New, improved Congressional Action Program
Home School Legal Defense Association's National Center for Home Education is expanding the Congressional Action Program (CAP). "Changes will allow home schooling families to be more directly involved in ensuring that the federal government is increasingly aware of issues concerning home education," reports Samuel Redfern, manager of CAP.
Launched in 1993 by HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris, CAP employs a system featuring 435 district coordinators, one for each of the 435 congressional districts around the country. Additionally, CAP has families within driving distance of DC trained to deal directly with U.S. House and Senate offices about home schooling issues.
Redfern said two major changes will involve an expansion of the district coordinator's role. The coordinator will be encouraged to help get the good message about home schooling into the public eye. One key way of doing this is through the writing and distribution of periodic opinion editorials in area newspapers. National Center staff will help with sample op-eds, talking points (the main message that should be delivered in a given time), and tips for getting such articles in the local newspaper. Additionally, HSLDA Director of Media Relations Robert Ziegler stands ready to assist any member family in dealing with local media, including CAP op-eds.
The other major expansion of the district coordinator's role features the organization of a congressional meeting in the district each year. Members of Congress will be invited to meet with home schooling families from across the given district, in order to discuss home school issues and legislation directly with member families.
Other changes involve HSLDA holding seminars on Capitol Hill to provide House and Senate staff with a broader and deeper understanding of home schooling as a movement and home school-specific issues.
"CAP's mission has not changed, but our means to communicate with and activate the grassroots has expanded and improved," Redfern said. "We look forward to the new role of district coordinators, the continued vigilance of our Capitol Hill lobbyists, and the long-term benefits of training House and Senate staff."
HSLDA Chairman addresses Values Summit
Mike Farris, co-founder and chairman of Home School Legal Defense Association, represented the organization at a high-level summit meeting on Capitol Hill recently.
Farris represented HSLDA as part of the Values Summit, sponsored by The Values Action Team, a group of congressmen and senators dedicated to preserving and advancing traditional family values via congressional action. Farris addressed the meeting, which was attended by such congressional luminaries as Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX). The Congressional Values Action Team is chaired by U.S. Representative Joseph Pitts (R-PA).
New web features launched
Be sure to check out the new features on the National Center for Home Education website at http://nche.hslda.org/.
The NCHE National Update provides timely updates on items of interest to the home school community in Washington, DC, the media, and the world of education. Bright Spots In Home Schooling is a periodic feature that will highlight one of the many success stories in the world of home education. If you know of a Bright Spot, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.