Download the 2022 Candidate Survey Report

Our 2022 Candidate Survey Report is live!

Now, more than ever, it is important to know the positions of the candidates wanting to represent the homeschool community. 

Highlights that you might be encouraged by…

Of candidates surveyed:

  • 80% support homeschooling as it is currently regulated
  • 90% are familiar with the differences between homeschooling and virtual public schools
  • 73.3% of candidates believe the responsibility of educating a child lies with its parents

Thank you to the candidates who participated!

2022 Candidate Survey Report

63 pages

Published: October 13, 2022

DONATE NOW to IAHE Action to support ongoing efforts to protect your homeschooling and parental rights.

Target: Homeschoolers

An Arizona ed-tech company and charter school, Colearn Academy, is targeting Indiana homeschoolers for recruitment to a new virtual public school charter.

Seeking a new virtual charter through Education One, the charter authorizer of Trine University, Colearn Academy Indiana (CAI) and its leaders began promoting themselves in the Indiana homeschool community as “a new homeschool option” in February of 2022. A quick look at the program revealed it does not conform to Indiana homeschooling Code. 

Colearn Academy Indiana’s application seeks approval for a public charter, accessing public funds, for private use… in the name of “homeschooling.” 

In spite of the fact that the first sentence of the Education One’s application instructions clearly defines charter schools as public schools, Colearn’s 85-page application uses the word “homeschool” 41 times, attempting to blur the line between public and private education and lure families into a program that makes grand promises without consideration for the exchange of freedom that comes with it.

Homeschools in the state of Indiana are functionally defined in Code as “non-public and non-accredited schools with less than one employee.” This proposed charter program, like all charter schools, will be publicly funded and its students will be public school students-not homeschoolers. Enrolled families trade the freedom afforded to them as homeschoolers in exchange for being held to state standards, participating in mandatory state standardized testing, curriculum approvals, and background checks.

While Colearn parents will receive three hundred dollars per semester to purchase what Colearn deems as “customized educational experiences,” the weight of the program rests with the parent or another designated adult that is hired to work for Colearn as a “program mentor.” Parents, or mentors, are then operating as public school teachers, in their own homes, as employees of Colearn. Due to this close contact with students, “program mentors” must pass a background check.

Parents participating in Colearn’s program will be forced to pass background checks to educate their own children… in their own homes.

Why the smoke and mirrors?

Despite clear definitions and intrusive and distinct program requirements that do not apply to Indiana’s homeschooled students, Colearn’s charter school application repeatedly refers to their students as “homeschoolers.” Why?

Colearn openly advocates for increased regulation of “homeschool” students:

“our target population of ‘curious, engaged families’ is often rather suspect of the utility of state-mandated testing. It is for this reason that many choose to homeschool instead. We know that our mixture of traditional and holistic assessment techniques will allay many of these families’ concerns while providing useful data necessary to ensure that all students are meeting content-area standards. This is good for families and students — they can be certain that their pupils are learning what they need to. It’s good for Indiana — we can be sure that our future citizens have the skills needed to form a strong society.” (pg. 27)

According to Colearn, your children belong to the state-for the “good” of Indiana.

In its application, Colearn Academy further degrades the homeschool community by stating “rural” homeschooling families:

  • have a lack of professional development opportunities for parents instructing their children.
  • have an increased need for resources that they’re unable to find.
  • have difficulty participating in field trips.
  • “have limited access to an abundance of opportunities to connect with peers”

Colearn claims that Marion (Indianapolis), Johnson (Greenwood, Franklin), Hamilton (Carmel), Boone (Zionsville, Whitestown), and Hendricks (Brownsburg, Avon, Plainfield) counties are “rural” communities lacking opportunities. The other counties on the list are Howard (Kokomo), Tippecanoe (West Lafayette), Hancock (Greenfield), Shelby (Shelbyville), Grant (Marion), and Madison (Anderson) Counties are all rural. 

While some of these counties have rural areas, they certainly are not devoid of ample educational resources. Several have access to local colleges such as Purdue University, Anderson University, Franklin College, IU Kokomo, Taylor University, Wabash College, and DePauw University, not to mention the numerous nearby universities located in Marion County. Marion County is the most populous county in the state.

Colearn’s application also highlights how they sought the support of homeschool leaders in Indiana this past summer. Amanda Owens, one of the leaders referenced in CAI’s application, shared the following statement with our IAHE Action team.

It is part of my purpose and scope of practice as a speech language  pathologist to provide education about areas of our field to the general community. Though I collaborated with Colearn Academy to produce a workshop to benefit public school at home parents in their understanding of underlying cognitive skills for the process of learning phonics which is noted in their application, I can no longer support or collaborate with Colearn Academy. Having spent many hours communicating with the team behind Colearn Academy and having read their application to be a charter school here in Indiana I can no longer support or collaborate with Colearn Academy.  Their application makes abundantly clear their view of home school families and the Indiana homeschool community.  As a homeschool graduate and homeschool mom of four, I have significant concerns regarding their intentions here in Indiana.

Amanda Owens, Owner and Speech Language Pathologist at Illuminate Communicate, LLC

Does Colearn understand homeschooling?

Colearn claims that it gives access to programs such as Duolingo, MiAcademy, and Dreambox that are unavailable to homeschoolers. However, each of these resources are available to Indiana homeschoolers without the additional regulation and oversight of a virtual charter school.

Colearn also falsely claims to know the number of homeschooled children in the state of Indiana. This claim comes from census data where families were able to self-identify as homeschoolers. The question in the census did not follow any set definition of state code, so anyone could claim to homeschool even if they were enrolled in online public schools. Indiana is a no-registration state. The fact remains that no one truly knows the number of homeschooled children in Indiana. 

Homeschooling is NOT a generic term. 

Homeschooling has a legal classification in Indiana. It comes with both responsibilities AND freedom. While public education in our country is in drastic need of change, that transformation should never be at the expense of private education and the usurpation of parental rights. Indiana homeschoolers have a vast variety of opportunities and experiences available to them without the loss of freedom. 

Our sister organization IAHE (Indiana Association of Home Educators) has been meeting the needs of Indiana homeschoolers since 1983. The IAHE offers a number of resources to Indiana families including:

And much more!

Will you defend homeschooling in Indiana? 

When the label of homeschooling is used fraudulently, homeschool freedom is in jeopardy. Let Education One and Trine University know that Colearn Academy Indiana’s application is misleading and that homeschooling is not a generic term to be used for corporate profit.

In-person, public testimony has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 20, 2022, 10:30am Eastern Time at the Indianapolis Public Library – Martindale-Brightwood Branch 2434 N. Sherman Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46218.

If you are unable to attend in person, fill out the online public comment form. It will be heard. Your name and contact information will not be shared with Colearn.

