Homeschool Freedom Under Attack – “Potential” Child Abuse, Child Neglect, and Child Fatalities

The Relationship Between the Degree of State Regulation of Homeschooling and the Abuse of Homeschool Children

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From where are threats to parental rights and homeschool freedom originating?

Those Who Would Threaten Fundamental Parental Rights & Homeschool Freedom

Do you ever wonder where the ideas for restricting the God-given right of parenting one’s own children revealed in threatening pieces of legislation across six states in early 2018 come from?  Are they simply in response to one or two HORRIFIC cases of child abuse perpetrated by a few sick parents?  Or is it something deeper being espoused in American colleges and universities by professors posing as “experts” on the subject of family law and relationship?

The threat to fundamental parental rights and homeschool freedom is not new.  And regretfully, based on events this year the tide is rising and parents must educate themselves on the threat.  To that end here are pertinent articles predicting the crisis, exposing the threat, and defending against it.

The Warning:

The Third Wave of Homeschool Persecution – Dr. Michael Farris, HSLDA, 2010.

  • Homeschool: Parental Rights to Educational Choice Being Questioned – Several academic journals over the last few years have featured claims by academic elitists “that public education should be mandatory and universal.”  Dr. Farris warns of academics calling for government interference in not just the lives of homeschool families but ALL families in the United States.

The On-going Threat:

Law Professor Attacks Parental Rights – Michele Malkin Reports on CRTV; posted with permission on ParentalRights.org – 2017

  • “The reason parent-child relationships exist is because the State confers legal parenthood…”

    So says James Dwyer, and he’s no bumbling statist hack. Dwyer is a respected law professor at the prestigious College of William and Mary, America’s second-oldest college (after Harvard).

    He actually believes your parental rights literally come from the State. And you and I both know that what the State can give, the State can take away.

    But with his credentials, Dwyer’s radical ideas will be heard.

“The New Law of the Child” Attacks Parental Rights – ParentalRights.org posts paper by two law professors arguing against fundamental parental rights – 2018

  • “In The New Law of the Child, Dailey and Rosenbury seek to ‘loose[n] the grip of parental rights on American law.’ They seek ‘a more child-centered analysis that elevates children’s broader interests over parents’ individual liberty claims.’” Anne C. Dailey and Laura A. Rosenbury, The New Law of the Child, 127 Yale L.J. F. (2018), https://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/the-new-law-of-the-child.

The Response:

The (Not So) New Law of the Child – Martin Guggenheim, The (Not So) New Law of the Child, 127 Yale L.J. F. 942 (2018), http://www.yalelawjournal.org/forum/the-not-so-new-law-of-the-child. Martin Guggenheim is the Fiorello LaGuardia Professor of Clinical Law at New York University School of Law.

Top-Down or from the Ground?: A Practical Perspective on Reforming the Field of Children and the Law – Cheryl Bratt, Top-Down or from the Ground?: A Practical Perspective on Reforming the Field of Children and the Law, 127 Yale L.J. F. 917 (2018), http://www.yalelawjournal.org/forum/top-down-or-from-the-ground.

The Solution:

The Parental Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution  – Link to the bi-partisan group, ParentalRights.org  to learn how you can help “Protect Children by Empowering Parents.”

Compulsory School Attendance Age Change – A Continuing Battle

2018 – Bills in other states to lower Compulsory School Attendance Age:

Indiana –

  • 3/16/2018International Compulsory Attendance Age by Alison Slatter and Bridgette Whitlow-Spurlock, Indiana Home Education Association ACTION
    • IHEA Action argues against their Superintendent of Public Instruction’s continuing push to lower the compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5.
  • 1/4/2018 – Committee Chairman does not plan to give SB 272 a hearing! 
    • “Supporters of lowering the school age say it could decrease remediation rates for elementary school students. Taylor says he’s motivated to continue introducing legislation so all students can have more educational success.“These are the types of bills that you know, maybe not everybody agrees upon, but a lot of people understand that early childhood education means a lot,” he says.But critics say parents should decide when to send their child to school. And even if the Republican majority was more receptive to a lower school age, there are other problems to address in early childhood education.”
  • 12/28/2017The heart of the conflict – The Natural Right of the Parent to Control their Children’s Upbringing vs. State Power – Lisa Yankey, Indiana Home Educators Association (IHEA)
    • “In the history of compulsory schooling, there has long been a struggle between parents and the state. Parents have a natural right to control their children’s upbringing, but the state uses the legal doctrine of ;parens patriae’ to ‘do what is necessary to protect the child’s welfare, even if such actions diminish parental control.’
    • “When government seeks to expand its reach, an attentive population should question whether the government has the authority to do so. Thus, the important question here becomes: What is the state authority for expanding the compulsory school age?”
    • “[N]o legislator should promote the expansion of state-compelled school attendance ages unless…such an expansion of compulsory school age by the state is consistent with the state’s constitution and the spirit and history of freedom of choice in his or her state.” Ray, Brian D. (2009). Is there any solid evidence for expanding compulsory school age? Salem, OR: National Home Education Research Institute.”

October 2017 Update:  Minutes for hearing on AB 186 – 3/22/17 posted on Legislative website.

It takes some time for the LCB to get minutes of hearings posted on their website, usually long after the Legislative session has ended.  Although the fate of the bill has usually been decided by the time minutes are posted it always a good idea to re-read them to equip ourselves for next time.  In this case AB 186, that proposed to lower the compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5, mandate enrollment in Kindergarten, and require all Nevada public schools to offer Pre-Kindergarten, died in committee.

Some comments made by the sponsor of the bill, Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D), should be noted for future attempts to remove parental control over “when” their child is ready to begin school.

