NHN has written several Position Papers explaining the differences between self-funded, parent-directed “homeschooling” and government funded “school choice” options available to Nevada parents.
While NHN supports the right of ALL parents to choose the best educational option for their children whether that is public (including charter), private, or home school; we believe it is important for both parents and government officials (elected, appointed and/or employed) to understand the differences in the options.
NHN advocates for the LIBERTY of parents to educate their children without government oversight via homeschooling. Virtual (online) Charter Schools and now the new ESA Program allow children to be educated in the home but because both these programs are funded by the government, controls for the purpose of “accountability” to the tax-payer are a necessary part of both. Homeschooling that is funded by the parent remains free of government controls and needs to remain so.
For a more in-depth discussion please read any or all of the following position papers:
Kleenex vs. Puffs; Homeschool vs. ESA Program by Frank Schnorbus – Homeschooling in Nevada has suffered a torturous history and this letter to homeschool parents explains why NHN endeavors to protect the legal term, “homeschooling”.
Homeschooling vs. State ESA Programs by Barbara Dragon – This paper discusses problems that government funded “school choice” options can cause self-funded homeschooling if state laws are not written correctly.
NHN Position Statement on Alternative Education Funding Programs – January, 2015
Homeschooling_vs._PublicSchool_at_Home (PSAH) by NHN Officers – A paper written in 2007 to explain the difference between homeschooling and online charter schools.
Charts explaining different educational options available to Nevada parents and “who” controls the child’s education in each:
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.
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.