I just found out that the Home School Legal Defense Association endorsed Mike Huckabee (or, as the hubby and I have begun referring to him, “President Logan from 24”). This is despite the “official” policy of HSLDA, which states that they do not endorse presidential candidates in primaries unless there is a “clear-cut conservative vs. liberal match-up.”

I was so surprised by the endorsement that it took me a couple of days to get my wits about me and write about it. I wonder what ulterior motives HSLDA has for endorsing Huckabee, because I’m certain its not because he would be the best candidate for home schoolers.

While governor of Arkansas, Huckabee increased state involvement in education. Despite the fact that he did support parents’ rights to home school their children (by supporting one act in 1997), one cannot overlook the fact that he increased taxes in order to increase state involvement in education.

Additionally, from “Homeschoolers for Ron Paul:”

…Huckabee is not as strong a supporter of homeschooling as his campaign might suggest. It is true that he demonstrated his support for homeschooling in 1997 when he signed into law a House bill favoring homeschooling. Huckabee saw to it that a good deal of publicity surrounded this event. Prior to the 1997 legislation, home schooled students had been required to receive a passing grade on annual tests. Currently students are only required to take standardized tests along a schedule similar to that of the public schools, and they are not required to pass the tests. In addition parents are not asked to pay for the testing. In other words, the 1997 law provided relief for home schooling families, but didn’t represent a dramatic change.

 

However, this reform occurred only at the beginning of his governorship (1997-2007) and Arkansas laws pertaining to homeschooling were already very restrictive. In the following ten years no additional relief was provided to home schooling families, and in fact, more restrictions followed. A home schooling family who didn’t want to have their child tested could still be charged with truancy. In 1999, additional legislation was enacted in Arkansas and signed by Governor Huckabee that imposed greater rather than less restrictions on home schoolers. The restrictions could potentially cause problems for students whose families are undecided. The 1999 legislation called for a two-week advance statement of intent to home school or truancy charges would be filed. In addition the restrictions do not permit students to be withdrawn from school for the purpose of home schooling if the students are facing disciplinary violations. The compulsory attendance law was also revised during Huckabee’s governorship to require that attendance in school be required beginning at age 5, not 6, as previously. In an article entitled “Homeschoolers Lose Ground” of July 20, 2007, HSLDA itself stated its vigorous opposition to this legislation. In other words, Huckabee’s avowed support for homeschooling must be seriously questioned.

During the Iowa debate, Huckabee said that, while he doesn’t believe the Federal Government should be directly involved in education, he still feels that the feds should act as a marketplace of ideas. I’m not even sure what that means, but something tells me that it would still entail (unconstitutional) federal involvement in education.

Huckabee also sought and received the endorsement of the National Education Association in New Hampshire. While addressing the group he said, “I’m astonished there are not more Republican candidates here. Do they not think education is important? Or are they just afraid of the NEA? I don’t know.” So, Huckabee apparently equates education in America with the NEA, also known as the single greatest threat to school-choice in the United States.

The NEA has repeatedly fought against home schooling in the US, and, if it were up to them, there would be no home schooling allowed in the United States. And these people endorsed Huckabee. Tell me why in the world it would make sense for the NEA and the HSLDA to endorse the same candidate?

Many are attributing Huckabee’s rise in the polls to widespread support of home schoolers, and this I just don’t understand. My hope is that home schoolers across the country will do their homework (if you’ll pardon the pun) and check Huckabee’s record. The simple fact that he was endorse by the NH NEA is reason enough to assume that he is not a friend to home schoolers.

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