Saturday, January 23, 2010

More Testimony Presented at the HB 1580 Hearing

January 21, 2010
Stephanie D
Bedford, NH
HB 1580

Thank you for taking the time to hear us today. Thank you, Rep. Ingbretson for aiding us in the battle to maintain our rights as parents to provide our children with the education we believe they deserve.

Those who favor heavy regulation of homeschooling often ask, “If a parent has nothing to hide, then she shouldn't have any problem with regulation.” This is not so. My first problem with this argument is that I am an American citizen, and I am innocent until proven guilty. But there are others here better qualified than I am to make this argument. I would like to talk about my second problem with public school officials having regulatory power over my children's learning; it is like a Model T mechanic overseeing the maintenance of a Ferrari.

Home-learning requires a paradigm shift in order to understand how it works. Many homeschools do not operate on the top down approach of the classroom. They use an open source approach to learning, where every experience is an opportunity for learning and every individual is a potential teacher. The classroom model of the 19th century prepared people to work in factories and do the same thing day in and day out. That's not what our country needs anymore. We need people who are driven to take on complex challenges and tasks, and who have the know how to find solutions using a number of different sources. Most home-learners are already doing this, which is why it doesn't make sense for people who only understand the public school model to get involved.

Roger Schank, one of the world's leading researchers in Artificial Intelligence, learning theory, cognitive science, and the building of virtual learning environments, wrote, “Today's schools are organized around yesterday's ideas, yesterday's needs, and yesterday's resources ...Consider the most common classroom approach: one teacher standing in front of thirty children trying to get each one to be at the same place at the same time. This approach has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive, but it flies in the face of everything scientists have discovered about children's natural learning mechanisms, which are primarily experimentation and reflection. In other words, learning by doing. Consider also the concept of curriculum: that there is a particular body of knowledge everyone should know. This idea may comfort those who are concerned that our children know the "right stuff." Children, however, learn facts about the world because they feel the need to know them, often because these facts will help them do something they want to do. What is the right stuff for one may be the wrong or irrelevant stuff for another.”

In conclusion, I have a right to make sure my children are learning the best way they can, that they are prepared for the 21st century workplace, and I don't believe the state should be able to hamper our progress by making our family adhere to the antiquated public school model of the 19th century; It is like trying to make a Ferrarri look and work like a model T.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Testimony at the HB 1580 Hearing.

Madam Chairman and members of this committee:

I am Doris Hohensee. I have been a resident of New Hampshire for 30 years and have instructed my children at home over the last 24 years. I’m here in support.

HB 1580 restores the traditional option for parents instructing their children at home, while leaving the existing home education law in place.

The bill restores the “presumption of innocence” for all parents, who instruct their children at home, which is consistent with the first laws of this state.

Under common law the right and duty of all parents is founded upon their ability and inclination to supply their children’s needs. When parents neglect their children, they forfeit these rights. The legal procedure for restricting or terminating these rights requires due process. Fundamental rights such as these may not be casually brushed aside with sweeping legislation.

A reference to the “duty of parent” can be found in education statutes dating back to 1871 and the first compulsory attendance law of N.H. This statute was G.L. 91:14 or The General Laws of New Hampshire, Chapter 91 regarding “Scholars,” Section 14, “Duty of parents, guardians, etc.” This title confirms that the “duty of parent” to instruct his child was a fundamental law of our state predating compulsory attendance or even public schools.

In 1919 Ellwood P. Cubberley, an influential educator in the field of educational administration, wrote a highly regarded book, Public Education in the United States in which he quotes George H. Martin, the historian of the Massachusetts public school system, who observed that the fundamental principle which underlies all education legislation is that:

“The obligation to furnish this education rests primarily upon the parent.” (p.18)

Martin added that

“The child is to be educated, not to advance his personal interests, but because the State will suffer if he is not educated. The State does not provide schools to relieve the parent, nor because it can educate better than the parent can, but because it can thereby better enforce the obligation which it imposes.” (p. 19)
Public schools were created for children whose parents neglected their duty to instruct them. Only then was the “parent of the community” required to step in to provide suitable education.

The earliest laws of our state provided procedures for “binding out” these neglected children. Children, who did not have “a regular and lawful occupation,” were bound out as apprentices to masters, who trained them in a trade, as well as instructed them to read and write. State law required overseers to insure that these contracts were fulfilled and all wrongs or injuries were redressed. As late as 1900 “paupers” were bound out until the age of twenty-one for males and eighteen for females under N.H. law.

When factory work provided children under sixteen with more than ample opportunity to learn a lawful and honest trade, a law was enacted to require school attendance during the time “when public schools are in session” to insure that these children also learned to read and write.

