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Indiana Vaccination Data Questions Remain

Indiana families were not the only ones that received letters regarding vaccinations from their State Department of Health which IAHE alerted Indiana home educators about in this post from mid-October.  Michigan families also received a similar letter.  These types of occurrences highlight IAHE Action’s concern about the increased amount of government data collection. WEBSITE RGB Action Logo 400x400

HSLDA asks, “Is Government Data Being Used to Deliver Drug Company Profits?” 

Hundreds of thousands of families in Indiana and Michigan recently received letters from their respective departments of health notifying them of their children’s immunization status and ordering them to schedule additional vaccinations. Many families were unaware that officials had access to such private information or that it had been compiled into statewide databases. Some of the parents contacted were HSLDA members who subsequently sought advice from HSLDA—particularly regarding the vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV).

Read more here.

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ISTEP+ and Homeschoolers?

It was recently brought to our attention that the Indiana Department of Education had sent a memo to Superintendents and Principals giving guidance related to homeschoolers enrolled in one class in public school and ISTEP+:

Q: Does the homeschool student have to take ISTEP+ and relevant ECA assessments if they are only enrolled in one course?

 A: Students in grades 3-8 and grade 10 in a public school or accredited non-public school must take the ISTEP+ assessments. Students in grades 10, 11, and 12 during the 2015-16 school year must take the Algebra I and English 10 ECAs if they are enrolled in the course(s). WEBSITE RGB Action Logo 400x400

 The concern is in regards to homeschoolers and ISTEP+. Home educators enrolled in one public school are being tested with ISTEP+ on curriculum that they are not using. The purpose of the ISTEP program is designed to “provide a source of information for state and local decision makers with regard to…the overall academic progress of students…the need for new or revised educational programs…the need to terminate existing education programs…student readiness for postsecondary school experiences…(and) diagnosing individual student needs”.

HSLDA attorney, Tj Schmidt, wrote a post about this situation in July:  Homeschoolers Can Skip the ISTEP

If you have concerns about taking ISTEP+ or any tests while enrolled in a class in public school for any reason, contact HSLDA.

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Will Senator Cruz’s Bill Allow Homeschoolers to Receive Federal Funds?

Homeschoolers have reason to be concerned that government funding would lead to a loss of home education freedom. Some have expressed concern that Senator Cruz’ bill S 306 would allow homeschoolers to receive federal funds. Attorney Will Estrada, Director of Federal Relations for Home School Legal Defense Association, explains legally why this bill should not be a concern for homeschoolers.

Hi, all,

Anyone who thinks that Senator Cruz’ bill will allow homeschoolers (including in states which define homeschools as a type of private school) to receive federal funds has a deep misunderstanding of federal law.

Title I funds are limited, narrow, and are in high demand. There is a reason why Senator Cruz – and most other federal legislators who have tried to create Title I portability – only limit them to private schools, not homeschools.

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The attached lengthy document (below) explains how Title I funds can be given to eligible private schools. As you can see, it’s a lengthy, convoluted process, which MUST begin with the private school trying to obtain the funds through “adequate consultation.” The bloggers who are trying to say this bill will allow the feds to control homeschools with federal funds are completely mistaken.

One sentence on page 6 is key: “A unilateral offer of services by an LEA [the local public school] with no opportunity for discussion is not adequate consultation.”

Right now, Title I services are available to private schools through the process I outlined above. Private schools cannot receive actual funds, which is what this Ted Cruz legislation would change.

So just to clarify, private schools (not homeschools classified as private schools under state law) can currently receive certain Title I services for low income and struggling students. They cannot receive actual federal dollars.

Ted Cruz’ bill, if it passed,  would allow private schools that are accredited by the states (and which pass all of the fire code, safety rules, background checks, etc.) to receive certain federal funds as actual dollars.

This should end any fear among the bloggers. The private school has to essentially spend months begging for any federal funds. They’re not going to be surprised by offers for largesse from the local public schools, who are the entities which would decide who will receive these federal Title I dollars, both under current law, and under any changes from bill’s like Senator Cruz’, in the highly unlikely event it became law.

Please see the attached document, and I would recommend that we forward this to anyone who thinks Senator Cruz’ bill will allow homeschoolers to receive federal Title I dollars.

Please let me know if you would like more details about this.

Will Estrada

Director of Federal Relations

Home School Legal Defense Association

Federal Title I guidance for private schools

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