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4/5/2012 12:20:36 PM
Scott Woodruff--HSLDA
Maryland: Update: No More Calls on SB 362--Pugh Accepts Important Amendment

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Update: No More Calls on SB 362; Pugh Accepts Important Amendment But
Dodges Huge Cost Issue

Dear Maryland HSLDA Members and Friends,

Yesterday I attended the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on SB
362, which would raise the age at which compulsory attendance ends in
Maryland from the 16th to the 18th birthday. My primary purpose in
attending was to support amending SB 362 with the same amendment
already added to the house companion bill, HB 373.

I was very happy when the bill's sponsor, Senator Pugh, announced that
she would agree to allow SB 362 to be amended. I expect the Committee
to vote on adding the amendment soon (if they have not already). HSLDA
strongly supports this amendment because it protects the current legal
framework of homeschooling (explained in more detail in "Background"
below).

ACTION REQUESTED

We request that families do NOT make any further phone calls or send
emails.

Some lawmakers are already confused about the bills and the
amendments. More calls and emails might just confuse them more!
Representatives of HSLDA, Maryland Association of Christian Home
Educators, and Maryland Hand-in-Hand Homeschool will continue to work
hard one-on-one with lawmakers to clearly present our message of
support for the amendment but opposition to the bills.

BACKGROUND

The amendment that we want to keep on HB 373 (and add to SB 362) is
known as Amendment Number HB0373/335261/01.

There was no doubt that the House Ways and Means Committee was going
to amend the bill with or without Pugh's agreement. But her agreement
means that it is likely that this important amendment will stay on the
bill and protect the legal framework for homeschooling if it moves
forward in the legislative process.

The amendment states that homeschool students who have completed a
program of regular, thorough instruction will be exempt from
compulsory attendance (i.e., no more filing, portfolio reviews, etc.).
With this important provision added, homeschool graduates can move on
with other things in their lives after graduation, just the same as
graduates of public and private schools.

The amendment also removes a threat to the legal framework of
homeschooling itself. The threat came about because HB 373 and SB 362
as originally drafted, needlessly and dangerously inserted the
homeschool regulations (by reference) into the homeschool statute
itself. This was a violation of the normal and proper relationship
between statutes and regulations. It might even have allowed the State
Board of Education to create new homeschool regulations beyond the
boundaries of the regular, thorough instruction provision in the
statute.

The amendment protects the normal relationship between statutes and
regulations, protects the long-standing legal framework for
homeschooling, and thus protects our freedom. The amendment
accomplishes this by removing all references to home schooling and
homeschool regulations from the statute. This is a good thing!

One delegate at the hearing questioned whether the state could afford
the many millions of dollars that raising the age of compulsory
attendance to 18 will cost. It is expected to cost $53 million in
2018, for example (per the official fiscal note on the bill). And that
figure includes only state money--not the additional expenses
localities will incur.

Sen. Pugh said that the state would actually save money because fewer
young people would end up in jail, etc. However, the fiscal note says
that the savings "cannot be reliably estimated." The Senator's belief
that an appreciable amount of money will be saved is mere speculation.
But the high costs are not in doubt.

The Task Force to Study Raising the Compulsory Public School Age to 18
recommended AGAINST raising the compulsory attendance age because of
cost and other factors.

Thank you for standing with HSLDA for freedom in Maryland!

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.
Senior Counsel
Home School Legal Defense Association

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-> How many acorns can a chipmunk hold in its cheeks?

We don't know! But we do know that gathering little by little
enables ordinary folks to prepare for hard times. That principle
is behind HSLDA's payment plan: by paying a month at a time,
families can receive an annual HSLDA membership. Meanwhile, they
can feel secure as they homeschool and focus on other priorities
-- their children. Don't go nuts trying to pay for membership all
at
once--choose our convenient payment plan.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1937

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