URGENT: Romeike Family Facing Deportation

From Classical Conversations & HSLDA

Within our organization there is unanimous conviction that all people have a right, not just a priviledge, to educate their children freely, without any intervention by state or any other organizations. One such family – The Romeike’s – fled Germany to the United States to exercise this freedom, but are now facing deportation.

The Romeike’s need your help, and they need it FAST. Please see the following message from our friends at HSLDA below, contact your Representative, and sign the petition.

The Romeike family fled Germany for the United States in 2008 seeking asylum so that they could homeschool their children without fear of persecution. After more than a decade of making the United States their home, the Romeike’s were abruptly informed they had four weeks to return to Germany.

Tennessee Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger has introduced private bill H.R. 5423 to stop this deportation from happening and make the Roeikes eligible for an immigrant visa or permanent resident status.

But the Romeikes also need your help!

Please take just a moment to ask your congressional representative to intervene on their behalf. It’s as easy as filling out this form.

HELP NOW

Rallying support for the Romeike family and H.R. 5423 is so important—we need voices from both sides of the aisle speaking out for them.

Will you stand with the Romeikes and ask your representative to support H.R. 5423?

As always, thank you for your continued support of homeschool families and homeschool freedom!

HSLDA passionately advocates for the freedom to homeschool and offers support for every stage of your homeschool journey. To learn more about HSLDA, and various legal issues facing homeschool families, please visit herhttps://hslda.org/e.

Michigan Capitol Day: October 4, 2023

Capitol Days, Legislative Days, Homeschool Days at the Capitol, and other similar events foster communication between parents and their elected representatives. This is a great opportunity for you to teach your children the importance of the legislative process and help them mature into civic leaders who will protect American freedoms.

Next month, on October 4, Michigan families will be able to convene at the Capitol for Day at the Dome to grow and engage the legislative process.

To find out how you can participate, please contact the Michigan Christian Homeschool Network for more information.

To find out more about your state’s upcoming the Freedom Action Center Days at the Capitol Schedule.

7 Resources to Help You Rethink School Choice

By Edward Murray

For some time now, school choice has been a hot topic—and honestly, in my opinion, for good reason. I’m a product of government-funded schooling, and I’ve been a harsh critic of the institution since before I even started having kids.

I Am Not Binding Consciences or Condemning

Now let me clarify as I’ve done before:

I am in no way trying to condemn or bind anyone’s conscience here.

I am in no way saying you are in sin for choosing public schooling, and I am not condemning your reasons for doing so.

I think there are many well-intentioned families out there who attend public schools (I know and have been impacted by many), and it’s ok to disagree.

But There are Many Issues to Consider

However, there are many issues (historical, systemic, and immanent) with public-funded schools, and many states are looking for more ways to offer people a way out. Ergo, many families are eager to receive government funding to move into other educational options.

Hopefully, at least at this point, you see the irony of leaving government-funded schools for the opportunity to attend government-funded schools . . .

In short, “school choice” (i.e., using taxpayer state funds to pay for private education [especially homeschooling]) is worth rethinking. To aid you in this process, here are 7 resources on the topic you should consider:

1. Parental Rights vs. Government Responsibility – Where to Draw the Line with William Estrada

(Spotify)

2. ESAs: What You Need to Know with Israel Wayne

(Spotify)

3. Educational Choice vs. School Choice with E. Ray Moore

(Spotify)

4. Educational Vouchers v. Free Market Education, with Leigh Bortins

(Spotify)

5. I Run a Private School and am Against School Vouchers. Here’s Why (Article)

6. School Choice and Your Child’s Tuition (Article)

7. Vouchers: Sheckles with Shackles (Free pdf)

Edward Murray currently serves as Manager of Special Projects & Policy Research for Classical Conversations and The Homeschool Freedom Action Center. He is a native of Augusta, GA, and an alumnus of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC, where he earned his MDiv. He currently lives in Newport News, VA, with his wife and three children.