You are welcome to use any of the language below to write your own comment.


Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to comment on the Colearn Academy charter application submitted to Education One. As a (current/veteran/retired) homeschooling parent in Indiana, the application misrepresents the homeschool community and available resources to homeschoolers. I appreciate the chance to discuss the homeschool community with whom my family (is/has been) actively engaged. 

For academic resources, we use…. [Share how you procure resources for your children’s academics. This can include online programs, field trips, co-ops, ]

While academics are important, we conscientiously provide our children with social and extracurricular activities through… [Please explain the social and extracurricular activities available to your family.]

Furthermore, my family enjoys the benefits of freedom from government regulation that comes with taking tax-payer funding. Homeschooling in Indiana Code is a non-public, non-accredited school with less than one employee. Colearn is blatant about its recruitment efforts within the homeschool community, preschools, and moms groups, but it is not a program that serves homeschool families. 

Colearn students will be enrolled in a publicly-funded charter and will be taught by a paid employee of Colearn Academy, who may or may not be the parent. The charter application makes clear they are proposing a publicly-funded education program that does not meet the functional definition of homeschooling in Indiana Code. Those participating will no longer operate under homeschool law, but under state regulations as set forth through the Colearn program. 

The list of inaccuracies and lies in the application is numerous. Its very language and model violate several laws including mandatory teacher or adjunct teacher instruction, hours and days of instruction, and incentive laws.

Public education in Indiana and beyond are undergoing significant changes. It’s clear that families need options beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar, but the needed transformation of public education should never be at the expense of private education and the usurpation of parental rights.

Homeschooling is NOT a generic term. Homeschooling has a legal classification in Indiana, and that comes with both responsibilities AND freedom. Homeschools in Indiana are defined as non-public and non-accredited. When out-of-state taxpayer-funded education companies and public charter schools speak for homeschoolers, they are neither non-public nor non-accredited, and homeschool freedom is on the line.

DONATE NOW to IAHE Action to support ongoing efforts to protect your homeschooling and parental rights.

2022 Legislative Wrap-up

The 2022 Indiana General Assembly session has concluded. Daily, the IAHE Action team diligently monitored bills potentially affecting your homeschool freedoms. Here is a look at what occurred during this legislative session! 

The session began with the team on alert for issues that could create unintended consequences for homeschool families. We monitor trends seen in other states such as micropods, government funds for homeschoolers, enrollment incentives, HOPE scholarships, collection of homeschool data, the federal Open Schools Act, social emotional learning and critical race theory requirements for some, and the increase in the number of homeschoolers in the past year.

What the team saw in Indiana this year was reminiscent of the wild west as multiple organizations and education stakeholders fought for new territory in the wake of two years of the pandemic and failing public schools.

This session 849 bills were introduced and our team flagged 43 for monitoring. We are grateful for the many legislators and legislative assistants that worked with us this year to protect homeschool freedom.

The following bills are some of the dozens that our team actively followed throughout the session.

SB 331 & HB 1107 Educational Scholarship Accounts (ESAs)


Senator Brian Buchanan

Approved during the 2021 legislative session, the new ESA program will launch in the fall of 2022. Multiple bills were presented this year in an effort to clarify details of the program’s implementation. Children with special needs, including homeschoolers, will be eligible and enrolled students will then be reclassified as a distinct type of public school student. IAHE and IAHE Action have been actively monitoring the program along with its implementation across the country. Many of our questions from last year remain unanswered. Where is the exact classification of these students in Indiana code and what regulations will apply? What accountability will be put into place and who will issue the student’s diploma? Our goal is to make sure that homeschool freedom is never impacted by the fast-paced expansion of school choice initiatives. 

IAHE reached out to Indiana Educational Savings Account program Executive Director, Jaclyn Guglielmo, to share many of the questions that we have had and that we continue to see within the homeschool community. We are grateful that Ms. Guglielmo shares many of our questions and clarified that INESA enrolled students will no longer be considered homeschoolers. INESA students will be required to have a service plan, will be assigned a student test number, and will be required to take statewide assessments. IAHE offered language to ensure the autonomy of home educators as this program develops. We do expect to see attempts to see ESA expansion in the next session.



Representative Bob Behning

In 2020, Indiana saw its first of many incentive-based, virtual, public school programs targeting Indiana homeschoolers with the promise of government money. While enrolled students are no longer homeschoolers, confusion and misrepresentation of the law continues to surround the program due to the marketing tactics of those involved. HB 1093 was important legislation in Indiana’s defense of public tax dollars. HB 1093 included several things, but we were most concerned with Section 5 pertaining to IC 20-19-2-15. In addition to the current incentive language, Representative Behning added that “a participating entity, an employee of a school or participating entity, or a member or representative of an association affiliated with a school employee organization” could not offer a student or prospective student anything that had monetary value in exchange for “enrolling, re-enrolling, or incentivizing continued attendance of the student.”

While HB 1093 was a bill focused on controlling fraud within the sphere of public education, we know that this fraud is often being perpetrated in the name of “homeschoolers that want public funding.” As always, the IAHE and IAHE Action stand against the use of home education in any fraudulent manner. In February of 2022, members of this particular incentive-based program started rumors that IAHE had a hand in the crafting of HB 1093’s language in spite of us not having a role. While we did monitor the bill closely, IAHE was not involved in lobbying for or against this legislation.



Representative Michelle Davis

Transgender participation in sports was a hot topic this session. Originally, IAHE was concerned for some homeschool sports teams and contacted the representative who introduced the legislation. In the end, the bill language was loosened up and passed without concerns for homeschool sports teams. Gov. Holcomb vetoed the bill on Mar 21, 2022.



Senator Aaron Freeman 

Dyslexia screening was mandatory with this bill and included qualified districts, qualified high schools, and innovative network schools.

  • ‘”Qualified district” refers to a performance qualified school district.’ 
  • “Qualified high school” refers to a performance qualified high school or a high school that receives a waiver under IC 20-24.2-3.
  • “Innovation network school” means a school operated by an innovation network team under this article.
  • “Innovation network team” means the entity or individuals responsible for the operations of an innovation network school within a school corporation.

Homeschools do not meet any of these definitions. 



Senator James Tomes

This bill would have removed certain public libraries from the list of entities eligible for a specified defense to criminal prosecutions alleging the dissemination of materials or performances harmful to minors. The language was pulled from SB 17 when it died and inserted into HB 1134 which also died. This topic has been ongoing for the past two years. Expect to see it again.



Senator Jean Leising

This bill originally included all nonpublic and public schools to require seniors to complete FAFSA. However, in the end the wording was changed so that nonpublic schools (which include homeschoolers) “may” pass along FAFSA info to seniors.


