Monday, June 30, 2014


A vote of 133 to 65 is a tremendous victory! We give our Lord Jesus Christ the glory, first and foremost! Rep. Gillen has expressed the same spirit.

You will not believe the number of times we were told, "I never thought the bill will get this far" -- so this is definitely a God-thing, especially when we consider the sources of opposition we faced.

We want to tell you all that we dearly appreciate your determination in following the progress and keeping up with the action steps. It can and has been both confusing and frustrating at times, but you stayed with us. 

Samuel Adams' words: "It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men". I think we proved that true, and we're not done yet.

With the amendment added which recognizes diploma granting organizations, we can now more truly say that everybody wins in this bill -- somewhat like the shedding of grace Christ offers to all of us. 

Continue to pray as we approach the next phase of making HB1013 a statute, passing it through the Senate and finally taking it to the Governor for signature. We just don't know what God has in mind. His ways and his timing are always perfect.   

Rep. Gillen gives his regards to all of us whom he calls friends. 

Friday, June 27, 2014


House Bill 1013 got the votes to get out of Rules Committee today! Getting it out of Rules gives us confidence that we have the vote in the House-- or they would have just let it sit until it dies in November. The persistent calls and emails you made asking them to sign on or support the bill made a difference. Otherwise, the risk of our bill getting a down vote would have been unfavorable to our cause.
Before a vote of passage occurs, it is considered by the House of Representatives on 3 separate legislative days. Remember that the legislature has 3,000 bills and 1,000 amendments this session. These days of consideration allows them the opportunity to learn all they can about any particular bill.

The first day of consideration was on June 4, when it was voted out of House Education Committee and re-committed to Rules Committee. Rep. Gillen amended the bill to include an optional diploma form from the Pennsylvania Department of Education -- a recommendation he received from the PDE.

Today was the second day of consideration. There were 18 proposed amendments altogether. Only 4 were heard on the floor and only 1 was adopted into the new text; the rest of the proposals were rejected as out of order.  That amendment to HB1013 includes the recognition of diploma-granting organizations within the statute, and that's welcome progress to end the second day of consideration.

The House members will be conducting non-voting meetings on Saturday. They will resume voting on Sunday at 5:00 PM. We will post it here when we find out the schedule. The third day of consideration will involve more debates but it helps raise the credibility of the bill and leads to final passage vote in the House.

"Will the bill be law, then?"

Not yet, but almost! It just has to go through the Senate Education Committee first before the full Senate Chamber, then on to the Governor's desk to be signed into law.

Realistically speaking, the process in the Senate will have to wait until the General Assembly returns after summer recess. But we must get it out of the House within the next 2 days to avoid a tougher going in the fall. 

Mike Folmer, Senate Ed Com Chair, has been prepped for HB1013 and plans to concur it in the Senate - instead of introducing a Senate version - since the bill has already gone this far. 

We have also done preliminary work with the Governor introducing HB1013 to his education and policy staffers. To help speed up the process - at least avoid it from getting bogged down in the legislature - we are conducting a petition. We ask everyone to sign and share it. The petition to the Pennsylvania Governor: Insist that the General Assembly bring House Bill 1013 to his desk for his signature prior to October 15.  


The goal remains - getting the vote. The more votes we get, the stronger the message becomes that homeschooling works and homeschoolers should be liberated from the shackles of bureaucracy. Keep the phone calls and emails going out especially if YOUR Representative in not on this list yet. Then, let's not forget to thank those who are on the list. Our gratitude positions us for - with Gods grace - more legislative favor.   

More importantly, pray. Ungodly forces and our human nature pre-disposed to fear and pride will be our undoing. 

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1, NIV)

Thursday, June 26, 2014


We are ecstatic and thankful to God for bringing the bill this far; and for all of you who have done what you can, plus more to help.

We received confirmation from Representative Mark Gillen that House Bill 1013 was added to the agenda for tomorrow, Friday, the 27th of June. This is the second consideration vote. It is unknown when the debate will begin but the House is in session at 10:00 AM and it will be conducted in the Floor of the House.

If we win, the final vote could come as early as Sunday or Monday, depending upon when they are in session next. If it passes the House, the next 3 steps are in the Senate, before it gets to the Governor's desk for signature.  

The House is in session through the weekend until Monday, and scheduled to go into recess July 1 IF the budget passes. They return into session at the Capitol on the last week of September.

Continue to call (leave messages) or email the House members so they get more positive support for HB1013 in the morning. We will still make some Info Blitz as a final push to secure the votes at 9AM.

Pray for Rep. Mark Gillen to be filled with God's wisdom  -- for power and favor before everyone. 

The schedule is uncertain but you can watch the process live stream either through PCN or the State's website.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


To achieve our goal of passing HB 1013 and to educate our legislature, we are ramping up our contact with legislators:

·         We launched an Email Blitz on Monday and it is still ongoing.
You may email us to get the data base of legislators to contact and there is a sample script online.

·         Thursday, June 26, we will create a Phone Blitz and we ask folks to donate at least one hour between 9AM and 4PM to call legislators to discuss the importance of homeschooling and passing HB 1013. The same sample script can also be used for these calls.

