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.
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.
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)
Sen. Gayle Slossberg, Co-Chair (D)
Rep. Robert Sanchez, Vice Chair (D)
Rep. Gary A. Holder-Winfield, Vice Chair (D)
Rep. Gail Lavielle, Ranking Member (R)
Sen. Antonietta “Toni” Boucher, Ranking Member (R)
Thank you for standing with us to protect parental rights and homeschooling freedoms in Connecticut. Every voice makes a difference…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.