We can always count on bills to lower the compulsory school age and add cursive writing as a required curriculum to be introduced. Bills on these topics were seen in 2022, and both of those bills died once again. Should either of these topics move in the future, IAHE will be opposed and will put out a call-to-action to alert home educators.


IAHE would like to congratulate Senator Dennis Kruse on his retirement from the Indiana Senate. Senator Kruse has been a friend to homeschoolers during his legislative career. Thank you for your service, Senator Kruse!


IAHE would also like to congratulate two homeschool teenagers, Emma Sager and Uriah Bird, for completing the IAHE Government Affairs Internship. Well done, young people! Your hard work this session was appreciated.


The 2022 session revealed the variety of views that legislators have regarding public education. The next Indiana General Assembly will discuss the budget, and therein will discuss education funds following the child. IAHE will be here to monitor proposed legislation to ensure homeschool freedoms are not compromised in any way. 

Wanting to make a difference next session? 

Build your individual relationships with your local senator and representative now so that you can get their attention next session to express your views on legislation as IAHE alerts of any potential threats to homeschool freedoms. (Be advised that over 70,000 emails from constituents to legislators were lost or marked as spam this session. IAHE encourages you to meet your legislators in person as they return home to your area, contact them by phone, send cards, etc in addition to sending emails.)

IAHE Action cannot do what it does without your support. Thank you to those who made donations towards the software program used during the session. Would you consider being a sponsor for the software program subscription for 2023?

DONATE NOW to IAHE Action to support ongoing efforts to protect your homeschooling and parental rights.

Count Day Walkout Plans Leave Homeschoolers as Monkey In the Middle

You may recall the common playground game of Monkey In the Middle. When among good-natured friends, it is an amusing pastime at recess. However, even among friends, it becomes tedious and frustrating when one individual is constantly tasked as the “monkey.” This is the current situation of homeschooling in Indiana. 

Two years ago, before the pandemic, Chalkbeat published an article about public and public charter schools mislabeling dropouts as homeschoolers. Presumably, the motivation for such actions was to protect the interests of the schools by inflating graduation rates and suppressing dropout numbers. Incredulously, the schools and Chalkbeat pointed the finger at the lack of homeschool regulation, despite the fact that the schools were the only ones who knew the students involved. 

 For the duration of the last two legislative sessions, legislators have been working to discourage the “push-out” problem within the schools. Simple logic makes it clear where the abuse of the system lay, and it was not with homeschool families. Kudos to the General Assembly for recognizing it. 

Today, there is an entirely new segment of the population who wish to use our homeschool freedom for political advantage while never intending to homeschool.

The pandemic has revealed serious problems within the education system to parents. Quite rightly, those parents are angry and wish to effect change for their children. Unfortunately, sclerotic administrations and recalcitrant elected officials are shutting down the rising voices of parents and taxpayers. 

School board tone-deafness is leading some parents to contemplate other ways to get administrators’ attentions. Across the state, a recurring theme crops up. Frustrated parents are discussing the idea of withdrawing their children from public school to “homeschool” them for one week in September in an effort to impact their school’s enrollment count for the fall semester. If a child is not enrolled in the public school on September 17, 2021, the school cannot claim the students for the purposes of funding. These same parents would “homeschool” their child(ren) for a week or two and then re-enroll the child(ren) into the same school system. 

This is a problematic plan on a number of fronts. 

IAHE Action encourages any family who earnestly seeks to pursue homeschooling to do so. Our sister organization, IAHE, has been supporting families as they begin their homeschool journey since 1983. Volunteers are standing by to assist you. 

For those looking to provoke change in the public school system through decreased funding, take a moment to contemplate the lasting impact and what that might mean for families who genuinely decide to homeschool because their children need a different environment.

If playing fast and loose with the education of children is not incentive enough, consider what will happen to the students reentering a public school system that has suddenly lost millions of dollars to fund teachers and programs. The schools will be forced to make cuts to extracurriculars, Fine Arts, P.E., librarians, etc. and these will all come at the expense of the students. This impact will hit especially hard on the students with special education needs. 

Stripped of funding, publicly-funded schools will be forced to make changes, but there is no reason to think it will be the changes desired. In an attempt to quell such behavior in the future, increased regulation may be hoisted upon the homeschoolers. The pressure to require heavier regulation and jump through more hoops with government oversight will intensify dramatically thereby depriving families in legitimate need of homeschooling the liberty to do so with the current system. 

Change can happen, but it will not happen overnight

The Framers of our Constitution gave us the ability to hold our government accountable. This leveling agent is called Election Day. Frustrated parents should aim their efforts toward meaningful change by finding candidates who share their concerns, work for those candidates, or even consider running for School Board yourself. 

Consider the kid on the playground continually forced into being the monkey in the middle. It’s not their choice. The bigger kids on either side create the situation. If just one of the bigger kids walked away, there would be no monkey in the middle. 

DONATE NOW to IAHE Action to support ongoing efforts to protect your homeschooling and parental rights.

What about France?

In an attempt to enforce secular values, on July 21, 2021, France instituted severe restrictions on home education. 

“Homeschooling (IEF) will only be authorized for reasons of health, disability, artistic or sports practice, family homelessness, remoteness. of an establishment, and also in the event of a “situation specific to the child motivating the educational project”. A transition period is planned until the 2024-2025 school year.”

The specifics of “authorized reasons” have yet to be determined. 

Parents who do apply to homeschool must submit documentation to their local town hall and the academic director of the national education services are subject to investigation by local Social Services. Those that are declined or found to be homeschooling without approval are subject to jail time of up to 6 months. 

Unlike the American Constitution, the current French Constitution was crafted to be a secular document. Since the time our country adopted the United States Constitution, France has had fifteen different Constitutions with the most recent iteration being adopted in 1958. This 1958 Constitution states, “France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic, guaranteeing that all citizens regardless of their origin, race or religion are treated as equals before the law and respecting all religious beliefs.” Many individuals may prefer the secular language found within the French governing documents; however, if the government is secular, all people derive their rights from the government. In fact, there are legal theorists who argue the law confers parenthood upon people, not God. A government big enough to give parental rights is big enough to take them away. 

In contrast, the American Constitution is built around the framework that God grants individual rights the government cannot, under any circumstances, deprive of a person. Since the writing of the Magna Carta in 1215, children have legally been considered given unto parents, not the State or government. In the Christian worldview, children belong to God and as such cannot be considered “property” in a legal sense. God has appointed parents with the duty to raise, protect, and educate children in trust to Him. It was upon this philosophy that American parental rights have rested for the majority of our Nation’s history. So long as parenthood is understood to be granted from an entity that predates the civil contract of the People, parental rights are secure. 

