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4/13/2007 3:30:03 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Vermont--Calls Needed to Oppose Prekindergarten Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 13, 2007

Vermont--Calls Needed to Oppose Prekindergarten Bill

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Calls are needed now to stop expansion of government control over
children.

The Senate Education Committee is poised to debate House Bill 534 to
allow unlimited taxpayer dollars for education for 3- and 4-year-olds.
This bill opens the door for lowering the compulsory attendance age.

In addition, it will impose a greater financial burden on Vermont
taxpayers. Most importantly, this bill is potentially harmful to
Vermont children and families.

Experts agree that families are vital to positive childhood
development and that it is better for children to be in a nurturing
family environment than away from their parents in a formal
educational program during their early years. Studies have shown that
not only do children who participate in early childhood educational
programs not score higher on tests than children who begin their
formal education later, but they may also burnout earlier, and show
poor scholastic performance later in life.

It appears that the bill is poised to be rubber-stamped by the Vermont
Legislature. While Home School Legal Defense Association opposes this
type of legislation, Representative Carolyn Branagan has proposed an
amendment that would limit spending and improve the bill fiscally.
However, this amendment was rejected on House floor. Please take a
few moments to consider the actions we've requested below.


ACTION REQUESTED

1) Contact all of the Senate Education Committee members (listed
below), and, in your own words, give them the following message:

"Please oppose the expansion of state-funded prekindergarten programs.
House Bill 534 will cost taxpayers millions of dollars to fund
programs that do not produce long-term positive results and that
create a dangerous framework for lowering the compulsory attendance
age."

You do not need to mention that you are a homeschooler. This issue
affects all families, as all Vermont residents pay taxes that will
increase along with prekindergarten spending. Though it would be best
for the committee to kill the bill, at the very least, they need to
add Representative Branagan's amendment to it.

2) Contact your own Senator as well. You can find your Senator's
contact information at this link
http://www.leg.state.vt.us/legdir/districts.cfm?Body=S (listed by
district). If the bill passes the committee, your Senator will vote
on it.

Senate Committee on Education (call, email, fax, or snail mail)

Senator Donald "Don" Collins of Franklin District (D), Chair
23 Broadway Street, Swanton, VT 05488
Phone: 802-868-7975
Fax: 802-868-9816
Email: dcollins@leg.state.vt.us

Senator Bill Doyle of Washington District (R), Vice-Chair
186 Murray Road, Montpelier, VT 05602
Phone: 802-223-2851
Fax: 802-635-2356
Email: wdoyle@leg.state.vt.us

Senator Harold Giard of Addison District (D)
1786 Crown Point Road , Bridport, VT 05734
Phone: 802-758-2577
Email: hgiard@leg.state.vt.us

Senator Alice Nitka of Windsor District (D), Clerk
P.O. Box 136 , Ludlow, VT 05149
Phone: 802-228-8432
Email: anitka@leg.state.vt.us OR maples@ludl.tds.net

Senator Robert Starr of Essex-Orleans District (D)
958 VT RTE 105W, North Troy, VT 05859
Phone: 802-988-2877
Starr's Transportation
Box 319, North Troy, VT 05859
Work Phone: 802-988-2281

BACKGROUND

Reasons to Oppose Voluntary Universal Preschool Education

1) Education of 4-year-olds in the public schools has been proven
ineffective. To see HSLDA's position paper on Mandatory Kindergarten
and Early Education visit:
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000028.asp

2) Creating a program for pre-schoolers to attend school will likely
lead to compulsory attendance of pre-schoolers in the future.

3) Education of pre-schoolers across the state will raise everyone's
taxes.

4) This will create a "constitutional right" for families to have a
public school education for their pre-schoolers.

5) Prekindergarten educational programs seek to develop young children
in early emotional, social, academic, and moral growth--this is a
function better performed by the parents.

Blessings to you and your family!

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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