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.

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