Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom
What do Arizona, Connecticut, Tennessee and Kentucky have in common? They’re states where potentially bad home schools have been introduced this legislative session. For the first five months of every year, HSLDA is involved in an intense struggle to protect the freedoms that home schoolers have gained over these last 20 years. It seems like home schoolers have done well enough over the years to be left alone. But unfortunately, that is not the case. Despite the fact that homeschoolers, on the average, score 20-30 percentile points above the norm, there are those that want to put more regulation on home schoolers.
I believe this stems from a basic distrust of parents generally. Many in the education establishment just don’t think parents are capable of making wise decisions regarding their children’s education, especially those who choose home education. In addition to this lack of trust by the education establishment, many of them also believe that the state should control the education of every child.
In the U.S. Supreme Court case of Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979), Chief Justice Berger said that parents generally act in the best interests of their children. He did recognize that there are those who don’t. However, he went on to state that the fact that some don’t, doesn’t negate the historical fact that parents do act in the best interests of their children because they love their children.
Before I go any further, I want to explain our motivation for opposing increased regulation of home schooling. We oppose these laws because we believe that liberty is the primary ingredient behind the academic success of home schooling. More regulation means less freedom to choose creative ways to educate our children, and reduces the flexibility of the educational program, which is clearly not in the best interest of children’s education.
On a daily basis, our legal staff is checking the legislature for bills introduced which have anything to do with home schooling and parental rights. If we find bills of this type, we then read them to determine what impact it might have on home schooling families. If there is any impact, we notify the leadership in the state organizations as to what we have found.
Very few negative home school bills have been able to be passed. This success is clearly attributable to the home schoolers in the states that are willing to make their telephone calls, write their letters and lobby actively against the bill. Your participation is essential. We encourage you to become attached to a local support group and/or your state organization. These organizations play a key role in this effort of maintaining our freedom as well. Additionally, they need your support.
Mike Smith, President
Home School Legal Defense Association