Alumni Group Supports CT Homeschool Notice Proposal

For Immediate Release: Requiring parents to provide notice that they are homeschooling is reasonable and beneficial

Canton, Ma., 03/04/2019—The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, is urging lawmakers to support homeschooling provisions included in Connecticut Senate Bill 874. These provisions, included in an omnibus education bill, would require parents of homeschooled students to sign an annual registration form indicating that the student will be receiving home instruction.  

“Requiring parents to notify local education officials that they are homeschooling is simple common sense,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE. “On the most basic level, it means that school districts have a list of which students are being homeschooled, ensuring that homeschooling families will not be unnecessarily investigated for truancy.”

Last week, some Connecticut homeschooling parents attended a hearing for SB 874 to oppose the bill’s homeschool notice provision. “This opposition is based on fear mongering rather than reality,” said Coleman. Coleman acknowledges that the homeschool notice provision in SB 874 may be related to a report last year from the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate that found that 36% of students removed from school to be homeschooled had past child abuse or neglect reports. However, she points out that the language in SB 874 would not subject homeschooling parents to any additional scrutiny.

“Some homeschooling parents have claimed that registration lists would be turned over to the Department of Children and Families,” said Coleman. “But even if the Office of the Child Advocate used these lists to improve their research, that would not involve any investigation or additional scrutiny of these families. Homeschooling parents should be in favor of good, accurate research, especially in an area that brings out as many emotions as child abuse.”

The Office of the Child Advocate’s 2018 report on the percentage of homeschooling families subject to prior child abuse and neglect reports cross-referenced school districts’ records of students withdrawn from school to be homeschooled with DCF records, and did not include any contact with these families. The OCA’s data included only homeschooled students who were previously enrolled in public school, and not those who were always homeschooled.

“Many homeschooling parents were upset with the OCA’s report and dismissive of its validity,” said Coleman. “But if they want to ensure that the OCA has accurate data, they have to drop their opposition to the most basic data collection. This is not about investigating homeschooling families,” added Coleman. “It is about ensuring that school districts have a list of students being homeschooled within their boundaries.”

“Families benefit when school districts have an accurate accounting of homeschooled students,” said Coleman. “This record keeping helps ensure that homeschooling families are not needlessly investigated for truancy, and it may encourage school districts to make individual classes or extracurriculars available to homeschooled students.”  

The OCA report is not alone in raising concern about negligent parents using homeschooling to isolate children and hide child abuse. In 2014, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin found that 47% of the school-age child torture victims she studied were removed from school to be homeschooled. “We recommend creating a screening system for new homeschooling parents that flags cases where there are signs for concern,” said Coleman. “Such a process may be introduced in the future, but is not currently included in any Connecticut legislation.”  

“Homeschooling parents have nothing to fear from a notice requirement, and a lot to gain,” said Coleman. “We urge Connecticut lawmakers to support the homeschool notice provisions included in SB 874.”

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.

Alumni Group Supports Georgia Homeschool Bill

For Immediate Release: Homeschooling should not be used to avoid truancy charges or hide maltreatment

Canton, Ma., 03/04/2019—The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, is urging lawmakers to support Georgia House Bill 530, introduced last week by Reps. Bill Hitchens, Jon Burns, Wesley Cantrell, and Ron Stephens. HB 530 would change the homeschool notice process to ensure that school districts, and not only the Georgia Department of Education, receive homeschooling parents’ notice of intent. HB 530 would also create a screening system that would allow school districts to initiate a DFCS investigation when parents begin homeschooling after long term truancy or school discipline problems.

“HB 530 is an important first step toward better protecting homeschooled children,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE.

“Screening systems like those proposed in HB 530 allow school districts and child welfare officials to use their resources effectively without putting responsible homeschooling families through unnecessary scrutiny,” said Coleman. “Lawmakers across the country have become more aware of the role homeschooling can play in hiding child abuse,” added Coleman. “We encourage lawmakers to ensure that HB 530 creates a screening system focused not only on red flags indicating educational neglect but also on red flags indicating possible child abuse.” As currently written, HB 530 focuses on students with a concerning history of absenteeism, and not on students with a concerning history past child abuse reports.

