Homeschool Freedom Threated in Puerto Rico (September 30, 2005)
Background - Spanish Summary
On September 23 we received the following urgent email from Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) Senior Counsel (and Practical Homeschooling magazine columnist) Chris Klicka:
On September 16, 2005, a duplication of the worst proposed
homeschooling law in the history of home education was introduced in
the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico. PC 1954, was submitted by
Representative Garcia Caban, and has been referred to the Education
and Culture Committee for consideration. The same bill was introduced
in 2002, but did not get out of committee.
Representative Caban chose the most restrictive provisions from the
worst homeschool laws in the United States. If the proposed bill
becomes law the burden on homeschool families will be immense.
The following is a list of requirements that will be imposed on
homeschoolers if PC 1954 becomes law:
- The curriculum or study plan shall comply with the basic elements in
the schools of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as determined by a
five-member board appointed by the Governor. The board members must
have at least ten years teaching experience.
- Parents will have to maintain a register containing evidence of
materials used with educational purposes, writing samples, worksheets,
exam grades, uniforms, students' jobs, vaccination record, and a
register of days and hours of study.
- Each homeschool student will be evaluated by way of an interview
annually by licensed psychologist or teacher certified by the state.
- The homeschool board will decide whether academic progress of the
student is "poor" based upon an evaluation by a licensed psychologist
or teacher certified by the state of the annual register and test
results from the annual examination of the students.
- Each student will have to annually take uniform examinations
created, approved, provided, administered and supervised by the board
and the department of education.
- The homeschool board, amongst its powers, will employ a teacher or
supervisor that will make a home visit to the families four times a
- The department of education will have the authority to establish
regulations to regulate the homeschool programs and the date on which
the uniform exams will be taken.
- Parents must have a college degree OR be supervised by a certified
- Should the parents not hold a college degree, they must be
supervised by a private tutor that must be a certified teacher, or a
private school, but the parent must still submit to all of the above
requirements as part of the homeschool program requirements. The
supervisor must have weekly contact with the homeschool family.
- An annual affidavit to apply for homeschooling must be submitted 60
days prior to the beginning of school year.
- The annual affidavit will require such information as: names and
ages of the children with their social security numbers, vaccination
evidence, and a certification that the teacher and all adults living
in the home have not been convicted of breaking a "moral depravation
law" within the last five years.
ACTION TAKEN: Due to the threat to freedom posed by PC 1954, a
coalition of homeschoolers has been formed in Puerto Rico to work with
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and its members. The
purpose of the coalition is to defeat this bill, or any other that
might be introduced to restrict homeschool freedoms in Puerto Rico.
Coalition members include:
Ann Esteras - Caguas
Eric y Nancy Morales - AHEC Dorado
Edna Rodriguez - Gurabo
Jose y Millie Escudero - AHEC Manati
Hector y Carmen Torres - AHEC Bayamon
Jose Sanchez - AHEPA San Lorenzo
Maria Rivera - GAMEH Gurabo
Jose y Jenny Curet - ORPEC Guaynabo
Carlos Perez - HSLDA Rio Piedras
This group will hold meetings and communicate all the relevant
activities through the various support group leaders and HSLDA.
We are in contact with several of the key homeschool leaders in Puerto
Rico, including attorney Carlos Perez-Sierra and veteran homeschooler
Jose Curet. We will coordinate with the leaders in Puerto Rico to
mount opposition to this bill. However, one of the keys to defeating
PC 1954 is to have every homeschool family in Puerto Rico actively
working to defeat this bill. Amending the legislation is not
acceptable; we must defeat PC 1954.
"It's an outrage that this bill has been reintroduced. This is an
affront to freedom loving people, especially homeschoolers," said
Michael Smith, President of HSLDA.
ACTION REQUESTED (by all friends of homeschooling):
Pray that God will preserve home education by the defeat of PC
1954. Pray for unity among homeschooling leaders and support groups as
they work together to oppose this bill.
ACTION REQUESTED (for homeschoolers living in Puerto Rico):
- Please immediately contact your territorial organization or local
support group. Networking with other like-minded homeschoolers is
crucial at this time.
- Monitor the HSLDA website (www.hslda.org) for up-to-date information regarding PC
- Be prepared to attend a hearing at a moment's notice before the
Education and Culture Committee in San Juan. We will provide detailed
information if a hearing is scheduled.
- Pass this information on to any of your friends and family who
are homeschoolers or who may be concerned about family freedom in