Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tips for Calling Rep.Clymer

by Melissa Eyler
York County, PA

A recent conversation with Rep. Clymer revealed that he feels there may be a few minor glitches with HB1013. He said they were working on how to keep the oversight with the school; specifically, how to balance homeschooling oversight while relieving some of the burden from the superintendent. Rep. Clymer was very open to hearing my thoughts on that and took the time to hear my concerns. Keeping that in mind, it would be very beneficial when calling his office and speaking with him to remember a few things.

First, please be very familiar with the bill. You can go to this link and read about the bill. Being confident and prepared shows our determination in getting the law changed. Remind him that we can easily remove that burden from the superintendent by passing this bill as is!

Urge Rep. Clymer to eliminate the double evaluation and accept the evaluations that our homeschooled children receive from a paid, professional evaluator. In reviewing your child's portfolio all an evaluator or superintendent should be looking for according to the existing law is that an appropriate education has occurred.

Many superintendents either do not know or do not understand what their responsibilities are under the current homeschool law.  When reviewing a portfolio, a common mistake they make is comparing homeschool curriculum to the public school's curriculum. This "discrepancy" can create much strife for all involved. This oversight and double evaluation will make no positive difference in our children's education. Ask him what he feels will happen if this oversight is removed!

Pennsylvania’s current homeschool law sends the message that the state knows what is best for our children and not us, the parent.  Rep. Clymer's insistence on keeping the oversight within the public school system only amplifies that message.  Let him know that as the parent YOU are responsible for your child's education, not the state or the school.

Homeschooled children are less likely to fall through the cracks of education than public schooled children. They often have a more stable home life, where both parents live in the home and one is able to be home to teach. Any facts about the advantages of homeschooling would enhance the conversation in favor of the bill.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Family Lobby Day at the Capitol


2014 CHAP HELP DAY

Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP)
Home Education Lobby Program (HELP)


Harrisburg Capitol Building - Main Rotunda
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 12:30 - 3:30 PM


Registration deadline: March 25, 2014




• Pro-actively advocate for better home education law and lobby for H.B. 1013

• Develop familiarity and show appreciation for our state legislators

• Allow public officials to meet a real homeschooling family

The current homeschool law was passed in 1988, 25 years ago, at a time when there was a great deal of skepticism about the viability of homeschooling as an educational option. As a result, Pennsylvania’s law remains one of the most restrictive in the nation, second only to New York. Homeschoolers in Pennsylvania have tried for over 10 years to get relief from the oppressive requirements of the current law. It is time for Pennsylvania to join the majority of states that have enacted laws that do not demand unreasonable and unnecessary government oversight of parents teaching their children at home.

CHAP HELP Day is a great opportunity for the whole family to participate. Even young children are invited if they are able to behave appropriately. We will be meeting with members of the General Assembly urging them to support the bill and homeschooling in the state. In order to honor these legislators for their public service, we will also bake them homemade pies, breads or cookies and provide them with information about homeschooling and House Bill 1013.  To prepare your family for lobbying, read: Lobbying Tips for Families at CHAPLegislativeAction.blogspot.com.  

Check for Announcements and Updates at: http://www.CHAPonline.com
or Contact: CHAPHELPDay@chaponline.com


BAKED GOODS SIGN UP AND DIRECTIONS

FINDING CHAP's TABLE AT THE CAPITOL:  On Wednesday, April 2, 12:30 PM, CHAP will have tables set up around and near the main rotunda. It is best to come in the 3rd Street entrance because you come right into the main rotunda. You may also enter the building via the fountain entrance on Commonwealth Avenue and security officers can direct you from there; or just take the escalator up and walk straight down the hall. In front of you is the back of the famous staircase. Walk around it and you'll be at the main rotunda.   

Please arrive on time so you will have time to drop off your baked goods at the CHAP table, where you will be assigned a legislator, and pick up your family packets. [There might be another event going on until CHAP's meeting at 2:30 PM.]  All participants are expected to read Lobbying Tips for Families before arrival and everybody is encouraged to visit a legislator (or more) between the hours of 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM. We will then gather at the rotunda for a meeting with some homeschool leaders and legislators to talk about the next steps for House Bill 1013 and address questions you may have.

