As I write this in February of 2013, it has been a few years since DCHEA has actually existed as an organization. Back in 2008 the DC homeschool community banded together to oppose unreasonable new regulations being proposed by the State Superintendent of Education. Our voices were certainly heard. A number of us spent many hours with the Superintendent’s staff to work on revisions to the regulation. In the end, we arrived at a regulation that was not ideal, but was far better than the one originally proposed.
In order to provide some legitimacy to our efforts, and to make the process of communication easier, many of us joined together to create the DC Home Educators Association. While there were several other homeschooling groups in the District, none of them reached across the boundaries of location, philosophy, and religion to allow DC homeschoolers to speak with one coherent voice on issues of concern to all of us. DCHEA membership grew to the point where we had around 100 members. I offered to serve as President of the organization and represnted the group at a variety of meetings with the Superintendent’s staff and with the State Board of Education (SBOE).
Unfortunately, once the crisis of the moment was over we did not do a good job of keeping the group together. We all hoped that we wouldn’t need that sort of organization again for some time to come. In a sense, we were right. Things have been pretty quiet on the legal front for several years now. I allowed the DCHEA website and e-mail to lapse and I did not keep membership lists up-to-date.
However, that couldn’t remain the case for long. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is once again writing regulations that relate to homeschoolers. The proposed regulation opens up the possibility that we might be required to keep extensive attendance records, account for a specific number of school days, and account for the total time spent schooling each day. This just makes it clear that we need a permanent organization that, at minimum, watches out for the interests of DC homeschoolers and allows us to quickly be in touch when major issues arise. If you are teaching your child at home in the District, I hope you will join us.
– Ethan Reedy