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July 25, 2016

RNC Platform Backs Home Ed: Will DNC Follow Suit?

Andrew Mullins, Deputy Director
Erin Reichard, Intern
Federal Relations

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Andrew Mullins ANDREW MULLINS

Since the 1980s, homeschooling has been a key party issue in every presidential election. In 2016, that trend will now officially continue, thanks to the GOP’s recently adopted and approved platform.

HSLDA has long lobbied to ensure that homeschool freedom and parental rights are protected in our laws and courts. While not a panoptic fix, the inclusion of homeschooling in a major party platform is a big step towards protecting our rights.

In addition to homeschool-friendly language in the GOP platform, HSLDA has lobbied for the inclusion of platform language to protect parental rights, limit the Common Core State Standards, and end the troubling trend of anti-democratic United Nations domestic treaties. You can read the platform in its entirety here. And here is our list of the six big wins for homeschoolers in the GOP platform:

  1. Support for the Parental Rights Amendment.

    On page 33 of the platform, under the “Great American Families, Education, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice” section:

    “Parents are a child’s first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children. Parents have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing. We support a constitutional amendment to protect that right from interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations.”

  2. A Return to Religious Liberty as a Centerpiece in Diplomacy.

    On pages 51-52 of the platform, under the “Defending International Religious Freedom” section. This insertion in the platform makes a direct reference to the Romeike family, a German homeschool family that sought asylum in the United States. Their story is fascinating, and can be read here.

    “At a time when China has renewed its destruction of churches, Christian home-schooling parents are jailed in parts of Europe, and even Canada threatens pastors for their preaching, a Republican administration will return the advocacy of religious liberty to a central place in its diplomacy, will quickly designate the systematic killing of religious and ethnic minorities a genocide, and will work with the leaders of other nations to condemn and combat genocidal acts.”

  3. Opposition to the Common Core and one-size-fits-all approaches to education.

    Again, mentioned on page 33:

    We reject a one-size-fits-all approach to education and support a broad range of choices for parents and children at the state and local level. We likewise repeat our long-standing opposition to the imposition of national standards and assessments, encourage the parents and educators who are implementing alternatives to Common Core, and congratulate the states which have successfully repealed it.”

  4. Explicit support for homeschooling.

    Homeschooling is officially listed on page 34 of the platform:

    “We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools … Empowering families to access the learning environments that will best help their children to realize their full potential is one of the greatest civil rights challenges of our time. A young person’s ability to succeed in school must be based on his or her God-given talent and motivation, not an address, ZIP code, or economic status.”

  5. Opposition to far-reaching United Nations domestic treaties.

    As enumerated in this article, UN treaties have been twisted to impose domestic policy on member countries. When ratified by the U.S. Senate, the treaties become the law of the land. Here’s what the GOP platform has to say about the treaties, on page 51, under the section, “America Resurgent”:

    “Precisely because we take our country’s treaty obligations seriously, we oppose ratification of international agreements whose long-range implications are ominous or unclear. We do not support the U.N. Convention on Women’s Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities … .”

  6. The GOP platform has a long history with homeschooling.

    Homeschooling has been mentioned in every GOP platform since 1988. This is important, because established platform language sets a precedent for continued party support of homeschooling. As included in the 1988 platform, under the “Education for the Future” section:

    “Parents have the primary right and responsibility for education. Private institutions, communities, States, and the federal government must support and stimulate that parental role. We support the right of parents to educate their children at home.”

    Interestingly, the 1992 platform referred to homeschooling as a “home-based school.” In its “Achieving Educational Excellence” section, it said:

    “Education is a joint responsibility of the individual, the family, and the community. Parents are the first and most important teachers of their children. They should have the right not only to participate in their child’s education, but to choose for their children among the broadest array of educational choices, without regard to their income. We also support the right of parents to provide quality education through home-based schools.”

We will watch for any homeschool-friendly language included in the Democratic Party platform. Homeschooling has never been included in prior DNC platforms—but who knows? Maybe this year will be different.