Tag Archives: HSLDA

The Third Wave of Homeschool Persecution

IAHE Action believes this piece is very important for all faith-based homeschoolers to read. It is from a speech delivered by HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris at the Christian Home Educators of Ohio conference on October 7, 2010.

A THIRD WAVE OF ARGUMENT that seeks to curtail or crush the homeschooling movement—specifically, the Christian homeschooling movement—is coming. You need to know about it. You need to get ready to fight it.

Unlike the first two waves, it is based on an essentially true factual premise, whereas the first two waves were based on faulty factual assertions.

The first wave of attack on homeschooling was based on the argument that homeschooling simply could not deliver a proper program of academic instruction. This assertion has been decisively proven false and is no longer believed by any credible person on any side of the homeschooling debate.

The second wave of attack was based on the all-too-familiar whine, “What about socialization?” But, because the first generation of homeschoolers has participated in a huge number of community activities while being home educated and is now entering the world of college and the workforce, tens of millions of people now know people who have been homeschooled. And the vast majority of people who know a child who has been homeschooled for a number of years would simply laugh at the idea that there are socialization problems from this approach to education.

There is a bit of work left to completely eradicate this second false assertion, but another decade of homeschoolers entering the workforce and the world of adulthood should pretty much take care of the need we have for societal acceptance of the truth: homeschoolers get along well with others—even those who radically differ from them.

But there is a third wave coming. And I doubt that many of you have any idea of the intensity and breadth of the elitist movement that is taking dead aim at our movement. This time, they are armed with an argument that is essentially true.

Read more here.

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National Household Education Survey

IAHE Action recently received questions related to the National Household Education Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau on behalf of the National Center for Education Statistics within the U.S Department of Education.  Some homeschool families in Indiana have reported that they have received this survey as many as four times.

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We asked Home School Legal Defense Association attorney, Tj Schmidt, if families are required to fill out the survey.  He informed us that the National Household Education Survey form is not mandatory.   The name changes a little bit from time to time but here is the general information about these types of questionnaires.  Note that the long form listed in the link is mandatory.

According to the NHES website:

What types of questions will be asked?

First, all households are asked to answer some initial questions in order to help us understand their household characteristics. Depending on the characteristics of the household, some will receive additional questions asking about more specific experiences with young children’s care and education, students’ and families’ experiences with schools or homeschooling, or adults’ education and training.

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IAHE Action’s School to Prison Pipeline Response – Part 4

This post is our fourth of nine installments.  If you would like to read more, here’s our original post and the firstsecond, and third installments.  We will post more after the IAHE Convention on April 29-30, 2016.  Support the IAHE Convention to help protect Indiana homeschool freedom.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 94. MR. DOUGLAS: “Do we know what percentage of children in Indiana are home schooled, fall in that home school category?”

MS. DANIELS: “That number, the Department of Ed can’t tell you that because it is up to the parent to call and say I am going to home school my child and enroll that child as being in the home school program. The state, there is no obligation or requirement, it is optional. So most parents that do that do not call the state and say I am going to home school.”

IAHE Action’s Response: Families have a right to privacy. Reporting to the state is not mandatory in Indiana because the laws in our state recognize parents as the primary authority in children’s lives, not the state. Certainly, the state has an interest in an educated citizenry, but it must fall within the compelling interest test, meaning the interest must be met by the least restrictive means. In layman’s terms, the state can only ensure their interests without overly burdensome regulations. The state of Indiana correctly balances the interest of the state with a healthy respect for family autonomy. Parents must keep attendance for 180 instructional days, for children 7 years to 18 years of age or until graduation and provide an equivalent education to the public school. If a parent is in violation, truancy charges can be leveled which lends muscle to the state’s education interests.

Parents, not the state, have a responsibility to provide for their children’s education as set forth by Wisconsin v. Yoder.  Many parents choose to fulfill this obligation using public, private or public virtual schools while home educators take on the task themselves rather than utilizing outside providers. Parents retain the right to direct the education of their child. The overwhelming majority of parents will make the best possible provisions for their children and their particular family situation. It is highly unfair to penalize responsible parents with greater regulation and red tape when irresponsible school administrators have created this problem.

Regardless, we do recognize schools do have some responsibility in knowing what has happened to the children in their schools. Out of respect, IAHE advises families to send a letter to inform the school administrator when a child is no longer in the public school system, but has transferred to a private option. This action also safeguards parents from undue truancy charges.

