April 15, 2002

Home Schoolers Flood the New York State Capitol

Energetic shouts of "Home Schooling Works!" echoed against New York Capitol and state legislative buildings Wednesday as over 1000 home schoolers rallied for the passage of New York Senate Bill 4767. These families sacrificed the time and effort to respond to the call for freedom and personally worked to end 75% of the present home school regulations.

On April 10, the state home school organization, Loving Education at Home (LEAH), held a Rally and Lobbying Day on the steps of the New York Capitol in Albany in support of Senate Bill 4767. This bill, introduced by the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, would eliminate the most cumbersome home school requirements and the arbitrary discretion New York school district superintendents have over home schoolers. HSLDA contributed to the drafting of the bill and has sent out alerts to home schoolers to urge them to contact their legislators. Due largely to hundreds of phone calls from home schoolers and the efforts of the bill's sponsor, Senator John Kuhl, the bill passed almost unanimously out of committee and is expected to pass the entire senate.

After several days of cold, rainy weather earlier in the week, the day of the rally was blessed with warm sunny weather. Home schoolers arrived in chartered buses and by the van load from every region in the state. Most families made appointments to visit with their senators and assemblymen before and after the rally.

Two mothers, with several children in tow, explained that both their senator and assemblyman were opposed to the home school bill. However, after they and their well behaved children, visited and gave handouts (provided by LEAH and HSLDA), both legislators committed to support S.B. 4767!

Rich Stauter, president of LEAH, welcomed the families and press and introduced the three senate sponsors and staff. Then Senior Counsel of HSLDA, Chris Klicka, delivered the main message which was interrupted repeatedly by the cheers and clapping of the crowd. He began,

We are gathered together for one reason and one reason only: Freedom! Freedom for parents. Freedom for children! Freedom from a bureaucratic nightmare! Freedom from endless and senseless paper work! Freedom from arbitrary enforcement of the law by officials who are often prejudiced against home schooling. Freedom from over a decade of heavy handed government control!

Mr. Klicka urged the New York home schoolers to follow the example of home schoolers in other states and fight to lessen restriction on home education. He explained that the research shows that more regulation does not make better home school students.

"The New York Legislature needs to trust parents," said Mr. Klicka. "We have earned the right to be left alone!"

When home schoolers unite together, they can make a difference. Although S.B. 4767 seemed like long shot, home school families are helping this bill to progress steadily through the legislature. Freedom is never free. It must be fought for and vigilantly protected.