Thursday, April 2, 2015

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED - HOMESCHOOL CO-OPS THREATENED

UPDATE [April 7, 2015]:

Act 153 is now law. There seems to be some confusion over that. However, administrative laws are STILL being discussed and decided upon by various agencies together with the legislation sponsor, Representative Dan Moul.

We are asking Rep. Moul to amend this new law giving homeschoolers an exemption. He is unbending thus far but offering us "free" background checks instead. We need to remind Rep. Moul that NOTHING is free - tax payers will have to cover the cost one way or another. We also need to fight for the protection of our parental authority or our government will usurp it in the name of "protecting our children".

Nobody wants any child to be abused. Sadly, reality is background checks only reveal who has been convicted. So, what happened to innocent until proven guilty?



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We need to act immediately with phone calls and emails to Representative Dan Moul on behalf of our homeschool co-ops.  Even if you don’t belong to one, we need your help. They are meeting right now as I post this.

Act 153 of 2014 demands almost any adult in contact with children to get clearances. This is a good thing, except that it is excessive government involvement affecting homeschool co-ops. Some co-ops have been told to shut down or get clearances for everyone or risk prosecution.

The prime sponsor of the bill, Rep. Dan Moul, is working on policies, which will provide the necessary scope of this bill.  Although getting a legislative exemption is unlikely given the political climate, getting a policy guide is highly doable. Here’s what everyone needs to do.


PLEASE contact Rep. Dan Moul and respectfully ask him to exclude homeschool co-ops from requiring clearances of parents. 

1) You can explain your co-op, or explain that a co-op is a group of parents coming together to share teaching of children. 

2) Co-ops are wonderful learning experiences for homeschool children and are being told to shut down.

3) Parents are with their children and others.

4) Homeschoolers have already signed a notarized affidavit saying that no one in their household has committed a whole list of felonies (per the home education law)

5) It is costly for homeschool families.

Keep it real.  Keep it to your own words.  But do something.


Contact info:

Capitol
Hon. Dan Moul
G32 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202091
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2091


District
Hon. Dan Moul
30 West Middle Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325


15 comments:

  1. It costs $10.00 per person for a PA Child Abuse History Clearance, and $10.00 per person for a Criminal Record Check. Isn't it worth that to ensure the safety of our children?

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    1. Sadly, clearances only prove who hasn't been convicted, and we have laws in place to prosecute crimes. As parents, we must not be too eager to surrender our privacy and authority over our own brood to the government. Thank you for the comment.

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    2. I must say that I'm unclear about the concerns. This new law is already in effect. Clearances must be done by July 1. The co-op in which we belong has already required both PA criminal and PA Childline clearances, long before this new law. Now, if you've been a PA resident for the past 10 years, you can choose to sign an affidavit. If not, you must complete fingerprinting. So, I'm not sure why a co-op would be told to shut down, unless they're refusing to obtain clearances.

      Although I think the new law is silly and inconvenient, I certainly don't see elevating it to something that it's not. I don't care who has my fingerprints.....they're not really a 'privacy' concern. Perhaps one should truly evaluate the reason that one is worried about complying with the new law. What, exactly, does one feel is a privacy violation? Heck, if 'they' want my pupil scan.....well, ok, I think it's dumb, but whatever.

      A rediculous law: YES. Worthy of pushback: Not in my opinion.....based on what?

      I do not live in fear;)

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    3. Amanda, every co-op is a private entity and can set their own standards. Parents in your co-op like you obviously AGREE with the background check or you would not have joined.

      This is a MANDATE we're talking about essentially usurping our parental authority, questioning our ability to protect our own children and dictating our lives and choices. We need to think through the grave assumptions here and consider - at what point will the government stop the intrusion of its tentacles on our lives when we allow it to grow in power.

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    4. Re: Burdensome Recent Child Clearance Law
      In Fall 2014 Child Clearance Laws created a burdensome impact on Pennsylvania citizens and taxpayers. This new law requires non-profits and churches to submit to state interference in how these independent organizations structure their child safety policies. This law will burden organizations serving children and families and ultimately harm the very same children the law portends to protect.

      The 2014 Child Clearance Law
      1) Violates separation of church from state interference.
      2) Declares innocent, sincere volunteers who are giving of their personal time with no compensation of being child abusers. Volunteers are guilty until proven innocent by providing HIPPA protected CAN, criminal, and FBI background checks.
      3) Raises the risk that these now innocent volunteers becoming abusive. Calling a child “dumb” produces a “dumb” child. Citing people as abusive until they can “prove” their innocence by handing over the above mentioned documents increases the number of people who will abuse.
      4) Raises the number of false abuse accusations as more people are “trained” to be mandatory reporters.
      5) Lowers and already ineffective social services system’s ability to be prudent as the system and caseworkers become drowned in increased, non-existent abuse reporting.
      6) Lowers pastors and other trained professionals with years of experience ability to positively intervene and counsel those struggling.
      7) Decreases the number of volunteers who are willing to volunteer thereby creating a man power and a safety issue within the organizations. Safety comes with numbers and many hands make light work.
      8) Creates excessive fines/ taxes allocating precious budget dollars toward a system that reduces child safety verses allocating these same dollars toward staffing and/or programs beneficial to children and families.
      9) Raise lawsuits and further require nonprofits and churches to allocate funding away from the benefit of children, not toward, in order to operate.
      10) Creates a spirit of suspicion among neighbors and friends, not community cooperation.