TESTIMONY: Pg. 95. MS. HINER: Leslie Hiner. “So my question about home schooling is this, that I have — I do work across the country and so I have seen places like Oklahoma in their state constitution, home schooling is a right under their constitution and there is not a single regulation of any kind whatsoever. But this is the part that troubles me, on one hand if these kids are being sent into what they are calling a home school environment in lieu of expulsion, that’s just deeply troubling to me, deeply troubling. The other side to this though is the part that I am more concerned about because I have seen in other states where home schooling is very, very free and open that you will find black parents who come together in home schooling co-ops and educate their kids, especially when they are in a bad situation in the public school, whatever school that they were in prior, take their kids out and the families come together and they home school their kids and they’re doing great. Typically they take nationally learned reference tests and there is access to curriculum, et cetera. And there are an awful lot of home schools across the country where people will communicate and network with each other so that this can actually happen.”

IAHE Action’s Response: Forcing families with troubled children into homeschooling is profoundly troubling to IAHE Action as well. As home educators, we know first-hand the tremendous responsibility involved. Parents unable or unwilling to devote the time, attention and detail needed to homeschool should not be homeschooling.

Indiana, like every other state in the Union, has a large network across the state providing resources, activities and information. These organizations are not hard to find. Our sister organization, Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE), makes a concerted effort to communicate with people throughout the state through various mediums. They have a webpage, Facebook page, Twitter pageblog, a published print magazine, available for free in every library in the state, Pinterest resource pages, Instagram and regional representatives covering every county. Co-ops, which are groups of parents coming together to provide educational support and enrichment to each other’s children, meet regularly. Our regional representatives make it a point to be aware of groups meeting in their areas to better connect new families to a support group or co-op that best suits them. Alternatively, many homeschool parents and families thrive in a more independent environment without joining local support groups. Direct parent involvement is the important factor for home education success.

According to a Statehouse source, Indiana now spends on average $12,443 per pupil which includes all federal, state, and local funding sources.  No matter how you slice it, that is a considerable sum when multiplied by the number of students in the state. Understandably, taxpayers have a right and a responsibility to keep the state accountable. The need for governmental scrutiny has resulted in things like school A-F ratings, tracking graduation rates, teacher evaluations and student standardized assessments. Every single one of these programs were put in place to give the taxpayer concrete ways of evaluating the government’s performance in educating children. In home education in Indiana, no tax dollars are used. Hoosier homeschooling parents control the curriculum and fund all educational pursuits themselves. Nationally, most homeschoolers spend less than $600 per pupil per year in educational costs (2009 Academic Progress Report, HSLDA).

Since no tax money is at stake, what right does the state have in demanding homeschoolers take standardized tests? Home educating parents are already keenly aware of their child’s progress. While many parents freely choose to test their children through various means, some opt to forgo the testing process in the best interests of the child.

Homeschooling parents have regularly proved that standardized testing and vast sums of money are not required to achieve academic excellence. Instead, responsibility, character, and motivation are necessary resources for success.

Read Part 5 here.


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HSLDA Weighs-in on ESEA Rewrite, Concerns Remain

On Monday, Congress unveiled the Every Student Succeeds Act, which is the Conference Committee report for the major reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The last time ESEA was reauthorized was in 2001, as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

The Every Student Succeeds Act takes H.R. 5, which passed the House, and S. 1177, which passed the Senate, and combines the two bills into one. The final bill is 1,061 pages long. You can read it here. We anticipate that the House will vote on this bill later this week, and the Senate will vote on this bill sometime before Christmas. SMALL 300 Join Action E-List

Analysis of Provisions

HSLDA is pleased to announce that all of our language protecting homeschools from any federal control remains in the Every Student Succeeds Act. (This protection also applies to private schools that do not receive federal funds.) Congress included this section in the 2001 NCLB as Section 9506. The Every Student Succeeds Act recodifies it as Section 8506. This is a major victory for homeschool freedom, and we applaud Congress for retaining and reauthorizing this essential language.

Read more here.

 

The Rise of Homeschool Discrimination

IAHE has had concerns over the past several years as it noticed a shift in the attitudes of some regarding homeschool diplomas.  There have been various instances in Indiana where questions have arisen regarding diplomas; such as, with the military, higher education, and employers.  A case involving an Indiana company, NiSource, was troubling to many homeschoolers as they learned of its discriminatory practice toward homeschoolers.

Home School Legal Defense Association has seen an increasing number of cases of discrimination against homeschoolers.  Listen to Equal Rights for Homeschoolers: An Interview with HSLDA Attorneys from their latest Homeschool Heartbeat to learn more.

