Policy Issue Resolution at Department of Ed

This is a follow-up on the post I recently shared about the Policy Change at the Department of Education. The policy issue has come to a satisfactory resolution! The Department of Education has restored the list of associations published on their website, including the association that had been previously removed.

Satisfactory policy issue resolution with SC Department of Education. We can attribute the victory to ourselves--the homeschoolers of South Carolina. We deserve a round of applause for the way we stood together, communicated and networked effectively. Teamwork is the real win!This post may contain affiliate links to support this blog.

The success can be attributed to ourselves–the homeschoolers of South Carolina. We deserve a round of applause for the way we stood together, communicated and networked effectively. Teamwork is the real win!

Over the past several weeks, I was privy to numerous networking conversations to resolve the policy dispute. We should attribute special recognition to these team players:

1. Martha Freitag and Piedmont Home Educator’s Association (PHEA)

Commendations go to this association director for her courage under fire. On July 12th, Martha Freitag got an email notification from the Department of Education (DOE) that her association had been deemed non-compliant and had been removed from the DOE’s online listing for the year.

The association was not included in this year’s list because her “web site promotes the Home School Resource Center offering courses to home school students that are not taught by their parents.”  Bear in mind, homeschool laws do not mandate the parent to be the only instructors in their homeschools. Homeschoolers often seek to broaden educational experiences with resource centers, learning co-operatives and tutors. The use of resource centers is not among the standards for maintaining legal compliance. Nevertheless, this is the reason that PHEA was deemed non-compliant.

Anxious to have her Association’s status restored, Martha contacted a director’s discussion network and sought legal consultation.  What would happen if the DOE refused to reinstate PHEA? The Department of Ed representative, the legal consult, and one of our state legislators –all reassured Martha that the listing on the DOE website did not negate PHEA’s qualification as a legally compliant Homeschool Association.

Knowing she was actually in compliance with the state’s homeschool law, she determined to continue processing applications for the upcoming school year. When she posted notice on her website, members proceeded to join or renew.  It’s is an important point to note the level of trust for this association’s reputation and the esteem for this director’s integrity. Martha Freitag is a valuable asset to the homeschool community.


2. South Carolina’s Association Directors

Recognition goes to all the Association Directors for their solidarity. Martha’s legal counsel sent an email to the Department of Education requesting that her association’s status be reconsidered. On July 27th, instead of restoring PHEA’s status, the Department of Education issued an email to all associations that the entire listing was removed.

The list had served as a public reference for other agencies to verify which associations were in compliance with the annual standards review as the law mandates. Colleges, trade schools, military recruiters, and the DMV use this listing as a reference. Public and private school officials utilize the list, as well. It’s an important public record, not an advertisement nor an endorsement.

As an association director, myself–I realize that the DOE could have deemed my association or any other association as non-compliant. Almost all associations have members who utilize resource centers. Whether it’s stated on our websites or not, association directors support the right for parents to utilize resource centers, learning co-operatives and tutors. It could have been any association on the hotseat for it. 

A flurry of discussion and inquiries transpired. Every conversation had a common goal–getting PHEA re-established on the list. What would be the best course of action toward getting the list published again? How would current and potential homeschoolers verify compliant associations in the meantime? Ultimately everyone wants to abide by the the law as it is and did not want the policy dispute to escalate any further.

We can attribute the victory to ourselves--the homeschoolers of South Carolina. We deserve a round of applause for the way we stood together, communicated and networked effectively. Teamwork is the real win!

3. South Carolina’s homeschool parents and advocates

Acknowledgments go to all homeschoolers in South Carolina and our local advocates in the legislative and judicial offices. When the announcements about the policy change were publicized on July 28th, the greater homeschool community engaged in meaningful, productive conversations. Conversations began with each other and with our homeschool leaders and representatives–as we advocated for the rights of all South Carolina homeschoolers.

I listen and lurk in a lot of homeschooling forums. I never heard a word of gossip, rumor or slander. I also never saw any hint of apathy–as if the problem was someone else’s. I feel sure that had an action alert been issued, phone calls and emails and letters would have flooded the Department of Education. I was impressed by the collective resolve to “keep calm and homeschool on.”

Meanwhile, Martha’s legal representation had filed a notice of appeal in the South Carolina Administrative Law Court to have PHEA reinstated on the DOE’s list of compliant associations–whether or not the list was published. On August 12th, the Department of Education agreed to review their decision, putting PHEA back on the list and publishing the list to the DOE website again.

It’s been quite a month: From July 12th when the problem started to August 12th when the policy issue has come to a satisfactory resolution! The success can be attributed to ourselves–the homeschoolers of South Carolina. We deserve a round of applause for the way we stood together, communicated and networked effectively. Teamwork is the real win!

Find out more about how 3rd Option Directors are working together for SC homeschoolers:
Your 3rd Option Association Directors are proactively working toward more positive interactions with school officials. Let's shine the light on what's been accomplished.

About Kim Andrysczyk

Homeschool veteran, Association Director, coffee addict, sarcasm expert, and accidental blogger. I’m here to encourage you thru the tough times and inspire you toward excellence. If I can make it, so can you!

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