Schools are not the same today as they were forty years ago and will most likely not be the same in forty more years as we find them today. However, the task of the teacher will forever remain consistent and constant – shape the way the child views the world.

Public education should be a viable and affordable method of education for families of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. The curriculum should be fact based, neutral, and tested for academic excellence and accuracy. But tragically, as I stated in a previous email, public school is becoming less attractive to morally conservative families.

Therefore, we have organized a Home School Interest Panel on Thursday, August 13 at 7pm. 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. I will be moderating the panel as we discuss the following:

Online learning has been widely practiced in the university setting for years. K-12 primary educators are now relying on virtual remote learning due to the coronavirus. Yet, Christian home school families have practiced individualized learning for years despite intense criticism. Clearly, the objection was not the method, but the message students were learning – biblical foundations in morality and thought.

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. Register for the Home School Interest Panel to know your options in education.

Serving you,

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

By Brittany Jones, an attorney and Policy Manager for Family Policy Alliance

Parents, not faceless government officials, have the fundamental right and solemn duty to direct the education and upbringing of their children. Clear and simple. This is not only a guiding legal principle in our country, it is a reality lived out by parents every day—because only parents can truly know their children and make decisions in their children’s best interest that will set them up for the best future possible.

Directing a child’s education about the world, academics, and faith is the most important duty of a parent. Because children typically spend 7-8 hours of their day in an education setting, the influence of that environment fundamentally influences children culturally, socially, and spiritually.

This means that parents must be free to choose a method of education that best aligns with their faith and and their child’s learning style. When parents are free to do this, they are creating the best foundation for their children to grow into a wide-open future and providing them the fuel to explore God’s unique calling in their lives.

Thankfully, there’s a growing variety of educational choices for parents, though some states are more friendly when it comes to meeting families’ education needs than others. The education method this article focuses on is homeschooling.

As you may know, Tim Tebow—the  Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion quarterback—was homeschooled.  But thankfully for him, he lived in Florida, where home schoolers are allowed to play sports on public school teams. Had he lived just a bit further over on the Georgia side of the state line, for example, he wouldn’t have had this opportunity.

Family Policy Alliance supports a policy that’s become known as a “Tebow Law,” a law in the majority of states that ensures children who are homeschooled have the same opportunity to access public school extracurricular activities as other children. We believe that a child’s learning style and academic needs should never prevent her from participating in skill-building extracurricular activities. States like Georgia, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Kansas still deny homeschoolers this access. Unfortunately, “Tebow Bills” in both Georgia and Kansas this year never even made it out of committee. There is still a chance in West Virginia and Hawaii for their bills to be passed.

Tebow Laws create a small opportunity for children now that can lead to a big future.

Hawaii homeschoolers at the Capitol for the bill hearing. Photo courtesy of Eva Andrade, President of Hawaii Family Forum.

In addition to supporting good laws that expand opportunities and choices for children who are homeschooled, Family Policy Alliance and our state-based family policy council allies fight against bad bills that would limit those choices.

Recently in Hawaii, homeschoolers rallied to defeat a bill that would have allowed a school superintendent to deny parents the ability to homeschool their children. Hundreds of homeschoolers turned out to testify in opposition to the bill. Eva Andrade, President of Hawaii Family Forum, our allied group in Hawaii, shared how families came together to defeat this bad bill:

“Something powerful happens when faith-based homeschoolers come together and raise their voices.  Not only were the legislators amazed at the turnout, they could not silence the articulate and passionate voices of families in the trenches that do this important work every day.  It was an honor to stand in their shadow.”

 God calls and equips parents to raise up their children according to His Word. And we also know that God has a unique calling in every child’s life. Our heart at Family Policy Alliance is to partner with godly parents to help them see good bills passed in their state that will increase opportunities for children and protect the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children.

If you agree that giving children have a wide-open future and the fuel to explore God’s calling in their life is best for every child in your state, and every state, we hope you’ll consider partnering with us.

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.

Part 1 My Child. My Rights.

Part 2 My Child. My Care.

Part 3 My Child. My Decision.

Part 4 My Child. Our Path.

Part 5 Education Choice for Families and a Wide-Open Future for Their Kids