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Indiana Vaccination Data Questions Remain

Indiana families were not the only ones that received letters regarding vaccinations from their State Department of Health which IAHE alerted Indiana home educators about in this post from mid-October.  Michigan families also received a similar letter.  These types of occurrences highlight IAHE Action’s concern about the increased amount of government data collection. WEBSITE RGB Action Logo 400x400

HSLDA asks, “Is Government Data Being Used to Deliver Drug Company Profits?” 

Hundreds of thousands of families in Indiana and Michigan recently received letters from their respective departments of health notifying them of their children’s immunization status and ordering them to schedule additional vaccinations. Many families were unaware that officials had access to such private information or that it had been compiled into statewide databases. Some of the parents contacted were HSLDA members who subsequently sought advice from HSLDA—particularly regarding the vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV).

Read more here.

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ISTEP+ and Homeschoolers?

It was recently brought to our attention that the Indiana Department of Education had sent a memo to Superintendents and Principals giving guidance related to homeschoolers enrolled in one class in public school and ISTEP+:

Q: Does the homeschool student have to take ISTEP+ and relevant ECA assessments if they are only enrolled in one course?

 A: Students in grades 3-8 and grade 10 in a public school or accredited non-public school must take the ISTEP+ assessments. Students in grades 10, 11, and 12 during the 2015-16 school year must take the Algebra I and English 10 ECAs if they are enrolled in the course(s). WEBSITE RGB Action Logo 400x400

 The concern is in regards to homeschoolers and ISTEP+. Home educators enrolled in one public school are being tested with ISTEP+ on curriculum that they are not using. The purpose of the ISTEP program is designed to “provide a source of information for state and local decision makers with regard to…the overall academic progress of students…the need for new or revised educational programs…the need to terminate existing education programs…student readiness for postsecondary school experiences…(and) diagnosing individual student needs”.

HSLDA attorney, Tj Schmidt, wrote a post about this situation in July:  Homeschoolers Can Skip the ISTEP

If you have concerns about taking ISTEP+ or any tests while enrolled in a class in public school for any reason, contact HSLDA.

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Will Senator Cruz’s Bill Allow Homeschoolers to Receive Federal Funds?

Homeschoolers have reason to be concerned that government funding would lead to a loss of home education freedom. Some have expressed concern that Senator Cruz’ bill S 306 would allow homeschoolers to receive federal funds. Attorney Will Estrada, Director of Federal Relations for Home School Legal Defense Association, explains legally why this bill should not be a concern for homeschoolers.

Hi, all,

Anyone who thinks that Senator Cruz’ bill will allow homeschoolers (including in states which define homeschools as a type of private school) to receive federal funds has a deep misunderstanding of federal law.

Title I funds are limited, narrow, and are in high demand. There is a reason why Senator Cruz – and most other federal legislators who have tried to create Title I portability – only limit them to private schools, not homeschools.

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The attached lengthy document (below) explains how Title I funds can be given to eligible private schools. As you can see, it’s a lengthy, convoluted process, which MUST begin with the private school trying to obtain the funds through “adequate consultation.” The bloggers who are trying to say this bill will allow the feds to control homeschools with federal funds are completely mistaken.

One sentence on page 6 is key: “A unilateral offer of services by an LEA [the local public school] with no opportunity for discussion is not adequate consultation.”

Right now, Title I services are available to private schools through the process I outlined above. Private schools cannot receive actual funds, which is what this Ted Cruz legislation would change.

So just to clarify, private schools (not homeschools classified as private schools under state law) can currently receive certain Title I services for low income and struggling students. They cannot receive actual federal dollars.

Ted Cruz’ bill, if it passed,  would allow private schools that are accredited by the states (and which pass all of the fire code, safety rules, background checks, etc.) to receive certain federal funds as actual dollars.

This should end any fear among the bloggers. The private school has to essentially spend months begging for any federal funds. They’re not going to be surprised by offers for largesse from the local public schools, who are the entities which would decide who will receive these federal Title I dollars, both under current law, and under any changes from bill’s like Senator Cruz’, in the highly unlikely event it became law.

Please see the attached document, and I would recommend that we forward this to anyone who thinks Senator Cruz’ bill will allow homeschoolers to receive federal Title I dollars.

Please let me know if you would like more details about this.

Will Estrada

Director of Federal Relations

Home School Legal Defense Association

Federal Title I guidance for private schools

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