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1/9/2004 9:41:34 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Jersey--Highly Urgent, Calls and Visits Needed TODAY to stop AB 4033

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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January 9, 2004

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Despite hundreds of concerned phone calls to the sponsors of AB 4033--
a bill that would force New Jersey homeschoolers to submit to the
same statewide assessment tests as public school children and provide
proof of annual medical examinations--Assemblywoman Weinberg intends
to push ahead. She could use a parliamentary maneuver to force the
bill to a vote on Monday without any opportunity for a hearing--thus
avoiding public scrutiny of this reckless bill.

She is highly motivated. She believes the bill is needed to solve a
social evil. She is willing to rob thousands of homeschoolers of
freedom to accomplish it.

This is the gravest threat to homeschool liberty in recent memory, a
threat that could overnight turn New Jersey into one of the most
restrictive homeschool states in the nation. This is our hour of
need. This is a call to action to every freedom-loving New Jersey
homeschool family.

Action Requested

1. TODAY, FRIDAY, call the local district office (not the Trenton
office) of your senator and both of your assemblymen. (See our
legislative toolbox [http://www.hslda.org/toolbox] for the phone
number.) After you briefly explain what the bill is about (remember
that your senator and assemblymen probably know absolutely NOTHING
about the bill), your message can be as simple as: "Please vote
against AB 4033, or any maneuver to bring it to a vote without the
public scrutiny of a hearing. State law already requires
homeschoolers to provide an education equivalent to that provided in
public schools. That is sufficient. State law already requires
parents to provide adequate medical care for their children. Don't
punish thousands of parents for the failure of DYFS to do its job
protecting the Jackson children in Collingswood."

2. If possible, it is even more effective to visit your senator and
both assemblymen personally in their local district office TODAY,
FRIDAY (not in their Trenton office). Today is the last day you will
be able to visit them personally before the possible vote Monday.

3. If you can't visit or call Friday, please visit each local
district office personally on Monday, as early as possible. If you
can't visit on Monday, call.

4. Pass this on to EVERY homeschooler you know. Many do NOT have
email. Ask your neighbors and relatives to visit and call, too. If a
family you call has already gotten this email, encourage them to take
action. It is extremely important for each lawmaker to know this
bill is STRONGLY opposed by his constituents.


Reasons to Oppose AB 4033

1. Federal law prohibits states from requiring that homeschoolers
take the state assessment designed for public school students. New
Jersey would lose federal funds if AB 4033 is enacted, since it
violates this requirement. (Note: Weinberg may change the bill to
solve this problem.)

2. State assessment tests are designed to test material taught in the
public school curriculum. Homeschool children do not use the public
school curriculum. It would be unfair to test them on material not
covered in their individual homeschool programs. (Note: if Weinberg
changes her bill to solve 1, above, it will probably solve this
problem, also.)

3. Studies show that higher regulation--such as mandatory testing--
does not improve the performance of homeschool students.

4. The statute does not say what score is needed to "pass." The
Board of Education may arbitrarily decide what a passing score is,
without taking into account the individual learning characteristics
and abilities of each unique child.

5. The bill would give the Board of Education power to define--and
thus control--home schooling. Giving the State Board of Education
power to regulate homeschooling gives it a blank check to pile rules
and red tape on innocent homeschool families. Regulatory agencies
are notorious bureaucracies. Unlike lawmakers, they frequently
disregard voters' wishes when adopting regulations.

6. Forcing families to prove their children have received a medical
examination is an invitation for the state to interfere in family
medical issues.

7. No other state in the nation requires an annual medical
examination for homeschoolers.

8. This bill is a knee-jerk, reckless reaction to the emotional and
highly publicized case in Collingswood where the Jackson family is
alleged to have starved their children. If true, the blame lies with
DYFS, since they were in the home over 30 times. DYFS should be
punished, not innocent homeschoolers. Adopting a law based on one
extreme case is absurd. There is absolutely no evidence that
homeschool parents are more likely to neglect their children than
anyone else.

9. Multiple studies show that homeschoolers score 20 to 30
percentile points higher than others students. Forcing them to take
annual tests when their performance has already been proven is
senseless.


Thank you for being part of a generation that is willing to stand up
for freedom!

Sincerely,


Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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