DATE: March 6, 2006
FROM: Idaho Coalition of Home Educators
SUBJECT: SB 1241 Lives Again - UPDATE

SB 1241 is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. To defeat this bill, a huge number of messages must be received by tomorrow morning. Please email your messages to your Senator and five or more others on the list today and begin phoning tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. Follow the instructions and links below under "ACTION." A victory on this bill will give traction to the two remaining harmful bills. Thank you for responding.


DATE: March 4, 2006
FROM: Idaho Coalition of Home Educators
SUBJECT: SB 1241 Lives Again

      Senator Schroeder (R-Moscow) has managed to breathe new life into his Senate Bill 1241. This bill, for the first time, would permit public schools to offer pre-kindergarten programs to students as young as four years of age. This is a first step in ultimately lowering even further the compulsory age for all students including those taught at home.
      As previously reported Senator Schroeder's motion to have the bill sent to the Senate floor with a "do-pass" recommendation stalled in the Senate Education Committee last week for lack of a second. With a committee member absent this week, Senator Schroeder offered a new motion on his bill. He convinced a majority of the committee to move the bill to the Senate floor with an amendment to change one word.
      The original version of the bill may be viewed at http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/S1241.html . We understand that the amendment would change the word "program" to "services" in the last sentence of the text of the statute. Unfortunately, this change leaves both the intent and effect of the bill unchanged. This is one of a group of bills still attempting to impose Early Childhood Education in the state on a patchwork basis. The full Senate will now have the chance to vote on this amended version of the bill.

      For a more detailed explanation of the reasons why Idaho should resist this swarm of bills, please review the prior ICHE Action Alert 1 and Action Alert 2 on this website.
      Although there are many reasons to oppose both this bill and the creation of an Early Childhood Education program in Idaho, the following seem to be most persuasive to our Senators:

  1. Early Childhood Education programs are expensive and ineffective. When fully implemented, they may cost the state up to $80,000,000 per year depending on how young the students are that are ultimately allowed to enroll. Despite this budget-breaking cost, the long term research shows no lasting benefit in terms of increased academic achievement of students who have been enrolled in such programs. The short term improvement enjoyed by such students has typically disappeared entirely by the time the students complete their elementary school education.
  2. For decades, educators have known that the single most important factor in a child's educational achievement is the degree of involvement by the parents in that child's education. To the extent that the public school system intrudes further into the early years, that natural role of the parent as teacher is undercut, even when the programs are initially optional.
  3. A massive undertaking such as Early Childhood Education programs should not be implemented on a piecemeal basis. If our state's educators wish the legislature to consider such a program, they should assemble a bill that sets forth the full breadth of the program and provides sufficient detail concerning the administration and funding of the program. Moving the fence a little bit at a time until a patchwork program has been assembled is not the way that an arrangement of this magnitude should be proposed.

    In order to keep this unwise proposal from becoming the law of the state of Idaho, your immediate help is needed. The amended bill is now headed for consideration by the full Senate, the second of four stages through which it will need to pass before it arrives at the Governor's desk for his signature. Please let our Senators know that you strongly oppose this bill by taking the following steps:

    ACTION: A barrage of emails by Monday, followed by a steady stream of messages to our Senators until the vote later this week, is immediately needed.
    FIRST: Each Senator must receive a significant number of messages from constituents to "OPPOSE SB 1241." Using the link below will allow us to tally the messages to your Senator. Please follow the email instructions below.
    SECOND: Forward this alert to those who will join us in opposing this bill. This is not just a home education issue. It should be of concern to every citizen who believes that the home is the best environment for young children and those who are alarmed by ever-increasing spending and expansion of our government.
    THIRD: Begin calling the switchboard on Monday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Each member of your family should send both an email and a telephone message. Your name, address, and phone number will be required for delivery:

    1. Print a copy of this Alert and follow these instructions.
    2. By EMAIL:
      1. Be courteous and respectful. Thank the Senator for his or her service.
      2. Subject line: "Oppose SB 1241."
      3. Text: Please limit to 3 sentences. Your message is not spell-checked.
        Using your own words, include one of the following points or compose your own:
        1. Although Early Childhood Education produces a short term increase in academic achievement, studies show that by the end of elementary school the students who did not receive early childhood education catch up with those who did. Idaho should not spend taxpayer money on programs that have no long term benefit.
        2. Parental involvement in education is the single most important factor in long term academic achievement. Early Childhood Education programs erode the expectation of active parental participation and unavoidably weakens the family by offering alternatives to the traditional preschool presence of the child at home with his or her parents. The state must never intentionally do anything that will undercut the family unit.
        3. Those who want Idaho to adopt an Early Childhood Education program should offer a comprehensive bill on the subject instead of trying to create such a program on a piecemeal basis. Legislators should see the full extent and cost of such a program before approving any movement toward such an arrangement.
    3. By TELEPHONE: Call the Legislative switchboard at (208) 332-1000 or toll free at 1-800-626-0471. Leave a single message to be delivered to your Senator to "Oppose SB 1241." Please do not call your Senator at home.
    4. By FAX: (208) 334-5397. Letters must include your complete address, phone number, and email address (if any).
      1. Salutation: "Dear Senator (Last Name):"
      2. Text: See section 2.c. in the email instructions, above.

    To join ICHE and receive future email alerts, go to www.iche-idaho.org.
    In order to provide the most effective email services, we are using the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) legislative mail system. In keeping with our commitment to preserve your confidentiality, our address list has not been shared with HSLDA or with any other organization.
    Thank you for taking the time to respond.

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