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Arkansas Homeschoolers Act Now!!!

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Joined: 17 Jan 2008
Posts: 106
Location: Small town in Arkansas

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:45 pm    Post subject: Arkansas Homeschoolers Act Now!!! Reply with quote

For anyone in Arkansas, I just got this in an email. Act now please!!

Bad Home School Bill Filed
Dear Home School Friends,

Rep. David Cook of Williford (Sharp County) has filed a very bad home school bill. House Bill 2144 would force every home school family to provide “proof” that their child took the most recent State-mandated test. In addition, it enables public school administrators to flatly refuse to allow students to leave their school and enroll in a home school once the semester is underway. This attack on home schooling is being led by Rep. Cook and the Rural Superintendent’s Association. They have hired a private lobbying firm to lobby the legislature for this bill. Over and over, we have appealed to Rep. Cook, asking him not to file this bill. He filed it today, and we must defeat it. HB 2144 has been referred to the House Education Committee. We can defeat this bill by persuading at least 10 of the 20 committee members to vote against the bill. You can call and leave a message for any or all of these committee members by calling the House Switchboard at (501) 682-2902. Listed below are the names of all the members of the House Education Committee along with their e-mails and home phone numbers. Please contact them immediately and ask them to vote against HB 2144, the David Cook home school bill.

Below you will find some talking points on the bill. Please call Family Council or the Education Alliance if you have any questions or need more information (501) 375-7000. You can also read regular updates on our blog at

Rep. Bill Abernathy – | 479-394-2733
Rep. Nancy Duffy Blount - | 870-295-1386
Rep. Mark Martin - | 479-466-7386
Rep. Rick Saunders – | 501-760-7770
Rep. David Rainey – | 870-382-2003
Rep. David Cook – | 870-966-4703
Rep. Eddie Cheatham – | 870-364-5659
Rep. Toni Bradford – | 870-879-5270
Rep. Donna Hutchinson - | 472-876-6011
Rep. Jerry Brown – | 870-238-3815
Rep. Charolette Wagner - | 870-561-4600
Rep. Steve Breedlove – | 479-996-9712
Rep. Dan Greenberg - | 501-588-4245
Rep. Tim Summers – | 479-273-0773
Rep. Les Carnine - | 501-682-7771
Rep. Mark Perry - | 501-985-0124
Rep. Linda Tyler - | 501-329-8644
Rep. Robert Dale - | 479-331-3503
Rep. Monty Betts – | 501-268-9254
Rep. Jody Dickinson – 870-523-8222

HB 2144: An Act Amending the Prerequisites for Home Schooling
Sponsored By Representative David Cook of Williford (Sharp County)

Summary: This bill requires all home school parents to prove by August 15 of each year that their child took the most recent state-mandated home school test. This bill enables public school educators to prohibit students from transferring to a home school once the semester is underway.

I. This bill affects every Arkansas home school family. In addition to a home school notice of intent and waiver form, every home school parent would be required to provide the public school superintendent with proof by August 15 that their child took the most recently required home school test. Parents who want to begin home schooling at the beginning of the spring semester would be required to turn in a notice of intent, waiver form, and proof of testing by December 1st.

Concern: What kind of proof is required? Will parents have to submit test scores? What other “proof” would a parent have to demonstrate that their child took the test? What about students who are not required to take the state-mandated home school test? Under this law, home schooling in Kindergarten through third grade would be illegal since children in these grades are not required to take the state mandated home school test. Home schoolers are tested for the first time during the spring of their third grade year. These students have no proof of testing because they are not required to take the test. The State Board of Education currently requires home schoolers to test in grades 3 through 9. State law gives the State Board of Education the option of changing these grade levels at any time or eliminating testing altogether. Just a few years ago, the board required testing in only grades 5, 7, & 10. Under this law, if the State Board of Education eliminated all norm-referenced testing, home schoolers would have no proof of testing and not be able to comply with this law.

Concern: What about parents who forget to turn in their notice of intent, waiver, and proof of testing by August 15? Under this law, they could be forced to enroll their children in the public school for the entire semester. This law provides for no appeal process. Under current law, the longest they could be required to remain in public school would be 14 calendar days.

II. This bill applies to every public school student. Even after the semester is underway, current law allows public school students to transfer to a home school subject to a 14 day waiting period. Under current law, the local public school superintendent may waive this 14 day waiting period and allow parents to begin home schooling immediately. Current law allows parents of public school students to withdraw their child and begin home schooling at any time during the school year and for any reason. This law would empower public school educators to overrule the wishes of the child’s parents. They could force the child to remain in the public school even in cases of sexual harassment, bullying, threats, serious physical or emotional illness, or academic failure. This bill makes no provision for cases in which parents believe it is in the best interest of their child to withdraw them from school. This bill requires the parent to apply with the school principal, counselor, and one teacher. If this panel refuses to allow the child to leave the school, there is no appeal process. Their decision would be final.

Concern: Why should public school educators have more control over a child than the child’s parents? Families who are able to send their child to private school are free to leave the public school at any time with no questions asked. Why discriminate against parents who decide to enroll their child in a home school?

Concern: What about liability for public school educators who force a child to remain in their school against their will and against the will of the parents? What if a bullied, harassed, or threatened child is harmed while being forced to attend the school? What legal liabilities exist for the principal, counselor, and teacher who made the decision to force the child to remain in the school?

Conclusion: Arkansas has a good home school law. Neither the Department of Education nor the home school community has brought any significant legislation before the Arkansas Legislature in over 12 years. There is no need for a change.

Vote Against HB 2144: The David Cook Home School Bill
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Joined: 17 Jan 2008
Posts: 106
Location: Small town in Arkansas

PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please, Arkansas Homeschoolers.

Go to to read about what is going on.

And do something! We can not let Rep. Cook take our rights away. If they get away with this, it won't be long before they try to outlaw home school all together.

Can you blame them? They want our children in their ranks. More money, better test scores. My little girl's 1st grade teacher used to tell me she wished she had 19 more kids in her class just like mine. I bet.

Make the call. Send and email. And tell everyone you know!
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