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2/2/2006 1:33:49 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Pennsylvania--Calls Needed to Senator Rhoades

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 2, 2006

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Senate Bill 1023, the bill removing superintendents from evaluating
home education programs, is stalled in the Senate Education Committee.
Your calls to the Chairman of the Committee are needed to get this
bill moving. Unless the Senate Education Committee passes this bill
and sends it to the full Senate for a vote, it will die for lack of
action.

The Chairman of the Senate Education Committee is Senator James
Rhoades. The information we have is that he is the key legislator who
is holding up passage of Senate Bill 1023. He needs to hear from you!

The companion bill to Senate Bill 1023 has already passed the full
House of Representatives, so favorable action by the Senate on Senate
Bill 1023 is all that is needed to get this legislation through the
Pennsylvania General Assembly.

This bill would totally eliminate a superintendent's authority to
review your portfolios and evaluate the progress of your home
education program. Please contact Senator Rhoades today!

Action Requested:

(1) Please call or write (both would be better) 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."

The contact information for Senator Rhoades is as follows:

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

(2) Please forward this email to other homeschooling families who are
not members of HSLDA and ask them to contact Senator Rhoades 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; 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/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 homeschooling 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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Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733
Email: info@hslda.org
Web: http://www.hslda.org

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