Bullet Points = Thoughts from NHN Officers

Assemblywoman Diaz in her opening remarks: “I bring before you Assembly Bill 186 for your consideration. I am a proud educator and an even prouder mother of a five-year-old who attends a full-day kindergarten program in Clark County. I am also a proud grandmother of a nine-month-old who is currently attending a school. What I am learning as a grandmother is that I missed things with my own five-year-old in terms of opportunities and windows that sometimes you just do not get back. Now that I have Aiden as my grandchild, and looking at Javi being in kindergarten, I wish that I would have started taking him to preschool at a much younger age because that socialization key is so important. Neurological science is showing us that the younger our children interact, engage, and learn, the stronger their brains are long-term and the future success of them starting to grow as individuals is so much more promising. Not that I am saying that I have been a horrible parent, but in hindsight, there were some missed opportunities for me to get him in school early and then he would be that much more perfect than I already think he is.”

  • Hhhmmm… her 9 month old grandson is currently “attending a school.” Seriously?  Or is it because both his parents are attorney’s who place him daycare while they are at work? (she reveals this later in her testimony, see page 23 of the minutes).  We’re all for parents being able to choose this “option” for their child but not a state mandate for ALL parents to do the same.

Assemblywoman Diaz after stating her many reasons for bringing the bill forward;  “…In summary, Assembly Bill 186 seeks to expand access to prekindergarten and kindergarten programs across the state by requiring the board of trustees of each school district to establish, equip, and maintain a pre-K education program and a kindergarten in each elementary school or school attendance area in their district. Assembly Bill 186 also seeks to lower the minimum required age of enrollment and attendance at school to five years of age from the previous seven years of age, as well as allowing the children who are four years of age on or before September 30 to be admitted to a pre-K program.”

  • Lowering the required school attendance age from 7 to 5 puts the state in control of “when” a child should attend school instead of allowing parents the right to decide when the child is READY.
  • We believe parents know their child best and should be making this decision.
  • Current law ALLOWS parents to enroll their child at age 5 if they determine they are ready or delay enrollment in a school until age 6 or 7 dependent on the child’s needs not a state mandate.
  • “So lowering the compulsory attendance age strikes us as totalitarianism; the state thinks they’re smarter than the parents in making educational decisions for the children.” J. Michael Smith, HSLDA President 

Assemblywoman Diaz: “…Again, the bill does not mandate full-day kindergarten, it simply makes it so the parent has to enroll their child in school by the age of five, or make alternative arrangements as provided by existing law.”

  • Exactly, it means parents will have to either enroll their child in a school OR submit a Notification of Intent to Homeschool at age 5 even if the child is not ready for “formal academics.”  Again, this is the state, not the parent, determining what is best for the child – something the state can’t possibly know.

Assemblywoman Diaz:  “I got some numbers from the Department of Education and I want you to know that based on the 2010 census data, Nevada has approximately 36,685 five-year-olds, and of those, 34,626 have been enrolled in kindergarten programs. We are just doing what the majority of parents are already choosing to do which is to enroll their children.

  1. So 94.4% of children age 5 in Nevada are already enrolled in Kindergarten programs.  And that isn’t already a HIGH percentage without mandating age 5?  We beg to differ.
  2. So because the “majority of parents” are already “choosing” to enroll the child at age 5 we should make a law forcing the other 5.6% to do the same?  That just defies logic!

Assemblyman Elliot T. Anderson (D): “I am looking at the bill and just want to clarify something. I think I know the answer, but thought it might be good to put on the record that homeschool parents would still have the option to homeschool their children under your legislation, right? That would not change or require them to come into public school, would it?”
Assemblywoman Diaz: “That is correct. I am not, in any form, modifying the process by which a parent chooses what the best setting is for their children. I know there are many parents who opt to do the private school route and that there are many parents who choose to do the homeschooling route and I am not changing that at all with A.B. 186. They get to choose. They do have to come in just like they would at age seven and notify what choice they are making, but I am not changing how they currently have to abide by the law.

  • That’s so generous!  She’s not changing “how” parents must comply with the law… just “when” because of course “the state” knows what all children need, and when, better than their parents.  Need we say more?

Assemblyman Edwards (R): I think early education can be extremely good for some, but I also think too much of a good thing can be bad. We have to be very careful about pushing children too early simply because of the maturity level. Studies will also show that girls usually progress maturity-wise two years ahead of boys. My concern is that we do not get to the point where we are pushing kids to get into prekindergarten when they simply are not mature enough. I was glad when you said that homeschooling is still an option and that there are other ways that parents are not expected to have their children attend at four years of age.”                                                                                   Assemblywoman Diaz: “That is correct. Parents are the ones who make that decision, whether they want to enroll their children in our public school education as soon as five years of age, or they want to opt to homeschool them, or they want to take them to a private school. This bill does not infringe upon those rights to make those decisions for their students. I would also educate the Committee that in speaking with the key academics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) studying early childhood education, they said that actually homeschooling parents might benefit from kindergarten being mandated because they would then have access to curriculums [sic] they could get ideas from. Not that I am saying they have to abide by them, but curriculums [sic] are then facilitated for them to reference if they wish to do so.”

  1. Again, this misses the point… the bill would still require all children to begin “school” (public, private, or home) at age 5… that removes the parent from the decision making process and puts it in the hands of the state, Assemblywoman Diaz is being disingenuous in her answer.
  2. The comment about the “key academics” at UNLV is also disingenuous and grasping at straws!  Parents already “have access” to curriculum no matter what age their children are!

And then the discussion really went south and is where NHN began to grow really concerned!  Most of the 2017 Assembly Education Committee members (Democrats and Republicans alike) KNEW NOTHING about our homeschool law and the FREEDOM parents have to direct the education of their own children.  

  • Assemblywoman Tolles (R): “…I also wanted to ask you what requirements would then suddenly be necessary for those families who want to keep their kindergarten-aged children at home instead of enrolling? We know that we ask families who homeschool to meet certain requirements. I am assuming that if we were to pass this legislation, we would be extending it to kindergarten families to say that if you want to keep your child at home, you have to go through the same requirements as a family would who decides to homeschool their student. Am I correct in that assumption?”
  • Assemblywoman Diaz: “It was my understanding that there are not really very many rigorous checks on the homeschooling community. Maybe they get screen”ed before they come to a public school to review where they are in terms of readiness or levels. I do not want to give misinformationso we will ask Ms. Oya.”
  • Patti Oya: “No, I am sorry. I know there are homeschool parents here, but I do not have the
    requirements around homeschooling. We can certainly provide that for you.”
    Chairman Thompson (D): “Since nobody has the answer, we will just get it offline.”

