VICTORY! AB 186-A March Towards Totalitarianism in the Education of Children; “Dies in Committee”

Excellent 8/22/2015 blog post, Why School? Why 5 years of age? Why 5 days a week? Why 6 hours a day? Certainly there is a need and place for academic instruction in every child’s life… we of course desire to train them up to become self-sustaining, productive members of society who move out of our homes!  But why is it incumbent on government to determine when, where, and how OUR children are education?  It isn’t… it is a parent’s God-given right and responsibility.  NHN will continue the battle against Nevada’s propensity to make such decisions for ALL parents.

6/13/17 – 2017 Legislative Session Wrap-up

6/7/2017 – Letter from HSLDA

2017 Victory in Nevada! Bill to Reduce Parental Control of Education is Dead
 A message from Mike Smith (HSLDA) and Barbara Dragon (NHN)
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
AB 186 (by Diaz), which would have lowered the compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5, died in the Ways and Means Committee last night as the legislative session ended.
This happened only because of your actions of writing letters, emails, making visits to the legislature, and your phone calls. Over 370 of you voiced your opposition to AB 186 on the Nevada Legislature opinion page. This is monumental.
Also, the tireless efforts of those at Nevada Homeschool Network was instrumental in this defeat. A special thanks goes to those who testified at the education hearing. Because of all these efforts, working together, AB 186 was defeated.
It seems obvious that another effort will be made in 2019 to lower the compulsory school attendance age. We will need to be ready again to mount an even greater effort. And to that end, if your legislator voiced opposition to the bill, please extend a thank-you to him or her.
Thanks again to all of you. We wish we could give you all a great big congratulatory hug!
Mike Smith is president of HSLDA.
Barbara_Dragon_SIG.jpg

June 6, 2017 – Nevada Legislative Session has ended.

AB 186 was never heard in Assembly Ways & Means so the bill “died in committee” as they say.  We’re sure that some version of the bill will resurface in 2019… but until then, sit back, relax and enjoy the FREEDOM to make the decision WHEN your child is ready for school!

Thank you to everyone who communicated with members of the NV Legislature and/or showed up to testify against AB 186… we couldn’t have done it without you!

June 2, 2017 – UPDATE on AB 186

No news is good news?  We haven’t heard anything on AB 186 in weeks.  The bill is stalled in Assembly Ways & Means, which is good news at this point considering the HUGE budget battle now taking place over funding of the Governor’s ESA bill, SB 506.  So, we’ll say a prayer and ask God to continue to protect the fundamental right of parents to decided when their child is ready for school up to age 7 as in existing law.

We did find a 2009 article by Dr. Brian Ray, NHERI, that delves into the push by government bureaucrats to lower compulsory attendance ages.  Keeping this article here for what is sure to be a continuing battle in future Nevada Legislative sessions: Is There Any Solid Evidence For Expanding Compulsory School Age.

April 27, 2017 –  Contact your Assemblyman/woman regarding AB 186.  Bill referred to Assembly Ways & Means, not yet scheduled for a hearing.

Click here for Call to Action MESSAGE from HSLDA/NHN

Please help NHN and HSLDA stop AB 186 that lowers the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 6 (amended from age 5 in original bill).  It also mandates Kindergarten for a 6 year old child enrolling in a public school if they were not enrolled in a public/charter school at age 5 which is punitive to the child!  And lastly, AB 186 will set up a new program, funded from the State’s General Fund (over and above what is already going to public K-12 education), to fund prekindergarten in public and private schools and child care facilities.

The amended version of the bill limits the parental right to decide when their child is ready for enrollment in a school (public or private) or to begin homeschooling as compared to existing law.  No reasonable justification has been given as to why the State of Nevada should compel enrollment in a school at a younger age than 7.  The current breakdown of enrollment ages in all 50 states is; age 5 = 9 states, age 6 = 25 states, age 7 = 14 states, age 8 = 2 states.

In addition, the NV Department of Education estimates that “…of the estimated 37,000 5-year-olds in the state, about 2,000 aren’t in school.”* that’s a whopping 95% who are already enrolled in a public school… so what’s the point? Clearly children in Nevada are already attending school and lowering the compulsory attendance age serves no purpose.  So lowering the compulsory attendance age strikes us as totalitarianism; the state thinks they’re smarter than the parents in making educational decisions for the children.

We are asking that you contact your Assemblyman/woman immediately and ask them to vote NO on AB 186 if/when the Assembly Ways and Means passes the bill out of committee.  Contact info for Legislators is contained in the HSLDA memo above as well as the link to the “Share Your Opinion” page for all bills being heard this Legislative session.  All Assembly Legislators need to be made aware of this attempt to limit parental rights.

*https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/bill-proposes-sweeping-expansion-nevadas-meager-pre-kindergarten-program

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April 26, 2017 – UPDATE on AB 186, 1st Reprint

Assemblywoman Diaz’ Amendment No. 468 to AB 186 now posted on NV Legislative website.

POSITION:  Opposed

For Nevada Homeschool Network, our main issue of concern is allowing ALL parents the freedom to decided “when” (up to the age of 7 as in current law) and “where” their child should attend school (public, private, or home).  As such, we review bills based on their impact on the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the education of their children as FREE from government control as possible.  In this case, AB 186-1st Reprint limits existing rights by lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 6, and may actually penalize children who are not enrolled in a public/charter school by their parent at age 5.  This will make NRS 392.040 MORE restrictive, not less and should therefore be opposed.

DETAILS: Although Assemblywoman Diaz amended the original version, we still have major concerns with the bill.

  1. While the amendment changes the compulsory attendance age in AB 186 from 5 to 6, the bill now “mandates” kindergarten in public school and is punitive against a child whose parents choose to enroll their 5 year old child in a private kindergarten, provide a kindergarten experience at home, or simply provide the child with an enriching home life establishing the 6 year old child’s “readiness” for first grade.
  2. Section 3, subsection 7 defines a “kindergarten” as one offered in a public or charter school, only.
  3. Section 3, subsection 3 stipulates that a 6 year old child who has not attended a “kindergarten” (as defined in Section 3, subsection 7 of the bill) MUST be placed in kindergarten if enrolling at age 6 in a public school.
  4. Section 2, subsection 1(j) seems to allow a charter school to enroll a 6 year old in first grade without prior enrollment in a public/charter kindergarten.

