Educational freedom, a topic that has languished in the doldrums for far too long, finally caught a fresh breeze of hope this year. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a blow against “Blaine Amendments,” which have centralized education in Western states like Wyoming and have made secularism the de facto religious perspective of government funded schools.

In August, the Trump campaign released a 2nd term agenda themed, “Fighting for You.” One item stood out: a pledge to “Provide School Choice to Every Child in America.”

This theme hasn’t been just an item tucked away among a longer list. It was arguably the most consistent theme across the RNC Convention as well – seemingly mentioned in every speech.

It’s difficult to imagine something more transformative – culturally, for families, and for individual students – than empowering families to choose the school they believe will help their children. Enabling parents and students to choose the right fit for their individual needs would enhance competition, allow for values to be protected, improve results, and help students to flourish outside of a one-size-fits-all agenda.

For years, the major parties have been too afraid to tackle this tough issue, not because it’s wrong (it’s right!) and not because it isn’t popular (it is!), but because powerful political lobbies stand in opposition. It’s time for this era to end, and it’s why Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming® is committed to leading our state into a new age in education.

We’re committed to breaking the logjam, removing the obstacles, and providing the resources to the pro-education freedom, pro-parent, pro-student, pro-family agenda – providing children with more options, more hope, and more opportunity.

Whether we achieve school choice is very much on the ballot – from the President of the United States on down to your State Representative and School Board – and the discussion will very much permeate the future of education conversation in Wyoming. It’s imperative that we elect the right leaders and have the right strategy to achieve our goals.

Changing children’s lives for the better has never been more opportune. Education freedom is wildly popular and is a key to victory. It’s also instrumental in changing lives, strengthening families, bolstering culture, and fueling prosperity. The time to act is NOW!

Because we stand with students and their parents,

Nathan Winters
Executive Director

The government telling the church what to believe and how to live out those beliefs is the worst kind of violation of the First Amendment. But, that’s what the city of Philadelphia has been trying to do to Catholic Social Services, an adoption and foster care agency in the city.

The Supreme Court recently announced it would hear oral arguments in the case, the outcome of which will have enormous ramifications for religious freedom. In Fulton v. Pennsylvania, the city of Philadelphia is attempting to force a Catholic Social Services to place children in homes with same-sex couples, in violation of the non-profit’s beliefs, or else go out of business and stop serving children in need.

This agency is fueled by its beliefs about marriage, family, and helping the less fortunate. They exist to help children in need, particularly hard-to-place children, find forever homes. They have many guidelines for the families who are receiving children in their homes – including that there be a married mom and dad in the home. These beliefs cannot just be separated from each other.

But that’s exactly what Philadelphia wants the agency to do.

The Court is considering the foundational question of whether an organization is allowed to define its beliefs and to consistently live them out.

As shown in the recent case Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrissey, in which the Court protected the right of a church to determine its hiring and firing practices, the Court has placed a lot of emphasis on the freedom of the church to actually be the church and live out its beliefs consistently.

Two lower courts have allowed Philadelphia to continue to co-opt the beliefs of the adoption agency. Ironically, Philadelphia cannot show any real harm arising from the faith-based agency’s existence. There are plenty of agencies who will eagerly place children in same-sex or single-parent homes. But, the sexual revolution will stand for nothing less than total surrender to their ideology. In their worldview, even one agency that does not comply is not acceptable.

Nine states, including my state of Kansas, recognized that this was a problem and passed an Adoption Protection Act. These laws reinforce that the First Amendment and state religious freedom laws protect faith-based adoption agencies from government discrimination. This ensures that agencies can live out their beliefs when it comes to marriage, family, and sexuality.

In states that don’t have this sort of law like Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, Colorado, and even South Carolina, agencies are under attack. These agencies are doing important work to help children, women in crisis pregnancies, and families that want to become a forever home for a child in need.

Watch our video here highlighting the work of faith-based adoption agencies:

Laws protecting faith-based organizations are at risk across the country during this election. This is evident in a state like Kansas where during the debate on the Adoption Protection Act, a leading Senate candidate, Barbara Bollier, declared that Catholic beliefs about marriage and family were “sick discrimination.” Activists, including the Governor, are constantly trying to undermine this law.

The losers in this political debate are the children. The push to shut down faith-based adoption agencies because of their faith ultimately harms the children who could have been helped by these agencies. Political leaders demonstrate that they would rather have children in need sleeping in administrative offices than allow a faith-based adoption/foster agency to exist to help place them with families.

Interestingly enough, the Court indicated that it knows that the question of discrimination against faith-based organizations matters to voters by placing oral arguments the day AFTER the election on November 4th.

Stand alongside us as we fight to protect laws like the Adoption Protection Act where it has already become law and pass it in states where it has yet to become law. Would you consider a generous gift to Family Policy Alliance today?

Standing for the freedom to believe,

 

 

Brittany Jones
Director of Advocacy
Family Policy Alliance of Kansas

Right now, families across America are managing the wild uncertainties of the new school year and facing difficult choices regarding the schooling of their children. Many families will be “virtual learning” for an indefinite amount of time. Others have chosen to pull their children out of public school and homeschool instead, and some are fortunate enough to return to a “new normal” of in-person private or public school. And, of course, many families are returning to homeschooling as usual. As families make different choices for their children’s education, no family is untouched by the effects of COVID on education in our country.

Millions of American parents have been compelled to decrease or stop working altogether to educate their children.  We can relate.  We both work outside the home, as do our husbands.  We are grateful to have our careers but very familiar with the incredible challenge of educating children from home while working and parenting fulltime.  It’s a lot to juggle, but we are the fortunate ones.  Millions of American parents don’t have the option of flexing time at work or decreasing the amount of time they spend working.  If they decrease their hours at work, their bills won’t be paid.  It’s not an overstatement to say that many, many American families are faced with whether to provide food and shelter or education for their children. That is a choice no family should be faced with.

Some say “virtual learning” or “online school” is not homeschool.  We agree – it’s not the same.  In virtual school, the school provides the lesson plans and assigns work to students.  However, the parents teach their young children how to use a mouse, open Google classroom, mute themselves, type into chat boxes, etc. –not to mention reading instructions to their children, helping them write and type assignments and ensure they are completed. In many cases, parents also absorb the financial costs of laptops, tablets, webcams, and high-speed internet service to participate in “virtual learning.”

Public schools receive thousands of dollars in state and federal funds per student enrolled in their school. Currently, public schools are receiving the same, full amount of per-student funding regardless of whether they are delivering in-class learning or “virtual learning” to students.  Many districts are actually receiving more funding than normal due to federal COVID relief.  So while parents are forced to work less or not work at all in order to home-educate their children, the public school system receives complete funding for their children’s education while the parents receive none.

This reality is not only unfair, but illogical and wrong.  Now more than ever, taxpayer dollars for education must follow the child.

You might be familiar with the phrase “money follows the child” when you hear people talk about “school choice.” Traditional school choice allows states to give money directly to parents for the education of their child. Most commonly, these programs are called Education Savings Accounts or ESAs. These savings accounts provide families complete control over the taxpayer funds allocated to their child(ren) to purchase laptops, curriculum, private school tuition, tutoring and other supplemental materials.

Families need and deserve access to education savings accounts today!

Many families are desperate to  access funds now to educate their children. If the public school is educating your child, that’s great. They should get the money. But if they aren’t, it is fundamentally unfair the school is getting paid while the families are getting the bill.

State legislators need to hear from families today.  Please take a moment to contact your lawmakers and urge them to make education savings accounts available to families immediately. (To find your state representative and senator if you don’t know them, click here.)

Also, stay tuned! In a few short weeks, Family Policy Alliance® will be releasing a national education guide for equipping parents with all they need to know about school choice, what’s going on in the public education system and how to protect children, and to help parents engage with policymakers impacting their children’s education at all levels.

For families,

Stephanie Curry
Policy Manager


Amanda Banks
Statesmen Academy Director

Earlier this week, the campaign for President Trump released a 2nd Term Agenda themed, “Fighting for You.” While there are many good nuggets in there, one item stood out: a pledge to “Provide School Choice to Every Child in America.”

And, it hasn’t been just an item tucked away among a longer list. It’s been arguably the most consistent theme across the RNC Convention this week – seemingly mentioned in every speech.

It’s difficult to imagine something more transformative – culturally, for families, and for individual students – than unleashing school choice in America. Empowering parents and students to choose the right fit for their individual needs would enhance competition, allow for values to be protected, improve results, and allow for students to flourish outside of a one-size-fits-all agenda.

For years, the major parties have been too afraid to tackle this tough issue – not because it’s wrong and not because it isn’t popular – because powerful political lobbies stand in opposition. It’s time for this era to end, and it’s why Family Policy Alliance of Georgia® is committed to leading our state into a new age in education.

We’re committed to breaking the logjam, removing the obstacles, and providing the resources to the pro-school choice, pro-parent, pro-student, pro-family agenda – providing children with more options, more hope, and more opportunity.

Whether we achieve school choice is very much on the ballot – from POTUS on down to your State Representative – and the discussion will very much permeate the State Capitol. It’s imperative that we elect the right leaders and have the right strategy to achieve our goals.

If you agree with speakers like Senator Tim Scott, Ambassador Nikki Haley, First Lady Melania Trump, and so many more, then we ask you to partner with us today.

This Administration priority is wildly popular and is a key to victory. It’s also instrumental in changing lives, strengthening families, bolstering culture, and fueling prosperity. The time to act is NOW!

