Illinois: 4,000 Homeschoolers Say “No” to Registration Bill
Dear HSLDA Friends and Members,
An awe-inspiring 4,000 homeschoolers flooded the Statehouse today as Sen. Maloney did his best to get the Senate Education Committee to support his plan to mandate registration for homeschoolers. But the committee did not vote, so homeschoolers must continue to press for the withdrawal of the bill.
Please call your own senator and ask him or her to contact Sen. Maloney and ask him to withdraw–NOT AMEND–his bill. Use our legislative toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10343 to find your senator.
Sen. Maloney has stated he intends to amend his bill so it impacts homeschoolers only–not other private schools. There is no way to amend his bill to transform it into a good bill. Its objective is to push government control into your living room and kitchen, and that is unacceptable no matter how he may amend it.
Prior to the hearing this morning, the entire auditorium filled up quickly for the 9:15 a.m. Home School Freedom Summit in the Howlett Building. After that, homeschoolers poured into the Statehouse. They filled the committee hearing room, then completely filled that entire floor of the Statehouse, even pushing up into the upper galleries. Security estimated the crowd at 4,000.
While waiting for the hearing to start, the crowd beginning singing. Strains of “America the Beautiful,” “God Bless America,” “Amazing Grace,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” drifted into the committee room. No one present will ever forget the huge, orderly, but passionate crowd, the singing, and the sense that their presence made a powerful statement in defense of liberty. No Illinois senator or representative will forget that statement, either, I believe.
Recognizing the crowd, staff agreed–for the first time in the history of the Illinois legislature–to leave the doors to the committee hearing room open during the hearing (if the crowd would stay quiet)! The hearing went longer than scheduled. Homeschool leaders testified powerfully against the bill. Sen. Maloney testified that officials “needed to know” who was homeschooling, though it was never entirely clear why.
Some senators worried about homeschoolers “falling through the cracks.” But if “falling through the cracks” means kids ending high school without a diploma, without being able to read, without being able to enter college without remedial classes, and with a juvenile justice record, then “falling through the cracks” is quite common in public schools. The sad truth is that the public schools do not have the solution to “falling through the cracks!” Why have the least effective system of education supervise the most effective system?
The senators on the committee seem closely divided between “for” and “against” on SB 136. The change of a single vote could have dramatic consequences. The efforts of every single homeschool family in the state are urgently needed.
Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel