Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Attendee's Post Lobby Day Email

Dear Friends & Family,

My apologies for this long email …

I just wanted to let you know what a great day we had at the Capitol today.  When we arrived, there was some sort of event going on in the Rotunda organized by a group called CeaseFirePa.  The Rotunda was full of people involved with this event.  I was hoping and praying that the turnout for our CHAP HELP Day would have equaled or exceeded that.  That, unfortunately,  was not the case.  I need to be honest, I was really disappointed to see only a handful of homeschool families represented there today (don’t get me wrong, I was really thankful for the 9 or 10 families represented there -maybe there were more families there that I wasn’t aware of).  I have no idea how many homeschool families there are in PA or in Central PA or in HAHA, but I know there are a lot.

We had an opportunity to talk to Senate staff about HB1013.  Of course, many of them were not familiar with the bill that is currently sitting in the Senate Education Committee, but they took the time to listen as we shared what the bill was about.  It was a very educational experience for us; however, I was shocked to hear , from what I understand, that there are only 8 more session days for this calendar year.  If this bill does not get out of committee and brought up for a vote on one of the next 8 session days, we will have to start the bill all over again in the House in January 2015.

I cannot stress the urgency of your action on this – we need to flood the phone lines of every Senator in Pennsylvania (especially the Senate Education Committee and especially Senator Mike Folmer who is the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee) and ask them to move it out of the education committee and bring this bill up for a vote or, better yet, take a field trip to the capitol this week or next and visit our 50 Senators, especially the 10 on the Senate Education Committee (see link below for talking points about the bill, HB1013).

http://www.chaponline.com/2014/07/how-to-talk-to-your-legislator/ - see this link to get the names and phone numbers of those Senators on the Senate Education Committee.


The two main benefits of the bill would be:

1.        Eliminate double evalutions (i.e., remove requirement to submit portfolio to the school district superintendent).  Would save tax-payer money.

2.       Recognize parent-issued diplomas the same as those issued from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  I know of a family that had a student who was going to continue their education, but the college would not accept the diploma.  Student would have had to take the GED test to be admitted into a particular program at the college.


Please, please make your voices heard this week.  Please commit to pray for the members of this committee – that they would see the benefits of moving this bill forward.  CHAP staff, State Representatives, and so many others have worked so hard to bring this bill this far and it would be a shame to have to start all over again.  We have the opportunity to change the course of history here in Pennsylvania related to homeschooling.  Let’s not waste it.  So what’s going to get our Senators’ attention – legalizing marijuana, gun control, … or HB1013? As the old saying goes, The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease.

I guess we need to get better at lobbying.  When a group are people are really passionate about what they believe in, they are ready to take a stand and work hard at letting people know what they believe.  For example, take a look at how the marijuana-supporters (rally just took place yesterday, but it could be any group) are moving their bill through:

http://www.abc27.com/story/26530824/rally-for-medical-marijuana-held-at-pa-capitol - The chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Mike Folmer, is also co-sponsor of this marijuana bill.  Here’s a quote from him to the marijuana supporters:  "You all have done a fantastic job in lobbying this," Folmer said. "It is because of the work you all have done that we are at this point. We are very close. I think it is looking good."

Please feel free to forward this on to every home school-supportive friend or family member that you know and ask if they could make calls to Senators this week as well.  Thank you.

May the Lord say of us “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”,

Cindy


Friday, September 5, 2014

10-DAY COUNTDOWN TO CHAP HELP DAY

[Get the most recent update at the bottom of the article.]

Come on, homeschoolers! 


                Let's show our senators that we want change!








COUNTDOWN ACTION STEPS


10 DAYS  -  RSVP here to attend CHAP HELP Day by signing-up for your children to make cards or craft projects to give 3 Senators on lobby day. If you haven't signed the petition to Governor Corbett, sign it now here.


9 DAYS  -  Share this link in your social networking sites' wall - as well as pages and groups where homeschoolers in PA can be found. Make sure you add your own shout out! [Suggestion: Post them during peak hours to get the most visibility] For your email contacts, send them this link.


8 DAYS  -  Gather your child/children with you and make cards or creative craft projects for each of the 3 senators you chose for each of your capable students. Include a quote from the Founding Fathers or a Bible verse to inspire and encourage its recipient.


