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

Monday, November 07, 2011

A New American Christmas Tradition

Perhaps you have seen this already.  I have no idea who wrote it, but they are clearly not going to come after me for reposting it since they urged people to get the message out. Someone sent it to me today in an email, and I think it bears repeating.

Something to think about... As Americans, we need to support our own economy, and not be held  hostage by cheap, foreign-made products that are crippling the jobs of workers in the United States.

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans.  There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands.  Oh... Yes there is!

It is time to think outside the box, people.  Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut.  How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership?  It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed?  Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese-made flat-screen TV?  Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a gazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates.  And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint  Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their  financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom?  Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal.  Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves.  They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip.  And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house?  When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community.  If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city.  Christmas is now about caring about US (We the People), encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams.  And, when we care about other  Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we could not imagine.

THIS is the new American Christmas tradition!!

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups.

-- throw up a post on Craig's List in the Rants and Raves section in your city.

-- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments.

This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?