Monday, November 28, 2011

NJ Homeschoolers! Your Calls Needed Now to Stop S3105

IMPORTANT UPDATE Calls No Longer Needed on Huttle-Weinberg Bills

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Thank you for your phone calls! They have had a significant impact. 

Our opposition to the Huttle-Weinberg bills is now well known in the 
legislature, greatly reducing the likelihood the bills could be 
quietly hurried through at the end of the legislative session (in 
early January) under a suspension of legislative rules.


It has been a long time since I posted an article about proposed legislation in NJ.


Once again, NJ is trying to punish homeschoolers for the failures of DYFS. HSLDA Attorney Scott Woodruff's conclusion is chilling:

    "New Jersey would overnight have one of the worst homeschool laws in the nation. The New Jersey tax base and overall economy could suffer as homeschool families avoid (or leave) the state."

Governor Christie has said that something like $70 billion in wealth has left NJ because of the unfriendly business climate and the confiscatory taxes. NJ's favorable homeschool climate is the only reason we stayed all these years.  My husband has been trying to talk me into moving to Pennsylvania for years, and I was never willing because of the homeschooling regulations. Now that we are no longer homeschooling, it won't affect me directly, but it WILL affect many of my friends.

I just received this e-lert from HSLDA concerning S3105, the latest attempt by Loretta Weinberg to increase homeschool regulation. The e-lert is posted here in its entirety.

Stop State-Mandated Annual Medical Exams and Portfolios for Homeschoolers

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Your calls are needed immediately to stop S3105, a bill Senator Loretta Weinberg filed last week, despite many calls asking her not to. The bill treats every homeschool parent like a child abuser by requiring them to file documentation of annual medical exams.

It would require parents to submit each child’s name, birth date, and homeschool instructor’s name every year by August 1. A mandatory portfolio would be due June 30. But what bureaucrats can require in a child’s portfolio is virtually unlimited.

The bill gives the State Board of Education dramatic new power over homeschool families by empowering it to regulate homeschooling. The Board could mandate exactly how all the bill’s requirements would be enforced. It could define homeschooling itself.

There is virtually no limit as to what the Board could require in the annual medical exam. No issue—no matter how personal, sensitive, unwelcome or intrusive—would be off limits.

Lawmakers who act against the will of the people can be removed from office. But State Board of Education members are appointed, not elected. New Jersey homeschool families would be virtually at their mercy.

This bill would turn New Jersey’s current sensible legal framework into a morass of regulations and burdensome red tape. With three filings every year for 42,000 homeschooled children, overworked public school staff would have yet more burdens added to their shoulders.

Taxpayers would pay the cost of filing, processing, checking, responding to, and storing 120,000 sets of paperwork each year. Taxes will inevitably go up to pay for it.

The media carried reports recently about the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) failing to protect an allegedly homeschooled child in danger—with tragic results. S3105 wrongly punishes parents for the failures of DYFS.
Action Requested

Please make three courteous phone calls by Thursday using the contact information below.

    Call Sen. Stephen Sweeney. He is the president of the New Jersey Senate, and he controls its business.
    Call Sen. Teresa Ruiz. She is the chair of the Senate Education Committee, to which S3105 was referred.
    If you are a constituent of the other four members of the committee (Sens. Jim Whelan, Diane Allen, Thomas Kean and Shirley Turner), call them. (ed note: Calling Shirley turner? Good luck with that.) Or use our legislative toolbox to see if you are a constituent of one of those senators.

Your message can be as simple as “Please oppose S3105. Don’t punish homeschoolers and public school staff for the failures of DYFS.”

Or you can frame your own message using information in this email, including material in the “background” section below.

Contact Information

Sen. Stephen Sweeney:

(856) 251-9801 (West Deptford office)

(856) 455-1011 (Bridgeton office)

(856) 339-0808 (Salem office)

Sen. Teresa Ruiz:

(973) 484-1000

Sen. Jim Whelan:
(609) 383-1388

Sen. Diane Allen:

(609) 239-2800

Sen. Thomas Kean:

(732) 974-0400

Sen. Shirley Turner:

(609) 530-3277


Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Education Network of Christian Homeschoolers of New Jersey (ENOCH), Catholic Homeschoolers of New Jersey (CHNJ), and New Jersey Homeschool Association (NJHA), and others, are united as a task force in opposing S3105.

You can view the bill online. DYFS had numerous contacts with the family of the abused girl who was in the news this summer. A fresh report was called in just a few days before she died. DYFS did virtually nothing about the report and closed it. Fix DYFS. That’s where the problem is.

Complicated rules always foster needless conflicts, and this would become an everyday occurrence. After the state board adopts regulations, local school systems would adopt their own requirements, creating an additional layer of red tape.

New Jersey would overnight have one of the worst homeschool laws in the nation. The New Jersey tax base and overall economy could suffer as homeschool families avoid (or leave) the state.

The outstanding academic achievements of homeschool students has been documented by many studies. Homeschoolers typically score 30 percentile points above others on standardized tests. Since homeschoolers score the same in states with heavy regulation and states with light regulation, adding new regulations is highly unlikely to help academic performance (source: Dr. Brian Ray, “Home Schooling Achievement,” 1997).

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely yours,

Scott Woodruff

HSLDA Senior Counsel

1 comment:

  1. I am sorry to sound over alarmist or plain ignorant but I wish that there was a home school legislation in the UK to safeguard children whose parent/s are too lazy or neglectful to send their children to school, who keep them at home and further neglect them. There were several articles in a recent teachers magazine where one child was stealing food at school, when this was mentioned to the mother the child was removed to be 'home schooled'. The child then disappeared off the radar until she was found dead at home - seven years old and weighing like a 2year old. Another child had special needs, the teachers would give him breakfast each day and meet his other personal hygienge issues (making sure he had clean clothes etc), the mother then removed the child to the distress of the teachers he has not been heard of since as the mother moved out of the area. ALL children should be monitored for signs of neglect, this can be done relatively easily if the child is seen daily, if it is not - well the above are just two examples. Parents/homeschoolers who have nothing to hide should welcome legislation that will safeguard those who may be at risk. I realise that my opinions will not be popular but genuine homeschoolers need to consider those who are not and the children that suffer as a consequence.