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  1. Here's an article about the homeschool rally on Tuesday, February 21: http://www.greenvilleonline.com/viewart/20130222/PARENT/302220045/UPDATED-Home-school-advocates-gather-Statehouse-steps Warmly, Dianna
  2. As of February 19, Representative Horne requested to be removed as a sponsor of House Bill 3478. Here's the link to the bill status page: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/bills/3478.htm Dianna
  3. Here's a link to an article in the Post and Courier. Brannon and Horne both discuss what they really want in a future bill: http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20130217/PC16/130219223/1165/proposed-legislation-prompts-fierce-pushback-from-home-schoolers-across-the-state Dianna
  4. A bill (3478) was introduced in the House that would require associations to give the State Department of Education our student's names, require standardized testing, and repeal the 3rd Option of the law by July 2014. It's just been introduced in the House and has been sent to committee. If it makes it out of there, then it gets read 3 times and voted on, then it goes to the Senate where it goes through the same process. It's not a fast process, so you have time to gather your thoughts and contact your local representatives, as well as those who are on the House Education (and Public Works) committee. I'm not going to tell you how to feel about any legislation, but if you don't want any of this to happen, please read the proposed legislation and call your representatives to let them know you're not in support of it. Be polite. If you write a letter, that has even more impact. The representatives who sponsored the bill are Brannon*, Anthony*, Horne, and Jefferson*, and they live in Spartanburg, Union, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties. If you live there, I'm sure they would like to know your feelings. If we can stop it in committee, it would be great. (The linked names have information about the representatives and a link to send them an email message, as well as home and office phone numbers and mailing addresses.) *UPDATES - Jefferson has dropped his sponsorship of the bill, so a thank-you email or letter would be appropriate. - As of 2/11/13, it has been rumored that Brannon is also requesting to drop his sponsorship of the bill. He seemed to be the most dug-in, so if he drops it, then the only one left will be Horne, who wants to work on the wording of the bill to include a "central registry of homeschoolers." I'll update this (and the rumor of Anthony dropping sponsorship) as soon as possible. - As of 2/12/13, Brannon reportedly wrote the following to the chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee and the chairman of the K-12 Subcommittee: "I write to ask that H. 3478 remain in subcommittee without hearing. I no longer support this bill in its current form and do not want the bill to become law. I’ve talked with Representatives Horne and Anthony and have informed them of my decision. They both concur.” Several homeschool organizations are saying this bill has been "defeated." However, notice that the letter states he's no longer supporting it "in its current form." This vague wording leaves everything as dangerous as before. He's not removing himself as a sponsor, nor is Horne, and it seems that Anthony isn't either. All they need to do to get it rolling again is change the wording, and ask for a hearing. We still need to watch over this legislation, and any other legislation that results from it. - As of 2/19/13, Horne requested to remove herself as a sponsor of the bill. Brannon and Anthony are still listed as sponsors. - As of 2/20/13, Anthony requested to remove himself as a sponsor of the bill. Brannon is the only one left. STRATEGY The strategy most of us are taking now is to email, call, and write letters to the respresentatives on the House Education and Public Works committee, as well as our local represenatives to tell them how we feel abou this bill. At this time, there's no pressing need to call your senators since they won't see the bill for a while yet, if ever. You still can, if you want, but the main focus right now should be on reaching the House representatives, not our senators. Here's a list of all respresentative currently in the House: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/member.php?chamber=H If you don't know who your representative is, go here: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/ and type in your address in the Find Your Legislators box at the bottom right. *Strategy Update This bill isn't dead or defeated. The current and previous sponsors of the bill have made clear that they want to change the form of the bill, not kill it. That's a big difference, so we need to keep a watch on it and other legislation that is introduced in the future. Here's the link to the bill: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/bills/3478.htm so you can read it for yourself. Warmly, Dianna
  5. BillieJo Youmans

    A letter opposing the bill

