Monday, May 27, 2024

Louisiana lawmakers aim to deregulate homeschooling with new measure

by BIZ Magazine

(The Center Square) — The House Committee on Education approved a bill that will end the requirement that requires state approval for homeschooling curriculums.

House Bill 550, by Rep. Beryl Amedee, R-Gray, would end the requirement home study programs be approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Parents would be required to submit to BESE a notification that includes their name and address and the number of enrolled students.

The amended bill passed committee 7-6 and is headed to the House floor for a potential vote.

Amedee said she homeschooled her three sons and she’s worked as an advocate to help other parents with homeschooling issues, which she says includes eight pages of law governing homeschooling.

She also said Louisiana is one of six states that requires homeschooling parents to seek curriculum approval.

“What you have before you today is an effort to simplify and streamline,” Amedee said. “Over the years when I’d get a phone call from a parent who says ‘hey, I’d like to homeschool and I’ve heard you can help understand how,’ I’d be at least 45 minutes on the phone just to explain the options and what was required by the state.”

She said her bill would put a definition of homeschooling into state law and would streamline the paperwork process which would be beneficial for both parents and the state Department of Education.

Rep. Barbara Freiberg, R-Baton Rouge, said she was concerned about colleges and universities having to honor a diploma issued by a homeschooling parent.

“I know there are wonderful homeschool programs in this state and I know many young people who have gone through them, in fact, my son-in-law is one of them who did elementary school at home,” Freiberg said. “But I worked for BESE for 10 years and we were the agency that handled the homeschools and the approved homeschooling.

“I know there were homeschool programs where the person that wrote the notification couldn’t even write a sentence. I just have a lot of concern about not having a standard for home schools that are approved.”

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