7 DAYS  -  Contact your homeschooling neighbors and friends and encourage them to attend CHAP HELP DAY. You may even carpool to the Capitol. Then e-mail every member of the Senate Education Committee asking them to put HB1013 on their schedule - now.


6 DAYS  -  Call your State Senator and ask him or her to support HB1013. Try to set up an appointment to meet during lobby day so you can hand them some helpful materials.


5 DAYS  -  Call or email every Senate Education Committee member [click the Senate Database link at the bottom]. Tell them that you're calling everyone -- don't let them discredit your call because you're not a constituent -- to ask them to schedule a vote on HB1013 as soon as possible because we cannot allow the bill to expire. We need to change Pennsylvania's archaic homeschool law.


4 DAYS  -  Be sure you're signed up for cards or craft projects to give to 3 senators - made by your children. Pick 3 senators from this list who is not receiving something yet. Add a Scripture passage or a quote from a Founding Father to encourage them.


3 DAYS  -  Watch this video then pray that Pennsylvania will make home education less burdensome. Thank God for the blessing of children and being able to raise, train and educate them in the way we know is best. Pray that God will bless us with more legislators whose hearts are turned towards home discipleship and parental authority.


2 DAYS  -  Call your Senator again and give him/her a heads up - that you're coming tomorrow with your family to visit his office. Explain again that as a constituent, you are asking them to support HB 1013 and give your reason why.


1 DAY  -  Have your family read the Lobbying Tips for Families before our event. Lobbying does not have to be intimidating. On the contrary, it can be a productive and a fulfilling experience when you know that you're participating in something that makes a difference in the lives of others.


                              Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing 
                                                      because he could do only a little. 
                                                                  ~ Edmund Burke

We are blessed that we have a couple of lawmakers coming to give us an update on legislations that affect our family and religious freedom. Make sure you stay for the meeting at the Rotunda at 3:00 o'clock. I'm sure they will be happy to answer questions.

We appreciate your help in these final efforts to take the bill all the way to Governor Corbett's desk for his signature. God willing, we will be able to say, "You've Got A Friend in Pennsylvania" even if you're a home educator. :-)


PARKING: We suggest parking at the Walnut Street Garage by Strawberry Square - but note that it's a one-way street. It's a closer walking distance to the entrance of the Capitol along 3rd and State Streets which will take you right into the Main Rotunda. All visitors - no exceptions - to the PA State Capitol will be processed through metal detectors. All bags and packages will be x-rayed, and are subject to hand inspection. Personal items may be hand-inspected. 

On-street parking is easier now - no more running out of quarters. You can even extend your hours using your phone, if you wish. Know your license plate characters (numbers/letters) when you pay at the kiosk. Instructions are here. 



GOTV: to GET OUT THE VOTE, we will have Voter Registration Forms for your voting-age family members and to pass on to others at the table.




TODAY...


There are many lobbyists at the Capitol and several bills are on the agenda today. Please pray for godly wisdom and insight for all our lawmakers.

If you cannot come for the lobbying part at 1:30, join the meeting with some of our key legislators hosted by CHAP's Board Chairman, Dr. Bruce Eagleson. We will hear reports on critical bills like Parental Rights, Common Core, School Property Tax Elimination and others -- legislation that directly or indirectly, affect our family and homeschooling choice. We will also spend time in prayer for our state and our children. 

See you at the Capitol Rotunda at 3:00!   






Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Facebook Effect on HB 1013

by Leisa Campbell


Facebook has made communication both easier and more difficult.  A Facebook “like” or the quick click of the “share” button on a post makes most people feel like they have done something important, and that nothing further is needed from them.  However, a thumbs up or a 30 second Facebook rant is NOT activism!  In order to secure change, we must come out from behind our computer screens and allow legislators to meet real homeschooling families. 

The window of opportunity to pass HB 1013 through the PA Senate and on to Governor Corbett’s desk for signing is quickly closing.   Through telephone calls, emails, letters, and personal visits, homeschool activists were able to bring HB 1013 to a passing House vote.  This is the FURTHEST any homeschool legislation has gotten in Pennsylvania in many years. 

As a reminder, HB 1013:

~ Requires that a high school diploma issued by the supervisor of a home education program be recognized the same as a diploma issued by the Commonwealth;
~ Eliminate the public school superintendent's review of portfolios;
~ Require superintendents to accept an evaluator's determination that an appropriate education is occurring in the home education program;
~ Provide for an administrative procedure to resolve any claim by the superintendent that the parent has failed to comply with any aspect of the homeschool law; and
~ Ensure that the home education program may continue during the time of any appeal of an adverse ruling by a hearing examiner.

