Senate Education Committee Hearing, SB 25

RE: February 10, 2015 Senate Education Committee Hearing, SB 25

Nevada Senate Education Committee Members
401 South Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701-4707
Via Email to Committee Members

Dear Chair Harris, Vice Chair Hammond, Senators Gustavson, Lipparelli, Woodhouse, Denis, and Segerblom;

By way of introduction, Nevada Homeschool Network (NHN) advocates for Nevada families who have chosen to direct the education of their children pursuant to NRS 392.070.

We are writing today with regards to SB 25 – Revises provisions relating to public schools (BDR 34-316). Although there are many items of concern in this bill we would specifically like to address Section 2, Item 7 amending NRS 385.175 to add, “Coordinate educational programs for children from birth through prekindergarten” to the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s duties.

NHN opposes SB 25, Section 2 as it infringes upon the fundamental parental right and responsibility to direct the upbringing, education and care of their child. We do not support this new language because:
• NHN believes that parents act in the best interest of the child with regards to choosing when, where and how their child is educated. Free government programs force private schools (and day-care businesses) out of business thereby reducing parental choice, and collect data on the child and family.
• Kindergarten is offered by the public school system for 5 year olds (optional, not compulsory).
• NRS 385.175 clearly limits the Superintendent’s responsibilities to the system of K-12 public education.
• The Nevada Constitution (Article 11 Section 2) specifies the purpose of common schools is instruction but instruction for very young children has been shown in many studies to have detrimental effects. Therefore, educational programs for children from birth through age 4 do not, nor should they, fall under the superintendent’s purview.
• Participation in programs that at first are “voluntary” often become “mandatory” in the future. NHN and others have fought bills nearly every legislative session over the past decade, at least, to lower the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 6 or even 5 as was the case in 2013.
• At present, there are plenty of private options available to parents seeking to provide additional educational opportunities outside of the home for their children from birth to preschool. Governor Jim Gibbons acknowledged this in his 2009 Veto of SB 378 – Establishes provisions relating to certain early childhood education programs.

We’d also like to direct your attention to a recent paper by Scott A. Woodruff, Esq., an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association refuting the need for government sponsored ECE programs. “No Lasting Gains from Early Education or Preschool” extensively documents the failure of early childhood education efforts to produce “lasting gains” in the educational experience of a child which would include both ECE programs as well as all-day Kindergarten. The paper contains the results of many sources of research, with each item summarized very succinctly and footnoted.

NHN requests that the Senate Education Committee delete Section 2, Item 7 of SB 25, allowing parents to continue to maintain full responsibility for the education of their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Parents are the best early childhood educators and efforts should be made to support this vital component of every child’s life without government direction.

Sincerely,

Frank D. Schnorbus, Chair
Elissa M. Wahl, Vice-Chair
NHN Officers: Barbara Dragon, D. Raymond Poole, Kelley Millard Radow, Aaron Sutherland, Kristi Casaus

Internet address for:
Governor Gibbons’ Veto of SB 378 in 2009, https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/75th2009/Reports/VetoMessages/Veto_SB378_052809.pdf
“No Lasting Gains from Early Education or Preschool”; http://nevadahomeschoolnetwork.com/related-legislative-issues/Woodruff.ECE.SKMBT_36113050615120.pdf-1/

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