The Logic Behind Our Legislative Alerts
Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM) believes that informed and active homeschoolers are their own best advocates in maintaining the right to independently homeschool. One of our goals is to do our best to monitor legislation that has the potential to affect homeschoolers. We keep AHEM Friends informed about pending legislation through periodic updates and alerts. As an organization, we communicate with legislators when appropriate.
While AHEM sometimes takes a position on a piece of legislation, we do not assume that all homeschoolers will share this position. Our hope is that after being presented with the relevant information, homeschoolers will think through the issues and come to their own conclusions about where they stand. We welcome any questions, concerns, or comments regarding any legislation.
When communicating information about pending legislation, we try to present the issues in a clear, concise manner so that those concerned will have the information they need to make an informed decision about their position on a particular bill. When feasible, we provide contact information for appropriate legislators in the updates and alerts so that Friends can make contact regarding their own personal opinions.
We know that at times it can seem overwhelming and somewhat tedious to read through legislative alerts and updates. We all have our families as our number one priority. But if we want to keep homeschooling freedoms for our children and grandchildren — should we be so lucky — it is essential that we take an active role in understanding legislative issues and let our elected officials know where we stand when those freedoms are threatened.
We have had discussions with several legislators about how to have an impact on the legislative process. Across the board, they agreed that the use of form letters is not an effective way to defeat bills. These legislators have said that when they receive form letters, they assume that the individual signing the letter is just a mouthpiece for an organization and the letter ends up in the circular file. Several legislators have used as an example of an effective campaign an effort by Massachusetts nurses to defeat a bill that would have negatively impacted their profession. The nurses wrote individual letters each giving his or her personal reasons why he or she did not want the bill to pass. One legislator told us that it was the most successful campaign he has ever seen, and that we can all learn from the way the nurses handled this particular bill. (If letter writing seems daunting, keep in mind that even a phone call to your representative stating your position, for or against, is better than nothing, and better than an AHEM-generated form letter.)
Ways you can take positive action right now
Find out who your representatives are, add their emails to your address book and keep their phone numbers handy. Click here to search using your street address: http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.aspx.
Read Taking Charge through Homeschooling by Larry and Susan Kaseman, “to increase awareness of the political nature of everyday actions and of ways of becoming empowered through them.”1
1 M. Larry and Susan D. Kaseman, Taking Charge through Homeschooling: Personal and Political Empowerment (Stoughton, WI: Koshkonong Press, 1990), p. 3.