Nice quote

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." Neil Gaimon

Monday, January 13, 2014

Oppose LD 1530 (Bill that is trying to make compulsory schooling begin at age 5 instead of 7)

Recently I reposted Trisha White's email on a couple of local yahoo group homeschooling lists.  Because a couple people wanted to know if that would affect homeschoolers and have a little bit further of an explanation of the bill, I thought I'd post more information here.    

So first I'll copy and paste the post.  Then I'll copy and paste a little more information about the bill and my thoughts as to how it affects Mainers and why it matters to me as a person and homeschooler living in Maine.  

This is what I posted on the yahoo groups

Copying and pasting Trisha White's post in case others might like to write to oppose LD 1530 (which would require 5 and 6 year olds to go to school) or attend the session on the bill on 1/23/14 at 1pm.  

PLEASE NOTE, they are up to the shenanigans again, the date has been 
changed to Thursday the 23rd at 1 pm! Please pass this along.

I will be going down and can take several people with me if you would 
like to ride along. I am in the Guilford Dover area and can stop at 
Walmart in Newport if you can meet there. You will not be called on to 
testify but you will be able to voice your opposition by being 
physically present and if you desire, wearing a sticker we provide 
stating your opposition to LD 1530. Remember numbers speak volumes and a 
large visual presence is very effective.


Help Needed Immediately to Prevent Compulsory Schooling for 5- and 
Homeschooling in Maine
Help protect parental rights.

Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with 
legal issues in Maine. He and his wife homeschooled their children.

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Your ability to decide for yourself how or whether to provide schooling 
for your 5- or 6-year old child is in danger.

A bill in the Maine Legislature, LD 1530, would make all children 
subject to government-mandated education requirements as soon as they 
reach age 5. This would destroy your freedom as a parent to be in charge 
of how to rear your 5- and 6-year-old.

We need your help right away! A committee will hold a session on the 
bill on Wednesday, January 15, at 9 a.m. The committee members need to 
see you and hear from you.
Action Requested

(1) Please send an email to the two committee chairs, Senator Millet and 
Representative MacDonald, asking them to oppose LD 1530. Say it in your 
own words, and make it personal---don&# 39;t "copy and paste" from this 
email. Some basic reasons to oppose the bill are listed under 
"background&qu ot; below.

(2) Also, send an email to your own senator or representative if he or 
she is on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. Use our 
Legislative Toolbox to find the name of your Maine state senator and 

(3) Come and attend the work session. Although you will not be allowed 
to speak, we need a big crowd to send a message. The work session will 
be in Room 202, Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall St, Augusta.

It is not necessary to identify yourself as a homeschooler since this 
would affect every Maine parent.
Contact Information

Members of the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs:

Senator Rebecca J. Millett (D-Cumberland) , Chair
SenRebecca.Millett@ legislature.

Senator Christopher K. Johnson (D-Lincoln)
SenChris.Johnson@ legislature.

Senator Brian D. Langley (R-Hancock)
SenBrian.Langley@ legislature.

Representative W. Bruce MacDonald (D-Boothbay) , Chair
RepBruce.MacDonald@ legislature.

Representative Mary Pennell Nelson (D-Falmouth)
RepMary.Nelson@ legislature.

Representative Helen Rankin (D-Hiram)
RepHelen.Rankin@ legislature.

Representative Matthea Elisabeth Larsen Daughtry (D-Brunswick)
RepMattie.Daughtry@ legislature.

Representative Brian L. Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor)
RepBrian.Hubbell@ legislature.

Representative Victoria P. Kornfield (D-Bangor)
RepTori.Kornfield@ legislature.</p>

Representative Peter B. Johnson (R-Greenville)
RepPete.Johnson@ legislature.

Representative Joyce A. Maker (R-Calais)
RepJoyce.Maker@ legislature.

Representative Michael D. McClellan (R-Raymond)
RepMichael.McClella n@legislature.

Representative Matthew G. Pouliot (R-Augusta)
mpouliot57@gmail. com

Representative Madonna M. Soctomah (Passamaquoddy Tribe)
RepMadonna.Soctomah @legislature.

Across the nation, when homeschoolers work together, they have had 
remarkable success in protecting freedom by stopping the expansion of 
compulsory age brackets. The crucial recipe for victory includes a 
simple ingredient: the willingness of ordinary homeschool moms and dads 
to spend 15 minutes to make a phone call or send an email!