Coleman also points to the need to be specific about what constitutes a red flag. “We want to ensure that the bill focuses on valid warning signs and not on all conflict with the school district,” added Coleman. “Simple disagreement with the school district is not a red flag.”

HB 530 was motivated in part by the deaths of Elwyn and Mary Crocker, two Georgia children whose parents previously removed them from school to homeschool them. The Crocker children had been the subject of prior child abuse and neglect reports, but there was no way for the school district to flag the family when the children were withdrawn.

“A growing body of research suggests that homeschooling offers abusive and negligent parents a way to isolate, neglect, and mistreat children without detection,” said Coleman. In 2014, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin found that 47% of the school-age child torture victims she studied were removed from school to be homeschooled; in 2018, a state official in Connecticut found that 36% of children removed from school to be homeschooled lived in families that were subject to at least one prior child abuse or neglect report.

In 2013, the body of 10-year-old Emani Moss was discovered in a trash can outside her family’s home in Smyrna, Georgia. Emani’s father and stepmother withdrew her from school to homeschool her after a teacher made a report of abuse; her stepmother was already on probation after pleading guilty to child cruelty charges several years earlier. “Emani’s parents used homeschooling to isolate her; they confined her to their home, prevented her from having contact with relatives or anyone else, and starved her to death,” said Coleman. “A screening process could have raised a red flag and prevented Emani’s parents from homeschooling her, ensuring that she would have had access to mandatory reporters who had already proven themselves willing to report their concerns.”

“Responsible homeschooling parents have nothing to fear from a screening process, while children at risk of abuse or neglect have a lot to gain,” said Coleman. “We urge Georgia lawmakers to support HB 530, as well as additional steps to protect homeschooled children.”  

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.

Homeschool Alumni to WV Lawmakers: Support Homeschoolers

For Immediate Release: Everyone benefits when public schools are funded to provide services to homeschooled students

Canton, Ma., 02/28/2019—Yesterday, the West Virginia House of Delegates rejected House Bill 3127 by a vote of 52 to 46. The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, is urging West Virginia lawmakers to lend their support to HB 3127 or a similar bill next year. HB 3127 would have granted homeschooled students access not only to public school athletics programs but also to other public school extracurriculars and individual public school classes, while counting these students for the purposes of school funding allotment.

“HB 3127 would have offered support for homeschooling families while providing funding to the public schools that serve them,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE.  “Access to public school athletics programs benefits homeschooled students without creating problems for public schools or other students, while access to curricular programs allows homeschooled students to enroll in individual public school classes in areas parents don’t feel comfortable teaching.” Coleman continued: “Homeschooling families are a vital part of our communities. Legislation like HB 3127 promises to bring students and community together.”

“Alaska and Iowa run successful programs that fund public schools for services they make available to homeschooled students,” said Coleman. “West Virginia has the opportunity to emulate these programs, which benefit homeschooled students and school districts alike.”

“Critics frequently allege that allowing homeschooled students to participate in public school athletics programs takes opportunities away from other students,” said Coleman. “There is little evidence of this.” According to Coleman, homeschooled students who participate in athletics in their local public schools typically gravitate toward activities without a limit on participants, such as cross country running or tennis. A 2012 survey of athletic associations in states that allow homeschooled students to participate in athletics at their local public schools found that this policy had not created problems for either students or schools.

“This is not about giving homeschooled students special treatment,” said Coleman. “It’s about opening new opportunities to a population that is currently underserved.”

In 2016, CRHE conducted a survey of 150 homeschool graduates’ athletics experiences. Survey respondents overwhelmingly believed that athletic participation was beneficial to homeschooled students (87%). Some respondents noted that athletics programs outside of public schools were limited, especially at later grades: “Once I reached junior high age there were no longer any community sports available,” wrote one participant; another noted that public school athletics programs “are very often the only access for students like myself who grew up in underprivileged areas.” Four in five respondents (80%) believed that public school athletics should be made available to homeschooled students.

On homeschool access to curricular programs such as individual public school classes, Coleman points to the existence of a “homeschool math gap. “There is a large body of research that suggests homeschooled students underperform in math,” said Coleman. “Allowing homeschooling parents to enroll their children in individual math classes could help close that gap for individual students.” Coleman also points to the benefits of allowing homeschooled students to enroll in art classes, or in extracurriculars such as band.  