    I shared this letter with Diana and she felt it might be of interest..I was able to use a list from HSLDA that provided te names of all the Education Committee participants and sent this to all 17 online. May it be of use as you write your own perspective. If anyone needs the direct link to the HSLDA page, just let me know. I am writing to encourage you to oppose House Bill 3478. We have homeschooled our children throughout their educational careers. Our son will graduate this year and plans to attend a local college while working and pursuing additional career-specific training. Our daughter will enter eleventh grade next year and will take advantage of dual enrollment courses. We do not oppose testing; in fact it can be beneficial. We have utilized it in our schooling. We, like most homeschool families, are serious about education. However, this bill requires children to take tests designed in accordance with public school curriculum. One of the complaints I often hear from public school teachers is the necessity of ‘teaching for the test.’ We, as home educators, believe education is much more than ‘spitting back answers’ for a test. Testing is simply a tool and should not be a driving force of education. While public schools may have no other method for gauging progress, homeschool is far more personal and capable of evaluations beyond a test. Also, many families, like our own, utilize Christian world-view programs that do not espouse the ideas of public school programs (e.g. historical perspectives, evolutionary concepts). Home educators also often alter course sequences to accommodate siblings. Public testing is based on a system not employed by home educators and is highly unfair because of that. We previously lived, and taught, under the laws of New York State. Prior to moving here our students were tested annually with a norm-referenced national standardized test administered by me in a structured setting (timed with no assistance). We chose Option Three here in South Carolina as it most closely aligned with the structure of NY. In fact, South Carolina is nearly as rigorous as NY in regulations on home education. I personally do not feel there is a tremendous need for change. In fact, I believe Option III is the best structure for quality home education. It requires the most intensive involvement of parents in their children’s education. It allows for flexibility in course selection, increases the responsibility of parents and overall improves the home education experience. I will be very disappointed if we have to alter our education plans in the final year of our daughter’s academic career. I will also be very sad for parents who will not have the option we have utilized. Education is a right and responsibility of parents. I am sorry this letter is so long. I am a passionate home educator. I believe this bill is wrong on many levels. I am a better parent because of the effort I have had to invest in home education. Our family is stronger…and our community benefits from those strengths. Home education is a benefit to families and communities. Please do not hinder it through passing this law. Sincerely, Billie Jo Youmans Richburg, SC
  6. Representative Brannon, the author of H.3478, has reportedly written a letter to Representative Phil Owens, the chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee, and to Andy Patrick, chairman of the K-12 Subcommittee. The letter states: “I write to ask that H. 3478 remain in subcommittee without hearing. I no longer support this bill in its current form and do not want the bill to become law. I’ve talked with Representatives Horne and Anthony and have informed them of my decision. They both concur.” Many (including long-time homeschooling advocates) seem to understand this to mean that the bill is dead. However, that's not what his message states. It says that he's no longer supporting it "in its current form." This vague wording leaves everything as dangerous as before. Note that he's not removing himself as a sponsor, nor is Horne, and it seems that Anthony isn't either. All they need to do to get it rolling again is change the wording, and ask for a hearing. And since so many think it's already dead, they won't be watching it as closely. I don't know what the procedure is for repealing the bill completely, but that's the only action I will accept at this point. If Brannon and the others removed themselves as sponsors, then I would be more willing to accept that this bill won't go anywhere. Just my thoughts... Dianna
  7. Statement from Curtis Bostic about H3478: As a candidate for the United States Congress from the 1st Congressional District of SC and even more importantly as a homeschooling dad (for more than 15 years) myself, I am keenly aware of SC House Bill 3478 and the attempt to roll back the hard won legislative victories for homeschooling parents in South Carolina. I know how hard parents worked in 1990 to counter the efforts of some who wanted to take away the liberty of parents to direct the education of their children and then the hard fought victory to get the statute enacted that birthed "Option 2" and SCAIHS. Following that was the hard fought battle for the statute that enacted what we now know as "Option 3”; these victories did not come easily. I stand absolutely opposed to this dangerous bill that would not only mandate government testing of our children, but it would eliminate the statute that provides for "Option 3" in July of 2014. I want you to know that as your Congressman I will fight to protect and advance the Constitutional rights of parents to direct the education of their children and will fight to help oppose attempts like this to undermine those rights in the state of South Carolina. - Curtis Bostic (homeschool father of 5), Candidate First Congressional District
