AN EXAMINATION OF CONNECTICUT'S REPEATED
REINFORCEMENT OF THE RIGHT OF PARENTS TO HOME EDUCATE
WITHOUT GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE.



   There have been three major attempts to enact regulation of homeschooling in Connecticut in the past fourteen years. Each time, the leaders in the executive and legislative branches of state government have rejected regulation in favor of retaining the existing authority of parents to direct the instruction of their own children.
 

1. In 1989, certain superintendents of public schools sought assistance from the State Department of Education in adopting stronger regulation of homeschooling. The State Department of Education conducted lengthy research on the rights of parents to instruct their children in Connecticut and established an advisory committee composed of homeschoolers and public school officials to develop new regulations. Hundreds of parents from across the state conducted a grassroots campaign to protest against new regulation through letter writing, picketing the state Department of Education, and overflowing State Board of Education meetings to express their dismay. As a result, in 1990, the State Board of Education did not enact any new regulations, but merely adopted a
"Suggested Procedure for Home Instruction."

 

2. Shortly after enacting only the "Suggested Procedure", certain public school superintendents urged their legislators to enact a state statute to impose regulation of homeschooling. Again, hundreds of parents engaged in a grassroots campaign to fight enactment of the legislation. Approximately 500 parents and children attended a public hearing held by the legislature's Education Committee urging defeat of that legislation. The bill was killed in committee.
 

3. In the spring of 2003, again, certain public school superintendents urged their legislators to enact legislation regulating homeschooling. Again, hundreds of parents from across the state engaged in a grassroots campaign to fight enactment of that legislation. At the public hearing held by the legislature's Education Committee on that proposal, over one thousand parents and children attended to urge defeat of the bill. Again, the bill was killed in committee.
 

      On the contrary, the state legislature also has adopted certain other laws in recent years that reinforce the rights of parents to instruct their own children. One statute, CGS 10-184a, established the right of parents of children who homeschool or who attend private school to refuse to accept any special education services provided to students by the public schools. Another statute, CGS 10-184b, requires that the State Commissioner of Education shall not waive the authority of parents to instruct their own children.
 

    Homeschooling in Connecticut is thriving. Students are succeeding. The state legislature and the executive branch repeatedly have studied the issues involved and repeatedly have decided that no new regulation is required.