News & Announcements

Jan 9, 2014

National Choice Week in NC: Jan 23, 2014 in Charlotte

What: National Choice Schools Week - NC Event
When: Thursday, January 23, 2014. 8:30-10:30am
Where: Carolinas Aviation Museum, 4672 First Flight Drive, Charlotte, NC 28208
RSVP: Saturday, January 11, 2014
Cost: Free

Homeschoolers have been invited to participate in a National School Choice Week celebration. For the first time, National School Choice Week will be stopping in North Carolina for one of their whistle-stops on a nationwide train tour. National School Choice Week, a non-partisan celebration underscoring the importance of having high-quality education options for all children, has been around since 2011 and hosts thousands of annual celebrations across the country.  Over 5,500 events are already confirmed for National School Choice Week this year which runs January 26-February 1, 2014.

The event is being coordinated by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina. The celebration will be a series of speeches and performances and will take place in the Carolinas Aviation Museum, 4672 First Flight Drive, Charlotte, NC 28208. The event will begin at 8:30 am and NCHE president, Kevin McClain, will be speaking about home education at about 8:55 am.

There will be about 50 seats for available for homeschool parents and students. Among the dignitaries speaking there will be well known politicians and public figures. The news media will be present, and this is a wonderful opportunity to get positive public recognition of home education. Please plan to attend to present a positive impression of home educators.

If you plan to come, please email Spencer Mason at Spencer.Mason@nche.com by Saturday, January 11 to let him know how many people will be in your group.

Nov 13, 2013
Inside NCHE

NCHE Board Recommends New Bylaws

The current structure of the NCHE board of directors is essentially the same as it was since 1992 when the last major revision of the bylaws was done. In those 21 years, a lot has happened that has greatly affected the workings of NCHE. The number of North Carolina homeschools has grown from 3,315 to 57,888, the Internet has grown from a novelty to a tool that has wide use in the homeschool community, and the services that NCHE provides to the homeschool community have grown in number and complexity.

In August, the NCHE board began to evaluate the current board structure in light of current needs and resources. Through this process, we were able to more clearly define our mission and develop a new organizational structure that will enable NCHE to be more effective in working toward our mission.

On November 2, 2013, the NCHE board approved the modified bylaws to be presented to the NCHE membership for a vote by ballot by November 15 and to be concluded within 30 days (to be submitted by Dec 13). If the membership approves the adoption of these bylaws, the current nominations and elections committee shall begin work to find candidates for the new positions to take office on May 24, 2014.

The NCHE board of directors recommends that you vote FOR the herein proposed bylaws.

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Ballot

Current voting members (must have been a member for at least 6 weeks) may submit an electronic ballot.

You can access your Supporter ID number in your NCHE.COM User account

 

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The text below is the proposed new NCHE bylaws.  
The current bylaws are also available online.

Proposed NCHE Bylaws


Home education is a growing movement in North Carolina and our nation. Homeschooling is not new, but old as history. In Deuteronomy 6:5-9, God clearly makes parents responsible for the education of their children. America's own educational heritage is rooted in both home and church sponsored schooling. Many of our nation's greatest leaders received their education at home.

North Carolinians for Home Education is an organization of families who support home education in North Carolina. It has grown from a small group of concerned parents into a statewide organization serving homeschoolers and advocating for home education. The following bylaws are adopted to clarify our vision and structure and to unite homeschoolers in North Carolina for the common good of home education.

Article I - Name
The name of this organization is North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE), Inc., a nonprofit organization incorporated under the laws of the State of North Carolina. Our name was selected so as to include all who are for home education, not just those who are currently homeschooling.

Article II – Mission
NCHE has a vision for flourishing families and thriving generations in which people remain passionate, curious and actively engaged in their faith and in their learning.  Home education is a great way to educate children, especially young children, and to nurture future generations. Home education situates a child’s development in their natural environment and encourages learning that is experiential and knowledge that is integrated.  Home education fosters strong social relations, starting in the home.  As a result, home education nurtures the whole child. NCHE encourages parents in their home education and advocates for a state which respects and protects the right of parents to practice home education.

Article III - Purpose
NCHE affirms the right and responsibility of parents to direct the education of their children. Our purpose is to protect the freedom to educate at home, to provide encouragement and support to families choosing home education for their children, and to promote home education as an excellent means of education.

