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

8/28/2003 5:11:37 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Vermont--Challenging Times in Vermont

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Every fall, HSLDA sees a massive increase in the number of negative
contacts with school officials, but Vermont has set a record this
year for frequent, serious contacts. Hearings have been called on
multiple member families, and reports have come in from around the
state about similar problems for families that do not belong to
HSLDA. There are a number of different factors contributing to the
confusion, but that does not change the bottom line: this is a time
for Vermont homeschoolers to stand firm.

Homeschoolers in Maine are familiar with the kind of conflict that
Vermont is facing right now. When the Maine legislature tried to make
homeschoolers take that state's new "high stakes testing,"
homeschoolers objected. The Department of Education was drawn into
the controversy, and faced significant scrutiny of their past
practices with homeschoolers. Instead of advocating greater liberties
for homeschoolers, officials at the Maine Department of Education
tried to "tighten up" on all existing regulations, because of
criticisms that they had been "lax" or "inconsistent." Maine
homeschoolers were not seeking "consistency," but freedom, so the new
procedures at the Department of Education aroused considerable
friction. Eventually, Maine homeschoolers were able to influence new
legislation that ended the "approval" system under which Maine had
previously operated. When that new legislation went into effect,
peace returned to Maine.

We urge all Vermont homeschoolers to keep calm and remain courteous,
but keep up their courage as we work through these issues.

HSLDA is committed to working with Vermont's statewide homeschool
organizations to enact improved homeschool legislation. We urge our
member families to contact their local legislators to find out
whether they would support improvements in Vermont's homeschool law.
You can determine who your legislator is by using HSLDA's Legislative
Toolbox at www.hslda.org/toolbox. According to the Vermont NEA, Vermont's
legislature has been infiltrated by an "anti-public schools network"
that has reached "the highest circles of Vermont political and
communications power." (www.vtnea.org/network.htm) While we take the
NEA's opinions with a grain of salt, Vermont homeschoolers should not
hesitate to take advantage of any political opportunities that may
exist. By working hard and working together, all Vermont
homeschoolers could enjoy increased freedoms by next year.

Very truly yours,

Scott W. Somerville, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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