    • It just can’t be stressed enough how VERY concerned we should about this.  Homeschoolers need to first educate themselves on our long and tortuous history and then their Legislators!  You can read it (or watch a short video) here: A Long Road to NV Homeschool Freedom; 1947-Present.

This was the end of Assemblywoman Diaz’ official presentation of AB 186.  Chairman Thompson then went to testimony in support of the bill.  In Carson City, there was no testimony in support; in Las Vegas there was.  Then there was much testimony against the bill in both Carson City and Las Vegas.  You can read the minutes for this part of the process.  Elissa Wahl, NHN Chairwoman and Barbara Dragon, NHN Officer Emerita testified against the bill requesting that the compulsory attendance age remain at 7 which is working well for Nevada families and allows parents the right to decide if their child is ready for school at age 5 or 6 and which course to choose if they are.

Even the media “got it,”  Mandatory Kindergarten debate heats up– 3/23/2017 KOLO 8 News Now

6/13/17 – 2017 Legislative Session Wrap-up

6/8/2017 – Nevada Legislative Session has ended.

AB 186 (compulsory school attendance age change/mandatory Kindergarten/pre-Kindergarten classes) was never heard in Assembly Ways & Means so the bill “died in committee” as they say.  We’re sure that some version of the bill will resurface in 2019 (there has been legislation to lower the compulsory school attendance age every session since 2007!)… but until then, sit back, relax and enjoy the FREEDOM to make the decision WHEN your child is ready for school!

Thank you to everyone who communicated with members of the NV Legislature and/or showed up to testify against AB 186… we couldn’t have done it without you!

Excellent 8/22/2015 blog post, Why School? Why 5 years of age? Why 5 days a week? Why 6 hours a day? Certainly there is a need and place for academic instruction in every child’s life… we of course desire to train them up to become self-sustaining, productive members of society who move out of our homes!  But why is it incumbent on government to determine when, where, and how OUR children are education?  It isn’t… it is a parent’s God-given right and responsibility.  NHN will continue the battle against Nevada’s propensity to make such decisions for ALL parents.

6/7/2017 – Letter from HSLDA

2017 Victory in Nevada! Bill to Reduce Parental Control of Education is Dead
 A message from Mike Smith (HSLDA) and Barbara Dragon (NHN)
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
AB 186 (by Diaz), which would have lowered the compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5, died in the Ways and Means Committee last night as the legislative session ended.
This happened only because of your actions of writing letters, emails, making visits to the legislature, and your phone calls. Over 370 of you voiced your opposition to AB 186 on the Nevada Legislature opinion page. This is monumental.
Also, the tireless efforts of those at Nevada Homeschool Network was instrumental in this defeat. A special thanks goes to those who testified at the education hearing. Because of all these efforts, working together, AB 186 was defeated.
It seems obvious that another effort will be made in 2019 to lower the compulsory school attendance age. We will need to be ready again to mount an even greater effort. And to that end, if your legislator voiced opposition to the bill, please extend a thank-you to him or her.
Thanks again to all of you. We wish we could give you all a great big congratulatory hug!
Mike Smith is president of HSLDA.
Barbara_Dragon_SIG.jpg

6/2/2017 – UPDATE on AB 186

No news is good news?  We haven’t heard anything on AB 186 in weeks.  The bill is stalled in Assembly Ways & Means, which is good news at this point considering the HUGE budget battle now taking place over funding of the Governor’s ESA bill, SB 506.  So, we’ll say a prayer and ask God to continue to protect the fundamental right of parents to decided when their child is ready for school up to age 7 as in existing law.

We did find a 2009 article by Dr. Brian Ray, NHERI, that delves into the push by government bureaucrats to lower compulsory attendance ages.  Keeping this article here for what is sure to be a continuing battle in future Nevada Legislative sessions: Is There Any Solid Evidence For Expanding Compulsory School Age.

4/27/2017 –  Contact your Assemblyman/woman regarding AB 186.  Bill referred to Assembly Ways & Means, not yet scheduled for a hearing.

Click here for Call to Action MESSAGE from HSLDA/NHN

Please help NHN and HSLDA stop AB 186 that lowers the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 6 (amended from age 5 in original bill).  It also mandates Kindergarten for a 6 year old child enrolling in a public school if they were not enrolled in a public/charter school at age 5 which is punitive to the child!  And lastly, AB 186 will set up a new program, funded from the State’s General Fund (over and above what is already going to public K-12 education), to fund prekindergarten in public and private schools and child care facilities.

The amended version of the bill limits the parental right to decide when their child is ready for enrollment in a school (public or private) or to begin homeschooling as compared to existing law.  No reasonable justification has been given as to why the State of Nevada should compel enrollment in a school at a younger age than 7.  The current breakdown of enrollment ages in all 50 states is; age 5 = 9 states, age 6 = 25 states, age 7 = 14 states, age 8 = 2 states.

In addition, the NV Department of Education estimates that “…of the estimated 37,000 5-year-olds in the state, about 2,000 aren’t in school.”* that’s a whopping 95% who are already enrolled in a public school… so what’s the point? Clearly children in Nevada are already attending school and lowering the compulsory attendance age serves no purpose.  So lowering the compulsory attendance age strikes us as totalitarianism; the state thinks they’re smarter than the parents in making educational decisions for the children.

We are asking that you contact your Assemblyman/woman immediately and ask them to vote NO on AB 186 if/when the Assembly Ways and Means passes the bill out of committee.  Contact info for Legislators is contained in the HSLDA memo above as well as the link to the “Share Your Opinion” page for all bills being heard this Legislative session.  All Assembly Legislators need to be made aware of this attempt to limit parental rights.

*https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/bill-proposes-sweeping-expansion-nevadas-meager-pre-kindergarten-program

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4/26/2017 – UPDATE on AB 186, 1st Reprint

Assemblywoman Diaz’ Amendment No. 468 to AB 186 now posted on NV Legislative website.