Unfortunately, courts have been eroding this security for decades. Among the first limitations on parents’ rights was compulsory education. Prior to the introduction of this concept, education was strictly left to the parents to determine. However, once public schools, which were not free to families, began, there have always been advocates for requiring all children to be educated under the government umbrella. In fact, the famous Pierce v. Society of Sisters dashed progressive dreams of all American pupils in government school desks when it ruled parents had a right to place children in private schools. 

This decision rested on the legal philosophy of a parent’s natural right given by God to direct their children. Once natural rights are abandoned, so too are our rights to raise and educate our children as we see fit. Regrettably, recent legal theory is not necessarily parent-friendly as is evidenced by the misguided article, “Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education and Protection” by Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Child Advocacy Program, Elizabeth Bartholet. 

By declaring its government as secular, France has divorced parental rights from natural law. As the new arbiter of rights, the French government can quite easily remove a parent’s right to direct a child’s education as is evidenced by this recent decree. 

While these steps by the French government seem foreign to us, it is an excellent reminder that homeschooling freedom is not guaranteed. French homeschoolers are appalled to watch their freedoms vanish. In Indiana, IAHE Action, along with our sister organization IAHE, is on the front lines of protecting your parental rights and homeschool freedom. You can help keep Indiana families free from potential regulation and government overreach when you donate to support our work.

DONATE NOW to IAHE Action to support ongoing efforts to protect your homeschooling and parental rights.

2021 Legislative Wrap-up

Every year, IAHE Action and our sister organization IAHE, monitor threats to homeschool freedom. There is no better way to describe the challenges of the past year than the opening of Pandora’s Box. While the entire world looked at home education with wide-eyed awe and innocence, the long-term impact on our community and our freedom is yet to be determined. Everyone claimed the label of “homeschooler” in spite of clear legal definitions to the contrary. 

Pandora’s box is an artifact in Greek mythology connected with the myth of Pandora in Hesiod’s Works and Days. It can be best summarized as “a present which seems valuable but which in reality is a curse”.

By the Numbers

The IAHE Action team sorted through 420 Senate and 1605 House bills to identify issues that required monitoring. Eighty-five bills were flagged for further review and approximately 40 bills were followed closely throughout the session. Every amendment to these 40 bills was examined, and every hearing and committee meeting was monitored. The team was on-call and ready to respond should anything arise of concern. Many late nights were spent monitoring committee meetings, shifting meeting calendars, and reading proposed amendments. Our team also spent many hours on Zoom and at the Statehouse with legislators, in the effort of protecting homeschool freedoms. 



In November 2020, our team met with Dr. Jenner from the Governor’s office to discuss numerous concerns that we have repeatedly addressed with the Department of Education in recent years. Shortly following our meeting, Dr. Jenner became Indiana’s first Secretary of Education. Our team has continued to work closely with her and her team over the past couple of months.


While monitoring Indiana State Board of Education meetings, IAHE found that the audit results regarding excessive dropouts being classified as homeschoolers conducted in the summer of 2020 were adjusted during the January 2021 SBOE board meeting. IAHE contacted the SBOE legal counsel for an explanation, resulting in IAHE being invited to have a seat at the table as the issue is yet again addressed this summer as the SBOE tries to hold schools accountable for continually misclassifying dropouts as homeschoolers in order to retain ADM funds.


Rep. Tim Wesco introduced a bill to make nonpublic nonaccredited diplomas legal. IAHE responded immediately to Rep. Wesco stating that nonpublic nonaccredited diplomas are ALREADY legal according to Indiana Code. For years, the IAHE has helped families address issues of diploma discrimination by potential employers, and while we wish these situations didn’t exist at all, a diploma equivalency bill is only beneficial if it doesn’t open the door to potential regulations at the same time. After multiple revisions of language with IAHE, language backed by HSLDA, Rep. Wesco pulled the bill for this session and invited us to work with him this summer on new language. 


Rep. Chris Judy introduced a bill to enable public schools to count time of instruction vs. the current days of instruction. IAHE contacted Rep Judy and explained that this would affect homeschoolers as we are to follow our local school rules on days of instruction. Rep Judy, a homeschooling dad, did not realize this and pulled the bill for the session. 


SB 259, introduced by Sen. David Niezgodski, specifies it is the policy of the state to recognize the parenting rights of a parent regardless of whether the parent has a disability. IAHE concerns themselves with all parental rights bills. Parental rights are the foundation of home education. This bill passed and while home education was not directly mentioned, this bill shores up the rights of parents with disabilities. 


IAHE monitors various bills that continue to pop up every year, such as cursive writing, the start of school year, and compulsory school age. While all of these bills failed again, the IAHE team monitored them all the way to the end to ensure that the bills do not affect homeschoolers. One bill that did not die this year was a bill requiring public schools and accredited private schools to teach civics education. IAHE made sure the bill did not affect home educators and we applaud the legislature for passing this. Home educators have long agreed with the statement Winston Churchill made (paraphrasing George Santayana) when he said “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”


In January, our team began monitoring HB 1531 due to severely problematic language that would codify the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) regulatory policy with regards to exigent circumstances. The original language of the bill would have required home educators to allow DCS agents into our homes because our homes are our schools. Despite voicing our strong concern, the bill passed out of the House in mid-March.

Once the bill moved to the Senate, IAHE Action began working with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Erin Houchin. Senator Houchin acknowledged the problematic nature of the terms used in the bill and agreed to improve it. The intent of the bill was to provide parents, who send their children to brick and mortar schools, more rights than they are currently afforded. Current DCS policy allows workers to show up at schools and request to interview a child without a warrant and school personnel generally allow the interview to occur without objection. As such, the goal is to limit the ability of DCS to demand access to children through the school system. 

In March, IAHE Action issued a call to action to encourage members of the Senate Committee on Family and Children Services to exempt home educators’ homes from the legislation. The quick response of our members meant legislators were open to amending H.B. 1531 and the next day, the Senate committee passed IAHE Action’s proposed exemption without debate. The legislation now states nonpublic nonaccredited schools with less than one (1) employee (a.k.a. homeschools) are exempt from this provision. IAHE Action is grateful to Senator Houchin for recognizing the inequity of the language and working to protect homeschool family homes. 

Unfortunately, the language surrounding exigent circumstances was not fully resolved, and the bill passed out of committee unanimously (9-0), but not without Senator Houchin restating her desire to work to continue to strengthen the language of exigent circumstances. 

IAHE Action, IAHE, and partners such as HSLDA, Parental, and the Indiana Family Institute offered amendments to further improve this legislation. H.B. 1531 passed through the chambers, excluding home educators.


Families should be aware that any participation in school programs and/or services does leave the child open to the DCS questioning in “exigent” circumstances if the child is engaged in school functions. This could include sports, choir, classes, and therapeutic services such as speech therapy. Parents should always be aware of all laws pertaining to children when they are in a school’s care.  