Because we stand with students and their parents,

Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

Society fails to function properly outside of the structures and institutions so clearly defined in the Genesis narrative of creation. Humans inherited an intelligence and a safe environment to live out their purpose of work and production. The family unit, consisting of a father and a mother, was the foundational institution that God intended to secure a long-term prosperous society. If the Biblical family were dismantled, these dependent structures would inevitably soon collapse.

Today, many politicians build their campaigns on these destabilized structures that are vital to society as God originally formed it – schools, law enforcement and business. Let me be clear, I believe children should not have to suffer in failing schools. I believe our criminal justice system should be equally fair and firm, and at appropriate times even forgiving. I believe job creation, unrestrained by burdensome regulation and taxation, allows people to fulfill the plan of God to be productive and responsible. Teachers, policemen, and business owners are more than just local heroes. They are indispensable supports uplifting society and deserve our admiration and appreciation.

But these supports are only as strong as the foundation upon which they rest – the family unit. Incrementally over five decades, and more rapidly over the past decade, the sexual revolution has progressively damaged the definition of family. Well known political groups are now proudly stating their intention to demolish the male father and female mother family unit. Such warped ideology views God’s revealed creative order as oppressive and morally indefensible.

They have successfully pressured many fiscally and politically conservative minded people, including elected officials, to abandon their support of the traditional family unit to avoid being slandered with the unfounded and indefensible labels of hate and bigotry. The Left, now emboldened with political power, is using this same tactic (labeling police and business supporters as oppressive and bigoted) against those conservative elected officials who tried to avoid the conflict altogether. I hope moderate independents do not leave capitalism behind to align themselves with Marxism, just as some political conservatives left the traditional family behind for a post-modern world.

Christians have many priorities in government affairs and public policy, but nothing is more important than the family structure. Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey® will continue meeting with state legislators to protect and repair society’s foundation to make NJ better.

Serving you,

Shawn Hyland
Director of Advocacy

 

Don’t forget, tonight Thursday, August 13 at 7pm is our Home School Interest Panel This will be a live webinar featuring Darren Jones, attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association and Greg Golden, president of the North Jersey Home School Association. Register to participate or view live on our Facebook page.

With an increased likelihood that children might be spending time at home again this school year, this becomes a prime opportunity to take control of your children’s education.

Dear Friends,

Over the years at Family Policy Alliance, we’ve had the privilege of being entrusted with some of your (parents & grandparents) deepest concerns about your children. You’ve given us the privilege of praying for your children and of helping you decide how to best handle issues that have arisen affecting your children.

Through the course of this partnership with you, some of the saddest situations you’ve shared with us are what your children have been exposed to at school. And we’ve had the heavy responsibility to warn you about what is happening in schools across the nation.

Remember Planned Parenthood’s radical sex education curriculum that they’re pedaling in public schools or now through your children’s phones? We partnered with a diverse coalition to expose the transgender policies being sprung on children in schools, providing parents with a comprehensive guide to understanding and addressing concerns. We’ve helped rally parents to oppose a radical new LGBT curriculum requirement And lately, we’ve been fighting to save girls’ sports from becoming targets in the latest round of political attacks. And so much more.

Now we’re excited to invite you to attend a virtual eventThe Protecting Children in Education Summit

The virtual summit is a one-day-only event on August 12th, from 10:00AM – 12:00PM Eastern Time. The event is FREE, but you do need to register online!

Family Policy Alliance® is joining with our friends at The Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, California Family Council, Family Research Council, Family Watch International, and Massachusetts Family Institute to provide this first-ever event for parents and grandparents.

The first session will alert parents to state and federal—and even international—efforts to sexualize children using school curriculum. The second session will expose the curriculum itself and how it fails to meet legal standards.

This is sure to be an eye-opening event! And, you can watch and learn online from home or work.

RSVP NOW

We hope you’ll join us virtually!

For children,

Autumn Leva
Vice President, Strategy

Dear Friends,

Education is best left to local school boards and parents.

Textbooks have historically been approved and purchased by local school boards that are accountable to parents and community members. But now, state legislators want to remove you and your school board from the decision-making process regarding educational materials.

This new “state approved textbook database” would restrict school boards from purchasing textbooks from any vendor of their choice. They would be legally required to purchase textbooks from companies that publish LGBTQ-inclusive material. Academic excellence, accurate content and well-placed images and questions are no longer paramount.

This legislation will have the consequence of forcing publishing companies and textbook authors to elevate sexual attractions and gender identities in their publications in order to be approved by the state of NJ to sell books to your school district. Elected school board members in collaboration with parents serving in curriculum committees should decide what is best for their community, not the all-encompassing overreach of state government.