POSITION:  Opposed

For Nevada Homeschool Network, our main issue of concern is allowing ALL parents the freedom to decided “when” (up to the age of 7 as in current law) and “where” their child should attend school (public, private, or home).  As such, we review bills based on their impact on the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the education of their children as FREE from government control as possible.  In this case, AB 186-1st Reprint limits existing rights by lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 6, and may actually penalize children who are not enrolled in a public/charter school by their parent at age 5.  This will make NRS 392.040 MORE restrictive, not less and should therefore be opposed.

DETAILS: Although Assemblywoman Diaz amended the original version, we still have major concerns with the bill.

  1. While the amendment changes the compulsory attendance age in AB 186 from 5 to 6, the bill now “mandates” kindergarten in public school and is punitive against a child whose parents choose to enroll their 5 year old child in a private kindergarten, provide a kindergarten experience at home, or simply provide the child with an enriching home life establishing the 6 year old child’s “readiness” for first grade.
  2. Section 3, subsection 7 defines a “kindergarten” as one offered in a public or charter school, only.
  3. Section 3, subsection 3 stipulates that a 6 year old child who has not attended a “kindergarten” (as defined in Section 3, subsection 7 of the bill) MUST be placed in kindergarten if enrolling at age 6 in a public school.
  4. Section 2, subsection 1(j) seems to allow a charter school to enroll a 6 year old in first grade without prior enrollment in a public/charter kindergarten.

From our reading of the First Reprint, if a parent chooses to wait to enroll their child at age 6 in a public school and the child did not attend a public or charter kindergarten at age 5, that 6 year old child MUST be enrolled in the public school kindergarten and has no opportunity to enter first grade if that is a more appropriate placement based on the child’s abilities.  Therefore, this amended bill is clearly “more restrictive” than existing law and we question whether that wording is intentional or a mistake that can be corrected.

BACKGROUND:  School districts in this state currently offer (and are required by existing law) an “assessment” or “developmental screening” for a child enrolling in a public/charter school for the first time to determine grade placement.

Existing law: NRS 392.040

6.  A child who is 7 years of age on or before September 30 of a school year must:

(a) If the child has completed kindergarten and the first grade, be admitted to the second grade.

(b) If the child has completed kindergarten, be admitted to the first grade.

(c) If the parents, custodial parent, guardian or other person in the State of Nevada having control or charge of the child waived the child’s attendance from kindergarten pursuant to subsection 4, undergo an assessment by the district pursuant to subsection 7 to determine whether the child is prepared developmentally to be admitted to the first grade. If the district determines that the child is prepared developmentally, the child must be admitted to the first grade. If the district determines that the child is not so prepared, he or she must be admitted to kindergarten.

__The enrollment of any child pursuant to this subsection must be counted for apportionment purposes.

7.  Each school district shall prepare and administer before the beginning of each school year a developmental screening test to a child:

(a) Who is 7 years of age on or before September 30 of the next school year; and

(b) Whose parents waived the child’s attendance from kindergarten pursuant to subsection 4,

__ to determine whether the child is prepared developmentally to be admitted to the first grade. The results of the test must be made available to the parents, custodial parent, guardian or other person within the State of Nevada having control or charge of the child.

FURTHER AMENDMENT NEEDED:  AB 186, 1st Reprint does NOT included this “developmental screening” language provided in existing statute for children whose parents choose to delay school enrollment for their child and should, at the very least, be amended again to allow for a 6 year old child being enrolled in public school for the first time to receive an assessment to determine grade placement which may be kindergarten, first grade, or even second grade!  It should be up to the school and the parent, working together, to determine the most suitable grade placement of a child based on his/her academic skill level rather than their birth date.  It is “reasonable” to assess a child’s readiness for a particular grade placement rather than limiting the child’s placement in a public school simply because he/she did not attend a public/charter kindergarten in this state at age 5.

Further, under current law and the AB 186-First Reprint, children moving to Nevada from another state are allowed placement in the grade level they were working at in that state according to that state’s laws.  This could mean that if another state recognizes kindergarten and/or first grade enrollment in private schools and homeschools, those children would not be automatically placed in a Nevada kindergarten.  If this were the case, a Nevada resident child may be discriminated against under the wording in AB 186-1st Reprint if forced into kindergarten for having not been enrolled in a Nevada public/charter kindergarten at age 5.

CONCLUSION:  NHN will continue to advocate for the complete removal of the “compulsory attendance age change” language from AB 186 because doing so will maintain the liberty of parents to make decisions for the appropriate age of their child’s school enrollment (up to age 7) based on their “readiness” for formal academic training and will not impact Assemblywoman Diaz’ stated goal of offering state funded prekindergarten programs to 4 year old children in this state.

ADDITIONAL IMPACT of AB 186-1st Reprint:  Sections 5.3 and 5.8 create a NEW prekindergarten funding program for public and private schools and child care facilities.  AB 186 was also amended to remove the requirement that public schools in Nevada provide a prekindergarten class and instead requires the NV Department of Education to establish the “Prekindergarten Improvement and Expansion Program.”

From the Legislative Counsel’s Digest on AB 186, 1st Reprint –

Section 5.3 – “The Department shall (1) accept and approve applications from schools (public or private) and child care facilities (public or private) that wish to establish new prekindergarten education programs or expand existing prekindergarten education programs; and (2) identify the needs that must be met for those schools to establish or expand prekindergarten education programs.” (State control of all prekindergartens that receive state funding.)

In addition, the amended bill “prescribes the required uses of money appropriated for the program, including addressing the identified needs of schools and facilities participating in the program 7 and awarding grants of money to such schools and facilities.”

Section 5.8 – Appropriates money from the State General Fund:  (not currently included in Governor Sandoval’s proposed budget) for this program for the next two years (2017-2019) according to the bill; $9,313,000.00 (1st year: $1,542,000.oo, 2nd year:  $7,771,000.oo).

NHN is not taking a position on this portion of the bill.  However, we do stand by our original position that state funding of  prekindergarten or “preschool” is burdensome to the taxpayer because, “There are no proven studies showing preschool promotes long-term educational success. To the contrary, research indicates that early education does not improve a child’s potential for being a better student in the future, because early gains disappear in a few years.”

