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2/20/2008 4:42:09 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Nebraska--More Action Needed to Oppose L.B. 1141

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 20, 2008

Nebraska--More Action Needed to Oppose L.B. 1141

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

If you have not yet contacted your state senator or the Nebraska
Education Committee, we ask that you do so before next week's hearing
on L.B. 1141. Although Governor Dave Heineman has promised to veto
L.B. 1141 if it reaches his desk, the Senate can override a governor's
veto. Thus, it is essential that you communicate to your legislators
your opposition to L.B. 1141.

At this time, it appears that L.B. 1141 will be voted out of the
Education Committee and debated in the full Senate. HSLDA is working
with NCHEA (Nebraska Christian Home Educator's Association) to defeat
this bill, and we need your help!

ACTION REQUESTED

Contact the Education Committee members who have not committed to vote
against L.B. 1141. Respectfully ask the senator to oppose L.B. 1141.
In your own words, you can tell the senator or his staff that:

"Homeschooling in Nebraska is working fine, and no new laws or
regulations are needed. Contrary to what some public officials have
said, the state already has all the tools needed to ensure that
children in Nebraska are being educated. Nebraska is one of 22 states
that have low regulation. The current approach has worked well for
24 years and there is no credible evidence that would suggest further
regulation is needed."

Request the senator's response in writing. If a senator writes or
tells you that he will vote against L.B. 1141, please send a copy of
that letter or email to NCHEA at nchea@nchea.net.

Contact your senator (find your senator using HSLDA's Legislative
Toolbox at http://www.hslda.org ) and do the same as above.
Twenty-five votes are required to defeat the legislation in the
Unicameral. So far only 20 of 49 senators have indicated that they
will vote against L.B. 1141: Ray Aguilar, Carroll Burling, Tom
Carlson, Mark Christiansen, Abbie Cornett, Patrick Engel, Phillip
Erdman, Deb Fischer, Mike Friend, Tony Fulton, Tim Gay, Lavon
Heidemann, Russ Karpisek, Gail Kopplin, Scott Lautenbaugh, Dwite
Peterson, Pete Pirsch, Arnie Stuthman, John Synowiecki, and Norm
Wallman.

Plan to attend the Education Committee's hearing on L.B. 1141 on
Tuesday, February 26, 2008. (HSLDA Attorney Mike Donnelly will be
there to testify.) There will be a limited amount of time for each
side to present its position on the bill. Each individual testifying
may be limited to 3-5 minutes, and not everyone who attends will be
able to testify. However, even if you do not testify against the
bill, your presence will demonstrate your opposition.

The Education Committee's contact information is as follows:

Senator Ron Raikes, Chair
Phone: (402) 471-2731
Email: rraikes@leg.ne.gov

Senator Gail Kopplin, Vice Chair (opposes the bill)
Phone: (402) 471-2627
Email: gkopplin@leg.ne.gov

Senator Greg L. Adams
Phone: (402) 471-2756
Email: gadams@leg.ne.gov

Senator Brad Ashford
Phone: (402) 471-2622
Email: bashford@leg.ne.gov

Senator Bill Avery
Phone: (402) 471-2633
Email: bavery@leg.ne.gov

Senator Carroll Burling (opposes the bill)
Phone: (402) 471-2712
Email: cburling@leg.ne.gov

Senator Gwen Howard
Phone: (402) 471-2723
Email: ghoward@leg.ne.gov

Senator Joel T. Johnson
Phone: (402) 471-2726
Email: jjohnson@leg.ne.gov

For more information about this bill visit HSLDA's Nebraska page at
http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/NE/default.asp . You can also visit
NCHEA's website at www.nchea.org .

BACKGROUND

Consider the following messages in speaking with your senator:

The state's interest in the education of children has been satisfied
by homeschooling under Rules 12 and 13 for the last 24 years. The
current law does not need to be fixed. Annual assessments are not
needed, but even if they were, the proposed approach in L.B. 1141
would be overly burdensome, unfair and difficult to implement.

The idea that the state needs to know "what is going on" in
homeschools demonstrates the wrong premise. The United States Supreme
Court in Parham v. JR wrote that "fit parents are presumed to be doing
what is in the best interests of their children." Nebraska state
government should encourage homeschoolers--they not only save the
state a lot of money, but they have also consistently demonstrated
that they are doing a good job.

As a homeschooling parent, and I know many others like me, I take my
role as instructor seriously. I work hard to ensure that my children
learn the skills and knowledge necessary to become productive members
of society. Furthermore, statistics back up that parent-instructors
are doing their job--national studies have shown that homeschoolers
perform better than public and private school students on national
standardized tests.

Nebraska homeschools create productive and literate members of society
who go to college, serve in the military, start companies, work, raise
families and do a host of other things that add to society.

While some have expressed a concern about "neglected children slipping
through the cracks," there is no credible evidence suggesting that the
proposed assessments are needed or would prevent this from occurring.
The state already has all the tools it needs to identify and serve the
needs of neglected children, even if these children somehow be in an
exempt school setting.

If this bill passes, you will:

Have to submit to discretionary approval by the Commissioner of
Education.
> Gives the Department of Education ("NDE") approval authority over
whether homeschoolers may file under Rule 12 or 13 and over their
curriculum;

Have to submit to intrusive and ill-conceived annual assessments.
> Requires an annual in person evaluation, at the parents' expense,
but by a person of the Commissioner's choosing and at a time and place
determined by the NDE. Parents may be allowed to observe as long as
they are "under the supervision of the Commissioner or designated
staff person."

> To avoid the NDE's required annual in person evaluation, a
homeschooling parent would have to submit extensive documentation to a
certified and approved teacher, including a complete written record of
all the educational activities a child has been involved in and a
portfolio of the student's work, and the results of any assessments
conducted. And even then, the teacher's positive report would merely
create a "presumption" that adequate progress was being made.

> Requires that assessments be conducted against standards created and
approved by the NDE and based on age/grade levels of their peers in
public schools;

Have to submit detailed attendance records every year.
> Requires homeschoolers to submit attendance records annually to the
Nebraska Department of Education ("NDE");

Have to test before you start.
> Requires first time homeschooled students to take an NDE-approved
test for "baseline educational data" (presumably this test is to be
used by the NDE to determine whether or not "progress has been
achieved");

Give the Commissioner authority to hold your kids hostage in public
schools at his discretion.
> Require homeschooled children to attend an accredited public or
private school if they do not make adequate progress as defined by the
NDE and would prevent the child from being homeschooled until the NDE
approves.

For research in support of homeschooling go to
http://www.hslda.org/research

Thank you for your work to preserve homeschooling freedom in Nebraska!


Very truly yours,

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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-> Extreme makeovers are for extreme circumstances...

Most homeschools don't need an extreme makeover, but there is
something to be said for attention to detail and recognition of
accomplishments. Watch the media and you'll soon see that not
everyone wants home educators and homeschooling to look good.
HSLDA works hard to shed light on the good work of home educators
so it's obvious that we don't need someone "making-over" our
homeschools. Join HSLDA and help us show the world that we're fine
as we are . . . thank you!

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1943

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