Bulletin #18 Homeschool Autonomy 12/29/2003
Did you know: HR2732 and SB1562, and similar legislation lead the way for homeschoolers to lose their autonomy.
Homeschoolers all over the country are being told that being excluded from government funding such as Byrd scholarships and HOPE tax credits and other federal controlled financial benefits is discrimination. This is not discrimination - this is freedom from government intervention into homeschooling. Homeschooling has been independent and free of government interference because homeschoolers do not accept federal or state funding. As a result they cannot be regulated through the Commerce Clause, as is the example of the states adopting No Child Left Behind legislation in order to obtain federal funding. Because of the 10th amendment the government has no basis whatsoever to legislate homeschoolers - even if it is to include them or exclude them from current law. This can only happen if we allow it to happen and if we give the federal government the authority to pass these laws without protest.
It is a very bad idea to include homeschoolers in laws which will allow homeschoolers to accept federal or state funding via scholarships or other similar financial benefits. We do not need to be given equity with our public school counterparts because that equity will enslave us. Autonomy is the key to our freedom. This is not an issue we can make compromises with either. Autonomy is what homeschoolers have and is what they should continue to have. If we are included in government programs we lose our autonomy and are subject to accountability, oversight, testing and whatever else the government feels is necessary to control homeschooling.
This is also another big reason why people who call themselves homeschoolers should not utilize e-charter schools and other similar models. They only allow themselves to be regulated by those that are providing the federal or state funding, a free computer and all kinds of other "help" for homeschoolers. Once people choose to take federal money, or services, or resources, they really are not homeschooling anymore. It then becomes federally or state funded home education.
The financial "help" from the government can be quite an enticement. Going it alone and being autonomous can be difficult. But freedom in the form of choosing what you want to teach, and how you want to teach it, without anyone interfering or setting the rules, has its definite benefits. There are already enough states that have restrictive and burdensome legislation for homeschoolers. We should not add a layer of federal mandates on top of that. We should work to repeal state laws that encroach on homeschool freedom and to put a halt to any federal legislation as well.
Judy Aron - Director of Research, NHELD – firstname.lastname@example.org