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4/14/2017 – Update on AB 186

Assembly Education Committee votes “Do Pass” of an amended AB 186.  Two Republican Assemblywoman, Melissa Woodbury and Jill Tolles voted “for” the amended bill but reserved the right to change their vote to “no” on the assembly floor because they still have concerns with the Age 6 compulsory attendance age change (this up from age 5 in the original bill, the current age is 7).  NHN believes that there is no compelling evidence to suggest the current age of 7 needs to be change or that anyone will be benefited by the change.  Indeed, parents will be more burdened by lowering the compulsory attendance age if their children are simply not ready for school.

If you live District 24 – Clark County (Woodbury) or District 25 – Washoe County (Tolles) please contact them and ask them to vote NO on AB 186 since you are their constituents.  Contact info for Assemblywoman Woodbury; https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Assembly/Current/23

Assemblywoman Tolles: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Assembly/Current/25

Results of the Education Committee Vote on AB 186 –A message from Mike Smith
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Assembly Bill 186 was voted out of the Assembly Education Committee this afternoon. The author of the bill amended it to change the compulsory education age from 5 to 6.

However, we will not change our position on the bill—at age 6 children are still too young to be forced to start formal education. There’s no justification for changing the current compulsory age of 7.

It appears that the bill will now go to the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means—the money committee. When and if this happens, we will  let you know so we can mount further opposition to AB 186.

For those of you who contacted the Education Committee, voicing your concerns, we are very grateful. We will be asking you to contact your legislators again. Do not despair; perseverance in the face of adversity is the key to maintaining our freedom.

Sincerely,

Mike Smith,

HSLDA President

4/13/2017 – Update!  Action Needed

The Assembly Education Committee has scheduled AB 186 for a Work Session and VOTE tomorrow, April 14th. We don’t know the time of the hearing, it will be held “at the call of the Chairman.”

Please EMAIL all Committee Members tonight or tomorrow morning with “Vote NO on AB186” in the subject line. This will make it easy to copy and paste into an email: Tyrone.Thompson@asm.state.nv.us, Amber.Joiner@asm.state.nv.us, Elliot.Anderson@asm.state.nv.us, Olivia.Diaz@asm.state.nv.us, Edgar.Flores@asm.state.nv.us, Ozzie.Fumo@asm.state.nv.us, William.McCurdy@asm.state.nv.us, Brittney.Miller@asm.state.nv.us, Heidi.Swank@asm.state.nv.us, Chris.Edwards@asm.state.nv.us, Lisa.Krasner@asm.state.nv.us, Keith.Pickard@asm.state.nv.us, Jill.Tolles@asm.state.nv.us, Melissa.Woodbury@asm.state.nv.us

Bill: AB 186 (by Diaz)—lowers compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5, makes kindergarten mandatory at age 5 and requires all school districts to provide prekindergarten for 4 year-olds in every public elementary school.

This bill 

  • Denies parents the right to decide if their children are ready for school at age 5 or 6 and puts that decision in the hands of the state.  
  • Mandates that ALL children attend Kindergarten 
  • Mandates that all public school provide PreKindergarten (4 year-olds) – where does that money come from?  Raising taxes again?

Position: Strongly oppose

Assembly Education Committee Members office phone numbers:

DEMOCRATS: Tyrone Thompson – Chair Office Phone: 775-684-8569, Amber Joiner – Vice Chair Office Phone: 775-684-8559, Elliot T. Anderson Office Phone: 775-684-8835, Olivia Diaz Office Phone: 775-684-8553,  Edgar Flores Office Phone: 775-684-8583, Ozzie Fumo Office Phone: 775-684-8839, William McCurdy II Office Phone: 775-684-8545, Brittney Miller Office Phone: 775-684-8833, Heidi Swank Office Phone: 775-684-8595

REPUBLICANS: Chris Edwards Office Phone: 775-684-8857, Lisa Krasner Office Phone: 775-684-8848,
Keith Pickard Office Phone: 775-684-8823, Jill Tolles Office Phone: 775-684-8837, Melissa Woodbury Office Phone: 775-684-8503

Assembly Fax number for all: 1-775-684-8533

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4/4/2017 – In the Media

Commentary on AB 186 (Diaz) and AB 348 (Joiner) from Victor Joecks, Las Vegas Review Journal

“Diaz has proposed Assembly Bill 186, which would reduce the compulsory school age from 7 to 5. She testified that Nevada has about 37,300 5-year-olds, but just 34,626 of them are enrolled in public kindergarten. You might think having 92 percent of 5-year-olds enrolled in public kindergarten shows that the status quo is working — starting at 5 fits most kids, and parents hold off when a child isn’t ready — but you’re obviously not thinking like a liberal.

Liberal politicians are running a factory that produces widgets — you commoners call these widgets “children.” No factory supervisor could accept an 8 percent error rate. Politicians’ track record of, ahem, “success” with Nevada’s public school system proves that we can blindly trust them.”

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3/22/2017 – UPDATE

BEST video news report on the hearing on AB 186 from KOLO-News Now;
“But with such high voluntary kindergarten enrollment numbers, opponents of AB 186 say parents should be able to choose whether to let their children start school early.”Our kids have access to kindergarten all day by age 5,” Maggie England, a parent who opposes the bill, said to the committee. “There’s no need to mandate it at five. They all have access already. This is only restricting parental rights over their child, and I don’t think that’s the place of the government.”

Other parents also saw this bill as government overreach.

“I did not give birth so the state could have children,” one mother again AB186 told the committee.

Others argued that one size doesn’t fit all, that some children may not be developmentally ready to start school at five.

“Kids are all different,” Karen England, executive director of the Nevada Family Alliance, said. “Their social needs, their emotional needs, their educational needs, their medical needs. We’re all different. My three grandchildren could not be more different.”

Assemblywoman Diaz says the bill does not take away a parent’s right to choose private or homeschooling education as an alternative to public school. They would just be required to file the same notices and paperwork they would if they were making the decision for their 7-year-old. But it was unclear what parents would do if they want their child educated in a private school, but not until he or she was six or seven. Opponents also expressed concerns that parents would lie and use homeschooling as a loophole to avoid enrolling their child in school.

