May 18, 2017
From left: HSLDA Vice President of Litigation Jim Mason, HSLDA President Mike Smith, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, local homeschooling mother Tricia Powell, HSLDA Vice President of Administration Chuck Hurst, HSLDA Director of Federal Relations Will Estrada.
HSLDA and DeVos Talk Homeschool Freedom
Last week, a delegation from HSLDA visited U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to discuss the success of homeschooling and to explain what the homeschoolers we represent want on the federal level. This marked the first time in the 38-year history of the U.S. Department of Education that HSLDA has met privately with a sitting U.S. Secretary of Education.
We thanked Secretary DeVos for her support of homeschooling and her respect for homeschooling parents, asked her to continue to work to preserve the freedom and autonomy of homeschooling families, and asked her to continue to protect homeschool graduates from discrimination.
The highlight of our meeting was when a local mom, Tricia Powell, shared with Secretary DeVos why she homeschools her two children and how they have thrived in her family’s homeschool program. It was a privilege to hear Powell share her passion and enthusiasm for homeschooling.
We were also able to discuss in person with Secretary DeVos why HSLDA and homeschoolers across the nation oppose vouchers for K–12 homeschools. We believe that federal homeschool funding would be detrimental in the long run to the cause of homeschool freedom. (For an in-depth look at why HSLDA opposes federal funds for K–12 homeschool programs, read this article.)
Secretary DeVos was receptive to our message of homeschool freedom. She was a generous listener and emphasized her strong belief that families should be enabled to choose the best form of education for their children, whether that is in a public school, private school, or homeschool. She also made it clear that she will not use her power as Secretary of Education to force states or local school districts to adopt federal top-down approaches to education.
Recently we wrote about President Trump’s executive order reining in the federal role in education; Secretary DeVos and her team are working to identify and eliminate past U.S. Department of Education programs and guidance that violate the principles of federalism.