Your help is needed now to contact members of the Assembly Education Committee, urging them to oppose A3052, the “state approved textbook database”. This bill has already passed the Senate Education Committee and will soon be heard in the Assembly Education Committee.

Once you have sent your message to the Assembly Education Committee members, I will email you their phone numbers and a quick script you can use to follow up with individual phone calls, if you wish.

Please share the link with others. Thank you for spreading the word!

Sincerely,

Advocacy Director
Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey

By Vince Torres, President & Executive Director

The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to impact every area of our lives, and as we approach the fall, parents with school-aged children are shifting their attention to education. In New Mexico, schools were closed in early-March and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham recently announced that our public schools will not reopen for in-person learning until September at the earliest.

Even with the Governor’s announcement, tremendous uncertainly remains about whether schools will actually reopen this year and if another closing will quickly follow. Consequently, most New Mexico parents and families find themselves in the tough position of determining how to best continue their children’s education. While many parents will choose to utilize available online public education, a recent poll suggests that a record number of American families will homeschool their children this year. In either case, the new school year will commence much like the last school year concluded – with “home” as the classroom, and parents and guardians as the primarily responsible educators.

This reality begs the question – should New Mexico parents receive a partial refund of their children’s education dollars to support at-home learning?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New Mexico taxpayers spend almost $10,000 a year per student on public education. This amount does not include federal funding dollars.

With public schools buildings closed from March through at least September, and with many families in need of help to support educating their children at home, what if New Mexico parents received a reasonable tax refund to help purchase curriculum, computers, supplies, tutoring services, internet access, and other necessities?

Maintaining some level of continuity in our children’s education is of the utmost importance and we must provide parents, grandparents, and guardians with the means to support educational excellence in the home. In years past, our political leaders have stressed the importance of keeping “more money in the classroom.” And since “home” is the classroom for most New Mexico children right now, perhaps some of our tax dollars should come back home.

“Education funding should always be student-centered…rather than institutional.”
-Dr. Lindsey M. Burke, The Heritage Foundation

Dear Friends,

More than 10,000 people from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds signed our petition to request that families have the right to opt their child out of any lesson or material that violates their religious or moral beliefs regarding sex, sexuality, or gender identity. The English and Spanish petitions were delivered to the pro-family primary sponsors of the soon-to-be-introduced opt-out bill and to the NJ Commissioner of Education.  It will be delivered to the entire Legislature and Governor Phil Murphy later this month.

We now move to the next phase of mobilization – visiting legislators in each district to share with them the concerns of parents. Are you willing to join others in your legislative district in attending these appointments? 

We have legislative captains in most districts that are scheduling these urgent meetings throughout August and September. We need you to join them!

Legislators recognize that any constituent who is willing attend a meeting represents thousands of others in their district who hold similar views.  In other words, ten people attending a meeting could represent 10,000 voters in that district. Your presence can make the difference!

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It will take an organized and persistent effort to convince NJ Senate and Assembly members to hear our bill giving parents the right to opt their child out of lessons that violate their religious beliefs regarding sex, sexuality and gender identity.

Sincerely,

Shawn Hyland
Director of Advocacy

Governor Murphy announced this week that NJ will offer a remote learning option for families who prefer to keep their children safely at home due to the potential spread of the coronavirus in public school facilities. His decision was based on the number of educators and parents who have stated their intention to refuse in-person education. He expects schools to physically reopen but does acknowledge that if an increased outbreak were to occur in the fall, school districts will be ready to transfer to complete at-home remote learning once again. Some public schools have already submitted their plans to split students into two groups at the start of the school year – spending half the time receiving in-person learning and half the time at home using remote learning.

With an increased likelihood that children might be spending time at home again this school year, this becomes a prime opportunity to take control of your children’s education.

Public school is becoming less attractive to morally conservative families. The new state Learning Standards for Sex Ed are graphic, explicit and age inappropriate. Pornographic illustrations have crept into high school literature classes despite parental outrage. Transgender themed novels are required reading assignments in many 5th grade classrooms. Sadly, our state legislature has recently passed a “State Approved Textbook Database” bill out of the Senate Education Committee. This will establish authorized vendors that school districts will be required to purchase all textbooks from regardless of any objection from local school boards and parents. If this becomes another flawed state law, textbook vendors will only be able to do business in NJ if they promote the LGBTQ agenda within their publications.

Due to the coronavirus, virtual learning might be a requirement, but virtuous learning is a choice. I know many parents might be unsure how to start homeschooling or might be intimidated to teach their students at higher grade levels. Are you interested in learning more about possibly home schooling your students this year? Please take our survey to help us find out the best way of assisting you.

We believe parents know their children best and are in the best position to make decisions about their children’s education. Home school is not for every family. We support parents being involved in public schools and private schools. Each family is unique in their schedules, abilities, and financial restraints.

Serving you,

Shawn Hyland
Director of Advocacy