“Homeschooled students and families benefit from positive relationships between homeschool communities and local public schools,” said Coleman. “HB 87 promised to improve these relations by offering homeschooled students access to resources while providing public schools with the funding to provide these resources. This was a win-win situation.”

“We urge West Virginia lawmakers pass HB 87 or a similar bill in the next legislative session,” said Coleman. “West Virginia’s homeschooled students need support, not dismissal.”

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.

Alumni Group to KY Lawmakers: Let Homeschoolers Play Sports

For Immediate Release: Everyone wins when homeschooled students are allowed to play on public school sports teams

Canton, Ma., 02/28/2019—The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, is urging Kentucky lawmakers to support House Bill 403, which would grant homeschooled students access to public school athletics programs. “Access to public school athletics programs benefits homeschooled students without creating problems for either public schools or other students,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE.

“Homeschooled students who participate in athletics in their local public schools tend to gravitate toward activities without a limit on participants, such as cross country running or tennis,” said Coleman. Critics frequently allege that allowing homeschooled students to participate in public school athletics programs takes opportunities away from other students; Coleman says the evidence for this is sparse. A 2012 survey of athletic associations in states that allow homeschooled students to participate in athletics at their local public schools found that this policy had not created problems for either students or schools.

HB 403 would require the parents of homeschooled students participating in public school athletics programs to submit quarterly affidavit attesting to the student’s academic progress. Coleman suggests amending the bill to require test scores or a portfolio of materials. “States that allow homeschooled students to in public school athletics typically require test scores or other proof of academic proficiency,” Coleman said. Coleman approves of a provision barring homeschooled students who were on academic probation before withdrawing from public school from participating in public school athletics for the remainder of the school year.

“This is not about giving homeschooled students special treatment,” said Coleman. “It’s about opening new opportunities to a population that is currently underserved in the area of athletics.”

In 2016, CRHE conducted a survey of 150 homeschool graduates’ athletics experiences. Survey respondents overwhelmingly believed that athletic participation was beneficial to homeschooled students (87%). Some respondents noted that athletics programs outside of public schools were limited, especially at later grades: “Once I reached junior high age there were no longer any community sports available,” wrote one participant; another noted that public school athletics programs “are very often the only access for students like myself who grew up in underprivileged areas.” Four in five respondents (80%) believed that public school athletics should be made available to homeschooled students.

“Granting homeschooled children access to public school athletics improves homeschool outcomes,” said Coleman. Currently, 30 states grant homeschooled students access to public school athletics programs, putting Kentucky in the minority. “We urge Kentucky lawmakers to support the state’s homeschooled students by supporting HB 403.”

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.

Homeschool Alumni Urge GA Lawmakers to Grant Sports Access

For Immediate Release: Everyone wins when homeschooled students are allowed to play on public school sports teams

Canton, Ma., 02/28/2019—The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, is urging Georgia lawmakers to support House Bill 87, which would grant homeschooled students access to public school athletics programs. “Access to public school athletics programs benefits homeschooled students without creating problems for either public schools or other students,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE.

“Homeschooled students who participate in athletics in their local public schools typically gravitate toward activities without a limit on participants, such as cross country running or tennis,” said Coleman. Critics frequently allege that allowing homeschooled students to participate in public school athletics programs takes opportunities away from other students; Coleman says the evidence for this is sparse. A 2012 survey of athletic associations in states that allow homeschooled students to participate in athletics at their local public schools found that this policy had not created problems for either students or schools.

Coleman suggests amending HB 87 in one area. “Public school athletes have to meet certain academic standards, but HB 87 as currently written requires only a statement from a homeschooling parent that their child is receiving a passing grade,” she said. The problem, Coleman explained, is that the school district has no way to verify this. “HB 87 bars students from participating in public school athletics for six months after being withdrawn from public school to prevent parents of student athletes from gaming the system,” Coleman said. “Not ensuring that student athletes who are homeschooled are meeting basic academic standards creates other loopholes.” States that allow homeschool participation in public school athletics typically require test scores or other proof of academic proficiency.

