(Corine Gatti, Headline USA) The Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association warned that universal school choice programs approved in states like Arkansas, Iowa, Utah and Florida are a slippery slope.
HSLDA President James Mason said it will deteriorate freedoms—not maintain them.
“Historically, we have gone to state legislatures saying, ‘We don’t want anything from you other than the freedom to home-school our children,” Mason told the Washington Examiner.
“Education savings accounts are different because people are going to state legislatures and saying, ‘We want taxpayer money,'” he continued. “So we have opposed taxpayer-funded private homeschooling on the grounds that it will erode the liberties that we’ve worked so hard to gain. Regulation follows funding.”
According to the HSLDA website, the nonprofit organization was established in 1983 with the mission to promote the fundamental constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.
“It’s a question of moving from liberty to dependency,” Mason said of the wave of universal school choice. “When the money starts flooding, it’s going to dramatically change the character of home education in America and probably diminish the liberty of parents who choose it.”
Corey DeAngelis, an executive director at Educational Freedom Institute and a staunch supporter of universal school-choice programs, told the outlet the bigger issue “is having authoritarians in office that don’t respect parental rights in education.”
The leadership of the HSLDA had good intentions, “but they’re missing the bigger picture,” DeAngelis said. “They’re looking at one potential cost that might happen through people voluntarily accepting the funding, but they’re ignoring the guaranteed costs of cementing the status quo by rejecting the incremental victories.”
The new legislative measures for universal school choice would allow families to use state funds to pay for education-related expenses, giving them much more freedom when it comes to their children’s educational options.