By the end of the session, the topic of expanded funding for education and education scholarship accounts (ESAs) began grabbing headlines across the state. Multiple bills were presented and pushed in the name of homeschooling and school choice, in spite of IAHE’s expressed concern for the impact on the current freedoms we enjoy. Taking advantage of the large numbers of new-to-homeschooling parents who were unprepared to make the sacrifices home education requires, many legislators seized a long-awaited opportunity and pushed for funding to follow the student, creating a long-term shift in the face of a short-term crisis. 

While the passage of Educational Savings Accounts in the Budget Bill is currently restricted to certain children who are not enrolled in public or accredited private schools and who have special needs and whose parents fall in a specific income bracket, we know that this is merely the camel’s nose under the tent, and the body will follow the nose. 

Indiana has a long history of failure and fraudulent activity with funding new virtual programs, and ESA programs have been used across the country to lure home educators back into the system. One legislator even stated that ESA users would no longer be homeschoolers but rather would be public schoolers in a different form. 

No one truly knows what the ESA program will look like and what regulations will be required. However, just as private schools that accept vouchers were promised no additional regulations, we have seen more regulations piled onto them every year since conception. 

Public funding should come with accountability, and educational dollars are no exception. While the details of this expansion will not be finalized for months, or even years, to come, it’s clear that regulations are tied to any acceptance of public funding. Implementation of all bills is left to regulators and bureaucrats that will have full discretion. Indiana’s treasurer will have the complete authority to create and implement at will any rules deemed necessary to operate the program.  Services and vendors will require approval. Children may be required to take state assessments, be subject to school oversight, and may lose certain civil rights in the process. No one is sure what the ESA program will look like, and IAHE strongly cautions families who look into the ESA funds, even to the extent of consulting an attorney for advice.


Homeschool families deserve educational funding or program access because they’ve saved the state money by not enrolling their children in public schools.


Whether they have children or not, all taxpayers contribute funding that is then allocated in the budget by legislators. Public services such as parks, libraries, schools, and fire departments exist for the good of the entire community, and not every person will utilize every service. Making the decision to homeschool does not leave surplus funds in the budget, any more than purchasing books at Amazon means you are entitled to a refund from the local public library. 

Did you know? 

The IAHE and IAHE Action are blessed by the dedication and selfless efforts of our staff and volunteers that work around the clock to monitor threats to our freedom. Your IAHE Membership and donations to IAHE Action support their work and the ministries of the IAHE all year long.

DONATE NOW to IAHE Action to support ongoing efforts to protect your homeschooling and parental rights.

Loving the Vulnerable

Earlier this month, we let you know about SB 428 targeting homeschool families. On Thursday, January 23, 2020, our team visited with state senators and we were assured that this bill was effectively dead thanks to the calls and emails from homeschool families. While we KNOW that until the session is complete there is never a guarantee that any bill is OFFICIALLY dead, we are very grateful that it should not move forward. Thank you for your action!

Special thanks to Senator Greg Walker for being on top of this issue.

Below is our more detailed response to the proposed bill that we shared with them during our visit.


Nothing boils the blood, raises emotion, and brings out the mama and papa bear in most adults like senseless child deaths due to abuse and neglect. Reading the 2018 Annual Report of Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities in Indiana is a sobering and heart-wrenching catalog of tragedy. The lives of each child listed (regardless of the cause of death) were precious to the God who created them and a loss to the world who no longer has them. A further reality is there are hundreds more children who live in abusive and neglectful situations who will never be listed as fatalities, but their lives are just as precious. Preventing child abuse and neglect should be a priority for everyone. 

Prior to our modern era of government agencies taking the lead in child protection, helping vulnerable children was a charitable endeavor. Around the 1800’s, sectarian societies began to establish the “settlement” movement to help provide shelter and basic services for children in need.  Even today, many members in the homeschool community are actively involved with Child Protection Services (CPS) by being foster parents. The broader homeschool movement has largely been a mother’s movement to provide a better education and upbringing for their children (adopted or biological) than can be found in current government schools. We love children. And, not just our own children. We love, adopt, protect and are ready to advocate for all children. 

Many families choose homeschooling after trying the public schools. Sadly, they found their children were not thriving for a variety of reasons. Perhaps their dyslexic child was denied needed services; or, their offspring became the target of schoolyard bullying. In LaPorte, Indiana, parents discovered their public schooled autistic daughter had been strapped down in a homemade restraint chair that caused bruises and abrasions. Yet another child in Gibson County, Indiana was placed multiple times in a 3 foot by 5 foot seclusion room for up to twenty-six minutes, during which the girl sometimes soiled herself. This happened 106 times during 117 days of public school. For many homeschool families, bringing their child home to educate was in an effort to provide the best possible upbringing and education in the safest environment for their unique learner that was missing in the public school. Fortunately, Indiana law recognizes the parent’s primary role in the instruction of their children.

Parental rights have a long history in Western legal theory going back as far as English Common Law. William Blackstone, a famous English lawyer and professor, had a profound impact on American law through our Founders. They were all familiar with his famous work known as “Commentaries”. Robert Sedler, a law professor at Wayne State University, states that Blackstone set forth the parent-child relationship as the “most universal relation in nature.” Bound within this relationship were three duties parents had to their children: maintenance, protection, and education. Education, in particular, was of greatest importance among the three duties according to Blackstone. Sedler goes on to point out that Blackstone felt contemporary countries were wrong to not require an education for children. We see this sentiment echoed throughout our Federal and State education laws. In the Supreme Court decision allowing the existence of private schools in the United States, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, states, “The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”  

Further, the Indiana State Constitution states, “Knowledge and learning, generally diffused throughout a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to encourage by all suitable means, moral, intellectual, scientific, and agricultural improvement.”

This part of the Indiana constitution was further explained in the 1904 case, State v. Peterman which determined the definition of a school in Indiana as “a place where instruction is imparted to the young… We do not think that the number of persons, whether one or many, make a place where instruction is imparted any less or any more a school.” Note, instruction must be taking place. Particularly, instruction equivalent to that given in public schools as later developments showed. If a home cannot be said to be providing an adequate education, it is not a school of any sort. 

In the Peterman case, the father was not educating his child at the time. The truancy officer informed him that it was illegal to not provide an education, so Mr. Peterman found a former school teacher near his home who was willing to educate the child. Not providing a child with an education is against the law, no matter where the child happens to be. There is ample case law governing education and the rights of parents to be fundamentally involved in the “maintenance, protection and education” of their children’s lives. Any attempt to single out parents who are educating their children in the home is discriminatory. We have the same rights as parents who make other choices. We must follow the education laws of the State. The Indiana Code even gives schools a mechanism to ensure education is occurring in the home. Indiana Code 20-33-2-20(c) allows the state superintendent and the local school superintendent to request attendance records for non-public schools. Indiana Code 20-33-2-28(b) declares it is unlawful for a parent to fail, neglect or refuse to send a child to public school “unless the child is being provided with instruction equivalent to that given in public schools.” Unfortunately, we know there are unfit parents who do not honor their duties to their children. The Child Abuse and Fatalities Report is evidence of this fact. 