In 2016, CRHE conducted a survey of 150 homeschool graduates’ athletics experiences. Survey respondents overwhelmingly believed that athletic participation was beneficial to homeschooled students (87%). Some respondents noted that athletics programs outside of public schools were limited, especially at later grades: “Once I reached junior high age there were no longer any community sports available,” wrote one participant; another noted that public school athletics programs “are very often the only access for students like myself who grew up in underprivileged areas.” Four in five respondents (80%) believed that public school athletics should be made available to homeschooled students.

Currently, 30 states grant homeschooled students access to public school athletics programs, putting Georgia in the minority. “Granting homeschooled children access to public school athletics improves homeschool outcomes,” said Coleman. “We urge Georgia lawmakers to support the state’s homeschooled students by taking action on HB 87.”

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.

Alumni Group to NY: Give Homeschoolers Sports Access

For Immediate Release: Everyone wins when homeschooled students are allowed to play on public school sports teams

Canton, Ma., 02/28/2019—The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, is urging New York lawmakers to support Assembly Bill 706, which would grant homeschooled students access to public school athletics programs. “Access to public school athletics programs benefits homeschooled students without creating problems for either public schools or other students,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE.

“Homeschooled students who participate in athletics in their local public schools typically gravitate toward activities without a limit on participants, such as cross country running or tennis,” said Coleman. Critics frequently allege that allowing homeschooled students to participate in public school athletics programs takes opportunities away from other students; Coleman says the evidence for this is sparse. A 2012 survey of athletic associations in states that allow homeschooled students to participate in athletics at their local public schools found that this policy had not created problems for either students or schools.

“Assembly Bill 706 does not give homeschooled students special treatment,” said Coleman. “The bill requires homeschooled students who wish to participate in public school athletics programs to meet high academic standards and abide by public school requirements.” Coleman says that Assembly Bill 706 is about opening new opportunities to a population that is currently underserved in the area of athletics opportunities.

In 2016, CRHE conducted a survey of 150 homeschool graduates’ athletics experiences. Survey respondents overwhelmingly believed that athletic participation was beneficial to homeschooled students (87%). Some respondents noted that athletics programs outside of public schools were limited, especially at later grades: “Once I reached junior high age there were no longer any community sports available,” wrote one participant; another noted that public school athletics programs “are very often the only access for students like myself who grew up in underprivileged areas.” Four in five respondents (80%) believed that public school athletics should be made available to homeschooled students.

“Granting homeschooled children access to public school athletics improves homeschool outcomes,” said Coleman. Currently, 30 states grant homeschooled students access to public school athletics programs, putting New York in the minority. “We urge New York lawmakers to support the state’s homeschooled students by supporting Assembly Bill 706.”

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.

Alumni Group to Hawaii: Let Homeschoolers Play Sports

For Immediate Release: Everyone wins when homeschooled students are allowed to play on public school sports teams

Canton, Ma., 02/28/2019—The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, is urging Hawai’i lawmakers to support Senate Bill 593 and House Bill 537, which would grant homeschooled students access to public school athletics programs. “Access to public school athletics programs benefits homeschooled students without creating problems for either public schools or other students,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE.

“Homeschooled students who participate in athletics in their local public schools tend to gravitate toward activities without a limit on participants, such as cross country running or tennis,” said Coleman. Critics frequently allege that allowing homeschooled students to participate in public school athletics programs takes opportunities away from other students; Coleman says the evidence for this is sparse. A 2012 survey of athletic associations in states that allow homeschooled students to participate in athletics at their local public schools found that this policy had not created problems for either students or schools.

“This is not about giving homeschooled students special treatment,” said Coleman. “It’s about opening new opportunities to a population that is currently underserved in the area of athletics.” Under the proposed legislation, the Hawai’i Department of Education would be authorized develop rules governing students’ participation, including academic standards.

