This bill is about addressing an annual screening of the guardians and the environment of homeschooled children.

  • Posted on: 21 February 2019
  • By: Anisa Patel
Legislature: 
Primary Chamber: 
Title: 
Title: AN ACT relating to the guardians of homeschooled children.
Enactment Clause: 
Enactment Clause: Be it enacted by the Youth Model Legislature of the State of New Jersey that the New Jersey Department of Education work alongside with the local boards of education to address an annual screening of the guardians and the environment of homeschooled children.
Sections: 
Section I: Defines “Homeschooling” as educating children at home by their guardians. “Conduct an Inquiry” as asking question of the guardian in order to understand the manner, in which the guardian behaves. “Degree” as some sort of academic rank conferred by a university or college after the completion of at least two years of study. “Trained” as able to thoroughly evaluate the guardians and their residence by noting important behaviors, such as their influences on the children and their environment. “Immunizations” as the process whereby the guardian takes the child to a hospital or health center to acquire a vaccine to prevent or resist an infectious disease. “Curriculum” as the subjects comprising of study created by the Local Board of Education or the state and overlooked by educated administrators in order to validate the proper education for the children. “Negative reinforcements” as unnecessary/ unfair punishments.
Section II: The local Board of Education shall pay for the expenses of hiring and sending an experienced official with a teaching and psychology background to inspect the area where the homeschooling will take place. Their salaries of the inspectors would be around 50,000 per year, depending on the budget of the Local Board of Education and the fines received by the penalties of this bill. The educator must have some sort of degree in education or hire a trained educator. The official will examine the area and conduct an inquiry to assure that the children are in good hands and are in a safe environment. The environment in which the children are educated must include the following criteria of: A clean, well organized area that is safe from machinery or any sharp or dangerous objects that could harm the children. Readily available food and water. An area free from torment or negative reinforcements by peers and educators/ guardians. An area free of the children worrying their education might be jeopardized by the possibility of the guardians taking advantage of the children being home. An area free from inappropriate distractions by peers, electronics, or guardians/ educators.
Section III: This bill will be enacted for all ages of children that are receiving homeschooling. The official must be aware of the children’s access to daily necessities. The educator must also follow the necessary physical examinations and immunizations required by the state of New Jersey. If the examiner does not deem the home or the educator as to be a "good" learning environment the guardian will be penalized by: Facing penalties associated with the violations, such as punishments against child negligence. Not being able to homeschool the child (choosing alternative schooling such as public or private). Paying for reparations/ being fined depending on the violation. Being re-examined weekly until examiner believes that the guardian is completely safe to homeschool the children.
Section IV: This bill will require assessments of the children’s performance to be sent to the local board of education and the guardians must follow a specific curriculum created by the department based on the public school curriculum. The children are encouraged, but not forced to complete standardized tests like the PARCC, PSAT, SAT, ACT. The homeschooling educator must also inform the state when they’re withdrawing the children to homeschool and the reason behind it.
Section V: This bill is an insurance to assure parents are giving some valuable education to their children and not neglecting them or hurting the children’s education. There are certain interpretations of the curriculum, such as: The parents must follow the given curriculum, however they may also add curriculums based on their religious beliefs, but they must be overviewed by the Local board of education. If the guardians would like to make changes to the curriculum that they believe may help their children who have mental or learning disabilities, it must be overviewed by the Local Board of Education.
Section VI: In addition the guardian of the homeschooled child or children must follow the Compulsory Education Law. Responsibility for enforcing the Compulsory Education Law rests with the Local Board of Education. The New Jersey Compulsory Education Law states that every child must attend public or private school, or receive “equivalent instruction elsewhere that at school,” N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A: 38-25. When a school board has reason to believe that a parent or guardian is not complying with the compulsory education law, the local board of education can initiate truancy proceedings in municipal court, requiring parents or legal guardians to document their activities in providing “equivalent instruction”. N.J. Rev. Stat. §§ 18A: 38-27 through 18A: 38-31
Effective Date: 
To avoid disturbing the 2018-2019 school year of the Local Board of Education, so that the evaluation board can be established, and the evaluations can begin this bill shall take effect the start of September in the 2020 year.
Statement of Intent: 
The purpose of this bill is to ensure that children that are being homeschooled are living in a safe environment, having proper educators, and have equal necessities that children in public or private schools require. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are an estimated 40,000-60,000 children currently being homeschooled in New Jersey. This demonstrates the much needed attention that should brought to the laws that need to be in place, regarding homeschooling.
Author's Note: 
It will cost between $717 and $890 to pass this bill and the money to implement this bill will come from the budget of the Local Boards of Education, which will be observed by the New Jersey Department of Education.
Fund Summary: 
The funds necessary for the implementation of this law will come from the budget of the Local Board of Education. Funds generated as a result of this law, such as fines will go to the salaries of the officials and the resources needed to evaluate these homeschools. The implementation of this law will fall under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Department of Education.
Speedpass Consideration: 
No
Secondary Sponsor: