The 2012 legislative session was one of the most active in Virginia’s homeschool history. From curriculum changes to sports access to homeschool tax credits, HEAV’s legislative team stayed on top of the action. Through successes and failures, your right to homeschool has been protected, and homeschool requirements are less burdensome because HEAV was there.
Curriculum Description Change
Two bills, initiated by HEAV to clarify the meaning of a “curriculum description,” passed both the House and Senate and have been signed by Governor McDonnell. According to § 22.1-254.1 B, any parent who complies with § 22.1-254.1 by filing a Notice of Intent or writing a letter to the division superintendent, must provide a description of curriculum to be followed for the coming year. The new language, which takes effect on July 1, 2012, will require a parent to “provide a description of the curriculum, limited to a list of subjects to be studied during the coming year….” Superintendents may no longer require course descriptions, outlines, textbook titles, explanations of methods, tables of contents, or scope and sequences. This change will provide consistency in all school districts.
Senator Dick Black (R-Loudoun/Prince William), who patroned SB 564, and Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-James City/York County) who patroned HB 1208, are to be commended for their clear presentations in committee hearings and during the floor debates.
HEAV worked with Delegate David Ramadan (R-Loudoun/Prince William) who introduced legislation that would have given homeschooling parents a tax credit up to $1,000 for the purchase of textbooks, workbooks, correspondence courses, and distance learning programs used solely in home instruction. The finance committee continued HB 1006 to 2013.
HB 947, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville), was defeated by one vote in the Senate Education Committee. The bill had successfully passed the House for the first time amid tremendous opposition from the Virginia High School League, the Virginia Athletic Association, the Virginia School Boards Association, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, and the PTA.It would have allowed homeschool students to try out for public school sports without excessive requirements.
Delegate Bell expressed his appreciation for the many articulate homeschool students and parents who testified on behalf of the bill. He stated, “The bill has never gotten out of the House before, and this year it did. We didn’t get to the finish line, but we got closer than we ever have before. Next year I will re-file the bill and we will take it up again.”