Take Action on the 2022 Alerts Below!

We’ll keep you updated with timely information concerning your rights. We will post any information pertaining to home education during the Oklahoma legislative session.

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2022 Legislative Session – Bills To Watch

Senate Bill 1647- Oklahoma Empowerment Act 

Another UPDATE: 1647 was defeated by a very narrow margin. We will remain vigilant because similar bills are sure to come in the near future.

UPDATE ON SB1647: 1647 was passed by the Education Committee and the Appropriations Committee. Contact your own senator NOW, and ask him or her to vote NO when the bill hits the Senate floor TOMORROW 

Homeschool Oklahoma OPPOSES SB1647. This bill would allow the parent of any state resident who is eligible to enroll in public school to apply to the Office of the State Treasurer for an Oklahoma Empowerment Account. As long as the parent signs an agreement to:

  • 1) use the account only for qualified expenses for an eligible student for at least the subjects of Reading, English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies;
  • 2) not enroll the student in a public school (including charter or magnet school);
  • 3) comply with all rules and requirements established by the State Treasurer. 

This bill would allow any parent to sign up for an Empowerment Account and then use the money to pay for any qualified expense. The list is long enough to include anything you might use to educate a child and is not limited to private schools. It would undoubtedly include parents who are currently educating their children privately at home. Besides the fact that this could become a state-funded homeschool (and private school) fund, there is no separate compulsory attendance exception for this option, so it would have to be categorized as “other means of education.”

This bill could harm homeschooling families because of the regulations that legislators could add in the future if this bill passes. Also, the big question about this bill is: how will the state hold the participating families accountable? Would regulations be passed to allow the state to determine what will be taught since the state is funding the child’s education? If passed, this bill will open up more regulation in future legislation. The state will realize that there will be too many questionable uses of the money, and the state will have to regulate how the money will be spent. This bill passed through its committee 8-7 and is on its way to the next step in the process. Today, families need to notify their senators by phone or email, expressing how they feel about this bill.

Senate Bill 1509- Homeschool Student Extracurricular Activities Bill 

Homeschool Oklahoma OPPOSES SB 1509. This bill would require every school district board of education to adopt a policy that allows homeschool students to participate in their extracurricular activities (sports, band, choir). This will enable the school to evaluate the students to see if they meet the standards set by the district. To participate, the student would have to:

  • 1) register with their resident school district by July 1;
  • 2) pay any participation/activity fee the same as any other student;
  • 3) follow the same behavior, responsibility, performance, and code of conduct required by other students;
  • 4) follow the rules of any school athletic association that governs that activity;
  • 5) submit to any physical exams or drug testing required of all students;
  • 6) adhere to the same academic standards as other participants in the district. 

While the student participates in the activities, they have to demonstrate their academic standard by a method of evaluation agreed upon by the parent and the school’s superintendent. It could include a review of the student’s work by a certified teacher, a nationally recognized standardized test, or evaluation of grades earned through correspondence courses.

This bill also prohibits a public school or district from being a member of an athletic association that does not allow a homeschool student to participate in that activity.

It directly applies to homeschool students and would require all districts to implement a policy to allow their participation. The primary concern is that the superintendent would mandate the review of the student’s work by the certified teacher (or any of the other evaluation options) before giving that student the green light to participate. This will allow the school to evaluate the students to see if they meet the standards set by the district, giving more opportunities for regulation. Families need to notify their senators by phone or email, expressing how they feel about this bill.

Senate Bill 1471

Homeschool Oklahoma APPROVES SB 1471. This tax credit bill would help families with educational expenses. This help would come as an income tax credit that would have minimal impact on state funds. Since this is a tax credit, there are no strings attached. This bill would benefit homeschooling families in the state. This tax credit bill is outstanding because it does what 1647 wants to do but with no strings attached. It would be like other child credits on your income tax form. Since the bill is a tax credit, there are no strings because it’s already the parents’ money. The government gives the child credit to qualified parents, and the government cannot tell the parents how to spend that money. It would be the same with SB1471. We approve of this bill, and families need to tell their senators why it is worth passing. Families need to notify their senators by phone or email, expressing how they feel about this bill.

ACT NOW!

Contact your state legislators by phone and email to share your opposition or approval to these bills. If you don’t know who they are, find out here! Politely tell them what you oppose or approve, and concisely include why you feel that way.