By Carolyn Martin
[Reprinted from the CHEC Homeschool Update, Volume 2, Issue #116, 2023. 720-842-4852. CHEC.org]
“It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” — Samuel Adams
Early in our nation’s history, brushfires of freedom sustained our independence from a tyrannical empire. Other brushfires throughout our history brought forward a civil war, women’s suffrage, civil rights, abortion rights, marriage rights, and, more recently, gender rights. Not all these brushfires fulfilled the desired rallying cry of freedom because they were not grounded in God’s righteousness.
Today, a brushfire is sweeping across the nation calling itself “school choice.” A majority of state legislatures introduced bills this year to establish programs to fund private schools and home education.
Not a True Choice
In the early years of the homeschool movement, a spark grew into a brushfire of freedom in large part because families were willing to sacrifice for the cause. For the Christians in the movement, God’s command to disciple their children was the central driving force. They saw clearly the trajectory of the government schools and its goal of stealing the souls of their children. Despite the real threat of being imprisoned, following God was not an option; it was the only choice.
Purveyors of the school choice movement are trying to convince homeschoolers that government money provides a way for families to choose the best education for their children. But what they’re selling is a false choice. All the choices they are presenting will be ruled by government bureaucrats. We all inherently know: what the government funds, the government runs.
Most of the “school choice” bills introduced this year include bigger government and increased regulations for private and home educators who choose to accept taxpayer funds. Big, new government bureaucracies in partnership with private entities are built to manage the oversight of the funding. Requirements for homeschoolers using the funding often include frequent meetings with certified teachers, usage of curriculum tied to state standards, and yearly testing. Basically, it’s public school at home. A choice we’ve already rejected.
True Brushfires of Freedom
It is time to rekindle the sparks that began the homeschool movement some fifty years ago and revive the brushfire of educational freedom. Government-funded programs will never bring God’s truth to bear on the realities of this world. Brushfires begin within each heart and mind that is set on the truth of God’s Word. Jesus set us free and gave us liberty; it is this truth that God commands us to set ablaze in our children.
School choice advocates are relying on the greed of man to propel their cause. Politicians, nonprofits, and governments benefit from the enlargement of the government-funded and run education system and the number of people growing dependent on it. Yet, our cause rests in the humility of utter reliance on God for our very breath and a growing awe of who He is. The time has come to set afresh the brushfire that first brought us freedom and to lead others — especially our children — to the liberty found only in Jesus.
Carolyn Martin, CHEC’s Director of Government Relations, and her husband, Todd, began homeschooling their three children in upstate New York before moving to Colorado in 2004. Her passion is to see homeschooling remain free from government intrusion for future generations.
To learn more about Christian Home Educators of Colorado, please visit CHEC.org.