Today, two more Missouri State Representatives signed on to fight for your rights to make educational choices for your children. Chuck Gatschenberger; District 13 and Doug Funderburk; District 12 wholeheartedly signed the Educational Freedom Pledge and expressed their fervent support for homeschooling in general. Representative Scott Dieckhaus, District 109, declined to sign, stating his voting record reflected his views and support for homeschooling and educational choice.
Pledges were left at the offices of the following legislators:
We hope to hear from them soon with their support of the pledge. Check back to see if their names have been added to the field of supporters of educational freedom.
In my conversations with all of the representatives, I also expressed how important it is to the homeschooling community for them to monitor SB 20 and SB 21, the most recent attempts to impose more legislative mandates on compulsory school age. These two pieces of legislation are closely tied to the educational reform of Educated Citizenry 2020 and Race To The Top/Common Core Standards. It is important for all legislators to know that homeschoolers do not want to be engulfed in and absorbed by the sweeping and restrictive mandates planned for public educational reform and the promotion of Charter Schools in this legislative session. As in 2009, when SB 291 changed compulsory school age and imposed more restrictions on high school graduation requirements, this legislation could potentially encroach on homeschooling freedoms by mandating early compulsory kindergarten attendance to all students, due to the fact there is no language in these bills excluding private or homeschoolers. It is very important to be in front of the issue and not wait until the end of the legislative session to express your views to your representatives. In 2009, SB 291 was passed in the last week of the session and most homeschoolers were totally unaware of the issue until that time. Unfortunately there was no time for them to express their concerns or outline how it would restrict homeschooling freedoms to their representatives.
Additionally, Representative Barnes introduced HJR 10 which repeals the Blaine Amendment, introduces a voucher system and the ability for students to attend schools outside their geographic area. The resolution was co-sponsored by Scott Dieckhaus and is, again, connected to advancing Educated Citizenry 2020 – Race To The Top/Common Core Standards. This will no doubt spark a debate about vouchers and tax credits for all education in Missouri. We will examine this issue and report on it as it develops.