Article IV – Core Values
A.  NCHE is operated on the basis of biblical principles, welcoming members of all races, nationalities, and religions who support home education.
B.  NCHE shall promote the positive aspects, and excellent quality of home education. There shall be no public statements or any materials distributed that denigrates other organizations, religious affiliations, or any governmental officials or agencies. However, NCHE shall defend home education against specific policies, which jeopardize the freedom to homeschool.
C.  NCHE shall work to establish and maintain a professional working relationship with other organizations, the NC General Assembly, and government agencies to affect our mission and carry out our purpose.
D.  As parents have the freedom to choose the methods and materials with which to educate their children, NCHE will not develop or endorse any specific curriculum or methodology for use in homeschooling. NCHE does encourage individual members to share their curricular and method experiences with other homeschooling families.

Article V - Membership
A.  Classes of membership: There are two classes of membership, regular members and members with restricted privileges.
B.  Eligibility for regular membership: Anyone over eighteen (18) years of age and residing in North Carolina who supports homeschool education may join NCHE, having the privilege of membership and one (1) vote per family. A family or household member who homeschools must be in compliance with existing North Carolina law. The board of directors has the authority to require a minimum level of contributions or dues for regular membership.
C.  Eligibility for membership with restricted privileges: A family or an individual over eighteen (18) years of age residing outside the borders of North Carolina who supports home education may join NCHE with restricted privileges, having the benefits of membership, but not having the privilege of voting. The board of directors has the authority to require a minimum level of contributions or dues for membership with restricted privileges.
D.  Qualifications to vote: All families who have been enrolled as regular members at least six (6) weeks prior to any election or ballot may vote.
E.  Membership roll: The names, addresses and telephone numbers of members shall not be sold, published or distributed for use outside of NCHE.

Article VI - Board of Directors
A.  Authority of board: The control, administrative, and judicial authority of NCHE shall be vested in the board of directors (board). The board shall have the authority to engage and dismiss such employees and contractors as necessary for the operation of NCHE.
B.  Voting board members: There shall be twelve (12) voting officers elected annually: the president, development director, media manager, IT director, marketing director, events director, activities director, community relations director, homeschool helps director, law and policy director, secretary, and treasurer.
C.  Non-voting members: Non-voting members of the board shall be advisors elected by the board and the spouses of the elected officers
D.  Board member qualifications: Board members shall be 1) actively homeschooling at least one child in their home except in cases where there are no school age children in the home, 2) believers in and followers of Christ, 3) an NCHE member for at least one year and have at least three (3) years of homeschooling experience prior to taking office and 4) in agreement with the NCHE mission, purpose and core values.
E.  Members ineligible: No individual shall become or continue as a member of the board if he/she is a director, officer, or employee of any other homeschool organization providing services similar to that of NCHE (This shall not apply to local support group leaders.)
F.  Vacancies on the board: The position held by a member of the board of directors shall automatically become vacant in the event such member 1) is convicted of any felony while holding office, 2) is declared legally incompetent, 3) is absent from regularly called board meetings for six (6) months without an excuse satisfactory to the board, 4) submits a written resignation to the board, or 5) is removed by 3/4 majority of the board. A vacancy of all board positions shall be filled by appointment by the board of a qualified NCHE member to that position for the duration of the unexpired term.
G.  Meetings: The board shall meet at least quarterly and otherwise as needed to carry out the business of NCHE. Meetings may be called by the president or by four (4) voting board members who communicate their request to the secretary, and notice of such meetings to all board members is required at least one (1) week before the meeting. The president shall moderate all meetings unless he/she is not present. In the absence of the president, the meeting will be moderated by the community relations director, the law and policy director or the media manager in that order.
H.  Quorum: A quorum shall be declared when at least fifty percent (50%) of voting board members are present, and adjournment of a meeting is affected if less than fifty percent (50%) of voting members are present after the meeting has been called to order.
I.    Order of business: The order of business for each meeting shall be determined by the president and delivered to each board member at least one (1) week prior to the meeting. The first action of the board at each meeting shall be to approve the order of business. The order of business may be suspended or ordered by a simple majority of those present and voting. A closed session of the board (consisting of voting board members and whomever the board determines needs to be present) may be ordered by a simple majority of those present and voting.
J.    Rules of order: The law and policy director will act as board parliamentarian who is or will become knowledgeable of a standard code of parliamentary procedure (such as Robert's). Such standard code shall stand as the rule of order except when in direct conflict with these bylaws and will control all parliamentary proceedings of the meeting of the board. Rules of order may be suspended by a simple majority of those present and voting.
K.  General business: A two-thirds (2/3) majority of those voting members present shall be required to pass motions of general business and policy and to elect committee members unless the there is a specific exception provided for in these bylaws.
L.  Policy and Procedures Manual: The board shall maintain a policy and procedures manual that will more clearly define the job descriptions of the board members and the procedures the board will follow.
M. Board members that receive pay from NCHE for any service rendered or have any relatives receiving compensation from NCHE shall not be present during the debate and the vote of any motion that relates to that service or compensation.

