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.

Oklahomans Poised to Take Back Educational Sovereignty by Refusing Federal Education Funding

Originally reported by Kara Arundel, Senior Reporter, K–12 Dive

“‘The U.S. Constitution is very straightforward about education — this is a state power protected by the 10th Amendment and the federal overreach is alive and well in our education system,’ Bullard said in an Oklahoma Senate news release . . . . Schools would not lose money as a result of the legislation, Bullard said in the news release. The bill does not detail how the state would make up the federal revenue. The bill could be considered during the state’s 2023 legislative session, which runs Monday through May 26.”

Furthermore, “Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters has also cast doubt on the need for certain federal funding, according to a Feb. 1 article by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. Walters does not favor turning away all federal funding but wants to analyze programs that carry requirements for instruction that the state opposes.”

Read the whole article here.

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.”

Get Ready! April & May Homeschool Days at the Capitol!

Capitol Days, Legislative Days, Homeschool Day at the Capitol, Pie Day, 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 help protect American freedoms.

The chart below lists April and May Capitol Days; you can also check your state’s dates here if it’s not listed below.

ColoradoApril 23, 2023
LouisianaMay 1, 2023
MaineMay 7-13, 2023
New YorkMay 8-9, 2023
Texas Lobbying WorkshopApril 5, 2023

OCEANetwork Freedom Watch Advisory Highlights Five Bills for Oregonians

OCEANetwork is tracking five bills pertaining to homeschool freedoms in Oregon.

Four bills relate to school choice (government funding for private education) with a possibility of added regulations later—some with the goal of tracking every student in the state and obtaining their personal data. 

The fifth bill deals with truancy fines for homeschoolers.

Visit OCEANetwork to read more.