      As I have talked with friends and acquaintances concerning the ramifications of this law, I have heard an overwhelming, grumbling roar of frustration and anger.

      Sincerely,

      Katie S. Walker

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    5. I agree that this is a burdensome law and that it will just provide one more 'excuse' for people to refuse to volunteer to work with kids. Even with fees waived the background checks are an intrusion of government into individual lives and many very good people resent that. I don't see anything in the act or the amendment that would have stopped Sanduskey and his actions were the impetus for the new restrictions and requirements. Poorly thought out vague and ambiguous at best. Just a bad piece of legislation.

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  2. I believe it is worth the cost. Sadly, you can't be too careful these days.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Molly, but how much of our privacy are we willing to give up, and when will the government end its intrusion on our parental rights? Do we not all choose our own co-ops and meet every parent there? Every year, we also submit a notarized affidavit declaring that nobody in out house has been convicted of crimes according to the homeschool law of the State. This is an unnecessary control and oversight.

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    2. Unfortunately, I believe the cost will be increased child abuse, not less.

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  3. Actually, in addition to the 2 checks listed above, they are requiring a $30 federal fingerprinting clearance for those who have not lived in PA for the past 10 years; and also they are requiring the co-op to maintain records that everyone in contact with children is in compliance. These checks (totaling $50) must be repeated every 3 years. The co-ops must be subject to surprise state audits of their records, too. Checks are important to some extent; but does your co-op have the resources to keep up with that?

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    1. Thanks for the info., Jennifer. It is cost prohibitive to some parents that they have to shut down their co-op. At the end of the day, it's about parental rights versus unnecessary government control. Your input is appreciated.

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    2. So, by the comments, I'm assuming that not all co-ops have already required both PA clearances in the past. Our co-op has always required the two PA clearances. I'm sure that any co-op has some paperwork somewhere. You would require the parent to make a copy of each original, and then you would keep those 3 papers with any other co-op papers. And, if that won't work, we all know we carry some kind of bag with us at most times....and it's usually half filled with non-essentials:) lol. .....the perfect place for each person to keep and carry their own 3 sheets of clearances, in order to provide, if needed.

      Yes, this is a massive money maker for the state, but the roughly $50/every 36 months comes to only $16.66 per year, which further breaks down to $1.85 per month, for a 9-month co-op session:) We all know we've spent, or spend, more than that on other areas of life. Unfortunately, if you've lived in PA less than 10 years, we will need to funnel that $50 to clearances (actually, fingerprinting is only $27, not $30), as the law is already in place, so it's a necessity of you choose to be part of a co-op. Also, the parent only has to do the clearance for themselves.....one time.....every 3 years, no matter how many children:)

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    3. Please read my response to your other comment above. Thank you for interacting with us, Amanda. :-)

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    4. Being a homeschool mom, I often end the day with my to-do list 1/2 completed. I know many moms (and dads) also have a longer to-do list than they can complete. Act 153 creates unnecessary paperwork with little or no benefit and a lot of negative domino effects which fail to protect children. Act 153 creates a rat race for innocent people and allows guilty to slip through the cracks.

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  4. My husband and I find this to be a very concerning issue, and a dangerous one for our freedoms in Pennsylvania or in the US as this has the potential to spread to other states.
    My husband like many of yourselves or your spouses, has to have background checks on self and employees for the contracting work he does. He sees plenty of incongruities in taking these forms to schools. An utter waste of time in most of these interactions, much wasted human resources, and dollars spent going where exactly?
    The gathering storm of home educating parents standing against this have many reasons for feeling concern and alarm at these requirements.

    We just got a wonderful homeschool law passed to ease up on our burdens, and now this is marching in the back door. AND, so many are just leaping to comply without a good stand against it, that I am astounded.
    My words for this legislation are two fold: a total false sense of security, and a blatant Trojan Horse that will kill our freedoms in Pennsylvania to parent and home educate our children.

    There is no security in these background checks. It certainly does not pre-empt any adult or child or adolescent from becoming a predator in the days after a background check, and it certainly does not mean
    that a clear background check is actually a safe person. In both cases it just means they have not been caught. What will come next, checks on the genetic material of our children who may have markers for becoming predators?
    One person on this post commented that we could all just carry our three background checks in our homeschool tote bags, that way we have them if we need them to produce. It didn't sound like she was kidding. What is this
    becoming, communist Russia? Nazi Germany? produce your papers parents ! Show you can parent these children.
    how do we do "background checks" on the hearts and souls of every child, every adolescent, that comes into contact with our children? We cannot. If we think this makes us "safe" we are foolish. Abuse can come from plenty of ages younger than
    14 thru adult. A friend of mine found her children were molested by a female, 14yo mommy's helper in the neighborhood. right in her house, right over her head as she did mommy chores, this girl was playing molestation games with her children upstairs.
    So background checks? there is very little "security" in them. It's nothing more than money collected on innocent parents and families.

    Unless we stop this lunacy, we will see in a short amount of years, background checks for all parents that home educate. Co-op or no co-op, church volunteer or not, you will need background checks to have your own children in your own
    home to educate. Mark my words….unless we stand up against this and say NO to this, and demand a retraction of this law, that IS what will come down this slope. I actually believe it is the intention….in other words, the Trojan Horse.
    When the next legislation is more sweeping and includes EVERY HOMESCHOOLING home, so many parents will have already gotten their background checks willingly under guise of volunteering, that few will care one way or the other to protect the rights of others.
    The voices will be small and smothered out by those who no longer mind because they complied years ago.

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