Political Engagement Through Homeschooling

By Valerie Ward

Homeschooling is not for parents who want to let the state determine what their children will learn and how their children will live. In our eight years with Classical Conversations, my family has learned how our government works, how to construct well-written papers, how to present arguments well, and how to defend our beliefs. We’ve all heard the adage that “those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.” The past tells us just how easily freedoms are lost if we expect others to defend them or if we fight with weak arguments.

Only the Well-Informed Can Argue Well

All CC families will tell you that you can only argue well if you are well-informed. As a result, we now study our state’s legislative process and pay attention to new legislation presented. Our family is actively involved in a grassroots movement to bring awareness to those bills that are a potential threat to parental rights, educational freedoms, and religious infringement.

Here is another family testimony about how CC has prepared them for political engagement.

A Homeschool Mom’s Testimony

Above is another family testimony about how CC has prepared them for political engagement.

Valerie Ward is a former college admin turned homeschool mom that nerds out over learning new things. She married her high school sweetheart (and now pastor husband) and now runs a family farm with chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs, and goats. Her current goal is to live as much as possible on what the Lord provides from the land He has given.

Brushfires of Freedom

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.

Arguing Against School Choice

By Lauren Gideon

I recently wrapped up a year leading Challenge A with Classical Conversations (CC) students. On our last day, the students took turns reading their assigned persuasive essays. While each student chooses his/her own topic, two of the students had chosen the same topic. 

But… **dramatic pause… they chose different sides!  

When the second student finished reading his essay that argued opposite to the first, do you know what happened? Absolutely nothing! In fact, the entire class sat unfazed and the next student began to read his essay. They didn’t rush to take sides, they didn’t vote against or ‘cancel’ the minority opinions… no name calling, and no identity crises. These students haven’t been taught to be offended.  

They have been taught to look at the merits of an idea as a distinct thing, regardless of the person, their character, their tribe, their emotions, its perceived urgency, and the many other distractions that keep us from discerning the idea’s own merit. We call these logical fallacies and our students learn how to set them aside and simply ask, “Is this a good idea, or not?”  

The students’ “non-reaction” is so profound because, as adults in the classroom of the world, we know participants are almost always “triggered” and public discourse seems to revolve around every angle EXCEPT actual merit. If we want to be virtuous participants in this sphere, the question we must first ask ourselves is, “In what way do I need to remove similar logs from my own eyes?” With log-less vision we will see issues more clearly.

Another hinderance to our clear vision is social cliques. Our objectivity can be blurred when everyone in our perceived tribe seems to be unified in their position.  A prominent topic that is plagued with these types of emotional baggage is “School Choice”.

“School Choice” is Misleading 

Some advocates of “school choice” begin their appeal through statistical argument. A recent publication opened with the 2022 Real Clear Politics Poll that argued that “72% of Americans support school choice— the ability of parents to choose the school that best fits their children’s needs.”

Why is this significant? First, this communicates the sentiment that “virtually everybody agrees”. If this premise was asserted in my Challenge A classroom, students would instinctively reply, “So what?” This says nothing about whether the viewers should agree with this issue or not.” We call this a bandwagon fallacy.

Additionally, the term “School Choice” itself suffers from equivocation. Presently, educational options are legal and available in all 50 states, meaning that proponents equivocate “School Choice” with “taxpayer funding for free-market products”.  

The label “School Choice” forces critics to take an “anti-choice” position.  

Can you think of another political movement that has lead this way? This idea has nothing to do with providing more choices. Its singular operative action is to require taxpayers to fund alternatives to the state-provided option. The question that needs an honest answer is, “should they?”  

Should taxpayers be forced to fund the free-market? Moreover, how do legislatures ensure that this money is being spent on the type of quality education that is in the public’s best interest (…or for the government’s interest)? What accountability will follow this money to ensure it is spent the way these well-intended policies intend?  Historically, how well has state government preformed this task with their current educational jurisdiction? To what degree could this idea potentially affect the cost and quality of educational options? Does the free-market stay ‘free’ once it is tax-payer funded?