“You are forcing that parent to do one of two things,” Karen England said. “Falsify a record and become a homeschooler for their child at the age of 5, and provide lesson plans and all the documentation. Or if they’re not falsifying the record, force them to do what they genuinely believe is wrong for their child.”

And from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:  

Lowering the compulsory age drew the most criticism, including from the Nevada Homeschool Network.

“Our basic premise is that parents need to be the one who decides when their children enter school,” said Elissa Wahl, the organization’s chairwoman. “The biggest sticking point is that this is not voluntary.” 

Click here to read NHN’s Letter to the NV Assembly Education Committee – 03.21.17 OPPOSING AB 186 as written.

Click hear to read Home School Legal Defense Association’s positon on AB 186.

Video of the actual hearing:  http://nvleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=7292  AB 186 was the last bill to be heard and starts at the 1 hour, 26 minute marker.

THANK YOU to all the parents and concerned citizens who came out today in both Carson City and Las Vegas to convey opposition to AB 186 as written! And to those of you who called, emailed, faxed; LEGISLATORS HEARD you! Several made comments on all the people who had contacted them!!!

We are hopeful (though not necessarily optimistic) that members of the Assembly Education Committee heard our plea and will work to amend the bill and leave the compulsory attendance age at 7. The next step will be for the Chairman to move this bill to a “Work Session”… NHN will keep you posted.

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3/20/2017 

Click here for joint Home School Legal Defense Association and NHN Call to Action – Make your opinion known!

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3/19/2017 – Neveda AB 186 Opposition.NHN.HSLDA Hearing CTA.1

AB 186 – Reduces Parental Control over Education; Hearing Scheduled 3/22/17

Call to Action Request – NEW message from NHN Officers and Mike Smith (HSLDA)

Bill: AB 186 (by Diaz)—lowers compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5, makes kindergarten mandatory at age 5 and requires all school districts to provide prekindergarten for 4 year-olds in every public elementary school.

Position: Strongly oppose

Status: As introduced

Hearing:  Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 3:15 p.m.  in Assembly Education Committee. Agenda: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/Agendas/Assembly/ED/Final/588.pdf

Action Requested

Thank you to all who have already contacted your own Assembly members and voiced your concerns regarding AB 186, but NOW more is needed!  We need ALL OF YOU to respond to this new action request to STOP this attempt by the state to get ALL children in school at five years of age.

Please call, email or fax members of the Assembly Education Committee NOW (contact info below). Include your name, address, and a short message (see Opposition Points below).  Subject:  Vote NO on AB 186.

Plan to attend the hearing on Wednesday, March 22nd at 3:15 in either Carson City or Las Vegas.

Location: Room 3142 of the Legislative Building, 401 S. Carson St., Carson City, NV.

Video-conferenced to Room 4406 of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building, 555 E. Washington Ave., Las Vegas, NV.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION for Education Committee Members:

Tyrone Thompson – Chair  Office Phone: 775-684-8569    Email: Tyrone.Thompson@asm.state.nv.us

Amber Joiner – Vice Chair  Office Phone: 775-684-8559     Email:  Amber.Joiner@asm.state.nv.us

Elliot T. Anderson                Office Phone: 775-684-8835     Email: Elliot.Anderson@asm.state.nv.us

Olivia Diaz                        Office Phone: 775-684-8553     Email: Olivia.Diaz@asm.state.nv.us

Edgar Flores                      Office Phone: 775-684-8583     Email: Edgar.Flores@asm.state.nv.us

Ozzie Fumo                       Office Phone: 775-684-8839     Email: Ozzie.Fumo@asm.state.nv.us

William McCurdy II           Office Phone: 775-684-8545     Email: William.McCurdy@asm.state.nv.us

Brittney Miller                   Office Phone: 775-684-8833     Email: Brittney.Miller@asm.state.nv.us

Heidi Swank                      Office Phone: 775-684-8595     Email: Heidi.Swank@asm.state.nv.us

Chris Edwards                   Office Phone: 775-684-8857     Email: Chris.Edwards@asm.state.nv.us

Lisa Krasner                      Office Phone: 775-684-8848     Email: Lisa.Krasner@asm.state.nv.us

Keith Pickard                     Office Phone: 775-684-8823     Email: Keith.Pickard@asm.state.nv.us

Jill Tolles                          Office Phone: 775-684-8837     Email: Jill.Tolles@asm.state.nv.us

Melissa Woodbury              Office Phone: 775-684-8503     Email: Melissa.Woodbury@asm.state.nv.us

Assembly Fax number for all:  1-775-684-8533 or Toll Free: 1-866-543-9941

Assembly Mailing Address: c/o NV Assembly; 401 S. Carson Street, Carson City, NV 89701-4747

Current Assembly Members: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Assembly/

Find Your Legislator: http://mapserve1.leg.state.nv.us/whoRU/

Summary of Concern

Under current law, parents can choose to have their child skip kindergarten and begin at the 1st grade at age 6 or even 7 if appropriate for the child as determined by the parent. If AB 186 were to pass, it would eliminate this current parental choice by mandating that every child attend school by age 5. This would go into effect at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

Under AB 186, parents who would have chosen to delay their child’s entrance into formal education and skip kindergarten would be forced to start their children’s formal education two years earlier, before they feel it is best for their child.

The requirements of AB 186 would apply to pupils in public and private schools, as well as homeschools and rigidly compel school attendance based on age instead of readiness.

Advocates of extending government control over all children from birth will be able to use passage of AB 186 as a step toward establishing seamless, cradle-to-grave government-controlled education and development programs for all children.

Opposition Points

  1. Parents, not the state, should decide when their children are ready to attend public, private or home school, not the government.  The current compulsory attendance age of 7-18 more than satisfies the government’s goal of ensuring an educated populace while protecting a parent’s right to determine the child’s readiness for school attendance prior to age 7.  Many children are simply not ready to attend school at age 5 or even 6. However, for those parents who wish their child to attend school, the opportunity to do so already exists under current Nevada law.
  2. Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 5 will create an undue financial burden on parents who intend to enroll their child in private school but wish to choose to wait until their child turns 7. These parents will now be forced by state law to enroll their child one or two years earlier than planned or submit paperwork to homeschool their child at age 5 even if they determine their child is not ready for school. Homeschooling parents would be required to start their children’s formal education at age 5 as well.
  3. Requiring school districts to provide prekindergarten in every elementary school usurps local control of education and will create an undue financial burden for Nevada. There are no proven studies showing prekindergarten or “preschool” programs promote long-term educational success. To the contrary, research indicates that early education does not improve a child’s potential for being a better student in the future, because early gains disappear in a few years. Further, funding for other educational services vital to current public school students will be depleted.

Forward this email onto your friends and relatives as this affects all families in NV not just homeschoolers.

If you have not already done so, go to the Nevada Legislative Opinion page and vote your opposition to this bill here.  In addition, it is vitally important that you leave a COMMENT. Your comments will be viewed by lawmakers.

Thank you for your action to preserve this vital right of parental choice in Nevada.

NHN Officers:  Elissa Wahl, Matt Alder, Kelley Radow, Ray Poole, Aaron Sutherland, & Kristi Casuas       NHN Officer Emerita (active):  Barbara Dragon                                                                                                       in cooperation with Mike Smith, President HSLDA

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AB 186 has been scheduled for a hearing in the NV Assembly Education Committee on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22 at 3:15 pm.  Please plan to attend the hearing in Las Vegas or Carson City to register your opposition to the bill as currently written.  Click HERE for date, time, location info.

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3/10/2017 – UPDATE on our meeting with Assemblywoman Diaz re: AB 186

After meeting with the sponsor of AB 186 last week, there appears to be some confusion. Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz believes that 5 and 6 year-olds who are already ENROLLED in a public school but are not attending the school on a regular basis are being “neglected” by their parent and that an age change in the compulsory attendance law is required to “fix” the problem.

But we pointed out that under existing law parents who voluntarily enroll their 5/6 year-old child ARE already contributing to truancy of the child if they are not sending the child to the school he/she is “enrolled” in and can be dealt with the same as parents of 7-18 year-olds. If that is her only motivation for the compulsory attendance age change, no change in the law is required. We also stressed that MOST parents already think the law requires them to enroll their child in Kindergarten at age 5 or 6 anyway!

There was also some discussion that she is concerned that there are 5 and 6 year-olds who are not enrolled in a public school and may not be receiving any instruction from their parents and they then arrive “delayed” at public school. We stressed that even if that were true in some cases, the law should not be changed as it would negatively impact a parent’s right to make the determination based on the child’s “readiness” for school instead of the child’s age.  Schools (both public and private) already work with the parent and child in determining proper grade placement when the child is enrolled at any age.

Lowering the compulsory attendance age would then force all children into “education” based on their age, as determined by government, instead of their “readiness” for academics as determined by the parent.  We have asked that the bill the bill NOT be moved forward as it is currently written.
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3/1/2017

                                            

Oppose Bill that Reduces Parental Control over Education

 A message from Mike Smith and Barbara Dragon

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
From: Mike Smith, HSLDA, in partnership with Nevada Homeschool NetworkBill: AB 186 (by Diaz)—lowers compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5, makes kindergarten mandatory at age 5, and requires all school districts to provide prekindergarten for 4-year-olds in every public elementary school.Position: Strongly opposeStatus: Your response to AB 186 has been tremendous! Some of you have contacted your Assembly member, and 150  of you (as of 3/1/17 @ 7:00 pm) have formally registered your opposition to the bill on the Nevada Legislative Opinion page. As a result, AB 186 is in the top 10 of all bills based on the number of responses.The bill is still active and will require our continued opposition. We will probably contact you next about the bill when it is set for a hearing, likely in the Assembly Education Committee. At that time we will ask you to contact committee members and, if possible, attend the hearings in both Carson City and Las Vegas.

Action Requested

Please forward this email to anyone interested in opposing this bill. We have provided “opposition points” below to help you formulate your message. Also, if you haven’t contacted your Assembly member, please call or write, explaining your dissatisfaction. Find your legislator here. And finally, if you haven’t registered your opposition on the Nevada Legislative Opinion page, please do so at your earliest convenience.

Summary of Concern

Under current law, parents can have their child skip kindergarten and begin at the 1st grade at age 6 or 7. If AB 186 were to pass, it would eliminate this current parental option by mandating that every child attend school by age 5. This would go into effect at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

Under AB 186, parents who would have decided to delay their child’s entrance into formal education and skip kindergarten would be forced to start their children’s formal education two years earlier, before they feel it is appropriate.

The requirements of AB 186 would apply to pupils in public and private schools, as well as homeschools.

Advocates of extending government control over all children from birth will be able to use passage of AB 186 as a step toward establishing seamless, cradle-to-grave government-controlled education and development programs for all children.

Opposition Points

Parents, not the state, should decide when their children are ready to attend school. The current compulsory attendance age of 7-18 more than satisfies the government’s goal of ensuring an educated populace while protecting a parent’s right to determine the child’s readiness for school attendance prior to age 7. Many children are simply not ready to attend school at age 5 or even 6. However, for those parents who wish their child to attend school, the opportunity to do so already exists under current Nevada law. The requirements of AB 186 rigidly compels school attendance based on age instead of readiness.

Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 5 will create an undue financial burden on parents who intend to enroll their child in private school but wish to choose to wait until their child turns 7. These parents will now be forced by state law to enroll their child one or two years earlier than planned or submit paperwork to homeschool their child at age 5, even if they determine their child is not ready for school. Homeschooling parents would be required to start their children’s formal education at age 5 as well.

Requiring school districts to provide prekindergarten in every elementary school usurps local control of education and will create an undue financial burden for Nevada. There are no proven studies showing kindergarten promotes long-term educational success. To the contrary, research indicates that early education does not improve a child’s potential for being a better student, because early gains disappear in a few years. Further, funding for other educational services vital to current public school students will be depleted.