From our reading of the First Reprint, if a parent chooses to wait to enroll their child at age 6 in a public school and the child did not attend a public or charter kindergarten at age 5, that 6 year old child MUST be enrolled in the public school kindergarten and has no opportunity to enter first grade if that is a more appropriate placement based on the child’s abilities.  Therefore, this amended bill is clearly “more restrictive” than existing law and we question whether that wording is intentional or a mistake that can be corrected.

BACKGROUND:  School districts in this state currently offer (and are required by existing law) an “assessment” or “developmental screening” for a child enrolling in a public/charter school for the first time to determine grade placement.

Existing law: NRS 392.040

6.  A child who is 7 years of age on or before September 30 of a school year must:

(a) If the child has completed kindergarten and the first grade, be admitted to the second grade.

(b) If the child has completed kindergarten, be admitted to the first grade.

(c) If the parents, custodial parent, guardian or other person in the State of Nevada having control or charge of the child waived the child’s attendance from kindergarten pursuant to subsection 4, undergo an assessment by the district pursuant to subsection 7 to determine whether the child is prepared developmentally to be admitted to the first grade. If the district determines that the child is prepared developmentally, the child must be admitted to the first grade. If the district determines that the child is not so prepared, he or she must be admitted to kindergarten.

__The enrollment of any child pursuant to this subsection must be counted for apportionment purposes.

7.  Each school district shall prepare and administer before the beginning of each school year a developmental screening test to a child:

(a) Who is 7 years of age on or before September 30 of the next school year; and

(b) Whose parents waived the child’s attendance from kindergarten pursuant to subsection 4,

__ to determine whether the child is prepared developmentally to be admitted to the first grade. The results of the test must be made available to the parents, custodial parent, guardian or other person within the State of Nevada having control or charge of the child.

FURTHER AMENDMENT NEEDED:  AB 186, 1st Reprint does NOT included this “developmental screening” language provided in existing statute for children whose parents choose to delay school enrollment for their child and should, at the very least, be amended again to allow for a 6 year old child being enrolled in public school for the first time to receive an assessment to determine grade placement which may be kindergarten, first grade, or even second grade!  It should be up to the school and the parent, working together, to determine the most suitable grade placement of a child based on his/her academic skill level rather than their birth date.  It is “reasonable” to assess a child’s readiness for a particular grade placement rather than limiting the child’s placement in a public school simply because he/she did not attend a public/charter kindergarten in this state at age 5.

Further, under current law and the AB 186-First Reprint, children moving to Nevada from another state are allowed placement in the grade level they were working at in that state according to that state’s laws.  This could mean that if another state recognizes kindergarten and/or first grade enrollment in private schools and homeschools, those children would not be automatically placed in a Nevada kindergarten.  If this were the case, a Nevada resident child may be discriminated against under the wording in AB 186-1st Reprint if forced into kindergarten for having not been enrolled in a Nevada public/charter kindergarten at age 5.

CONCLUSION:  NHN will continue to advocate for the complete removal of the “compulsory attendance age change” language from AB 186 because doing so will maintain the liberty of parents to make decisions for the appropriate age of their child’s school enrollment (up to age 7) based on their “readiness” for formal academic training and will not impact Assemblywoman Diaz’ stated goal of offering state funded prekindergarten programs to 4 year old children in this state.

ADDITIONAL IMPACT of AB 186-1st Reprint:  Sections 5.3 and 5.8 create a NEW prekindergarten funding program for public and private schools and child care facilities.  AB 186 was also amended to remove the requirement that public schools in Nevada provide a prekindergarten class and instead requires the NV Department of Education to establish the “Prekindergarten Improvement and Expansion Program.”

From the Legislative Counsel’s Digest on AB 186, 1st Reprint –

Section 5.3 – “The Department shall (1) accept and approve applications from schools (public or private) and child care facilities (public or private) that wish to establish new prekindergarten education programs or expand existing prekindergarten education programs; and (2) identify the needs that must be met for those schools to establish or expand prekindergarten education programs.” (State control of all prekindergartens that receive state funding.)

In addition, the amended bill “prescribes the required uses of money appropriated for the program, including addressing the identified needs of schools and facilities participating in the program 7 and awarding grants of money to such schools and facilities.”

Section 5.8 – Appropriates money from the State General Fund:  (not currently included in Governor Sandoval’s proposed budget) for this program for the next two years (2017-2019) according to the bill; $9,313,000.00 (1st year: $1,542,000.oo, 2nd year:  $7,771,000.oo).

NHN is not taking a position on this portion of the bill.  However, we do stand by our original position that state funding of  prekindergarten or “preschool” is burdensome to the taxpayer because, “There are no proven studies showing preschool promotes long-term educational success. To the contrary, research indicates that early education does not improve a child’s potential for being a better student in the future, because early gains disappear in a few years.”

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April 14, 2017 –

Assembly Education Committee votes “Do Pass” of an amended AB 186.  Two Republican Assemblywoman, Melissa Woodbury and Jill Tolles voted “for” the amended bill but reserved the right to change their vote to “no” on the assembly floor because they still have concerns with the Age 6 compulsory attendance age change (this up from age 5 in the original bill, the current age is 7).  NHN believes that there is no compelling evidence to suggest the current age of 7 needs to be change or that anyone will be benefited by the change.  Indeed, parents will be more burdened by lowering the compulsory attendance age if their children are simply not ready for school.

If you live District 24 – Clark County (Woodbury) or District 25 – Washoe County (Tolles) please contact them and ask them to vote NO on AB 186 since you are their constituents.  Contact info for Assemblywoman Woodbury; https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Assembly/Current/23

Assemblywoman Tolles: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Assembly/Current/25

Results of the Education Committee Vote on AB 186 –A message from Mike Smith
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Assembly Bill 186 was voted out of the Assembly Education Committee this afternoon. The author of the bill amended it to change the compulsory education age from 5 to 6.

