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5/3/2004 5:48:33 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Jersey--Urgent:Calls Needed Immediately to Keep Homeschooling Free

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 3, 2004


New Jersey--Urgent:Calls Needed Immediately to Keep Homeschooling
Free


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

On Thursday, May 6, at 2:00 p.m., a bill that would devastate
homeschooling in New Jersey will have a hearing in the Assembly
Education Committee.

We need your calls now and your attendance at the committee hearing
this Thursday!

Bill A1918 would force homeschool children to take the same
curriculum-based statewide assessments that public school children
take, give private medical information to local public school
systems, and give the New Jersey Board of Education virtually
unlimited power to impose additional restrictions.

The public hearing on the bill will be in room 16 on the 4th floor of
the Statehouse Annex in Trenton.


Action Requested:

1. Please call your Assemblypersons immediately if they are listed
below and ask them to oppose A1918. Your message can be as simple as,

"Please oppose A1918. This bill violates federal law and will damage
the fundamental parental rights thousands of law abiding families who
homeschool in New Jersey. The law already requires parents to give
their children adequate medical care. The law already requires
homeschool parents to give their children an education equivalent to
what they would receive in public school. That is sufficient. Don't
punish thousands of parents for the failure of the Department of
Youth and Family Services to protect the Jackson children in
Collingswood."

If neither of your Assemblypersons are listed below, call the Chair
of the Committee, Craig A. Stanley, and give him the same message.

2. Come to Trenton and attend the hearing on Thursday. We need an
overwhelming turnout to persuade this committee that the bill should
die. They need to see that homeschoolers care about their freedom.
Parking may be a challenge, so plan ahead.

I plan to testify in opposition to the bill.

3. Call other homeschoolers and encourage them to help us fight this
battle. Every homeschooler is needed.

Assembly Education Committee Contact Information:

Chairman Craig A. Stanley 973-399-1000

Patrick J. Diegnan 908-757-1677

David R. Mayer 609-298-6250

Robert Lewis Morgan 732-741-5599

Nellie Pou 973-247-1555

Joseph Vas 732-324-4955

Joan M. Voss 201-346-6400

David W. Wolfe 732-840-9028


Background:

Reasons to Oppose A1918:

1. Federal law prohibits states from requiring that homeschoolers
take a state assessment designed for public school students. New
Jersey would lose millions of dollars of federal funds if this bill
is enacted, since it violates this requirement.

2. State assessments 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 they do not
study.

3. Statistics show that higher regulation--such as mandatory testing--
does not help homeschool students. Studies show that homeschoolers
score 20 to 30 percentile points higher than others students. Forcing
them to take tests when their performance has already been proven is
senseless.

4. It would give the Board of Education power to define-and thus
entirely control--homeschooling. Parents could be transformed
overnight into criminal suspects by Board regulations that define
"homeschooling" in a way that prohibits them from doing what have
been doing successfully for years.

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

6. Neither public nor private school students are required to receive
annual medical examinations.

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

8. This bill is a knee-jerk reaction to the highly publicized case in
Collingswood where the Jackson family allegedly starved their
children. If true, the blame lies with DYFS. They were in the
family's home over 30 times and never noticed a nutrition problem.
DYFS should be punished, not homeschoolers. There is absolutely no
evidence that homeschool parents are more likely to neglect their
children than anyone else.

Thank you for rising to the challenge to defend homeschool freedom.


Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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