Surprising as it may seem, election time is upon us. Midterm elections are just weeks away, scheduled for November 4th. That means now is the time to start researching your candidates and issues, if you haven’t already.
Here are the three key homeschool-related voting issues you’ll want to consider when choosing whose bubble to fill in on the mid-term ballot.
Common Core: Does a candidate in your state support this federal takeover of math and language arts standards? 43 states have adopted Common Core, so it’s likely to have already impacted your state. But some states are backing off implementation of CC.
What are your candidates saying about the standards? Are they advocating giving more and more money to the public school establishment, or are they championing diversity in educational approaches? Find a candidate that will take a serious look at the statistics which prove homeschoolers, on the whole, educate their students better, spend less money per student, and don’t need Common Core to accomplish this.
I wrote here about how, regarding SATs and ACTs the standards don’t really change anything for homeschoolers, but the Common Core is poised to have a big impact on legislative and regulatory efforts to standardize the curricula of all students, including homeschoolers. One New Jersey school district has already misinterpreted the law, ordering a homeschooling family to use NJ’s Common Core standards.
Homeschool Regulation: This issue is now tied with Common Core, but deserves its own attention. Here in the state of Washington, for example, there is a push to lower the age of compulsory school attendance, despite research showing that a later start to school is actually better for kids. Right now, Washington parents have the freedom to choose not to enroll their students in any kind of school until their child is 8-years-old. If that law changes, the state is wresting control over this decision from parents.
In what ways are there forces at work in your state to steal control from parents, leaving your homeschool micromanaged by bureaucrats? You still have plenty of time to ask the candidates about their stances on compulsory attendance age, reporting requirements, curriculum regulations, parental education levels, standardized testing, and any number of other issues your state legislature may be facing.
Parental Rights in General: The rights of parents to choose what is best for their children in general, and the culture in your state regarding parental rights, have a big impact on how homeschooling is regulated and viewed by lawmakers and the public.
The Justina Pellietier case, for example, was about a medical situation, but has implications for all parental rights in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The overbearing state asks, “Can parents really be trusted to choose their child’s doctor? And if not, why on earth would we allow parents to singlehandedly carryout the educations of their children?” The freedom-loving state asks, “Where is there a compelling state interest in these cases, and where can the state back off to give parents more freedom to choose what’s best for their children?”