Legislative Report  


March 6, 2012    



Now it will be easier for homeschooling parents to provide a description of curriculum with the annual notice of intent in August! The legislation requested by HEAV to simplify and standardize the requirements passed both the House and the Senate last week and is now awaiting the Governor's signature.


Sports access, though, will have to wait for another year. It failed to report from the Senate Education committee by one vote, 7-Y, 8-N.


As the legislative session draws to a close, several bills that could affect homeschoolers have received their final votes. You'll find a summary of these bills below.


Thank you for your prayers and financial support during this General Assembly session.  We couldn't do what we do without you! 


Yvonne Bunn, Homeschool Support

Yvonne Bunn

Director of Homeschool Support & Legislative Affairs


Curriculum Description Change

Two bills, initiated by HEAV to clarify the meaning of a "curriculum description," have passed the House and Senate. These bills will limit the required curriculum description to "a list of subjects to be studied" during the coming year. This change limits the information superintendents can require and will provide consistency in all school districts.

Senator Dick Black stands at the lecturn
Senator Dick Black discusses the curriculum change.


After July 1, 2012, parents may provide a list of subjects to be studied during the coming year for the curriculum description requirement--no more course descriptions, outlines, textbook titles, explanation of methods, tables of contents, or scope and sequences.


The new language is in italics below:


� 22.1-254.1 B. Any parent who elects to provide home instruction in lieu of school attendance shall annually notify the division superintendent in August of his intention to so instruct the child and provide a description of the curriculum, limited to a list of subjects to be followed for studied during the coming year, and evidence of having met one of the criteria for providing home instruction as required by subsection A.


Please thank Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-James City/York County) who patroned the House version, HB 1208, and Senator Dick Black (R-Loudoun/Prince William) who patroned the Senate version, SB 564. They both did a wonderful job speaking about the benefits of home education and presenting the need for this change in the homeschool statute.


What's next?

The House and Senate bills will now go to Governor McDonnell for his signature. The curriculum description change will go into effect July 1, 2012.


Sports Access

HB 947, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville), was defeated by one vote in the Senate Education Committee. It would have allowed homeschool students to try out for public school sports without excessive requirements. Many articulate homeschool students testified on behalf of the bill, sharing their disappointment in not being able to continue participating in athletic programs governed by the Virginia High School League. During the hour-long hearing, more than 20 public school students from Varina High School lined up to say they opposed the bill. They joined the Virginia High School League, the Virginia Athletic Association, and the PTA in opposition.


After the hearing, Delegate Bell expressed his appreciation for the homeschoolers who supported his bill and commented, "The bill has never gotten out of the House before, and this year it did. We didn't get to the finish line, but we got closer than we ever have before. Next year I will re-file the bill and we will take it up again."


What's next?

Sports access has failed for this year, but Delegate Bell plans to introduce it again next year.


Status of Other Bills

HB 1006 Home school instruction tax credit - FAILED


HB 65 Human papillomavirus vaccine; eliminates requirement of vaccination for female children - FAILED


HB 641 Employment certificates for children - FAILED


HB 824 HPV vaccine; Commonwealth liable - FAILED


HB 1207 Right of students to assert conscientious objection to any requirement of academic degree program - FAILED


SB 131 Income tax; educational improvement scholarships - PASSED








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