Article VII - Election of Officers
A.  Nominations of officers: Recommendations for consideration for elected offices shall be called for from the membership at least ninety (90) days prior to the beginning of the new board year. The nominations and elections committee shall review all qualified candidates and nominate at least one (1) NCHE member for each generally elected office and regional directors at least sixty (60) days prior to the new board year. No nomination shall be made by the committee without stated agreement by the nominee to serve in the office if elected and agreement of the nominee to uphold the bylaws of NCHE.
B.  Election of officers by balloting: If there is only one nominee for an office, that office will not be listed on the ballot and the election will be performed by the NCHE board. If all offices have only one nominee, a ballot will not be sent out. If there is more than one nominee for an office, the nominations and elections committee shall ensure that the applicable biographical sketches of the nominees and ballots are sent to all NCHE regular member families eligible to vote at least thirty (30) days prior to the new board year. To be counted as valid, ballots must be marked for no more than one (1) candidate per office and returned to the nominations and elections committee at least fifteen (15) days prior to the new board year. A majority of valid ballots elects a candidate. Results of the balloting shall be announced to NCHE members prior to new board year.
C.  Advisors shall be nominated by board members and elected by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the outgoing board. Vacant positions may be filled by the NCHE board at any time.

Article VIII - Duties and Qualifications of Officers
For general qualifications see Article VI. paragraph D.

A.  President: This person is to provide strategic and operational leadership to the organization. The nominee for president shall have a minimum of one (1) year of service on the NCHE board and shall be serving at the time of the nomination.
B.  Development Director: This person is responsible for raising funds for NCHE operations.
C.  Media Manager: This person will oversee NCHE media assets and will be responsible for the public face of NCHE.
D.  IT Director: This person will oversee information technology assets and is responsible for system administration and support. They will function as liaison to third party vendors.
E.   Marketing Director: This person will expand NCHE’s mission reach through the strategic development of branding and marketing efforts.
F.   Events Director: This person oversees NCHE events and develops new event offerings.
G.  Activities Director: This person shall oversee and develop NCHE sponsored activities.
H.  Community Relations Director: This person will function as a liaison to the community, focusing on North Carolina, working to develop positive relationships with home educators, other non-profit organizations, and the general public.
I.    Homeschool Helps Director: This person is responsible for homeschool community parent education and encouragement.
J.    Law and Policy Director: This person will be responsible for monitoring the actions of the NC General Assembly and government agencies to determine the effect of pending legislation or regulations on the homeschool community and manage grassroots and direct legislative action as needed.
K.  Treasurer: This person shall oversee the management and reporting of NCHE’s finances.
L.   Secretary: This person shall ensure that records of NCHE board actions are accurately recorded and organized for easy access for official purposes.
M. Advisor: These people will draw from their experience on the board to advise current board members. They will serve on the nominations and elections committee. Nominees for advisor shall have a minimum of three (3) years of service on the NCHE board.

Article IX – Regional Liaisons
The nominations and election committee will make nominations for these volunteer positions, and they shall be elected by a two-thirds (2/3) majority by the board. They shall keep abreast of happenings in designated NCHE regions.