·         Please "Like" us on Facebook if you haven't already, so you can enjoy the variety of fun and encouraging posts CHAP provides daily; as well as stay informed on the events such as these HB1013 Blitzes. CHAP will have a special Phone Blitz post on Facebook so we can post live updates and encourage one another as we work through calling the list of House members that we've put together.

·         On Friday, June 27, please join our Info Blitz at the Capitol to visit as many legislators as possible. Folders will be ready to distribute with information and facts to help educate our legislators about HB1013 as well as about homeschooling! We will meet at 9AM at the Main Rotunda. Email us if you are interested in coming -- and bringing others! We're going to show them Christian courtesy and have fun at the same time! 

So many of you are still working diligently with us. Before this is all done, every legislator will have gotten emailed, called, and hopefully, visited by a homeschooling family. 

~ o ~ o ~ o ~

We are petitioning Governor Corbett to get the legislature 
to pass the bill; and have it on this desk by October 15. 

~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~

Monday, June 23, 2014


[An e-mail can be sent to multiple recipients and can be done at any time that works for you. We provide this sample text but feel free to tweak it and add your personal thoughts and story -- why you support HB1013. If you want to take on reaching out to everybody in the General Assembly, we have the data base but you have ask for it by emailing]

SUBJECT LINE: Please support HB1013

Hello! My name is  ______________________  and I am reaching out to all members of the legislature to respectfully ask you to vote and support House Bill 1013. I would also ask that you urge the leadership in the House to put HB1013 to a vote real soon.

The bill has 3 basic benefits: 1) homeschoolers will no longer have to be re-evaluated and submit our portfolios to the school district; 2) the bill will bring recognition of parent issued diplomas who are in compliance to the law; 3) it will allow continued home education while addressing grievances between the school district and the parents. 

HB1013 was just voted out of Committee and I would like to see it be put on the schedule for the Full House to discuss and vote on. May I ask you to support this bill and encourage the leadership to put it on the agenda?

Thank you for your consideration and God bless you for your service.

(Phone Number) 

[The impact is greater if you follow it up with phone calls.]

 =   -   =   -   =   -   =   -    =    -    =

Other Talking points:
  • School district portfolio re-evaluation is unnecessary because we are thoroughly assessed by a state credentialed evaluator beforehand.
  • HB1013 will strengthen school choice by diminishing hurdles for loving parents who wish to raise and educate their own children.
  • HB1013 removes the discrimination against parent directed, privately funded home-based schooling.
  • PA currently has the second most restrictive homeschooling laws in the nation.
  • HB1013 will save taxpayers millions
  • Homeschool students do well in states with or without regulation. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014


From facebook, by Melody Orris Collins: For those of us in PA here is a letter you can send to your district to hopefully persuade them to just take the evaluator's letter. There are two districts in the Pittsburgh area that no longer ask for the portfolios  and hopefully there will be more. The worse the district can do is say no but if they see more and more districts doing this hopefully they will change their minds... One of the benefits of House Bill 1013 prompted Maryalice Newborn to write this document. It will help many in PA and if it changes the school districts minds and helps us turn in less, that would be great.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[Your Phone # (optional)]

[Superintendent's Name]
[Your School District]
[District's Address]

[Today's Date]

Dear Superintendent __________________,

I am writing to request a change in the way the District handles legal requirements involving homeschoolers which, I believe, would save time, energy, and effort for everyone involved. 

Currently, homeschoolers are required to provide what amounts to as double documentation - both an “annual written evaluation of the student’s educational progress as determined by a licensed clinical or school psychologist or a teacher certified by the Commonwealth or by a nonpublic school teacher or administrator,” as well as a “portfolio of records and materials.” (Both quotes are from the PA Home Education Law.) Having both of these requirements is redundant and costly, particularly in terms of the time it takes to review portfolios, which often contain many pages of material.

Ms. Suzanne Tallman of the PA Department of Education has been instructing superintendents that portfolios are optional. (She may be reached at 717-214-8212 or via e-mail at Pittsburgh Public Schools and Apollo-Ridge School District are two area districts that no longer require portfolios.

Please consider joining these districts in requiring only the evaluator's letter as sufficient proof of educational progress for homeschoolers in our school district. Thank you in advance for your kind attention to this matter.


[Your Name Here]

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


by Corie Moore

There is a gross misunderstanding about the amendment on HB 1013.  An email has been received by many homeschoolers which is arousing anxiety and causing dissension among homeschoolers.  This email is not based on accurate information. Please help us disseminate this clarification. We would like to particularly request that if you respond to the source of the email, please do so with kindness.

HSLDA clarifies that HB 1013 does not affect the legitimacy of a diploma issued by an educational entity
  such as a diploma program -- that is already recognized by the state. HB 1013 simply adds a new "pathway” for homeschoolers to receive a state-recognized high school diploma that is accessible to homeschooling parents. This new pathway is optional and parents may still choose to issue diplomas directly or they may still choose to use a diploma program.  Neither of these options have been removed from the existing homeschool law.

