Across the States
Homeschoolers Impress State Senators
The Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association (NCHEA) held its first Legislative Day on January 17, 2007. Nearly 300 homeschoolers arrived at the state capitol in Lincoln from as far as six hours away to meet with their state senator, tour the capitol building, and hear from encouraging speakers. With the objective of developing positive relationships, homeschoolers visited nearly every senator, chatting with them about homeschooling and presenting information packets containing the studies Homeschooling Grows Up and Home Schooling Achievement.
Nebraskans fought challenging battles for homeschooling freedom in the early 1980s; now, they can teach their children at home without undue government interference.
Senators in Nebraska’s unique unicameral legislature were impressed as nearly 150 homeschooled students, ranging in age from 1 to 18, politely sat through speaker after speaker and then demonstrated an articulate awareness of the issues affecting Nebraska citizens, including water usage, stem cell research, and the petition process. After meeting with one homeschool family, Senator Dwite Pedersen decided to cosponsor Legislative Bill 101, aimed at easing administrative burdens on homeschoolers by requiring only one Form A (the notice of intent to homeschool) instead of two.
Senators and legislative aides were impressed with the homeschoolers, with some notable exceptions. One polite but skeptical senator was heard to comment, “I don’t think there is enough oversight of homeschoolers. We just don’t know what they are doing.”
Event speakers included Senator Philip Erdman (homeschool champion and sponsor of L.B. 101), NCHEA President Nick Lenzen, NCHEA Board Member Dave Lostroh, Event Coordinator Deb Badeer, and Home School Legal Defense Association Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly.
This event was an outstanding example of how homeschoolers can get involved in the political process and educate their children in civics and history—if you live in a state that does not yet have a legislative day in place, consider coordinating one. (Nebraska homeschoolers, find out more about NCHEA by visiting www.nchea.org.)
— by Michael P. Donnelly