However, we will not change our position on the bill—at age 6 children are still too young to be forced to start formal education. There’s no justification for changing the current compulsory age of 7.

It appears that the bill will now go to the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means—the money committee. When and if this happens, we will  let you know so we can mount further opposition to AB 186.

For those of you who contacted the Education Committee, voicing your concerns, we are very grateful. We will be asking you to contact your legislators again. Do not despair; perseverance in the face of adversity is the key to maintaining our freedom.

Sincerely,

Mike Smith,

HSLDA President

April 13, 2017 – Update!  Action Needed

The Assembly Education Committee has scheduled AB 186 for a Work Session and VOTE tomorrow, April 14th. We don’t know the time of the hearing, it will be held “at the call of the Chairman.”

Please EMAIL all Committee Members tonight or tomorrow morning with “Vote NO on AB186” in the subject line. This will make it easy to copy and paste into an email: Tyrone.Thompson@asm.state.nv.us, Amber.Joiner@asm.state.nv.us, Elliot.Anderson@asm.state.nv.us, Olivia.Diaz@asm.state.nv.us, Edgar.Flores@asm.state.nv.us, Ozzie.Fumo@asm.state.nv.us, William.McCurdy@asm.state.nv.us, Brittney.Miller@asm.state.nv.us, Heidi.Swank@asm.state.nv.us, Chris.Edwards@asm.state.nv.us, Lisa.Krasner@asm.state.nv.us, Keith.Pickard@asm.state.nv.us, Jill.Tolles@asm.state.nv.us, Melissa.Woodbury@asm.state.nv.us

Bill: AB 186 (by Diaz)—lowers compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5, makes kindergarten mandatory at age 5 and requires all school districts to provide prekindergarten for 4 year-olds in every public elementary school.

This bill 

  • Denies parents the right to decide if their children are ready for school at age 5 or 6 and puts that decision in the hands of the state.  
  • Mandates that ALL children attend Kindergarten 
  • Mandates that all public school provide PreKindergarten (4 year-olds) – where does that money come from?  Raising taxes again?

Position: Strongly oppose

Assembly Education Committee Members office phone numbers:

DEMOCRATS: Tyrone Thompson – Chair Office Phone: 775-684-8569, Amber Joiner – Vice Chair Office Phone: 775-684-8559, Elliot T. Anderson Office Phone: 775-684-8835, Olivia Diaz Office Phone: 775-684-8553,  Edgar Flores Office Phone: 775-684-8583, Ozzie Fumo Office Phone: 775-684-8839, William McCurdy II Office Phone: 775-684-8545, Brittney Miller Office Phone: 775-684-8833, Heidi Swank Office Phone: 775-684-8595

REPUBLICANS: Chris Edwards Office Phone: 775-684-8857, Lisa Krasner Office Phone: 775-684-8848,
Keith Pickard Office Phone: 775-684-8823, Jill Tolles Office Phone: 775-684-8837, Melissa Woodbury Office Phone: 775-684-8503

Assembly Fax number for all: 1-775-684-8533

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April 4, 2017

Commentary on AB 186 (Diaz) and AB 348 (Joiner) from Victor Joecks, Las Vegas Review Journal

“Diaz has proposed Assembly Bill 186, which would reduce the compulsory school age from 7 to 5. She testified that Nevada has about 37,300 5-year-olds, but just 34,626 of them are enrolled in public kindergarten. You might think having 92 percent of 5-year-olds enrolled in public kindergarten shows that the status quo is working — starting at 5 fits most kids, and parents hold off when a child isn’t ready — but you’re obviously not thinking like a liberal.

Liberal politicians are running a factory that produces widgets — you commoners call these widgets “children.” No factory supervisor could accept an 8 percent error rate. Politicians’ track record of, ahem, “success” with Nevada’s public school system proves that we can blindly trust them.”

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March 22, 2017 – UPDATE

BEST video news report on the hearing on AB 186 from KOLO-News Now;
“But with such high voluntary kindergarten enrollment numbers, opponents of AB 186 say parents should be able to choose whether to let their children start school early.”Our kids have access to kindergarten all day by age 5,” Maggie England, a parent who opposes the bill, said to the committee. “There’s no need to mandate it at five. They all have access already. This is only restricting parental rights over their child, and I don’t think that’s the place of the government.”

Other parents also saw this bill as government overreach.

“I did not give birth so the state could have children,” one mother again AB186 told the committee.

Others argued that one size doesn’t fit all, that some children may not be developmentally ready to start school at five.

“Kids are all different,” Karen England, executive director of the Nevada Family Alliance, said. “Their social needs, their emotional needs, their educational needs, their medical needs. We’re all different. My three grandchildren could not be more different.”

Assemblywoman Diaz says the bill does not take away a parent’s right to choose private or homeschooling education as an alternative to public school. They would just be required to file the same notices and paperwork they would if they were making the decision for their 7-year-old. But it was unclear what parents would do if they want their child educated in a private school, but not until he or she was six or seven. Opponents also expressed concerns that parents would lie and use homeschooling as a loophole to avoid enrolling their child in school.

“You are forcing that parent to do one of two things,” Karen England said. “Falsify a record and become a homeschooler for their child at the age of 5, and provide lesson plans and all the documentation. Or if they’re not falsifying the record, force them to do what they genuinely believe is wrong for their child.”

And from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:  

Lowering the compulsory age drew the most criticism, including from the Nevada Homeschool Network.

“Our basic premise is that parents need to be the one who decides when their children enter school,” said Elissa Wahl, the organization’s chairwoman. “The biggest sticking point is that this is not voluntary.” 

Click here to read NHN’s Letter to the NV Assembly Education Committee – 03.21.17 OPPOSING AB 186 as written.

Click hear to read Home School Legal Defense Association’s positon on AB 186.