PAMPHLETS & HANDOUTS:  Each family will be provided with packets of information and assigned to visit a member of the House and/or Senate Education Committee. One packet will be for the legislator with some talking points and information about homeschooling data. There will also be a packet of educational materials for each family with a certificate of attendance for each participating homeschool student.

PIES, BREADS & COOKIES:  Those who sign up to attend should bake something for two or three legislators. They must be home-made, not store bought. A few sugar-free and gluten-free baked goods would be appreciated for our legislators with dietary restrictions. All food must be clearly labeled with the ingredients and your name, phone number and legislative district. If you wish, you may just include the full recipe. Please bake pies in a disposable tin and place them inside a gallon-size storage or freezer bag. Cookies can be nicely arranged on a disposable plate or tray wrapped in clear plastic wrap. Breads may be placed in clear plastic bags as well. Every item must include a listing of all ingredients or a recipe attached underneath the bag.

We really need everybody to bring baked goods but if you absolutely cannot, please help cover the cost of Legislative Day expenses with a donation of $20 per family. Please write out your checks to CHAP and bring it along or mail to: Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania at 231 N. Chestnut St., Palmyra PA 17078.

PROTOCOLS: We will be guests in a professional office building conducting the official business of our state. Noise and activity must be kept to a minimum. Because the intent of Legislative Day is to make the most effective presentation possible and to facilitate conversation with our legislators, young children must be closely supervised. Out of respect for our officials and to leave a good impression, dress your best.

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Please email the following information to: CHAPHELPDay@chaponline.com to sign-up.

Your Name: __________________________________________________________________

Phone: ________________________________________

Number of children attending Lobby Program _________ 

Their ages: ____________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Zip Code: _____________________  

E-mail: ________________________________________


Number of Pies:_____   Bread:_____   Plate of Cookies:_____

Number of Special Diet Items: 100% Gluten Free_____   Sugar Free_____

_____ I will be unable to bring baked goods but will contribute $20 for Legislative Day.


            REMEMBER:   Registration deadline:  March 25, 2014




Monday, March 17, 2014

House Education Committee Hearing Pictures

The text to the testimonies of the panel members at the hearing including the state comparison map, chart and potential taxpayer savings article that might interest CHAP's supporters and affiliates are now posted online.


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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Taxpayer Savings Under House Bill 1013


Promoting Christ-centered, parent directed, privately funded home-based discipleship


Potential savings for PA taxpayers under HB 1013
by Mark Moore, CHAP Advisory Board Member


Present savings
Based on 2009-2010 school year statistics there are 21,240 [1] homeschooled children who have a filed affidavit in PA. Based upon the current cost per student of $14,675 [2] that amounts to a total taxpayer savings of $311,697,000 ($312 million) in 2010. This is an annual savings each year to school districts and the Commonwealth since they have the same revenue with 21,240 less students who receive few [3], if any benefits from their schools.


Lost savings under the current law
Pennsylvania's current law is the second most restrictive in the country [4] and it has cost us in more ways than one. In 2013 there were about 54 million [5] school age children in the United States. There are also a little over 2 million homeschooled children [6] which makes home educated children about 4% of the U.S. student population. In PA there are 1.8 million [7] students in K-12. Based on the national average of 4%, Pennsylvania should have about 72,000 home educated children, yet there are only a little over 21,000 (about 1.2%) as stated above. It would seem that the high requirements of the law have actually discouraged home education in the Commonwealth. As a direct result, this has defunded public education by 734 million dollars this year, not to mention the billions lost over the past decade or more. Additionally, while the rest of the nation is seeing a growth rate of 2% in home education [8], Pennsylvania has been experiencing a 2% decrease [9] for the past five years.


