» posted on Saturday, March 6th, 2010 at 10:52 pm
HSLDA membership fees nourish an organization that: has what many consider to be a non-homeschooling agenda; encourages divisiveness; has engaged in questionable actions; and which has worked to reduce homeschoolers’ freedoms and autonomy.
It’s not insurance, and the money funds more than legal defense.
Although HSLDA’s materials may imply that the organization provides legal insurance, it doesn’t. A paper entitled, “What is HSLDA?,” (presented as part of the workbook from the October 1999 Support Group Seminar in Richmond, VA) states that HSLDA “guarantees legal representation to all our members” and “is willing to defend any member home school family who is diligently home schooling their children…An investment in HSLDA of $100 guarantees legal defense for your family” [Emphasis added.] However, there is no policy and no express guarantee.
Refuses Most Common Type of Case:
HSLDA does not take cases involving divorce/custody issues, which, according to Dr. Raymond Moore, are the most common challenge to today’s homeschooling parents. HSLDA can refuse any case, based on any reason they choose. They can do this because there is no insurance policy.
Legal Expense Limitations:
HSLDA’s coverage of legal expenses may equal substantially less than an attorney’s usual hourly rate, and may include a cap. This detail was made public via the 1999 Arkebauer case in Colorado. When long-time HSLDA member Shelly Arkebauer asked for help, she was told “that they’d pray for [me], send an information packet to [my] lawyer, and answer questions,” she said, adding that the HSLDA told her it does not accept domestic court cases–even though Shelly was challenged by a Magistrate, who ordered the mom to stop homeschooling. Despite Shelly’s repeated phone calls to the organization for help as the court’s homeschooling challenges continued to mount, HSLDA’s stance on this being “a domestic case only” remained the same. “Why have I been paying all this money all this time?” she wondered.
Be An Informed Consumer:
Before you send $85-$100 to HSLDA, make sure your money will do what you expect. Visit Home School Legal Defense Association and Foundation Consumer Information for details. “When – and if – you have satisfied yourself that HSLDA/F is what you want to join, then you will be an informed consumer and a wise steward of your resources able to receive the best available benefits of your membership.” Many helpful links.
According to Dr. Raymond Moore’s White Paper, Mike Farris promised “when all states made good laws, he would work himself out of a job. But now into big money, he has changed his mind and campaigns across the U.S. and Canada scaring parents into joining.”
How Many Helped?
If, as HSLDA often claims, it has helped many homeschoolers, “How come we’ve only heard of a handful” of cases? Dave Mankins on the HSLDA provides a little math lesson involving HSLDA funds.
According to A to Z Home’s Cool, a portion of HSLDA membership fees are returned as “grants” to “organizations that are paid by HSLDA to encourage their members to join. Some of these groups made a lot of money.” A to Z offers a rundown on the “grants” for 1996 and 1998.
Dues Support Other Ventures:
It appears HSLDA money also supports the Patrick Henry College, which is marketed as a “home school college,” but there is no requirement that students have been homeschooled. However, other requirements exist, including a statement of faith (SOF). The school openly discriminates on the basis of religion. See PHC’s Mission & Distinctives and Mary McCarthy’s well documented paper on PHC for a greater understanding of the college’s objectives.
Writer Helen Cordes, author of Battling for the Heart and Soul of “Home Schoolers,” wrote, [private E-mail to the owner of this site] that as she researched her article she “asked HSLDA/Patrick Henry College spokesperson Rich Jefferson whether what AP (and others) had reported was true–that funds from HSLDA had “largely” funded a cited $6 million PHC construction cost (I’m not sure if this is total or partial construction cost)–he replied that HSLDA had made a donation for PHC construction, confirmed that it was a ‘large’ part of the $6 million, and said in response to my question that HSLDA is funded mostly by the annual member fees and ‘small’ amounts of donations. So I did not pursue further with confirming exact amounts and mechanisms of funding and donation, but Jefferson did not deny that HSLDA funds are going into construction costs.”
PHC’s dean has been chosen as a UN delegate by the Bush administration. Paul J. Bonicelli “looks forward to representing the College in this endeavor and is grateful that the Bush administration regards PHC as a place to find allies in our joint effort to promote biblical values in our nation’s foreign policy.”
HSLDA fully funds the National Center for Home Education (NCHE), which operates the Congressional Action Program (CAP). The Congressional Action Program recruits and trains an “army” of volunteers “who live within commuting distance of the nation’s Capital” so they can personally influence Congress on matters of importance to HSLDA’s full agenda. CAP includes a network of “District Coordinators, one in each of the 435 congressional districts,” who quickly disseminate HSLDA’s summons for letters and calls to Congress. The CAP application includes questions about the applicant’s religious affiliation.
Members’ money also funded a 1998 study “designed, financed, and promoted” by HSLDA. This project, often referred to as the Rudner Study, “has the potential to undermine our homeschooling freedoms by presenting a very narrow and limiting stereotype of what a homeschooler should be and by providing assistance to critics of homeschooling who want to increase the regulation of homeschoolers.”
A portion of HSLDA funds are paid to the Council for National Policy: “We [meaning HSLDA] pay dues to the Council for National Policy so that I may attend the meetings.” [E-mail letter from Michael Farris to John Holzmann, Tue, 21 Dec 1999] (See Also)
Although HSLDA’s Web site states, “We will not establish a branch of HSLDA in a foreign country.” HSLDA Canada already exists.
With its….NCHE services, HSLDA is, in effect, providing an administrative service for the school officials. When a family sends their $100 HSLDA membership they are actually supporting and strengthening this service, and the perception that there is ‘one approved method’ of homeschooling, at the expense of all others.”
-Helen and Mark Hegener,
Homeschooling Freedoms at Risk
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