Some people have expressed concerns that the legislature may try to impose PSSA or Keystone Exam requirements on homeschoolers.  This is a legitimate concern; however, it is in no way related to HB 1013.  These testing requirements would be a result of the implementation of Common Core Standards in Pennsylvania.

Another concern that has been expressed is that amendments may be added to HB 1013 in the Senate that would make homeschooling more difficult or give the government or school districts even more oversight in homeschoolers’ lives.  Representative Mark Gillen, the chair of HB 1013, has promised to kill the bill if things head in that direction.

Homeschoolers, it’s up to each one of us – individually – to put forth extraordinary effort  through phone calls, emails,written letters, and especially, by attending CHAP HELP Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, September 16 from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. 

We need to make ourselves heard and press this issue.  Don’t rely on others to do this for you.  Pennsylvania is the second most onerous state when it comes to homeschool oversight.  YOU have the opportunity to take part in the battle to win back our God-given right to train up our own children without government and school districts intrusively breathing down our necks. 

Lastly, the need for prayer cannot possibly be overstated.  Please pray for our legislators’ hearts to be turned towards homeschoolers, and for homeschoolers to come out in droves to promote HB 1013 and to make a positive impression on legislators.

James 1:6-8New International Version (NIV)
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

QUOTES SAMPLER FOR LOBBY DAY CARDS

We are gratified and grateful to God that the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1013. We are now reaching out to the Senate. On September 16, don't miss the opportunity for a field trip, civics lesson and a service project - all in one day - while working to change Pennsylvania's homeschool law! Sign up here today to RSVP for the event and to pick 3 of our State Senators whom you want to honor, encourage and pray for as you are led

We ask that your children create cards or some other craft item to give our Senators as a gift. When they make these creative gifts, feel free to add a quote that means the most to you. If it inspires you, it may inspire them too!





~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~

QUOTES FROM THE FOUNDING FATHERS 

Collected by Danielle Cunningham and Gennel Zimmerman


As good government is an empire of laws, how shall your laws be made? In a large society, inhabiting an extensive country, it is impossible that the whole should assemble to make laws. The first necessary step, then, is to depute power from the many to a few of the most wise and good.
John Adams: Thoughts on Government, 1776

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
A constitution founded on these principles introduces knowledge among the people, and inspires them with a conscious dignity becoming freemen; a general emulation takes place, which causes good humor, sociability, good manners, and good morals to be general. That elevation of sentiment inspired by such a government, makes the common people brave and enterprising. That ambition which is inspired by it makes them sober, industrious, and frugal.
John Adams: Thoughts on Government, 1776

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.
John Adams: Thoughts on Government, 1776

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
Human government is more or less perfect as it approaches nearer or diverges farther from the imitation of this perfect plan of divine and moral government.
John Adams: draft of a Newspaper Communication, Circa August 1770

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?
 John Adams: Thoughts on Government, 1776

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions.
John Adams: letter to Mercy Warren, April 16, 1776

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, and both should be checks upon that.
John Adams: Thoughts on Government, 1776

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.
John Adams: Novanglus No. 7, March 6, 1775

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
John Adams: Address to the Military, October 11, 1798

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
Since private and publick Vices, are in Reality, though not always apparently, so nearly connected, of how much Importance, how necessary is it, that the utmost Pains be taken by the Publick, to have the Principles of Virtue early inculcated on the Minds even of children, and the moral Sense kept alive, and that the wise institutions of our Ancestors for these great Purposes be encouraged by the Government. For no people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.
Samuel Adams: Letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experienced Patriots to prevent its Ruin
Samuel Adams: Letter to James Warren, October 24, 1780

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
I could dwell on the importance of piety and religion; of industry and frugality; of prudence, economy, regularity and an even government; all which are essential to the well-being of a family. But I have not Time. I cannot however help repeating Piety, because I think it indispensible. Religion in a Family is at once its brightest Ornament & its best Security. The first Point of Justice, says a Writer I have met with, consists in Piety; Nothing certainly being so great a Debt upon us, as to render to the Creator & Preserver those Acknowledgments which are due to Him for our Being, and the hourly Protection he affords us.
Samuel Adams: Letter to Thomas Wells, November 22, 1780

