. in science education from Oregon State University, his M.S. in zoology from Ohio University, and his B.S. in biology from the University of Puget Sound.  He is a leading international expert with regard to homeschool (home school, home education) research.  Dr. Ray executes and publishes research, speaks to the public, testifies before legislators, and serves as an expert witness in courts.

More information and online registration: Dr. Brian Ray speaks on the Educational Savings Account program

ESA program considerations

SB 302 – Educational Savings Account (ESA) Bill

Considerable discussion has commenced over the summer on the new ESA Bill – SB 302. The State Treasurer has been charged by the Legislature as the “governing body” over implementation of this new “School Choice” program. To date, two workshops have been held by the Treasurer’s Office as they write regulations for the program.

NHN supports parents who choose to utilize the new ESA program. However, it must be noted that because this new school choice program is “publicly funded” it comes with “accountability measures” that make it more restrictive than some parents may want.

For parents who do not wish to receive money from the state for the education of their child, the Homeschool Law remains intact. Homeschool parents will continue to be able to take full responsibility for the education of their child FREE from government oversight.

There are many creative ways within the ESA Program for children to receive an education and this may be a viable option for some families in our state. However, as a “cost-savings measure” by the Legislature, eligibility for an ESA was limited to children “enrolled in a public school”. As a result, current private school and homeschool students are not eligible for the grant money but may become eligible by enrolling in a public/charter school “100 consecutive school days”. Once this requirement has been met parents may then apply for the ESA Grant and use a “Participating Entity” approved by the state to meet the compulsory school attendance law.

Parents considering this ESA program should be aware of the “accountability” requirements such as an annual standardized test being administered to an “Opt-in Child” by the “participating entity” providing the education. The test results must be reported to the State Treasure’s office for “review of academic progress” and the DOE for the “publishing of aggregate data” which may link these children to the State Longitudinal Data System. In addition, ESA Accounts will be audited by the State Treasurer’s office to review the “educational expenses” parents pay for with the account in an effort to prevent fraud and abuse.

To follow ongoing discussion on this topic we refer you to the NHN Facebook Page.

Parents wishing to learn more about an ESA Grant may refer to the NV State Treasurer’s website.