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.

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