Article X - Committees
A.  Standing and ad hoc committees: NCHE shall have the following standing committees: bylaws, conference, community relations, finance, legislative, marketing, media, and nominations and elections. Ad hoc committees may be appointed by the board with the period of existence and goals and objectives of such committees determined by the board.
B. Bylaws committee: The law and policy director shall chair this committee and appoint members with approval from the board. This committee shall make an annual review of the bylaws and propose to the board revisions necessary to update the bylaws. This committee will give consideration to any proposed changes to the bylaws and will advise the board of their merit.
C.  Conference committee: The events director shall chair this committee and appoint members with approval from the board. This committee shall handle arrangements for publicity, registration, vendor services and accommodations for speakers, meetings and workshops, and all other conference needs. The committee through its chairperson shall report at each board meeting on the plans and progress for upcoming conferences.
D. Community relations committee: The community relations director shall chair this committee, and shall appoint members with board approval. This committee shall develop outreach initiatives to engage homeschool families and homeschool groups and provide support to help them meet their objectives.
E.  Finance committee: The treasurer shall chair this committee and appoint members with the approval of the board.
This committee shall develop an annual budget and keep NCHE finances in order.
F.  Legislative committee: The law and policy director shall chair this committee and appoint members with the approval of the board. This committee shall keep current a network of legislative contacts, ensure that NCHE is apprised of pending legislation that might affect home education and inform the membership of issues raised publicly which have impact on homeschooling.
G.  Marketing committee: The marketing director shall chair this committee and shall appoint members with board approval. This committee shall develop marketing campaigns that are in keeping with our brand identity for NCHE events.
H.  Media committee: The media manager shall chair this committee and shall appoint members with board approval.
This committee shall oversee NCHE publications and shall provide resource assistance for NCHE publications. The board shall appoint or employ an editor of periodical publications who shall have the responsibility of preparing NCHE's periodicals for publication and distribution on a timely and regular schedule. This editor shall be an ex-officio member of this committee. An editorial board made up of the president, the media manager, and the law and policy and community relations directors shall directly review the content of each issue before publication to insure that the publication meets the standards stated in NCHE core values.
I.    Nominations and elections committee: The nominations and elections committee shall be composed of six (6) members: the community relations director (who shall chair the committee), advisory board members, and additional committee member/s elected by the board by a two-thirds (2/3) majority. This committee shall make nominations for officers as provided in Article VI of these bylaws. This committee shall oversee the elections of board positions as well as the sending, receiving and counting of ballots for officer elections and votes for bylaw changes.

Article XI - Amendments
Any five or more regular member families may propose changes to these bylaws by submitting these to the bylaws committee. If the board shall approve, the nominations and elections committee shall publish such proposed changes along with the board’s recommendations for adoption or rejection and submit them to the membership eligible to vote for vote by ballot. Affirmative vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the members returning ballots by the election closing date shall constitute adoption.

Article XII - Adoption
These bylaws shall be adopted after review by the NCHE board and presentation to the regular membership for approval by ballot. A two-thirds (2/3) majority of families returning ballots within thirty (30) days shall affect adoption which shall take effect upon the date of adoption.

 

 

Nov 6, 2013

State Financial Scholarship Not for Homeschool Students

A postcard from School Choice North Carolina has caused confusion for some NC homeschool families. The postcard pertains to the North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship, a recently enacted program that subsidizes tuition costs for qualified families to enroll in a nonpublic school. The postcard advises; "Check your family's eligibility for a state financial scholarship." Homeschool students are not eligible for this scholarship. 

For those who would like to know about this program, here are the details:

The North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship program was passed in July 2013 and will help students from low income families by allowing them to receive scholarships up to $4,200 per student to attend private schools. Scholarship amounts must not exceed the actual cost of tuition and fees.

To qualify the student must live in a household that meets 100% Free and Reduced Lunch qualifications and be a full time student who has not graduated from high school and attended a public school during the 2014 spring semester.

The State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA) will administer the program and award the scholarships. The SEAA will make applications available for the 2014-2015 school year no later than February 1, 2014. They will begin notifying scholarship recipients by March 1, 2014. Once a child has been awarded a scholarship, the SEAA will send scholarship funds to the appropriate nonpublic school at least twice each school year, after the student has selected and been admitted to a qualifying nonpublic school. A homeschool does not qualify.

The nonpublic school must administer a nationally standardized test at least once a year to all scholarship students enrolled in grades three or higher. Scores are not public record unless the school has more than 25 scholarship students.

Schools that receive these scholarship monies have accountability requirements to meet including background checks, and the requirement to have a financial review if they receive more than $300,000 in scholarships.

Oct 21, 2013
Conferences

OBB to Perform at 2014 Conference

NCHE is excited to announce that OBB will be in concert at the 2014 Annual Conference. OBB is a highly successful trio of three brothers who were homeschooled.
 
Playing to arenas packed with screaming fans, seeing your first EP make an impressive chart debut and getting to perform on national television seems like the stuff dreams are made of. For the Oswald brothers, who play under the moniker OBB, these professional feats have already become reality—and all before their 22nd birthdays. The trio's infectious songs, infused with hope amidst a backdrop of colorful pop, are connecting with young fans desiring to sing along to something that matters. 

Zach (22), Jacob (20) and Nich (18) share a room, a homeschool history and even an iTunes account. Luckily, the three siblings from Atlanta seem fairly agreeable. Lovers of all-things music, the brothers have been sharpening their musical abilities for as long as they can remember. 

After being encouraged by their grandmother to enter the CBS Early Show's "Singing Family Face-Off" in 2009, the talented Oswald Brothers Band placed third in the competition garnering national notoriety. The boys began honing their chops, mowing lawns and teaching music lessons in their spare time to finance their music addiction, until Curb Records took notice and signed them to a record deal in 2012. 

The hard-working band released a self-titled EP, containing five songs all written or co-written by the siblings, in early 2013 just in time for the beginning of the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular where the brothers scored a high-profile performance slot opening for some of their musical heroes. 

"I grew up singing Matthew West and TobyMac songs," Zach shares. "These are the people who got us interested in Christian music, and here I am standing next to them." Ironically, the brothers' first-ever concert was actually a Winter Jam date in Atlanta, making the experience a dream come true. 

The Oswald brothers are currently working on their first full-length album. In the meantime, their EP is making waves. OBB debuted at #23 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and #39 on the Billboard Christian albums chart, a rarity for an EP bowing from a brand-new artist. In addition to sharing their music with as many people as possible, OBB is passionate about church ministry. The trio serves on the worship team at Atlanta's Passion City Church, the congregation founded by Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin. 

Zach Oswald (22, lead vocals/keys/guitars)—As the eldest sibling, Zach is every bit the charismatic front man of OBB. Smart and friendly, Zach smiles a lot. He doesn't do mornings, but he's in charge of the band's scheduling. Ironically, his brothers claim they are always waiting on him. He's the tech guy of the band, taking after his father who works for HP. He creates all their tracks, and thanks to his years of formal classical piano training, he's been dubbed the "musical director" of the group. Nich and Jacob say they are constantly keeping their smiling sibling on track. 

Jacob Oswald (20, lead guitars)—The conscientious one, Jacob is the first to get up in the mornings. He's always prepared, and his outgoing personality keeps him busy during any downtime at venues. His brothers readily admit he's the most social of the three. An avid fan of John Mayer and NEEDTOBREATHE, Jacob is a master at his craft, often emulating his musical icons by learning to play their entire albums, song by song, chord by chord. He's also colorblind and often suffers from the "middle child syndrome." Jacob's the one mowing the lawn while Zach and Nich goof off. His brothers contend he's the "eye candy" of the group. 

Nich Oswald (18, drums)—The youngest of the three, Nich is always tinkering on a project. He much prefers work to socializing and can always be found building or re-wiring something, for better or for worse. He builds all of the band's road cases by hand, and his latest invention includes making tasers out of Altoids cans, which he tests on his brothers, much to their chagrin. The quietest of the trio, he says he's content staying in the background, though his sly humor would say otherwise. With a knack for sound and video production, he knows the ins and outs of every aspect of their performance. Jacob says Nich is the best cook of the three, as evidenced by his recent victory in a family cook-off. Zach begs to differ.

Oct 16, 2013
Law & Policy

Home Visitations, the Law, and the Credibility of NC Homeschoolers

Editorial by Kevin McClain, President of NCHE

Approximately two weeks ago, the newly appointed director of the Division of Non-Public Education, David Mills, announced his plans to randomly select a small percentage of NC homeschools for an invitation to visit and inspect the records required by law to be kept by homeschoolers. He was beginning with five homeschools.

These homeschools received a letter informing them that 30 minutes was the time allotted for the visit, the inspection would only involve the records required by the law (their attendance, immunization and standardized test records) and that the remainder of the time Mr Mills would avail himself to address any questions the homeschool administrator had concerning compliance with NC homeschool law. The letter gave a date and time for the visit but also provided for the homeschool to call and offer alternative dates and times.

On behalf of NCHE, I contacted David Mills to discuss the plans. We spoke at length. Mr. Mills informed me that the homeschools randomly selected could decline, without penalty, even though these types of record inspections are authorized in the law. Given that DNPE has not engaged in home inspections for many years, and instead has utilized a mail or online voluntary record submission, I asked specifically the reasoning behind the change in inspection activity. The reason given for this change was because Mr. Mills believed it would be a service to the NC homeschooling community. Recent events had caused the public to question the accountability of NC homeschoolers and the credibility of our system of governance.  

