20 September, 2020

Education Officials Listen, Make Online Form Safer

With now not a lot of time to spare, country schooling officers currently corrected a new online homeschool notification form—we now feel that we will claim the form safe and suitable to apply.

Since mid-June, I labored with leaders from Christian Association of Parent Educators (CAPE-NM) to advise officials at the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) what turned into incorrect with their online notification database and how to make it comply with homeschool law. We additionally pointed out worries that the database, as originally launched, did not correctly safeguard privacy.

I am glad to record that all these issues had been handled—and that modifications have been finished before the August 1 cut-off date for families to post their homeschool notices.

In fact, Dave Jones of CAPE-NM said the country homeschool organization now recommends that homeschool families use the net form.
Good News

I’m sure the news got here as a comfort to many. Dave advised me he’d heard from a number of dad and mom who held off submitting their homeschool notices until they discovered the online form was safe.

“A lot of households desired to recognize what our hints have been, and were willing to wait,” he said.

This outcome reflects definitely on all of us involved. It suggests that appropriate matters can show up whilst advocacy businesses be a part of with households to get up for their rights beneath the regulation. It additionally suggests that officers can be receptive to alternate.

Dave jogged my memory that this represents a turnaround from a 12 months ago, while PED officials appeared reluctant to address homeschoolers’ worries about a brand new requirement to sign “statements of know-how.” (It become ultimately rescinded.)

“Last yr, it didn’t seem like we had any conversation,” Dave recalled. This year, PED officials “were greater than willing to hear our issues and meet our requests. We had a fantastic relationship.”
Real Problems

There were critical reasons for problem.

To begin with, PED officers attempted to make the usage of the online notification shape a demand.

It’s proper that New Mexico regulation mandates that the PED provide a shape that helps families notify officials that they intend to homeschool. But not anything within the law says households need to use the PED’s on-line form.

In reality, the use of the web form may additionally pose a hardship for some families because they do now not have clean get entry to to the internet. Others might not feel relaxed posting statistics about their kids on-line because of safety concerns.

Privacy became a fair larger difficulty when it changed into hinted that the PED changed into interested by assigning every homeschool student a completely unique identification variety in the Student-Teacher Accountability Reporting System, which was designed for public schools. Fortunately, the PED backed off this part of the venture.

Choices Matter

Now that it’s far corrected, the online shape does provide households options for complying with homeschool regulation.

They can create an account at the PED website and put up their homeschool to be aware through the net. Or they could print a paper reproduction of the awareness shape, fill it out via hand and publish it through the mail.

Families who do post they’re observe by mail have to maintain a replica or consider sending it licensed with a go back receipt, as it seems that the PED will not be offering a written confirmation.

Again, we recognize the willingness of the PED to make adjustments in a timely way. It possibly helped that, no longer too lengthy ago, officers witnessed the lengths to which homeschoolers will visit protect their freedoms.

About this time in 2018, CAPE-NM and I gathered with homeschoolers from throughout the kingdom to rally outside PED places of work in Santa Fe to protest the requirement that parents signal “statements of knowledge” so that it will be formally stated as homeschoolers.

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