Home schooled children may soon no longer have to abide by State Board of Education requirements. On Tuesday the House passed SB 39, which exempts home schooled children from state educational requirements.
Sponsored by Representative John Knotwell (Republican – Herriman) in the House, the bill also allows parents to home school their children without submitting a yearly home-school affidavit with their district affirming that they are following curriculum standards. Knotwell called the current education standards “unnecessary or unenforceable, [which] places an undue burden on parents who have chosen to invest in home-schooling.” Knotwell further explained that the bill allowed more freedom for the parents and flexibility for the public education system.
Representative Marie Poulson (Democrat – Cottonwood Heights) spoke in opposition to the bill, stating that most home-schooled children show deficiencies in their education.
Calling the performance of some home-schooled children “troubling,” Poulson continued with her objection, pointing out the amount of effort it takes to bring a student up to grade in test performance with teachers. “I feel strongly we have an obligation to these children,” said Poulson. “I think that instructional requirements are appropriate… regardless of the source.” Poulson said.
Representative Marc Roberts (Republican – Santaquin) spoke in favor of the bill, calling it a relief for parents of home-schooled children. Roberts, who home-schools his children, spoke about the merits of home education and how it was once a more commonplace practice.
Roberts continued his statements, stating that “God gave us children,” as opposed to giving them to the state. Roberts closed his statement listing successful family members who were home-school and pointing out that home-schooling is part of the solution to reducing Utah’s growing school population. “Not only do I reduce the class size, I also pay for my neighbor’s kids to go to school,” said Roberts.
The bill will be returned to the Senate due to an amendment in the House. Presuming that the Senate agrees, it will be sent to the governor by Friday.