Video of the actual hearing:  http://nvleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=7292  AB 186 was the last bill to be heard and starts at the 1 hour, 26 minute marker.

THANK YOU to all the parents and concerned citizens who came out today in both Carson City and Las Vegas to convey opposition to AB 186 as written! And to those of you who called, emailed, faxed; LEGISLATORS HEARD you! Several made comments on all the people who had contacted them!!!

We are hopeful (though not necessarily optimistic) that members of the Assembly Education Committee heard our plea and will work to amend the bill and leave the compulsory attendance age at 7. The next step will be for the Chairman to move this bill to a “Work Session”… NHN will keep you posted.

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March 20, 2017 

Click here for joint Home School Legal Defense Association and NHN Call to Action – Make your opinion known!

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March 19, 2017 – Neveda AB 186 Opposition.NHN.HSLDA Hearing CTA.1

AB 186 – Reduces Parental Control over Education; Hearing Scheduled 3/22/17

Call to Action Request – NEW message from NHN Officers and Mike Smith (HSLDA)

Bill: AB 186 (by Diaz)—lowers compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5, makes kindergarten mandatory at age 5 and requires all school districts to provide prekindergarten for 4 year-olds in every public elementary school.

Position: Strongly oppose

Status: As introduced

Hearing:  Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 3:15 p.m.  in Assembly Education Committee. Agenda: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/Agendas/Assembly/ED/Final/588.pdf

Action Requested

Thank you to all who have already contacted your own Assembly members and voiced your concerns regarding AB 186, but NOW more is needed!  We need ALL OF YOU to respond to this new action request to STOP this attempt by the state to get ALL children in school at five years of age.

Please call, email or fax members of the Assembly Education Committee NOW (contact info below). Include your name, address, and a short message (see Opposition Points below).  Subject:  Vote NO on AB 186.

Plan to attend the hearing on Wednesday, March 22nd at 3:15 in either Carson City or Las Vegas.

Location: Room 3142 of the Legislative Building, 401 S. Carson St., Carson City, NV.

Video-conferenced to Room 4406 of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building, 555 E. Washington Ave., Las Vegas, NV.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION for Education Committee Members:

Tyrone Thompson – Chair  Office Phone: 775-684-8569    Email: Tyrone.Thompson@asm.state.nv.us

Amber Joiner – Vice Chair  Office Phone: 775-684-8559     Email:  Amber.Joiner@asm.state.nv.us

Elliot T. Anderson                Office Phone: 775-684-8835     Email: Elliot.Anderson@asm.state.nv.us

Olivia Diaz                        Office Phone: 775-684-8553     Email: Olivia.Diaz@asm.state.nv.us

Edgar Flores                      Office Phone: 775-684-8583     Email: Edgar.Flores@asm.state.nv.us

Ozzie Fumo                       Office Phone: 775-684-8839     Email: Ozzie.Fumo@asm.state.nv.us

William McCurdy II           Office Phone: 775-684-8545     Email: William.McCurdy@asm.state.nv.us

Brittney Miller                   Office Phone: 775-684-8833     Email: Brittney.Miller@asm.state.nv.us

Heidi Swank                      Office Phone: 775-684-8595     Email: Heidi.Swank@asm.state.nv.us

Chris Edwards                   Office Phone: 775-684-8857     Email: Chris.Edwards@asm.state.nv.us

Lisa Krasner                      Office Phone: 775-684-8848     Email: Lisa.Krasner@asm.state.nv.us

Keith Pickard                     Office Phone: 775-684-8823     Email: Keith.Pickard@asm.state.nv.us

Jill Tolles                          Office Phone: 775-684-8837     Email: Jill.Tolles@asm.state.nv.us

Melissa Woodbury              Office Phone: 775-684-8503     Email: Melissa.Woodbury@asm.state.nv.us

Assembly Fax number for all:  1-775-684-8533 or Toll Free: 1-866-543-9941

Assembly Mailing Address: c/o NV Assembly; 401 S. Carson Street, Carson City, NV 89701-4747

Current Assembly Members: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Assembly/

Find Your Legislator: http://mapserve1.leg.state.nv.us/whoRU/

Summary of Concern

Under current law, parents can choose to have their child skip kindergarten and begin at the 1st grade at age 6 or even 7 if appropriate for the child as determined by the parent. If AB 186 were to pass, it would eliminate this current parental choice by mandating that every child attend school by age 5. This would go into effect at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

Under AB 186, parents who would have chosen to delay their child’s entrance into formal education and skip kindergarten would be forced to start their children’s formal education two years earlier, before they feel it is best for their child.

The requirements of AB 186 would apply to pupils in public and private schools, as well as homeschools and rigidly compel school attendance based on age instead of readiness.

Advocates of extending government control over all children from birth will be able to use passage of AB 186 as a step toward establishing seamless, cradle-to-grave government-controlled education and development programs for all children.

Opposition Points

  1. Parents, not the state, should decide when their children are ready to attend public, private or home school, not the government.  The current compulsory attendance age of 7-18 more than satisfies the government’s goal of ensuring an educated populace while protecting a parent’s right to determine the child’s readiness for school attendance prior to age 7.  Many children are simply not ready to attend school at age 5 or even 6. However, for those parents who wish their child to attend school, the opportunity to do so already exists under current Nevada law.
  2. Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 5 will create an undue financial burden on parents who intend to enroll their child in private school but wish to choose to wait until their child turns 7. These parents will now be forced by state law to enroll their child one or two years earlier than planned or submit paperwork to homeschool their child at age 5 even if they determine their child is not ready for school. Homeschooling parents would be required to start their children’s formal education at age 5 as well.
  3. Requiring school districts to provide prekindergarten in every elementary school usurps local control of education and will create an undue financial burden for Nevada. There are no proven studies showing prekindergarten or “preschool” programs promote long-term educational success. To the contrary, research indicates that early education does not improve a child’s potential for being a better student in the future, because early gains disappear in a few years. Further, funding for other educational services vital to current public school students will be depleted.

Forward this email onto your friends and relatives as this affects all families in NV not just homeschoolers.

