Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Another Salon Article about Homeschooling

Battling for the heart and soul of home-schoolers

This article is from 2000. But it was a very in-depth look into the homeschooling world's history and politics. What might be of interest to many is highlighted below.
From page one
Recently George W. Bush mixed home schooling with presidential politics in a letter to a Texas home-schooler -- now circulating widely on national home-school e-mail listservs -- in which he enthusiastically praises home schooling and vows to fight for legislation that would allow families to set aside $5,000 tax-free annually to pay for the educational expenses of teaching at home.
From page two
As it nears its 20th anniversary, the HSLDA also boasts significant political clout on national educational issues, even though, say its critics, with less than one-sixth of the estimated home-schooling population in its membership, the HSLDA does not advocate for the majority of parents who teach at home.
"This move to exclusivity has caused so much heartache among Christians," says Treon Gossen, a devout Christian who, after being forced from an exclusive group, started the inclusive Colorado home-school support group Concerned Parents of Colorado. "I think the biggest home-schooling trend you'll be seeing is more Christians saying, 'Enough is enough.'"
From page three
Not even Farris' critics quibble over his right to pursue whatever citizen advocacy he chooses -- home-schoolers unquestionably comprise every political stripe imaginable and many are outspoken, particularly about their educational philosophies. But the HSLDA, charge Hegener and others in Home Education Magazine, has gone too far. The organization has dominated debate about home-school regulation and legislation by refusing to work with other home-schooling groups, says a recent magazine report.

The magazine also says that the HSLDA is unfairly representing itself to national and local policymakers as the sole representative of home schooling. It has even pushed through legislation that has proved detrimental to home-schoolers, the magazine says. One example: An HSLDA-led legislative effort in New York that was supposed to loosen onerous regulations for home-schoolers led to requirements that parents report periodically to education officials and submit to standardized testing, measures almost uniformly opposed by most home-schoolers.
From page four
"They even asked group leaders to do home visits to make sure people were doing home schooling the 'right' way," Moyers says. Many who opted out of the groups launched the inclusive HERO support group network.
From page five
In the face of the mounting criticism over the years, HSLDA has reacted with charges of discrimination. Farris sent a response to the initial Home Education Magazine report calling critics "anti-Christian secular bigots." In fact, many of the critics cited in the report are Christian, and HEM regularly runs articles and columns by Christian home-schoolers.
There's much more at the site.

Homeschool Legislation Watch
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