Know the Law

Position paper: CHAP on the Law

Dear Concerned Individual:

We’ve only just begun to fight for parental rights in education. The past few years have seen the homeschoolers change the question from “how do we comply” to “Shouldn’t the parent determine their child’s educational curriculum.” This position paper will seek to address the possibility of getting a legislative answer to our (homeschoolers) question.

Before addressing that, however, we would like to state the following: CHAP is, in reality, a board currently composed of volunteer couples who share a burden to be of help to all homeschoolers, especially Christian homeschoolers. The total homeschool experience of our current board is over 70 years. All of us have lived under the current law, and have found it “doable” though we have often chaffed under some of its stipulations. We say this, so that you may gain a sense of where we come from as we approach this topic.

At the present time there is no bill in the Pennsylvania legislature to decrease the legislative burden for homeschoolers.We are working with other homeschooling groups and legislators to get a new bill introduced.

We have tentatively discussed the following course of action:
1) Seek to maintain open communication with other homeschooling leaders throughout the state.
2) Maintain communication with key legislators who have expressed interest in this matter, and look to them to provide guidance regarding the methods of changing the homeschool law
3) Begin preparing a quick response network via e-mail, web sites, and faxes, to disseminate and gather information quickly as may be needed.
4) Prepare articles that address some of the issues that are being debated for the purpose of educating the homeschooling community as to what the issues are, and what the ramifications of them may be if they were placed into law.
5) In all things, seek to walk humbly and prayerfully in dependence upon the Lord for His leadership.

Having said all of the above, we would like to now state CHAP’s position on the law.

A CHAP Position Paper on Changing the Homeschooling Law
Christian Homeschool Association of PA
12/02/02

In the time since our current homeschool law was passed, several important things have occurred. First, in two large research studies, it has been shown that homeschoolers are very effective educators. It appears that the desire to have one’s children succeed far outweighs the desire to cut corners in their education. This research shows that the provisions in the state homeschool law which are aimed at compliance issues are superfluous.
In states where the law requires only notification that the parents have decided to homeschool, students excel both academically and socially. In fact, there is no difference to be found in states with strict reporting requirements and states with almost no reporting requirements. (two independent studies, Ray, 1997: Rudner, 1999).
A second change is the increasing acceptance of homeschoolers in the marketplace and in colleges. As a result of this second change, there is less need for a “certified diploma” than originally expected.
Because God has given the responsibility of education to parents in general and due to the above mentioned evidence, we believe the requirements in the current Pennsylvania law for reporting of tests, evaluations, making portfolios and filing comprehensive affidavits and teaching plans constitute usurpation of parental rights and authority. We propose that the new law be simple, recognizing the fact that no one is more interested in their children’s education than the parents. The law should read something like this: “Any parent or legal guardian may homeschool by giving the local school superintendent written notice.”
We will be able to argue that the whole issue is freedom to exercise our rights. We can and will occupy the moral high ground.

In summary, and taking all of the above items into account, it would seem the time for extraordinary action by the homeschoolers is now. It is with prayer that we will stay on our knees and discern His will in the days ahead.


Please feel free to contact all or each of us through our web page: www.chaponline.com
Or our office at (717) 838-0980 or chap@chaponline.com.