IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED
Florida HB 859: Your Homeschool Freedom Is Under Attack
February 23, 2012
Your freedom to homeschool is affected by Florida House Bill 859! Representatives with the FPEA and the Home Education Foundation have been meeting with key legislators to ask for the removal of the provision in the bill allowing private schools with tax credit scholarship students to administer the FCAT to all students, even those not on tax credit scholarships. Senate Bill 962 does not contain the FCAT language.
This provision must be removed from the bill. HB 859 is a slippery slope that will first affect private schools that take scholarships under the CORE provisions, then affect all private schools and finally home education.
We know that some House members have heard our concerns because there has been a delay on getting HB 859 on the House agenda. A few members have some questions about the FCAT language, but have yet to hear from enough people who oppose it.
We know you are very busy, but we only have a small window of time to encourage the House Education Committee to amend the FCAT language out of HB 859. Now is the time to flood committee members with calls. If you don’t get calls into the committee, the FCAT most likely will become part of the bill.
Your freedom to follow your own curriculum is at stake here. If the FCAT becomes mandatory, there is no turning back. Act now! The FCAT will lead to the End of Course exams tied to the public school curriculum, meaning you will be forced to teach the public school curriculum.
The agenda for the House Education Committee will be set over the weekend, so call the committee members as often as possible on Friday 2/24 (see names and phone numbers below). Do not identify yourself as a home educator — simply say that you are a concerned parent or citizen. Tell them that the FCAT provision in HB 859 will:
- Threaten the integrity of the FCAT and End of Course exams that taxpayers have spent millions of dollars to develop.
- Require private schools to use the same curriculum as public schools, resulting in a loss of independence and loss of parental choice.
- Place an unfunded mandate on school districts at a time when funds are extremely limited.
You can read the bill here. The administration of the FCAT is voluntary, but this article published by the Cato Institute shows how the Obama Administration is imposing core standards on states by threatening to withhold federal education dollars if the core standards are not adopted.
Call these members of the House Education Committee and ask them to amend the FCAT language out of HB 859:
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Richard Corcoran, 850-488-8528
Committee Chair: William L. “Bill” Proctor [R], 850-488-2977
Vice Chair: Janet H. Adkins [R], 850-488-6920
Marti Coley [R], 850-488-2873
Erik Fresen [R], 850-488-4092
H. Marlene O’Toole [R], 850-488-5991
Kelli Stargel [R], 850-488-2270