  8. Thank you for sharing your concerns. We are taking those into consideration and are reworking the bill. What I want is a central registry of students who are homeschooled so that the Family Court will know in a case of neglect or abuse if a child is actually being homeschooled or if that child is truant (often due to the parent's severe drug abuse). In Dorchester County, we have had several cases where children have been out of school for a long period of time and DSS is not being alerted by the school district. The district is being told that the child is homeschooled when in fact the parents are not engaged any homeschool activities. In the case of the child who allegedly starved to death in Dorchester County the child was not in school for 6 years. We need to keep a little better records so this doesn't happen again. I believe we can accomplish this goal of protecting children by doing something different that what's in H. 3478. I am actually going to work with the homeschool community to come up with a good compromise so that we can protect children and guarantee that those who homeschool continue to do it well. I would enjoy speaking to you about how we can accomplish my goal with this legislation without harming legitimate homeschooling efforts which, by the way, I appauld. Best regards, Jenny A. Horne Jenny Horne Law Firm, LLC 107 S. Main Street Summerville, SC 29483 (843) 873-1721 office (843) 875-4696 fax
  9. A message from Mick Zais, SC Superintendent for Education: "Throughout my life I've met some terrific students who were home schooled by their parents. I strongly support the rights of parents to home school their children. Working with the General Assembly, I supported passage of the Equal Access to Interscholastic Activities Act (Act 203), which allows home schooled students to participate in activities at their zoned school. I do not support efforts to restrict the rights of parents to home school their children. That is why I am strongly opposed to H.3478, a bill sponsored by Representatives Doug Brannon (Spartanburg County), Mike Anthony (Union County), and Jenny Horne (Dorchester County), that would effectively eliminate one of the three home schooling options in South Carolina. I hope you will show your support for home schooling by joining this Facebook group. If time permits, please take a moment to contact your legislators and ask them to oppose this legislation." Posted on his Facebook page. Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mick-Zais-For-Education/102430239803225?fref=ts Dianna
  10. There are several ways to keep track of House bill 3478. - You can contact your local representative and ask him/her to keep you updated on the status. - You can watch the house journals once the bill gets on the floor, if it ever does. Here's a link to the journals: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/hjournal.php - You check ths status of the bill every day*. Each time something happens, it's documented. Here's the link: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/bills/3478.htm *Look at the very bottom for the date/time of the last update to make sure you're current. Sometimes it takes them a while to update, especially if they're not in session. They're currently out of session and won't be back until February 19th, so the status probably won't change until then. If you have any other suggestions, please post them here. Warmly, Dianna
  11. Here's an article about the bill posted at Update Parent magazine: http://www.greenvilleonline.com/viewart/20130211/PARENT/302110064/Families-oppose-changes-home-schooling-law Dianna
  12. When you call your representatives, remember to remain calm and polite. I know how politics can get our blood boiling sometimes, but it's important that they realize we're rational, responsible parents who only want the best for our students. Also, it's important to give reasons why you're against the bill (testing isn't the best way to measure learning, especially for homeschooled students (see my FAQs for information about testing: http://www.carolinahomeschooler.com/afaq.html) and that one association cannot possibly meet the needs of all homeschoolers. Having one named in the law creates a monopoly and denies us choice. Add any other reasons you are against the bill. If you write an email or letter, make sure someone else looks over it to check for spelling and grammar errors. A long-time homeschooler shared a story a while back about a newspaper article featuring a homeschooling family. It was very positive. However, the paper received dozens of letters about the misspelled word the homeschool mom wrote on the chalkboard (it was in the photograph next to the article). It totally negated everything positive about the article. Only one letter to the editor was in support of homeschooling due to that misspelled word. Everything else was very negative. Dianna
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