Thursday, March 13, 2008

Homeschoolers Asked to Write Letters to the Editor

Debbie Schwarzer of the Homeschool Association of California's legal team is requesting homeschoolers write letters to the editor of their local papers telling them that no additional regulation of homeschooling is warranted:

"As many of you know, the newspapers are starting to publish, probably in response to Jack O'Connell's press release and the Governor's comments, editorials saying that homeschooling might be OK but more oversight is required. Yesterday, editorials in two of California's largest newspapers, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News, have called for increased oversight of the state's homeschoolers:

A Right to Home School?

State Must Set Standards for Home Schooling

Both editorials praise homeschooling in many ways, yet unaccountably conclude that more regulation of homeschooling is needed. That is where we beg to differ. Homeschooling is working now and does not need to be fixed, overseen, or regulated.

All of the groups have talked, and we all agree that what we need now is really a big PR push. The public needs to hear from homeschoolers and friends of homeschoolers. They need to know we're not fringe nut cases, that we're responsible, that WE have the best interests of our kids firmly at heart, even if some families that make it to the papers (and that's why they're in the juvenile court system and we're not) might be different.

We encourage as many of you as can to write letters to the editor of your local papers (look at their websites for rules on submitting letters, which can often be sent over the internet at their website) telling them that no such additional regulation is warranted.

It is best to be short and sweet. Be passionate but respectful, and don't denigrate anyone. State, for instance, who you are (e.g., "Our family homeschools in Anytown, California" or "My daughter teaches her three children at home") and then begin your points.

Short letters get printed. Long ones don't. So leave out most personal information (other than identifying your relationship to homeschooling). Don't bash teachers. They are not our enemies. And MOST IMPORTANT, don't say a word about regulation or legislation being acceptable. It isn't, and all of the groups are firmly committed to fighting it tooth and nail. If it comes, we'll deal with it, but as one of my colleagues who has fought legislative battles for 20 years says, "It's 10 to 20 times easier to stop a bad bill than to pass a good one."

This battle will be won by the contributions of hundreds. We all appreciate everything that you guys do. Please forward this to your local lists, too, or to friends anywhere.

Debbie Schwarzer
Co-chair Legal Team and Legislative Chair Homeschool Association of California"

Fire up those word processors!

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