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11/8/2005 5:05:17 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Pennsylvania--Homeschool Bill Passes House

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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November 8, 2005


Pennsylvania--Homeschool Bill Passes House


Dear HSLDA members and friends:


I have some very good news for you! The provisions of House Bill 505
removing public school superintendents from evaluating home education
programs passed the House of Representatives last week. Through the
skillful legislative work of the bill's primary sponsor,
Representative Pat Fleagle, the language of House Bill 505 was added
as an amendment to House Bill 280 which passed the full House on
November 1. This means that the bill we now support is House Bill 280
with Amendment A03503.

House Bill 280 with Amendment A03503 has been referred to the Senate
Education Committee. Your calls and letters are needed to let senators
know that you want this bill to become law. Your contact with senators
is especially important because House Bill 280 is a Democrat-sponsored
bill in a Republican-controlled committee.


Action Requested:

(1) Please call or write (both would be better) your state senator and
at least one member of the Senate Education Committee with this
message:
"Please support House Bill 280 with Amendment A03503, which would
improve the homeschool law of Pennsylvania. It would remove the
unnecessary double evaluation of home education programs and
streamline administrative procedures for both school districts and
parents."

It is very important that you ask the senator to vote for the bill
WITH the amendment. Otherwise, the amendment could be stripped from
the bill.

The members of the Senate Education Committee and their contact
information is as follows:

James Rhoades, (R) Chair
Senate Box 203029
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3029
(717) 787-2637
jrhoades@pasen.gov

Jane M. Earll, (R) Vice Chair
Senate Box 203049
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3049
(717) 787-8927
jearll@pasen.gov

Patrick Browne, (R)
460 Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17210
(717) 787-1349
pbrowne@pasen.gov

Jeffrey Piccola, (R)
Senate Box 203015
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3015
(717) 787-6801
jpiccola@pasen.gov

Dominic Pileggi, (R)
Senate Box 203009
Harrisburg, PA 17120
(717) 787-4712
dpileggi@pasen.gov

Robert Tomlinson, (R)
Senate Box 203006
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3006
(717) 787-5072
rtomlinson@pasen.gov

Raphael Musto, (D) Minority Chair
Senate Box 203014
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3014
(717) 787-7105
musto@pasenate.com

Vincent J. Hughes, (D)
Senate Box 203007
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3007
(717) 787-7112
hughes@pasenate.com

Gerald LaValle, (D)
Senate Box 203047
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3047
(717) 787-3076
lavalle@pasenate.com

Constance Williams, (D)
Senate Box 203017
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3017
(717) 787-5544
chwilliams@pasenate.com

To find the name and contact information for your state senator use
HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox , or you
can call the office of the Chief Clerk of the Senate at (717)
787-7163.


(2) Please forward this email to other homeschooling families who are
not members of HSLDA and ask them to contact their state senator and a
member of the Senate Education Committee as well.

Reasons to Support House Bill 280 with Amendment A03503:

House Bill 280 would do the following:

-Eliminate the public school superintendent's review of portfolios;

-Require superintendents to accept an evaluator's determination that
an appropriate education is occurring in the home education program;

-Provide for an administrative procedure to resolve any claim by the
superintendent that the parent has failed to comply with any aspect of
the homeschool law; and

-Ensure that the home education program may continue during the time
of any appeal of an adverse ruling by a hearing examiner.

To review a copy of the bill text, go to

http://www2.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/BI/BT/2005/0/HB0280P3031.pdf


Background:

In 1998 the General Assembly of Pennsylvania enacted a new home
education statute, Section 13-1327.1 of the Pennsylvania Statutes
Annotated. This legislation was prompted by a federal court decision
that same year declaring the compulsory school attendance statute
unconstitutional for vagueness. HSLDA represented the plaintiff in
that case challenging the constitutionality of the state law. The
compulsory attendance law, Section. 13-1327, permitted home schooling
by a "properly qualified" private tutor if the instruction was
"satisfactory" to the local public school superintendent. With 501
school districts in Pennsylvania, each with its own standards for who
was properly qualified to teach and what was considered satisfactory
instruction, there was no objective standard parents could rely upon
in complying with state law.

By enacting the home education statute in 1988, the General Assembly
addressed the vagueness issues of the compulsory attendance statute,
but Pennsylvania also became one of the most highly regulated states
in the nation. Only New York, which also adopted its home instruction
law in 1988, has more state oversight of home education than
Pennsylvania.

After 17 years of demonstrating success under an unnecessarily
restrictive law, home educators in Pennsylvania have earned the right
to less state oversight.

If you have any questions or concerns about what this bill would do,
please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information.


Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel





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