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Home-schooled students in Utah would not have to follow the state's curriculum standards or days-in-school requirement under SB39, endorsed Thursday by the House Education Committee.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, already passed the full Senate.
The measure would require parents to file an affidavit notifying a district of their intent to educate children at home only once. At present, home-schooling parents have to file such notice every year.
The bill would allow a parent to decide which grade the student enters if he or she later begins attending public school. After a month, a teacher could challenge that placement and if the parent did not agree, the child would be tested to determine the right grade.
"We need to recognize that parents have the fundamental liberty interest in their children's education … We ought to give parents complete and total control," Osmond said.
Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, said that as a teacher she has seen troubling results for some home-schooled children.
It also seems wrong to lower the standards when schools are demanding higher performance from other students and teachers, she said. Poulson was among four lawmakers to unsuccessfully oppose endorsing the bill.
Committee Chairman Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, said home-schooled children are eventually held to standards when they apply to college.
"If a parent wants to take a child out and thinks he can do it better, so be it," Gibson said.