Your Views for February 13

Bill ‘alarming’

As the founder and president of the Hawaii Homeschool Network, I am deeply concerned about three recently proposed bills regarding home schooling in Hawaii. In particular, I want to discuss Senate Bill 2323.

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Current law requires families who intend to home school inform their local school via letter or 4140 form, submit yearly progress reports and participate in yearly testing. It is my understanding that the new proposed law would require background checks, potential home visits, and approval from a superintendent to home school.

Requiring criminal background checks of current home-schooling families who are law abiding is costly and unnecessary, as those aren’t the families this law intends to wrangle. Home visits are a clear invasion of privacy.

Finally, approval from a local principal would be a burden on the school because it takes away the valuable time and focus needed for all the keiki who are enrolled at their school.

As a Department of Education and charter school employee in an alternative program, I understand the already present challenges with chasing families down for paperwork when they don’t follow through with required documents to follow home school law.

The simple fact is that the current law is suitable, and the problem is that the families don’t abide by it.

The two children that are referenced in the law were likely not even home-schoolers — did they submit formal letters and/or 4140 forms, along with yearly reports and testing? If so, I would like to see the documented proof of their home-schooling declarations.

My recommendation would be to require this new law be enacted to only provide consequences for those who do not abide by the current home-schooling law, as opposed to all home-schoolers.

SB2323 is an obvious financial burden on schools and Child Welfare Services for oversight that likely would require many tax dollars to be rerouted from a highly needed public education budget. Why waste taxpayer dollars to investigate law-abiding home-schooling families who have the best interest of their child at heart? This sounds quite frivolous and unfair to public schools that could use the funds.

If the goal is to improve oversight of home-schoolers, I have several suggestions that would be much more inclusive, financially viable and logical.

1. Invite home-schoolers to participate with public education opportunities such as sports, part-time enrollment or after-school activities. This would allow more for oversight of home-schoolers and integration into an education system, as well as more opportunities for contact with other adults who are school staff.

2. Support and develop more home school support programs, including virtual and blended charter schools that encourage families to formally enroll in a public-funded educational program. This would allow families who search for alternatives to public education an opportunity to find a program right for them.

Finally, I must mention that I am perplexed as to how bills of this nature can be composed without any attempt to reach out to our current home-schooling community. As an open and inclusive community, and a formally organized nonprofit, the Hawaii Homeschool Network would have been more than happy to provide information about home-schooling to legislators.

It is very concerning that the population directly affected by this potential law has been excluded from the development of this proposal. The lack of community input is quite alarming.

I am happy to work with our representatives to consult about what would be a positive and inclusive direction for all of our Hawaii home-schooled keiki.

I would hope our Legislature could develop laws that unite as opposed to divide our ohana, which why I strongly oppose SB2323.

Nicole Ryan

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President and founder,

Hawaii Homeschool Network

  1. Sundog February 13, 2018 11:24 am Reply

    The thirteen children recently found living in squalor and ‘home-schooled’ may have brought this up.
    If accountability and safety is ‘burdensome’, upgrade the present safety nets !
    The answer is not ‘it’s too much trouble’ – legal beagles do not fear transparency.


    1. Bobo February 13, 2018 12:44 pm Reply

      If you have nothing to hide, why are you against “transparency.” Are you missing history? How about random stops of you driving in case you are carrying contraband? How about government cameras in your bedroom in case you are doing illegal/bad things with minors? You missed history class — Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, . . .


      1. Sundog February 15, 2018 12:04 pm Reply

        You have missed the point, perhaps I did not make myself clear enough.
        I have missed nothing and certainly will not miss your diatribe.
        You’re barking up the wrong tree, buddy.


    2. Bobo February 13, 2018 2:21 pm Reply

      Also, “transparency” and “accountability” are for when we pay taxes (our property) and we, the citizens, want to know what the government is doing with our money/property (e.g., buying fighter jets; running schools). It is not for the government spying on citizens and profiling certain groups to try to “make sure” they don’t do something that they might do that might be illegal. I am wondering if you attended state/public schools and they did not teach you this. This concept that the government should leave us alone unless we have done something wrong is fundamental to a free nation. Have you heard of being secure in our homes, papers, persons, and effects without a warrant from a legitimate court/judge (Fourth Amendment)? Please go study U.S. history and our Constitution.


      1. Sundog February 15, 2018 12:09 pm Reply

        Hey Bozo. Magna cum laude.
        Write a book. It’d be more productive than using me as a platform
        to show this forum how smart you think you are.


    3. jusbecuz February 13, 2018 9:52 pm Reply

      If you read the bill for the Senate and the House, it will tell you what the background is.


  2. jusbecuz February 13, 2018 8:25 pm Reply

    There are 707 pages of testimony on the home school bill. I saw only 2 in support of it – County Prosecutor Mitch Roth and one other “individual” who had no narrative. I was very impressed with the content of the opposition testimonies. This was a bill that was conceived on the sole basis of the Peter Boy case where child welfare services was already held responsibly for the child’s death. I’m proud of the unity of the testifiers today and who will be at the Capitol tomorrow.


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