Potential savings under the new law
1.) Under HB1013 school districts would no longer need to collect, evaluate, and return the student portfolios. Along with this process is usually a written response or request for additional information and a letter when the portfolio is ready to be picked up. For practical purposes it would probably take the school district staff about an hour to review each student's work, plus additional time to write a short summary and other communication with the home educator. Roughly about 1 1/2 hours total. Using the 2009-2010 number of homeschooled students of 21,240 as presented above, that would be 31,860 total hours for all Pennsylvania school districts. The cost would amount to $42.89 per hour [10] based on the U.S. labor statistics for state and local government employees. That would be a total savings of $1,366,475 (1.4 million) per year under the new law.

2.) Additionally, by lowering our State's homeschool regulation to a more moderate level in line with most other states, as proposed under the new law, it would encourage more people to begin homeschooling their children. This in turn will bring up the percentage of home educated students to reflect the national average of 4%. Over the course of time, as stated above, can be a exponential taxpayer savings of 734 million dollars per year. But it doesn't stop there. When that point arrives, based on the national average of 2% annual homeschool growth [11] the Commonwealth should continue to see an additional 6 million dollars more each year to spend on public education since those homeschooled families would continue paying taxes without any benefit. This is a win-win situation for all Pennsylvania citizens. It allows homeschooling families more freedom to educate their own children, it frees taxpayers from extra assessment, and it gives school districts more money to use on fewer students.


In conclusion, HB 1013 if passed, could potentially add several billion dollars over the next decade to fund public education by producing more home educated students. It should also be noted, that from an investment stand point, home education yields better results. Public schools are annually leaving behind 22% to 25% of their students [12] in reading and math, not to mention the high drop out rate. Cyber schools are not much better. They take needed monies from the school districts with sometimes poorer results [13]. Yet by contrast, homeschooled students consistently excel 15 to 30 percentile points [14] above public-schooled students on academic achievement tests.





[1] Pennsylvania Partners for Children (http://www.datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/2693#detailed/2/any/false/824,750,466,465,464/214,389,390,391,182,215|/9407) and Pa Dept. of Education (http://www.education.state.pa.us)

[2] Openpagov.org  (http://www.openpagov.org/education_revenue_and_expenses.asp)

[3] Some home educated student may participate in public school sports.

[4] Homeschool Legal Defense Association; (http://www.hslda.org/elert/archive/elertarchive.aspx?6867)

[5] Childstats.gov  (http://childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/pop1.asp?popup=true)

[6] National Home Education Research Institute  (nheri.org/research/research-facts-on-homeschooling.html)

[7] Openpagov.org  (http://www.openpagov.org/education_revenue_and_expenses.asp)

[8] National Home Education Research Institute  (nheri.org/research/research-facts-on-homeschooling.html)

[9] Pennsylvania Dept. of Education (http://www.education.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/home_school_statistics/7428/ "home school  education 2006-07.pdf")

[10] United States Department of Labor (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecec.pdf)

[11] National Home Education Research Institute  (nheri.org/research/research-facts-on-homeschooling.html)

[12] Openpagov.org  (http://www.openpagov.org/pssa.asp)

[13] Stanford University (http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/PA%20State%20Report_20110404_FINAL.pdf)
    Winning Progressive (http://www.winningprogressive.org/the-failed-cyber-charter-school-experiment)

[14] National Home Education Research Institute  (nheri.org/research/research-facts-on-homeschooling.html)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

HB1013 Fast Action Items

One week before and one week after the HB1013 hearing, we will add daily challenges that we can all participate in from home. Please add some comment about your experience that you think may help us encourage one another.


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Day 1 Challenge Tasks

A.  Directly and personally contact one homeschool family that you know and ask them to join you in the House Bill 1013 Challenge. Ask them to “Like” the CHAP Facebook page (if they are on Facebook) or send them this blogspot link to keep up with the daily Challenge tasks.
B.  PRAY for the legislators who will be listening to testimony and making decisions on this bill.




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Day 2 Challenge Tasks:

A.  Email one (or more!) of the supporting legislators and thank them for supporting the bill. Links to all legislator email addresses are in the link below.

