Lobbying and Homeschool RightsJuly 9, 2021
Politics is always a touchy subject. The political spectrum is vast and very few of us would land in the same spot. Because of this, some choose to bury their heads in the sand and ignore politics in general because ignorance is bliss, right? Others take the opposite approach and feel the need to constantly discuss politics to “educate” those around them. Whether you typically find yourself in one of these camps or somewhere in between, it is important as homeschoolers to know what is happening on the political landscape, and be willing to make your voice heard.
In the spirit of full disclosure, in the past, I was more of the “bury your head in the sand” type when it came to politics. I knew what I believed and which way I wanted to cast my vote, but when that part was over, I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. Things were what they were and I didn’t need to think about it or hear about it and that was that…or so I thought. I have recently discovered, however, that if I want to maintain certain freedoms, such as the right to educate my children at home, I need to be aware of what is going on and educate myself on ways to make a difference.
What is Lobbying and Why Do We Need It?
Simply put, a lobbyist is someone who attempts to influence a politician or public official on a particular issue. There are always bills being voted on at the state and national levels. Those who are lobbying for a certain issue will read and know how the wording in those bills will affect our rights in that area and will appeal to the politician or official on behalf of their constituents. Without them, it would be up to each of us to find and read the content of each bill, then contact our representatives to make our wishes known. Though there are still times when making a few phone calls may be necessary, lobbying goes a long way to keep things running smoothly.
Believe it or not, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations belongs to homeschoolers. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is extremely active in promoting and maintaining the deregulation of home schools. They are staunch defenders of a parent’s right to educate their children in the way they deem is best, and are constantly on guard to fight against imposed government regulations on homeschooling families.
While they may be the biggest, the HSLDA is certainly not the only lobbying organization fighting to maintain homeschool freedoms. Some other national lobbying groups include the Association of HomeSchool Attorneys (AHSA), the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, and the Cato Institute. Different states also have their own lobbying groups for home educators. For more insight into how lobbyists and their organizations work and their vital role, read this account from 2009 from one such group in Missouri.
How Can I Help Protect Homeschool Rights?
Most of us, especially active homeschooling parents, cannot drop everything to move to Washington D.C. and become a lobbyist. Thankfully, that is not the only option. So, what can we do?
- Join a homeschool lobbying group in your state. A quick Google search will provide you with resources and organizations in the state where you live. These groups fight for you on the state level and provide you with information that applies specifically to your area.
- Consider becoming a member of the HSLDA (or another national lobbying organization). While the HSLDA is fighting to protect homeschool freedoms on the state and national levels, your membership also provides you with many benefits in the legal realm. They have people to answer legal questions and even provide litigation support should that become necessary.
- Use your voice. Educate yourself and become an advocate for homeschool to those around you. You know why you personally chose to homeschool and how it is working for your family. Don’t be afraid to share with those around you and be willing to join the fight to maintain this privilege.
Burying our heads in the sand is no longer an option. The battle is raging over homeschool rights, and we can’t simply take for granted the fact that someone will be there to fight for us. There is a role we each can play, and our children are well worth the effort.
Additional Homeschool Resources
Naomi White graduated with her B.S. in Christian Elementary Education and went on to earn her Early Childhood Education certification. She has taught preschool and elementary school in both Christian and public schools. She loves to read and write, is a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mom, and is eagerly awaiting the day her son is old enough for them to start their own homeschool journey. Originally a Georgia girl, Naomi currently lives in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina with her family.