Our Cover Story and the Election Results
As we think about Mike Farris’s challenge to us in this Court Report’s lead article, I want to highlight two aspects of HSLDA’s organization designed to fight for and maintain homeschool freedom in the future.
HSLDA/Heather Gray Inc.
J. Michael Smith, President of Home School Legal Defense Association, addresses the audience at the 2010 National Leaders Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
From its beginnings, HSLDA has been concerned about the future of America. But in 2003, our board became especially concerned about making sure that Congress and the federal government would be held to their limited role in education, especially regarding their lack of jurisdiction over homeschooling. Our board saw that many elected officials did not have a proper understanding of the constitutionally limited role of the federal government.
To address this issue, in 2004 we founded a division of HSLDA called Generation Joshua to give young people a hands-on education in citizenship and political involvement. To achieve this goal, the program has three main components: (1) civics education, (2) nonpartisan political activity, such as voter registration drives, and (3) active involvement in the campaigns of candidates prayerfully selected by HSLDA’s board of directors for their character and their position on issues of importance to our members.
At about the same time, we also established the HSLDA Political Action Committee (PAC) in accordance with federal law. Under federal law, HSLDA may endorse federal candidates in communications to our members and we may solicit our members for contributions to the PAC. The PAC is solely funded by these contributions; no HSLDA membership dues are used to fund it. In turn, the HSLDA PAC provides the funding that enables teens involved in Generation Joshua—many of whom are homeschooled—to gain real-life political experience.
When I sat down to write this article, it was the morning after the November 2 midterm election. In that election, nearly 800 young people from Generation Joshua participated in congressional elections around the country. GenJ sent student action teams to 16 states, participating in 21 races. One is too close to call as this article goes to press, but the young people saw clear victory in 14 of the other races. For this election, the HSLDA PAC also endorsed 20 other candidates, of whom 16 won their races. These candidates were all chosen by the HSLDA PAC because they are men and women of character who support parental rights, homeschooling, and the concept of the limited role of government.
This year we endorsed more candidates than ever before. It’s encouraging that more and more people are running for Congress with the character and right convictions to bring our nation back to cherishing freedom, individual responsibility, and fiscal soundness.
But the real encouragement is to see the excitement of the young people who had an opportunity to participate in this election cycle. As a result of their experiences, many of these students will be encouraged to stay involved in the political process as they get older. This is the true goal of the Generation Joshua program, as we all must prepare the next generation to protect the precious freedom of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
I would encourage you to get involved with Generation Joshua if you have children between the ages of 11 and 19. Visit the Generation Joshua website for further information.