by Brittany Jones, policy manager and an attorney
When I was growing up my parents simply wanted to know that I would make it to adulthood with the skills, knowledge and faith to make a difference in my small part of the world. My parents recognized early on that my brother got bored in a normal school environment, because he wasn’t challenged. They recognized that I didn’t learn to read in Kindergarten because I was too distracted by what Sally Sue was doing on the other side of the room. They recognized that my sister was drawing house floorplans before she could even write her ABCs. They took this information and made a hard choice. They made the choice to take us out of traditional school and to teach us at home, in a day and age when few in our community were educating their kids at home. At the time it was a scary, somewhat untried approach.
Maybe you are in a similar situation as my parents. Maybe your kid just wants to play football. Maybe they love dissecting worms in your backyard. Maybe they just like to paint. These are things that parents are in the unique position to observe and to act on for their child. Formal education is an enormous component in a child reaching their potential. A child’s education will launch their belief system and understanding of the world. As a society, we need to give kids the wide open space to explore whatever may interest them. We should seek to equip parents with the tools and space to make the decisions about their child’s education.
There are some concrete ways the government can help parents choose the best educational fit for their child:
Education Savings Accounts allow parents to save for their children’s education and use the funds when and how they see fit for educational expenses, helping remove some of the financial burdens of education. Tebow Bills, which allow a homeschooled student to participate in extracurricular activities and classes at their local public school.
“Tebow Bills” give students the opportunity to participate in public school activities and academic courses they might not otherwise have access to. This puts the choice in the hands of parents rather than the state.
My parents took a risk in our education, giving us the tools we needed to do something we truly love and are called to do. They produced a math teacher, an attorney and an architect.
And, yes, don’t worry — I did learn to read!
Family Policy Alliance is working every day to ensure you have the ability to raise your child in the way you are led. Whether in a traditional public school, an alternative public school, a private school, or home school, we want to equip you to raise and educate your child in a manner that best gives your child a wide open future and fuel to explore his or her calling.
This is part 5 of 5 in our Let Parents Parent series on the importance of protecting parental rights for families.
It’s hard to believe the back-to-school routine of busy mornings, school lunches and homework is upon us again — or will be very soon.
Have you ever thought about how so much of the debate about education is not focused on the kids who are being educated? Many school districts (and the Obama Administration) forced the transgender issue on children as young as kindergarten in the past year, by requiring curriculum changes or forcing young girls to share locker rooms and showers with men and boys.
Children don’t lose their First Amendment rights to religion and free speech when they walk into their classrooms, but school policies increasingly act like they do. And, in many states, efforts to enhance the freedom of families to choose the best education for their child are often dead-in-the-water because powerful, well-funded teachers’ unions oppose giving families that freedom. There are even school-based healthcare clinics that can give your daughter an abortion-causing drug without your knowledge or consent.
This is why we need your help and the help of Christian families across the country. It’s not enough to raise our kids in the church — especially when liberal agendas are working hard to counter the biblical training parents and churches are giving our children.
In the next few months, Family Policy Alliance will be unveiling a new project designed to launch kids to success. We believe it’s time to take Planned Parenthood and LGBT activist groups out of the classroom and put solid education back in it. We believe it’s time to help kids express their religious beliefs in a way that reflects Christ, rather than forcing them into silence. And, we believe it’s time for families to drive education needs. Specifically, we’ll be working to:
- Make it easier for parents to homeschool their children by providing access to specific public-school classes or extracurricular activities.
- Support Education Savings Accounts, so families can control their children’s education.
- Protect students’ religious-freedom rights in the classroom, so they can freely live out their beliefs.
- Remove bureaucracy and liberal agendas from the classroom — such as faith-based schools being targeted by state governments or students losing scholarships because they attend a religious school — so kids can focus on getting the education they need.
Family Policy Alliance is proud to work alongside Cole Muzio and Family Policy Alliance of Georgia, one of our 40 state-based allies. Cole has a great message about the importance of increasing education freedom in Georgia—and every state!
You can smell it in the air, can’t you? Can you feel it? The wonder, excitement, pure joy, and exhilaration that comes with the “most wonderful time of the year” … the beginning of football season!
This time of year is a much-treasured time in my family. NFL teams are suiting up for training camp, college teams have launched practice, and high school football will begin playing games in just a few short weeks. It’s a time that brings back many great memories, ushers in boundless joy, and makes me think of the day when my sons will update the record books (Hey, a dad can dream).
But, for many Georgia families, it’s a time of year best embodied by a closed door.
For those parents and children who have decided their best course of action is to homeschool, the road to athletic participation is closed. Regardless of the talent or passion of the student, Georgia is one of the few states committed to keeping those kids from participating in public school sports – which, by the way, are paid for by the tax dollars of their parents.
A system that penalizes those who exercise the right to be educated as best suits their family is broken. Denial of access and opportunity undermines choice, denies parental rights and harms Georgia’s students.
My friends, Georgia is lagging behind. Many states have already passed a version of a “Tebow Bill,” legislation that allows homeschoolers to participate in public school sports. Instead of encouraging participation and genuine school choice, our state is one of the most restrictive in the nation!
However, we are preparing to push back. Strong, pro-family leaders like Sen. Michael Williams – a candidate for governor – and others are partnering with us on this issue in the upcoming legislative session.
The freedom of families to choose the educational options that best meet their child’s needs is critical in Georgia, and every state. Making sure homeschoolers in every state can access athletics is one piece of Family Policy Alliance’s effort in increasing families’ freedom in education. We’ve made a quick-reference map so that you can see if your state is a state like Georgia that needs more freedom in education with a “Tebow bill” or if your state already secures this freedom for homeschooling families. We’re working to make sure every state on this map turns blue instead of gray!
States with Tebow Laws or Similar Provisions for Homeschoolers
Believe it or not, there are strong, well-funded opponents to equal access for homeschoolers. We need your partnership and financial support in order to build a nation where families, not the government, drive education needs and funding. Children’s dreams and successes shouldn’t be shackled by government interference and powerful teachers’ unions. Will you partner with us on education freedom today?
In His Service,
Family Policy Alliance of Georgia
What if the government ran a chain of “cafeterias” for children?
What would they serve? How would they treat your family? How far would they go to protect the monopoly?
In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard explores that analogy in light of recent happenings on Capitol Hill.
Thank you for sharing Stoplight with your friends.