Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Update on CT SB 162

This afternoon I attended a meeting with Senator Tom Gaffey, of whom I am a constituent.

Senator Gaffey had his researchers there. They explained that the only real problem with the wording for §10-220 is that it could be seen as superseding some of the language that exists in §10-184. §10-184 has verbiage which makes it necessary for parents to go in person to remove their children from schools if their children are 16 or over and want to drop out. They are afraid that if certified letters are required to withdraw in §10-220, that parents whose children are dropping out will only send a letter and not show up in person so that "schools can talk them out of letting their kids drop out".

I suggested that they amend the language O'Neill wrote to include the fact that it applied to children 15 and under, but that it should still remain in
§10-220. The researchers who were present agreed that that is feasible. I also told the senator straight out that the homeschooling community will never allow changes to go through on §10-184, and that we will definitely be able to get it killed if this goes through as it currently is. He seemed genuinely taken aback to hear this.

I did have to leave early because of babysitting issues, but after lots of participation, finished up by saying that as a constituent, I was "asking, no, begging" that he not only please change the language back to
§10-220, but that he work with us to get it pushed through the senate the way we want it. And then he would finally have us all out of his hair. And because if it didn't get changed, it would get killed.

Senator Gaffey agrees that what is currently happening to the families this would help is unacceptable. I believe that he really does want to get this problem fixed.

Unfortunately Judy Aron really aggravated Senator Gaffey with her blog titled "Gaffey spits in the face..." He would not let her or Deborah Stevenson, of National Home Education Legal Defense, into the meeting today at all. It was 8 constituents. And him and his 1/2 dozen people. I personally am glad that they were not permitted to enter, since I went as a constituent, and wanted my own voice heard above the lawyers'. Today I wanted to represent myself.

I personally feel that Senator Gaffey is a reasonable man who really is interested in doing what is best for our children. And given the chance, he can be the advocate we need in the Senate to get this bill passed as originally written. Please take the time to write to him to ask him to do just that.

He was overwhelmed by the "over 400" emails he has received, and that's why he sent all of us who wrote a "canned response"; he simply did not have the time to send individual emails to that many people. So if you want to make sure he reads your thoughts, the best thing to do is write a letter to him at his home address. Since I easily found it on the internet, I don't see any harm in repeating it here and saving you the time of the search:

Senator Thomas P. Gaffey
64 Nutmeg Drive, Apt. C
Meriden, CT 06451-2887

I believe that the CT homeschooling community is now of one mind on this; we need to continue to work to get this bill passed as originally written.
We are now extremely confident that we really will have no problem getting it killed if it becomes necessary, so we may as well keep trying.

Please write to Senator Gaffey and your own senators in CT and ask them to represent us the way we need them to.