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Date:
From:
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3/29/2012 10:40:28 AM
Scott Woodruff--HSLDA
Maryland--Help Needed Urgently on Compulsory Attendance, Homeschool Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Maryland--Help Needed Urgently on
Compulsory Attendance, Homeschool Bill

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

A legislative emergency is underway in Annapolis. Two harmful bills
are moving quickly, and we urgently request your help to stop them.

Both bills will not only raise the ending age of compulsory school
attendance from 16 to 18, but will give the State Board of Education
unprecedented, breathtaking "blank check" authority over
homeschoolers.

Right now, a state statute (Education 7-301) gives everyone the right
to homeschool if they provide regular, thorough instruction in the
usual subjects. The homeschool regulations are below the statute in
authority. The homeschool regulations implement the statute's
regular, thorough instruction provisions, but cannot change the
statute or conflict with it.

But SB 362 and HB 373 raises homeschool regulations to the same level
as the statute. This means homeschool regulations would no longer be
limited to merely implementing regular, thorough instruction, but they
could go far beyond. (The bills do this by amending the current
statute to say that homeschoolers must provide regular, thorough
instruction AND ALSO comply with all new or existing regulations.)

So the Board would be able to adopt new regulations that have nothing
to do with regular, thorough instruction. For example, under regular,
thorough instruction, it does not matter who provides the instruction.
But if SB 362 or HB 373 pass, the Board could adopt a regulation
saying parents must personally provide 80% of instruction (some
localities have previously tried to mandate this).

Or the Board could mandate that homeschool children perform community
service, as public school students now must (which has nothing to do
with regular, thorough instruction). Or they could give each
individual school system power to regulate homeschooling, or demand
standardized testing of every child every year. And so on.

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Please immediately call your Maryland state delegate and ask him or
her to vote "no" on both these bills. Your message can be as simple
as, "Please vote NO on SB 362 and HB 373. Parents, not the
government, should decide whether school or some other path is best
for 16- and 17-year-olds. Please do not change the homeschool
statute." HB 373 could emerge from committee today and go quickly to
the House floor.

2. Please attend the hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee on
SB 362 now scheduled for Wednesday, April 4 at 1 p.m. SB 362 has
already passed the Senate. A big turnout from homeschool families
will show the committee members that this is a high-priority issue.
The hearing location will be Room 130, House Office Building,
Annapolis . If you wish to sign up to speak against SB 362, arrive
half an hour early and put your name on the sign-up sheet.

3. Please pass this on to other homeschoolers.

Use our Legislative Toolbox and type in your ZIP Code to find your
delegate and his contact information:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=14242

BACKGROUND

There has been confusion about whether homeschoolers are "exempted"
from the bills. This confusion arises from the fact that the bills
rearrange the location of the regular, thorough instruction language
in the statute. Now, the law says children must attend public school
"unless" they receive regular, thorough instruction. These bills
remove the word "unless" and then shift the regular, thorough
instruction language to the list of categories of children who are not
required to attend public school.

The removal of the word "unless" and rearrangement of language neither
helps nor hurts homeschoolers. It doesn't exempt us from educating our
kids during the same ages as everyone else. It's just an alternate
way of saying what we already know--that homeschool kids aren't
required to attend public school.

The bills raise the compulsory age in two steps. The age would rise
first from 16 to 17, then the next year it would rise to 18.

There is an exemption in the bills for students having a "Maryland
high school diploma," but this would almost certainly not apply to
homeschoolers.

Thank you for standing with HSLDA for liberty!

Sincerely,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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-> Will your children's inheritance retain its value?

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it must always be guarded. Membership with HSLDA is an investment
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families wanting to teach their children at home.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1944

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