Monday, October 8, 2007

Homeschoolers: Elections Will Be Here Soon - Here Are Some Questions To Ask Your Local Candidates

Questions For Candidates And Elected Officials

As November elections approach, homeschoolers should try to find out the positions of the candidates on the issues of most importance to parents. NHELD has compiled a short list of suggested questions. Whether you use these questions, or make a list of your own, the important thing is to pin down all candidates regarding what they stand for and why homeschoolers should vote for them. Make them specify their positions, don’t let them equivocate. If they do equivocate in their responses to your questions, send them another list of questions. Repeat the process until you have your answers. After a few letters back and forth, whether the candidate specifically answers your questions or not, you will have a much clearer understanding of why, or why not, the candidates deserve your support.


1. Do you favor or disfavor homeschooling and why?

2. What is your position regarding implementation or repeal of laws affecting the rights of homeschoolers?

Frequently, candidates are not aware of what the state law is regarding the rights of parents to instruct their children. They may not be aware of federal law regarding homeschooling either. Depending on the candidate and the political climate, the question could be posed broadly leaving the candidate to expound from his basis of knowledge, or the question could be posed more specifically to obtain a direct answer concerning whether the candidate favors or disfavors laws regarding homeschooling. The question could be: “What do you know about the laws regarding homeschooling? Or, the question could be: “Do you support legislation to require parents to obtain approval from a local public school board before they homeschool?” The strategy regarding broad versus specific questions, of course, holds true for all of the suggested questions.

3. What is your position on government funding of homeschooling and why?

NHELD doesn't support any federal, state or local government funding of homeschooling either directly or by supplying resources. Any funding comes with strings attached, and results in regulation.

4. If the government provides funding or publicly funded benefits to homeschoolers, what is your position on government accountability regarding the funding or benefits?

This type of question is designed to elicit the candidate’s opinion as to whether the candidate favors government regulation of homeschooling in return for the government funding or benefit.

5. Do you understand the difference between homeschooling and doing a public school curriculum at home?

6. What is your position on homeschoolers participating in the public school system and why?

Leaving this question in general terms might elicit unexpected, yet, very useful responses. Does the candidate favor the participation because the school administration would have more control over homeschooling, or, does the candidate favor participation for some other financial or emotional reason?

7. What is your position on lowering the compulsory school attendance age and why?

Leaving this question in general terms might elicit unexpected and useful responses as well. If the candidate favors it, what is the reason for the support? Does the candidate want the public school district to exercise more control over parents?

8. What is your position on compulsory public pre-school (universal pre-school) for infants and toddlers?

9. What is your position on mental health screening of children from infancy through adulthood?

10. Do you believe homeschoolers should provide instruction that is equivalent to the instruction in the public schools?

11. What is your position on “conditional withdrawal”? Do you favor allowing the public school administration to refuse to take the children off the “enrollment books” unless the parents comply with school district non-statutory demands, even though the parents legally withdrew their children from the public school in accordance with state law?


Anonymous said...

Regarding child mental screening:

Please do the 2 steps listed at the bottom. It's very quick.

The Parental Consent Act of 2007 can be found here:

1. Locate your own Congressman here and request that they co-sponsor Ron Paul's Bill HR 2387, The Parental Consent Act of 2007

2. Sign and forward this petition to everyone you know:

Sebastian said...

I might add a couple more.
a) Do you think that youth curfews are helpful and should be broadened to include daytime curfews?

This is often done at the local level, so it is a great question for local politicians who might otherwise dodge education related questions as not related to their office.

b) Should homeschoolers be required to take tests to prove they meet state education standards?

Lostcheerio said...

Hmm... interesting. I hadn't thought about a lot of these being hot political issues, but I guess that especially on a local level, these things really matter to us. I sometimes forget my demographic! :) Must buy that t-shirt to remind myself. I be an hoamskuler.