What Has HSLDA Done on the National Level?

It Hasn’t Always Benefited Home Education

“Whether we like it or not, with this [HR6] amendment HSLDA spoke for all homeschoolers, weakening our strong position as a grassroots movement and enshrining homeschooling’s spot at the national trough – we go down as just another in a long line of special interest groups.

-Mark Hegener, Home Education Magazine

“Damaging and Ill-Conceived Federal Lawsuit”

Gun Free School Zone Act and a Federal Lawsuit: “A federal suit was introduced and then dropped by the Home School Legal Defense Association in a misguided attempt to guarantee that federal legislation aimed at keeping guns out of schools does not prevent homeschoolers from owning guns.” (Perez v. Reno, US District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, SA97CA1023.)

Summary of the 1997 HSLDA-initiated “damaging and ill-conceived federal lawsuit

A fuller discussion of the points presented in the summary”

Federalization of Homeschool Law

HR 6 and the Federalization of Homeschooling
“HSLDA appears willing to exhange these carefully worked out agreements [made in each state] for one federal statute that could disrupt these agreements and give the federal government power over homeschools that it does not now have… Homeschoolers who value their freedom to homeschool and who oppose the federalization of homeschooling would do well to consider the effects of HSLDA’s actions.”

HR 6 was the biggest event in years…it is the event that put homeschooling on the map.”

-Michael Farris, HSLDA Founder, Crosswalk chat Feb 29, 2000

HSLDA used homeschooling families to jump strongly on the Federal side of the scale of State’s rights vs. Federal rights. For homeschoolers this means someday, some poor federal bureaucrat is going to be stuck with the task of writing regulations which define homeschooling.”

-Mark Hegener, Home Education Magazine

We got bashed by the major secular groups in 1994 for fighting the NEA’s efforts to require teacher’s certification for all teachers…that is one of the complaints that secular home schoolers make against us.”

-Michael Farris, HSLDA founder, Crosswalk chat Feb 29, 2000

The Military-HSLDA Complex

The Military-HSLDA Complex and Our Freedoms
“Our homeschooling freedoms are being threatened by a 5-year pilot program designed to make it easier for homeschoolers to enter the military. Not surprisingly, recruiters want assurance that people who claim to be homeschooling graduates actually are. However, their attempts to gain this assurance will increase regulation of homeschooling by the federal government.”

Initiating and Promoting Harmful Research

HSLDA Study: Embarrassing and Dangerous
“A new study designed, financed, and promoted by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)…has the potential to undermine our homeschooling freedoms”

Shaping Society’s Perceptions
“The population for this survey was limited to a very narrow segment of the homeschool community: those few homeschoolers who currently support the idea that the best legal protection is a central agency, and who fit HSLDA’s membership criteria.

– From “Homeschooling Freedoms at Risk.”

Does Homeschooling Research Help Homeschooling
Research is doing homeschooling more harm than good. Homeschoolers seldom benefit from it. Instead the benefits go to researchers, universities, experts, attorneys, and others who use it in place of direct knowledge, alternative practices, and effective political action.”

Unelected Representation:

Congressional Action Plan
HSLDA’s National Center for Home Education is ” fully funded by HSLDA.” According to HSLDA spokesman Caleb Kirshner [Support Group Seminar, Richmond, VA, October 23, 1999], NCHE receives 10% of HSLDA’s financial “intake.”

The NCHE operates the Congressional Action Program, “an organized grass roots lobbying force” which enrolls and trains homeschooling parents “in each of the 435 congressional districts who can be contacted at a moment’s notice to activate phone trees to contact a particular Congressman concerning a crucial federal issue.” CAP maintains an “army” of homeschooling parents who live within driving distance of Washington, D.C. “These local CAP coordinators are trained and regularly updated by the National Center staff to lobby Congressman and Senators personally.”

Some of the HSLDA/NCHE’s efforts, listed at its “Issues Library” include items many homeschoolers believe are totally unrelated to homeschooling, but are issues on which HSLDA and its trained “army” lobby Congress on behalf of “home schoolers”:

  • Support the Children Tax ID Alternative Act
  • Supports the amendment of Part F of Title XIV, Section 14602(b) to codify a letter to HSLDA which says that the Gun Free School Zones [HR6] provisions do not apply to home schools.
  • Oppose the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
  • Oppose Citizen Tracking Proposals Through Government Regulations
  • Oppose the Religious Liberty Protection Act (RLPA)

“Home Schoolers Support…”

On September 23, 1999, HSLDA held a “Proclaim Liberty” rally in Washington., D.C. Attendees received a packet of literature, which they were encouraged to distribute to members of Congress. The materials included position papers describing “Why Home Schoolers Support”… “The Straight A’s Act”and “The Teacher Empowerment Act;” and copies of Issues Alerts indicating that “home schoolers” are opposed to the Commerce Clause Provision of the Religious Liberty Protection Act and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The one titled, “Why Home Schoolers Support the Straight A’s Act” says “We (implying homeschoolers, not HSLDA) support the Straight A’s Act because….”

“Why Home Schoolers Support the Teacher Empowerment Act” contains within the text “Home Schoolers (again, not HSLDA, but “home schoolers”) see the NBPTS not only as ineffective but also as a threat to their freedom to home school.”

From the Issues Alerts, on National Center for Home Education letterhead: “home schoolers, who have proven themselves champions of religious freedom in their fight to win the right to home school, oppose the RLPA.” Again, it implies all homeschoolers, not HSLDA leaders or members.

In Mr. Farris’ cover letter, there is no mention of HSLDA representing its members, and throughout it refers to “home schoolers,” even when presenting “our position” on issues that many homeschoolers do not necessarily agree with HSLDA– and might not even consider them as being homeschooling issues. Some of these are: the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Religious Liberty Protection Act, the Straight A’s Act, and the Teacher Empowerment Act.

None of these materials included any effort to inform the reader that HSLDA speaks only for its members. Instead, they implied that all homeschoolers are in agreement with all HSLDA positions.

Cases Reducing Freedoms

Citizenship or Lawyership: Choosing Political Strategies for Homeschoolers
“If you knew that in states throughout the land, homeschooling cases involving people like you were being taken to court… resulting in precedents and a body of case law that support the idea that the government has the right to unreasonably regulate homeschooling…wouldn’t you want to do something about it?”


Legal Mumbo Jumbo

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