It was NCHE's assessment that Mill's plan was not in violation of the law, because according to Article 39 of chapter 115C of the General Statutes, sections 115C-549, 115C-557, 115C-563 and 115C-564, homeschools are to make required records available for inspection by a "duly authorized representative" at the "principal's office." In other words, DNPE officials are granted authority by NC Law to inspect the records in the principal's office. NCHE contacted Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) for their view, and Dee Black, HSLDA's NC attorney, affirmed this assessment. Moreover, NCHE recognized that David Mill's plan strove to continue the history of good will DNPE officials have sought to develop with NC homeschoolers. The fact that the inspection was such a small sample (less that .01%), had no consequences for declining, that he was willing to inspect records at the front door, and that Mills was making time available to the homeschool administrator to address any questions that might exist were all evidences of his good will and good governance, seeking to strike a balance within the law, mediating between NC citizens who practice homeschool and those who question the very validity of the practice.

In the morning of Oct. 14, David Mills announced that he had decided not to carry out his plans. I again contacted David Mills to discuss the change. Mr. Mills informed me that he had received calls from homeschoolers expressing their dismay concerning the plan. His assessment was that his plan was misunderstood.  

On Oct 14, Lt Gov. Dan Forest issued a press release ("Random Homeschool Searches Need To Stop") publicly denouncing the plan, calling DNPE's lawfully authorized inspections "searches" and "warrantless entry by government officials."  Moreover, the press release quotes Lt. Gov. Forest as saying DNPE's "policy is intrusive, unnecessary, and has the potential to infringe on the constitutionally-protected privacy rights of tens of thousands of North Carolina homeschool families.” 

NC home educators are fortunate to have a Division of Non-Public Education, staffed with public officials who understand and respect a family's right to educational freedom. We are also fortunate that DNPE officials have never sought to implement the full force the law authorizes. Historically, DNPE officials have had amiable relations with NC homeschoolers. In the 1980s, when our law was first in effect, DNPE officials worked hard to visit each private school and homeschool across the state. Some inspectors were even hosted by gracious NC homeschoolers. The rapid growth in homeschooling caused home visitations to become less practical, and they turned to other means such as mail and now Internet that were deemed more efficacious. However, record submission for inspection is not required by law, and so paper and electronic record submission programs were rightly understood by DNPE and NC homeschools to be voluntary.    

It is my view that DNPE is carrying out their duty to NC citizens in inspecting records. It is the law that NC homeschoolers keep certain records, and it is the duty of DNPE officials to testify to their veracity. This activity is characteristic of good governance.  Moreover, it serves an important public function. It allows the state to mediate between me, a person who favors home education, and my neighbors, some of who find the practice questionable. By inspecting my records and verifying their existence, DNPE officials can confirm the lawfulness of my family's educational activity. 

By analogy, NC citizens have a right to drive a vehicle. But the state also has a right to verify that the driver of a vehicle has met the requirements of the law, the publicly-negotiated standards of conduct, concerning a vehicle. They may verify a driver's speed, a driver's obtainment of a license and insurance, the satisfaction of car safety standards and even a driver's state of intoxication.  None of these inspection activities make a person a better driver. Rather their presence helps create a culture which dissuades irresponsibility. What is agreed is that the danger of radical irresponsibility concerning vehicles is unacceptable. We, as a public community, have therefore worked to mitigate that danger. None of our plans are perfect, but none of these activities are an invasion of privacy. Every analogy has its faults, and this one does as well.  I don't know of any activity that is comparable to educating a child, nor any relationship that is comparable to  the relationship between a parent and a child. However, I do believe that recent events have called the accountability and credibility of home educators into question. Part of our credibility is our commitment to the public good and our proper understanding of good governance and the law. 

The characterization of DNPE's planned visits by some as overreaching fails to meet the standards of credibility we wish to achieve. Characterization of the inspection as  "searches" and "warrantless entry by government officials" of a residence is factually incorrect. The scheduling of a visit to a NC homeschool by a DNPE official is not a "search" of a home.  It is mutually-agreed upon inspection of the records at the homeschool's "principal's office."  Because of 4th Amendment rights, for those who are uncomfortable having a DNPE official in their home, the inspection could even be held at the front door. But to characterize the activity as "intrusive" is false, given that the law requires the records to be kept and available for inspection, and that the meeting would have been planned and a date and time mutually agreed upon by the parties.  Calling it "unnecessary" and finally, to declare that an activity has "potential to infringe on the constitutionally-protected privacy rights" is to encourage speculation and distrust in legitimate public service.  