Consequently, as we consider the underlying assumption of SB 428 targeting homeschool families, it is clear that Senator Leising believes home-based education carries a greater risk for child fatalities. When IAHE reached out to Sen. Leising’s office, we received the following response: “the senator wants more data on where these deaths are occurring”. The facts do not bear out this type of investigation.  In 2018, the Child Abuse and Fatalities Report found that only 6 out of 65 child deaths were school-aged children and none of these cases involved home-based instruction. Of those six deaths, two were murder/suicides. Both cases were of children enrolled in a public school, but were killed by their father who then committed suicide. A third death was a child in the custody of a parent whose family was in the process of having the parent hospitalized for mental illness. Unfortunately for the ten-year-old boy, mental health and protective services moved too slowly to prevent his death. The fourth incident was a 17-year-old who had a history of suicidal thoughts. While tragic, teenage suicide is not unique to any one school setting. The two remaining cases involved drugs. One child found methamphetamine in the possession of her father’s girlfriend and consumed it, which resulted in her death. The other drug-related case involved a parent who was engaged in methamphetamine production. In both cases, the educational setting had nothing to do with their deaths. Instead, the opioid epidemic claimed two innocent victims.

If we look back to the report from 2017, we find a similar pattern.  Only three school-age deaths occurred out of twenty-six. One was an accidental drowning of an autistic child who was visiting family, so they did not have all their normal back-up measures to protect him.  Another was a child who committed suicide by consuming prescription medication belonging to her legal guardian. The third was due to complications from end-stage renal disease. While the data point to many needs in our community, the numbers do not suggest that home-based instruction is in any way related to child fatalities. 

Senator Leising’s bill, SB 428, wants Indiana to identify all children who solely receive home-based instruction. There are a few issues with this philosophically, and even more on a technical level. If investigating the location is the true motivation for this legislation, why is it being targeted at only one demographic? Furthermore, perhaps noting families who have run afoul of truancy laws would also create a full picture. It is well-known that truancy problems are often a warning sign of family instability. Instead, the bill implies that the only families with inherent potential to abuse and neglect children are the ones who home educate. Additionally, 91% of the deaths in 2018 listed in the report are under the compulsory school age, which means this special designation would not apply to the overwhelming majority of the cases. In the 2017 Appendix, 89% of the deaths were of children not yet old enough to be required to attend school. This bill does not address the needs or gain any new information on the demographic most affected by abuse and neglect: families of children under the age of seven. Not only does the bill ignore the needs of the most vulnerable, it encourages sloppy data collection. 

The scientific method sets forth basic elements of quantitative data collection. When taking data, a researcher wants to control for variables so the data collected is reliable. The data collection this bill would yield does not account for a myriad of variables inherent in the term: “home based instruction”. There is no regular definition of “home based instruction” in all of the Indiana Code. The enforcement agency would need to fabricate its own working definition to implement the directive of this legislation. This brings to bear a number of other concerns. As an article in Chalkbeat recently reported, schools are mislabeling dropouts as homeschoolers. Will they be added to the “home based instruction” numbers?

Then, there are families who are not providing any education in the home. They do not impart instruction to the young in the home or anywhere else. According the laws of Indiana, they are not schools; yet, will these truants be categorized under this provision? The fatality report includes accidental deaths as well. Not every case listed in the report was as a result of neglect and  abuse. Based on the brief description in the 2017 report, the autistic child who drowned was in an attentive home who did their best to protect their child. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, a parent’s worst fear became their reality. Because the bill does not adequately control for these and other variations, any data gleaned would not meet basic scientific standards, nor could one make any reliable conclusions about the school-age population. However, it would appear to be sufficient to tie child abuse and neglect suspicions upon homeschoolers through media narrative. As Mark Twain once popularized, there are “lies, [darned] lies and statistics.” The data from this bill could be skewed to claim just about anything so long as it sullies one particular demographic. 

The problems with this bill are numerous. It ignores the fact that many in the homeschool community work closely with CPS to foster children who originally came to them through the system. It fails to recognize many children have been harmed in the school system, so parents have chosen to protect their children by educating them at home. It implies natural parental rights are suspect and worthy of government supervision while creating an inaccurate data collection mechanism that can be easily distorted to take aim at home educating families. Society throughout the ages has recognized the need to protect children. The homeschool community, many of our member families have been formed through the foster care system, is no different.

Children deserve to be loved as well as maintained, protected and educated. However, remedies to this complex problem need to be based in sound data and focused where it can improve the lives of children, not besmirch the homes of loving parents. Homeschooling provides parents with networks, extracurricular activities, and one-on-one time to bond with children to give them the best start. Homeschooling, at its heart, is about loving the vulnerable. 

DONATE NOW to IAHE Action to support ongoing efforts to protect your homeschooling and parental rights.

SB 428: Sen Leising targets homeschool families

This week, Republican Senator Jean Leising introduced SB 428 which specifically targets homeschooling families in Indiana for scrutiny. The bill itself amends the current practice of gathering information on child fatalities involving families of adoptees. With this bill, the Indiana Child Services report would be required to report annually on how many child fatalities “solely received home based instruction”. 

Indiana has no legal standard for “home based instruction” and Indiana code classifies a home school as a non-accredited, nonpublic school. Virtual public school programs and charter schools also occur in the home. Unclear data and reporting will make this bad bill even worse.

Why is Sen. Leising targeting homeschooled families? 

Inclusion of “home based instruction” in reporting of child fatalities is a curious strategy for combating child abuse. No known data indicates homeschooling as a risk factor for child abuse or neglect. If anything, research tends to find homeschool children are safer, better socialized, less likely to engage in risky behavior, and receive better nutrition. 

Studies for decades have identified numerous risk factors for child abuse and neglect, but home education is not a risk factor. In 2016, the Obama Administration formed the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF). The final CECANF report did not find homeschooling to be a risk factor, but a history of Child Protective Services (CPS) contact was the “single strongest predictor of later death from injury.” 

In 2017, Pennsylvania also conducted a statewide study to identify risk factors involved in child fatalities.

