Capitol Day 2013 Recap by Cindy Nicolai

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Originally Published Summer 2013

In spite of inclement weather, OCHEC’s 28th Capitol Day was a great success! Approximately 1,000 homeschoolers walked the halls of our Capitol, met with legislators, delivered cookies, attended the Legislative Impact Session, Town Hall meeting and rally, and enjoyed a great day of fun.

The Legislative Impact Session covered the topics of Public School at Home, Parental Rights, Common Core State Standards, and of course, current legislation that would directly affect home education. Joel Robinson, from the State Department of Education, answered questions about Public School at Home, and he stated for the record that if a student is enrolled in one of these virtual programs, he is indeed a public school student by law, not a homeschool student. Tracy Montgomery, the Oklahoma liaison for ParentalRights.org gave us a brief overview of a bill that Rep. Sally Kern is sponsoring to initiate a Parents’ Bill of Rights (HB1384) and urged us to ask our legislators to support this important bill. The Common Core Curriculum is just beginning to hit the homeschool radar, and Jenni White from R.O.P.E. gave a brief overview of how this will affect homeschoolers and what we should be doing about it. Common Core could be very dangerous as it may be used to control all education in the future. We need to be on guard and active in getting this stopped now.

TJ Schmidt, from HSLDA answered questions about two bills (HB1906: Vouchers and HB1027: Equal Access) that would have directly impacted home education. While these bills seemed harmless and well-intentioned, we must be very careful not to sacrifice our freedom for a perceived right. It took a little patience and several weeks of communicating with legislators, but with perseverance both were defeated.

Because of space issues, our historical reenactors were relocated to the Hall of Governors. It was a little hard to hear, but everyone seemed to enjoy the Pioneer Woman and her stories of Oklahoma settlement. Special guest and homeschool mom, Kay Little, gave a presentation on the fourteen flags of Oklahoma. In addition, several groups and individuals shared their musical talents on the first floor. This was a pleasant greeting to all who walked into the Capitol Building.

The events of the day culminated with the rally on the second floor. Our special guests included Rep. Jason Murphy, Rep. Randy Grau, Rep. Josh Cockroft, TJ Schmidt, and our keynote speaker, Lt. Governor Todd Lamb. All were well received as they shared their support for home education and encouraged parents to continue the fight to maintain the freedom to educate their children at home.

While the events of this day concluded at 2:00, Capitol Day as a state of mind never actually ends. We must be vigilant to ensure our freedoms are not compromised and be aware of what is happening in home education around the globe. The rights of parents to educate their children\ at home are challenged every single day. If we only consider the legislative impacts on home education one day a year, our freedoms will quickly disappear.

Oklahoma Home Educators’ Capitol Day is a fun educational event which has a huge impact on our effectiveness in lobbying the Oklahoma legislature for home education.

We look forward to seeing you next year on February 11 as you bring your family to your state capitol and become the face of home education to your legislators.

If you would like to be a part of planning this event, please contact Cindy Nicolai at nicolai@ochec.com.