Raising healthy, productive children is a moral public service every family is engaged in, and good governance cannot help but touch upon it. Good governance supports it. It is my assessment that the planned visits were intended to serve and empower the NC homeschool by providing the homeschool principal assurance regarding his or her understanding of the requirements of the law and the homeschool's state of compliance.   Following inspection of records, a NC homeschool administrator could say with authority their legal compliance had been verified by state personnel. 

Homeschooling continues to grow in our state, and parents are empowered to enjoy the freedom afforded them under the law. However, the potential for fraudulent activity masquerading as homeschooling also grows. While the true accountability of the educator rests in the future of the student as students must progress in their education to progress in society, the veracity of a NC homeschool's record-keeping activity, according to NC law, resides with DNPE. NCHE encourages NC homeschoolers to study the law, as well as its history, and to consider public officials functioning legally as servant-leaders worthy of respect.   

The credibility of NC homeschoolers is at stake.

Oct 14, 2013

DNPE Suspends Homeschool Visits

NCHE received the following information from the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education Director, David Mills.

It has come to my attention that the effort to make a small sampling of homeschool visits is not well understood by homeschoolers. Today, as of October 14, 2013, I do not plan to do any more after the initial five I have already contacted.  

The homeschool visits are not anything new. I visited homeschools by the thousands during my first five years in the office of Non Public Education, at their homeschool, which was most likely their residence. I have been with the Non Public Education office for approximately 28 years. The initial visits were all conducted without incidence and gave homeschools good reasonable visibility. All records checked were kept confidential according to Chapter 115C-174.13. The homeschool visits were conducted according to Part 3 of Article 39 that defined homeschools and required that they operate under the qualifications of either Part 1 or 2 of Article 39. Part 3 of Article 39 was added in the 1987-1988 legislative session and waived the need for homeschools to have an annual sanitation and fire inspection. It added the requirement that the persons providing academic instruction in the homeschool have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent, also that test requirements in G.S. 115C-549 and G.S. 115C-557 shall be on an annual basis. The G.S. of 115C-549 and G.S. of 115C-557 states that each school shall make and maintain records of the results achieved by its students. For one year after the testing, all records shall be made available, subject to G.S. 115C-174.13 at the principal office of such school, at all reasonable times, for annual inspection by a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina.

The desire in conducting a sampling of homeschool visits, at the principal office, was to cause less inconvenience and give greater credibility to North Carolina homeschoolers. This homeschool sampling effort, in my opinion, (I am not an attorney), was more in line with what the requirements of Article 39 set forth.

I hope this helps clarify my position on what was being attempted. Non Public Education will now communicate through electronic means and conduct record review sessions. I apologize for any misconceptions given to any of the many homeschool families in North Carolina.

Warmest regards,

 David Mills, Non Public Education

Oct 8, 2013
Sports

NCHEAC to Offer Fencing

NCHE is excited to announce that NCHE Athletic Commission (NCHEAC) is starting a fencing league as of fall 2013 with a league tournament in February.

Fencing has been growing in popularity for a number of years. There have been homeschooled students playing on recreation teams and competing against public schools for several years. NCHE is pleased to say that we are now able to offer this sport its own league through the NCHEAC.

There are currently coaches in place for Buncombe County, Durham County, Forsyth County, Guilford County, New Hanover County and Surry County.

If you are interested in fencing in your area, please contact us, and we will try to help find someone to get you started. We look forward to the sport growing even more!

If you need more information, please contact the NCHEAC fencing league coordinator:
Tammy Reid (Lady Aine O Grienan) at twolfpax@yahoo.com

 

In other NCHEAC news:

NCHEAC cross country meet is October 19 in Winston-Salem. Contact is Ernest Hodges at rehabpa@aol.com, (336) 918-9143.

NCHEAC swim meet is Saturday, February 8, 2014.  You can register a team or compete as an individual through the registration deadline of January 15, 2014 by filling out a registration form at: www.ncheac.com.

 

Oct 2, 2013

DNPE to Renew Homeschool Visitation

NCHE has learned that DNPE director, David Mills, has randomly selected 5 homeschools for home inspection. These homeschools received a letter informing them that David Mills planned to spend 30 minutes with them, inspecting their attendance, immunization and standardized test records and addressing any questions concerning compliance with NC homeschool law. The letter gave a date and time for the visit but also provided for the homeschool to call and offer alternative dates and times.

