Home school experts to scrutinize ‘simplification’ bill

by Guy Page

A bipartisan bill to “simplify” home schooling was introduced Jan. 13 into the Vermont House and referred to the House Education Committee for further study.

At first glance, H608 seems to provide more independence from State of Vermont oversight. According to the bill’s introductory paragraph, it would “simplify the home study program by changing the role of the Agency of Education from an oversight role to a support role.”

“Instead of an application that would be reviewed and approved by the Agency, a notice of home study would be submitted to the Agency on an annual basis. The notice would require an attestation to certain conditions and processes. Annual reports and hearings challenging a program’s minimum course of study would be eliminated.”

The bill is sponsored by an eclectic group of lawmakers: lead sponsor Rep. Larry Cupoli (R-Rutland) and hang glider and fireworks expert Rep. John Arrison (D-Weathersfield), both members of the House Education Committee; Republicans Felisha Leffler, Woodman Page, Joseph Parsons, James Harrison and Terri Williams; and Democrats Peter Anthony and David Yacovone.

Rep. Vicki Strong and Vermont home schooling advocate Retta Dunlap will review H.608 today (Monday) at 1 pm, discussing what it could mean for homeschooling in Vermont. See link to register to register for the Zoom meeting. https://us02we

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. For ongoing information check the Facebook page for home school legislation updates.

Categories: Legislation

6 replies »

  1. How about letting home-schooling associations “support” the public education system (PES) and let the PES provide statistics on public education students’ results on SATs and ACTs and dropout rate? And let the PES “attest to certain conditions and processes” in their report to the HSAs.

  2. Here’s what Vermont’s law on Education says. Its what we thought was being taught. Nothing about CRT, racism, gender, diversity, inclusiveness, multiculturalism or any of the other WOKE propaganda that has pervaded every corner of society:

    Title 16 : Education
    Chapter 023 : Courses Of Study
    § 906. Course of study

    (a) In public schools, approved and recognized independent schools, and in home study programs, learning experiences shall be provided for students in the minimum course of study.

    (b) For purposes of this title, the minimum course of study means learning experiences adapted to a student’s age and ability in the fields of:

    (1) basic communication skills, including reading, writing, and the use of numbers;

    (2) citizenship, history, and government in Vermont and the United States;

    (3) physical education and comprehensive health education, including the effects of tobacco, alcoholic drinks, and drugs on the human system and on society;

    (4) English, American, and other literature;

    (5) the natural sciences; and

    (6) the fine arts. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 65; amended 1981, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1987, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.); 1987, No. 270 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; 1989, No. 44, § 4, eff. June 1, 1990.)

  3. This proposed legislation is directed at what is called END OF THE YEAR ASSESSMENT (EOYA).

    As it currently stands, home school parents have been able to achieve these assessments without direct LED (Local Education District) participation. This current proposal subtly inserts school district staff into the approval process by requiring district ‘certified’ teacher’s approval of whatever Course of Study the parents have been using. There are several permutations to this proposed legislative language that can easily become onerous on home school parents.

    The point being that the current Vermont standards (16 V.S.A. § 166b. Home study program) for home school programs are working just fine as they are for most home school parents.

    The only reason to change the governance that I can see is to allow a school district’s ‘camel nose’ to peer further under the home school tent and limit parental home school autonomy. In a word – it’s ‘bad’ legislation.

  4. I attended the webinar today. Ms. Dunlap clarified that yes, the end of year assessment could change if the bill passes as it stands, however, any assessment is kept at home and not submitted to anybody at AOE. So how is “the district”interfering? there are good VT certified teachers out that that are willing to do a simple assessment, write you a letter and off you go. I have done this. Is it right to say it would be pleasant everywhere in the state, absolutely not. And for those folks, the current ” assessment processes” should stay included. However, the areas removed from statute in the bill ,that make getting in to home study easier, are appreciated, by me anyways. No bill as it is introduced is ever perfect. But they now know folks are aware and interested and that can bring about the desired compromises needed. Thank you Rep. Vikki Strong for your compassion, support and poise in the area of home study.

    • Re: So how is “the district” interfering? there are good VT certified teachers out that that are willing to do a simple assessment,…

      This is the false dilemma. Yes, there are good VT certified teachers out there. And, yes, they may be ‘willing’ to do a ‘simple’ assessment. However, the term ‘simple’ is neither defined nor used in the proposed language. But, more importantly, the current guidelines include two options for home school parents to provide assessments that don’t require ‘certified’ teachers. The proposed language eliminates those options. If you want to delve into the details, consider the following.

      Current Agency of Education Home Study Guidelines list three End of Year Assessment (EOYA) options. Options #2 and #3 DO NOT currently require the input of a licensed/certified teacher.

      Go to page 17 of the AOE Home Study Guidelines (Revised: February 21, 2019) to see the current options –

      …and compare it with the proposed language.

      The proposed language for 16 V.S.A. § 166b says:
      (5) An agreement to assess the student’s academic progress at the end of each school year and maintain the records of such assessments. Permitted means of assessment shall include:
      (A) standardized assessment administered by the LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT;
      (B) a review and acceptance of the student’s progress BY AND INDIVIDUAL WHO HOLDS A CURRENT VERMONT TEACHER’S CERTIFICATE;
      (C) a review and acceptance of the student’s progress based on an educational portfolio to a local area homeschool support group WHOSE MEMBERSHIP FOR THIS PURPOSE INCLUDES A CURRENTLY CERTIFIED TEACHER OR ADMINISTRATOR.

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