Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency Would like to see HB 2560 Killed or Made an Option
House Bill 2560 completely erases the current home education section (1327.1) of the school code and then substitutes completely new untested language, which has aspects that would hurt homeschooling parents, homeschooled children, and the state’s interest in an educated citizenry.
We are opposing this bill, not trying to amend it for the following reasons:
· This bill is so radical that it has very little chance of passage anyway.
· We have already tried to work with the bill's proponents. They knew that we would oppose the bill unless language were included that would protect the homeschool association diplomas, yet they did not listen. Some of them have even indicated that their goal was to eliminate the homeschool association diploma option.
· We do not trust the proponents of this bill. If they are willing to give away homeschool association diplomas, borrowing school district textbooks, access to school district sports, and due process protection as their opening gambit, what else are they willing to give away?
Here is a compromise that we would accept. If the proponents of this bill would like to end our opposition, there is a simple change that they could make that would satisfy our concerns about effects upon our membership. Instead of erasing the current home education law (section 1327.1 of the school code), they could simply add the new language of this bill as a new option under the compulsory attendance law, putting the new language into a new section of the school code (perhaps 1327.2).
In order to avoid confusion between the new option and the old option, they would have to eliminate all references to “home education programs” in the new section and name the new option something else. If it were to pass, homeschoolers could decide whether they wanted to come under new option or the old home education law. Those who wanted complete freedom without accountability could come under the new option. Those who wanted legitimate diplomas and due process protection could come under the old home education option. There is already precedent for adding overlapping options to the compulsory attendance law (Section 1327). For example, there are already two options for private homeschooling in Pennsylvania:
· Private Tutoring where a parent can hire a Pennsylvania certified private tutor to provide the majority of the instruction
· Home Education Programs where the parent takes the responsibility to supervise a home education program.
Similarly, there are already at least three different options for private schools in Pennsylvania:
· A day school operated by a church or other bona- fide religious organization can file a notarized affidavit setting forth that all of the required subjects (including algebra and geometry) are taught.
· A day or boarding school which is accredited by an accrediting association which is approved by the State Board of Education.
· A private school that teaches the standards prescribed by the PA Department of Education whose principal or teacher files a certificate to that effect with the PA Department of Education.
This would just add one more option for homeschoolers to the compulsory attendance section (1327) of the school code without taking away any current options.
Dr. Howard B. Richman, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency
p.s. Rep. McIlhattan wrote up this exact compromise as an amendment to HB 2560 and was prepared to present it at a House Education Committee meeting. He ended up not proposing his amendment because of opposition by bill proponents and because he realized that HB 2560, as written, could not pass the House Education Committee.
Click here to read about the good aspects of the current law that would be lost unless HB 2560 is made an option.
Click here for more information about HB 2560
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