Fundamentally, do we really want to expand state sponsored/regulated education, or expand actual free-market educational choice? As the emotions rise among voices on both sides of this issue, remember that the collective conversation does obligate participants to regard “sides” or emotional manipulation. This issue, like all issues, ought to be about ideas and not the people who hold them. This IS about a choice: the choice to lay aside these culturally acquired discernment liabilities and use those beautiful, classical tools from Challenge A. 

Lauren Gideon is the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for Classical Conversations. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship IQ on U.S. founding documents. She and her husband homeschool their 7 children on their small acreage where they are enjoying their new adventures in homesteading.

A Generation of Transformation: Radical Reversal of Culture from Family to Government

By Regina Piazza

What is one thing public education and home education have in common?

The obvious answer would be . . . education. However, as we see in Vladimir Lenin’s ominous promise—“Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world”—perhaps transformation is the true common denominator, as transformation is always the goal of education. Therefore, at the heart of the question of whom we trust to educate our children lies the bigger question of whom we trust to transform our world.

Education in America Is Eroding

Four decades ago, Former President Ronald Reagan illuminated the outcome of trusting the declining public school systems in his 1983 report titled A Nation at Risk:

“Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people . . .

If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves . . . .

Our concern, however, goes well beyond matters such as industry and commerce [i.e. STEM & College and Career Ready]. It also includes the intellectual, moral, and spiritual strengths of our people which knit together the very fabric of our society.”

Are We Embracing Socialism?

Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation states, “When one-in-four Americans want to eliminate capitalism and embrace socialism, we know that we have failed to educate about the historical and moral failings of these ideologies.” This startling statistic is widely evident in the government-controlled school systems’ promotion of Critical Race Theory (CRT), Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and LGBTQ++ coercion, where children are deceitfully maneuvered from parental teaching to state indoctrination.

Undeniably, a parent is charged to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”(Proverbs 22:6); however, in an act of calculated division, totalitarians such as Hitler, Lenin, and Mao have used this proverb in their attempts to eradicate the family and shape the minds of the upcoming generation with the intent to, in those infamous words of Lenin, “. . . transform the whole world.” This exceedingly conspicuous tactic is front and center throughout America today, and has been clearly spelled out in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4 of the United Nations Agenda 2030, with which the United States has cooperated:

“Our vision is to transform lives through education, recognizing the important role of education as a main driver of development and in achieving the other proposed SDGs. We commit with a sense of urgency to a single, renewed education agenda that is holistic, ambitious and aspirational, leaving no one behind. This new vision is fully captured by the proposed SDG 4 ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ and its corresponding targets. It is transformative and universal, attends to the ‘unfinished business’ of the EFA [Education For All] agenda and the education-related MDGs [Millennium Development Goals], and addresses global and national education challenges. It is inspired by a humanistic vision of education and development based on human rights and dignity; social justice; inclusion; protection; cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity; and shared responsibility and accountability.”

Is the intent of this agenda not clearly stated—“to transform lives” through global state control of education and the Marxist indoctrination of children?

The Family is the Solution

This agenda is in stark contrast to American parents’ unique success in cultivating a firm foundation of freedom in our nation, even before the development of our Constitution. Historically, American families have worked, worshiped, and educated while being undergirded with the self-evident truth that sacrifice over self-service, and self-governance over government restraint cultivates freedom, yet our modern families continue to succumb to the subtle and consistent conditioning toward the UN’s divisive preference to bring all schools under government control.

Now, more than any time in our nation’s history, is the time for parents to boldly and courageously assert our inherent responsibility to direct the upbringing and education of our children and vehemently reject the UN report’s claim that “the State remains the duty bearer of education as a public good.”

Now is the time for families to awaken from their self-imposed financial slumber, revive atrophied personal civic responsibilities, recalibrate family priorities, and recapture their God-given right to educate by exiting the institutions of indoctrination—the government-controlled K–12 schooling systems.

