From the HSLDA E-lert Service:
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Date:
From:
Subject:

4/17/2002 10:53:33 AM
Scott W. Somerville, Esq., Staff Attorney of HSLDA
Ohio--URGENT Calls Needed on H.B. 402

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 17, 2002

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

We need every home schooler and friend of home education to make one
telephone call before noon TODAY.

Ohio House Bill 402, which amends the child labor law, passed the
Senate Insurance, Commerce, and Labor Committee on April 16. The full
Senate will vote on it today. Senator Lynn Wachtmann will offer one
amendment on the Senate floor. Your Senator needs to vote FOR the
Wachtmann amendment.

H.B. 402 was introduced for the purpose of changing the way work
permits for teens are filed with the Ohio Department of Commerce.
However, a dangerous component in the bill may create problems for
home educated students. New language was added authorizing the local
school superintendent to "approve" the student's "annual academic
assessment report" in order to issue the work permit. The Wachtmann
amendment would remove this dangerous language.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Call your own state senator immediately and ask them to vote FOR the
Wachtmann amendment to H.B. 402. You can find your senator's name and
telephone number by using our "legislative toolbox" (visit:
http://www.hslda.org/toolbox). Ask him to vote NO on H.B. 402 if the
amendment is NOT approved. H.B. 402 is good for home schoolers if the
Wachtmann amendment is added, but it is bad for home schoolers
without the Wachtmann amendment.

BACKGROUND:

Melanie Elsey, of Christian Home Educators of Ohio, has been
following H.B. 402 very carefully for a long time. The following
material is taken from her urgent alert of April 16, 2002:

- - - - - - - - - - CHEO Alert - - - - - - - - - -

H.B. 402 was introduced for the purpose of changing the way work
permits for teens are filed with the Ohio Department of Commerce. The
bill will create a standard form that is filed electronically.
References to home educators in the original version of H.B. 402 were
removed by the sponsor of the bill at our request.

However, a dangerous component left in the bill may create problems
for home educated students. New language was added authorizing the
local school superintendent to "approve" the student's "annual
academic assessment report" in order to issue the "age and schooling
certificate" (work permit). This measure could create trouble
especially for families who are already experiencing problems with a
superintendent who does not "agree" with home education.

The amendment proposed by Senator Wachtmann would simply remove
references to the "annual academic assessment report" from section
3301.02(A)(2) and replace it with "notification."

This change would confirm that the student is being home educated as
a reporting mechanism for the purpose of issuing the work permit. It
would appropriately keep the authority for determining if the child
should be given the opportunity to seek employment in the hands of
his parent or legal guardian where it belongs.

It is currently proper proceedure for students who are not enrolled
in the public school to apply for a work permit from the public
school superintendent. New language in H.B. 402 changes this process
for students in nonpublic and community schools (home schoolers
included). A provision is made for the "chief administrative officer"
of the nonpublic or community school to issue the work permit. But
home educated students would still be obligated to seek the
"approval" by the public school superintendent for engaging in an
activity outside the school environment when they are not even
enrolled in the local public school.

Incredibly, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Ohio Department
of Education (ODE) Jeanette Oxender, stated yesterday that the ODE
wants to use this language as an accountability mechnism for home
educators. In other words, it is ODE's clear intent to use this
requirement to trump the right of the parent to make this decision on
behalf of their own child.

Home educators already have an accountability mechanism that is
working very well. When a family submits a renotification, the
assessment report is filed and reviewed at that time. If the family
is allowed to legally proceed with the school year, there should be
no need to give the superintendent additional authority to use the
assessment report to determine if the child should be eligible to
seek employment.

Work permits are not even required in the federal statutes regarding
labor standards for minors. The only consideration deemed important
by the Ohio Department of Commerce is whether or not the student is
employed in circumstances that are appropriate for their age, under
the federal guidelines. The work permit was never designed to be a
hammer for academic accountability.

The issue here is not whether or not home educated students are
academically prepared to be employed. The issue is who should decide.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Our concerns were heightened when Mrs. Oxender specifically stated
that the ODE wants to use this legislation to hold home schoolers
accountable. This clearly suggests that there will be abuses to the
procedure of obtaining a work permit that home educators have not
experienced to date.

Let's not allow the Ohio Department of Education to use an
administrative process to infringe upon the rights of home schooling
families. Call your Senator today and ask him or her to vote for the
Wachtmann amendment to H.B. 402.

Yours in the battle for freedom,

Scott W. Somerville, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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