In 2016, CRHE conducted a survey of 150 homeschool graduates’ athletics experiences. Survey respondents overwhelmingly believed that athletic participation was beneficial to homeschooled students (87%). Some respondents noted that athletics programs outside of public schools were limited, especially at later grades: “Once I reached junior high age there were no longer any community sports available,” wrote one participant; another noted that public school athletics programs “are very often the only access for students like myself who grew up in underprivileged areas.” Four in five respondents (80%) believed that public school athletics should be made available to homeschooled students.

“Granting homeschooled children access to public school athletics improves homeschool outcomes,” said Coleman. Currently, 30 states grant homeschooled students access to public school athletics programs, putting Hawai’i in the minority. “We urge Hawai’i lawmakers to support the state’s homeschooled students by supporting SB 593 and HB 5376.”

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.

Alumni Group Supports Iowa Homeschool Reporting Proposal

For Immediate Release: Putting homeschool families in annual contact with district officials benefits homeschooled children and promotes healthy district-family relations

Canton, Ma., 02/27/2019—The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, supports Iowa Senate File 224, a bill that would require parents homeschooling under the independent private instruction option to notify the local superintendent of their intent to homeschool by September 1st each school year. “Currently, Iowa does not keep any list of students that are homeschooled,” said Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE. “Knowing who is and is not homeschooling cuts through confusion for parents and truancy officers alike.”

“We also appreciate that this bill would require the annual notice to be delivered in person,” Coleman said. S.F. 224 would require “the child, and the parent, guardian, or legal custodian who intends to place the child under independent private instruction for the school year … to meet in person with the superintendent of the school district in which the child resides in order to provide notice of such intent.” Coleman notes that this provision was likely added to prevent abusive parents from taking advantage of the statute to hide maltreatment.

“When abused child is homeschooled, that child is often severely isolated,” Coleman said. “Getting these children in the presence of mandatory reporters can offer an opportunity for someone to notice that something is wrong when there is no one else to see.”

In recent years, Iowa has been rocked by a series of high-profile teenage child abuse cases. 16-year-old Natalie Finn starved to death in October 2016; 18-year-old Malayia Knapp went public with her own history of abuse in early 2017; and in May 2017 the body of 16-year-old Sabrina Ray was discovered in her parents’ basement. All three were homeschooled. Lawmakers may have been thinking of these cases when drafting S.F. 224.

“There is a growing body of research that makes it clear that abusive parents can and do take advantage of lax homeschooling laws like those in Iowa to hide abuse,” Coleman said. In 2014, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin found that 47% of the school-age child torture victims she studied were removed from school to be homeschooled; in 2018, a state official in Connecticut found that 36% of children removed from school to be homeschooled lived in families that were subject to at least one prior child abuse or neglect report.

Requiring homeschooling parents to deliver a notice of intent to homeschool in person might have another advantage: it would give parents the opportunity to learn about what resources the district offers homeschoolers. Many school districts in Iowa run “Home School Assistance Programs” that offer parents resources and access to enrichment programming.

“We urge Iowa lawmakers to pass S.F. 224,” said Coleman. “This bill benefits homeschooled students, homeschooling parents, and school districts all at once.”

CRHE has also released statements on H.F. 182 and H.F. 272.  
The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.

Alumni Group Opposes Watering Down of NY’s Homeschool Law

For Immediate Release: Removing Protections Undermines Homeschooled Children’s Interests

Canton, Ma., 2/27/2019—The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit organization founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, is opposing New York Assembly Bill 1769. “This bill would weaken the state’s protections for homeschooled students by allowing parents to administer their children’s standardized tests themselves and making it more difficult for underperforming students to find help,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE. “New York does more than any other state to protect homeschooled children’s interests and should be commended for its dedication to these children and their education. This legislation would remove a layer of that protection and leave New York’s children at greater risk of educational neglect.”

“A.B. 1769 would allow homeschooling parents to administer their child’s standardized assessments themselves, in their own homes, creating conditions ripe for abuse,” said Coleman. “I have spoken personally with homeschool alumni whose parents gave them help during the test, gave them extra time, or changed their answers.” Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner, which currently governs homeschooling in New York State, requires the individual administering students’ yearly norm-referenced achievement tests be approved by the superintendent. A.B. 1769 would eliminate this provision, allowing anyone who meets the test publisher’s criteria to administer the test; most testing services allow parents to administer their students’ tests after watching a short online tutorial.

