Legislative Update: 12/05/23

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MiCHN Condemns
State Representative Koleszar’s Attempt to Blame Michigan Homeschool Families for State’s Failure to Protect Foster Kids Lansing, MI 



The Michigan Christian Homeschool Network today condemned a social media post from State Representative Matt Koleszar (D-22nd District) that called for increased regulations of homeschool families following an unrelated case of abuse within the foster care system of Michigan.

In response, Michigan Christian Homeschool Network (MICHN) Vice-President Israel Wayne issued the following statement:
“MiCHN is unequivocally opposed to any and all abuse of children, and believe those who abuse children should be prosecuted by the adequate child abuse laws that already exist in our state. Instead of exploiting a false political narrative about home education to make headlines, Representative Koleszar’s time would be better spent focusing on improving Michigan’s struggling public school system, focusing his attention on the real problems that plague the state’s Child Protective Services and the abuse of children in union-backed schools."
“We have fought long and hard in both the courts and the legislature to secure our current Michigan homeschool laws, and today we reiterate our position that we will resist, to the fullest measure, any efforts to restrict the homeschool freedoms that families have enjoyed since 1993. Homeschool families should not be burdened with additional regulations because of a few bad parents who break the law and abuse their children.”
The Michigan Christian Homeschool Network (MICHN) was founded in 1984 to advance homeschool freedom in the state of Michigan so that it can be a place for families to freely pass on their values and faith, training their children through home-based, parent-directed, privately-funded home education.

 

We have more research and information HERE.

Read MiCHN's Statement on Abuse and Child Protection Policy.

Homeschooling and Abuse.

Child Abuse and Neglect of the Homeschooled Versus the Conventionally Schooled: Groundbreaking Study.

One child fatality is one too many.