If you have not already done so, go to the Nevada Legislative Opinion page and vote your opposition to this bill here.  In addition, it is vitally important that you leave a COMMENT. Your comments will be viewed by lawmakers.

Thank you for your action to preserve this vital right of parental choice in Nevada.

NHN Officers:  Elissa Wahl, Matt Alder, Kelley Radow, Ray Poole, Aaron Sutherland, & Kristi Casuas       NHN Officer Emerita (active):  Barbara Dragon                                                                                                       in cooperation with Mike Smith, President HSLDA

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AB 186 has been scheduled for a hearing in the NV Assembly Education Committee on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22 at 3:15 pm.  Please plan to attend the hearing in Las Vegas or Carson City to register your opposition to the bill as currently written.  Click HERE for date, time, location info.

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March 10, 2017 – UPDATE on our meeting with Assemblywoman Diaz re: AB 186

After meeting with the sponsor of AB 186 last week, there appears to be some confusion. Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz believes that 5 and 6 year-olds who are already ENROLLED in a public school but are not attending the school on a regular basis are being “neglected” by their parent and that an age change in the compulsory attendance law is required to “fix” the problem.

But we pointed out that under existing law parents who voluntarily enroll their 5/6 year-old child ARE already contributing to truancy of the child if they are not sending the child to the school he/she is “enrolled” in and can be dealt with the same as parents of 7-18 year-olds. If that is her only motivation for the compulsory attendance age change, no change in the law is required. We also stressed that MOST parents already think the law requires them to enroll their child in Kindergarten at age 5 or 6 anyway!

There was also some discussion that she is concerned that there are 5 and 6 year-olds who are not enrolled in a public school and may not be receiving any instruction from their parents and they then arrive “delayed” at public school. We stressed that even if that were true in some cases, the law should not be changed as it would negatively impact a parent’s right to make the determination based on the child’s “readiness” for school instead of the child’s age.  Schools (both public and private) already work with the parent and child in determining proper grade placement when the child is enrolled at any age.

Lowering the compulsory attendance age would then force all children into “education” based on their age, as determined by government, instead of their “readiness” for academics as determined by the parent.  We have asked that the bill the bill NOT be moved forward as it is currently written.
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March 1, 2017

                                            

Oppose Bill that Reduces Parental Control over Education

 A message from Mike Smith and Barbara Dragon

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
From: Mike Smith, HSLDA, in partnership with Nevada Homeschool NetworkBill: AB 186 (by Diaz)—lowers compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5, makes kindergarten mandatory at age 5, and requires all school districts to provide prekindergarten for 4-year-olds in every public elementary school.Position: Strongly opposeStatus: Your response to AB 186 has been tremendous! Some of you have contacted your Assembly member, and 150  of you (as of 3/1/17 @ 7:00 pm) have formally registered your opposition to the bill on the Nevada Legislative Opinion page. As a result, AB 186 is in the top 10 of all bills based on the number of responses.The bill is still active and will require our continued opposition. We will probably contact you next about the bill when it is set for a hearing, likely in the Assembly Education Committee. At that time we will ask you to contact committee members and, if possible, attend the hearings in both Carson City and Las Vegas.

Action Requested

Please forward this email to anyone interested in opposing this bill. We have provided “opposition points” below to help you formulate your message. Also, if you haven’t contacted your Assembly member, please call or write, explaining your dissatisfaction. Find your legislator here. And finally, if you haven’t registered your opposition on the Nevada Legislative Opinion page, please do so at your earliest convenience.

Summary of Concern

Under current law, parents can have their child skip kindergarten and begin at the 1st grade at age 6 or 7. If AB 186 were to pass, it would eliminate this current parental option by mandating that every child attend school by age 5. This would go into effect at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

Under AB 186, parents who would have decided to delay their child’s entrance into formal education and skip kindergarten would be forced to start their children’s formal education two years earlier, before they feel it is appropriate.

The requirements of AB 186 would apply to pupils in public and private schools, as well as homeschools.

Advocates of extending government control over all children from birth will be able to use passage of AB 186 as a step toward establishing seamless, cradle-to-grave government-controlled education and development programs for all children.

Opposition Points

Parents, not the state, should decide when their children are ready to attend school. The current compulsory attendance age of 7-18 more than satisfies the government’s goal of ensuring an educated populace while protecting a parent’s right to determine the child’s readiness for school attendance prior to age 7. Many children are simply not ready to attend school at age 5 or even 6. However, for those parents who wish their child to attend school, the opportunity to do so already exists under current Nevada law. The requirements of AB 186 rigidly compels school attendance based on age instead of readiness.

Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 5 will create an undue financial burden on parents who intend to enroll their child in private school but wish to choose to wait until their child turns 7. These parents will now be forced by state law to enroll their child one or two years earlier than planned or submit paperwork to homeschool their child at age 5, even if they determine their child is not ready for school. Homeschooling parents would be required to start their children’s formal education at age 5 as well.

Requiring school districts to provide prekindergarten in every elementary school usurps local control of education and will create an undue financial burden for Nevada. There are no proven studies showing kindergarten promotes long-term educational success. To the contrary, research indicates that early education does not improve a child’s potential for being a better student, because early gains disappear in a few years. Further, funding for other educational services vital to current public school students will be depleted.

Thank you for your action to preserve this vital right of parental choice in Nevada.

Mike Smith, HSLDA President
Barbara Dragon, NHN Officer

 

February 22, 2017

Click here for NEW joint message from NHN and HSLDA on AB 186!  Join the growing number of people making their voices heard on this bill to lower the Compulsory Attendance age from 7 to 5.

NEW study from Stanford University backs up what NHN has long said, parents should decide “when” their child is ready for school, not a state mandate.

We appreciate your support of the work of both organizations to protect homeschooling in Nevada and at the national level as well!  How you can help:

Parents, Join NHN first and receive a discount on your HSLDA Membership.

Grandparents and Friends, donations to Nevada Homeschool Network* and HSLDA – Homeschool Freedom Fund are welcome as well.