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
 If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation
Samuel Adams: Letter to Elbridge Gerry, November 27, 1780

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
Let Divines, and Philosophers, Statesmen and Patriots unite their endeavours to renovate the Age, by impressing the Minds of Men with the importance of educating their little boys, and girls - of inculcating in the Minds of youth the fear, and Love of the Deity, and universal Phylanthropy; and in subordination to these great principles, the Love of their Country - of instructing them in the Art of self government, without which they never can act a wise part in the Government of Societys great, or small - in short of leading them in the Study, and Practice of the exalted Virtues of the Christian system, which will happily tend to subdue the turbulent passions of Men, and introduce that Golden Age beautifully described in figurative language; when the Wolf shall dwell with the Lamb, and the Leopard lie down with the Kid - the Cow, and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together, and the Lyon shall eat straw like the Ox - none shall then hurt, or destroy; for the Earth shall be full of the Knowledge of the Lord.
Samuel Adams: Letter to John Adams, October 4, 1790

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
It has been observed, that "education has a greater influence on manners, than human laws can have." Human laws excite fears and apprehensions, least crimes committed may be detected and punished: But a virtuous education is calculated to reach and influence the heart, and to prevent crimes. A very judicious writer, has quoted Plato, who in shewing what care for the security of States ought to be taken of the education of youth, speaks of it as almost sufficient to supply the place both of Legislation and Administration. Such an education, which leads the youth beyond mere outside shew, will impress their minds with a profound reverence of the Deity, universal benevolence, and a warm attachment and affection towards their country. It will excite in them a just regard to Divine Revelation, which informs them of the original character and dignity of Man; and it will inspire them with a sense of true honor, which consists in conforming as much as possible, their principles, habits, and manners to that original character. It will enlarge their powers of mind, and prompt them impartially to search for truth in the consideration of every subject that may employ their thoughts; and among other branches of knowledge, it will instruct them in the skill of political architecture and jurisprudence; and qualify them to discover any error, if there should be such, in the forms and administration of Governments, and point out the method of correcting them.
Samuel Adams: Address to Massachusetts Legislature as Governor, January 17, 1794
~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
The people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it. And the federal Constitution - according to the mode prescribed therein [Article V] - has already undergone such amendments in several parts of it as from experience has been judged necessary.
Samuel Adams: the Legislature of Massachusetts, January 19, 1796

~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~
Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other
John Adams: Unknown


~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~  O  ~  o  ~

There are many, many more if there are no snippets of these that catch your attention.  One excellent place for locating quotes from the founding fathers is at the following website.  It also has a nice search feature if you are looking for a particular phrase or idea - http://www.foundingfatherquotes.com/

Do you have a favorite quote from one of the Founding Fathers? If so, share it with us in comment. We might include it in this collection.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE?

According to George Barna, 14% of American adults who believe they're registered to vote, are not registered. Commit2Vote2014.com





Pennsylvania voters can find out if you are registered HERE.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

GET HOUSE BILL 1013 MOVING IN THE SENATE


Our petition asking Governor Corbett to pressure our legislature to have HB1013 on his desk before October 15 needs your help. Sign the petition and ask family members, relatives and friends to sign it. They don't need to be homeschoolers to support our freedom to homeschool. Please ask everyone you know to sign the petition.

We have about 15 weeks to watch HB1013 either go into death throes or be approved and born as a baby freedom in the homeschool law. It all depends on how badly YOU want to make it happen.

I was assured that the Governor's policy office has been discussing HB1013. Unfortunately, they somehow got the impression that we're asking him to bypass the legislative process. When you call his office please clarify that what we ask is that he insists that the Senate Education Committee - where HB1013 is currently being reviewed - schedule a vote and keep the bill moving into the Ways and Means Committee, then the full Senate Floor, before it dies at the end of the legislative term again. Assure them that this is in no way asking for special treatment considering that we've been lobbying the legislature all this time. You may remind them that we're school property tax payers receiving no benefit from the school district in return.

