Call To Action: Send The Education Committee Your Testimonial To Maintain Educational Freedom!

The Senate Education hearing scheduled for tomorrow, 2/2/2011, in which the merits of SB20 and SB21 were to be debated, has been canceled due to bad weather. It is tentatively rescheduled for February 9th. We will keep you updated as information becomes available. In the mean time, please be aware of the following details for the upcoming hearing.

SB21 lowers compulsory age to 4 years.

any child whose fifth birthday occurs at any time during the calendar year shall be deemed to have attained the age of five years at the commencement of the school year beginning that calendar year.

And also mandates kindergarten attendance.

The parent, guardian, or other person having charge, control, or custody of any child who has attained the age of five years in accordance with this section shall be responsible for enrolling the child in kindergarten.

SB20 is a result of the fallout from 2009’s SB291, in which homeschoolers lost the freedom to determine high school graduation credits and graduation status/age for our own children. It is now being “tweaked” once again to solidify the raising of compulsory school age to eighteen in metropolitan districts …

(1) [Seventeen] Eighteen years of age for any metropolitan school district [for which the school board adopts a resolution to establish such compulsory attendance age; provided that such resolution shall take effect no earlier than the school year next following the school year during which the resolution is adopted]; and

and seventeen in a (7 Director, urban districts), and eliminating the option for districts to adopt their own resolutions to the contrary.

Seventeen years of age in a seven director or urban school  district or having successfully completed sixteen credits towards high school  graduation [in all other cases. The school board of a metropolitan school district  for which the compulsory attendance age is seventeen years may adopt a  resolution to lower the compulsory attendance age to sixteen years; provided that  such resolution shall take effect no earlier than the school year next following the  school year during which the resolution is adopted].

Such legislation is oppressive to parental rights, educational choice and local control of schools, and it has no exclusion for homeschooling or private schooling students. So, one can only assume the intention is to target students state wide in gaining control over student attendance on both ends of the compulsory school age law. However, there may be one positive note in the present day attempts to gain even more control on parental educational decisions.

In a press release, issued by Senator Joe Keaveny, he outlines the details of a bill he introduced, SB124. While this bill also mandates a lowering of compulsory school age from 7 to 5 years of age for metropolitan school children, it does include language which excludes homeschoolers. It is important to understand that if this bill is passed the threat to homeschooling freedom is not evaded. This bill only addresses metropolitan school districts and does not negate the language, or lack of it, in SB 20 or SB21.

In all three bills, legislators are attacking the decision making rights of parents to determine the best time for their children to enter or leave school, whether it be home, public, or private school.

It is imperative for you to make your voice heard. Please contact Senator, David Pearce, Education Committee Chairman, and let him know that homeschoolers want to be excluded from any legislation that enters the realm of Educational Citizenry 2020 education reform in the 2011 session and beyond. We have, in the past, suffered great losses of freedom as parents and homeschoolers when SB291 raised compulsory school age and changed graduation requirements. We do not want any further mandates or restrictions imposed which would take away additional rights/freedom. Please, also, express your strong desire for the committee to kill these bills immediately, and prevent them from advancing further in the legislative process.

Please download a witness appearance form and fax it to the senator’s office with your polite comments concerning your wishes to maintain your parental rights for educational choice and homeschooling freedom. These testimonials have great weight with the committee members and go a long way in influencing decisions about legislation. If you do not have a fax, forms can be scanned and emailed or sent by snail mail before the hearing date of 2/9/2011. Phone calls are always a good idea as well. (573-751-2272) The more your representatives hear from you about your wishes, the better they can represent your interests.

Feel free to contact the other members of the Education Committee, as well.

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