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IL SB 136: Update from HSLDA

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Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:


Following up on his decision to table SB 136, Senator Maloney asked

several of us involved in the SB 136 hearing to meet with him.


Yesterday Sen. Maloney reiterated to us his belief that the government

needs to know the names and addresses of all homeschooled children. We

reiterated that this was neither necessary nor useful. After all, if

merely knowing a child's name and address could produce a quality

education, a quarter of Illinois public school students would not

still be without a diploma after four years of high school.


Sen. Maloney reiterated his concern about homeschooled children

"falling through the cracks." We reiterated that according to

published figures from State Superintendent Dr. Christopher Kock (who

was also present at the meeting), three-fourths of a million public

school children (765,989 to be exact) were truant for 2008-2009--so

that is where the state should focus its efforts concerning children

"falling through cracks."


Sen. Maloney reiterated his worry that nothing could be done to those

who violate the law while asserting they are homeschooling. We handed

him a copy of the State Board of Education's own webpage that points

to the Levisen case and describes exactly what procedure should be



While it was obvious that Senator Maloney still wants to increase

government control over homeschoolers, he said he would not move

forward on anything of this nature without first talking to us.


Before filing SB 136, he never asked for the input of those who would

be affected--the thousands of homeschool families in Illinois. We

welcome his new willingness to talk.


We are not asking families to take any action at this time. We will

continue to watch the situation carefully and let you know if and when

it's time to put down the books and drive to Springfield.




Scott Woodruff

HSLDA Senior Counsel

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Argh. This stupid thing is causing some issues with my extended family because now they are all starting to push on when I'll be sending the kids back to school.


Ironically, I got a fairly crappy education from your school, Maloney. Except for the English department. They rocked.

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Maloney still set on finding a way to account for Illinois homeschoolers


SPRINGFIELD -- State Senator Ed Maloney (D-Chicago) told Illinois Review Wednesday that he's now working with the State Board of Education State Superintendent Christopher Koch to come up with homeschooling guidelines to be used by local truancy officers and schools.

Maloney said he met Tuesday morning with homeschooling representatives, Superintendent Koch and staffers to discuss ways the state can be assured children of compulsory attendance age are attending school, especially those whose parents say they are homeschooling.


"I want the homeschoolers to know that I have the greatest admiration for what they do. It takes a great deal of determination and patience to teach their own children. I'm not sure I would have been able to do it with my own," Maloney said. "But I stilll have concerns about kids who are not really being homeschooled and denied the education they should be getting."

Maloney said the ISBE superintendent confirmed that current statutes pertaining to homeschooling are vague, and balancing privacy with enforcing the compulsory attendance law is a challenge. Truancy officers complain that when they investigate potential truants, they are simply told the families are homeschooling, and there's no way in law to verify whether what they claim is true or not.

"The real question is determining the authority to inquire what is reasonable cause of truancy and what is suspicion when it comes to checking on homeschoolers," Maloney said.

Two weeks ago, Maloney and the Senate Education Committee held a subject matter hearing concerning registration of homeschoolers. Capitol officials estimated 4000 homeschool supporters came to the Capitol that day to express concern about a law change. The next day, Maloney tabled SB 136, a bill he had proposed which would have caused all non-public school students to be registered with the state.

When Maloney withdrew the proposal, he specified that he would pursue meeting with homeschool representatives in order to come up with a registration solution that would be amiable to all parties.

Maloney said yesterday's meeting would be the first, and he plans to continue talks with homeschool reps and the ISBE staff over the next few weeks to find a recommendation.

"It could be simply a guideline for truancy officers, or the ISBE may find we need legislation to protect homeschooled students," he said. " We'll determine what's best in the days ahead."

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