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12/5/2005 9:31:28 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Pennsylvania -- Calls Needed to Three Senators

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Pennsylvania -- Calls Needed to Three Senators

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

I want to advise you of a new development that will increase the
likelihood that the Pennsylvania Senate will pass the language of the
homeschool bill already approved by the House of Representatives,
House Bill 280 with Amendment A03503. Senator Patrick Browne, a
Republican member of the Senate Education Committee, has introduced
Senate Bill 1023, a companion bill to House Bill 280 containing the
same proposed changes to the homeschool law. We are advised by
legislative staff that filing the companion bill by a Republican was
necessary for there to be any chance that the Republican-controlled
Senate Education Committee would act on this legislation. House Bill
280's primary sponsor is a Democrat.

Another thing we have learned is that because the public school
interests are opposed to any legislation reducing the amount of state
oversight over homeschooling, the Chairman of the Senate Education
Committee will not even schedule a hearing on Senate Bill 1023 without
pressure from the Senate leadership. That's why we must concentrate
our lobbying efforts at this time on the Senate leadership. Your calls
to Senate leaders are absolutely essential to getting the homeschool
bill through the Senate Education Committee.

The Senate will be in session over the next two weeks. Please call now
while the key senators are in Harrisburg before the Christmas and New
Year's recess.


Action Requested:

(1) Please call or write (both would be better) the following key
senators: Senator Robert Jubelirer, President Pro Tempore; Senator
David Brightbill, Majority Leader; and Senator James Rhoades, Chairman
of the Senate Education Committee; with this message:
"Please support Senate Bill 1023 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."

By the way, December 5 is Senator Rhoades' birthday, so you might wish
him a happy birthday as well.

The contact information for these senators is as follows:
Senator Robert Jubelirer
President Pro Tempore
Senate Box 203030
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3030
(717) 787-5490
rjubelirer@pasen.gov

Senator David Brightbill
Majority Leader
Senate Box 203048
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3048
(717) 787-5708
dbrightbill@pasen.gov

Senator James Rhoades
Chairman, Senate Education Committee
Senate Box 203029
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3029
(717) 787-2637
jrhoades@pasen.gov

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 these key senators as
well.

Reasons to Support Senate Bill 1023:
Senate Bill 1023 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;

>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/SB1023P1387.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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-> There may be no such thing as a free lunch...

...but there is a way to get a free membership! Through our
Three-for-Free program, you can get a free one-year renewal for
simply referring three of your homeschooling friends into
membership with HSLDA.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=2078

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