History shows that lawmakers respond when they get a large volume of 
calls and emails. God blesses it when ordinary moms and dads put forth 
effort to protect freedom so they can hand it down to their children.

Requiring children to attend school at age 5 is a very bad idea for the 
following reasons:

1. LD 1530 forces children into school too soon. There are no long-term 
replicable studies proving that mandating attendance at age 5 rather 
than 7 is better for the educational development of the child. Much 
research indicates that early childhood education does not improve the 
child's potential for being a better student in the future, because 
early gains disappear in a few years. This is especially significant for 
boys, because their cognitive and verbal skill development generally 
lags behind that of girls at this age.

2. LD 1530 decreases beneficial parental contact with their children. 
Two extra years of development outside of school can be critical for a 
child at this early age. Parents should continue to have the authority 
to decide what is best for their children.

3. LD 1530 would have an adverse financial impact on all Maine families. 
The rising kindergarten population will increase the financial burden on 
the state. This will result in the need to increase state education 
revenues from either taxes or shifting the burden to future generations 
through borrowing.

4. This reduction in the starting age for compulsory attendance would 
definitely apply to homeschool families despite some slightly confusing 
language in the bill.

5. LD 1530 creates an unfunded mandate. It obligates school districts to 
provide expanded services without providing any funding. Unfunded 
mandates are strongly disfavored.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!


Scott A. Woodruff,
Senior Counsel, HSLDA

These are my further thoughts on the bill and why it matters to me to oppose it.

Other than needing to do reviews for our 5 and 6 year olds, it won't affect us as homeschoolers as far as I can tell from what I've read and heard.  Though let me add "for now" - because the more freedoms/rights that are taken away, the easier it will be to take additional freedoms/rights away.  

At first I felt like "No big deal, we'll just send in reviews for our younger kids too."  But after I thought more about it, I felt like I did want to do something to preserve the rights all of us have now.  Because why should our 5 and 6 year olds lives suddenly be under the state's jurisdiction?  That means more paperwork for us and if that bill passes, then what is next?  It will be easier for the state to take something else seemingly simple away.  

The state won't easily be able to jump from what laws we have now to much more restrictive laws, but if they do it slowly over time, it can happen. Especially if people just let it happen without protest.  

I guess I don't mind so much about the paperwork, but it is the idea that it will be easier for the state to make further restrictions on homeschooling or education or parental rights that makes me uneasy and motivated to take action to keep what rights we have now.  

In addition, I do believe that children and parents should not be separated at such a young age because it is a benefit for parent and child to be connected and continue their close relationship.  Making children go to school at age 5 will begin to erode their bond and cause some disconnect in their relationship.  Why should 5 year olds be forced into school instead of be able to be with their parents?  And connected families are happier and more peaceful families which make a positive affect on the community.  

Also, we already know that children's learning can flourish outside of an educational institution.  

So I find that law to hinder children's and parent's best interests.   The way it is now, parents can decide what is best for their particular child up to age 7.  Let's keep that way at least.  

Check this out - I just read this a few days ago in a delancyplace email - it is an excerpt from "Dumbing Us Down" by John Taylor Gatto - It bothered me to think about those little kids being sent by force to school (by guards) and that the parents had no choice.  I think it bothered me more since this bill is in my mind.  Yes, we have the freedom to homeschool now, but what if it was ever taken away or restricted further? : "Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the State of Massachusetts around 1850. It was resisted -- sometimes with guns -- by an estimated eighty percent of the Massachusetts population, the last outpost in Barnstable on Cape Cod not surrendering its children until the 1880s, when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard."  

And I like choices.  At least now parents have the choice to keep their very young kids home....whether or not they wish to send their kids to school later.  

Maybe some who keep their 5 and 6 year olds home now do decide to keep their kids out after continuing to be close with their kids and noticing all the learning taking place.  And even if they do eventually send their kids to school, I bet they are more connected.

Laurie :)

Here's the letter I wrote - I didn't go into the financial impact, just this.  Maybe I should have written more, but I kept it short.:

Dear XXX -

I am writing because I would like you to oppose LD 1530.  

I appreciate that our 5 and 6 year old Maine children have the opportunity to continue to grow and learn outside of the school system. I hope that this continues to be the case.  

It is beneficial to children to have more connection and contact with their parents, especially when they are very young.  In addition, it should continue to be up to the parents to decide what is best for their child.


Laurie Wolfrum
26 Good Wind Lane
Camden, ME 04843
207-236-4275 home
207-975-2953 cell