January 8, 2019
Testimony in Support of HB 1052
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, my name is Linda Thorson. I am a former educator of 26 years and am the State Director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) of North Dakota. I am here today on behalf of our North Dakota members in support of HB 1052.
As our state’s largest public policy women’s organization, CWA of North Dakota has seven core issues, education being one of them. We strongly support the provisions in HB 1052.
HB 1052 meets the goal of providing quality of education to a level of excellence in academic achievement, without governmental mandates that are detrimental to parental rights.
This bill addresses Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s opinion of the current home-based education laws. In 2007, he stated, “… only a parent, qualified under N.D.C.C. §§ 15.1-23-03 and 15.1-23-06, may provide home-based instruction to that parent’s child. With respect to home-based instruction, North Dakota law does not permit a parent to supervise the education of that parent’s child by any other individual.”
HB 1052 clarifies definitions in the North Dakota Century Code relating to the home education to allow not only a child’s parent but also a child’s legal guardian to provide home school supervision. Statute changes also clarify the term “supervise” to mean that the parent/legal guardian determines the methods, manner, and delivery of instruction employed. This permits a parent in a supervisory role to use resources such as an outside expert, tutor, or other collaborative learning situations just as occurs in other types of school classroom settings (i.e. private and public schools). Parents and legal guardians acting as supervisors will thereby be able to effectively use multiple outside resources to enhance the student’s learning environment.
CWA of North Dakota members are in full support of home school education.
Again, the goal of providing quality of education to a level of excellence in academic achievement, without governmental mandates that are detrimental to parental rights, is achieved in HB 1052. It gives needed clarity to home-based education services while ensuring parental rights to parents and legal guardians in home school settings.
As the state director for CWA of North Dakota, I urge a “do pass” on HB 1052.