Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » PSA: GRACIOUS IN VICTORY?
  • PSA: GRACIOUS IN VICTORY?

    Filed at 1:35 am under by dcobranchi

    I think Shay doesn’t like HSLDA:

    VA: PW County Victory!

    Thanks to local grassroots action, homeschoolers in Prince William County, Virginia are no longer burdened by the onerous “approval before removal” requirement. At tonight’s school board meeting, board members voted 6-2 in favor of removing the offensive language from its current homeschool regulation. This leaves us with a regulation that is fully in line with state law. The coalition is gratified that after 1½ years of bridge building, we won the majority of the board to enthusiastic support.

    One board member, who stated, “We need to get these obstacles out of the way and support our homeschool parents,” even hugged a member of the coalition after the formal session ended. Most other board members’ comments expressed support for the homeschooling community and frustration that the issue has dragged out this long.

    Local homeschoolers and members of the PWCS board were taken by surprise by HSLDA’s sudden and unsolicited involvement in this local issue. However, the national organization’s actions did help to limit the changes to the current regulation solely to removal of the offensive clause, without the addition of any potentially problematic wording.

    HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff actively participated in discussing the legal issues with the coalition and the school division personnel. The organization made an effort to keep communication lines open until this was resolved.

    Before the board meeting commenced, grassroots coalition member Amy Wilson submitted proposed language to the board member who has been the group’s primary contact. This language was crafted by the coalition, with agreement from Mr. Woodruff, as a result of numerous communiqués between the two parties.

    During its Citizen Time slot, the coalition’s spokesperson, Shay Seaborne, expressed appreciation for the board’s willingness to revisit this issue, and for members’ dedication to helping the community. As a token of thanks, Ms. Seaborne presented the board and superintendent with a basket of cookies baked by herself and her children. This brought broad smiles of thanks.

    Mr. Woodruff described HSLDA’s aims, purposes, goals, and statistics, stated that he had worked with Amy Wilson, and then noted that he was available if the school board needed any legal advice in this matter.

    The HSLDA spokesperson claimed that the organization represents more than 200 families in the county. Mr. Woodruff multiplied that by about 2-3 children per family, arriving at 400-600 children represented by the organization. Local homeschoolers were extremely surprised by these numbers, considering that the total number of homeschooled children in the county is approximately 1,100 according to school division figures. Due to their knowledge of the Prince William County homeschool community, coalition members speculate that a not insignificant portion of HSLDA members in the county are underground on the advice of that organization, and therefore, are not represented among the school division’s count.

    Local homeschoolers and Mr. Woodruff are pleased with the wording of the current regulation as amended at this meeting. However, the board plans to revisit the homeschool regulation over the summer, due to concerns expressed by the board attorney.

    Members of the grassroots coalition plan to continue their active involvement in this issue, and look forward to building on the foundation of mutual respect and cooperation that we have established with the school division.

    6 Responses to “PSA: GRACIOUS IN VICTORY?”


    Comment by
    Shay
    June 23rd, 2005
    at 7:30 am

    Hmmmm…I get the feeling that I’m being accused of being ungracious. Gimme a clue why?


    Comment by
    Robin
    June 23rd, 2005
    at 7:58 am

    Not sure of blog rules, but bringing this quote over here since numbers are addressed here, as well and since I began my response off this post:

    >>I read a posting from Scott SOmerville on one of the list-servs. HSLDA represents appximately 1/2 of the home educating families in PWC.

    I wonder if that number includes folks who have RE (Religious Exemption) from compulsory attendance…who therefore do not fall under homeschool laws. From what I understand, HSLDA may not differentiate RE folks from actual homeschoolers?

    Its not like anyone was excluded. Anyone who wanted to work cooperatively was free to join the effort, learn more about it…state an opinion. Anyone could/can participate in the state’s electic list and the electic groups locally…. HSLDA members do. Its not like homeschoolers who are members of HSDLA are/were excluded from anything. There was an open call. Concerned homeschoolers joined.

    The reg effected parents first starting the homeschool process, people who are not technically and officially homeschoolers yet.

    The group formed and worked together with a goal to bridge a relationship with the school board. We now understand where they are coming from…their concerns as best we can. They understand our concerns as best they can. The majority of them feel responsible to us and are taking responsibility for that. This is a good thing. This is something lawyers cant do. It takes the relevant parties (constituent/representative) to make that happen.

    I dont think people understand the nuances of this…it is not and has never been a matter of a hit or miss (outcome) “perfect” legal hit. It has been a matter of building relationship and mutual trust and respect between board members and homeschoolers/constituants..those people to whom the board are responsible.

    The reg(written procedural guidelines/rules) work was/is a work in progress and obviously potentially still is. Consent agenda doesnt put a reg under lock and key forever..either way. The progress that has been made has been based on a genuine desire to extend “good faith” to the homeschooling constituants from an acknowledged “elected” board. These people seemed genuinely concerned for us. That’s a good thing. We may have other potential areas that need clarifying between us in the future.

    It doesnt take a law degree to understand the hs law here. It was never a matter of us understanding what a good reg looks like. There was no need for a knight in shining armour to come and save anyone, esp without broadcasting or letting them know.


    Comment by
    Daryl
    June 23rd, 2005
    at 8:36 am

    Shay,

    Just a bit tongue in cheek. You seemed to be tweaking HSLDA a bit in your press release.

    Local homeschoolers were extremely surprised by these numbers, considering that the total number of homeschooled children in the county is approximately 1,100 according to school division figures.


    Comment by
    Daryl
    June 23rd, 2005
    at 8:39 am

    Religious Exemption folks are not home educators? How so? HSLDA has RE listed as Option 2.


    Comment by
    Robin
    June 23rd, 2005
    at 11:25 am

    Here’s a copy of the law obtained through the Vahomeschoolers site:

    vahome...w.html

    RE excuses one’s child from compulsory attendance. Once RE has been claimed and accepted as based on “bonified religious training or belief”, no yearly NOI and no yearly “evidence of progress” is required. RE is not listed as one of the 4 options for filing under the Home Instruction Statute.


    Comment by
    Shay
    June 23rd, 2005
    at 9:35 pm

    “You seemed to be tweaking HSLDA a bit in your press release.” Tweaking their numbers? Lots of people doubt their numbers. They have a pattern of reporting whatever serves their purpose, whether or not it’s true.