B.  Pray for that specific legislator.

CO-SPONSORS OF HOUSE BILL 1013

1. Rep. Mark Gillen - prime sponsor
2. Rep. Ryan Aument
3. Rep. Jim Cox
4. Rep. Gordon Denlinger
5. Rep. Jaret Gibbons
6. Rep. Mauree Gingrich
7. Rep. Rob Kauffman
8. Rep. John Lawrence
9. Rep. Kurt Masser
10. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe
11. Rep. David Millard
12. Rep. Harry Readshaw
13. Rep. Will Tallman


State Representatives' contact information here.



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Day 3 Challenge Tasks

A.  Parents: Write & send a brief handwritten letter to your state representative. Handwritten letters get a LOT of attention from legislators. It does not have to be long, just heartfelt. Highlights of the bill are easy to review on this HSLDA's article.
B.  Pray for YOUR state representative and that your letter will be well received.

C.  Pray for testimony presenter Bruce Eagleson, CHAP Executive Board Chairman.

State Representatives' contact information here.




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Day 4 Challenge Tasks:

A.  Email YOUR representative and ask them to support the bill.
B.  Pray for testimony presenter Brad Bastedo, CHAP Executive Board member.


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Day 5 Challenge Tasks: 

A.  Teens sand a brief handwritten letter to your representative.

B. Pray for testimony presenter Davis Younts, homeschool father.


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Day 6 Challenge Tasks:

CALL your representative and ask them to support the bill. Not sure what to say? Just introduce yourself and let them know what you support about the bill (that it will reduce unnecessary paperwork for homeschoolers and school districts, that it will allow a PA homeschool diploma to be as legally valid as a school-issued diploma, etc). 


The link for representative phone numbers can be found here.


Pray for testimony presenter Dee Black, HSLDA representing attorney.


Can you say, "I DID IT AND IT DIDN'T EVEN HURT!" when you have completed this challenge?


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Day 7 Challenge Test:
Today is the big day! 

Pray (and consider fasting) during the hearing from 11-1. 

Specific prayer requests: 

Smooth testimony from pro-1013 presenters; That legislators will recognize that HB 1013 will save homeschool families AND school districts time and money; That the bill will move forward for full consideration and be passed prior to June 30.


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HB 1013 POST-Hearing Action Step #1


CALL one of the House Education Committee representatives below. Thank them for holding the hearing yesterday and let them know that you support HB 1013. Ask them to support it, too!





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HB 1013 Post-Hearing Action Step #2

Parents, send a brief handwritten letter to House Education Committee members and ask them to support the bill!




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HB 1013 Post-Hearing Action Step #3 

Keep up the momentum! Email one of the Education Committee legislators and ask that they bring HB 1013 for a vote!


This will only take a few minutes of your time but could have a BIG impact! 

Legislator email address links can be found here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

LOBBYING TIPS FOR FAMILIES

1. Be polite, courteous and introduce every member of the family
            a. Children - be ready to shake hands and say hello
            b. Parents - remember your legislator may not have many opportunities to interact with                                     homeschool families so you are not just there to talk about one bill... you
                                    are representing all homeschool families

2. Be prepared to discuss key aspects on the Bill in two to three concise sound bites
            a. Your time with the legislator will go quickly
            b. Leave them with a few key points that they will remember and consider

3. Be ready to explain how the Bill will help families
            a. Personal stories and examples are an excellent way to compel action
            b. Legislators need to understand the way... we want them to remember your                                                              family and your story when they are ready to cast a vote

4. Recognize potential objections to the Bill and be ready to alleviate concerns without                                            being defensive or argumentative
            a. Know the potential objections:
                        i. Does the current legislation really need to be fixed?
                        ii. Will this legislation hurt struggling schools?
                        iii. In a time of tight budgets and deficits will this Bill raise costs?
            b. Consider positive ways to address potential objections
                        i. This Bill is a simple but important adjustment to the current law not a                                                             fundamental change
                        ii. This legislation does not impact statewide education in anyway,                                     instead it makes things easier and less burdensome for struggling school                                             systems
                        iii. This legislation will not raise education costs... (remember                                                                            homeschooling saves taxpayers money because it is not subsidized by                                                 public funds)

5. Be prepared to present some key facts about homeschooling
            a. There are over 2.4 million homeschool students in America
            b. It is a growing trend across all income levels and ethnicities with an estimated                                     growth rate as high as 8%
            c. On average homeschool students score 15-30% higher on standardized tests                                                           than public school students
            d. Homeschool families are not dependent on tax money for education - 
                                    homeschooling results in estimated cost savings to taxpayers of over 
                                    $16 Billion

6. Do not be discouraged or disappointed if you end up meeting with a Staff Member
            a. It is very common for schedule and meeting changes to result in Legislators having to                                            designate a trusted Staffer to meet with you

            b. Remember the Staffer is the eyes and ears of their Legislator - treat them with the 
                                   same respect and they convey the message

Monday, March 10, 2014

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: URGENT!

Hearing to Pass HB1013
It is not a small miracle that HB1013 is being heard by the House Education Committee. Thank you for all your efforts in contacting each member.

Let's continue to send a strong message that we want our representatives to pass HB1013, by filling the hearing room on March 17. Bring your friends, bring your family, and join us at the hearing! 
CHAP is devoting a series of posts to "fast action" items which you can participate in, as well as daily prayer requests as we seek to cover House Bill 1013 until March 24, one week after the Education Committee hearing. You may join by following CHAP on facebook or daily checking the CHAP Legislative Action blog.

Keep bringing the Bill to their attention by calling your representative until they make a commitment with you to support HB1013. Some of them might hold off making a decision until it's out of the Education Committee, but call them anyway. 

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The hearing is at 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Capitol
Irvis Office Building, Room G-50 (Ground floor)

It will be live streamed on PCN.

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CHAP Help Day 2014 - April 2nd
To protect our God-given rights, CHAP works to inform our legislators about the benefits of homeschooling through CHAP HELP Day. CHAP HELP is the Home Education Lobby Program designed for the whole family.  In addition to promoting homeschooling to legislators, homeschool families experience a visit to our State Capitol and learn how our laws are made. We invite you to join us and hear Dewitt Black, Senior Counsel at Homeschool Legal Defense Association, our keynote speaker.

Last year's homemade pies left a sweet impression on some of our legislators
.
 This time around, we will reach out to all 253 members of the General Assembly so we will open it up to home baked breads and cookies, not just pies. We ask each family to bring 2-3 of any of these, labeled with your contact information and the ingredients/recipe; we also need some treats to be gluten free, sugar free and low-fat.

Can't make it to the Capitol?
Make an appointment to meet with your legislators when they're in your local district office. Bring other fellow homeschoolers with you to strengthen your effort and to let them meet real homeschool families. If you email cmoore@chaponline.com, we will send you downloadable fliers to take along if you need informational documents. Remember to inform us of this visit so we can keep track of who has been reached and who hasn't been reached.

Watch for announcements
 by visiting CHAPonline.com and make your reservation today by emailing cmoore@chaponline.com with your basic information. Some details of the CHAP HELP Day program will be determined by what is happening with HB1013. We live in an exciting time in the history of the Keystone State to restore some of our freedoms!


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Resolution to Protect Parental Rights
Homeschoolers and the general public alike were watching while many united in prayer pleading to God in behalf of the Romeike family. This unjust reversal of their asylum came about when our administration decided that there is no right to homeschool anywhere. Justina Pelletier is not homeschooled but her family's fight is another story of political and judicial malfeasance.

We need to amend the Constitution to protect parental rights
, but it requires that 2/3 of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, and the approval by the state legislatures in 3/4 of the 50 states.

Pennsylvania State Representative Will Tallman introduced House Resolution 71 to explicitly protect the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of the United States. Thanks to our strong ally in Representative Daryl Metcalfe, the Resolution was voted out of the State Government Committee and is now eligible to go on the voting calendar.

To pass this Resolution there are two things we must ALL do:

1) Call your Representative and ask him/her to support HR71

2) Call the House leadership and urge them to put this on the calendar for a vote.

Learn more about the Parental Rights Amendments here

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"We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

~Benjamin Franklin