Herndon seeks comment on constitutional amendment

Homeschool mapThe next legislative session is just four weeks away, and Idaho Senator Scott Herndon, District 1, is seeking public comment on a constitutional amendment he plans to propose this session to protect the rights of Idahoans to homeschool their children, including the right to cause that child to be privately educated or to privately home educate that child free from any government interference or funding.

“We have a lot of parents who homeschool their children in Boundary and Bonner Counties,” he wrote in an email sent to constituents today. “While we have excellent laws regarding homeschooling in Idaho, and those laws are one of the reasons I moved here 20 years ago, none of the homeschooling laws are in the actual Idaho Constitution. The Idaho Constitution is the best place to put the principles in order to preserve them for future generations.”

Therefore, he said, he is working with Homeschool Idaho and will be bringing the following amendment to the Idaho Constitution, which may change a little, but is the essence of the language to be proposed:

Article IX, Section 9. COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE AT SCHOOLS.

As currently reads: “The legislature may require by law that every child shall attend the public schools of the state, throughout the period between the ages of six and eighteen years, unless educated by other means, as provided by law.”

As proposed: The legislature may require by law that every child shall attend the public schools of the state, throughout the period between the ages of six and eighteen years, unless educated by other means, as provided by law. Custodial parents or guardians of any minor child in Idaho shall have the fundamental right to make all decisions concerning the education of that child, including the right to cause that child to be privately educated or to privately home educate that child free from any government interference or funding.

The amendment would require a two-thirds supermajority vote of approval in both the Idaho Senate and House, and then a simple majority vote in the November 2024 general election to be adopted.

Homeschool Idaho is a state-wide organization that supports parent-led, parent-funded education, free from government oversight that formed in 2018 with the merger of the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators, founded in 1992, and Christian Homeschoolers of Idaho State, founded in 1998. Homeschool Idaho is a 501(c)3 organization with a volunteer board of homeschool parents.

Idaho is one of the least restrictive states in the nation for homeschooling with no notice requirements and few regulations. According to the Idaho Education Department, there are no certification requirements or other qualifications for teaching children at home, no reports of grades or attendance.

To let him know your thoughts, email scott@herndonforidaho.com.

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