Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

CT Senate Bill 162

PLEASE NOTE: A problem has arisen with the wording of SB 162 as presented below. The legislation, as originally proposed by Representative Arthur O'Neill, was not intended to amend Connecticut General Statue 10-184. It was supposed to amend Connecticut General Statute 10-220. For further explanation of this development, please see the comment to this post by Judy Aron or read my more recent post, "Urgent Update!!! CT Senate Bill 162." Thank you.
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Well, after three years of work, it looks like NHELD, Representative Arthur O’Neill, and Connecticut parents will finally get a hearing for An Act Concerning Withdrawal of a Child from Enrollment in a Public School. From Consent of the Governed, we have this information:
Thanks to the support of State Senator Meyer and State Representative Anne Ruwet of the Select Committee on Children, the Parents Rights Bill proposed by Representative Arthur O’Neill has been raised in the Childrens Committee and will finally have a public hearing on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 9:00 am in Room 2B of the Legislative Office Building.
The purpose of the bill is to create a procedure by which parents will be able to remove their children from public school without fear of being harassed for truancy because an educational institution refused to remove the children in question from an official enrollment list. This has been a problem in Connecticut as schools attempt to “motivate” parents to comply with the current voluntary suggested procedure of filing a notice of intent before disenrolling a student. If passed, the legislation would add the following to Connecticut General Statute 10-184:
If the parent or other person having control of a child elects to provide the instruction required pursuant to this section to such child, such parent or other person may withdraw such child from school upon providing the notice described in this subsection to the principal of the school the child is attending or the superintendent of schools for the local or regional school district in which such school is located. Such notice shall (1) state that the parent or other person is withdrawing the child from school and that such required instruction will be provided by the parent or such other person, (2) be in writing, (3) be signed by such parent or other person, and (4) be delivered by certified mail, return receipt requested. Such principal and superintendent of schools and the local or regional board of education for such school district shall accept such notice and shall deem such child withdrawn from school immediately upon receipt of such notice.
Any homeschoolers who wish to testify in support of the bill are instructed to sign up at 8:00 am Tuesday morning in Room 2B of the Legislative Office Building, approximately one hour prior to the official proceedings. Those signing up to speak are also asked to bring at least fifty copies of their testimony. At present, I do not plan to testify. Sadly, I may not even be able to attend the hearing due to some scheduling conflicts. However, I will try to keep you apprised of any developments.

1 comment:

Judy Aron said...

We've actually found some major problems with this wording - which is not the same wording that we agreed on!

As the bill is currently proposed we will not be supporting it - yes you read that correctly - I have pulled my post because we are looking into what happened with the original language.
Details will be forthcoming about what the story is but basically this was not supposed to be a part of 10-184 nor does it really solve the problems entirely. This new language requires

Although it does require the school district to accept a letter of withdrawal, this new bill, SB 162, in essence, would codify the right of school districts to somehow grant “permission” to the parents to allow them to withdraw their children “if” they “elect” to provide the “required instruction”. Conversely, this bill could be read to prohibit parents from withdrawing their children from school “if” parents do not “elect” to provide the “required instruction.” The bill does not define the term, “required instruction”. This leaves the door wide open to still more of the coercive tactics already used by school officials to prevent parents from withdrawing their children. It does nothing to solve the problem. It only encourages more of the same.

To repeat, Senator Meyer’s version of the new bill, S.B. 162, would infringe on the already existing right of parents to withdraw their children from public school without the so-called “permission” of the school district.

This is not the bill that Representative O’Neill originally proposed, and it is not the bill that NHELD and other homeschool and parenting groups supported.

The original language and statement of purpose was supposed to be this:

AN ACT CONCERNING WITHDRAWAL FROM SCHOOL.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

That subsection (a) of section 10-220 of the general statutes be amended to provide when a parent or guardian of a child provides by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the principal of the school that the child attends or to the superintendent of the local or regional board of education, written notice originated by and signed by the parent or guardian
of a child stating that the parent or guardian is withdrawing the child from enrollment in a public school and will provide instruction for the child as required pursuant to section 10-184 of the general statutes, the principal of the school that the child attends
or the local or regional board of education shall accept such notice and shall deem the child withdrawn from enrollment in the public school immediately upon receipt of such notice.

Statement of Purpose:
To allow parents to home school their children and to require the board of education to respect their decision.

Check back to my site Monday to read an update on this issue - right now we are not very pleased with this turn of events and Senator Meyer is claiming he doesn't know what happened and supports the original language.

A bulletin will be coming out from NHELD