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Call to Action- Legislative Update Dec '23
Our MiCHN family and friends, “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7   We want to thank you for your patience as we have begun to sort through and come to understand the full extent of everything going on in Lansing right now. With the latest developments and statements from certain elected officials, we know there are many unanswered questions, concerns, fears, and doubts that you all have. It is our hope and prayer that this letter and all the information within will help guide you and bring some momentary peace to a very volatile situation. Many of you may even be largely unaware of what has been happening. On December 2, 2023, the Washington Post published a story highlighting the abuse and death of a child whose family claimed to “homeschool.” MiCHN’s own Vice-President, Israel Wayne was highlighted and quoted in that article, in defense of you, our homeschooling families. Since the release of that article, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel has called for “monitoring mechanisms'' to be used in order to “protect children.” Along with the Attorney General, Representative Matt Koleszar (D-22nd District) has also called for the registration and regulation of home educators state-wide. First, we must stress with you that as of the writing of this letter, no bill has formally been introduced to either chamber of our legislature. With that said, Representative Koleszar has stated that the legislature is “likely to see a bill” when they reconvene next month in the beginning of January. With that said, MiCHN does not expect a vote to take place on ANY bill introduced to the legislature until the two vacant seats left by Representative Coleman and Representative Stone are filled after the special elections on April 16, 2024. This means we, as a community, have a lot of work ahead of us. So what CAN we do? PRAY! We are in a situation that is going to require God to move and lead. If you are not accustomed to spending time in prayer, we would encourage you and your family to begin doing so.   Pray for the following: State law-makers whose hearts need to be softened toward homeschooling families Attorney General Dana Nessel State Representative Matt Koleszar (House Education Committee Chair) State Senator Dayna Polehanki (Senate Education Committee Chair) Governor Gretchen Whitmer Your own state representative and state senator (FIND THEM HERE)   State law-makers fighting for the rights of homeschoolers State Representative Jaime Greene State Representative Gina Johnsen State Representative Luke Meerman State Senator Lana Theis State Senator Ruth Johnson   Your MiCHN Team We are working and communicating non-stop in order to make sure we are understanding and pursuing all the right channels we need to in order to give this the best fight possible. We are all volunteers. We are tired. We have families. Please pray for strength, perseverance, and protection. Educate yourself on the issue. You can’t defend to your family and friends what you truly don’t understand. Below you will find a few resources we have compiled to make it easier for you. Please visit each website and familiarize yourself with the arguments to defend home education against these ridiculous arguments about abuse. https://www.nheri.org/child-abuse-and-neglect-of-the-homeschooled-versus-the-conventionally-schooled-groundbreaking-study/ https://homeschoolfreedom.com/homeschooling-and-abuse https://homeschoolingbackgrounder.com/   Talk to EVERYONE! Word of mouth is the best way forward right now. Make sure you are sharing this information with everyone you know. GET THE WORD OUT.   Be prepared to sacrifice your TIME. Come January, things could ramp up quickly in Lansing. Strategize with your family and friends and come to Lansing to sit in on education committee meetings. Lawmakers in Lansing listen to those who show up. Let’s pack the committee meetings. If your children are well behaved, bring them along. This is a great opportunity for them to experience civics first-hand. Phone calls to your state senator and state representative is a HUGE thing you can do. You can find their contact information by visiting the state’s website for your lawmaker. If you live in Representative Koleszar or Senator Polehanki’s districts, this is IMPERATIVE!! (FIND THEM HERE)  Write a letter to your state senator or state representative. (Find them HERE)  We have attached a form letter you are more than welcome to use. Please note: most lawmakers agree these letters do NOT do much to persuade them. When they receive form letters, they often end up in a bin never to be read. MiCHN would recommend you utilize our draft as a starting point and create your own letter to your lawmakers. (See below)    Financial Support. As mentioned above, everyone at MiCHN are volunteers. They volunteer their time, gifts/talents, and experience to fight for you. Every dollar you donate to MiCHN goes directly to the fight we are about to face. Please prayerfully consider partnering with us through an end-of-year donation. We are a 501c3 and your donation is tax deductible. (DONATE HERE)   Prepare your homeschool. We at MiCHN recommend you: Become a member of HSLDA right now. The threat is looming and you want to make sure you’re legally ready for any fight ahead. (Get our discount HERE) Keep records. We do not know yet what this bill will look like and what they hope to impose on us. By keeping records, you are preparing yourself for what could be ahead. Sign-up at our website to receive legislative updates. (Do that HERE) While it is not our goal to spam your email, things in Lansing can change quickly. The best and quickest way to communicate with all of you is through our email system. The last thing we want to mention is that we are strategizing and planning a Facebook/Twitter Live video where you can engage with us and ask us questions directly. While the details of this event are still forthcoming, we want you to be aware and be on the lookout. This will be a great opportunity for you to come directly to us with your questions regarding all the above and the situation quickly unfolding in our state’s capital. We love and appreciate each and every one of you. You and your families are why we do what we do. Keep your faith in the Lord, rest in Him and His peace. Through it all, He remains sovereign. Your MiCHN Legislative Team: Israel Wayne-Vice President Shanté Pickford-Legislative Director Patti Sailor-Legislative Liaison See the form letter HERE
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MiCHN Moment-We <3 You!- Feb '24
Politics, politics, politics. It seems like that has been all we have been talking about at MiCHN lately. Probably that is true, and rightly so, for we have not been under government scrutiny and threat of regulation since our legal separation from government harassment in 1993. With the change in the party controlling our legislature, Governor, Attorney General, and Supreme Court, our freedom to home-educate is indeed in jeopardy, at least the freedom as we have known it. But I digress…. On a positive note, the INCH conference will soon be upon us. This event was initially designed to encourage, reinvigorate, and inspire those homeschooling and those interested in homeschooling to press on in the hard work of discipling the next generation. INCH began as a conference when homeschooling was illegal in Michigan. If that occurs again, we will continue to encourage you and to keep pressing into Jesus as you press on in your pursuit of what is best for your children through home education. Our speaker lineup particularly encourages me, especially having Brant Hansen attend. All of us will enjoy his teaching and humility, but I believe the men will be particularly encouraged. I have read two of his books and plan to study one of them with some homeschool dads in our community this summer. We all need encouragement. We all need to remind ourselves of Whom we are serving and why we are home discipling. The INCH conference serves that purpose. Yes, we will continue to discuss the political situation in which we find ourselves in Michigan, but primarily, we will concern ourselves with thanking God for His gift of our children and His leading us into home discipleship even as we encourage one another in this most noble endeavor. I look forward to seeing you soon. Mike Winter President, MiCHN Early Bird Prices are HERE!! Register HERE   The new year has arrived. We pray this past holiday season was full of refreshment, relaxation, and seeking the Lord about His plans for you this next year. As our team reassembles in the office, it is becoming clear to us just how busy of a season we have lying ahead of us. The legislature returned to Lansing on Wednesday, January 10th. At this time, there is currently no bill in committee that would affect your homeschool requirements. We fully expect that to change rather quickly, as the legislature picks up speed.   As many of you are aware, on December 5, 2023, Representative Matt Koleszar posted on X, formerly Twitter, the following statement:   Representative Koleszar quickly found himself in a whirlwind of backlash as word began to circulate of his call for more homeschool regulations. On December 6, 2023, Representative Koleszar was quoted in THIS article by the Washington Post. “State Rep. Matt Koleszar, the Democratic chairman of the Michigan House Education Committee, said in an interview Wednesday that when its session begins next month the legislature is “likely to see a bill” that would “at a bare minimum” require the registration of home-schooled children in Michigan, and perhaps establish additional oversight measures.”   Later that same evening, Representative Koleszar went on CBS TV Detroit where he had a civil discussion on the topic. During that interview, the news anchor asked, “I imagine a lot of parents would say, ‘Surely, they will want to know more than just knowing where the children are.’ I mean, receiving a letter that says “This child is homeschooled”….surely there would have to be some kind of home visits, some interaction, right?” It is to this question Representative Koleszar simply answered, “It’s fair to say that, but I think right now the main thing we need to do….is find out where they are.”    Your MiCHN team is working as diligently as they can in order to make sure you are aware of everything transpiring in Lansing. We have held multiple round-table discussions across the state in order to facilitate dialog with all of you. As we wait to see what the legislature will do in the coming months, we are watching as many bills as possible, talking with every state lawmaker we can, and gathering together with other freedom-minded groups and forming a coalition to fight every battle required to keep the freedoms we hold so dear here in Michigan. While many lawmakers in Michigan seem to be bent on driving the populace away from this great state with their bureaucratic regulations, it surely seems illogical to strip away one of the last bastions of hope our state has to offer Americans-freedom in your home education journey.    Be sure to write and call your legislators asking them to please protect homeschool freedoms and please do not vote for any bill that would require home educators to register with the state. These are quite uncertain times. Right now, MICHN would advise you to make sure your account is up to date and accurate with Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Be sure to visit their website, and if you have not done so already, BECOME A MEMBER today. What's happening at MICHN