Thank you for your action to preserve this vital right of parental choice in Nevada.

Mike Smith, HSLDA President
Barbara Dragon, NHN Officer

 

2/22/2017

Click here for NEW joint message from NHN and HSLDA on AB 186!  Join the growing number of people making their voices heard on this bill to lower the Compulsory Attendance age from 7 to 5.

NEW study from Stanford University backs up what NHN has long said, parents should decide “when” their child is ready for school, not a state mandate.

We appreciate your support of the work of both organizations to protect homeschooling in Nevada and at the national level as well!  How you can help:

Parents, Join NHN first and receive a discount on your HSLDA Membership.

Grandparents and Friends, donations to Nevada Homeschool Network* and HSLDA – Homeschool Freedom Fund are welcome as well.

*Note: NHN is a 501c4 organization which benefits others through our lobbying efforts. Therefore, membership fees and donations are not tax deductible.  

 

2/15/2017 – Warning:  The NV Legislature is now in session.

AB 186  will lower the Compulsory School Attendance Age in Nevada from 7 to 5 years old! 

There has been a bill in the Nevada Legislature to lower the age every session since 2007!

The bill also mandates every School District maintain a Pre-K class in every school.We say:  “Let parents decide when their child is ready!”

February 15, 2017

Dear Concerned Citizens,

By way of introduction, Nevada Homeschool Network (NHN) advocates for Nevada families who have chosen to direct the education of their children.  In this capacity, we are writing today about AB 186. Among other things, AB 186 will lower the compulsory attendance age for entry into school from 7 to 5 years of age. This requirement will apply to all children, whether their parents plan to send them to public school or private school or homeschool.

We have several concerns with AB 186 as introduced:

  • We hold that Nevada parents should decide when their child is ready to attend school, not the government. The current age of 7 gives parents that opportunity.  Many children are simply not ready at age 5 or even 6.  However, for those parents who wish their child to attend school they may already do so under current Nevada law. “Choice in Education” should include “when” as well as “where”.
  • Requiring school districts to provide Pre-Kindergarten in every elementary school usurps local control of education and will create an undue financial burden for Nevada.  There are no proven studies showing Early Childhood Education (Pre-K) benefits the long-term educational success of the child.
  • Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 5, with no exemptions for age 5 or 6, may create an undue financial burden on parents who intend to enroll their child in private school but wish to choose to wait until their child turns 7.  These parents will now be forced by state law to enroll their child a year or two earlier than planned or submit paperwork to homeschool their child even if they determine their child is not ready for school.

Article II, Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution states, “…the legislature may pass such laws as will tend to secure a general attendance of the children in each school district upon said public schools.”  The key here is, “tend to secure” a general attendance which we believe is met under current law.

Therefore, NHN requests the help of all Nevadans to STOP this intrusive surge into what should be a parent’s right to determine when their child is ready to attend school.

What YOU can do now to help!

ACTION REQUESTED:

  1. Contact your Assemblyman/woman by mail, phone or email:

Assembly Contact info: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Assembly/

Who’s my Legislator?  http://mapserve1.leg.state.nv.us/whoRU/

What’s my district? http://mapserve1.leg.state.nv.us/whoRU/

  1. Please explain in your own words that this bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Diaz is: a huge burden on the Nevada taxpayer, it is not in the Governor’s budget, it will required higher taxes that Nevadan’s can’t afford, it takes away local control of education by mandating school districts to provide Pre-Kindergarten in every school, and it undermines a parent’s right to decide when their child is ready for school.
  2. Share your opinion on AB 186 on the Legislative Opinion Page.
  3. Contact NHN and let us know that you agree with us by finding us on Facebook or emailing us . We also need people to meet with Legislators with us as well as attending hearings on this bill. For information on this and other bills affecting homeschool freedom link to our website.

Frequently Asked Questions – Updated

NHN’s Frequently Asked Questions have LOTS of great answers to questions you may have regarding homeschooling in Nevada.  We work hard to keep this information current but should you ever have more questions or your particular question is not listed here be sure to email us via our Contact Page.

October 18, 2017 – Am I legally bound to file a Notification of Intent to Homeschool?  A question was posed on our NHN Facebook page, “What makes it legal to require that I notify? They’re my kids, notifying just allows the government to keep tabs on my kids!”  We disagree.  While we’d love NOT to be required to notify, Nevada has had a homeschool law on the books since 1947; it was very intrusive.  But NHN and other homeschool parents worked diligently (some for 25+ years) to reduce regulations initiated by the original law and then in 2007 wrote and got passed the NV Homeschool Freedom Bill in 2007.  We believe that under the circumstances, passage of this new law moved Nevada homeschooling from one of the WORST law/regulations in the country to one of the best laws; removing us from regulation of the NV Dept. of Education and restoring the fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children FREE from government control. Read our complete answer here, Question 2.C.

August 20, 2017 – Question 6.A., May a homeschool child be enrolled in a public or private school after homeschooling for a time? has been updated!  The FLOW CHART for this question has also been updated.

2017: We’re always reviewing and tweaking our FAQs to give parents the most current info regarding homeschooling in Nevada.  For the upcoming 2017-18 school year we’ve answered questions about how to get started homeschooling; submitting the NOI; enrolling a child in a public school after homeschooling (we have a great “flow chart” on this topic); participating in public school classes, activities, and sports; and standardized testing for homeschoolers to name a few.  After answering these questions we go back and update the FAQs and our other pages to make sure homeschool families always have the most current information and internet links available.

2016:  Recently a question on Facebook was asked as to whether Nevada homeschoolers are eligible to receive the Millennium Scholarship… the answer is YES, they are.  However, when the mom contacted the Millennium Scholarship Office for more information she received conflicting information on what needs to be submitted with the application.  We have updated the information in our FAQs; see Section 4, the last question for current info as of June, 2016.

NOTE: New numbering of laws affecting NV Homeschooling went into effect June of 2016. The old homeschool laws NRS 392.700 and NRS 392.705 are now NRS 388D.010-070.  However, the wording contained in the homeschool laws has remained EXACTLY the same, only the legal reference numbers have changed.