Mark Your Calendars for Capitol Day 2015
The 2014 Oklahoma Home Educators’ Capitol Day event was a great success, and plans are already underway for next year’s 30th-anniversary event at the state Capitol. On February 11, nearly 1,000 Oklahoma homeschool families descended on the state Capitol to meet with lawmakers, deliver cookies, attend a luncheon and rally and bring home education to the forefront of state issues. Sixty-five legislators from both the House and Senate attended the luncheon, where they met with families and heard from colleagues and home education experts on the need to protect the right for Oklahomans to direct care, upbringing and education of their children.
TJ Schmidt, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), gave luncheon attendees an overview of the history of home education in Oklahoma and summarized the long list of accomplishments we have achieved by being vigilant in defending our freedom to teach our children at home.
State Rep. Mike Ritze, a Republican from Broken Arrow, read a Proclamation from Gov. Mary Fallin declaring February 9-15 “Oklahoma Homeschool Week.” State Sen. Nathan Dahm, also a Republican from Broken Arrow who was homeschooled, praised the sacrifices parents of homeschool students make and encouraged them to press on.
Everett Piper, Ph.D., president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, delivered a passionate speech about the need to preserve the conservative values and ideals that compel us to raise our children in Christ-centered homes and provide them an education with a Christian worldview.
During the day-long event, families delivered more than 180 dozen cookies to legislators’ offices and other agency offices in the Capitol. Volunteers performed two separate historical reenactments – Rosie the Riveter and Continental Soldier – to packed houses in Room 104. Volunteers also provided beautiful musical selections throughout the day. Performers were home educated students and parents, and we received many compliments from those working in the Capitol.
OCHEC also hosted a town hall event and a legislative impact session during the day, which was well attended. State Rep. Sally Kern, a Republican from Oklahoma City, discussed House Bill 1384, which would create the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” and would reaffirm that the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children is a fundamental right.
That bill has now passed out of the House and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.
As always, we are so grateful for the dozens of volunteers who helped make Capitol Day a success! And we are encouraged by the willingness of so many homeschool families to take time from their busy schedules and exercise their opportunity to promote home education at the state Capitol.
Go ahead and mark your calendars now for February 10, 2015. Next year we will be holding the 30th Oklahoma Home Educators’ Capitol Day, and an even bigger schedule is being planned. The theme for 2015 is “Continuing the Legacy.” The Capitol Day Committee has already met to begin working on next year’s event, and we hope you will join us as we work to protect our right to educate our children on our terms!