Parents Take a Stand Against Compulsory Attendance Age Change

March 22, 2017 – UPDATE

BEST video news report on the hearing on AB 186 from KOLO-News Now; http://www.kolotv.com/content/news/Mandatory-kindergarten-debate-heats-up-416901673.html
This reporter really captured the essence of why we oppose AB 186 and mandatory Kindergarten.

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.””
http://www.reviewjournal.com/…/nevada-students-may-be-manda…

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.

March 20, 2017 
Click here for joint Home School Legal Defense Association and NHN Call to Action
 – Make your opinion known!

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 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 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

______________________________________

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.

______________________________________

March 10, 2017 – UPDATE on our meeting with Assemblywoman Diaz on her bill, 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.

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.

US Congress: HR 610 – National ESA – HSLDA Response

Okay Nevada Homeschool Parents… big FYI here.   

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

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.

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).

FAQs: Updated in 2106

NHN’s Frequently Asked Questions have LOTS of great answers to questions you may have regarding homeschooling in Nevada.  We work hard to keep this information current but should you ever have more questions or your particular question is not listed here be sure to email us via our Contact Page.

Recently a question on Facebook was asked as to whether Nevada homeschoolers are eligible to receive the Millennium Scholarship… the answer is YES, they are.  However, when the mom contacted the Millennium Scholarship Office for more information she received conflicting information on what needs to be submitted with the application.  We have updated the information in our FAQs; see Section 4, the last question for current info as of June, 2016.

NOTE: New numbering of laws affecting NV Homeschooling went into effect June of 2016. The old homeschool laws NRS 392.700 and NRS 392.705 are now NRS 388D.010-070.  However, the wording contained in the homeschool laws has remained EXACTLY the same, only the legal reference numbers have changed.