Editor's Note: Remember that as home schoolers, we don't live in a vaccuum. This horrible legislation could be coming soon to your state! Keep your eyes open. In the meantime, if you know anyone in South Carolina, please e-mail this article to them. Thank you. --Zan Tyler, Senior Education Editor

Click here for extensive information on House Bill 3364. 

After having been assured that House Bill 3364 was dead for this legislative session, it has once again reared its ugly head. A subcommittee hearing has been called to consider H. 3364 on Wednesday, May 8, at 9:00 A.M. in room 407 of the Gressette Building on the capitol grounds. One senate staffer advised me to have a big crowd there.

I have been a home-schooling advocate/activist/lobbyist now for 18 years. I have never been as concerned about a piece of legislation as I am about House Bill 3364. For the first time, this bill opens the door for the State Department of Education to hold validation power over private and home school diplomas. WE MUST STOP THIS LEGISLATION NOW!

What can you do? If you can do only one thing on this list, make attending the hearing your top priority. If you know in advance that you are planning to attend, could you please email the SCAIHS office at scaihs@scaihs.org and let us know you are coming, and how many will be attending with you? If you can come at the last minute, come on!

1. MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND THE HEARING ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 8. We must remind legislators that the home-schooling community is vibrant and strong. We need a MINIMUM of 500 in attendance at this hearing. Bring your children (if they can sit quietly) and make this a civics field trip. Unless there is illness involved, I would urge you to cancel whatever plans you have and attend this hearing, whether you are from the Midlands, Upstate, or Low Country. Plan to arrive early so that you can find parking and have time to find the hearing room. If you need directions to the Gressette Building, call Senator Giese’s office at 803-212-6250 or visit www.scstatehouse.net.

2. E-mail or call the members of the subcommittee and Senator Giese, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. There is no time to write letters. Here is the information:

  • Senator Warren Giese--(803)212-6250 WKG@scsenate.org
  • Sen. Senator Bob. Waldrep, Jr.--(803)212-6230 SAG@scsenate.org
    (subcommittee chairman, from district 3 in Anderson County)
  • Senator Robert W. Hayes, Jr. (803)212-6410 set@scsenate.org
    (district 15, York County)
  • Senator Lawrence K. "Larry" Grooms (803)212-6024 LKG@scsenate.org (district 37 - Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton & Dorchester Cos.)
  • Senator Nikki G. Setzler (803)212-6140 NGS@scsenate.org
    (district 26 - Aiken & Lexington Cos.)
  • Senator Kay Patterson (803)212-6048 KAY@scsenate.org
    (district 19 - Richland Co.)

Do not be intimidated to call. In all probability you will reach a staff person. Be polite and indicate the reason for your call. Remember, we want to positively influence these senators, not make them mad! You may want to say something like this:

I am calling to let Senator ____ know that I am strongly opposed to House Bill 3364. Given the broad language of the bill, the potential for discrimination against home school graduates by the state is virtually unlimited. Could you please let me know where the senator stands on this bill? Thank you for your time.

3. Remember, this affects private schools, not just home schools. Contact administrators, teachers, and/or parents of private schools with whom you have contact.

4. Tuesday, May 7, will be a day of fasting and prayer for those who would like to voluntarily participate.

This is a pivotal moment for the home-schooling community in South Carolina. Please do everything you can to make your voice heard. Making freedom a priority is never convenient, but it is crucial.

Zan Tyler is the senior education editor for Crosswalk.com. She is also the founder and past president of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools. She and her husband have been home schooling for 18 years.