Federal Relations

Home School Legal Defense Association

P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134

For Immediate Release Contact: Ian Slatter
September 14, 2005 (540) 338-8663

New bill corrects federal laws which discriminate against homeschoolers

Washington, DC — Yesterday, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) and Representative Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) introduced the Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act (HONDA) respectively in the Senate (S1691) and House (HR 3753). "Our Constitution does not allow federal control over homeschooling, but there are many federal laws written for the public school environment that impact home education that need clarification," said Michael Smith, President of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

Homeschoolers often find themselves in unusual situations. For example, many college-bound homeschoolers have been denied admission to college due to confusion about whether federal financial aid programs forbid a college to admit them because they did not obtain a state-issued diploma. HONDA will correct this and other anomalies in the law.

HONDA will allow parents to utilize federal education savings accounts for their homeschool expenses, and allow homeschool eligibility for Byrd college scholarships. Federal privacy law is extended to include homeschool records, which some states require the public schools to keep. HONDA also permits older homeschooled teens to work during traditional school hours. Currently, federal law does not allow a student to work during school hours. This is an unfair restriction on homeschoolers, as traditional school hours have little relevance in a homeschool setting. This is a real limitation on the homeschool teen who would like to save for college by, for example, working the lunch shift at the local fast-food restaurant.

Further, HONDA would address forced evaluations under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). A Missouri family is currently in court fighting a decision by the state to force their homeschooled child to undergo an evaluation under IDEA, even though the family does not want, nor is even eligible for, the services which could be provided. HONDA makes it clear that IDEA does not require evaluations if a parent refuses services.

Finally, HONDA would end discrimination against homeschool graduates who seek to join the U.S. military. Under current law, homeschool recruits are usually considered to be highschool dropouts or GED graduates and do not receive the same signing bonuses as traditional high school graduates.

"We fully support HONDA," said Caleb Kershner, Director of Federal Policy and Research for HSLDA. "Homeschooling is here to stay and it is time that federal lawmakers came up to speed and consider the implications of their policies on homeschooled students."

If your organization would like to schedule an interview with Michael Smith, please contact Ian Slatter, Director of Media Relations at (540) 338 8663 or via e-mail Ian@hslda.org.

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a 22 year old, 80,000 member non-profit organization and the preeminent national association advocating the legal right of parents to homeschool their children.

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