*Note: NHN is a 501c4 organization which benefits others through our lobbying efforts. Therefore, membership fees and donations are not tax deductible.  

 

February 15, 2017

Warning:  The NV Legislature is now in session.

AB 186  will lower the Compulsory School Attendance Age in Nevada from 7 to 5 years old!

The bill also mandates every School District maintain a Pre-K class in every school.We say:  “Let parents decide when their child is ready!”

February 15, 2017

Dear Concerned Citizens,

By way of introduction, Nevada Homeschool Network (NHN) advocates for Nevada families who have chosen to direct the education of their children.  In this capacity, we are writing today about AB 186. Among other things, AB 186 will lower the compulsory attendance age for entry into school from 7 to 5 years of age. This requirement will apply to all children, whether their parents plan to send them to public school or private school or homeschool.

We have several concerns with AB 186 as introduced:

  • We hold that Nevada parents should decide when their child is ready to attend school, not the government. The current age of 7 gives parents that opportunity.  Many children are simply not ready at age 5 or even 6.  However, for those parents who wish their child to attend school they may already do so under current Nevada law. “Choice in Education” should include “when” as well as “where”.
  • Requiring school districts to provide Pre-Kindergarten in every elementary school usurps local control of education and will create an undue financial burden for Nevada.  There are no proven studies showing Early Childhood Education (Pre-K) benefits the long-term educational success of the child.
  • Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 5, with no exemptions for age 5 or 6, may create an undue financial burden on parents who intend to enroll their child in private school but wish to choose to wait until their child turns 7.  These parents will now be forced by state law to enroll their child a year or two earlier than planned or submit paperwork to homeschool their child even if they determine their child is not ready for school.

Article II, Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution states, “…the legislature may pass such laws as will tend to secure a general attendance of the children in each school district upon said public schools.”  The key here is, “tend to secure” a general attendance which we believe is met under current law.

Therefore, NHN requests the help of all Nevadans to STOP this intrusive surge into what should be a parent’s right to determine when their child is ready to attend school.

What YOU can do now to help!

ACTION REQUESTED:

  1. Contact your Assemblyman/woman by mail, phone or email:

Assembly Contact info: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Assembly/

Who’s my Legislator?  http://mapserve1.leg.state.nv.us/whoRU/

What’s my district? http://mapserve1.leg.state.nv.us/whoRU/

  1. Please explain in your own words that this bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Diaz is: a huge burden on the Nevada taxpayer, it is not in the Governor’s budget, it will required higher taxes that Nevadan’s can’t afford, it takes away local control of education by mandating school districts to provide Pre-Kindergarten in every school, and it undermines a parent’s right to decide when their child is ready for school.
  2. Share your opinion on AB 186 on the Legislative Opinion Page.
  3. Contact NHN and let us know that you agree with us by finding us on Facebook or emailing us . We also need people to meet with Legislators with us as well as attending hearings on this bill. For information on this and other bills affecting homeschool freedom link to our website.

Federal funding for government controlled school choice; “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Okay Nevada Homeschool Parents… big FYI here.   

Updates on FEDERAL “school choice” initiatives:

6/19/2017 – Indiana Christian school at center of LGBT voucher debate – The Indy Star
6/5/2017 – Will Public Schools Survive if Blaine Amendments Don’t? – The Heartland Institute
5/23/2017 – HSLDA and DeVos talk Homeschool Freedom – report on their meeting.
5/18/2017 – Homeschool Advocates to Betsy DeVos: We Want to be Left Alone by the Federal Government
4/11/2017 – HR 610 Languishes in Committee, Will Estrada, Esq.; HSLDA Federal Relations
3/14/2017 – For the Love of Choice, Don’t Federalize It , Neal McCluskey; CATO Institute
3/2/2017 – Just Say No to “Fake” ESAs,  Jim Mason, Esq.;  HSLDA VP of Litigation and Development
2/14/2017 – 4 Ways HR 610 Will Threaten Your Rights, Will Estrada, Esq.; HSLDA Federal Relations

01/27/2017 -We knew the day would come when “government funded school choice” advocates would push their agenda to the national level to “give” us taxpayer money but in return the threat of state control of our homeschools would increase dramatically if the Feds get involved in giving “grants” to the states to fund private schools and homeschools.

Click here or read below HSLDA’s response to House Resolution 610 just introduced in the U.S. Congress.