PA State Representative Mark Gillen wants to assure anyone concerned about their homeschool degree program that it will NOT be affected by the bill or his amendment. He has met several times with the Education Committee Executive Directors in the legislature and they assured him that this will in no way affect any of the degree programs that are currently recognized by the State of Pennsylvania.

So, HB 1013 simply affirms that every loving and committed parent has the ability to properly educate their own children. Considering the fact that Pennsylvania is already the second most regulated state, HB 1013 makes a provision that every law-compliant-family's-parent-issued-diploma receives equal standing as that of the public school diploma.

We all know that there is a growing threat on our children being directed against parental rights and authority. We also know that it has not only been in Germany and Sweden. We are aware that it has been alarmingly real within our borders and our home State. It is imperative that we unite in protecting our God-given responsibility and liberty as homeschooling families.

Our passion to make homeschooling less burdensome is what drives us to pass HB 1013. Any opposing view will naturally work against us but how unfortunate if it's based on misunderstanding rather than direct opposition. It is imperative that we get the proper information out so we covet your time and energies to reach out to fellow homeschoolers at this time. The truth sets us free.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


"I am stumped with the re-evaluation.. I have never had that happen before. What is that about?

"I don't even have to hand my portfolio in, only a note written from our evaluator that she/he is happy with the work that they viewed."

"They say the evaluation is the job of the evaluator. They take the evaluation letter out and hand back the portfolio. One said flat-out, 'I don't have time to go through these things.'"

"I'm going to be letting our school district know that Pittsburgh Public Schools, Apollo-Ridge, and Greensburg School District have not evaluated portfolios for *YEARS*. Hopefully, they'll join the club and I'll help make my fellow homeschool families' lives easier."

These comments were from my facebook friends. I didn't know that there are school districts that don't ask for the portfolio either, until I started supporting HB1013.

At the hearing, the spokesman for PA School Boards Association said that their membership is 50/50 in their position on HB1013. I do believe that it's worth asking your superintendents for their support if they're homeschool friendly, does not feel the need, nor have time to re-evaluate your portfolio. If they can contact the House Leadership expressing their support, it would be a tremendous boost for the bill."

You may print whatever material you think will be effective to courteously educate your superintendent on the bill and request their help. The most important document to give them however is a copy of the bill itself.

When you connect with them, help them understand what HB1013 will do and not do to our existing law. Some of them have the need to know that we are still accountable to our school superintendent. They will be pleased to know that they still have oversight. (We hope to change that next, right?) Have them read the underlined paragraph on the 5th page of the bill. If you print them a copy, highlight those parts. Then, request that they call or email the Leadership  - of both the House and the Senate -- to express their approval of this bill.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


by Corie Moore

The House Education Committee voted House Bill 1013 out of committee with 17/25 members' support. We need to make sure we thank them in the Education Committee -- all the Republicans (Rep. Mike Fleck was on leave and missed the vote) and 3 of the Democrats: Representatives Mike Carroll, James Clay, Jr., and Jake Wheatley, Jr., for their votes. It will give them a shot of encouragement they seldom receive.

Those of us following the vote were thrown for a loop when we heard that it passed but was reported as amended! We thank HSLDA's Dee Black for helping us discern what it meant:

"It doesn’t change anything in the original bill about removing superintendents from evaluations. It changes the provisions for getting a homeschool diploma, but I don’t think any of these are too burdensome. It doesn’t give the Dept. of Ed. any authority to determine whether a student is entitled to a diploma. It just standardizes the form for the diploma."

There were 4 attempts to amend HB1013 but only one was approved. State Representative Mark Gillen amended his own bill to strengthen the points he's trying to accomplish. You may read the amended bill and compare it with the original text if you're interested, and get help understanding how to read it.

The video of the June 4 meeting is available by going to the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus site. Simply select "Videos" on the left side menu, click "Education" on the menu in the middle, and watch the video dated 6/4/2014.

Representative Mark Gillen sends his greetings to everyone!

Please take the time to return the greetings by thanking him for his diligence. He continues to make the case before the legislature that homeschooling is "fraught with interference in Pennsylvania."  

Pray for him also as he continues to advocate for us - for wisdom and insight, boldness, and favor before House and Senate leadership. He will continue to argue for the passage of HB1013 -- when the loudest voice and weightiest issue in Harrisburg is, and as always, about the budget. 

What's the next step in the process? After being scrutinized by a Standing Committee - the Ed. Com in this case, HB1013 has taken the traditional stop into the Rules Committee. If this was a bigger issue, this is the time when each political party will be discussing it in an attempt to muster full party support or opposition. Our hope is that they will simply rubber stamp what House Ed Com passed but that's not guaranteed. It is important for you to contact and educate your own Representative, urging him/her to support HB1013, give them the studies that show homeschool success, give them the facts of how we compare with other states, and don't hesitate to briefly share your unique story and conviction for homeschooling. You may call, email or write them, even visit. Find your legislator's information by entering your address in this site.

NOTE: We are meeting with a key staffer under Rep. Mike Turzai on Thursday morning. The bill went to his committee but do not lobby the committee at this point - just pray.

We thank you for your dedication to pass HB1013 with us.