According to Coleman, requiring assessments to be conducted by an individual other than the parent—ideally a certified teacher, she says—provides another potential benefit for students who are homeschooled: contact with mandatory reporters. “There is a growing body of research on abusive parents’ use of homeschooling to isolate children and conceal maltreatment,” Coleman said. “Allowing parents to administer their children’s assessments works to the advantage of parents who are homeschooling in order to hide something.”  

In 2014, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin found that 47% of the school-age child torture victims she studied were removed from school to be homeschooled; in 2018, a state official in Connecticut found that 36% of children removed from school to be homeschooled lived in families that were subject to at least one prior child abuse or neglect report.  

Assembly Bill 9091 and Senate Bill 4788 would also lower the threshold for adequate academic performance from the 33rd to the 23rd percentile, which Coleman says would make it harder for underperforming children to receive the remediation they need. Coleman also raises concern about another change: the elimination of a provision that allows the superintendent to conduct home visits when a homeschooling family is on probation and there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that the family is “in substantial noncompliance.”

“When a child’s annual assessment shows inadequate progress, the home education program is put on probation and the parent must create a remediation plan to be approved by the school district,” says Coleman. “After that, the school district has only the parent’s word that the provisions of the remediation plan are being carried out. We have spoken with numerous individuals concerned about a younger sibling, nephew, or grandchild who is receiving an inadequate and neglectful homeschool education. If questions arise, the superintendent needs the authority to ascertain whether a child’s remediation plan is being implemented.”  

Coleman raises one final concern: “A.B. 1769 would take the authority to create rules governing homeschooling out of the hands of the New York State Board of Regents, making protections for homeschooled children less responsive,” she says. New York state Education Law § 3204.1-2 allows children to be educated “elsewhere” than a public school provided they receive instruction that is “substantially equivalent” to that provided in the public schools. In 1988, the New York State Board of Regents created Regulations of the Commissioner § 100.10, which has governed homeschooling since then, with revisions over time. “A.B. 1769 would turn Section 100.10 into law, with key omissions and changes, making it harder for the Board of Regents to make changes,” Coleman changes.

“New York state has long had some of the most comprehensive protections for homeschooled children in the country,” said Coleman. “I urge the legislature to maintain this record.” The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.

Alumni Group to WA: Foster Kids Should Not Be Homeschooled

For Immediate Release: Foster children need access to mandatory reporters

Canton, Ma., 02/23/2019—The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, is urging lawmakers to oppose House Bill 1760, which would overturn a department of social and health services rule preventing foster parents from homeschooling foster children in their care.

“Foster children are uniquely vulnerable to abuse. It is in their best interests to have regular access to multiple mandatory reporters as they do at school,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE. “Because homeschooling can limit children’s access to mandatory reporters, it can remove these needed safeguards for foster children.”

CRHE maintains a database of severe and fatal child abuse and neglect cases that involved homeschooling. “We created the database in order to identify common themes,” said Coleman. “These themes in turn point to potential solutions. One of the themes we found is the use of homeschooling by foster and adoptive parents to isolate children and hide abuse.”

“It’s clear from cases we have catalogued, such as the Hart and Schumm cases, that abusive parents of foster children who attend school may begin homeschooling as soon as the adoption is finalized in order to better conceal their abuse,” said Dr. Chelsea McCracken, a research analyst who administers the organization’s database. “This Indicates that school attendance is serving as a protective function for foster children prior to adoption.”

In 2014, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin found that 47% of the school-age child torture victims she studied were removed from school to be homeschooled; in 2018, a state official in Connecticut found that 36% of children removed from school to be homeschooled lived in families that were subject to at least one prior child abuse or neglect report.

Officials in a number of states have become concerned about the role homeschooling can play in hiding child abuse and neglect. This year alone, officials in four different states—Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, and Louisiana—have proposed measures designed to provide homeschooled students with greater protections against abuse.  

“We urge Washington lawmakers to maintain the status quo and leave the department and social health services rule against homeschooling foster children in place,” said Coleman. “Homeschooling can have many benefits, but not every population is well served by being homeschooled. Foster children need access to mandatory reporters and safe adults.”

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.