HSLDA_Logo_Tagline_Horizontal_296x92.jpg

January 27, 2017

Dear Friend,
It has been said that there is no such thing as a free lunch. As homeschooling families know too well, government money will eventually lead to government control.
That’s why HSLDA is opposing a bill introduced by our friends in Congress, Rep. Steve King (IA) and Rep. Andy Harris (MD). Though well-intentioned, H.R. 610 is ultimately ill-advised. It calls for sending all federal education dollars to the states in the forms of federal grants so that the states can then give the money as vouchers to public, private, and homeschool students.
(Note: While Rep. Trent Franks (AZ) is also listed as a cosponsor of H.R. 610, we talked with him and his staff last night and they agree with our concerns about homeschooling families being included in H.R. 610. As a result, there is no need to contact his office, and we are deeply grateful to him for his commitment to protecting homeschool freedom from “help” by the federal government. Here is the statement Franks gave to us: “I understand the concerns of the homeschool community. My support for the bill only extends to vouchers for public school and private school students. If this bill moves forward, I would request that any language that would impose vouchers upon homeschools is taken out.”)
If the bill only applied to public schools and traditional brick-and-mortar private schools, HSLDA would take no official position on it. There is no question that many millions of children are stuck in public schools that fail to meet their needs, and school choice would be an incredible benefit to them.
But HSLDA has repeatedly told our friends on Capitol Hill that our members and many other homeschooling families know that government dollars will eventually result in government regulation. Although we are grateful for our friends on Capitol Hill, and although we know that representatives King and Harris are well-intentioned, they need to hear loud and clear from the homeschool community. Even though the vouchers created by H.R. 610 would be voluntary, we believe that this would be a slippery slope toward more federal involvement and control in homeschooling.
If you do not want federal government “help,” if you just want to be left alone, this is the time to speak up.
Dangers of H.R. 610 (click here to read a PDF version of the bill with page numbers cited below).
1. Elimination of language protecting homeschool freedom in U.S. Code: Page 2, paragraph (a) repeals in its entirety the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which was most recently reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act. While HSLDA applauds this repeal language, as we believe that the federal government has no constitutional authority to make education decisions which should be left to state and local authorities, this full repeal would also eliminateHSLDA’s language fully protecting homeschool freedom from all federal control.
2. Creation of a “federal right to homeschool:” Page 3, Sec. 104 requires states to make certain assurances in order to receive their portion of federal education dollars. One of the requirements (paragraph (2)(A) on page 3) is that states “make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect … to home-school their child.” While this sounds good, HSLDA has fought — successfully — for decades to make sure that there is no “federal right to homeschool” because what could be created by a favorable Congress could be regulated by a future, hostile Congress. It is far better (and far more constitutionally sound) for education decisions — and homeschool freedom — to be protected at the state level. We ask our friends at the federal level to simply leave homeschooling families alone. The Constitution protects the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children, as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in its seminal cases of Meyer, Pierce, and Yoder. Federal legislation to “protect” homeschooling is unnecessary.
3. States would need to track homeschooling students:Numerous provisions in H.R. 610 require states to count the number of eligible students in their state. Page 4 says “The State shall distribute funds . . . based on the number of eligible children in the public schools . . . and . . . the number of eligible children . . . whose parents elect to send their child to a private school or to home-school their child.” Page 5 requires “on an annual basis” that school districts count the number of eligible students who attend public schools, and “whose parents elect—to send their child to a private school or to home-school their child.” There is only one way that states and school districts can do this: by requiring homeschooling families to register with them, and be tracked by the school district. This will be especially problematic in states that do not require homeschooling families to file a notice of intent with the local school district. H.R. 610 will require homeschooling families in all 50 states to register with the local school district. This would be just the first cost of “free government money.”
4. The government would now get to decide how much parents should spend on homeschooling: Paragraph (B) on page 6 requires that the federal education vouchers to parents who choose a homeschool “shall not exceed the cost of home-schooling the child.” Who will now decide how much it costs to homeschool a child? The government. Page 8 further requires that the federal education vouchers “be distributed in a manner so as to ensure that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses.” This is not defined, meaning that government officials and public schools will decide what qualifies as an appropriate educational expense. HSLDA has heard over the course of 33 years from numerous parents who have elected to teach their children at home through a government-funded virtual or correspondence school. In their experience, they found their curriculum options shrunk as each choice had to pass a government litmus test.
Call Congress Now

At this point, it is only necessary to contact these sponsors of this bill, Representatives King and Harris.

If one of these is your U.S. representative, please call or email him, and politely ask him to take homeschooling families out of the bill, including homeschooling families who are defined by their state’s education law as private school students.
Please remember that these congressmen are friends of homeschooling, and that this bill is well-intentioned, but ultimately dangerous. We encourage you to identify yourself as a homeschooling parent.  Your message can be as simple as:
“As a homeschooling parent, I oppose H.R. 610. I do not want to receive federal vouchers. Government money will ultimately lead to government control and regulation, which will stifle the success of homeschooling. I am grateful for your past support of homeschool freedom, and urge that you protect the future of homeschooling by rewriting H.R. 610 to ensure that homeschools, and homeschools defined by state laws as private schools, do not receive federal money.”
You can reach these congressmen by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. If one of these members of Congress represents you, you can find his direct phone numbers and email addresses here.
If you live outside of these districts, we encourage you to take to social media to politely but firmly remind these congressmen that homeschooling families do not want federal vouchers. You can also send each congressman a letter via the United States Postal Service.
Conclusion
HSLDA opposes H.R. 610 for reasons of prudence and principle.
Once homeschools become publicly funded by the federal government, more scrutiny and more control are likely to follow. After all, homeschooling families will be spending government money, and the Congress has a keen interest in guarding the public fisc.
On principle, homeschooling has succeeded as a movement in part by being different. Unlike typical constituencies asking for our piece of the public-money pie, we have simply asked the federal government to leave us alone. This has fostered one of the most dynamic social movements of our lifetime.
The spirit of self-government at the heart of private homeschooling has led to a vibrant social network of small groups and statewide groups who depend on each other—not on the government. The homeschool movement has been a better idea because we built it ourselves.
Routinely taking federal tax dollars will enervate the movement, lead to more squabbles between families and the state, and will result in more scrutiny, oversight, and control.
Thank you for standing with us for liberty as together, we fight to keep homeschooling free.
            Will Estrada is director of HSLDA's Federal Relations.                      Mike Smith is president of HSLDA.

A Torturous History: NV Homeschool Law

 But we must never forget the HARD road to homeschool  freedom!

Here it is, 2017 and I’m sitting in a meeting of the Nevada Assembly Education Committee listening to the introduction of AB 186, a bill to lower the compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5, mandate Kindergarten for ALL Nevada children, and force all NV Public Schools to offer PreKindergarten.  As NV homeschool parents showed up and testified against the bill because of the threat to their right to decide “when” their child is ready for school it became increasingly clear that current Legislators on both sides of the aisle have NO IDEA what is currently in NV law regarding homeschooling and the justification behind the current freedom of NV Homeschooling.

I began to wonder, perhaps even homeschool parents today really don’t know the history of our homeschool law.  So, in response to a Legislator’s question of how homeschooling in Nevada got to where it is today I wrote this SHORT timeline to explain how burdensome homeschool regulations were back in the day and how parents across the state worked together over 25 years to give parents the FREEDOM they enjoy to direct the education of their children without government controls!

So, here goes…

1947, amended in 1956 – first “homeschool law” in the nation passed in Nevada.  This law basically said that parents could educate their children at home if they provided “satisfactory written evidence of equivalent instruction to the public schools as approved by the NV State Board of Education.”

