Dear NCHE member,
This purpose of this communication is to inform you of the actions of the NCHE legislative committee, operating with the board's approval. These on-goings can be understood in terms of three phases.
In November, due to the election results, the NCHE board of directors authorized the legislative committee to explore the possibility of changing the homeschool statute to make it clear that homeschool students can participate in co-ops and outside classes where core academic instruction is given. Since that time, NCHE has published an article, “Homeschooling and Outside Classes” in the winter issue of the GREENHOUSE and posted the article on the GREENHOUSE website. In early January, we visited the legislators' offices in Raleigh to distribute 170 homeschool information packets and to inform them of the upcoming Capital Fest day, March 12. In addition, we have been talking with NC lawyers, HSLDA, legislators and homeschoolers to get input about a possible change to our homeschool law. Meetings were organized across the state, and they were publicized via E-brief, the NCHE Facebook page, and communications to other state groups such as HA-NC and NCCHE. These meetings were to explain the reasons we were considering a change to the law and the risks involved, and to provide an opportunity for homeschoolers to voice their opinion. We also invited homeschoolers to send emails or to call and give us their opinions.
We have heard from homeschoolers who are for the idea and those who are against the idea, but the majority approves our efforts. Due to the encouragement we have received from homeschoolers and legislators and the input we have received from NC lawyers and HSLDA, we decided to take it to the next phase.
Phase 2—Get Sponsors
In a called meeting on January 29, NCHE passed the following motion:
“That NCHE pursue changing the definition of homeschool in the current law to make it more clear that homeschooled students can participate in co-ops and outside classes. Prior to submitting a bill, the proposed change will be ratified by the board of directors at a future date.”
In this phase, we will be seeking legislators who will be sponsors and co-sponsors of the bills we would like to submit for passage. We will be promoting the definition of homeschool as follows:
"Home school" means a nonpublic school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household, or from other persons or sources selected by any of the foregoing.
Our goal will be to line up sponsors and co-sponsors and reach agreement on any language changes they want to make. We want to get firm commitments from influential legislators--ones who have the influence to shepherd bills through the house and the senate without changes to the wording, unless we approve those word changes. If we are unable to get those firm commitments, we will stop the effort to get our law changed, and we will not submit a bill.
During this phase we will try to keep you informed of our progress. We will continue to schedule meetings across the state and send E-brief updates.
Phase 3—Submit bills (only with board approval)
If the legislative committee is able to get firm commitments from key legislators and a good number co-sponsors, and we are confident that we have the support we need to get our bills through intact, we will report back to the board of directors in a called meeting. The board will then decide whether or not to submit bills in the house and the senate.
If you have any questions about what we are doing or how we are proceeding, please contact me or any board member. We will be happy to talk with you.
Visit our website: NCHE.com
Legislative Vice President,
North Carolinians for Home Education
Home (704) 541-5145
Mobile (704) 661-6299