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2/7/2005 11:34:19 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Montana--We Need Your Attendance: Hearing Date Set for Anti-Homeschool Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 7, 2005


Montana--We Need Your Attendance: Hearing Date Set for Anti-Homeschool
Bill


Dear HSLDA members and friends,

The worst homeschool bill in Montana history is going to be heard in
the Senate Education Committee.

The Senate Education Committee will conduct a hearing on Senate Bill
291 on Monday, February 14, 2005, at 3:00 p.m. in Room 303 of the
Capitol in Helena. We need a large turnout of homeschoolers to
demonstrate that this bill is unacceptable!

Introduced by Senator Don Ryan (D-SD 22), the Chairman of the Senate
Education Committee, this bill represents the greatest threat to
homeschool freedom ever in Montana! Every homeschooling family in
Montana will be affected by this legislation if it is enacted. We must
join together and make an all-out effort to defeat this terrible bill.

There are many restrictions in Senate Bill 291. It would require all
homeschoolers be tested. Stepparents, legal guardians, and parents
with developmentally disabled children would be prohibited from
homeschooling. Additionally, homeschooling parents who possess a high
school diploma or GED would be supervised by a state-certified teacher
and evaluated twice a year.

We are in for a real battle! It is crucial that you contact members of
the Senate Education Committee as well as your own state senator to
express your opposition to this bill. Additionally, we need you to
come to the hearing in Helena on February 14. Even if you don't plan
to speak, your presence will send a powerful message to the Committee.


ACTION REQUESTED:

1. Please contact the members of the Senate Education Committee listed
below and your own state senator with this message:

"Please vote against Senate Bill 291 which would impose oppressive and
unnecessary restrictions on homeschooling families. This bill would
require parents to be monitored in their home by a certified teacher,
prohibit parents from homeschooling children with developmental
disabilities such as Down's syndrome and autism, and add many other
onerous regulations on homeschooling families. Vote for freedom by
voting against Senate Bill 291."

A letter is the most effective means of influencing legislators. If
you choose not to write, please call and e-mail the state senators.
They need to hear from every homeschooling family in Montana.

Senate Education Committee

Don Ryan (D) - Chair
(406) 761-3261
SENATORDONRYAN@MSN.COM

Gregory Barkus (R)
(406) 755-8362
GBARKUS@DADCO.COM

Jerry Black (R)
(406) 434-5363
BLACKS@3RIVERS.NET

Jim Elliot (D)
(406) 8273671
JIM@JIMELLIOTT.ORG

Kim Gillan (D)
(406) 248-6063
GLONKY@AOL.COM

Bob Hawks (D)
(406) 587-1403
Online Message at: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2054

Sam Kitzenberg (R)
(406) 228-8518
SAM@KITZENBERG.NET

Jesse Laslovich (D)
(406) 563-3141
JESSELAZ@YAHOO.COM

Jeff Mangan (D)
(406)452-6966
JMANGAN@MOUNTAINPEAKSINC.COM

Daniel McGee (R)
(406) 628-6534
Online Message at: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2054

Robert Story (R)
(406) 633-2746
Online Message at: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2054

You can call any of the Senators listed above at:
(406) 444-3064 (Montana Legislature)

You can write to any of the Senators listed above at:

Senator (Insert Name)
Montana Senate
P.O. Box 200500
Helena, MT 59620-0500

2. Please forward this E-lert to every homeschooling family you know
who is not a member of HSLDA and urge them to contact the Committee
members and their own state senator.

3. Please attend the hearing on this bill when it comes before the
Senate Education Committee on February 14. Information about
presenting testimony and the current status of proceedings can be
found at www.badbills.com.

To find the name of your state senator, use HSLDA's Legislative
Toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2055. If you do not have
Internet access, call the Montana Legislature at (406) 444-3064.


BACKGROUND

Senate Bill 291 would make the following restrictive changes in the
law:

- Require that parents be (a) licensed to teach in Montana, (b) hold a
bachelor's degree, or (c) have a high school diploma or GED and be
monitored by a state-certified teacher for two years;

- Require homeschool students in grades 4, 8, and 11 to take the same
"nationally standardized examination" required of public school
students;

- Prohibit the homeschooling of children determined to have a
developmental disability, such as autism or Down's syndrome

- Change the definition of "home school" to exclude stepparents and
legal guardians from being able to teach a child at home;

- Require parents to register their children with the local school
district instead of notifying the county superintendent of the child's
enrollment in a homeschool;

- Require the monitor to evaluate and report the child's academic
progress to the school district twice a year;

- Require that students scoring below the 30th percentile on the test
be evaluated for special education services.

Senator Ryan is determined to impose these additional restrictions on
homeschooling families, especially the provisions in the bill making
it illegal to homeschool a child with a developmental disability.
Unfortunately, as Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, he has
much more clout than he did in 2003 when he introduced a bill to
require testing of homeschool students. Thanks to your vocal
opposition, that bill failed, but opposing Senate Bill 291 this year
will be much more difficult. A new political environment has Democrats
in control of both chambers of the Legislature and the Governor's
office.


REASONS WE OPPOSE S.B. 291

- State testing would be imposed on homeschool students for the first
time in the history of homeschooling in Montana

- Only eight states require testing as the only means of evaluating a
home instruction program, and no state requires homeschool students to
be tested on state content standards.

- Studies have shown that increased state oversight of homeschooling
does not result in higher academic achievement.

- Enactment of this legislation may result in a violation of the
federal law if homeschool students are required to take the same tests
by which the state complies with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

- Forty-six states, including Montana, now permit persons other than
biological parents to teach a child at home.

- By requiring homeschool students to register in public school, they
may be considered public school students, thereby entitling the school
district to receive state funds for homeschool students.

- Only North Dakota requires parents with a high school diploma or GED
to be monitored by a state certified teacher, and only nine states
even require that the parent have a high school diploma or GED.

- There is no educational basis for requiring a student scoring below
the 30th percentile on a standardized achievement test to be evaluated
for a learning disability, especially in light of the fact that the
average range is from the 23rd through the 76th percentile.

- Only North Dakota currently prohibits the homeschooling of children
with developmental disabilities, an unconstitutional law violating the
right of parents to direct the education of their children.

This is the worst homeschool bill in the nation. We must fight hard to
defeat bills that would take away the precious freedoms enjoyed by
homeschoolers.

To review a copy of the bill text, go to:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2056

To review a copy of Chris Klicka's memorandum on the No Child Left
Behind Act of 2001, go to:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2057

Please contact these senators today!

Sincerely,


Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel



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-> Is customer service an art or a science?

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teaching your children, while monitoring your state's legislature.
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legislation for you-watching and listening carefully for any
proposed laws that could erode your right to homeschool.
Join HSLDA today-we'll watch out for your future.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1942

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