  • 4/3/17 – Correction:  the actual date of the first homeschool law in the nation was 1947 in Nevada, it was amended in 1956; see page 11 of Homeschooling; The Original Option It took 60 years for homeschool parents to gain independence from the public school system.  Many thanks to Frank Schnorbus, our NV homeschool history expert for pointing out the correct year.

1982 – Two mothers “applied” to the school district in Winnemucca, NV to homeschool their children.  One mother was approved because she was a Nevada certified teacher, the other mother was denied because she was not a certified teacher and the family lived within 50 miles of a local public school.  That mother filed a lawsuit and lost.  The reason?  The district court judge ruled because the State Board of Education had never written regulations for the law in existence at the time there was no basis on which to rule in her favor.  That judge also stated in his ruling that he objected to the concept of homeschooling and he “recommended” several requirements if it were to be allowed.

1983 – Parents went to the NV State Legislature requesting a change to the law allowing parents to homeschool their children without government approval.  However, the Department of Education testified that they were writing regulations based on the judge’s ruling for approval by the State Board of Education.  The Legislature refused to move the bill forward to allow the SBOE time to “regulate” homeschooling via the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC).  The SBOE not only approved regulations following the judge’s recommendations, they added many additional conditions which turned Nevada into one of the most “over-regulated” homeschool states in the nation.

The SBOE continued to ADD to the regulations over the next 5 years.  By 1990 regulations included, in part, annual education plans and “approval” of the homeschool by the local school board, birth certificates and photos of the child had to be submitted, first-time homeschoolers had to work under the oversight of a NV certified teacher, children had to be tested annually AT the local public school (not in their home where they were taught), days and minutes of teaching time equal to the public school were required, the list went on and on.  But at least parents were “allowed” to homeschool.

1988-1996 –  Nevada homeschool parents throughout the state began to work together to oppose the more onerous regulations.  In 1991, the Superintendent of Public Instruction said during a State Board of Education meeting I attended, “You parents might be allowed to homeschool but we WILL control you!”  The board, at that same meeting, established the “Northern and Southern Home School Advisory Councils to the SBOE” and attempted to use the confines of these advisory committees to control our attempts to modify regulations.  But we kept up the fight and we SLOWLY got the regulations reduced, one at at time, and by 1996 we met our ultimate goal of eliminating the annual testing requirement as discrimination against homeschooled children and not required by law.

1997-2002 –  Nevada homeschool parents had regulations we could “live with.” However, the regulations were still “more restrictive” than allowed in law simply because the State Board of Education believed they were allowed to “regulate” as they saw fit no matter what the law actually said.

2002The first step towards autonomy from government control begins.  The Advisory Committees were invited by the newly elected State Board of Education President to offer the “least restrictive” regulations possible under existing law to the SBOE and those would be passed.  That task took two more years but by 2004 the regulations were as minimal as they could be under the existing statute.

2007 –  A bill is introduced in the NV State Legislature, The Homeschool Freedom Bill.  State Senator Maurice Washington (R) sponsored SB 404, to “codify” existing regulations. Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle had requested a Bill Draft Request (BDR) for homeschooling in 2006 before she left office and Senator Washington agreed to be the sponsor of the bill in 2007.  Frank Schnorbus and I co-authored the bill which came out of the LCB exactly as we wrote it, a major accomplishment in and of itself, and a testament to the YEARS of experience we had in rewriting regulations and getting those approved. NHN spearheaded the lobbying efforts to get the bill passed.  The Superintendent of Public Instruction at the time, Dr. Keith Rheault, was supportive of the bill.  In addition, then Assemblyman Mo Denis (D) was very helpful in ushering the bill through the NV Assembly.  SB 404 unanimously passed both the NV Senate and Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Jim Gibbons on June 14, 2007.

During the Legislative bill process, NHN produced Answers to Good Questions to explain to Legislators why we had requested SB 404. Basically, the new law moved “homeschooling” out from under the oversight of NV State Board of Education and gave parents the right to direct the education of their child based on the age and skill level of the child as determined by the parent.  By signing the Notification of Intent to Homeschool parents take FULL RESPONSIBILITY (including financial) to provide education of their child. Education neglect laws do apply to protect the interests of the child.  However, to date there has never been an accusation of education neglect against a parent in Nevada who has filed an NOI to Homeschool.

2017Nevada homeschool parents have worked hard to not only educate their children well but to defend their right to do so.  There have been many parent groups over the last 35 years working towards this goal.  NHN was founded in 2002 as a “statewide organization” by parents living in both the north and the south to work together to protect the fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children via homeschooling.  Elissa Wahl and Frank Schnorbus were two of the original founding members of NHN who dedicated the next 15 years to the success of the organization.  Over the last 30 years Nevada parents have worked hand in hand with HSLDA to advocate for parents who are doing a GOOD job educating their own children, without “help” or oversight from the government.

There are SO many details I could add… as well as the names of ALL the parents who participated in the process over the years.  But the list is long and I may forget someone!  If you were one of those parents we want to say THANK YOU for all you did to ensure that future generations would not suffer the intolerable regulations of days gone by.  And to all you parents just starting on your homeschool journey, WELCOME… you will succeed because you care!

NEW Chart shows “Who’s In Charge?”

We’ve updated our chart showing  Who’s In Charge? of the child’s education depending on how the parent chooses to meet Nevada’s compulsory attendance law, NRS 392.040 & 392.070.  This new chart includes the ESA “Opt-in Child” as well as, public school, charter school, and traditional private school enrollment.

The new “ESA Grant Program” for public school children was adopted in June, 2015.  The program is currently “on hold” while two lawsuits filed against SB 302 work their way through the NV court system.

Funding and control of the education provided are the core issues dealt with in the chart progressing from the most government control to the least.  We hope this provides a clear understanding of the differences between private homeschooling, private school enrollment, and government controlled “school choice” options.

In addition, we updated our pictorial chart Education Options in NV explaining the differences between self-funded homeschooling and government-funded home based education options (Online Charters Schools & ESA Opt-in Child).