NCHE President Kevin McClain spoke with David Mills, who was recently named director after serving DNPE for nearly 30 years, by phone about the home inspection initiative. According to Director Mills, the home inspection practice, as permitted in the law, was a regular practice in the late 80s and that it was the original goal of department that every homeschool in the state be visited. According to Mills, in the 80s he visited thousands of homes in his DNPE role. However, as homeschooling in NC grew, the department's resources made home inspection impractical. Therefore, the department pursued other programs, including inspection my mail and local area visits. These programs were voluntary as they are not prescribed by law.

According to Article 39 of chapter 115C of the General Statutes, sections 115C-549, 115C-557, 115C-563 and 115C-564, homeschools are to make required records available upon visitation by a "duly authorized representative" to the "principal's office." NCHE believes that DNPE is carrying out their duty in inspecting the records. We encourage NC home educators to respectually interact with DNPE officials. However, if you are not comfortable with DNPE officials in your home, because of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you may refuse to let them into your home. However, you are required to meet them at your home and let them inspect the records.  According to Mills, there is no penalty for not complying with the inspection.

Mills communicated that the DNPE office has received numerous inquiries regarding the accountability of NC homeschoolers and DNPE's fulfillment of its duties regarding NC homeschools.

Director Mills communicated that his goal to help NC homeschools by using the limited resources available to him to carry out the duties of the department.

The inspection of a random sampling of NC homeschools demonstrates that DNPE is actively serving NC citizens and that NC homeschools know and understand the requirements of the law.

Sep 17, 2013

Mills Appointed Director of Division of Non-Public Education

NCHE is pleased to announce that Mr. David Mills has been promoted to be the new Director of the Division of Non-Public Education. 

Mr. Mills began his work for the state when he was hired by Governor Jim Martin’s staff in 1986 to work in the Division of Non-Public Education, which was formerly housed under the Governor’s Office. Since then, Mr. Mills has worked for the Division for the last 27 years.

Many on the NCHE board of directors have worked with Mr. Mills through the years and have found him to be a friend to homeschoolers. We look forward to working with him in his new position.

Read the announcement on the NC DNPE website. 

Sep 10, 2013
Conferences

Sean McDowell to Speak at 2014 Conference

NCHE is excited to announce that Sean McDowell will be one of the featured speakers at the 2014 Annual Conference.

Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for reaching the younger generation with the Gospel message. He connects with youth in a tangible way through humor and stories while imparting hard evidence and logical support for viewing all areas of life through a biblical worldview. He serves as head of the Bible department at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools where he teaches philosophy, theology and apologetics.

As a high school teacher, Sean has exceptional insight into the prevailing culture and imparts his observations poignantly to fellow educators, pastors and parents alike. In 2008 he received the Educator of the Year award for San Juan Capistrano, California. His apologetics training was awarded Exemplary Status by the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean is listed among the top 100 apologists. He graduated summa cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary with a double master’s degree in theology and philosophy. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in apologetics and worldview studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Traveling throughout the United States and abroad, Sean speaks at camps, churches, schools, universities and conferences. He has spoken for organizations including Focus on the Family, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth Specialties, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean has also appeared as a guest on radio shows such as Focus on the Family, Point of View, Converse with Scholars, Stand to Reason.

Sean recently released GodQuest, a six-week DVD-based curriculum complete with fiction and non-fiction books and a workbook. He is the co-author of Is God Just a Human Invention?,Understanding Intelligent Design along with William A. Dembski, Experience Your Bible, The Unshakable Truth: How You Can Experience the Twelve Essentials of a Relevant FaithEvidence for the Resurrection and More Than a Carpenter with his father, Josh McDowell. Sean is the general editor for Apologetics for a New Generation and The Apologetics Study Bible for Students. He has also writtenEthix: Being Bold in a Whatever World and has contributed to YouthWorker JournalDecision Magazineand the Christian Research Journal. Follow the dialogue with Sean as he blogs regularly at www.conversantlife.com.

In April, 2000, Sean married his high school sweetheart, Stephanie. They have three children and live in San Juan Capistrano, California. Sean played college basketball at Biola University and was the captain his senior year on a team that went 30-7. He likes to brag about his ping-pong skills.