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6/18/2007 4:12:50 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Louisiana--Calls needed on TOPS Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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June 18, 2007

Louisiana--Calls needed on TOPS Bill

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

As we notified you last week, the TOPS bill, House Bill 634,
unanimously passed the House and was sent to the Senate Education
Committee. We just learned a short time ago that the bill is scheduled
to be heard in the committee on Thursday. Please call the Education
Committee members listed below and urge them to vote in favor of House
Bill 634.

House Bill 634 will make it possible for homeschool students to be
eligible for TOPS aid if they score at least 1 point higher than the
total required for public school students. While the bill would not
completely remove the requirement the homeschool students score higher
to be eligible for the same awards, this bill moves the TOPS
eligibility requirements in the right direction.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Please contact Senate Education Committee members listed below and ask
them to vote in favor of House Bill 634. It is better for you to give
them a message in your own words but it could be something similar to:

"Please vote in favor of House Bill 634. Currently homeschool students
must score 2 points higher than public school students on the ACT in
order to be eligible for TOPS. This is discriminatory and should be
stopped."

Senate Education Committee members

Senator J. Chris Ullo (Chairman)
Phone: (504) 361-6690
Email: websen@legis.state.la.us (general email)

Senator Sharon Weston Broome (Vice-Chairman)
Phone: (225) 359-9352
Email: lasen15@legis.state.la.us

Senator Bill Cassidy
Phone: (225) 925-2522
Email: Lasen16@legis.state.la.us

Senator Joel T. Chaisson, II
Phone: (985) 764-9911
Email: websen@legis.state.la.us (general email)

Senator Willie L. Mount
Phone: (337) 491-2016
Email: lasen27@legis.state.la.us

Senator Julie Quinn
Phone: (504) 219-4640
Email: quinnj@legis.state.la.us

Senator Gerald J. Theunissen
Phone: (337) 824-0376
Email: theunisg@legis.state.la.us

BACKGROUND:

The Louisiana state financial aid program, TOPS, is been open to
homeschool students who have been enrolled in approved home study
program since the end of their 10th grade year. However, in order for
a homeschool graduate to receive any TOPS aid he or she must score at
least 2 points higher on the ACT than the minimum score required for
public school students.

Currently the minimum ACT scores a public school student is required
to receive to be eligible for TOPS are:
(1) For a TOPS-Tech award--17
(2) For an Opportunity Award--20,
(3) For a Performance Award--23,
(4) For an Honors Award--27.

While HSLDA generally opposes bills that would provide government
benefits to homeschoolers we oppose discrimination against
homeschoolers in the area of college entrance and scholarship
opportunities. Since Louisiana already provides TOPS funding to
students in homeschools HSLDA maintains that the 2 point difference
between public school and homeschool students is discriminatory. We
cannot stand by while Louisiana discriminates in such a blatant
manner.

All Louisiana homeschoolers need to stand together for freedom,
whether they choose the private school or approved home study option.
In our opinion, reducing or eliminating the 2 point penalty for
approved home study programs would not create a significant risk of
increased regulation for families who choose the private school
option.

If you are not yet a member of HSLDA and would like to help us fight
for greater parental rights and homeschool freedom in Louisiana please
visit http://www.hslda.org/join/apply.asp .

Thank you for your part in fighting for freedom in Louisiana!


Sincerely,

Thomas J. Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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-> You can only do so much...

No one can be everywhere at once. And you can't be at home,
teaching your children, while monitoring your state's legislature.
Through electronic legislative services, HSLDA is monitoring state
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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