TEACH CT - The Education Association of Christian Homeschoolers

LEGISLATIVE NEWS & ALERTS!

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE! (Posted 4/28/16)

Update on HB 5307:  The bill was sent back to Appropriations on April 4, 2016.  Given the focus on budget concerns this session, it is unlikely to make it back for a vote.

LEGISLATIVE ALERT!   (Posted 2/24/16)  **EXPIRED**

Calls Needed to Stop Change in Compulsory Attendance Law! 

Your calls are needed to members of the Connecticut General Assembly Education Committee to stop proposed bill HB 5307 which would eliminate the right of parents to choose to wait until a child is 7 years old before sending him or her to school. Current law, CT Gen Statute 10-184, permits parents to not send a 6-year-old child to school by signing an “Opt Out” form.

If HB 5307 passes, parents would no longer have the right to determine whether a 6-year-old is ready for formal education. Instead, the child would have to attend school unless

(1) a physician certified that the child should not attend until age 7, or 
(2) the child had been identified as having a developmental delay.

HB 5307 restricts the right of parents to determine when their child is ready for formal instruction.

This is the third attempt by the legislature to impose this requirement on Connecticut families. In 2011, an almost identical bill passed the full Senate by a vote of 34-1, but was stopped in the House after many homeschoolers contacted their state representatives and expressed their opposition to it. The Senate tried again in 2013, but that bill (S.B. 877) died in committee after homeschoolers again voiced their opposition to it.  YOUR VOICE MATTERS!

This time, the House Education Committee will hold their own public hearing on HB 5307, on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. in Room 2C of the LOB.

Action:
Please call or email members of the Education Committee
 to express your opposition to this unnecessary and restrictive change in Connecticut law. They DO listen and they need to hear from YOU! 

You can also email testimony directly to the committee at this link:  https://www.cga.ct.gov/ed/#  under “Public Hearing Testimony”.  This same link under “Committee Membership” provides contact information for all the Education Committee Members (click on website for phone number).

You may use this message or something similar:

“Please vote against House Bill 5307, which would eliminate the right of parents to choose to wait until a child is 7 years old before sending this child to school. Parents, not school officials, are in the best position to determine when their child is ready for formal education.”

Note: There is no need to identify yourself as a homeschooling family since this issue is about parental rights and therefore broader homeschooling.

The following Education Committee Members are especially key - please make every effort to contact them if they represent your district:

Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, Co-Chair (D)
1-860-240-0420
   

Sen. Gayle Slossberg, Co-Chair (D)
860-240-0482
http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/slossberg.php

Rep. Robert Sanchez, Vice Chair (D)
1-800-842-8267
   

Rep. Gary A. Holder-Winfield, Vice Chair (D)
1-800-842-8267


Rep. Gail Lavielle, Ranking Member (R)
1-800-842-1423
http://cthousegop.com/contact-gail/   

Sen. Antonietta “Toni” Boucher, Ranking Member (R)
1-800-842-1421 
http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/contact-boucher/    

Thank you for standing with us to protect parental rights and homeschooling freedoms in Connecticut. Every voice makes a difference…  
 

TEACH-CT Opposes ESSA!  (Posted 12/02/2015)
(Every Student Succeeeds Act)

Call your Congressmen to voice your opposition.

You can reach the Washington switchboard at 202.224.3121.   Tell Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy to vote “No” on ESSA.

The mammoth (1000+ pages) bill, rushed for a vote with only 48 hours notice in the house, continues unconstitutional federal oversight of education—an area that belongs to local governance.  It continues to aim for a national curriculum and standardized testing, along with its intrusive data mining and efforts to oversee mental health.  Additional information can be found by clicking here

How does this affect homeschoolers?  In addition to the push to bring standardized curriculum to preschoolers, Common Core curriculum is being tested as part of the SATs, and there is a push for certification of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses that, if not acquired via Common Core’s process, may become a stumbling block to jobs. 

Please contact your Congressmen and Senators to urge them to vote “No” on ESSA.

 

Preparing for the 2016 Connecticut Session

2015 END OF SESSION REPORT

Connecticut’s 2015 Legislative Session adjourned on June 3rd. Despite the fact that 2015 was officially a budget session, several bills were introduced that would interfere with parental rights.

ATTACKS DEFEATED:

HB 5273, which called for pediatric mental health screening of all children, did not make it out of committee;

HB 6481, created a rebuttable presumption that grandparents are entitled to visitation;

HB 6891, would allow superintendents access to birth records in order to initiate and maintain contact in order to push early childhood education.  This bill did make it out of committee and onto the House Calendar but was not called for a vote.

ATTACK PASSED:

Unfortunately, HB 6949, requiring a notarized statement from parents claiming a religious exemption from immunization, was passed into law as Public Act No 15-174. 

PROTECTION DENIED

Efforts to protect parental rights, such as establishing a Parental Bill of Rights (HB 6238 and HB 6607) and efforts to protect student data (numerous bills) were defeated as well.

HB 7017 GUTTED BY BIG BUSINESS.  Notably, HB 7017, which was an effort to protect student data privacy, was originally drafted to add protection of student data collected via Common Core, but was drastically altered once large corporations got word of its demands for accountability for breach.  The good news is that 7017 did not pass, which leaves room in the coming session to again propose protection of student data that would recognize student and parental rights.

HOMESCHOOL ACTIVITIES

SB 562, which aims to allow homeschoolers to participate in High School Sports was not passed out of committee.  TEACH CT does not support this bill because it opens a door to additional regulation of homeschooling.  We have seen this happen in other states.

COMMON CORE opposition has gone silent at the capitol, although there remain dedicated parents who continue to call for Connecticut to discontinue the program.

WHAT NEXT?

Mental Health. We anticipate that efforts will again be made in 2016 to push for universal mental health screening, as well as implementation of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission recommendations.

Student Data Privacy.  We hope to see renewed efforts to pass effective legislation protecting student data privacy.