With the first compulsory attendance law in 1871, the duty of the parent to instruct his child was recognized. Under the section specifying the “Duty of Parents”, the law unequivocally allowed parents to instruct their children “at home,” exempting them from compulsory attendance, which at the time required 12 weeks per year from ages 8 to 14. There were no restrictions on home instruction. Parents were presumed to be responsible.

The legislative session of 1871 began on June 7th and ended on July 13th; it was a few weeks longer than previous sessions. The Nashua Telegraph reported in detail any significant action that took place in General Court. It noted the 1st, 2nd and 3rd reading of each and every bill and included a brief discussion of any debate that took place. There was no debate over this new “Act to Compel Children to Attend School.” The paper noted debates over various issues regarding the railroads and taxes, but there was absolutely no debate on this “Act to Compel Children to Attend School.” I carefully scanned miles of newspaper microfiche and searched the legislative archives; there was never any public outrage because this legislature never attempted to restrict the rights of parents to instruct their children at home in 1871. Thus, there was no reason for parents to object. It was only very recently…. with the passage of the home education law in 1990 that parents, myself include, were outraged as our rights were abridged.

In 1990 parents were led to believe that this debate to restrict their rights had come and gone long before their time. Many mistakenly assumed that this issue was discussed at length and resolved by the General Court based upon the existence of some expired regulations, called “Guidelines to Home Education,” that were written by the Department of Education without statutory authority. They assumed that this Court had ruled on the matter. But in fact, this debate has never taken place. In 1990 parents were intimidated by threats of even more stringent regulations if they didn’t compromise; and as we have seen compromise only leads to more compromise, never resolution. Parents have been assumed guilty of educational neglect unless they annually proved themselves innocent, for the last twenty years without benefit of a debate …. or due process of the law.

How things have changed since 1871.

If a child in a public school “does not demonstrate educational progress for age and ability at a level commensurate with his ability” as required under the home education law (RSA 193-A:6 III), is his family threatened with legal proceedings? Or is there a better, less confrontational approach taken to develop an individualized program or perhaps to suggest a leveling placement that might be more effective for this student?

Where is this less confrontational approach for home schoolers? Instead of regulations full of threats and punishments for failure to learn, why not offer to provide assistance to parents? Don’t we all want what is best for these children? Where is the cooperation? How can students be expected to learn under such an adversarial system with demands far in excess of what other non-public educators have to contend with.

Parents have the primary duty to instruct their children, not the state. The state through its public schools undertakes the care and control of children in the absence of their parents. Acting in place of the parent, or in loco parentis, involves a temporary delegation of parental power, not a permanent and involuntary derogation. During this time, the parent is free to limit the scope of the power delegated, direct the actions of the temporary caretaker of the child, demand accountability and terminate the delegation of power, if necessary.

This doctrine does not entail any power to override reasonable written instruction from a parent. There is no explanation for the rogue behavior of certain school administrators, such as the principal at Nashua High this year who held my daughter in his office and demanded that she act in opposition to my written instructions. My daughter repeatedly asked to call home. Her requests were denied. Had she assaulted someone on the way to the principal’s office, she would have been allowed a phone call.

Not getting his way, the principal dismissed her from school, in violation of board policy (Nashua BoE policy 3241), essentially suspending her from school, denying her an education as a punishment until she submitted to his wishes. This principal believes that my parental rights cease as soon as my daughter enters the school building…. without due process of law!

This principal, along with many other school administrators, confuse their limited authority with another legal doctrine, called parens patriae, which involves authority that is permanent and often used contrary to the expressed wishes of the parent. However, procedural due process is required before parental rights can be terminated. Legislation, no matter how well meaning, and this includes the current home education law, cannot restrict or terminate individual rights of a parent …. without due process. Even compulsory attendance cannot rightfully do this.

Members of this committee have the important task of protecting the rights of each and every citizen of this state. This includes protecting the rights of parents. This bill would recognize the rights of responsible parents who have the primary duty to educate their children.

Please give this bill your support. Help establish education laws that cooperate with responsible parents.

HB 1580 would restore the common law "presumption of innocence” for all parents who instruct their children at home.

Parents are tired of those who presume … without any evidence or due process of the law… that all parents are irresponsible.

On its face their presumption is illogical... as well as unconstitutional. A child wouldn't fall for their line: "Please be responsible, but don't ever expect us to treat you as such."

More research and information can be found on our blogspot:

Thank you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today we attended the Hearings for HB 1580.

The following is the speech that Jim presented to the education committee.

My Dear Wormwood,

You have failed yet again. The Enemy threatens Our Father Below with HB1580, a bill designed to strengthen the family bond we've labored so hard to destroy. With HB1580, we lose the ability to create a monolithic secular culture through absolute educational uniformity. HB1580 takes the power of indoctrination away from our education complex and gives it to weak individuals. This pains me even more than that nauseatingly holy Bill Of Rights.

Think of it. These offspring will spend more time on science, literature, culture and the arts and neglect the important topics like pop culture, political correctness, and sex education. Allowing parents to confer educational and cultural values to their children without our oversight risks a land filled with open minds, individual thoughts, and dedication to family. You must not let this happen.

The dangers of educational excellence are only the beginning. Should HB1580 pass, parents and their children will grow together accustomed to a life guided by their own morality and intellectual prowess instead of our diabolical collective guidance. Hell forbid, they might actually get used to freedom itself.

Time is short, you must whisper to these lawmakers quickly. Say that parents can't be trusted with education. Remind them that they owe their allegiance to the special interest groups in education, that ordinary people are simply a nuisance. Your task depends on making these lawmakers neglect the goodness education freedom brings. Our Father Below is counting on you.

Your Affectionate Uncle,


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Question of the Day will Brown Win or Will Coakley Win

First attention all Coakley voters. Voting for Coakley is January 20th, 2010.

I believe for our Republic to survive Brown must win, despite being 9% points ahead the pessimistic person in me believes Coakley will win.

Why - Well a woman hands out absentee ballots and says "“My candidate is Martha…so I can mark it” nice huh? That is just for starters.

I hope I am wrong but the system I believe has been so corrupted Coakley will win.

Quote of the Day - "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." - Joseph Stalin.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Monday, January 18, 2010

20 Random Thoughts and Beliefs.

1. 911 was not an inside job.
2. The Holocaust did happen.
3. We did land on the moon.
4. I think that some people who believe contrary to the above three can and will cause great harm in our world.
5. Global warming is a hoax we have been going through periods of warming and cooling since the beginning of time. This is just yet another way to control the masses.
6. There is absolute insanity in those who support the killing of innocent people (abortion) and oppose the death penalty for horrible and evil serial killers or child killers.
7. Voting to increase your neighbors taxes is immoral.
8. The government taxing without representation is theft.
9. Some wars are a necessary evil.
10. The War on Poverty has kept 13% of the population in poverty since the 1960's this is one more War that must end.
11. The welfare system is a way to keeping people slaves to the government.
12. When you rely on the government to take care of you, you lose your ability to take care of yourself. Case in point Haiti and New Orleans. We have had tragedy just as large in California, Texas, Florida and New York the people who survive for the most part dust themselves off and put their lives back together.
13. People kill people guns don't kill people.
14. Laws will never stop evil people. Good people don't need laws.
15. Our Country has been on the decline for decades. Republicans, Democrats, Progressives and Independents have had a hand in messing up the Country. When you relinquish your rights to the government you will lose them.
16. Sadly evil does triumph over good at times.
17. If you like Chavez, Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Marx, Castro, Che Guevara or Mussolini you are either really ignorant or really evil.
18. Unions that once built this Country are now destroying our Country.
19. Good hard working people no longer need Unions.
20. Public Pensions are nothing more than a Ponzi Scheme that will bankrupt States and our Country.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Nice Try But No

Please this so called "education reform" is a try to capture 250 million taxpayer dollars. What a load of manure. You want real education reform. End tenure, get the teachers unions out of public schools, school choice for all let the money follow the child, pay for performance and move all teacher union pensions from a defined benefit plan to a defind contribution plan. Do you really think they would go for these so called reforms if there was not a 250 million dollar taxpayer funded carrot in front of these people?

The following piece appears in the Boston Globe. Be sure to check out the comments by the WASPs (Whiney Arrogant School People).

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Shining Moment For Ed Reform

AS LEGISLATORS worked in recent weeks to forge a major education reform bill, they could have succumbed to outside pressures to weaken the bill. But in the end, they insisted on passing a bill that gives school officials promising opportunities to improve failing classrooms. And that can only help Massachusetts - and not just because the bill will help in the state’s quest for $250 million in federal education funding.

Education reformers couldn’t ask for more, including an opportunity to double the number of charter school seats in underperforming school districts. It’s nearly incredible that pro-labor legislators under the glare of teachers unions would agree to dramatic changes in collective bargaining contracts. But in some cases, nothing short of extending the school day or removing ineffective teachers can save a failed school.

The bill is sound due in large measure to the work of Representative Martha Walz and Senator Robert O’Leary, the co-chairs of the education committee. Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo took great efforts to fashion a compromise. Other legislators showed skill and courage in the crafting or passing of this bill, including Representative Ronald Mariano and Senate Ways and Means Chair Steven Panagiotakos.

The governor will sign the bill Monday. Superintendents in underperforming districts will then receive unprecedented power and flexibility to bring their staffs and students up to standards. It’s a great gift, and a greater challenge.

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.