August 22, 2016
Where Do Third Parties Stand on Home Education?
Brandt Edmonston, Legislative Director
Anthony DeFazio, Intern
For more than 30 years, HSLDA has worked to advance the rights of homeschooling families in courts and legislatures. Last month, the Republican Party approved a platform that was incredibly friendly towards home education and homeschooling parents.
However, this election cycle has left many voters searching for alternatives to the major-party presidential nominees. So how do third-parties feel about homeschooling? Here’s what we found:
Section 2.9 of the Libertarian Party platform states:
Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Recognizing that the education of children is a parental responsibility, we would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.
In Section 1 and 2 of the Constitution Party platform’s segment on education:
We support the unimpeded right of parents to provide for the education of their children in the manner they deem best, including home, private or religious. All legislation from any level of government that would interfere with or restrict that liberty should be opposed. Equitable tax relief for families whose children do not attend government schools should be provided for. Compulsory attendance laws should be repealed. Parents need not defy the law by refusing to send their children to schools of which they disapprove. We affirm the free market principles which drive improvement of education through non-traditional options such as internet based schools, charter schools, Christian and private schools, as well as home schooling options.
Of the three third parties HSLDA reviewed, the Green Party’s platform had the least to say about homeschooling, but the platform did mention it in its section on education and the arts: “[We] recognize the viable alternative of home-based education.”
While the Green Party platform could be viewed as lacking some depth on the issue, the fact that a left-leaning party even makes mention of homeschooling at all is an encouraging step forward for the rights of parents to direct the education of their children. The Libertarian Party and Constitution Party’s positions are very similar, which represents significant progress.
Taken together with the 2016 Republican Party’s platform, these third-party statements represent growing public awareness and support of homeschool rights. (It should be noted that the presidential nominees of each party have a great deal of latitude as to their policy positions, and may not necessarily be in line with their respective party platform.)
It’s very encouraging to see parties across the political spectrum now embracing homeschooling to one degree or another—a sharp contrast with the political climate in the 1980s, when our efforts began. At HSLDA, we believe homeschooling isn’t a matter of party affiliation, but rather a fundamental right belonging to all parents. HSLDA is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with members of any party in the defense of parental rights and homeschool freedoms.