Senate Education Committee, Meet Illinois Homeschoolers
by Susan Ryan
Illinois homeschoolers have been busy, as have secretaries, aides and the Illinois Senators themselves in speaking with private school advocates or reading their concerns the last several days.
Senator Maloney's bill SB 136 has been moved along to the Education Committee. Oddly, the Education Committee issued the Hearing information in this manner:
97th General Assembly
Hearing Notice For Education
Members Notice of Hearing Bills
Hearing Scheduled for Feb 15, 2011
Chairperson James Meeks
Vice-Chairperson Kimberly Lightford
Minority Spokesperson David Luechtefeld
Scheduled Date: Feb 15, 2011 10:45AM
Location: 212 Capitol
Posting Date: Feb 09, 2011 2:26PM
Subject Matter: Registration of Home Schooled Students in Illinois.
The Education Committee has changed the intent for this bill from this description copied below on the ilga.gov site to "Registration of Home Schooled Students in Illinois", as shown above.
"Amends the School Code. Requires the parents or legal guardians of children attending non-public schools, a defined term, or private or parochial schools to annually register their children with the State Board of Education, in conformance with procedures prescribed by the State Board of Education"
Very odd and doesn't seem appropriate to target homeschoolers within the private school community. That would be like singling out Catholic private schools or Montessori private schools from all the rest of us. It shouldn't be applicable in considering the 1950 Illinois Supreme Court ruling that set the precedence of Illinois homeschools being private schools. Balances of power or checks and balances should have some significance in the rule of law.
It seems useful to send a nicely worded email or letter laying out the reasons why we don't like this bill and send it via email or fax to all the Education Committee members and your Senator.
I just received this in my email box from Laurie Bluedorn (see how busy we are) and this is great information to use in your letter :
From Cedra Crenshaw's Facebook Page and the Stop SB 136 Facebook Page
Full text of SB 136: http://ilga.gov/legislation/97/SB/PDF/09700SB0136lv.pdf
State Senator Edward Maloney (D-Chicago) has introduced SB136 which would require non-public school students to register annually with the state. This would affect private and homeschool students.
When interviewed, Senator Maloney said, “We're not going for the private school students, we're going to change that [in the proposal]. What we want to know is where the homeschoolers are. It's as simple as that,"
* Call Senator Mahoney at 773-881-4180 or 217-782-5145 and demand he withdraw this unnecessary government overreach.
* Homeschoolers average 2009 ACT scores, 22.5, beat the national average of 21.1.
* Homeschoolers are already required to comply with significant substantive state mandates.
* Parents who choose to homeschool are taking the ultimate responsibility to educate their children.
* Senator Mahoney should be focused on fixing the Chicago Public Schools which had a 2010 graduation rate of only 55.8% and spent over $11,000/student.
* Requiring homeschool parents to register with the state will do nothing to positively impact their children’s education.
* Annual reporting will add another opportunity for the state to unreasonably burden responsible parents.
Here's sponsor Senator Maloney's contact information: Office Phone: (773) 881-4180(773) 881-4243 FAX Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senate Education Committee
James T. Meeks Office Phone: (708) 862-1515 Fax: (708) 862-4745 Online email contact: http://www.senatedem.ilga.gov/index.php/contact-me-meeks
John G. Mulroe Chicago Office Phone: (773) 763-3810(773) 763-3881 FAX Springfield Office: (217) 782-1035(217) 782-2115 FAX
online email contact: http://www.senatedem.ilga.gov/index.php/contact-me-mulroe
Now here's the thing about these two great Senators listed below. They have already stated they oppose this bill. Send them a different letter and make it a thank you. They deserve it.
Now I'll put these email addresses in a nice line for you. After you paste those in, go to Vote Smart and find your Senator's email address. Stick that in there along with your lovely letter and hit Send. We want our Senator friends and allies to have the opportunity for lots of email and fax waving going on to show the proponents of this bill. (We'll recycle, we promise.)
Senator Meeks and Mulroe like online contact forms. Don't forget about the Chairman and Senator Mulroe and make sure you get a copy sent to you.