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Homeschool Freedom Threated in Puerto Rico

On October 9, 2002, Representative Garcia Caban referred a bill, PC 3048, to the Education and Culture Committee. It contains the same language as the current bill. The committee convened hearings on November 6, 2002 which continued over the next several days. Numerous homeschool witnesses testified against the bill. Students and parents protested outside the capitol before and during the hearing. The protest was very effective as many showed up with signs. An organized protest demonstrated the will of homeschoolers in Puerto Rico to remain free from government oversight.

Unexpected support came from Education Secretary Ceasar Rey, who submitted a written statement in opposition to the bill. Pablo Rivera, Assistant Secretary in Charge of Academic Affairs, spoke on behalf of Secretary Rey indicating that homeschooling by definition is a non-governmental entity and as such is recognized as an alternative to public education.

Rey also said, in a statement read by Pablo Rivera before the committee, that the bill did not establish clear procedures in terms of student evaluation and grades. The bottom line, according to Rey's testimony, was that the measure was not viable and he called for more analysis and study.

The bill died in committee as it virtually had no support.

Michael Smith, President of HSLDA, flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico and testified against the bill.

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