ALERT - need for you to send an email when the AOE will not
To all Vermont Homeschoolers:
An AOE staff attorney has decided that the Agency is NOT willing to send out a letter through their listsvr that, I believe, would indeed enhance the future “educational, recreational, and other opportunities” to Vermont home study students and their families. This however should not stop us from moving forward with the letter’s content. Please find below the content of the letter and the AOE response to it.
Please help the homeschooling community in Vermont by getting this letter out to ALL the current AND retired homeschoolers you know. PLEASE EMAIL THEM ALL. And please consider being a part of what the letter is suggesting.
HISTORY (and letter):
***On August 3, 2015 – Attorney Adrian Otterman wrote a letter to homeschoolers describing the formation of a state wide support organization for homeschoolers. He requested the following of the Home Study Unit who emails out things of interest to homeschoolers: “Hi Brynne, could you send the attached letter out to the homeschooling network? Thanks!”
This is the letter’s content:
LAW OFFICES OF OTTERMAN AND ALLEN, P.C.
188 WASHINGTON STREET
P.O. BOX 473
BARRE, VERMONT 05641
TELEPHONE: (802) 479-2552
FACSIMILE: (802) 479-4641
DAVID A. OTTERMAN HARVEY B. OTTERMAN, JR. (1926-2012)
ANDREA L. GALLITANO O. FAY ALLEN, JR. (1912-2009)ADRIAN A. OTTERMAN
To: Vermont Homeschooling Families
This letter is being hand-delivered to you because the Vermont Agency of Education refused to forward it to homeschooling families via their email list serve. [this sentence added after the AOE response to letter]
My name is Adrian Otterman. I am a Vermont attorney and a homeschooling parent. I am reaching out to you on behalf of Retta Dunlap in regards to the Vermont Home Education Network (VHEN). This network is her brainchild. Retta represents and lobbies for all of us homeschooling families at the Statehouse in Montpelier. Retta has taken upon herself the role of watchdog to protect the rights and interests of homeschooling families in Vermont and for fifteen years she has been involved in negotiating changes to the Vermont statutes regarding homeschooling and most all of the Agency of Education’s rules and policies. She has stood toe-to-toe with the NEA and the Agency of Education to ensure that our rights are protected.
Several years ago she began forming VHEN in an attempt to seek organization and direction from the Vermont homeschooling community. However, the entity has never been formally completed or staffed with a Board of Directors. At this point, the “network” consists primarily of an online chat forum for homeschoolers. I have formed several non-profit corporations and have been able to obtain 501(c) 3 status for these organizations in the past, and, I have agreed to assist Retta in formalizing the creation of this entity. Our goal is to create a 501 (c)3(c)4 organization to which tax deductible gifts may be made and which can engage in lobbying efforts to protect homeschoolers’ rights. Retta will not be able to speak for us all at the statehouse forever and it is important that her knowledge and experience be passed along to the next generation.
I am writing to request that any of you active or retired homeschoolers who may have an interest in serving on this Board contact me. Depending on how this organization is structured, membership may also be open to former homeschooled students.
I realize that I am writing to the busiest group of people in Vermont. You are personally involved in the day-to-day education of your children, the operation of family businesses, or the management of a homestead. Finding the time to serve on a Board such as this will be difficult. Retta and I are particularly hopeful that we can find some retired homeschoolers who would be willing to set the example for the next generation.
If we do not remain vigilant, our children may not be afforded the right to homeschool our grandchildren. Please contact me if you have any interest in assisting with the development of this organization.
Very truly yours,
Adrian A. Otterman
OTTERMAN AND ALLEN, P.C.
***On August 13, 2015 – after 10 days of silence – he got this response from an AOE staff lawyer: Dear Mr. Otterman: The Agency of Education provides an electronic mailing list to members of the homeschool community as a courtesy to groups wishing to notify Vermont homeschoolers with educational, recreational and similar opportunities as the Agency recognizes other than independent or informal groups of parents, there is no centralized way to reach homeschoolers. The letter you have proposed for distribution through the Agency’s list serv does not meet this criteria.
Clare L. O' Shaughnessy
State of Vermont Agency of Education
219 North Main Street; Suite 402
Barre, VT 05641
VHEN would be a vital addition to the “educational, recreational, and similar opportunities” in Vermont for homeschooling families. This response shows that the AOE apparently does not understand what a fully functional homeschooling organization can do for its members. I think it’s time we showed them. PLEASE forward this email or print it and get this out to other Vermont homeschooling families. And please consider being a part of this effort. Contact me if you have any questions.