In response to Pennsylvania’s Annual Child Protective Services Report (2016), Auditor General Eugene DePasquale issued a special report on the state of the child and the strengths and challenges of PA’s child-welfare system. Despite spending nearly 2 billion dollars to protect children, PA saw 46 children die (and 79 near deaths) due to child abuse. Nearly half of these now deceased children’s families were known to CYS. Auditor DePasquale summarizes the 82 page report in this press release in which he states that “[o]verregulation and a shortage of critical resources have resulted in kids being left in situations that led to their deaths. It’s that simple.”

complied by Dan Beasley, HSLDA attorney

Child abuse is never acceptable and diverting government resources away from children who need it most is irresponsible. Effectively reducing child abuse and fatalities starts with concentrating on documented risk factors. Targeting parents because they educate their children at home is an attack on the family and further seeks to erode parental rights. 

On Thursday, January 16, IAHE Action requested a response from Senator Leising and shared our concerns that this bill unfairly targets homeschool families. This morning, we were told that the Senator just wants to know “where these fatalities are occurring”. But, it’s clear that the proposed bill is not supported by the factual data on abuse, but is a targeted attack on the homeschool community.

Please call the senators on the Family and Children Services Committee to stop this bill. 

While letters and emails are encouraged, please be sure to call for the greatest impact. Placing a phone call is far more effective at sending a message to our elected officials. Keep your comments courteous and polite. 

Senate Family and Children Services Committee:

Sen. Ronald Grooms, Chairman

Sen. Greg Walker, Ranking Majority Member

Republican Senators:

Democrat Senators: 

DONATE NOW to IAHE Action to support ongoing efforts to protect your homeschooling and parental rights.

IAHE Action Responds: Hidden dropouts?

The Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) and IAHE Action are grateful for Chalkbeat’s report on the push-out problem in Indiana schools. The most recent data shows a large escalation of what IAHE Action reported in 2016 during the School to Prison Pipeline hearings.

“Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) and IAHE Action first learned of the public school push-out problem in February 2016. We attended meetings and provided testimony to the Indiana Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights about this issue until the completion of their report in December 2016. In addition, we discussed our concerns with the General Assembly and testified in hearings in the House and in the Senate as legislators attempted to correct this harmful practice that occurs in some schools.”

Debi Ketron, former Director of Government Affairs for IAHE and IAHE Action

With the massive failure of Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, IAHE Action again worked with legislators in the 2019 session to stop homeschooled students from being lumped in with dropouts. In response to our concerns, the legislature introduced S.B. 567 to close the loophole schools were using to disguise their dropout numbers.

“IAHE and IAHE Action sought the strengthening of laws surrounding the actions of these schools. We have reached out to the Indiana Department of Education on this matter and look forward to working with them to ensure students receive the education provided in the Indiana State Constitution.”

Alison Slatter, Senior Policy Analyst, IAHE and IAHE Action

The failure of an individual public school to serve the need of an individual child is not a homeschool issue.

Since 2013, IAHE has received multiple phone calls and emails from families being pushed out by their local school. While most families are withdrawing with a clear intent to homeschool, many families are ill-prepared to take on the full responsibility for their child’s education.

Increasingly, these families are being forced to formalize their intent to homeschool by reporting enrollment on the Indiana Department of Education’s website even though schools can NOT legally require them to do so. When a family refuses to report enrollment, school employees have completed the online enrollment form without the parent’s permission. Reporting enrollment is optional and at the discretion of the parents unless otherwise requested by the state superintendent (IC 20-33-2-21). The law states that only the state superintendent can require individual families, not a class of people, to report enrollment; however, school office personnel are coercing and circumventing parents’ expressed views. Clearly, this is a direct usurpation of parental rights. Knowing this, it is not a large leap to believe schools are now disregarding a parent’s intent to allow a student to dropout and changing their status to one of homeschooling. The article highlights many of the concerns we have had regarding school data. It simply does not match what we know to be true.

In August of 2019, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of families that have been coerced by their local school to report their homeschool’s information on the DOE’s website. Families are being told that they can’t have a copy of their student’s records until this has been completed which is a clear violation of a parent’s legal right under FERPA. We’ve reached out numerous times to the DOE in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Tara Bentley, Executive Director of IAHE and IAHE Action board member

The Chalkbeat article also included quotes by individuals who called Indiana laws on homeschooling “lax”. Hoosiers have multiple laws currently on the books the state can choose to enforce. Indiana Code 20-33-2-20(c) allows the state superintendent and the local school superintendent to request attendance records for non-public schools. Indiana Code 20-33-2-28(b) declares it is unlawful for a parent to fail, neglect or refuse to send a child to public school “unless the child is being provided with instruction equivalent to that given in public schools.” Additionally, if a parent refuses to sign the high school withdrawal form as provided by the law in subsection (b), the student is automatically considered a dropout (IC 20-33-2-28). As you can see, the laws on the books are already sufficient to ensure children in home environments receive appropriate instruction. What is lacking is enforcement.

A student at home without instruction is already breaking the law. Transferring a student from a brick and mortar school to homeschool does not make attendance laws void. They are still truant if they are not following the law. Indiana Code 20-33-2-5 provides that a non-public student must attend school for the same number of days as their local school district. As previously stated, the superintendent can request attendance records from homeschool families. School superintendents have the authority needed to check up on homeschool families leaving their school if they choose to do so. As the article indicates, they simply do not do it. In a peer-reviewed article by Dr. Brian Ray, he examined the research available, which is very limited, on the impact of state regulation on the SAT scores of homeschool students. He found no statistical significance on test scores between states of lower v. higher regulation.  The only thing lax about Indiana laws is the enforcement, not what a parent is obligated to provide.

It is misplaced for any professor or supposed “advocacy” group to suggest that homeschooling needs to be regulated more, when the obvious point is that public schools are failing tens of thousands of children/teens or their public-school parents are failing them. This implication that homeschooling needs more state control is ludicrous.

Over 35 years of research show that (1) homeschoolers do better academically, socio-emotionally, and into adulthood than do public school students (regardless of family income, parent education level, or skin color/ethnicity, and (2) regulating homeschooling more or less is not associated with the success of homeschoolers (see only peer-reviewed research here and here ). 

Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., National Home Education Research Institute

Since 1983, the IAHE has been helping Indiana families learn more about home education. The IAHE invites those who wish to explore parent-led, home-based and privately-funded education to visit our website to learn more about homeschooling. Come see how homeschooling can provide children with an appropriate, quality education.

2019 Legislative Session Wrap-up

IAHE began this legislative session in January by monitoring 69 bills of concern. By mid-session, we were actively monitoring twenty-one bills with the potential to impact homeschool families, three of which were very concerning. While the majority of bills were education issues that we typically monitor every year, the emergence of mental health bills unexpectedly became the hot topic of the session.

Compulsory School Age

SB 318 (Gregory Taylor, Democrat – District 33)

  • Final Status – Bill died

Once again, a Senate bill was introduced that would lower the compulsory school age from seven years of age to five years. While it died again this session, we are well aware that this is an annual battle that we expect to revisit in 2020.

