PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" ""> HR 3753/ S 1691-Homeschool NonDiscrimination Act 2005

HR 3753/ S 1691-Homeschool NonDiscrimination Act 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Military-HSLDA Complex and Our Freedoms

Over five years ago HSLDA persuaded Congress to implement a five-year pilot program to allow homeschooled teens to enter the military as Tier I recruits.

After the survey was commissioned, Home Education Magazine published information about it:

The Military-HSLDA Complex and Our Freedoms

-- Also, regulations adopted by the military would set a precedent. They might then be adopted by other parts of the federal government (such as offices that handle financial aid for higher education) and be used as models by state governments.

-- One set of risks comes from the fact that amendments that increase regulation of homeschooling can be added during the legislative process. But even if a bill gets through the legislature without harmful amendments, regulation can easily be increased as the law is being implemented, as is the case with this law.

-- The researcher answered questions from the floor. The researcher also explained that Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute was a consultant for the survey and that HSLDA provided names and addresses of "home school associations" to whom the survey was mailed. The cover letter from Klicka on HSLDA stationery was included with the survey, the researcher said, to ensure a higher response rate.


The first part of the survey asks heads of "home school associations" how the military can reach homeschoolers.

-- The second part of the survey asks for help in defining homeschooling and identifying "genuine home school graduates."

-- Attempts to identify "genuine home schoolers" will inevitably cost us homeschooling freedoms. Requirements introduced to identify "genuine" homeschoolers will increase the regulation of homeschooling. In addition, we would be surrendering power and control to whoever judges homeschoolers, whether it is our local school board, the state board of education, educational experts, or even other homeschoolers or homeschooling organizations.

The program has concluded, but the results aren't as rosy as some people wanted:

-- page 52, "Although there are good reasons to explore recruiting avenues beyond traditional public high schools, given the attrition rates of homeschoolers compared with other high school diploma graduates, homeschooled recruits seem to be a less desirable recruiting market than was originally thought."

Despite this conclusion, HSLDA pressed for a continuation of Tier I status (September 9, 2003).

And, to top that, now a special section in public law, pertaining only to homeschoolers, is under consideration in Congress. Is it an attempt to get around the conclusions of the study? If so, why?

Instead of causing repeated public embarrassment because the homeschooled recruits' completion rate of their enlistments isn't as good as the publicly schooled kids' rate (see: "less desirable market" remark above), why not just face the music and tell the families what needs to be done if their children want to enlist in the military: get 15 credit hours of college (1 full time attendance semester). What agenda is served by trying to duck the issue, thereby causing it to be trotted out more often? Are those of us opposed to more federal legislation containing the word "homeschool," especially concerning the military, supposed to just dummy up and go along with the game and pretend the survey doesn't exist? What's the profit in that?

On the other hand, if the homeschooled teens qualify for Tier I status, just like the rest of their fellow-citizens do, the kids get a little more education, they're more likely to fulfill their term of enlistment, there will be fewer homeschooled washouts wondering perhaps for the rest of their lives what happened, and there's one less mention of 'homeschooling' in federal legislation. What's not to like?

Homeschoolers aren't 'special cases' needing their hands federally-held in order to enlist. They're just people who need to find out what to do in order to have the best shot at success. Don't sell them short.

Homeschoolers are American citizens, just like the public- and private-schoolers: one nation under the same law.
posted by Publius, 12:39 PM


I want to add that I think it is very important for homeschoolers to understand one small provision of this section. Small in words that is, but big in impact. HSLDA has written themselves into the law, along with their state affiliates, as legal authority to verify the legitimacy of a particular family's homeschool. In other words, they can approve or deny the legitimacy of your child's education based on whatever criteria they desire.

The exact wording is in Section 10 “(c) Home School Graduates – In identifying a graduate of home schooling …the Secretary [of Defense] concerned shall ensure that the graduate meets EACH (emphasis added) of the following requirements:

(5) The home school graduate has provided the Secretary [of Defense] concerned with a third party verification letter of the graduate's home school status by the Home School Legal Defense Association or State or county home school association or organization."

First the military, then what? If HSLDA can write themselves into being the grantor of homeschool privilege for the purposes of military recruiting, what’s to say that college or employment or just the privilege TO homeschool aren’t next? And by what criteria will they judge? They already judge the applicants to Patrick Henry College by a Statement of Faith. Is this proposal another exercise in theocratic power?
commented by Blogger Publius, 3:40 PM  
No, this isn't a theocratic power grab. HSLDA has been trying to persuade the Pentagon and/or Dept. of Defense to open the door to homeschoolers instead of arbitrarily putting them ALL into the "couldn't finish high school so they got a GED" category. Every homeschooler knows that homeschoolers are very different; some pledge allegiance to the flag every day at their little school at home, while others question authority as a required subject.

The DoD would like to get as many qualified recruits as possible, but doesn't want to invest time and money into training recruits who won't stick with the service. HSLDA would like to help our members enlist, if possible, even if there are other homeschoolers who aren't interested in serving.

If AHA or HEM or any other anti-HSLDA group would like to be included in the list of organizations that can verify that a prospective recruit was actually educated at home, let us know. We'd be happy to ask the Pentagon to add them.
commented by Blogger Anselm's Apprentice, 11:14 AM  
Scott, whether the organization in question is HSLDA or some other group, I just don't understand how this works on the ground. HOW will HSLDA (or whoever) confirm that the young person in question "was actually educated at home"? Are you just going to ask the parents and then take their word for it? Are you going to require some sort of process? Charge a fee (or require membership) for the service of certifying the student as a homeschooler? In practice, don't you think it's reasonable to anticipate that the military will want to know how these outside organizations are certifying homeschoolers, and that perhaps sometime down the road, they may even put some pressure to bear, in a public way, on these groups to follow certain minimal standards or procedures in the certification process? That they won't accept a system in which a parent's word is the coin of the realm? What effect will this have on homeschoolers' freedom to educate their children in the way that is best for each family, rather than in the way that is best in the eyes of HSLDA, the military, Congress or even AHA?
commented by Blogger frawg_lovin_mom, 3:54 PM  
Thank you for putting this site together.

Why would HSLDA wish to pass Federal Law for misunderstandings that could be better handled by individuals within their states and cities on a case by case basis?

I do not want any organization verifying the legitimacy of my child's education any more than I want the state or federal government to do so.
commented by Blogger Concerned Citizen, 6:17 AM  
Concerned Citizens asks, "Why would HSLDA wish to pass Federal Law for misunderstandings that could be better handled by individuals within their states and cities on a case by case basis?"

For the military issue, there really is no way to resolve matters on a state-by-state basis. The United States military is truly a federal entity.

For what it's worth, we aren't having these kinds of problems with the National Guard, by and large. We've had some great homeschool successes in those State entities.
commented by Blogger Anselm's Apprentice, 10:18 AM  

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