HUUmans – HSLDA DOES NOT Speak for US

For over 20 years, the organization known as the Home School Legal Defense Association has purported to speak for homeschoolers throughout the United States. In fact, HSLDA, is a religiously conservative, contractual law firm that represents, by its own admission, fewer than 90,000 home educators — less than 5% of the country’s estimated 2 million homeschoolers.

Who Are the “Real” Homeschoolers

HSLDA, for all its promises of supporting everyone’s right to choose home education, nevertheless sets a number of limitations on clients, and upon who they consider “real” home educators. HSLDA will not handle homeschooling cases arising as a result of custody issues, the most common homeschool legal problem. It also insists that those subscribing to its service adhere to HSLDA‘s rigid vision of homeschooling by providing evidence of a structured educational program.

And not only does it refuse to represent and defend homeschoolers paying for its services on specific, clearly homeschool-related issues, but it has arrogated to itself the nebulously-defined stance of Defender of Homeschooling by taking positions on *non*-homeschool related civil rights issues, including opposition to gay parenting and in support of the federal marriage amendment.

Is Ashcroft a Homeschooler?

In the past, those issues have also included persuasive commentary on the Ashcroft nomination, as well as opposition to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Religious Liberty Protection Act. Most recently, HSLDA has turned its attentions to the private institution of marriage.

In a February 10, 2004 “urgent” update, HSLDA implored home educators to support the federal marriage amendment, which attempts to litigate the very personal choice of union between caring adults. Mike Farris, chairman of HSLDA, wrote in the latest “elert”:

Who Protects Our Fundamental Rights?

HSLDA has litigated the issues surrounding homeschooling for over 20 years. It is our belief that the fundamental right to direct the upbringing of children, including their education, is largely predicated on the institution of the traditional family and its status in society – a status which predates even the founding of the United States. Should the nature of the traditional family be changed, indeed radically re-defined by the modern state, the constitutional-historical basis of what the family is and its privileges are weakened. We cannot let this happen.”

Unitarian Universalist (UU) Homeschoolers believe we cannot let HSLDA‘s gross misrepresentation of home educators as a single-minded group with a collective conservative agenda go unchallenged. In fact, HSLDA‘s over-reaching positions in areas far outside of home education serve only to underscore this organization’s exploitation of home educators to further its private political agenda, and in the process undermine the crucial cause of homeschooling freedoms for a large and diverse population of home educators. We urge the other 95% of home educators whom HSLDA does not legally represent to let congressional leaders know that HSLDA does not speak for you.

Equal Protection

UU Homeschoolers support the rights of all people to equal protection under the law. We believe we ALL have the fundamental right to direct our own lives in our own ways. Home educators are a diverse and exciting blend of families – an enormous constituency of independent minded, intelligent and multifaceted individuals for whom no one organization can ever claim to speak.

HSLDA does not speak for us. It does not speak for our families. And most important, the Home School Legal Defense Association does not speak for homeschooling freedoms when it attempts to link any discriminatory political agenda to homeschooling.

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