Mandatory Kindergarten

HB 1408 (Tonya Pfaff, Democrat – District 43)

  • Final Status – Bill died

This bill would have made kindergarten mandatory for every student five years of age on August 1 of that school year. It is now dead for this session, but we expect to watch this every year. However, the budget bill has positioned funding for increased kindergarten enrollment, so IAHE Action will be vigilant in watching for this in upcoming sessions.

Graduation Pathways

SB 507 (Jeff Raatz, Republican – District 27)

  • Final Status – Bill died in the House

HB 1002 (Holli Sullivan, Republican – District 78)

  • Final Status – Bill passed

SB 507 would have created a graduation pathways tracking and reporting system within the public school system. Public school graduation legislation is always monitored so that we can ensure homeschoolers are not discriminated against in college admissions. While SB 507 died, HB 1002 passed and does include a study regarding career coaching and graduation pathways for public education which we will diligently monitor next session to be sure homeschoolers have an equal opportunity in higher education.

Data Mining

SB 266 (Michael Crider, Republican – District 28)

  • Final Status – Bill died in the House

SB 507 (Jeff Raatz, Republican – District 27)

  • Final Status – Bill died in the Senate

Both the bill that would have mandated mental health screenings (SB 266), as well as the bill crafting graduation pathways (SB 507), would have created a tracking and reporting system on students. SB 507 would have required the Department of Education to provide data on students to the Commission for Higher Education and the State Board. SB 266 and its cohort, HB 1004, must have also, by their very nature, included the collection and recording of students’ inmost thoughts gathered through the mental health screenings. Data mining is a computer science term that simply involves collecting and storing data and finding new information within that data. These bills would have mined data from and about students, and IAHE is always against data mining due to the school system’s lack of accountability. SB 266 died and HB 1004 had the mental health language removed.

Educational Savings Options

HB 1254 (Jim Lucas, Republican – District 69)

  • Final Status – Bill died in House

HB 1675 (Ryan Lauer, Republican – District 59)

  • Final Status – Bill died in House

These two bills addressed educational savings options, such as annual grants or deductions for education-related expenses, typically to be administered by the state. IAHE Action met with legislators, and we were successful in having our concerns heard that this would be the proverbial foot in the door for increased government regulation of homeschooling.

Bias Crimes

SB 12 (Mike Bohacek, Republican – District 8)

  • Final Status – Bill died in House

SB 198 (Mike Bohacek, Republican – District 8)

  • Final Status – Bill passed

This session began with 13 bias and/or hate crime bills. SB 12 was the first to take off and it provided that a court may consider bias in imposing a criminal sentence. While not necessarily a homeschool issue, this bill had many faces. We monitored it to be able to inform co-ops and other homeschool groups with employees as to whether this may have affected them as well as religious restrictions that may be affected. SB 12 died in the House. SB 198 was similar to SB 12 and while it did pass this year and is now law, it does not list specific groups and is a sentencing bill so it does not have a direct effect on homeschool groups with employees.

Mental Health Screenings

SB 266 (Michael Crider, Republican – District 28)

  • Final Status – Bill died in House

HB 1004 (Wendy McNamara, Republican – District 76)

  • Final Status – Bill passed

HB 1001 (Todd Huston – Republican – District 37)

  • Final Status – Bill passed

HB 1629(Robert Behning – Republican – District 91)

  • Final Status – Bill Passed

SB 325(Michael Crider – Republican – District 28)

  • Final Status – Bill passed

SB 266 emerged from revisions in the Senate as a monstrosity that would mandate local schools to become, in essence, mental health providers. This would have been a huge infringement on parental rights by instituting mental health screenings for ALL children from birth through the age of 22. SB 266 passed the Senate but homeschooling parents along with other like-minded groups were able to sound the alarm about this bill and consequently, it did not receive a hearing in the House.

HB 1004 then began to move through the Senate, where IAHE Action watched to see if it would pick up language from SB 266 which included mental health screenings from birth to age 22. IAHE Action was pleased to see Sen. Dennis Kruse add language protecting parental rights by requiring written parental consent prior to mental health screenings and surveys, even though this was still a public school issue at that point. The bill passed the Senate with those provisions intact. However, Rep. Wendy McNamara, unhappy with the addition of these parental consent language, stripped the bill of mental health language before it passed.

HB 1001 was the biennial budget bill and it did pass with language included that allowed for the Secured School Safety grant funds to be used for school-based mental health services. However, in their final day of the session, the House heard the cries of conservative groups (including YOU!) and allowed SB 1629 to nullify the allowance in HB 1001 of using those funds for mental health services in schools. In addition to this, SB 325 included some parental protections for those using public schools. These protections are not perfect and do not allow for penalties, but all in all IAHE Action is pleased to see that legislators heard the people’s voices. SB 325 may be a springboard for homeschoolers to use in future sessions if parental protections of homeschoolers are infringed upon by extending mental health screenings outside of the public school system as was attempted this session.

READ MORE: What About SB266?

Virtual Public School Acountability

SB 567 – (Sen. Jeff Raatz – Republican – District 27)

  • Final Status – passed

In the final weeks of the session, a bill to create additional oversight for virtual public schools harkened back to old issues when SB 567 would have removed the “homeschool exemption” for students withdrawn to homeschool from the public schools for funding calculations. This change would have lumped these new homeschool students in with dropouts when the school reported back to the state. While it was unclear if there would be any long-term consequences for the individual student, the implications of grouping these two types of students does not reflect the intentions of the parents to continue the child’s education. We worked with Rep. Behning to address our concerns and the “homeschool exemption” was reinstated.

READ MORE: SB 567: Homeschoolers as dropouts?

Thank you for making a difference!

Despite having a Republican supermajority in the legislature, parents cannot let their guards down because new issues are introduced each session, as we saw this year with the issues of mental health and bias crime bills. Your phone calls and emails were heard.

Also this session, IAHE Action had many good discussions with many legislators such as our friends Rep. Robert Behning, Rep. Timothy Wesco, Sen. Dennis Kruse, Sen. Randall Head, Rep. Mike Speedy, Sen. Greg Walker, and Sen. Jeff Raatz. Many of these legislators reached out to us when they found areas of concern. Our goal is always to keep them aware that homeschool parents are here, actively monitoring educational bills as well as parental rights concerns.

We have also been able to introduce IAHE & IAHE Action to several legislators who only had a basic understanding of homeschooling. We were able to work with them and share how IAHE stands for parental rights, homeschool freedom, and religious freedom. We are grateful to those legislators that attended the IAHE Home Educators’ Convention. Every year, we hear from new legislators how vital the convention is to their understanding of the home education community.

Thank you to all of you who stay updated and contact your legislators as needed. YOU make a difference!

DONATE NOW to IAHE Action to support ongoing efforts to protect your homeschooling and parental rights.