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10/21/2002 3:22:21 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
DC Committee Votes Tomorrow on Sending 3-year-olds to School

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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October 21, 2002


DC COMMITTEE TO VOTE TOMORROW---TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22---ON COMPULSORY
ATTENDANCE FOR 3 YEAR OLDS

Dear DC Members and Friends:

Tomorrow the District of Columbia Council's Committee on Education,
Libraries and Recreation is scheduled to vote on Bill 14-261, which
would strip parents of their right to decide whether their 3 year old
should begin school. It would make all 3 year olds, and even some 2
year olds, subject to compulsory education. See our previous e-lerts
at http://www.hslda.org/legislation/state/dc/2001/dcb14-
261/default.asp .

ACTION REQUESTED

Today or early tomorrow, please call every member of the Committee on
Education, Libraries and Recreation. Your message may be as simple as
the following:

"Please vote against Bill 14-261. Do not take away parents' right to
decide what is best for their 3 and 4 year olds."

Remember that this bill would affect all children, so it is not
important to identify yourself as a homeschooler. Please pass this
information along to all other parents you believe would be
interested in this issue. Committee members and their telephone
numbers are listed below.

COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, LIBRARIES AND RECREATION

Kevin Chavous, Chairperson 202-724-8068
Sharon Ambrose 202-724-8072
Adrian Fenty 202-724-8052
Phil Mendelson 202-724-8064
Carol Schwartz 202-724-8105


BACKGROUND

The bill was scheduled for a committee hearing on May 20, 2002. HSLDA
Attorney Scott Woodruff and local homeschoolers arrived at the
hearing room only to find that it had been cancelled on extremely
short notice. We were told that it would be rescheduled and that we
would be notified.

Rather than rescheduling a hearing, the committee instead scheduled a
"round table." This is very similar to a hearing, but the
requirements for notifying the public are somewhat different.

In violation of the rules of the District of Columbia, the round
table was held without any notice whatsoever to the public. Not
surprisingly, we understand there was no testimony at the round table
in opposition to the bill. District of Columbia rules allow written
testimony to be submitted within a certain time period after a round
table. We submitted lengthy written testimony within the appropriate
time period, but we were deprived of our right to present testimony
through witnesses. HSLDA has written a letter of protest to all
members of the committee.

REASONS TO OPPOSE BILL 14-261

1. This radical change to DC's compulsory attendance law is
unprecedented and unconstitutional. For an outline of constitutional
issues, see our memorandum to the DC Council.
[http://www.hslda.org/legislation/state/dc/2001/dcb14-261/DC14-
261memo.pdf]
2. Children under 5 need parenting, not schooling.
3. Many social pathologies are linked to parents spending little time
with their children.
4. DC already has the lowest compulsory attendance age in the country
and one of the worst academic records.
5. The question is not whether some parents might wish to send their
2 and 3 year olds to school; the question is whether ALL parents
should be forced to send ALL children age 3 and up to school.
6. Many studies show that there is no benefit or that children are
actually harmed when they are forced into school before they are
ready. (Mandatory Kindergarten Is Unnecessary
[http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000028.asp]). Parents know
best when a child is ready.

Thank you for letting your voice be heard in defense of the right of
parents to decide whether or not their 3 year old should be subject
to compulsory education.

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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