Back in January, we published an article explaining that Rep. Dan Johnston’s (R – District 24) House Bill 1052 has the potential to be the most impactful piece of legislation we’ve seen for many homeschool families in North Dakota. In fact, it may just be one of the great pieces of education legislation— period.
In a nutshell, HB 1052 would address a 2007 Attorney General’s opinion that interprets North Dakota’s current law as restricting those who can supervise home education to parents only. If passed, the definition of “parent” would be expanded to include “a child’s legal guardian”. The definition of “supervise” would include “the selection of materials, determination of an educational philosophy, and oversight of the method, manner, and delivery of instruction.”
As law, the implications of this bill are significant as it would open up a variety of opportunities for homeschool families across the state. For example, suppose a parent desires to strengthen a specific content area for their child. They would be free to use a tutor to provide that instruction. With the advancement of technology, other parents might choose from a number of on-line options now available to students across the country. These opportunities are technically not legal under the current law.
When HB 1052 was heard in the Senate Education Committee yesterday, Senator Erin Oban (D – District 35) expressed her surprise that it took so long for this issue to be addressed. With the backing of the Governor’s Office and Department of Public Instruction behind it, the committee has now given the bill a 7-0 Do Pass recommendation.
As of this writing, the bill doesn’t appear on the Senate calendar for a vote, but we can expect that to happen soon. There’s literally been no legislative opposition to the bill at this point in the process. It came out of committee on the House side with a 13-0 Do Pass, passed the House on a vote of 90-0, and now received the 7-0 Do Pass on the Senate side. Nevertheless, it’s important that supporters of this legislation contact their senators and urge them to vote green.