Date:  
From:  
Subject:  
4/2/01 4:50:05 PM
Christopher J. Klicka, Esq., Senior Counsel of HSLDA
Michigan--ACTION ALERT: MANDATORY TESTING BILL

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From the HSLDA@Capitol Hill E-lert Service...
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April 2, 2001

Dear Michigan Members and Friends,

On March 27, 2001, state Representative Michael Switalski and eight
other cosponsors introduced a bill that would burden home school
families with a heavy and unfair testing requirement. House Bill 4521
would require each Michigan home school child to take the Michigan
Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test for each subject area in
which MEAP is administered to public school students in the child's
grade level. Additionally, home school parents would have to submit
their child's completed test to the Department of the Treasury.

This is similar to a measure proposed just a few weeks ago in the
Maine Senate. Maine home schoolers loudly objected to the state's
trying to force their children to take the public school tests. By
clearly conveying this opposition through an outpouring of phone
calls and packing out a legislative hearing room, home schoolers got
their message across to their legislators and the bill was killed by
a joint committee. (For more information on the Maine battle, see
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=45).

Here in Michigan, now is our opportunity to head H.B. 4521 off at the
pass, before it comes up for a floor vote. Every phone call is
important in the effort to defeat this dangerous bill.

REQUESTED ACTION:

Please call as many H.B. 4521 sponsors (listed below) as possible and
give them this message:

"Please withdraw H.B. 4521, which imposes unnecessary testing
requirements on home school students. Home schooling works. This bill
limits parental rights and is a waste of taxpayers dollars."

These legislators need to know that home schoolers in Michigan
appreciate their freedom and do not want to be regulated. The goal is
to nip this legislation in the bud and to send a clear message to
prevent such onerous legislation from being introduced again anytime
soon.

SPONSORS OF H.B. 4521
Rep. Michael Switalski, (517) 373-0854
Rep. Ruth Ann Jamnick, (517) 373-1771
Rep. Andy Neumann, (517) 373-0833
Rep. Alexander Lipsey, (517) 373-1785
Rep. Mark Schauer, (517) 373-0555
Rep. Julie Dennis, (517) 373-2646
Rep. Jim Plakas, (517) 373-0849
Rep. Glenn Anderson, (517) 373-2576
Rep. LaMar Lemmons, (517) 373-1983

If you would like to call your own representative, you can find
you're his or her phone number by using HSLDA's legislative toolbox
at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox.

BACKGROUND:

The main sponsor, Rep. Michael Switalski, has already indicated that
he is not interested in withdrawing the bill. He recently wrote, "The
bill was suggested by a constituent, and I agree with its purpose.
While there are many good home schoolers who do their job
conscientiously, there are a few who abuse the program and use it for
inappropriate purposes or to avoid scrutiny of a dysfunctional
domestic situation. Since oversight of home schooling is not
feasible, this testing would provide a measure of review and
evaluation."

It is important for home schoolers to inform the sponsors of this
bill of their opposition. Even though you may not be one of these
legislators' constituents, they need to know that this bill will
affect all home schoolers' rights.

Information Network of Christian Homes (INCH), along with many other
organizations, joins HSLDA in opposing this bill.

We base our opposition on the following reasons:

The MEAP test is a highly content-specific test, based on the state's
public school curriculum. It is not a nationally recognized
standardized achievement test. Public schools teach students to the
specific content that the test covers, but home school families do
not normally use the same curriculum as public schools. It is unfair
to test home school students on material they may not have been
taught.

No state in the country requires home school children to take the
state's assessment.

One of the reasons home schooling is so successful is that parents
have a choice to determine the educational program that is most
effective for their own children. If home schoolers are required to
take the state assessment, which is based on the curriculum of the
public school, there will be unfair pressure on parents to give up
the curriculum they believe is best for their child and instead teach
the public school curriculum. No one wants his or her child to have
the stigma of a low score on the MEAP.

It is financially irresponsible to require testing of home school
students when there is no evidence that home schoolers are failing.
In fact, the evidence is to the contrary. Scores of independent
studies conducted around the country and in Michigan prove that home
schoolers on the average score 2030 points above the national
average on standardized achievement tests. (See
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=46.)

Let's send the message that home schoolers have earned the right to
be left alone. Please call the state representatives listed above.

Thank you for standing with us for family and freedom.

Sincerely,
Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
540-338-5600
www.hslda.org
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 Other Resources

More information on Michigan's House Bill 4521