Now is the time for families to cultivate and practice ownership and discipline with the honorable motive of self-governance and freedom.

Kevin Roberts, President of the Heritage Foundation, states, “If a nation takes on the character of its people then our classrooms are ultimately about formation of citizens and souls.” Family is the best classroom—not government, entitlements, or vouchers.

Family necessitates devotion to one another, to our work, and to our inheritance.

Family promotes time-honored values, protects the dignity of life and marriage, and is the most trustworthy institution in civilization.

Family teaches that work is worship, and you must pay your own way—freedom’s prerequisites.

Ronald Reagan once said, “The family has always been the cornerstone of American society. Our families nurture, preserve, and pass on to each succeeding generation the values we share and cherish, values that are the foundation of our freedoms.”3

Through devotion, sacrifice, and commitment, the family establishes, inculcates, and maintains freedom. Families, therefore, are incomparable educators and the trustworthy remnant to guarantee that enduring transformation occurs in the world.

Regina Piazza is a thirteen-year home educator with Classical Conversations and has held multiple roles including Tutor, Director, and Support Representative. She is a former Air Force veteran and two-time business owner who ran for Florida State Senate for the first time in 2022. She is currently working to preserve education and religious freedom as Classical Conversation’s Florida State Advocate.

To hear more from Regina, check out Episode 24 of our podcast, Refining Rhetoric, “Why a Homeschool Mom Ran for Senate with Regina Piazza.”

Wyoming Celebrates Homeschool Legislative Victory

The Cheyenne Post reported that the “HB0070 Definition of home-based educational program which gives more freedom and latitude for families who homeschool to network and collaborate in Wyoming was signed by Governor Gordon. 

“Authored by House Majority Floor Leader Chip Neiman, HB0070 was among the first bills signed into law by Governor Gordon during the 67th General Session of the Wyoming Legislature.”

Minnesotans, Quick Action is Needed —Oppose HF 1269!

HF 1269 will impose restrictions on Minnesota homeschoolers.

On February 3, 2023, Minnesota introduced HF 1269, a bill that would require homeschool parents in Minnesota to submit:  

  • a copy of the actual test scores sent from the testing provider of the annual nationally normed achievement test from the previous school year, unless exempt from the testing because of school accreditation; (2) evidence that any protocols agreed to with the superintendent’s office were followed; and (3) any changes to the information required in paragraph (a) for each student. 

These requirements would force parents to maintain additional paperwork for no justifiable reason while creating the potential for friction between parents and school districts.  

Because the bill was submitted Friday afternoon, parents were only given two and a half days (including the weekend) to sign up to testify before the House Education Policy Committee to express their thoughts on these proposed changes. That opportunity has passed, but you can still write and call your legislators.  

You can find out who represents you and obtain their contact information here. Please feel free to use our template to structure your letter, email, or phone call. Furthermore, HSLDA and MÂCHÉ both offer great talking points for your convenience.

And, above all, Minnesota and your fellow homeschoolers could use your prayers.  

Together, we can protect our liberties. Please take action today!

Parent Rights Erosion Continues

Even if you aren’t a Colorado resident, it is important to keep abreast of the political climate in other states because it won’t be long before it’s in your state. Be prepared for what’s coming your way.

Carolyn Martin, the Director of Government Relations for Christian Home Educators of Colorado, sounds the warning on HB23-1003, a bill currently under consideration that represents an outright assault on parental rights.

The question we need to ask is: “Where does the civil government’s authority and jurisdiction stop?

“This year an introduced bill, HB23-1003 School Mental Health Assessment, grants children twelve years or older the ability [to] override a parent’s wishes concerning a mental health assessment given in a public school. Although the bill allows parents to opt their child out of the assessment, it also authorizes the school to ignore the opt-out when the child dictates. Children can also keep parents from seeing the results of the assessment. Note: If your child participates in a part-time public-school program, this bill applies to you as well!

Keep reading here.