In dealing with policy making, we anticipate obstacles along the way but we cannot always predict what it looks like or where it will come from. The House was closely working with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) every step of the way until successful final passage on June 29. It appeared that we had their blessing particularly when they offered to provide homeschool graduates a downloadable diploma - no extra requirements from them - to provide uniformity in parent-issued diploma. We have recently learned that the PDE is now taking issue that a parent-issued diploma is not aligned to the standard of State issued diploma for students who are in traditional school.

PDE knows that we follow a stringent number of requirements to home educate in Pennsylvania. We are the only state with rigid diploma requirements for graduation so what's going on? I believe that the trending federalization of education is catching up to homeschoolers in Pennsylvania. PDE is considering subjecting homeschoolers to Keystone and PSSA testing. The 10 State approved national tests we have been mandated to use at 3rd, 5th and 8th grades may be replaced.




ACTION ITEMS:

1 - Call the Governor's office. Urge him to show his support for homeschooling and education freedom by helping us pass HB 1013 as soon as quickly possible. 

2 - Call the Pennsylvania Department of Education and tell them to support the passage of HB1013, not slow it down. 
Tell them that studies upon studies show that homeschoolers are generally performing well not just academically but in all areas of life. 

3 - Continue calling your Senator and tell them to support HB1013 by concurring the vote; pass it without any Senate amendments; voting it out of the Senate floor as soon as possible. If he or she is not a member of the Senate Ed Com, ask that they urge the Senate Ed Com to schedule a vote soon. Then, you call each member of the Senate Ed Com today to vote on HB1013 without further ado when they come back in session.

4 - Plan to bring your family to CHAP HELP Day (Home Education Lobby Program) at the Capitol on Tuesday, September 16, 1:30 to 4:00 PM.
We ask students from each family to make cards or other arts and crafts project to give to 3 members of the Senate. They can be the same or different things. We ask you to include a Bible verse or a quote from a founding father to honor and encourage them in their job as a public servant. We will also lobby to pass House Bill 1013 in the Senate.


5 - Pray with us as we work out the details of the lobby day and watch the announcement details at our website and blog.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

SUMMER LEGISLATIVE UPDATE


If no news is good news, I suppose we could skip this months update! We have had some good successes to warrant a summer break! Be that as it may, we will remain at the edge of our seats until House Bill 1013 reaches the finish line and we're not quite there yet.

There are many who still do not know the level of disparity some of us are experiencing from our school districts under our current archaic and burdensome law. The gamut of emotions I heard from a number of friends while they submitted their portfolio attest to this. May we ask you to continue to share the video of our efforts to make homeschooling better in Pennsylvania? Share it with everybody you know who may not understand where our State stands towards parent-led, home-based, privately-funded education.

We also need to significantly grow the support to petition the Governor insisting that the General Assembly put the bill on his desk before October 15. Families who don't think they can handle the burden of our current homeschool laws are watching our progress to help them make a decision about moving to Pennsylvania, or whether to pull their children from the brick and mortar school. They're signing the petition. Your freedom loving friends and loved ones can sign the petition too.

PA map promoting HB1013 

HB1013 is now in the Senate Education Committee (Senate Ed Com). We thought the General Assembly went into recess but later learned that the Senate continued to meet. So last Tuesday, July 8, four moms and I decided to go and make a touchstone effort before summer break and before Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and other opponents lobby against HB1013. In keeping with our practice of showing our appreciation, we brought home baked goodies: pies and cookies for all 11 members of the Senate Ed Com. Laying some important groundwork, we gave them each a copy of CHAP's informational folder which includes Dr. Brian Ray's newest pamphlet on homeschooling success. We did the same at the Governor's office. They all mentioned that they have been getting calls and emails and we just need to keep contacting and educating them, after all "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." They need to hear us louder than our opponents. We know that granting freedom is always good legislation!

Our current work is to get the Senate Ed Com to do 3 things:
  1. Tell them to CONCUR HB1013 (a Senate version will prolong the process)
  2. Ask the Senate for NO AMENDMENTS (an amendment will send the bill back to the House)
  3. Urge them to put it on the agenda AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
As soon as we have the Senate's session calendar, we will schedule another Home Education Lobby Program (CHAP HELP Day) at the Capitol, probably in September. The two big ones we've had recently have been great learning opportunities. 

In the meantime, your legislators are at their district offices this summer. Pay them a visit. It is good for them to meet real homeschoolers and see that we are normal families dedicated and invested in our children's future with neither government dependence nor interference.

So... just keep squeaking... just keep squeaking! :-)