2007 OCEANetwork Legislative Goals
By: Dorothy Karman
Jan-07

OCEANetwork is committed to protecting and advancing home education freedoms in Oregon. To that end, we have four specific legislative goals for 2007.

 

Protect home education freedoms

 

OCEANetwork will monitor the legislature for bills that would impact home education freedoms. One of our board members reads the summaries of all bills submitted to the legislature to determine if they harm home education freedoms.

 

For the last 20 years, legislators have submitted bills that would roll back our freedom to homeschool in Oregon.

 

OCEANetwork, with the help of homeschool families around the state, has worked to prevent such legislation from being enacted. And by God’s grace and strength we’ve been successful! No legislation has been enacted that would roll back homeschool freedoms. In fact in 1999, thanks to work by OCEANetwork, the Oregon Home Education Network (OHEN) and homeschool families, Governor Kitzhaber signed legislation that gave Oregon homeschool families additional freedoms.

 

Obtain equity with private schools

 

OCEANetwork believes in the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children apart from government interference. We will once again be submitting legislation that will give Oregon homeschool parents the same freedom to direct their children’s education as private school parents. Private schools in Oregon can choose to be completely independent from the Department of Education and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Home school parents should have the same freedoms.

 

Support religious freedom restoration

 

Many of the Supreme Court decisions regarding the right of parents to direct their children’s education stem from the right of parents to direct the religious upbringing of their children. For example, in 1925, the Oregon legislature passed a law which required Catholic students to attend public schools instead of parochial schools. In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled:

 

The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excluded any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only.

 

In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court decisions have undermined religious freedom in the United States. While none of these cases directly relates to education, we still need to protect religious freedom in order to protect the rights of parents to direct their children’s education.

 

OCEAN will support legislation to restore religious freedom.

 

Protect families from social worker intrusions

 

When investigating child abuse or neglect allegations, social workers sometimes overstep their authority. Home School Legal Defense Association handles many such cases for homeschooling families each year. HSLDA obtained provisions in Federal law requiring social workers to receive training in protecting the Fourth Amendment rights of parents and to inform families of the charge at the initial time of contact.

 

OCEANetwork will be introducing legislation this session that will bring state law into compliance with Federal law to protect parents when contacted by social workers.

 

We need you

 

The job of protecting home education freedom is the job of every homeschool family. OCEANetwork board members are willing to spend time in Salem being eyes and ears for the homeschool community. But legislators want to hear from families who live in their districts when they consider legislation. That’s you. Phone calls and emails from families who live in a legislator’s district and who will be impacted by a piece of legislation under consideration play an important role in the decision making process of your legislator.

 

Keep informed about any legislation that could impact your freedom to homeschool. Sign up for email alerts and information from OCEAN at www.oceanetwork.org.


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