Tuesday's CHAPHELP Day went very well - far better than we expected. PRAISE THE LORD! We had over 20 families participating and we were able to visit 65-70 legislators.
We thank Will Estrada, our own Pennsylvania homeschool graduate, now Federal Relations Director of HSLDA, for the inspiring message and talk about lobbying. He likened homeschoolers to modern day minutemen ready to step up to defend our liberties. Will's family also joined us lobbying their legislators.
Two homeschool Representatives, Mark Gillen and Jesse Topper, also spoke, encouraging us to keep up the good work and persevere in the tasks God entrusted us. To affirm our educational choice, Rep. Topper used his legislative position to prove that homeschooling works. Rep. Gillen acknowledged the kind of commitment necessary to privately finance the difficult task of customized homeschooling and thanked parents for their civic involvement.
It was very encouraging to see families coming from as far as Ulster, Wyoming, Dallas, Pittston, and Sayre. They drove hours with their baked goods, signs for the press event, and well-dressed children - ready to reach out and petition our government - to oppose bills that force vaccinations and lower the compulsory attendance age.
Providentially, as it was not in the plan, we started the ball rolling on a potential legislation: a state statute for Parents' Bill of Rights. Vicki Suarez, State Coordinator for ParentalRights.org, who also spoke to us, came with her 3 adopted girls from China and her 7 grandchildren and their parents - all from Sayre. Vicki has a compelling platform showing what happens when government usurps parental authority - the heartbreak and destruction it creates in people's lives and the society as a whole. LORD willing, and with your help, this statute would be a perfect follow-up to HB1013.
UPDATE on HB1013: Representative Mark Gillen, sponsor of HB1013, has remained in contact with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, CHAP, and HSLDA. PDE has agreed that the optional signature of the school district superintendent and definitions on the State's downloadable diploma for homeschoolers is in conflict with Act 196 of 2014 so we are waiting for it to be reflected on the printable form online. The concern with the current format is that it gives back the authority to the superintendent that the change in the law just removed. We fought hard for more freedom and parental rights, so we will not give up any ground on these issues.
ALERT: We are looking into Act 153, a recent law that gravely affects homeschool co-ops, churches, children's ministries, and our parental authority and general liberties by requiring background checks of many people who come in contact with children who were not previously required to have background checks. Members of the General Assembly did not project the overwhelming unintended consequences it has created. Although we can't change the law we are trying to influence its implementation.
We need you to continue helping CHAP in our ongoing efforts to protect the God-given right of parents to homeschool. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive regular legislative updates with your name, street address, email and (optional) phone number, plus legislative district numbers and legislators' names if you know them.
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